Archive | July 26, 2013

The Faithful Man

One night at a small church in Atlanta, Georgia, a man shared how he had become a Christian while in Sydney, Australia.

“I was at the street corner in Kings Cross,” the man began, “when I felt a tug on my sleeve. Turning, I found myself face to face with a street bum. Before I could say anything, the man simply asked me, ‘Mister, if you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity?’ ” “That question troubled me over the next three weeks,” the man continued. “I had to find an answer, and I ended up giving my life to Christ.”

The pastor of the Atlanta church was amazed that a man on a street corner could have such an impact. But imagine his amazement when, three years later, another man came to his church and gave an almost identical testimony. He, too, had been at Kings Cross in Sydney when a derelict had pulled on his sleeve and then asked him, “If you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity?” This second man, also haunted by the street bum’s question, eventually sought and found an answer in Jesus.

Shortly after hearing the second testimony, the pastor of that small church in Atlanta had to be in Sydney for a missions conference. On one of his nights off, he went to Kings Cross to see if he could find the man who had been mentioned at his church by two different people. Pausing on a street corner to look for someone like the street bum he’d heard about, he felt a tug at his jacket. He turned, and before the poor old man could say anything, the pastor blurted out, “I know what you’re going to ask me! You’re going to ask me if I were to die tonight, where would I spend eternity?”

The man was stunned. “How did you know that?” he inquired. The pastor told him the whole story. When he finished, the man started to cry. “Mister,” he said, “10 years ago I gave my life to Jesus, and I wanted to do something for Him. But a man like me can’t do much of anything. So I decided I would just hang out on this corner and ask people that simple question. I’ve been doing that for years, mister, but tonight is the first time Ever that I knew it did anybody any good.”

God calls us not to be successful, but to be faithful in following where He leads. We need to obey God even when we can’t see whether it does any good or makes a difference in someone else’s life. I encourage you to stay faithful to the Lord even when things don’t make sense and be sensitive to that still small voice because that is the Lord leading you to where He wants you to be.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.(1Kings 19:11-12)



Are We Bold?

Though “No Fear” is a popular slogan on T-shirts and bumper stickers, claiming victory over fear takes more than just posting a public declaration on our clothing or car. The truth is that everyone battles fear to varying degrees on a daily basis, and the only force capable of defeating fear is the power of Jesus Christ.

Fear originates with Satan. It is his tactic for demoralizing and distracting believers from following the will of God. In fact, fear has posed such a problem for believers throughout history that God chose to make the directives “Do not fear” and “Fear not” the most frequently repeated commands in the Bible. As Joshua prepared to take over the reigns of the leadership of the Israelites following the death of Moses, God challenged him to “Be strong and courageous; do not be discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).Though the task was intimidating and the responsibility was enormous, God urged Joshua not to be paralyzed by fears and doubts but to trust that God’s wisdom and provisions would guide and sustain him.

The list of Bible characters that dealt with fear includes prophets, judges, and apostles. Whether it was Gideon hiding from his enemies, Elijah running for his life, or Peter denying association with Jesus, all of these great men of faith battled fears that plagued their ministries. Yet, when they tapped into the power of God they received the strength they needed to overcome their weaknesses and became bold witnesses for the Kingdom. The Bible declares that those who have been made righteous through Jesus Christ will be “as bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1). King David was so confidant of God’s power to bring the victory that he declared in Psalm 18:29, “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” In other words, he had “no fear” because God was before him, behind him, and beside him. And as believers in Jesus we now have the benefit of having Him in us as well!

Today God is calling us out of bondage to fear and into a place of boldness for Jesus Christ. In II Timothy 1:7-8 Paul states that “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” Anytime we battle with doubt, fear, or timidity we can be sure that the devil is at work trying to keep us from doing the task God has called us to complete.

God wants to instill confidence in believers so that they will proclaim the Gospel of Christ without hesitation. Ask God today for His boldness to replace our fears and for the ability to distinguish Satan’s lies from God’s truth. Jesus paid the price on the cross so that we could be free from fear, and we need only to come and receive this peace and freedom. What are we waiting for?

This devotional is sent by my spiritual friend in Japan, Kimiko.