Extending on our post last month about why Instagram can have a place in the classroom, \”Using Instagram in an Educational Context\”, this week we delve into
O Lord, how long will you forget me?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul?
With sorrow in my heart everyday?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the light to my eyes, or I will die
Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying
“We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
But I trust in your unfailing love,
I will rejoice because you have rescued me
I will sing to the Lord
Because he has been so good to me
As Jesus was saying this, the leader of a synagogue came and knelt before him. “My daughter has just died,” he said, “but you can bring her back to life again if you just come and lay your hand on her.” Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment. (Matthew 9:18, 22 NLT)
These verses are such awesome reminder that God can raise people from the dead. We have moments of great disappointment and discouragement…tonight is one of mine. My disappointment is so great that I feel like there’s a part of me that just died. But thank you Jesus for this reminder! Indeed, only Jesus can bring anyone or anything to life!
Lord, I need you kindness and your compassion. I need a friend. Thank you because you always listen. In fact, you’re eager to listen. If someone would hit me in the head for every time I make mistakes, I may have concussion by now. But instead of punishing me, you have extended your patient love and mercy on me–every single time. Who can love me like you do? Father, I pray that you would increase my faith. Help me be certain of things I haven’t seen but hoped for. Also, help me trust the future you have prepared for me. Amen.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5–6)
There is nothing sad about sowing seed. It takes no more work than reaping. The days can be beautiful. There can be great hope of harvest.
Yet the psalm speaks of “sowing in tears.” It says that someone “goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing.” So why are they weeping?
I think the reason is not that sowing is sad, or that sowing is hard. I think the reason has nothing to do with sowing. Sowing is simply the work that has to be done even when there are things in life that make us cry.
The crops won’t wait while we finish our grief or solve all our problems. If we are going to eat next winter, we must get out in the field and sow the seed whether we are crying or not. If you do that, the promise of the psalm is that “you will reap with shouts of joy.” You will “come home with shouts of joy, bringing your sheaves with you.” Not because the tears of sowing produce the joy of reaping, but because the sheer sowing produces the reaping, and you need to remember this even when your tears tempt you to give up sowing.
So here’s the lesson: When there are simple, straightforward jobs to be done, and you are full of sadness, and tears are flowing easily, go ahead and do the jobs with tears. Be realistic. Say to your tears: “Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed, car to be fixed, sermon to be written).”
Then say, on the basis of God’s word, “Tears, I know that you will not stay forever. The very fact that I just do my work (tears and all) will in the end bring a harvest of blessing. So go ahead and flow if you must. But I believe (I do not yet see it or feel it fully) — I believe that the simple work of my sowing will bring sheaves of harvest. And your tears will be turned to joy.”
“Talking to Your Tears” by John Piper
So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls…(Hebrews 6:18, 19 NLT)
Encouraging verses for my soul.
Easter…ah. The Christians’s second Christmas.
Today, to celebrate Easter, our church joined four other Baptist churches in a sunrise service at a park. The day was beautiful. We sang appropriate Easter hymns and worships songs–from Because He Lives to Chris Tomlin’s Wonderful Cross and then the pastor preached a powerful message from John 20.
After, a friend of ours invited us to their church for their Easter celebration. So we went. So we celebrated. In stark contrast to the uptight and very proper Baptists, the second church we went to was pulsating with the energy of the youth. Their music was more modern. There were clapping, dancing, and cheers especially whenever the word “risen” or “conquered the grave” were said. The pastor preached the message of the power of the resurrection of Jesus. Everything was right. Both churches never mentioned easter eggs or easter bunnies. The crowd was very…easter-ish.
But in all these things lie my greatest concern. Please let me explain.
1 Corinthians 1:18 says that the cross is the very power of God for those who are being saved. Every Christian will agree that salvation comes through Jesus and Jesus only. To those who are perishing: if they will confess with their mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead, they will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). Therefore, we, the once dead but now eternally alive, cheer, clap, sing, dance, and celebrate the freedom and salvation that we have found in Christ. BUT…that’s not just it!
While I was in the church this morning, hearing the congregation’s joyous “yeah”, “whoa”, and “Amen” made me want to get up from my chair, come up to the pulpit, and ask those people, every single one of them this: If you believe in Christ’s resurrection, who will go today to such and such place and preach the Good News of Christ to the unsaved? Who will go to the unreached people groups to share the wonderful news of Jesus? No salary but you will be fed and you will have a place to stay (like the church’s basement. Count yourself blessed if you have hot water). I have a paper here where you can list your name. Let me hear y’all say “YEAH!”
I can imagine the silence. I can imagine the nervous laugh. I wonder how many will come forward.
See, the power of the cross does not end in our salvation. If it does, then Easter will be just another occasion to dress up for and celebrate. The Gospel will be just one good story with a powerful ending. You were saved so you can reach others for Christ. If we truly believe that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life, then we shouldn’t be content on just cheering Jesus on, or the missionaries on, or the pastors on as if they were doing a great job. Actually, they are. But what about us?
Evangelism is not counting how many people will be converted to Christianity. You and I do not have the power to convict people of their sins. Evangelism is simply going to the lost and sharing how Jesus paid for our sins because of God’s wondrous love for us. It is not complicated, really. You don’t even have to go on mission trips. You can do it right in your neighborhood.
It makes me sad that some churches are more concerned in pampering the saved than going to where the lost souls are. Matthews 24:14 says:And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Did you get that? The gospel WILL be preached. With or without you, the gospel will be preached to all nations. But as a Christian, as a true believer of Jesus, doesn’t it bother you that you are not where the action is? Won’t it be more fun to cheer every time a soul gets saved?
I guess it is fitting that tonight, to cap off Easter, my husband and I watched the final episode of The Bible in History Channel. And in some ways, I envy the dedication and the passion of the early apostles. Paul “fought the good fight, ran the race, and kept the faith”. Stephen died for his belief. And many more of them. They risked their lives and died for Christ. Would I do the same, I am honestly do not know. But right now, this is what I know: I have a discontent in my heart that I cannot contain. I cannot keep my salvation to myself. I pray for the Holy Spirit to, like Peter, give me the boldness to share the gospel. Like Paul, to keep the passion for Christ in my heart burning.
I know others will disagree but this is the only thing I know that is sure:
Jesus is “ ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11, 12 NIV).