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Friday: Further Thought ~ Sharing the Word — 12 Comments

  1. When I became interested in bird photography, I wanted a place to share my photographs. I had been the "visuals director" for my church and had put together nature segments to run between Sabbath School and Church, but a change in church leadership meant that opportunity was no longer available. I decided that I should try and develop an interest in our environment in the local community, so I started putting up photographs of interesting birds on the local Facebook page. I would only publish one photo per week usually because I did not want to flood the page with my photos. I knew that overexposure would just turn people off. Now some 8 years later, most of the local community know about the birds in our area and recognise the need to respect and preserve our environment to ensure that we have healthy biodiversity in our area. I have been careful not to use scientific names or quote detailed bird information. I have just published photos of our birds doing interesting things or showing off their beautiful colours. There is a growing interest in the area about our birdlife and to a large extent, much of that interest has grown out of the trickle of photos that I have put up on the community Facebook page.

    I wonder sometimes whether we get so intense about sharing the Word, that we swamp others with our "Jesus talk". I sometimes get a sense of impatience by some to get an opportunity to "push" our version of Christianity rather than letting the Holy Spirit open the doors for us. When I was teaching computer programming, there were not a lot of formal situations where I could inject some spiritual lesson into my classes, but that would have been a bit like pasting a wig on a bald head. It was in the informal workshops and practical sessions where students would open up about relationship problems and so on, that the opportunity arose. Often, my response would be a simple, "Have you ever thought about ...?", with a little nudge towards spiritual values. Opportunities, often brief, are there to seize and use.

    Some folk have noted the reticence of church folk to engage in spiritual talk after lunch on Sabbath. Perhaps rather than talking, we should be listening. Among all the small talk and chatter, we may hear a prayer. Someone may be expressing a need - a small opportunity to follow up at an appropriate time. The theme for this quarter is "Making Friends for God", and that implies a gently considerate approach.

    Amen!(38)
  2. I really enjoyed reading the extracts in the link above to Bible Work Techniques.
    I realized that there is something for all on which to reflect, the ones below resonanted with me. Catch the attention with a few memorable points, let them ask for more.
    Which ones impacted on your heart?

    Few Arguments May Suffice
    It is not the best policy to be so very explicit, and say all upon a point that can be said, when a few arguments will cover the ground, and be sufficient for all practical purposes, to convince or silence opponents.—Gospel Workers, 376 (1915).

    Present Truth in Easy Style
    In this age, when pleasing fables are drifting upon the surface and attracting the mind, truth presented in an easy style, backed up with a few strong proofs, is better than to search and bring forth an overwhelming array of evidence; for the point then does not stand so distinct in many minds as before the objections and evidences were brought before them. With many, assertions will go farther than long arguments. They take many things for granted. Proof does not help the case in the minds of such.—Testimonies For The Church 3:36 (1872).

    Amen!(14)
    • Hi Shirley,
      Thanks for asking this question. Although they were all very good, the ones that spoke to my heart were:

      Every Bible Study Must Have a Distinct Plan
      Every teacher should see to it that his work tends to definite results. Before attempting to teach a subject, he should have a distinct plan in mind, and should know just what he desires to accomplish. He should not rest satisfied with the presentation of any subject until the student understands the principle involved, perceives its truth, and is able to state clearly what he has learned.—Education, 233, 234 (1903).

      and

      Soul Winner's Intercession the Secret of Success
      In times past there were those who fastened their minds upon one soul after another, saying, “Lord, help me to save this soul.” But now such instances are rare. How many act as if they realized the peril of sinners? How many take those whom they know to be in peril, presenting them to God in prayer, and supplicating Him to save them?—Gospel Workers, 65.

      Being a teacher and going to college for Elementary Education, the first quote really jumped out at me since one of my recent classes was lesson planning. The importance of having a plan even in Bible study was further driven home to my mind.

      The second one jumped out because I have 5 friends I have been praying for daily this year, and recently the events in each of their personal lives has made it clear to me why the Lord put these particular 5 people on my heart for this year. My mother-in-law passed away in February, and my 2 sister's-in-law are part of this list of 5. They are struggling with her death and the subject of death, and through an unusual set of circumstances it came to my attention that my youngest sister-in-law is seeking for answers and has been reading a book written by a psychic/clairvoyant. I have been asking the Lord how I can reach out to her to share the truth that I know about death from God's Word, and I feel this is the opportunity and opening I have been waiting for. I am just not sure how to proceed, and I want to proceed carefully and gently, because I know how tough this topic can be. I also know that Satan will not want me presenting this information to my sister-in-law, and so I need to be much in prayer. I would love it if my SS.net family would lift this up in prayer for me as well, that I may honor the Lord and her heart will be opened to receive the truth. Thank you so much.

      Amen!(9)
  3. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Ps 46:10

    Question 2. 'Sometimes God brings people into our lives because He longs for them to know His truth. How can we be sensitive to God’s leading?'
    I encouraged all to read the given readings for today, they are powerful as usual. Many points stuck out to me as mentioned below. I ask myself, Am I doing the witness and sharing the word as Christ desires of me/the church?

    Simplicity in Words
    1.'Never search for words that will give the impression that you are learned. The greater your simplicity, the better will your words be understood'.—Testimonies For The Church 6:383 (1900).

    2.'Preach less, and educate more, by holding Bible-readings, and by praying with families and little companies'.

    3.'The presentation of Christ in the family, by the fireside, and in small gatherings in private houses, is often more successful in winning souls to Jesus than are sermons delivered in the open air, to the moving throng, or even in halls or churches'.

    4. 'God does not promise, by the masterly acts of his providence, to irresistibly bring men to the knowledge of his truth, when they do not seek for truth and have no desire to know the truth. Men have the power to quench the Spirit of God; the power of choosing is left with them. They are allowed freedom of action'.

    5.'You should not feel it your duty to introduce arguments upon the Sabbath question as you meet the people. If persons mention the subject, tell them that this is not your burden now. But when they surrender heart and mind and will to God, they are then prepared candidly to weigh evidence in regard to these solemn, testing truths'.—Letter 77, 1895.

    Sometimes people like to receive material things before they receive the word of God. If that is how Jesus through his providence is leading, so be it. It's all in the plan of salvation. Jesus ministered to their physical needs before their spiritual needs.
    As mentioned before, I came from a poverty-stricken family. I always try to help them in whatever way I can. But now is the time for me to give. I do not manipulate them in giving them so they can join my church but I let them know the God whom I serve is the one who provided for me and allowed me to gave them.
    So the Holy Spirit laid on my heart what to do. I purchased large and medium containers and was packing them in the house. The more I packed, the more I needed more containers.(reminded me of the woman with the oil and the disciples with the bread). Bear in mind, there is a cost for the containers as well as for shipping them. I cont doing what I was doing while in my mind I had some doubts. The cost was mounting up. Well, we know if Jesus calls us to do something he always provides, all he is asking us to do is to be faithful.
    I went to the mailbox to collect my mails. I sat and started opening the mails. In one of the mail, I noticed a check. I looked and looked again. Was this a counterfeit? No, the check was real. I was not expecting any check from anyone but I knew who sent it for me. If memories served, that is the largest check I ever received in life. I check covered all the cost and shipping of the containers as well as something to bless the poor. 1 Cor 12:28 And God hath set some in the church to be ...helpers. He never asked us to do anything without equipping us but we have to be willing to do what he asked of us.
    Let us cont to trust Jesus and his words. Let us cont to work for the good of others. Let us not grow weary of sharing the words in whatever simple way we can. Jesus uses some to do certain things, others to do certain things. It is according to our abilities and talents he gave us, he empowers us. He will not ask someone to do something that he never empowers us to do.

    Amen!(10)
    • Dear Lyn,
      Thank you so much for sharing that God laid something on your heart to do and when you did it, even though you could not afford it, He covered the cost by an unexpected check.

      I think God always works that way - so He can strengthen our faith. The waters of the Jordan did not stop flowing until the priests put their feet in the water. The man at the pool of Bethesda received strength to stand only when He made the effort to obey the command, "Take up your bed and walk."

      Again, thank you for sharing an incident that assures us that God still works in the same way!

      Amen!(7)
  4. I like the end of the lesson questions. The text that came to mind for the first question is John 6:35-40. It’s simple to understand and it shows how simple it is to come to Jesus. Like Maurice shared, the Holy Spirit will take it from there. Yes, there may be more for us to share at another time, but again, that’s the job of the Holy Spirit. Our lives are our most powerful witness. Living at peace in a world of chaos, as we are right now, is the best sermon we could ever preach.

    Amen!(2)
  5. Everyone experiences life unique to themselves. All the talents, gifts, interests, passions, skills, abilities are our tools to express oneself and experience life in time and space. But this is only one side of the coin. There is also the spiritual side to all we do and experience, and this aspect is what is recorded in heaven - it is not the act, it is the motivation and dispositions we carry when we express the act; the extend of love we have for the Father and his creation.
    My passion, therefore my contribution as a faithful believer and witness to the Faith of Jesus, is to elaborate and enhance issues to show and expose the bigger picture - the spiritual side of life; to expose, clarify something that's hidden in the mist of the observable. This overflowing passion expressed in words gets me in trouble with the monitors who prefer our posts to be kept short and in a conversational tone.

    So, I want to apologize to everyone that finds my posts too lengthy to read or too elaborate in their content, or too theological or philosophical in context. The comments, ideas and insights flow from my mind into my hands which formulate that which I write as I write it. Outside of reading the lesson topic and everyone else's post, I do no research other than the bible or to make sure that I understand the language properly; sometimes, I happened to stumble across a nugget of information online helpful to expound the Word of God.

    If we believe that we are at essence a created, spiritual being, that the Holy Spirit is given to define, refine and form this spiritual being in the Image of God, we will do well to consider the spiritual impact on the soul of whatever we do, say, feel or think.
    Yes, the environment we find ourselves in would set the stage for our interaction with others. Shirley shares Ellen White's observations which point out that there is an 'Easy Style' - 'with many, assertions will go farther than long arguments.' The definition of assertion is: 'a confident and forceful statement of fact or belief' - that's usually my 'style'. Just a clear, concise statement might be better received and understood under these circumstances.

    I have alienated and annoyed some with my passion for the Gospel but have also been blessed to experience expressions of acceptance of spiritual and physical comfort shared. Every opportunity to share the Faith of Jesus - the Gospel - in word and deed with others I welcome gladly as I become more sensitive, more attuned to the surroundings and settings in time and space.

    Amen!(3)
    • I would not call it alienation. When I became involved in ssnet one person said to me we are here to learn from each other. That I have never forgot and I do believe that made me more docile(teachable). We must have open minds. The mind is like a parachute. If it is open it saves, if closed... However we must stick by the Word of God. It matters!

      Amen!(1)
  6. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Ps 23:1

    Brigitte, thanks for your contributions. I found myself moving from a person who did not like to read to someone who will read everyone's posts. Everyone comes to the table with their own experiences, cultures, and style of writing. What you say makes sense to me. Understandable and easy to read, you gave definitions for some words. I came across a book named- The Fruit of the Spirit by Richard W. O'Ffill (Pacific Press, 2009). Encouraged all to read.

    Amen!(3)
  7. There are so many "exceeding great and precious promises" to share with any who feel the need of forgiveness, but what cannot be over-stated is God's willingness and desire to do so. We also cannot overlook the necessity of understanding that we are forgiven as we have forgiven others.

    We will always be sensitive to God's leading if in fact, we are following Him in everything and are constantly seeking to know His will in order to obey it. He has promised to "instruct you and teach you"(Ps 32:8).

    I would say that above God's "power", is His faithfulness, mercy, grace, and willingness to forgive while having "all power" at His command. The Cross of Jesus is above all other evidences, as wonderful as they are.

    Amen!(2)
  8. Guilt is very powerful, one of Satan's most powerful tools. It leads to doubt that Christ has the power to forgive, to heal,and resurrect. Christ had to get Martha to reaffirm her faith in Him.

    She said to Him, Yes, Lord, I have believed [I do believe] that You are the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), the Son of God, [even He] Who was to come into the world. [It is for Your coming that the world has waited.]
    John 11:27

    We do believe as the Son of God He has the power to forgive our sins and remove guilt.

    I am on par with Shirly, earlier this week, we need to stand on the promises of God daily.

    Step 1 – Rejoice in the LORD all the time no matter what happens
    Step 2 – Do not be anxious about anything
    Step 3 – Present your situation to the LORD in prayer
    Step 4 – Trust in the LORD, He will fill your heart & mind with peace
    Step 5 – Learn to be content whatever the result, plenty or penury
    Step 6 – The LORD will give you the strength to endure either one
    Step 7 – Give glory to the LORD who will supply what you really need

    Found in Philippians 4.

    May I add? 8. Share with others 1-7. James said faith without works(sharing faith) is dead.

    Parting thought on guilt.
    But Jesus said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go (enter) into peace [in freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin].
    Luke 7:50 AMPC

    Amen!(1)

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