Monday, March 9, 2009

Witnessing

A few years ago, I owned a red dun gelding named Star, which I boarded at our neighbor’s horse stable. They had beautiful trails out behind their barn, through the woods and out into some fields, lots of hills and deep ditches. After a few rides on them by myself, which turned out rather better for Star than for me, I began only riding him out when others were also riding. That also had some problems, because he LOVED to go fast (when he wanted to, of course), and if we started a race, he wanted to be ahead before we quit. Finally, I sold him. However, the day before I sold him, I had a dream…
I was over at the neighbor’s, going on a trail ride. A group of other people I didn’t know were all there, too. Star was being a little disobedient, but I guess I figured it would be fine. Then everything gets a little cloudy, and I somehow lose the other riders. After some going back and forth, I find them and we ride together for a while. The area is very hilly, and kind of a different landscape than what it is really like at our neighbor’s house. I keep trying to hold Star back, because he wants to chase the other horses and run, and I’m a little nervous. He gets out of hand a little, but it’s ok. He hasn’t done anything really bad yet. Then somehow, another girl and I are out front. She asks me to race.
Suddenly my dream is very clear and feels like it is really happening. We are on a sort of bluff, with a dirt road on it. The scenery kind of blends and it is hard to tell distinct things apart. Bur we are on a wide road; nobody else is around. They are all still behind us in the woods, while we are in an open spot. Anyway, I figure Star can beat her. Even though now we are really behind the girl and her horse, I tell Star he can do it, and I get ready to fly. I can feel him galloping under me as we get closer and closer.
Suddenly, right when we are getting ready to win, I realize the road we are on drops off and isn’t there anymore. I pull back on the reins, and am amazed at how well Star listens, even though the other horse is still ahead. He must see the danger, too. I don’t know why I don’t call out to the other girl to slow down. Maybe I think she sees it; maybe I think she knows what she is doing; maybe I think she knows more than I do. But I slow down and she doesn’t. Then she just disappears.
All worried, I guide Star slowly down the steep cliff, only to find the other horse at the bottom, crumpled and still. The girl, pretty much unhurt, but devastated, looks at me, shocked and asks me how come I’m o k. “I…I... I slowed down when I saw the cliff,” I answer. That’s when it hits me. Why didn’t I call out to her to slow down? I can’t believe it. It’s like my fault this happened. As I put my saddle and bridle away, I talk a little with some of the other girls, telling them it’s my fault. “Oh, no it’s not. She could have seen it,” they say, and stuff like that. But it doesn’t help. I feel terrible.

Suddenly I wake up with a paraphrase of Ezekiel 33:1-20, mainly verse 8, running through my head over and over. That chapter has always stuck out to me, but right then it really hit me, and in that state of sleep/wakefulness, I recognized the reasons I don’t warn people. They must see it; they probably know more than me; etc.
I’ve heard that often people’s biggest struggles are with what their name means ~their mission~ and how their life is being lived. One of the hardest things for me to do is to go out and be a light set apart for God by witnessing to people. It is something He has been working on me about for a long time. Sometimes everything I would read in the Bible would be about telling people about the Lord. Then it would be guarding my tongue or something else I needed to work on. I actually had this dream a few years ago and forgot all about it in time. Looking for something else this month (when the topic of DTP was witnessing), I found I had written it out in my journal. It had really made an impression on me at the time, but life went on, and I forgot.
When DTP started, I felt like, Ok, I just need to just focus on knowing God- I can’t keep trying to be bolder; I need to focus on God, and then He will make it easier for me to witness. I changed my focus and my blog from Open Thy Mouth to Seek Him First. As the months went by, however, I began to feel more and more like I should be witnessing. Reading Mark Cahill’s One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven was very good for me. But then I didn’t quite understand- if the only thing we are on this earth to do is to show God to others, what about all this stuff about spending time with God and getting to know Him better? Won’t we know Him better in Heaven? Would there ever be a time when we shouldn’t be witnessing because we’re reading the Bible or something? Why did Jesus send his disciples out to preach and teach during that short time that He was on earth? Wouldn’t it have been better to have them concentrate on learning everything they could from Jesus and THEN go out and preach after He was gone?
Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” It wasn’t, “follow me and I will eventually make you able to fish for people, after you’ve learned as much as you possibly can and spent years follow Me,” but something His disciples were doing when they’d only spent a short time with Him! Suddenly, it all began to make sense. “Abide in Me, and I in you… He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing… Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples… If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love… Love one another, as I have loved you.” It’s not ‘either or’ but ‘neither nor’. Neither one can happen without the other. Unless I am abiding in Jesus, there is NO way I can bear any fruit at all. But if I am, I can’t help but bear fruit!
Sometimes it seems like there are too many things to focus on: I need to watch my tongue, I need to be merciful, I need to love my family, I need to be patient, I need to learn more about God, I need to get wisdom… Actually, the only reason for being on earth is to bring glory to God and enjoy Him forever. The only reason for being on earth after you get saved is to glorify Him. Other people getting saved glorifies Him the most! Look at the 1st and 2nd Commandment! If you love God, you will obey Him. He said, “Go ye into all the world and preach ########## to every creature.” If you love your neighbor, what will you be telling them about? Over and over again, the Bible says this, and I’ve missed it so many times. Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he mediate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” I always thought of it as, since he was delighting in God, whatever he did would be blessed, and basically, stuff would work out for him. No. He’ll be planted by the Living Water, bearing fruit for God’s glory. Not just being nice, but people will be drawn to God by him!
James 3 says, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?” I always used to think about Proverbs telling us to get wisdom and understanding “with all our getting”. I thought of it as being… smart. Then I realized it also tells what wisdom is: The fear of the Lord. Deuteronomy 4:6 talks about keeping God’s commandments: “This is your wisdom and your understanding.” Seriously, if we fear God, what will we be doing? Obeying Him by telling others about Him! James goes on to say, “Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” If we are wise, our conversation will be telling people about God’s works. How many of our works are worth mentioning? “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise”! ~ Proverbs 11:30. The Proverbs 31 Woman opens her mouth with wisdom. James 3:17 says, “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and with hypocrisy.” Christ Jesus is “made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption,” ~1 Corinthians 1:30. Any wisdom that does not fit in with righteousness, sanctification, and redemption is “not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” (James 3:15) That kind of wisdom is vanity and a great evil. (Ecclesiastes 2:21) Any thing that does not fit in with righteousness, sanctification and redemption is a great evil. Everything we are supposed to do fits into drawing people closer to God, ourselves and every single person our lives touch. The very word ‘wise’ in James 3 is derived from the Hebrew word ‘watchman’, like in Ezekiel! I am amazed at how clearly this all fits together and how it has been coming at me and my family from all sides: sermons, Bible reading, music, movies, books, memorizing, radio… everything! The names of God that I have been going over, no matter how far removed they seem from this subject (Who Giveth Food to All Flesh- ok, He gives us our daily bread) keep coming back and showing the main thing God is doing. (He is the Bread of Life; whoever eats of Him will live forever, and “He that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; 2 Corinthian 9.) I am comforted by the fact that even the disciples had to pray for boldness over and over - and God gave it to them.
My siblings and I split the cost of a packet of tracts, and yesterday my 7-year-old sister gave out her first tract. I’m starting small, but I want to press on, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
Proverbs 11:18 “To him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.” Genesis 15:1 “The word of the Lord came… saying, Fear not, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”
Know Him and make Him know. You cannot do one without the other.

1 thoughts shared:

Jessica said...

Wow...this is SOOOO powerful Kate.

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