It's been such an amazing spring. Yes, we've had cold windy days, but the beautiful sunny summer-ish ones like today make those days bearable. I'm so thankful for the health to walk and run about enjoying the sunshine with my little man... taking in the new spring flowers and green trees. Saw butterflies fluttering around today... everything is so bright and cheery. New beginnings after a winter season.
How good of God to allow us "springtimes" in our own lives... new beginnings. It sounds cliche, but it is absolutely true: Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
What are you doing with yours? What am I doing with mine? What effect am I having on those around me? Am I becoming more like Christ, or is it getting harder and harder to see Him in me?
Sometimes we get so caught up in past mistakes, that we miss God's call to move forward. He didn't ask us to dwell in the past. To get stuck in our pits. Yes, we need to take quick glances back to appreciate how far He has taken us... to learn from our mistakes. But not to dwell on them. Christ came to set us FREE! Are we living proof to those around us that we are free in Christ?
Don't let the enemy trap us. Oh, how he schemes to hold us down. To render Believers useless for Christ. To feed us lies that we often gullibly swallow and take to heart. It takes a conscious effort and discipline on our part to stand firm in Christ. Remember WHO lives you! Some of us need to start living Spirit-powered lives. Imagine the effect we could have if we let God's Spirit work freely in us?
Oh how I want that.
Back in early January, I listened via live-stream to a youth conference called Passion. It's geared toward 18-25 year olds. My heart was again stirred at the vital importance of reading and studying the bible for ourselves to know what God is saying... so we can recognize truth when we hear it and be aware when we're being lied to, or not being told the whole truth. I listened to one message (Louie Giglio) in particular a few times on my iPod. It is based on Ephesians 6:19-20:
"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth words may be given me so that I will FEARLESSLY [boldly] make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it FEARLESSLY, as I should."
I can't properly paraphrase Louie's message, but I was challenged on how much I keep my witness hidden. What good is that to the lost around me? Why am I so scared of what they think when I am covered in the TRUTH? What if the person I am talking to has been moved by God to have open ears and a ready heart to hear the Good News? We hear so many testimonies where you'd never guess the person was wanting to hear the gospel, but surprisingly soaked it up like a sponge when a person was FEARLESS in sharing it with him or her. Who are we to judge the heart? That's not my responsibility. Mine is to witness. To share. And to continue to be friendly even if we (aka - the gospel) gets rejected at first.
I admit... to be rejected or mocked... it's hard on the pride. But it's not about us. It's about Christ!
If I were Paul, I would have had many other priorities in prison that I'd ask the Christians to pray for... like, maybe freedom?! But Paul... his number 1 concern was sharing the gospel. That he would have the boldness and fearlessness to tell others of Christ - to lift HIS name high for God's glory. That was his prayer request while he was held captive in prison. And that's what he asked others to pray for for him.
May I be more like Paul... let's pray that for each other, ok? And remember - we're not stepping out on our own... if we're walking in step with Christ, then we have His Spirit leading us and giving us the words and courage to share the gospel. With Christ living in us - let's be FEARLESS for Him!
(It's so much easier to be "fearless" while hiding behind words on a screen... a much different story when it's "face-time"! Praying for courage to act on words and Truth.)