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Time Not Wasted

I had a great time witnessing yesterday.  The conversation started as I was sharpening knives for my friend who owns a Turkish sandwich Shop.  As it is, he gives me a salad and I sharpen his cutlery.  The relationship has its roots in witnessing as well as learning Hebrew. 

As a customer came in with his son and future daughter-in-law, he noticed me putting the first grind on the knives. He immediately asked if I could sharpen his pocket knife. I quickly put an edge on the soft metal blade, giving him some tips and a rundown on the consistency of its steel.

After giving him his knife back, I showed him Pr 27:17 , “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”  I pointed out that the Bible even mentions sharpening of knives.  With this, the conversation led into the need, we as humans have for companionship.  I soon learned of the nature of their visit to the restaurant.  The man’s mother was in the hospital without hope of recovery. I expressed my sympathy. As the conversation deepened, they noticed the embroidered cross on my shirt.

The father made the broad and very modern and popular statement that God loves everyone and all religions are in pursuit of Him.  I tenderly but unequivocally stated, “yein”/yes and no.  “John 3:16 says, “ 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.” 

I posed the question, “How important is free will?”  They answered, “Pretty important.”  As our discussion proceeded, we concluded that it is an absolute for love to exist and grow. The clarity of that was illustrated when I asked the future daughter-in-law if she loved her future husband and how long she would tolerate him, if he tried to take her free will away.  Her answer was, “not at all”.

I then asked them: “What is love and what causes one to love.”  These questions, almost universally, end with something cute or cuddly.  Yet If there is a mother in the room, she quickly cuts through the din and states; “a baby.” 

With a little prompting, they arrived at the conclusion that a baby causes any decent person to love, “But what is love?” I asked. Again, they were silent with befuddlement.  After letting the question sink in a while, I asked, “what would happen if there was a baby left over there in that corner and no one went to care for it?”.  They immediately answered, “It would die.”

I then defined sin as all that is against the wonderful gift of life and explained that we are all sinners.

It was then clear.  Life is the most valuable thing, we as humans have.  It is a gift from Him who is love.  He inspires us to protect His gift with all that we have; even our own lives. 

Jesus, gave us the ultimate gift:  his life, to redeem us.  All he asks, is that we repent and acknowledge, that we are destroyers of the gift of life, and believe the good news that His death and resurrection is our salvation.

I then prayed with the family as they were saying their goodbyes to a Mother and Grandmother this week.  Please pray that God’s word will continue to work.  The father grabbed my hand as they went out the door, stated that the time was not wasted, and sincerely thanked me for the conversation.

Selected Sanctified Subdued

I was studying for this Sunday's sermon and started to consider Christ's choice to ride on a foal of an ass. 

Christ was going to Jerusalem to demonstrate his right as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  He is heir to the throne of David.  He was also demonstrating his servanthood.  He came as King riding a lowly beast of burden.

The colt had never been ridden before, just as the tomb had never been used before.

Read more: Selected Sanctified Subdued

Anti-Missionary?

Unfortunately, the term "Missional" is in danger of being the newest replacement for the sacrificial call to go into all the world and preach the gospel. The Great Commission broadens the horizon and calls to selfless offering, with the cross, as a living sacrifice.

Many a "Missional" organization supplant traditional Missions. Even Wikipedia defines, the term, “Missions” as a border crossing venture. Traditionally, we add the adjective "home" to missions so as not to take away from the original intention.

Read more: Anti-Missionary?

The Highs and the Lows

Christmas 2016The last few months have been full. Christmas activities included a Christmas Tea, taking in a Christmas Service in Berlin, and our regular service on Christmas Day.

Skyler was able to be home with us at Christmas and we were also blessed to include R…., a refugee convert, in our family celebrations. It was his first time to celebrate the birth of his Lord and Savior. He was taken back by the giving spirit that embodies Christmas. His gifts were a combination of gifts given by our family, church family and members of our support team in America who gave extra.

Read more: The Highs and the Lows

Be a Megaphone

A witness for Christ will have the proverbial door shut in their face.  This can be a friendship that grows cold or a family member that chides for “always talking about God”.  It can also be in the form of alienization from social groups and celebrations.  Job advancements can be affected and even terminated by simply representing Christ openly.  This reality has been documented throughout history and demonstrated in the present. 

Read more: Be a Megaphone

One Flew the Coop…

StadtfestThe first one has left the nest. Soon after school vacation, we took Skyler to Berlin and dropped him off at college. Releasing him was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. He is tenderhearted, combined with a strong sense of duty. We are very excited to see him seeking and following the Lord's leadership for his life. Please pray for him.

 

R....has also missed Skyler’s companionship and fellowship. We are continually encouraged by R….’s continued learning and growth. He has served as an example to others who are "comfortable" in their faith. His discipleship to this point has covered the teachings of Salvation, Eternal Security, The Spiritual Battle and the Holy Spirit. This last week he suggested an apologetical answer to a response we received to the Persian tract which he helped to develop.

Read more: One Flew the Coop…

The Romantic Lie

Reject the lie! The ulimate romantic lie is the idea that any person can ever fulfill the absence of the creator.  No human relationship, in a God vacuum, will ever result in contentment.  It is unfair, foolish and naive to expect a human to replace the Almighty.  God(love) is the third party, which is the essence, who makes “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part” achievable.  Marriage is a triad!   Don’t deceive yourself by thinking it is just between the two of you!

Read more: The Romantic Lie

Houston, We have a Problem

God created man free:

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Gen 1:29

Satan laid the trap:

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”  Gen 3:4-5 

Read more: Houston, We have a Problem

Aleph/Tav

MemraJewish sages say, "Memra…"

But they have missed the fact...

Jesus is the first and the last letter. He is the Word of creation. By Him, the Aleph/Tav, all things were made and by Him they consist. He is Memra – the creation WORD! He is God! (Col 1:16-17, John 1, Php 2:6)

 Isa 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his REDEEMER the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Isa 48:12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.

Read more: Aleph/Tav

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