Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What about the Potter?

So, it's past 1:00 and I am wide awake...the tragic result of drinking coffee too late. Anyway, earlier today..I mean yesterday, I was taking some time to read back through my prayer journal and came across this entry from early May. I  believe at that time that I was reading from Numbers (thus the reason for the references to Israel's relationship with God). Just felt this might be something worth sharing....Hopefully it will at least speak to someone...

"But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth." ~Psalm 86:15

"I've been thinking about how God's relationship with Israel, as with us, is so much like that of a parent.  In one instance Israel will do something wrong and God will discipline them, yet, in the next instance, He is telling those in opposition to Israel to basically "treat them right or die." The wilderness was forty years of discipline for Israel, yet, at the same time, God was keeping outsiders from hurting them.  His Word is sure and He won't let anything happen to prevent it from coming to pass. Like a good parent, He always keeps His word, always protects, and always does what's best, whether painful or not, to make sure His child becomes the best He can be.

Yesterday, while having a potter walk my friends and I through the step by step process of the art of old fashioned pottery making, I found myself thinking, "Wow, that's ALOT of effort and inconvenience just to make that cup, bowl, etc...but then I realized, that's exactly the way God is with us!  Often I read poems and such about "being on the potter's wheel", written about yielding to the Potter's hand and they are always beautiful and well said...but, what about the Potter?!! Oh the patience, Oh the love!!!...Thankful for a God that never gives up on me. He protects me. He provides for me. And, above all else He's STILL working on me."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Simple Talk

Obedience: Belief with Legs on It

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." ~John 3:16

I have been reminiscing lately over some of my experiences while living in Latvia.  Among my memories have been random conversations with members of the team there...just plain goofy conversations, as well as extremely enlightening ones.

One of the main conversations I have been thinking about occurred between the head missionary's wife and I.  We were relaxing one evening, chatting away, when I randomly gestured towards some cookies and said slowly and very prounounced, "Cookie... Yes?", asking her if she would like one. I didn't think anything of it at first, but her dumbfounded expression provoked me to think about what I had just said and how I had said it. It didn't take long to realize the reason for the funny expression. We both busted out laughing simultaneously. With English as both our native tongues, we, of course, usually speak at a normal pace, use bigger words, and tend to use complete sentences, or at least complete phrases, when talking to each other. However, this day I spoke to her as one would to friends with a very limited knowledge of their language or in the same manner that most people tend to speak to young children. I responded this way to her simply out of habit. Living in a foreign country, and not yet knowing the local language fluently,one becomes quite accustomed to speaking to people this way, and them speaking to you this way.

Sometimes when sharing the gospel with people who know little or nothing about God, seasoned Christians may unintentionally try to feed an individual meat who has not yet even been born into the Kingdom of God. When a female is pregnant and cares about the health of her child, she takes extra special care as to what she puts into her body, because it all affects the baby. In like manner, this same approach should be applied to a Christian's speech when witnessing to people about The Gospel. It is deep and has many layers, but it is not complicated. Start at the first layer. Speak simply!

Some fellow AIMers in Latvia encouraged me, as well as others, to do something they also had been encouraged to do before: go through the Bible and, in your mind, every time the word "believe" is mentioned, replace it with the word "obey". (This doesn't work for all, but for a lot of them.)  Why do this? Because if you truly believe, you WILL obey.

To believe is to obey. True belief begets complete obedience.

Simple Talk... 

John 3:16 says that whosoever believeth on Christ "SHOULD not" perish, not "would not" perish. Why? It's a matter of complete obedience. If one completely believes, they will obey all that the scriptures say. They will search them and find that God in flesh said that "except a man is born of water and of the Spirit" he cannot enter, nor even see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3,5)  They will obey God by repenting, being baptized in Jesus name, and being filled with the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19, John 7:39, Acts 2:38, 3:19, 10:44-48 ).

It IS true that one must first believe...however, if one truly believes God's Word, he will covet, study, and obey ALL of it. 

Jesus himself said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."  ~Mark 1:15

Repentance is not the full gospel, but rather a launching point. Believe...Obey!

It's that simple.