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Friday, May 05, 2006

Erica Said...

Re: Gary, Evangelism, God and our words

Erica said...
I think what was said was what was meant to be said. God's in control. If our words made him commit his life to Christ, where would our trust be? In our own words? We must trust Him. You spoke to him about the first thing we must realize before salvation. Let God do the work.
5/04/2006 9:51 PM

I sometimes spend long periods of time going over and over conversations in my mind. Mostly I listen to the really sharp answers and come-backs I could have made. When it comes to being Christ's witness, or evangelizing, I think of the things I should have said, but couldn't think of at the time.

I thank God for faithful sisters who will help me to see the hand of God, reminding me of my God's great power.

When we started having mid-week evening Bible studies last year, we were talking about this and Joyce said that probably God did not have anything for me to say at the time, because He did not give me the words.

Whoa! I had never thought of that! On the one hand, that could be used as a huge cop-out. "Oh, God didn't give me any words, so I don't have to say anything."..really meaning, "I'm too chicken to say anything, and I don't want to offend anyone, and, that's just not my thing." On the other hand, Scripture backs this up. If I'm out there, making myself available, in obedience engaging people in discussions, well grounded and studied in Scripture, and God constricts my throat, then, He was stopping me from spouting off with my own words.

I was going on I Peter 3:15: "15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

Joyce, however was going on what Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 10:18 - 20: "18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."

I could say that Gary wasn't a governor or king, but then in Luke 12:11 & 12, Jesus put it this way:  11 "When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."

Gary was in a position, in a sense, of authority.

All of this makes me think deeply about this business of speaking. Why sometimes, does my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, and my heart hammer so hard and fast that I can't hear myself think? It this the Lord shutting my mouth against my own words, or is it simply the fear of man. Only recently have I had words of God come out of my mouth without me planning them (Thanks be to God!) and that was at Planned Parenthood.

Remember Hannah, who for a long time longed for a child. God could have opened her womb at any time. In His perfect wisdom, He perfected her prayer through waiting. Moses, could not go straight from the Pharoah's palace to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but God perfected him. God could have given Abraham his promised son at anytime, but waited so that Abraham fully trusted Him through waiting, and stumbling.

I would think my own words clever if I were to be an effective witness. I would think I am a saviour if I were to prevent an abortion, lead someone to the Lord, or anything else.

So God has had me at Planned Parenthood, where the battle line are drawn and sometimes obvious, sometimes hidden. He has had me there with my throat constricted and unable to talk, alone sometimes, quietly reading Scripture, and generally feeling like I don't know why I'm there and what I'm doing... Only knowing that He has called me there.

In my weakness, His strength is perfected. I am totally dependent on Him. Now I read Scripture more boldly, and stand firm as cars drive around me. But, I still know that I look like a fool, and it is not my boldness, but boldness in Christ.

Finally He gave me words, and I think, "I'm cool...Yah!" So then he puts me out there alone in the rain again. Then I realize anew that it is He who has the whole world and the hearts of men in His hands.

I Peter 4:10-11 "10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."

Also, to fill out the previously cited passage:
I Peter 3:15-17 "15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil."

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