Friends,
I get many different responses while I’m witnessing with my signs and tracts downtown at the train and bus stops. Last Wednesday, one of the first people I encountered started pointing his finger at me, saying something about God isn’t for white people. Why is this crazy doctrine spreading like it is? Weird. Anyway, I just laughed and said that God wants a relationship with everyone. Another guy, who had heard our exchange, followed me across the train tracks, pushing his loaded cart of belongings, and told me not to let ridiculous people like that bother me. I said I was fine but that it is sad that such a mentality exists. He agreed, and we went on to have a lively dialogue about the Word of God.

One young woman I met later listened intently as I encouraged her and she asked several questions. Another woman told me how inspired she was by my evangelism and signs and how much she desired that church-goers, including her, would be more bold in spreading the Gospel. Two construction workers were excited to see my efforts and confided that they would like to become fervent in their walk with Christ. There were many other uplifting conversations, while there were also several people who smirked at me, several who laughed with their friends at me, and many who just ignored me.

But, like I was telling my husband later that night, the positives way, way outweigh the negatives and make it all worthwhile and a blessing. Like this one homeless-looking guy in particular on Wednesday… He was so cute! Cute, as in someone I was amused by and uplifted by and who I felt God’s great love for. I met him up by the restaurant area and I at first saw him across the street, wheeling his bicycle, his dog in the front bicycle basket. The dog was wearing a woman’s floppy hat and had sunglasses on which were kept in place by a rubber band around the dog’s nose. I laughed and pointed and waved at the man. When he crossed toward me, I told him his dog was adorable. The man said, “Her name is ‘Lamb of God.'”

I exclaimed that that was very interesting because my name, Rachel, means “Little lamb of God”.

“Well, this really is the Lamb of God,” the little man said. (I say little, because he was almost as small as an Agta man.)

I didn’t contradict him because I’ve often mentioned that my cat is (like) a real angel, so I chose to think the man meant something like that, and I listened to him tell me about his dog, their situation, and that he had told God that he would always try to give the dog shelter. He hinted about needing money, but I said that I don’t bring any money with me when I evangelize and he said he wasn’t trying to hint. Then he said, “Well, one night I didn’t provide shelter for her [the dog], but my conscience really bothered me.”

The man told me his name (for privacy I’ll call him Hal) and that he grew up in the area but was actually Greek.

We talked for over 20 minutes about the Lord and His Word and His care for us and twice he read aloud to me from the small New Testament I gave him. Then suddenly his empty Clementine (fruit) bag blew away. He said, “Uh-oh, I need to get that because I never litter”, so he said goodbye and went to fetch it across the street.

Just then a big truck drove halfway up on the sidewalk in front of me and the Chinese man and his wife in there offered me a tract and a $20 bill. I said no, but they insisted, so I took it and thanked them very much. Then they drove away. I suddenly had the desire to give the $20 to Hal, but not seeing him anywhere, I wondered if I should try to find him.

Well, lo and behold, a couple minutes later here Hal came back toward me, wheeling his bicycle and dog and holding out two of his Clementines. He said, “Oh, I forgot that I wanted to give you these.” I said thank you but wanted him to keep them, but that I was very glad he came back, because… and I told him that someone had just given me money, and that although I’m of the habit of never accepting money offered, this time I did accept it and realized I did so in order that I could give it to him! He was so, so happy to get that $20 bill! He kept looking up to Heaven with thankfulness and hugging and kissing his dog. It was such a delightful encounter, particularly because I felt the Lord’s great love for him, and extra so as I noted that because Hal chose to offer to me from his meager supply, God had orchestrated provision for him. It was precious.

Sharing the Gospel boldly is truly a wonderful thing. It gives us the chance to see God at work in amazing ways and it gives us the chance to meet people He is working with and loves very much. Seeing these people in eternity whom we’ve encourage in this life will definitely be part of our very great eternal reward.

So although we do not know who will respond positively to our Message, God knows. Our job is simply to be available, usable, attentive, and loving, and to go everywhere as His ambassadors. God will do the rest. Through us.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Be Vigilant Now!

May 10, 2017

Friends,
A few days ago, while meditating on God’s Word, Rev. 3:3 really struck me. Jesus says there, “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; keep it (adhere to it / obey it) and repent. But if you do not wake up (are not watchful), I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you (come upon you / come to judge you).” (This comes from several versions at biblehub.com).

What I particularly noted is that Jesus is informing us that if we do remain vigilant, we can then discern the times, as He expects us to do. (Luke 12:56 & 21:29-36) In remaining alert, we will be hearing God’s heart and voice (10:21 // John 10:27,28), we will be training ourselves to be godly (1 Tim. 4:7), we will not let ourselves be deceived (Mt. 24:10-13), and we will know Jesus intimately which is eternal life. (John 17:3) By being alert, we will not be caught unprepared at Christ’s return. (Mt. 25:1-13 // Luke 12:35-40 // Rev. 16:15)

Verse 2 of Rev. 3 is also pertinent: “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.” We should be testing ourselves often to see if we are truly in Christ (2 Cor. 13:5), for the faith of many will prove useless on that Day. (1 Cor. 15:2 // 2 Cor. 6:1 // Heb. 12:14-17 // Ja. 2:26 // Rev. 3:3) Why? Because their works will be found incomplete. Because they did not follow Christ closely. Because they were not careful to be continually dressed and ready. (Rev. 16:15)

The Day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night. (1 Thes. 5:2) That is, He will come like a thief for those who are blindly saying, “Peace and safety.” (v. 3) Yes, “destruction will come on them suddenly… and they will not escape.” (Same verse) But, for those who are “alert and self-controlled” (v. 6), there is this assurance: “But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.” (v. 4) We belong to the Light and so should not be asleep as are those who belong to the darkness. (v. 5,6) “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation…” (v. 9)

So let’s ask ourselves and others: “Have you been careful to keep your heart from being ‘weighed down with… the anxieties of life’?” (Luke 21:34), for if we have not been observant of the times and heedful of Scripture’s words, Jesus warns that, “that Day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.” (Same verse) We must be alert and watching! (v. 36a) We must be pure and righteous! (Rom. 6:16-23) We will be, if we have been constantly feeding on the Word of God (Mt. 4:4) and putting it into practice. (7:24-27) Then we will know to also be “praying that we may be able to escape all that is about to happen and to be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (See Luke 21:36b) If we are not walking in such discipline, we do not abide in Eternal Life. (John 6:53-63 & 10:27,28 // 1 Pe. 1:22,23)

Let’s ask ourselves and everyone else who has made the pledge to follow Christ: “Has the Lord Jesus been your Boss 24/7?” Because this is required! Let’s not deceive ourselves, for it is not just about eliminating bad things and doing good things. The Pharisees did that, and so do Mormons and other benevolent, ethical, and/or moral people. Truly, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were deceiving themselves about the righteousness they believed themselves to be adhering to, and Jesus said to them, “You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to Hell?” (Mt. 23:33) John the Baptist also said to the same, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance… The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (3:7-10)

Are we producing the fruit God has ordered us to produce? Or have we been lazy? Are we even awake? “For we are His (God’s) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). These works —those which the Lord ordained for each of us personally (as well as those commanded in Scripture that all Christ-followers are to live by)— are the works we are to do in order to be in God’s will and thereby inherit eternal life. (Mt. 7:21 & 12:50). Yes, knowing the Lord intimately and allowing His Spirit to control our thoughts, words, and actions, are key to inheriting eternal life. (John 17:3 // Rom. 8:9)

We remain in Life, meaning in Christ’s love, IF we obey His commands (John 15:10) –those commands which come through His Word (Luke 11:28) and His Spirit. (Rom. 8:9) 1 John 2:5 informs us that God’s love is made complete in the person who obeys God’s Word. So it is obedience that enables us to know Him which brings Eternal Life. (John 15:14 & 17:3 // 1 John 2:3-6 & 3:24)

I cannot urge all of us strongly enough to make sure we are prepared to stand before the Judge. I believe time is incredibly short.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Someone sent me a video link to a song by Joshua Aaron last week and since then I’ve listened to a few other songs of his. I really like his music, lyrics, and videos. Here is an upbeat, happy one:

“He’s Coming Again”
https://youtu.be/pX9bllb9kJ0

This one definitely inspires worship:

“Immanuel”
https://youtu.be/Dl5iPXltMH4

I encourage others to use these and other songs by Joshua Aaron to mediate on the awesomeness of our God.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel