Friends,
Wednesday my mom and I went downtown and passed out the 200 or so Easter treat bags we’d made with decorated wood crosses, candy, trinkets, and tracts. We’d also filled plastic eggs, but since we hadn’t gotten those passed out that day, my husband offered to go down with me today. I was surprised as he’s only gone once or twice with me down there, and it was years ago. But I was happy he wanted to and after finding a basket in the garage to put the eggs in (plus in a bag because there were many), off we went.

The first guy we met and talked to was very happy to testify to what the Lord had been doing in his life lately –that he had been off drugs for five months and how the Lord was blessing him. Several others approached us, asking for an egg and smiling and thanking us. It had begun positive.

But then when we were going to cross the street one way, a group of black guys on microphones waved us to come over to them. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea, but we took up their invitation. Right away I realized I wished we’d not gotten snagged by them as they were asking trick questions and going on about the origins of Easter. When I saw a 666 on the forehead of a picture of Jesus, I told them that was wrong. They kept saying something about Jesus not being a white man. I just really wanted to leave, but they kept saying to my husband, loudly for all to hear via their microphone, “So you’re going to let your woman tell you what to do?!” We were trying to tell them that it doesn’t matter what color skin Jesus has, but instead that we live out the Truth by loving God and others. They wouldn’t let us get a word in edgewise, of course, and when we did walk away, they turned up their microphones, yelling away at us. They were truly racist and sexist.

When we went through the station we met a lot of grateful, cheerful people and it was enjoyable talking with many about the Lord. But there was still another black group over there and they kept yelling things at us as well. My husband mentioned that it was really a wild place down there and I said it is not normally like that.

When we went around the station and then up a few blocks, and were talking to one man, two beautiful black girls came across the street and hung out near us until the man left. Then they talked to us and said that they had seen us and wanted to talk to us too and that they had become born again just yesterday through an evangelist woman down there. We were excited about that! And they were from the city and state where I’d gone to college and had just come here this week to be in some video.

After we got home and I had texted my prayer partners to thank them for praying and to relay things that had happened, several of them said some really encouraging things about not being disturbed when we get persecuted, for Jesus has said that we are blessed and will be rewarded. This is true and it helps to hear it after a somewhat troubling experience.

In spite of the negative parts, my husband said that he really enjoyed walking around passing out eggs with me and watching me witness. I enjoyed it too and was really touched that he had wanted to join me. Here are some photos he took of me down there today:

May the Lord bring many to Himself through each and every effort His servants make.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
This last Thursday afternoon, I handed out, at the bus and train stops downtown, the rest of the stack of pocket calendars two different people had given my mom and me. (My mom is putting some in with the Valentine treat bags we’re working on.) So, with the calendars, my tracts, and my signs, mixed with the prayers of several of my praying partners, it turned out to be an extra wonderful time of witnessing.

During my third hour there I noticed a homeless-looking guy standing a ways from me, reading aloud some writing in the cement. After watching him for a few minutes and wondering if he was too nutty to approach, I remembered Christ considered everyone worth the try, so I moved closer to him and asked him if he wanted a calendar. He took one and then he did talk with me about the Lord (though I had a lot of trouble understanding his speech). At one point, I asked him if he had asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins and save him. He responded by hanging his head and saying, “I’ve told Him I’m very sorry for all the bad things I’ve done.” When I offered him a good-size New Testament, he grabbed it eagerly and immediately began reading it, and quite loudly. He read Matthew chapters 5-7, then First Peter, and then he began in Revelation. I kept “Amen-ing” his reading and sometimes when he’d pause, I’d say, “You have such a great reading and preaching voice!”

It truly was a big blessing to me as we stood together, and I relished the time with him, thinking, “This is really great. What a way to shine the Light on this corner as people see me with my signs and holding up my Bible, and see and hear this guy reading the Word of God loud and clear. One guy in a wheelchair seemed to appreciate it as he wheeled himself up to us, took out his pocket Bible, sat there listening, and then wanted me to show him all my signs and explain them. My reading friend just kept right on reading –nice and loud. I thought it was fantastic.

Earlier, on another corner, a guy I recognized from last year came up real joyful and happy and said that my prayer a year ago had really helped him and delivered him from the demons that had been harassing him. He told me that when he had walked to another bus stop that hour, a woman had said, “I see the anointing on you,” and he had told her, “Well, a lady just prayed for me!” I, of course, was very happy and encouraged to hear this testimony and to watch him bubbling with joy as we talked more about the Lord and the victory we have as we walk in His Spirit while applying the Word.

There were other precious affirmations besides these last Thursday. Another was a woman who I had seen a couple of months ago, and this time again she came up very glad to see me, to tell me what is going on in her life, and to talk about the Lord. Her faith and determination in the face of persecution was inspirational.

There was also a young man who, though he seemed to be slightly handicapped mentally and who was with those who appeared to be his parents, was also noticeably excited to tell me that he loves Jesus and lives his life by Gal. 2:20, which we then proceeded to quote together.

Of course not all of my conversations were this positive. Like one of the first guys I talked to –shaking his dreadlocks, he repeated over and over, emphatically, that he had lost his faith because he could no longer believe that God exists. This, he said, is what must be the case being that there is so much evil and suffering in the world. I tried to encourage him and exhort him and explain how DNA proves there is a Creator, and I also reminded him that this life is a testing ground where God looks for truly committed hearts. I spent considerable time with this 36 year old man and, though he did seem to keep wanting to listen and have me try to convince him, he also seemed bent on sticking to his complaints and doubts.

Well, there were a lot more encounters, but suffice it to say, it was another wonderful time evangelizing for the Lord and for the furtherance of His Kingdom. I pray the privilege never ends.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Jesus Delivers Implementers

November 2, 2016

Friends,
Jesus teaches in John 3:3-8 that unless a person is born from above, meaning “born of the Spirit” (v. 8 ), he or she cannot enter the Kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit is the Promised Gift whom we receive from God through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:5,14) and through our obedience to His teaching (John 8:31 // Acts 5:32 // 1 John 3:24); and this washing (Titus 3:5), this rebirth (2 Cor. 5:17), this union with the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17 // Gal. 2:20), is the born-from-above experience. It is a must for acquiring eternal life. (Rom. 8:9,14,16)

What is the reality of the person who is born of the Spirit? The reality is that we are led and controlled by the Spirit (Rom. 8:9,14), are increasingly growing in our understanding of how to conduct ourselves righteously so that we please God (v. 4,5,29), and are walking in the freedom from sin that produces the holiness that results in eternal life. (John 5:29 & 8:31-36 // Rom. 6:6,7,18,22 // 1 John 3:5-10)

Last Thursday while street-witnessing, I had as my back sign, “Jesus delivers those who apply His words”, and a man, quite perturbed about it, ran up from behind me. “No, no,” he said. “Jesus delivers everyone in the world.” I was walking with another man, a man from Chicago, but originally from Nigeria, and we were in a deep conversation about sin and God’s requirements. Even so, we turned around and, immediately trying to find common ground, I said, “Yes, Jesus has died for everyone’s sins –everyone in the whole world, just as 1 John 2:2 says.”

“Well then, why your sign?” the agitated man asked.

I explained that Jesus died to pay everyone’s sin penalty, but that many people reject this Truth, and that there are also those who say they accept it, but because they do not actually apply Jesus’ words of Truth and Freedom, they remain undelivered.

The man from Nigeria agreed with my explanation and tried to also reason with the upset man, who did calm down and acknowledged the sensibility of what we were saying. Being that yet another man came up and joined in the conversation, I let the latter two talk while I and the Nigerian man moved several feet away so that I could pray for him, which he had requested of me earlier.

“I’m just lost,” the Nigerian man said.

“Lost spiritually?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said. “I know the Word of God but I’ve been running.” He looked almost panicked. He was a church-goer, he said, but he wanted to hang on to his pet sins. “What you told me about the guy you knew in high school,” he continued. “The one who was raised a Christian, who turned from Christ, who wouldn’t repent, and who was killed in a car wreck three nights ago… Well, I too, have been procrastinating, and I don’t want to anymore!”

I prayed with the man and we parted ways, though I told him I would continue to pray for his deliverance from all types of sin. At least he was convicted of the fact that his grip of sin equated to being spiritually lost. Many church-goers won’t admit this.

Speaking of being spiritually lost, earlier that day there had been a woman who had told me the same thing: “I’m lost.” She was sitting on a bench and I’d given her a tract and she asked if it was okay to speak to the dead. I told her that God considers that to be repulsive and I quoted Dt. 18:10-12 for her. I told her that dead people have no access to living people, but that an evil spirit could take advantage of someone’s effort to speak to the dead by impersonating the dead person and use it as a doorway to harass the person still living.

“Is there a loved one you’re missing?” I asked gently.

“My husband,” she answered.

“I’m so sorry,” I said. Then after a few moments, I asked, “How did he die?”

“He was murdered,” she replied. “Three months ago.”

My eyes got misty, even more so when she said she was lost. Lost with sadness, is what it seemed she was saying. Lost with not knowing what to do and who to turn to. I looked into her eyes and she did look lost, but she also had a faint glimmer of hope, a faint flicker of faith. I tried to encourage her and then prayed with her. I’m still praying for her…

I say all this to emphasize how critical it is that preachers and teachers, evangelists and everyone, make the Gospel more clear –that true faith means adhering to Jesus’ teaching (Luke 6:46-49), that this means applying / implementing it (same verses), which means obeying it (John 15:1-10), and that this is how we abide in Christ and live by His Spirit. (Same verses // Gal. 5:16) It needs to be clarified that, by the Spirit, believers can, and must, refuse to take back again the old self with its sinful nature, understanding that it has been crucified and circumcised off, along with its passions and desires. (Gal. 5:24 // Col. 2:11 & 3:9,10) It must be taught that believers themselves can, and must, in order to be saved, make the choice to die daily to self (Luke 9:23-25), and to put to death, with the Spirit’s power, all acts from the sinful nature that try to arise. (Rom. 8:13 // Col. 3:1-8 // Ja. 1:21,22) It must be understood and proclaimed that this Way of living is the only Way that brings true deliverance and eternal salvation.

“The Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin.” (Gal. 3:22) But Jesus came to set us free from sin! (Rom. 7:24,25) This is the Gospel, the Good News! “He redeemed us… so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” (Gal. 3:14) –The Holy Spirit who trains us in Jesus’ teaching (John 14:26) and who gives us His divine power to participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Pe. 1:3,4)

Being birthed by the Spirit to live a new and holy lifestyle so that eternal life is reaped, is what the Gospel invites, proclaims, and instructs about.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
I thought it was quite interesting that again today while downtown evangelizing, a stranger, after talking with me about God’s Word, asked if he could pray for me. It was at the end of my three hours at the bus and train stops and it was as I was walking the several blocks back to my car. In my last post I wrote about the security cops praying for me and this time it was a cab driver! What a precious prayer he prayed for me, just as the others had. May the Lord bless him, and since he quoted Jer. 29:11, may the Lord indeed give him hope and a good future.

Earlier, after I’d handed a tract to a woman who smiled at me as she passed, she came back a few minutes later and asked me if I would pray for her about some things she confided to me. I did and then told her I would ask my mom to also be praying about her request. When I hugged her, she hugged me like she didn’t want to let me go. May the Lord work miracles in her life!

Within the first few minutes of arriving at the train track, I saw one of my long-time friends. I was very happy that he seemed to have grown spiritually and in concern for his family members’ salvation. He said he very much wished some of them and I could meet. I felt honored that he desired that. May the Lord answer all his righteous prayers, including that of the salvation of his grandchildren and his five year old great-grandchild!

One guy who I’d witnessed to years ago and who I see every once in a while, I saw again today. He is a soft-spoken man, but I was sad to realize that though he used to consider himself a Christian, he now leans more toward Islam. I reminded him of the difference between the man Mohammed who was perverse and a murderer and Jesus who was sinless. I said that if Jesus was not who He claimed to be (God), He had to have then been a liar or a lunatic, not the “good man” Islam claimed Jesus was. This friend said the messenger wasn’t as important as the message. I responded that the Bible was written by many people –righteous people, not like the Quran which was written by just one man whose life revealed he was not worthy of our trust! He responded that he had come to believe that the Bible couldn’t be fully trusted and he said he was doing research about it all. As I drove home later, I kept thinking, “That is what it means to be lost. It means to be confused, to really not know the Truth or who is teaching the Truth, and to be rejecting the Truth out of blindness and because of listening to men’s philosophies and doctrines.” May the Lord reveal the Truth to this friend and may he listen, believe, and turn from falsehoods!

Later I saw a guy I’d conversed with sometime earlier this Fall, the one who had sung so sweetly for me songs unto the Lord. He told me of a recent deep hurt he had received from a preacher and I felt so sad to hear of it and to think of all the calloused crushing that goes on in the name of Christ. May the Lord open doors for this man to use his beautiful voice, his love for Jesus, and his humble preaching ability to spread the Truth far and wide, including on his friend’s radio program. May he always live out that song he sang for me again today, “Oh, how I love Jesus”, and may many people encourage him in his spiritual gifts.

When I was just about to leave, I decided to make one last “lap” around the corners. When I approached a guy leaning against a wall by the track, he said, “You would have to come over here, wouldn’t you?” He said it while smiling and let me know he’d been watching me and that my signs had him under conviction, particularly the one that reads, “A companion of fools suffers harm. (Pr. 13:20)” He took a tract and we talked a while. When I asked him where he was at spiritually, he said that he believes the Word but has a big problem with wanting women. I reminded him that in Mt. 5:28-30 Jesus taught that lust, if it is not repented of (as in rooting it out completely and thoroughly), will send a person to Hell. The guy said he understood that and didn’t know what to do about it. I said that beside prayer and praise to God and reading the Word which feeds our spirit and renews our mind, he should daily take every thought captive to be obedient to Christ, as 2 Cor. 10:5 says to do. I said that he should flee sin and the places and people that bring temptation. May the Lord yank that guy out of the pit he has been sliding ever deeper into!

There were many other people I talked with, others who just took a tract, and others who only stopped to read whatever sign I had showing at the time. Some scowled, some smiled, some remained poker-faced. Some people in cars honked and waved and others gave me the thumbs-up. May the Lord remind every one of them of His Word, His commands, His love, His Truth, and His coming Judgement. May they read the Scriptures, repent and follow Jesus, and share Him with others. And may the Lord give all of them, particularly those people I spoke with today, righteous friends who will encourage them to renounce sin and follow Jesus trustingly, with full commitment, all the rest of their lives.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
At the downtown bus and train stops today my 81 year old mom passed out the Easter treat bags she had worked on so lovingly all month. As usual, most everyone showed happy appreciation and many told her how wonderful they considered it to be that she was doing such a ministry. She exhorted those she conversed with and told me that she had asked many people if they knew what day it was today and why people were celebrating this Sunday. She said that some seemed unsure but that most knew today was Good Friday and that it was the day set aside to remember Jesus’ death on the cross to pay for mankind’s sins, and that this Sunday was the day to celebrate His resurrection from the dead. This is the great thing about living in the Bible Belt –people do know about the Gospel; so our main task has been to exhort them to learn more about it and to obey it.

I wore my signs, as I always do, and handed out homemade tracts (one paragraph messages I write, different ever time), also exhorting and encouraging people, sometimes praying with them. So many have heart-breaking stories to tell me, but others, smiling and giving God the glory, recount ways the Lord has come through for them in times of desperate need. One man I approached today smiled right away and said that he definitely did need to begin reading the Word. He said he had just gotten out of being “locked up for 18 months” but that he was seriously blessed by what I was doing. Certainly it is easy to minister when people are encouraging and grateful.

Another thing that makes my ministry easy is like what happened after I’d crossed the street to go to a further bus stop, and it was something that is actually not a rare occurrence in my experience. As I approached that bench to hand out my tracts, a man sitting there smiled and said something to the effect that he thought it was wonderful what I was doing. (Everyone can see what I’m doing as I’m fully advertising it by wearing signs and holding up my Bible. My mom is plenty conspicuous too, as she has see-through bags full of beautiful treat bags tied in ribbon that she’s handing out to people whose faces brighten as she does so.) So, as this man took my tract he began to speak of the Lord’s goodness and to mention some of his favorite verses. A lady next to him kept saying, “Amen!” and also gave her input about the importance of following the Lord. The man, very excited, then continued so that he was soon preaching a wonderful sermon of Truth to all who were near enough to hear. Now how easy and great is that?! Just make a bold statement about following Jesus and others may join in so that all the evangelist has to do is let others do the preaching and debating and exhorting and edifying of one another! It definitely is an exciting blessing!

But, if ever I feel discouraged, thinking that people aren’t making changes due to my exhortations (from my blog, on the streets, or anywhere else), I remember Jesus’ words in John 4:35 when He says, “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” It’s so true. Many are ripe to listen, to learn, to discuss, to believe, to accept, and to repent. Many indicate that it is so, and we have to believe them and trust God to work in them as He has worked in us. “One sows and another reaps”, Jesus says (v. 37), and with some people we may sow, while with others who are ripe, we may reap. But we all should be doing our part with everyone we encounter. The sowing is harder than the reaping (v. 38), but both sower and reaper should be glad together when the crop is being harvested unto eternal life. (v. 36)

Often it is easier than we think it will be –if we will just step out and do whatever it is God is prodding us to do. And undoubtably it will be much more enjoyable and exciting than we could have imagined.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
The weather has been wonderfully cooperative for witnessing this month down at the bus and train stops. Many people thank me (and thank my mom too when she goes –like when she went last week and passed out the 300 or so beautiful Valentine treat bags she had made). Frequently we hear statements like, “Thank you so much for doing this!” or “Your message is so true and much needed!” or “It is inspiring that you are out here encouraging people.” Yes, truly the fields are “ripe for harvest” as Jesus has told us (John 4:35), and when workers go forth, it inevitably motivates others to do so as well.

This was the food Jesus ate –harvesting “the crop for eternal life”. (John 4:36) Did He not say, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work” (v. 34)? Then it should be our food also –to do our part in gathering souls into Christ’s Kingdom. Jesus has told us that He is “the Bread of Life” (6:35), that He is the food we must nourish ourselves with if we want to possess eternal life. (v. 53-58) Thus we must eat (do / obey / abide in) all that He is –the God who is the Word, the Spirit, the Truth, the Love, the Compassion, the Power, the Gospel.

Yet Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Mt. 9:37 // Luke 10:2a) In other words, there is an abundance of people ready to hear the Good News, to hear how to turn from sin, to hear that there is freedom available, and to believe in the Leader who gives us His own divine power and Spirit by which to walk a new, victorious life. But the workers are few.

And yes, Jesus calls them “workers” / “laborers” / “servants” –which means they work, they labor, they serve, they act, they do, they carry out deeds. Can anyone put their “hand to the plow” (Luke 9:62) in “service in the kingdom of God” (same verse) and not understand that plowing is work? Indeed it is work done in the inspiration and power of God (Eph. 2:10 & 3:20 // Phil. 2:13), but nevertheless, it is work! It is effort. To step out to plow is clearly our own choice to obey and make the effort, for although God does give us His command, guidance, and mighty power, He does not force us or move us like robots. We do have the choice to rebel. And many do.

“Go!” Jesus tells His workers. “I am sending you out like sheep / lambs among wolves.” (Mt. 10:16a // Luke 10:3) “Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Mt. 10:16b) Is this a contradiction? No. It is Christ’s counsel to us that we need to be ready to use either attitude / position, depending upon the circumstance, the people we encounter, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

“Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” (Jesus in Mt. 9:38 and Luke 10:2b) Are we asking, praying, petitioning the Lord who is Sovereign –the Lord who is able to intervene, to motivate, to train, to woo, to speak, to empower– that He send out more workers? God has decreed that He works through the prayers of His people, as well as through the rest of their obedient efforts. Are we praying? Are we training ourselves to participate in the Great Commission? Are we going out? Are we diligently striving, on a constant basis, to obey Christ in all that He has commanded us to do? Or are we sitting back and saying as some do, “Oh, when God wants me to go out, He will tell me.” No! God has already told everyone to get involved. Let’s ALL do our part. Then, most certainly, here on earth, and later in eternity, there will undoubtably be many who will tell us, “Thank you!”

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
It should be a subject of great concern that there are so many “Christians” insisting that the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not teach that man absolutely must submit his will, on a continual basis, to the rulership of the Word and Spirit of God. (John 8:51 // Rom. 8:9) Indeed, because people want so badly to feel eternally safe as they (and their loved ones) sin, even those who promote Jesus are choosing to adhere to gospels that do not save. (Mt. 7:15-27)

The Gospel that saves (Rom. 1:16) commands that everyone is to obey this Gospel. –That everyone must believe in it and adhere to it. –That everyone must learn it, put it into practice, and walk in it, all under the tutelage and control of the Holy Spirit who uses the Word to instruct us.

It is about submission to the King. It is about doing what He says. It is about carrying out His commands. Only by this, will a person walk in fellowship with God. Only by this will a person get to know the Lord. Only by this will a person remain clean (purified / righteous / set apart from sin / holy / sanctified), belong to Christ, and inherit the Kingdom of God.

Again, it is by hearing the Gospel, learning it, believing it, submitting our will to it, and conforming our thoughts, words, and actions to it and the King, that we are transformed into new Spirit-indwelt creations who live the new life (John 14:23 // Rom. 6:1-7 & 12:1,2 // 2 Cor. 5:15,17) and by which we are saved. (Rom. 6:22 // Gal. 6:14,15 // Heb. 5:9 & 12:14)

“So we must understand the whole Truth before we are saved?” a person may ask. No, but we must accept and walk in that which we have, so far, heard. If we refuse to obey that amount which we have heard, then we have rebelled. Moreover, if we refuse to search for the Truth or refuse to continue to listen and learn, we have rebelled. If we rebel, we need to repent (renounce our rebellion and turn from it forever). If we sin unintentionally, or even rebel again, we are to take extreme measures, if need be, to cut off every source of temptation. (Mt. 5:29,30) If we refuse to do these things, we have rebelled against God. We have made ourselves His enemies and we will not inherit Eternal Life. (Gal. 5:19-21 // Ja. 4:4)

Here are just a few more of the many verses found in God’s Word that teach what I have just written above:

1. John 8:31-36 & 15:3 & 17:17 and Ja. 1:18,21,22 and 1 Peter 1:22,23 –We become and are kept sanctified by applying the Word / the Truth / the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

2. Mt. 24:45-51 & 25:41-46 and Rom. 2:8 and Gal. 1:6-9 and Eph. 5:6 and 2 Thes. 1:8,9 and 1 Peter 4:17 –We are condemned if we do not obey the Word / the Truth / the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Alarmingly, way too many so-called “Christians” are teaching the exact opposite of that which is taught in the Word of God. Truly, the strong delusion spoken of in 2 Thes. 2:10-12 is already upon them –because they “have not believed the Truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (v. 12) Therefore let us not join with anyone who is polluted in heart, mind, actions, words, or doctrine. (Eph. 5:3-7 // 2 John 1:9-11)

For as the King will say regarding the rebellious, “But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want Me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before Me.” (Luke 19:27)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel