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You have recently heard the proverb of the sower from Luke 8. The Word says, ̈A farmer went out to sow his seed..
You have recently heard the proverb of the sower from Luke 8. The Word says, ¨A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up.¨ In this familiar verse from the parable, readers are reminded that not all the seeds will sow will lead to a bountiful harvest; nonetheless, we do not know the outcome of our seeds, so we must sow.
Hope can be loosely defined as acting and believing in something even when we cannot see it. With all that is going on in the world, many people are seeking hope. As children of the King, we should work diligently to spread hope into the lives of other people, but what does this really mean?
1. Offer hope by doing random acts of kindness.
People appreciate having nice things done for them - buying the coffee for the person in the drive-through behind you, smiling at a stranger in the grocery store, dropping off a batch of cookies at a neighbor's house. While each of these acts is simple in nature, they send a powerful message. A message that could be the basis for laying a greater foundation of hope.
2. Think about timing when delivering hope.
Do you know someone who is going through a particularly difficult time? Maybe they have lost their job, are getting a divorce, or some other life altering circumstance. These events are definitely reasons to reach out with some hope. Share the gift of your time and services with these individuals. Isaiah 40:31 says, ¨But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.¨” Extending friendship and the gift of time to someone at just the right time can make all the different.
3. Consider the foundation for the hope you are sharing.
People bring different experiences to the table. What experiences has the person you are reaching out had to endure? Are they generally positive or negative? Do not go in offering hope and wanting to win them to Jesus on the same day. This might happen, but more than likely, it will take time. Be willing to invest in more than just an isolated visit or random encounter - be willing to lay a foundation. ¨I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope¨ Psalm 130:5.
4. Be patient and resilient.
Reaching out with hope to people who are going through change or dealing with difficult circumstances may not be easy. Be patient with these individuals. Drop them a text to let them know that you are thinking about them and praying for them. Even if it seems minimal steps are being made, keep offering hope with a resilient spirit. Luke 8:15 says, ¨But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.¨
¨May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.¨ Romans 15:13
5. Be patient, be resilient, and and remain rooted in HIs word as the ultimate source of hope.
Just as the farmer sowed many seeds the outcomes were different for various ones, the places and people where we plant our hope may result in diverse outcomes; nonetheless, the ultimate source of strength and bounty comes from those that trust in the Lord Jesus.
¨For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.¨ Romans 8:24-25.
As you wait for the seeds of hope to grow and mature, find trust in knowing that the decision to extend hope to people who are suffering is of great service to Godś Kingdom.
We all have those days- the car keys are missing, the dishwasher is malfunctioning, the dog won't stop barking..
We all have those days - the car keys are missing, the dishwasher is malfunctioning, the dog won´t stop barking, and the kids are not cooperating. What do we do? How should we respond? The decision to find joy in the midst of struggles is difficult and counterintuitive to our carnal nature; nonetheless, the decision to embrace joy even in those moments is priceless.
James 1:2-3 states, ¨Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.¨
1. Perspective, perspective, perspective….
This is a word I think of often. I can either look at the glass one-half full or one-half empty. Does how I look at the glass change the contents? Not at all. This simple and cliche example allows us to see how important perspective is in our daily lives. Psalm 28:7 says, ¨The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.¨ Focus on that verse and allow the perspective that you are His child and that will never change regardless of how figuratively full or figuratively empty the glass may be.
2. Count your blessings.
Humans are naturally negative people. We tend to quickly look at the immediate nature of what is wrong, rather than taking the time to survey the big picture. When we are sitting on the side of the highway with a flat tire, it is probably not our first thought to thank God that we have a car or a place to be traveling to; nonetheless, counting our blessings even in the midst of trials is a powerful tool.
Psalm 92:4-5: ¨For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts!”
3. Laugh. Choose to find laughter.
The few times in my life when I have been able to laugh until my sides hurt still make me smile. Those moments may have been months or even years in the past,but the pure joy associated with those moments is contagious. If you are not in a setting or a season to laugh, reflect on laughter that you have experienced in the past. The Bible states, ¨A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones¨ (Proverbs 17:22). Choose to breathe life into your spirit today - choose laughter.
4.Surround Yourself with Positivity.
Is there someone you know who always looks for the silver lining? We are under quarantine, we stay home and enjoy more family time. The dance class was cancelled, so now we have time for that picnic. The flight was cancelled, so there must be something I am supposed to stay here for.
Some people are able to look for the positive nature in events. These people will be powerful tools in helping you choose joy in the midst of struggles. The decision to choose joy does not mean that you will always feel happy; it does not mean that tears or moments of melancholiness may not creep in - they likely will. Choosing joy means that you give your body time to process the negative, but don't stay there - instead get up, hold your head high, and know that you have the ultimate reason to choose joy.
Isaiah 35:10: ¨And those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing, everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighting will flee away.¨
Psalm 46:1 states that God is our refuge and strength. He is with us during the good times and the bad times..
Psalm 46:1 states that God is our refuge and strength. He is with us during the good times and the bad times. We frequently point people to His word during times of sadness or grief, but there are ways we can also apply Godś word to celebrations too!
¨The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.¨
1. Celebrate births.
Delivering a baby shower gift? Celebrating a child's first birthday? Take a moment to congratulate the grandparents too. Proverbs 17:6: ¨Children´s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children and their fathers.¨ A simple note that includes a reminder of God's presence during this time is a powerful witness.
2. Celebrate salvation.
¨What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices more over that one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray¨ (Matthew 18:12-13). These familiar words from the Parable of the Lost Sheep reminds us how much we should, too, should celebrate when someone gets saved.
Take some time to celebrate with new Christians. Share your joy with them. Luke 15:10 says, ¨Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.¨
3. Celebrate togetherness.
It is easy to take for granted being together with people we enjoy. The next time you are able to meet a friend for dinner, have game night with friends, or some other time of togetherness, offer a word of celebration in written or spoken form. ¨It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning and thy faithfulness every night¨ (Psalms 92:1-2).
Moments of togetherness are a sign of God's blessings. Do not take these moments for granted.
4. Don´t forget God during the holidays.
Holidays are a time of togetherness; they are a time of laughter and joy. As children of God, we should want to share these special moments with God. Think about when the children of Israel in Jerusalem:
¨And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the Lord¨. (2 Chronicles 30:21)
Regardless of the holiday - Christmas, Easter, Labor Day, or some other holiday throughout the year, it does not have to be Holy to make it holy.
Applying God's word to everyday celebrations is a reminder of the one who gives us all reason to praise His holy name: ¨O magnify the Lord with me; And let us exalt His name together.¨ Psalm 34:3
Teachers are always looking for new ways to learn. Mentors are naturally doing the same thing. If your goal..
1. Keep learning.
Teachers are always looking for new ways to learn. Mentors are naturally doing the same thing. If your goal is to mentor a new Christian, it is imperative that you are working, growing, and strengthening your own wisdom. New Christians will likely have questions about the Bible, and while you may not know everything they ask you, you will want to have a strong foundation.
¨The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.¨ Phillipians 4:9
2. Help them learn their spiritual gifts.
In Romans 12, we learn about spiritual gifts. ¨Ẅe have different gifts, according to the grace given us….let [us] use [them] in proportion to [our] faith.¨
By pointing new Christians to learn their spiritual gifts, it will allow them to find a place to serve in the church. Through service within the church, they will build relationships. It is these relationships that will keep people connected and wanting to stay more in His word. For people that may be shifting lifestyles, making new friends in the church can be a major point in helping them stay focused on their Christian identity.
It may take some time for them to learn their spiritual gift, but it allows them to feel valued, connected, and safe. ¨But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.¨ John 14:26
3. Point them to useful study tools.
For many new Christians, reading the Bible can be intimidating. Pointing new Christians to study tools that present God's word to them in easier to understand ways can be invaluable. Share resources that you enjoy. These resources may be apps, books, blog posts, or podcasts. Encourage them to dig in and get in His word daily.
¨Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.¨ Proverbs 9:9
4. Pray for them.
As you work with new Christians, pray for opportunities. Time and conversation will lend nicely to the mentoring process, but it is also important to pray for the new Christian. The power of prayer cannot be overlooked through this process.
"And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (James 5:15-16)
5. Determine how they learn and grow.
To point the new Christian in the right direction, take the time to learn about him or her. How do they learn? Are they driven by goals? Do they seek change or resist it? Helping the new Christian is easier when you understand who they are as a person.
¨Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations….¨ Matthew 28:19
Choosing to mentor a new Christian is a rewarding process. It can be very rewarding for you as a mentor, and it can be very helpful for the new Christian.
¨Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.¨ Proverbs 27:17