Sunday, November 29, 2009

Who are you "chained" to?

Acts 28:16, 30-31-"Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him...Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him."

Paul is on his way to Caesar to appeal to him for the harsh treatment he had received as a Roman citizen. Along the way, he has several (well, more than that!) opportunities to spread the Gospel he has been commissioned by God to champion.

It is his time in Rome that this particular passage covers. I was struck by what it meant. You see, Paul was allowed visitors into his home. He had people who would and could come and hear him preach the Word of God to them. But he also had a Roman guard who was with him at all times. 

Think about that for a second. It struck me when I read it; and I KNOW I've read this account many times before. But this time, it really hit me. Paul had a captive audience. Now, I don't know if it was the same guard all the time, or if the guards had shifts or what. But think about that...Paul had people who HAD to be around while he was preaching to other seekers. Scripture never really states what these guards thought while listening to him preach, but you can't believe that God's Word was spread over them so thickly that it didn't affect them somehow.

Paul was in "chains", but had more freedom than most of us exercise right now.

What about you and I? If you work or do any kind of service, you have people who are contact with you all the time. It might be people in your office; your school; your home. We joke about it at my work area, but we spend more time with our co-workers than we do our families on an average week. What do they hear from you? Me? What do we portray in our walk?

Do we give them something quietly to listen to; hoping to catch a glimpse of where we get the hope for the future we have? Or do they hear someone who is always down; always muttering; always ruing the day and just making it look like their salvation is just another speedbump on the road of life?

Are people around you because they sense a hope in you that they want; or is it because they don't know how to cut through the shackles to get away from you yet? I want to be free in my bondage to Christ. And I want others to share that freedom as well.

Look around you...open your eyes to the world beyond your walls.

Be blessed in the Lord today.

Friday, November 20, 2009

*Sigh*.....it was easier when.....

So, there I was, just minding my own business. I wasn't hurting anyone; I wasn't messing with anyone.....well, I was conversing with some friends on Facebook and Blackberry Messenger....

But anyway, it pops out again, like it has at random times in the last year...."So, did you remove me from your blog list?"

I feel the anxiety again, and wonder why. I don't have anything to be ashamed about. I haven't done anything wrong. I've been busy. Plus, there are plenty of people out there writing about their experiences with God and how He walks with them through good times and bad.

Heck, 3 of the men I count as spiritual mentors in my life have a blog now. I mean, they are PASTORS, for Heaven's sake! What could I possibly add to their already enormous mountain of knowledge and wisdom.

I've got better things to do, than....than.....share my God with people.

Boy, it sounded better in my head than it looks out here in black and white on the digital page. I didn't expect it to be so stark and ugly.

Let's face it...this hasn't been a ministry to me for a while. It turned into a way to be out there among the people and have them look at me. It was a way for me to be in front of the audience, instead of in the back, serving and helping. It's the ugly truth, but it is just that....the truth.

I hope you will forgive me. I couldn't think of a reason to put myself out there, because I didn't think I said anything. Even when you encouraged me that I was speaking straight into your heart, I had a hard time believing that I said anything to anyone.

You've been here, right? Don't leave me alone in this. It was easier before. I made it into a job instead of an opportunity. I made it into something I DID instead of something I LOVED. I took something God created in me, and turned it to my own selfish whims.

Okay, enough of that. Let's move on, shall we?

Where are you today? Where have you awakened to find yourself and your relationship with God? I am not going to dwell on my past failures and hurts and pains. If I did that, I wouldn't even be here writing this. They are still there; but God has provided a way to get rid of them for me. He'll take the pain, if I would only ask Him. I'm His son; I'm His favorite child...and He loves me deeply and unconditionally.

He loves you too. He wants more than anything for you to be with Him and to be a part of your life. He desires you to find Him MORE than you desire to find Him. We try and pretty up and clean up our act and gussy up for Him. He wants us just like we are. He will do the clean-up if we will just let Him.

I'm going to try and keep from going down the path of self-indulgence again. So, there may not be as many different fonts and styles and formatting of my posts as before. It may just be words on a screen. But I want to know that they are my words; the words from my heart. The words of a man grateful for what His God has done for Him and continues to do for him on a daily basis.

I also want to know your thoughts. If you have a question, ask it. I don't want to be put in the position of ALWAYS just talking at you. A conversation needs at least TWO people. I'm going to go out again, and hope that it gives you courage to attempt whatever it is that God has placed onto your heart. If you want to sit and just take it all in though, that's perfectly fine too. I have lots of Blackberry sites where I'm just a lurker in the background; learning from those who have blazed the trail before me.

I've sat on the sidelines for far too long. The time has come. A year, a whole year. It would be easy to say it was wasted, but I know it wasn't. No time; absolutely NONE is wasted in my God's timeline. He uses each and EVERY moment to achieve His aim of bringing as many back into fellowship with Him as possible.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NKJV)-"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak, I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be a partaker of it with you."

Thanks for using me, God.

Be blessed in the Lord, today.