Thursday, January 15, 2015

People for God from Every Tribe and Language and People and Nation

Can you see my heart when I write? Sometimes I do not think people can hear my heart when I speak. I cannot change hearts. I cannot force individuals to love God, Jesus, or me. When I love, it is with my whole heart…every bit of it…deeply, passionately, faithfully. It generally takes me a long time (many years) to understand when/if a relationship is an unhealthy, toxic one. One where no matter what I say or do, the other person is not going to love me and is going to continue to say or do hateful things no matter what. My hope is always, “Things will change,” and/or “Next time will be different.”

If I feel a loved one is in danger, I tell him/her. (I.e. “It’s not a good idea to ride around with someone driving who does not have their license. They might not know what they are doing and cause an accident.” Or, “Please don’t drink and drive. It is not safe.” Or, “Please do not use your propane oven for heat all night long while you are sleeping. That does not seem safe.”) An illustration I have heard a couple times is if a house or a building is on fire. One would not leave them there to die but rather help them get out of the burning structure.

I once saw a video of Penn Jillette (a proclaimed atheist) talk about how after one of his shows, a man gave him a pocket version of Psalms. And, Penn’s telling of this on the video touch me because he said,
“If you believe there is a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, or whatever. And you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward. And atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize, (just leave me alone, keep your religion to yourself). How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed without a shadow of a doubt that a truck was going to hit you and you didn’t believe it but that truck was baring down on you, there’s a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.” (Jillette, Penn. “Penn Says”.
Now, there is probably more to the video I am not seeing but if I take that right there, just by itself, I have to agree.

I am exceedingly thankful someone told me!!! I was not born knowing about heaven and hell! So imagine my heartache and pain when I told someone (a couple people, actually), out of love, and was met with hateful, hurtful, venomous words in return. Stuff like, “I hate you,” “You cannot shove your religion down my throat,” “Why do you teach [your young children] that crap?” Etc. For years those two individuals hated me…they still might. They most likely would if I mentioned heaven, hell, and eternal life, again. And, I do not understand. Why could they not hear my heart?

To date, I have mentioned the following event twice in my blog. I was reminded of it, again, last week and still feel it is a situation which so accurately describes that about which I am talking. It was written by Michael Card, is quoted by John 
Piper in his book SUFFERING AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, and goes like this:

One day a Masai Warrior named Joseph was walking along an African road when he met someone who shared the gospel of Jesus with him....The power of the Spirit began transforming his life; he was filled with such excitement and joy that the first thing he wanted to do was return to his own village and share that same Good News with the members of his local tribe.

Joseph began going from door-to-door, telling everyone he met about the Cross of Jesus and the salvation it offered, expecting to see their faces light up the way his had. To his amazement the villagers not only didn't care, they became violent. The men of the village seized him and held him to the ground while the women beat him with strands of barbed wire. He was dragged from the village and left to die alone in the bush.

Joseph somehow managed to crawl to a water hole, and there, after days of passing in and out of consciousness, found the strength to get up. He wondered about the hostile reception he had received from people he had known all his life. He decided he must have left something out or told the story of Jesus incorrectly. After rehearsing the message he had first heard, he decided to go back and share his faith once more.

Joseph limped into the circle of huts and began to proclaim Jesus. "He died for you, so that you might find forgiveness and come to know the living God" he pleaded. Again he was grabbed by the men of the village and held while the women beat him reopening wounds that had just begun to heal. Once more they dragged him unconscious from the village and left him to die....

Again, days later, Joseph awoke in the wilderness, bruised, scarred--and determined to go back.

He returned to the small village and this time, they attacked him before he had a chance to open his mouth. As they flogged him for the third and probably the last time, he again spoke to them of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Before he passed out, the last thing he saw was that the women who were beating him began to weep.

That village is now a Christian village. Why blog? Because, I love you and I want to tell you about Jesus!
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6. ESV.)

Let the Nations be Glad by John Piper

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