Monday, October 28, 2013

What's the Code?

I forgot my ATM pin number. Admittedly, it was not a crisis, but it was terribly annoying. Especially to the people in line behind me. I tried every combination of every pin number I had ever devised. Nothing worked. I knew my money was in that little metal box, but had no idea how to retrieve it. One more wrong pin number, and the little metal box threatened to eat my ATM card. By the looks of the faces in the growing line behind me, the little metal box wasn't the only one.

Fortunately, a kind bank employee helped me reset my pin number. The experience taught me an important lesson in evangelism. We have people all around us who don't have the right pin number to obtain what they desperately need in life. They are trying a variety of combinations that will never work: money, popularity, power. Nothing works.

Then they come to us. How do we treat them? They don't look right or dress correctly. They ask all the wrong questions. We inadvertently may give the impression that we wish they would just get out of the way.

I'm glad the bank employee knew what to do when I needed them. Scripture tells us to prepare ourselves for those who need to hear the gospel message. The Holy Spirit sends people our way every day. Will we be ready?

1 Peter 3:15
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Light in the Darkness

Lately, I’ve spent way more time in Emergency Rooms and ICU than I ever wanted to. There have been times I have even wanted to run away, because I didn’t want to face the difficulties there. While I greatly admire the skill of folks working there, and their amazing, highly advanced equipment, it is often overshadowed by the sadness, pain, and desperation seen on the faces all around.

Not every hospital emergency situation ends ‘happily ever after.’ Sometimes even the most skilled professionals and the most up-to-date equipment cannot save a person or the diagnosis for life remaining is occasionally tough to handle. But there ARE many times where lives are saved, illnesses are healed, and the prognosis turns out to be VERY good.

Life can be that way sometimes, too. It may seem that everywhere we look is anguish, fear, and violence. Occasionally, it seems more than we can even bear to face. However, we know through God we can have peace DURING the struggles, and that ultimately He will be the victor.

If I had my way, I’d never walk through the door of another ER or ICU—but realistically, that’s not likely to happen. Similarly, I’d rather not hear of any more sadness in the world around us. But even if I was never to darken the door at the hospital, and was to live with my head in the sand regarding the world around me….the sadness would still be there. There’s no escaping it in this world….but what a blessed promise that we have an anchor, and this is not the end of the story!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4