LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE

2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

For thirty-one days, we have been writing on the subject of witnessing.  We have written words from our hearts.  We pray that God has spoken to you through these devotions about your need to be salt and light in this world.

Not everyone will feel led to witness by using any of the methods that we have recommended.  However, we do believe that everyone needs to be prepared to answer for the hope that is within us.

 If we were going to recommend one thing that everyone needs to do in preparation for sharing Jesus, it would be Scripture memorization.  In his book and Video, “Share Jesus Without Fear”, Bill Fey tells us to use Scriptures in our witnessing because they are God’s Words, not ours.  He recommends Scriptures that include most of the salient points of how to become a Christian: Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John 3:3, John 14:6 and Revelation 2:20. A sinner might argue with our words; it is harder to argue with the Word of God.

God’s Word is powerful unto salvation.  Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” KJV.  When we rightly use God’s Word, it never fails.  We heard about a couple who were having marital problems; the husband, in frustration and despair, left the home to go to a motel.  In boredom, he picked up the Gideon placed Bible and began to read the Word of God.  As a result, he found salvation, returned home and restored his relationship with his wife.  They are now both serving the Lord in a church.  When we use Scriptures to witness, we are wielding the Sword of Truth and it is powerful!

Finally, remember that we are to be light to this dark world.  We cannot hide our light from those who are desperately trying to find hope in a hopeless society.  All who know Jesus as Savior hold the light in their souls.  We simply must share and shine before it is eternally too late for the lost.  Is your light burning bright and not hidden under a bushel?  We pray that you are saved and know it!  LET YOUR LITTLE LIGHT SHINE!

 

BRIGHTEN THE CORNER WHERE YOU ARE! BRIGHTEN THE CORNER WHERE YOU ARE!

SOMEONE FAR FROM HARBOR YOU MAY GUIDE ACROSS THE BAR;

BRIGHTEN THE CORNER WHERE YOU ARE!

IT’S URGENT

“We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work,”  John 9:4 NASB

I feel a real urgency to work for Jesus as the day of His returning is getting close.  He tells us that the “fields are white unto harvest”. There are so many people who are unsaved…..they are headed for Hell.  Their future is one of eternal torment.  We have SO much work to do!

I heard recently that the United States is now made up of less than 50% Protestants.  I have no idea how many true evangelical believers there are in our country.  We have a huge job ahead of us and so little time to get it done.

I could easily get discouraged but for the knowledge that God is still Sovereign.  He is in Control.  He is the Lord of the Harvest.  I am only responsible for doing my part.  As soon as we become a Christian, we are a soldier in the Lord’s army.  One soldier is not expected to win the war.  He only is responsible for his task. I have heard it said that God and I make a majority. I must witness, sow the seed, and leave the results to the Holy Spirit.  But, work I must. God calls us to go into the battle to win souls.  If not me…who?  If not now….when?

So, let us take up our swords (the Word of God) and get into the battle for truth.  Jesus is coming soon and I want to be found witnessing and working when He returns!  Mark 13:35-37: “Therefore, be on the alert…for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows or in the morning….in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep.  What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’”

WORK FOR THE NIGHT IS COMING,

WORK THROUGH THE MORNING HOURS;

WORK WHILE THE DEW IS SPARKLING,

WORK ‘MID SPRINGING FLOWERS;

WORK WHEN THE DAY GROWS BRIGHTER,

WORK IN THE GLOWING SUN;

WORK, FOR THE NIGHT IS COMING,

WHEN MAN’S WORK IS DONE.

 

GOD’S CREATION

Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He has made all things beautiful in its time.”

God has given me a beautiful family. I have a beautiful wife, 5 beautiful children.  My children married beautiful spouses.  Our children and their mates have given us 10 beautiful grandchildren.  Five of our grandchildren have married beautiful mates and we have been blessed with 6 beautiful great-grandchildren.  I see the inward beauty in my family as well as in their outward appearance.

You might not see them as beautiful because you don’t know them as I know them.  One of my bosses had a secretary who was very capable, but I did not see her as beautiful.  She seemed very unfriendly and aloof.  I just couldn’t appreciate her. When I was promoted to be my boss’s assistant, I had to share an office with this lady.  After really getting to know her, I found that she was shy and not at all unfriendly.  I came to know her as a warm, caring Christian. I recalled the Scripture in I Samuel 16:7b: “for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

One of the obstacles to witnessing is the reluctance to see sinners as God sees them.  I John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God.”  There is an old saying: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Surely, God with his “eyes” sees qualities in Christians and unbelievers that we, with our human eyes miss.  We need to go to our knees in prayer, asking God to open our eyes to see the beauty in others.  We need to remember that “He has made all things beautiful.”  Even the unlovely need to hear the “good news”; the Gospel.  They need to know that Jesus came to earth; He died for man’s sin; He rose again and His free gift is life for those who accept Him.

Cecil F. Alexander has written a song entitled: “All Things Bright and Beautiful”.  I quote the second verse:

THE COLD WIND IN THE WINTERTIME, THE PLEASANT SUMMER SUN, THE RIPE FRUITS IN THE GARDEN NOW,   HE MADE THEM EVERY ONE;

HE GAVE US EYES TO SEE THEM ALL,   AND LIPS THAT WE MIGHT TELL

HOW GREAT IS THE ALMIGHTY GOD, WHO HAS MADE ALL THINGS WELL.

 

APPLES OF GOLD

Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”  NKJV

Recently, an older gentleman approached me as I was sitting in a restaurant.  It was not the first time that this man had come up to speak to us.  He may have forgotten the previous times that he had approached us.  He wanted to tell us a Bible story; the one about Abraham going to the mountain to sacrifice Isaac.  Even though we assured him that we knew the story; he persisted in relating the story in a trembling voice. He did an adequate job in telling the story.  I admired his persistence even after we had told him that we were Christians.

This man perseveres in his witnessing, even when it is not appreciated.  Our daughter later told us that she had been a listener to his storytelling while she was shopping in a craft store.  The employees came to her to ask if the gentleman was annoying her.  She said “no”, he is not. Often, the old man is not welcomed and probably has experienced rejection and perhaps persecution.

This gentleman is not my vision of an ideal witness.  However, I am impressed, not by his technique; but by his habitual effort and persistence.  He loves to tell the old stories of the Bible.

Bill Fey, in his book: “Share Jesus Without Fear” and Mark Cahill, author of “One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven” give specific proven ideas about witnessing.  These formulas help each of us to be more effective in our efforts.  Learning these methods of witnessing can help us to be careful to speak the word so fitly that it is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

 

     I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY OF UNSEEN THINGS ABOVE,

      OF JESUS AND HIS GLORY, OF JESUS AND HIS LOVE;

     I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY BECAUSE I KNOW TIS TRUE,

     IT SATISFIES MY LONGINGS AS NOTHING ELSE CAN DO.

     I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY! ‘TWILL BE MY THEME IN GLORY

     TO TELL THE OLD, OLD STORY OF JESUS AND HIS LOVE.

 

HOW TO SAY THANKS

When we are given a gift, we want to say, “Thank you”.  Jesus has given us the gift of salvation; eternal life.  He deserves our appreciation and thanks.  One of the ways to thank our Lord for our salvation is to share the gift with others.  We can tell everyone that Jesus has saved us and wants to save them, also.

John shares in his gospel (in the fourth chapter) about a woman who received the gift of living water.  Jesus shared with the Samaritan woman the way to be forgiven of sin.  She expressed her appreciation by going to the men of her city to tell them the good news. She didn’t worry about how to share the gift.  I don’t believe she even thought about the “right way”; she didn’t learn a “method” or a formula to witness.  She simply ran to tell.

John tells us, again, in the ninth chapter of a blind man who was healed by Jesus.  The Pharisees questioned the man about who Jesus was and how He could restore the blind man’s sight.  In the last part of verse 25, the man declared, “I do know, that though I was blind, now I see”.  He didn’t go into a discourse on sin and justification nor did he try to convince the Pharisees of their need for spiritual healing.  He simply told them what Jesus had done for him. He asked them if they wanted to become disciples of Jesus, too.

Time after time, when people had an encounter with Jesus; they immediately went to tell somebody about Jesus and what he had done for them.  That is witnessing in a nutshell.  All that we really need to do is tell others about Jesus and what He means to us.  I Peter 3:15: “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is within you, yet with gentleness and reverence”. NASB

Thank Jesus for His salvation by sharing….GO TELL!

 

     THANK YOU, LORD, FOR SAVING MY SOUL

     THANK YOU, LORD, FOR MAKING ME WHOLE

     THANK YOU, LORD, FOR GIVING TO ME

     THY GREAT SALVATION, SO RICH AND FREE.

 

PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR

Read Ephesians 6:10-20

“Put on the whole armor of God…above all the shield of faith…., the helmet of Salvation…., the sword of Salvation which is the Word of God…..Praying always….that I may speak boldly as I ought to speak.”

I recently attended a Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast where the two speakers were law enforcement officers. The first speaker was a police officer who gave a short testimony about placing God first in our life. Surely, when we do that everything else in our life can fall into place.  Our family, our job, our hobbies and witnessing for our Lord and Savior become meaningful because He is our God.

The main speaker was a Sheriff’s Deputy in the County that borders ours. He described how he was shot four times; each wound could have resulted in death.  In each case, an inch or two difference would have resulted in certain death.  A fifth bullet almost cost him his foot.

The speaker related this deadly criminal attack with a kind of grim humor.  He effectively made points about his complacency making his situation far more dire.  As a Christian, he pointed out the way that we Christians are complacent in our attitudes and actions.

Are you and I allowing complacency to endanger our Christian walk and our witness?  What about a brother or sister who has not accepted the Lord? Do we endanger their hope for eternal life because we are waiting for some “perfect” opportunity to witness?  Do we wait for the “perfect” way to present our Savior?

Let’s shed our complacency and become Christians who actively witness.  We are told over and over that experience is the best teacher. The more times we witness; the more experience we gain.

God can use any witness that we offer in love, even if it is far from perfect!  He cannot use our “nothing”.  We don’t want to commit the sins of silence and complacency.  Some of us or one of our unsaved loved ones may not live through this day.  When that deputy left home that day he did not consider that it might be his last day on earth.  Don’t put off until tomorrow what you need to do today!

 

MOVING FROM SALVATION TO CHRISTIAN GROWTH

Scripture: John 3:1-21 (Quotations are from NKJV)

In John 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, He cannot see the Kingdom of God”.  Upon rebirth one becomes a spiritual baby.  Speaking to new Christians in Corinth, the Apostle Paul says in ICorinthians 3:12a: And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to Spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ: I feed you with milk and not with solid food…”.

We cannot abandon a new convert any more than a parent can abandon a newborn child.  A newborn needs food and care to survive and thrive.  A new Christian is no different; they need the love and care of mature Christians. 

They need Christian fellowship that they can get in a Bible believing church and Sunday school.  When they are taught and instructed in the Bible and the Christian life they will grow into a mature Christian who is able to witness to others.

A single piece of burning wood that is left alone will soon go out; but many pieces of wood burning together make a great campfire.  For that campfire to continue to blaze, it needs constant new fuel.  In Hebrews 10:23-25 we are admonished: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

When you have successfully brought a person to the Lord; follow up and bring them to your church, if possible.  Make sure they are introduced to others and are made to feel at home.  If this is not possible, encourage them to attend another church and keep in touch to ensure that they are growing up in Christ.

  IT ONLY TAKES A SPARK TO GET A FIRE GOING,

 AND SOON ALL THOSE AROUND CAN WARM UP IN ITS GLOWING; 

 THAT’S HOW IT IS WITH GOD’S LOVE, ONCE YOU’VE EXPERIENCED IT:

 YOU SPREAD HIS LOVE TO EVERYONE, YOU WANT TO PASS IT ON.       

Kurt Kaiser

 

ATTITUDE

Philippians 2:5: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” NASB

When you are witnessing, your attitude is very important.  Jesus had the attitude of a servant; so should we.  Remember the story Jesus told in Luke 18 of the Pharisee and the Publican?  They both went to the temple to pray.  The Pharisee was full of himself and boasted about how righteous he was as he compared himself to the publican.  The publican only prayed for mercy from God.  Jesus said in verse 14: “I tell you, this man (the publican) went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted”.

I fear that I often look on the unsaved with a righteous attitude rather than an attitude of a servant.  I look on sin as wrong and I want to correct the person who is living in a sinful way. Jesus looks at the sinner with love.  He is concerned with leading them to repentance and giving them eternal life.

So, when I have the attitude of Christ Jesus, I will witness with love and compassion. When we are talking with someone who needs our Savior, we need to watch our attitude, our tone of voice, our body language.  Everything we say and do should be bathed in the love of our Lord.

Remember, (if you’re not too young) the tent revivals?  The preachers delivered the gospel in dramatic voices.  They preached “fire and brimstone”.  The result is thousands of souls reached for Jesus. It was said that many were “scared” into the Kingdom. It may not be the most popular way to save the lost, but it is effective.  However, when we are witnessing on a personal, one-to-one basis, it is perhaps better to speak in a calm, loving voice.  Establish a relationship with your prospect and then speak the truth in love. Don’t “water down” the message. There is a real hell and the unsaved are destined to spend eternity in torment.  We know the only way to Heaven and we cannot keep it to ourselves.  We must tell others!

You should approach witnessing with the attitude of humility, not with a “holier than thou” attitude. Remember, Christians are not perfect; only forgiven. Somebody needs to hear about Jesus and you may be the one to tell them.  Go Tell!

REACHING THE WORLD

Matthew: 28:19: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit.”  NLT

 

When I was quite young, I was sure that God would ask me to go to Africa or India or someplace like that to be a missionary.  That is a common reaction to this Scripture. Jesus does call us to reach the world for Him.  It isn’t possible for each of us to be a “missionary” to foreign lands. How then should we respond to His great commission?

Recall the incident in ISamuel in the 30th chapter where some of David’s army were too tired to continue chasing the enemy?  David allowed some of his soldiers to stay behind to wait and rest.  When David and his men returned after defeating the foe, some of his soldiers felt that the “spoils” should not be shared with the men who stayed out of the battle.  David responded this way in verses 23-24: “But David said, “No, my brothers!  Don’t be selfish with what the Lord has given us.  He has kept us safe and helped us defeat the band of raiders that attacked us.  Who will listen when you talk like this?  We share and share alike…those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment.” NLT

I think that some Christians are to support those on the front line….the evangelists, prophets, and missionaries, by giving of their resources and by praying.  Those who labor on the front line of the battle against Satan need our prayer to undergird and to strengthen them. 

When we support organizations like the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, The Gideons International, Samaritan’s Purse, and especially our own missionaries, we are helping to carry out the command of Jesus to go into all the world.  I have heard it said that, “If you are not a missionary; then you are a mission field”.  We ARE a missionary when we give, pray, and support those who work around the world to tell others about Jesus and His love.

Witnessing is complex.  It is not a single “one size fits all” proposition.  You may be one who is out “beating the bushes” to bring souls to Christ.  Or you may be one who waits, “guarding the equipment.” But, be sure that you are in the battle!

I like this old hymn by Charles H. Gabriel:

          There’s a call comes ringing o’er the restless wave, “Send the light! Send the Light!”

          There are souls to rescue, there are souls to save, “Send the light! Send the light!”

          Send the light, the blessed gospel light; Let it shine from shore to shore!

 

ALWAYS A WINNER

I am pretty competitive. I don’t like to lose and I don’t enjoy criticism or rejection.  One of the fears in witnessing for Jesus is the fear of criticism or rejection.  We want to score a winner every time.

In his book, “One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven”, Mark Cahill writes a chapter titled: “Winning, Winning, Winning”.  I especially enjoyed this chapter and his concept of being a winner every time we witness.  He asks the question: “What are the only three possible things that can happen when we share our faith?”  The answer was:  1) the person can accept Jesus Christ; 2) the person can reject Jesus Christ; or 3) we can plant a seed.  Two results are wins, the other one is a loss. Two out of three are pretty good odds.

I was so happy, though, when he goes on to cite the scripture in Luke 6:22-23: “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.  Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in Heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”KJV  He asks, Do you realize that when you get rejected in the name of Jesus, God has rewards waiting for you in Heaven?

Now, see how you can always win at witnessing?    If the person accepts Jesus, you have won a soul for Him.  Or, if you have sown a seed, that person might yet accept Jesus someday. And, if the person rejects Jesus, you will have a reward waiting for you in Heaven!  Wow, it’s a Win, Win, Win situation.

Ferlin Husky had this song that says it so well: “Will there be any stars in my crown?” Let me share the second verse and the refrain:

In the strength of the Lord let me labor and pray, 

Let me watch as a winner of souls, that bright stars may be mine in the glorious day, when His praise like the sea billow rolls.

Will there be any stars, any stars in my crown

When at evening the sun goeth down?

When I wake with the blest in the mansions of rest

Will there be any stars in my crown?