Wednesday, June 27, 2012

God's Surrounding Beauty

Tonight Bob asked me if I’d like to go for a drive to a park.  I tried to guess a few of the parks that he may have chosen, but he refused to tell me.  As we drove, I thought he would turn toward the beach, which technically isn’t a park, but perhaps Bob’s idea of a park is wherever you stop the car!
Anyway, we drove along and came to a very familiar dirt road.  We turned in and wound down to a small parking lot next to an empty baseball diamond.  We got out and together walked over a small bridge to a sparsely treed, overgrown and obviously abandoned patch of grass to our right.  An orange fence surrounded this area with a sign that read, ‘Area Closed – Hazardous Trees – Do Not Enter’.  Apart from this one unkempt area of the park, the rest of the park was beautifully well groomed and cared for.

As I stood looking at this restricted area memories came flooding back of a day eight years ago where family and friends gathered together to celebrate the marriage of our daughter, Tara and her young beau, Preston.  It made me cry as I remembered the day, the people, and the hope of a young and eager love in this bride and groom.  But now this very place where they said their vows was an eerie reminder of the night our world would come crashing down with a single phone call late one September night when Preston was suddenly taken home to be with the Lord.

Through my tears, I looked around at the beauty of the rest of the park surrounding this abandoned area and saw that it was truly a picture of God’s immeasurable faithfulness to us through it all:  the healing, the joy of the birth of Micah Preston Newby, the blessing of seeing both of our daughters trusting the Lord for their futures whatever they may be, seeing our youngest marry her true love, Brad, and just this past week, witnessing how God has provided in a husband for Tara and a Daddy for Jacob and Micah in Kevin.  In that moment my heart was overwhelmed with the reality of God’s kindness and goodness in the midst of our loss.

I’m glad Bob took me to that park tonight because it reminded me that no matter how difficult or even tragic life is; no matter how alone or abandoned we may feel, God is faithful and as we journey with Him, He will continually surround us with His presence, His blessings and  His provision in so many wonderful ways.  Pray for those who are hurting or who have suffered loss, even if they look okay on the outside...and remember that no matter what you may be going through, take time to see the blessings of our Lord for they  are many and He is faithful!

"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies."  Psalm 36:5

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Learning to share the Gospel

In Sunday School we have been learning how to share our faith with strangers, friends and family.  We use the Living Waters Way of the Master method - which is the method Jesus and the apostles used as well, where He gave Law to the proud and grace to the humble. 

Many people we talk to will answer that they are a 'good' person and feel that they merit heaven because of their goodness, but when we take them through just a few of the Commandments, they see that they have fallen far short of God's standard of moral perfection.  We all have - and that's why we ALL need a Savior.  Without the mercy and kindness shown by God through Jesus Christ, we would all perish and our punishment would be justified because our sins are against God, our Creator, more than they are against our fellow man.  Think about it, if God is absolutely GOOD, which He is, then He must be absolutely JUST(or He would no longer be good) and He wouldn't be God if He could be bribed by our good works, would He?  Why would Jesus Christ have to have gone to the cross if we could save ourselves by our own good works?

So when a person has come to the knowledge that they are guilty before a Holy God and their conscience bears witness to that fact, we share the good news of the Gospel with them - where God the Son stepped into time and became one of us and lovingly took our punishment.  He bore the wrath of God in our stead so that we could be justified - in right standing with God!   God could legally dismiss our case on Judgement Day because the debt we owed for our sin was paid in full by Jesus Christ at the cross.  God calls all men everywhere to repentance and faith so that your sins, no matter how great, can be forgiven.  What a wonderful message!!! 
I think that a lot of Christians struggle with how to Biblically share their faith.  Over the years, I have come up with a three step way to share their faith using symbols and letters:  What Did He Do?  What Will He Do?  What Do You Do?  Here is Breyden who has learned this method.  He is ready to share His faith when the opportunity arises.  I hope this helps you as well.  If anyone is interested in learning it, please let me know!


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