Tozer on Witnessing

Tozer tells it like it is on this four minute partial recording. Though this talk was given ‘back in his day’, the point is timeless: we are the witnesses. But we usually leave the job for someone else to do. A witness gets up and tells what he saw, what he heard, and what he knows.

Audio: A. W. Tozer on witnessing, 4 minutes.

Christ’s Power is Made Perfect in Weakness

Weakness! Insults, distress, pain, hardships, persecution, difficulties! Sometimes a messenger of Satan, but always allowed by God, weakness keeps us from exalting ourselves. Satan the destroyer would have us either despair at what we can’t do, or be prideful in what we can do. But God is working His plan in us to eliminate pride and produce faith & humility. Christ will be exalted, as we in our weakness, find our strength only in Him. This message so ministered to me. Let it encourage you today.

And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me–to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Cor. 12:7-10.

Audio: Christ’s Power is Made Perfect in Weakness, by John Piper

Encourage Yourself

No people. Just you and the Lord. Just you and the Word. Praying. Seeking God. Talking to Him. Crying out to Him. Worshiping Him. Thanking Him. Remembering His works in your life. Remembering His Word to you. Singing songs of praise to Him. Reading the Word. Praying the Word. Preaching to yourself the Word.

There is a lot of deep spiritual truth here in this message. Really good stuff; a wonderful blessing. Listen to it now. Be encouraged.

But David strengthened (encouraged) himself in the LORD his God. 1 Sam.30:6.

Audio: Encouraging yourself in your Ziglag.

Got Encouragement?

I guess you can say I learned the hard way not to seek comfort and encouragement from mortal flesh. There are a number of reasons why, that I won’t get into here. Jesus taught me instead, to go straight to Him. Nevertheless, the Bible is clear that we in the body of Christ should comfort and encourage one another, as brothers and sisters in the family of God. This is not easy to do. We should at least try. I’ve personally found that suffering and dealing with discouragement has made it a lot easier for me to want to try to be encouraging to other hurting brethren.

Once, a very wise and loving friend told me, “I do not know how to help you, but I know the One who can.” That was a very encouraging thing to say. And she is right. She did not condemn or rebuke me for my sorrow and grief, and lack of spirituality, but loved me selflessly, pointing me to Jesus, our loving, caring Redeemer and Friend. She lovingly offered encouragement, to the best of her ability.

I don’t offer encouragement here because I have it together, but because I don’t. I desire to pass on to you, things the Lord has given me that have encouraged me immensely. I hope to share this encouragement with you. So here is a message, below, that is most helpful.

This talk was given to college students, but the lesson is for all of us. The speaker uses a hymn I had never heard before as the basis for his point. It must be old, but it is full of encouraging truth. My brother or sister, I hope this helps and blesses you.

Therefore, encourage one another…1Thes.5:11.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Rom.15:13.

Audio: More than enough hope.

    MY HOPE IS IN THE LORD  by: Norman Clayton

My hope is in the Lord Who gave Himself for me,
And paid the price of all my sin at Calvary.

No merit of my own His anger to suppress,
My only hope is found in Jesus’ righteousness.

For me He died, For me He lives,
And everlasting life and light He freely gives.

And now for me He stands Before the Father’s throne,
He shows His wounded hands, and names me as His own.

His grace has planned it all, Tis mine but to believe,
And recognize His work of love and Christ receive.


			

Suffering for Christ Brings Encouragement

There’s a connection between witnessing and suffering; they often go hand in hand. And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2Tim.3:12. This desire leads us by His Spirit to witness verbally of the gospel of Jesus Christ, because of love for Him. It also leads us to publicly stand for His truth and His ways, because of devotion to Him.

So you find yourself in a situation, say at work or at home, or in the community, and there is spiritual or moral evil all around you, and people enjoying what God hates. For your stand that these things are wrong and are against God, you are mocked, scorned and laughed out of the room. Or you speak of Jesus and are mocked and labeled one of “those” people. We think this hurts, and it does, but is a minor thing. This is nothing! Just look at church history. Currently around the world, saints suffer terribly in ways we do not. Perhaps our little sufferings are opportunities to practice a Christ honoring response, for bigger suffering down the road.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God. 1Pe.4:12-16.

In this teaching, we learn that persecution is a sign of our union with Christ, and His great love for us. He directs these things for our good, to refine us as through fire. He is with us in the trial. Because of these things we can rejoice and be encouraged to continue on in Him, and in our work as laborers who teach the Word and present the gospel.

Rejoice ye pure in heart;
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing;
Your glorious banner wave on high,
The cross of Christ your King.

Rejoice ye pure in Heart

Audio: Suffering for Christ Brings Encouragement.

 

 

 

The Holy Spirit is the Witness

A must hear for witnessing encouragement. Here’s a few sermon notes:

The Holy Spirit bears witness of Jesus Christ, in the church as the Comforter, and in the world to convict and convince. He does not speak of Himself but of Christ and His words. There is a link between the Holy Spirit and persecution; where the He is working, the world is resisting, and He comforts and encourages us even more. The Holy Spirit bears witness of Jesus Christ and will empower you to be a witness, to testify of Jesus Christ. The natural result of being filled with the Holy Spirit is witnessing! Why do we witness? Because that is what the Holy Spirit does and that is how Christ will be glorified for eternity. This is the purpose of God from the beginning to eternity. The Holy Spirit is the witness… in and through us.

Audio: The Holy Spirit is the Witness

Carry Your Flashlight

The talents that God has given us. What are we doing with them? There are many reasons why we may be tempted to hide our talent in the ground, instead of using it. Disappointment and envy may be one. Perhaps we wondered at some point why we have our particular talents, rather than someone else’s… or why we have one, rather than five. We wonder why our ability seems small compared to the ability of others. Why do we have what we have, and not what some other saint has?

Fear is another reason we may hide our talent. What if nothing happens and it appears to us like our talent is completely useless? What if we try to use it and God is not pleased with our efforts? What if our investment brings nothing?

A few years ago one of my prayers was answered. God answered my prayer to let me go once again to another part of the world to help bring the gospel. This time, I would be going to an “unreached people group”; people who have not heard the gospel in their geographic area in many decades, due to Communist control of the country. Many miles away from the capitol (where new believers were beginning to reach out to their own people for the first time since the country opened up), and without actual roads, the Albanians in these small mountain villages were effectively cut off from the rest of the world. This region, once visited by Paul (see Rom. 15:19-21) was without the gospel and the Word of God for several generations.

I was invited by friends to come help with AERO, the Albanian Evangelical Rural Outreach. For almost a dozen years each summer, Americans and Europeans (and others) were invited to come join Albanian believers in bringing the gospel to these rather isolated rural mountain villages, which lie between the Adriatic Sea, and Macedonia.

Before I left, my dear husband gave me a gift: a small mag light flashlight. This was a gift of love and blessing. He wanted to make sure I was well taken care of. Little did I realize when I was packing, that that would be the most important thing that I brought on this two week adventure.

I went because I so wanted to help share the gospel with people who had not heard it. Plus, it would be such a blessing to see my dear friends at work in their assigned (by the Lord) “homeland” of Albania, among the people they serve and train.

My team consisted of five people. The leader was a man my age, who sold everything he had in America, and came to a small town in Albania with his wife and three children. They were there to stay. He made all the decisions and figured out what we were to do, preached the gospel and taught bible studies. There was a single twenty five year old Albanian woman who spent a lot of time helping the leader communicate with the people we were reaching, especially the mayor of each village. Being a nurse, she also patched up gashes and wounds that children had in the villages, as no hospitals or clinics existed in the villages. There were only mountains, houses, farms and animals. She evangelized and taught the children, organizing “vacation bible school” at each village we visited. She shared the gospel and taught the women in the villages. She worked very hard. There was the nineteen year old Albanian young man who operated our ‘Jesus film’ equipment, and a seventeen year old Albanian girl, who also taught and evangelized the children. I was the only one on the team without an assigned role.

What did I do? I carried the flashlight!

The Lord did let me share my testimony and share the gospel a few times, and my teammates kindly translated for me. But mostly, I carried the flashlight. After a very long landrover ride up to the top of the mountain, we were dropped off. Just us and our backpacks. We walked from village to village, spending a day and night in each village, completely at the mercy of the kindness and hospitality of the people in the village. After spending the day visiting inside the homes of families, we would show the Jesus film and share the gospel, handing out Bibles and children’s Bible storybooks. My flashlight was used every night to help my young brother run the projector and change reels, and for those nighttime outreaches that were lively with gospel proclamation, testimonies, and conversations.

Once I was sitting with a woman in her house. How I wished I could speak to this woman, personally, one on one. I wished we could understand each other. I wished we could have a heart to heart. I looked at her, knowing we have so much in common, although our lives are so different. At one point the leader of the whole project (my friend’s husband) came and joined our team for a few days. We sat and listened to him speak for hours(in Albanian) to the men; having apologetics type conversations in which the gospel was shared. Once an Albanian man laughed at me and said to me, (in Albanian) “What are you doing here, all the way from America, telling us what we do not want (or need) to hear?” Why was I there? What was I doing?

Well, God brought me there and He had work He wanted me to do there.

Sometimes at night we walked to the next village through fields, across farms and creeks. I held up the flashlight so my team could see where they were stepping, in the dark but star filled nights. Sometimes I thought, “I’m here in Albania, holding a flashlight.” Well the flashlight sure was a comfort to us, as we crossed that field, with only open grasses around us, and the huge starry sky above us. We heard a wolf, and later we heard shotgun fire. We were not sure if they were shooting at us! Oh, and did I mention we were pretty much lost, wandering in circles (in the middle of nowhere)? We were looking for a certain house that we would spend the night at. Later at the house, we discovered that the man of the house was trying to shoot the wolf, (shooting into the field!) since he knew we were on our way. Boy that made us feel better!(ha!)

Have you been given a flashlight? God has given you something. Perhaps it is small. Perhaps it is one thing instead of five. Perhaps it is not as glamorous as what some other saint has. What are you doing with your flashlight? Will you be disappointed that you got a flashlight? Will you be afraid it won’t make one bit of difference?

God is the one who has chosen what kind of talent you should have, how many you should have, and what amount of ability you should have. He knows what He is doing! He has given and entrusted these talents to us, and He will bring the result from their use, if we humbly and gratefully accept what He has given us; if we are obedient in doing what He told us to do with them.

So be thankful for your flashlight, and use it. Hold it up and carry it well. Don’t stick it in a drawer. God has a special assignment, just for you. He has given you not only salvation as a gift, but talents as a gift that He wants you to use for Him; to invest in faithful service to Him. He has a plan for these talents; we must do what He tells us to. Few or many, great or small, it matters not. Be faithful. Carry your flashlight and God will be honored and pleased as you show your faith, gratitude, obedience, trust and love for Him. Someday He will show you the result of your work. You will be able to show Him the increase on His investment. And He will show you your reward.

Well done, good and faithful slave, you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master. Matt.25:21.

Audio: What are we doing with the talents God gave to us?

Disappointed?

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.. Pr. 13:12. Life is looking like a mess, from our perspective. Our ‘hopes’ are deferred. This disappointment makes the heart sick. We have our ‘wants’, which are based on our ‘hopes’. In contrast, there’s God’s will, and the real Hope we have in Him.

Life is like the bottom of a Persian rug, but if you could see it from above, it is curiously wrought with the finest needlework.

The very spindle of the Almighty is turning and weaving the threads of your life. And while you think they are frayed, in fact, they are perfectly woven together. Your life is not coming unraveled – it is a tapestry.

Audio: Are You Disappointed?

Got Hurt?

Ouch. You just got over the last time someone hurt you, and now it’s happened again, with someone else! Don’t be bitter; forgive and love them. Don’t let this steal your joy! Don’t let this discourage you. Don’t let this tempt you to quit. Don’t let it stop you from rejoicing in your salvation. Don’t let it stop you from serving Him the way He leads you to. Jesus feels our hurts, and He wants to heal us. He knows exactly how we feel. Take it to him in prayer. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Heb.4:15.

-Come to Jesus with your hurt

-Tell Him what is hurting you

-Ask Him to heal you

-Believe Him by faith to do it

-Thank and praise Him for healing you of your hurt

Audio: Jesus Feels our Hurts