Our Witness to Our Faith
Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come—that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles." Acts 26:22-23
My husband has been working with a client who was born and raised Buddhist. She is vice president of a large publishing company. She is smart, tenacious, tough and lost. In working with her over the past few months, my husband has made his faith very clear to her. As the project comes to a close, it seems that their conversations on faith have increased even more. She is open to talking with him about the subject. So often, we find ourselves in situations where we either get that one shot to witness, or we get shot down before even starting. In this case, my husband and this high-powered executive keep debating the issues. These conversations have brought her to a point of admitting how little she truly knows about her own religion. He has been asking her to tell him exactly what she believes. How does it work? And most importantly, he asked her a simple question, "Do you really believe in it?"
Jesus asks this question to those around Him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" Many people find a place in organized religion but have no idea of what or whom they really believe in. We are born and raised in religious traditions. We like the routines, the fellowship, and the comfort such activities bring to our lives. Since when did Jesus use the word "comfort" to describe our walk with Him? Yes, He gives us comfort and peace through His Holy Spirit. But Jesus was clear in saying that He came with a sword, dividing friends and families (Matthew 10:34-35). Placing anyone or anything, including church traditions, above Jesus Christ will bring division between people who choose Him against those who choose their religion.
Many people do not know what to do or what to say at these times. What do we say? How much do we say? When should we speak about our faith? And on and on we wonder and ponder. I like what Paul says in today's verses. First, he says that he gets "help from God." The Holy Spirit will impress, lead and direct us in what to do. Next, Paul knows he must "stand." Sometimes we need to stand, hold our position, be honest, but not start debates unless we are led to do so. Then, Paul says he witnessed "both to small and great." We must seize the opportunity when we know it is time, regardless of who it is, how many there are, or whatever the circumstances. Sometimes we need to not think too much and just let the Lord work through us.
~Daily Disciples Devotional~
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.
Beyond measure it is desirable that we, as believers, should have the person of Jesus constantly before us, to inflame our love towards Him, and to increase our knowledge of Him. I would to God that my readers were all entered as diligent scholars in Jesus' college, students of Corpus Christi, or the body of Christ, resolved to attain unto a good degree in the learning of the cross. But to have Jesus ever near, the heart must be full of Him, welling up with His love, even to overrunning; hence the apostle prays "that Christ may dwell in your hearts." See how near he would have Jesus to be! You cannot get a subject closer to you than to have it in the heart itself. "That He may dwell"; not that He may call upon you sometimes, as a casual visitor enters into a house and tarries for a night, but that He may dwell; that Jesus may become the Lord and Tenant of your inmost being, never more to go out. Observe the words-that He may dwell in your heart, that best room of the house of manhood; not in your thoughts alone, but in your affections; not merely in the mind's meditations, but in the heart's emotions. We should pant after love to Christ of a most abiding character, not a love that flames up and then dies out into the darkness of a few embers, but a constant flame, fed by sacred fuel, like the fire upon the altar which never went out. This cannot be accomplished except by faith. Faith must be strong, or love will not be fervent; the root of the flower must be healthy, or we cannot expect the bloom to be sweet. Faith is the lily's root, and love is the lily's bloom. Now, reader, Jesus cannot be in your heart's love except you have a firm hold of Him by your heart's faith; and, therefore, pray that you may always trust Christ in order that you may always love Him. If love be cold, be sure that faith is drooping.
Because thou servedest not the Lord with joyfulness and with gladness - Deuteronomy 28:47,48
We must serve. It is our nature. Our Lord never suggested a third course as an alternative to the service of God or mammon, as though it were possible to escape all service whatsoever. We either yield ourselves servants of righteousness unto holiness, or of iniquity unto iniquity; and to whom we yield ourselves servants to obey, his we are.
It is a solemn thought: if we are not serving God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, we are serving things which are our worst enemies. A man has no worse foe than himself when he lives to serve his own whims and desires. These habits, and appetites, and fashions, are luxurious and pleasant just now; but their silken cords will become iron bands.
On the other hand, if we would be secure from the service which hurts us, let us give ourselves to the Lord to serve Him with joyfulness and gladness. Do you ask the source of these? Remember, He will put gladness into thy heart; joy is the fruit of His Spirit. When thou art in a healthy state, joyfulness and gladness rise spontaneously in the soul, as music from song-birds. When the sacrifice begins, then will the song of the Lord begin.
The heart finds the well-spring of perennial blessedness when it has yielded itself absolutely and unconditionally to the Lord Jesus Christ. If He is Alpha and Omega; if our faith, however feebly, looks up to Him; if we press on to know Him, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship Of His sufferings; if we count all things but loss for the excellency of His knowledge - we may possess ourselves in peace amid the mysteries of life, and we shall have learned the blessed secret of serving the Lord "with joyfulness and with gladness of heart."
~F. B. Meyer~