I wonder if Jesus hadn't appeared to the disciples after the crucifixion, would there be Christians today? Would Peter boldly proclaim Jesus' story if he hadn't seen him with his own eyes? I can almost hear him, " I know this is true because I saw him!" Few things carry as much weight as the words of someone who witnessed an event first hand.
I remember with clarity an experience that I had as a new Christian. This experience happened one night as I sat alone crying in my living room and doing what I now recognize as praying. I said weakly, " God, I can't do this anymore." Then in an effort to escape, I turned on the TV. A headache commercial came on. The announcer said, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!" The words hit like a blast from a horn. I knew then, what I still believe today. This was a direct answer from God.
The next day, I tried to relay the story to a friend. She was unimpressed. After all it was a commercial. It could easily be discounted as coincidence. I had to learn to be discriminating about which stories I share but that incident was a seed of assurance, an anchor of hope for me. I became keenly aware that God is an active presence in my life. I wanted to shout that news from the rooftops!
How can we keep silent when so many need what we have? Isa 62:1 'For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's I will not remain quiet till her righteousness shines out like the dawn.' People celebrate in the streets when wars are over. When Sadaam was caught people wanted to spread the news. The message didn't end until it became old news.
Has Jesus' victory over death become old news? Is that why Christians have become silent? How many hopeless funerals can we as Christian's endure in silence? Paul reminded Timothy (2 Tim. 1:8) not to be ashamed to testify about our Lord. Mat.10:32 Jesus warned us that whoever disowns him before men he will disown before the father.
Is God doing anything in your life? The smallest thing that you share may be a lifeline to someone else. Once something that a man shared in my bible study was lifeline of hope for me. His words motivated me to talk one more time to my husband about our struggling marriage. This became a first step and what may have been the determining course correction that saved our marriage from shipwreck.
Proverbs 25:11 ' A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.' The church needs to be a place filled to the brim with golden apples! We might even want to spread a few bushels of those apples around outside of the church.
It's interesting that God didn't say that a word aptly spoken is like a bowl full of warm spinach or Brussels sprouts. He didn't say share the good news because it like spinach is good for you to eat and make everybody eat.
We will always have skeptics, even when we are offering golden apples but it is still good news! Hasn't God done something that can be shared with enthusiasm? It's not an 'eat your spinach' message. It's a golden apple message.
One Saturday my husband, son and son in law spent the day playing paint ball. When they got home my daughter and I heard an enthusiastic accounting of every shot that hit its intended mark. They laughed and talked for over an hour. They couldn't wait to point out every bruise! I can't help wondering what would happen if Christians gave testimony to God's work with the same bravado. Would we experience a taste of the early church? Can you imagine what it would be like to say," and about three thousand were added to their number that day "?
Darlene is a writer who travels with her husband, Mark across rural United States as he builds power plants.
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