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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Radical obedience, Part VI

3:20 p.m. Today's project is to individually tailor our message about a loving God who gave His only begotten Son to die for us, purging all of our sins; a Son so powerful that He spoke the worlds into existence, and upholds them by the word of His power; and now sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrew 1:1-3).

Hebrews 1:1 reminds us that in past times God spoke to the forefathers of the Jews through prophets like Ezekiel, who brought messages to a "rebellious nation," (2:3) and "impudent and stubborn children" (2:4) most of the time. Mankind is still in rebellion against God, individually and corporately! But our loving Father has spoken in these days by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He walked as one of us, a person, and He "knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:14, one of my favorite verses).

Yet the Lord, the almighty God of all of the universe, gives us rebellious and impudent children free will! He offers a choice of following and worshiping Him, or following humans around and worshiping ourselves! As a parent, I gave my infants almost no choices, toddlers precious few, preschoolers a few more, and school age and teens a progressive schedule of decision making, subject to my approval and to be rescinded at any time they proved incapable of using good judgment. Hebrews 12:10 compares human parental discipline with God's: we do what we think best, according to the information we are given, but even the most conscientious parent has no way of knowing how each child is going to turn out! But God, who knows the end from the beginning, also knows who will accept Christ, love and serve Him, who won't even consider the claims of Christ, and who will walk away--and He STILL gives us a choice!

A tiny bit of God's knowledge that we, by praying diligently and seeking His scriptures can discover, is what will motivate the unsaved person He has spoken to us about, and how to conduct a conversation with them about eternal life. Psalm 44:21b says, "He knows the secrets of the heart." God delights in our obedience, our willingness to "put it all out there,'" reputation, belongings, sensitivity, safety, all that we are, for His glory and the advancement of the kingdom of God! Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would teach us all things. (John 14:26)

Is your friend, family member, acquaintance or neighbor fearful? Care-free? Confident? Trusting in riches? About to lose everything? Abandoned by a spouse? Struggling with secret sin? Lift them up to God! He knows everything about every one of us, and His Holy Spirit will reveal to you just what you need to know, if He has found you faithful, trustworthy, gentle, and discreet. At times, I have been informed by the Spirit of the "real issue" that a counselee was not mentioning, and to my shock, the Holy Spirit led me to confront her. Life and godliness are no light matters here on this earth, even for our short lifespan--think of the impact people's choices will have on their eternity!

Life or death, heaven or hell--will you help your friend to make the right choice, and thus participate with God in His gracious work of saving souls?

Part VII next time: the conversation.

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