Tainted Water – The Solution Is Discipleship

Tainted WaterOnce while driving in Ghana – we passed by a water well that had been drilled for a local community and saw some children fetching water. They were pulling together on their rope to get their bucket out – and then came shock – horror! They were fetching the water in a turpentine can! Because we lived here among this particular people group, we KNOW that no one washed the container out with soap and water or bleach or boiling water – they just rinsed it in the local pond until they couldn’t smell the turpentine and then declared it fit for use. We love these people and our hearts went out to them.  We immediately planned a healthy drinking water training for them.  A training that would help them to understand what things would contaminate the water and what was necessary for them to avoid introducing contaminates into their drinking water. They needed to know that if contaminates were introduced – this water would bring death and not life.

Not only is clean water important — but understanding what can contaminate water is important.   

There is a tendency in the Western world to believe that once we have shared the truth of the gospel with people and they have confessed that they believe – we have done our part. But I am a witness that what you leave behind is a person that believes the truth, but has no idea what the truth is, or what to do with that truth. They twist it to fit their circumstance, they ignore the parts that they cannot easily understand, some rise to a position of leadership and then exploit the little that they know to their own benefit – – some minister an adulterated gospel and taint the water for an entire congregation. What is the solution to this issue?

The solution is to teach the complete gospel.

That means that we go beyond salvation. We have to teach people to study the word of God so that they can come to know the person of God. But what if they can’t read?  We’ve encountered this many times where we work.  Then the solution is discipleship.  We have to be willing to give the time and resources necessary to teach them to read or to provide an audio bible. After teaching them to read the word or to listen to the word, we must teach them to interact in the word in such a way that it becomes something that they can apply to their life! When we equip them with these tools – they will know what the truth looks like and are less likely to fall prey to any contaminated word. When we equip them with these tools then we are preparing them to protect the word that is taking root in their hearts. When we equip them with these tools – we ensure that the word will bring them to the abundant life that God has planned for them.

But this takes TIME!! And, be honest, how many of us are willing to give our precious time to another?? I can tell you as one who lives a life of discipleship, that it is a 24 hour a day commitment. The women that I disciple call whenever they need to, they visit whenever they need to, they invite me to delve into places in their lives that I don’t want to go! And I am also a witness – that you might have an 8 week program – but I have yet to disciple any believer in only 8 weeks!

Discipleship is life on life – LIFE on LIFE!! It means loving someone as much as you love yourself. Would you drink tainted water willingly?! I think not!!

Interestingly – our Savior’s last words to us were that we should go, preach, teach and make disciples. He really did not say go, preach, teach, and get them saved! We’ve got to be willing to give our whole lives to the purposes and passions of our Savior and King – He wants them to know Him, He wants them to know the Father, He wants them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In the words of my husband, “time has come to stop dunkin’ ‘em and droppin’ ‘em” – we’ve got to start counting them as so dear to us that we not only give them the gospel but our very lives.  In fact – we ought to be modeling the life of Christ in view of people even before they know who He is!!  What a change in the world we could make!

so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:8

Oh, be careful little eyes what you see

be carefulSome of the shows that intrigue me most on television these days are filled with images of sin.  Some of them have gotten so raw that I stopped watching because of what they make me feel.  A friend of mine challenged me not to stop watching but rather use what I see in my teaching of the Word of God.  I’ve taken that advice to heart and decided to study a bit.

You see, I grew up watching and LOVING cartoons — Popeye, Tom & Jerry, The Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote, Foghorn Leghorn, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny (my personal favorite!), Elmer Fudd, etc.  When we moved to Ghana I even took DVDs of my favorites with me so I’d have something light to watch on heart heavy days.  I made the comment to my children that the cartoons of their day were just not as good and wholesome as the cartoons of my day.  So, a couple of Saturdays ago I was watching the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner movie and decided to pay attention to what I saw – Ahem … let’s just say I was surprised to note:  greed, covetousness, disobedience, laziness, cheating, deception, anger, rage — and then I stopped listing because I knew without a doubt these modern writers had to have put those things in there after I had already grown up!  Surely those things were not in there when I was a kid!

I decided to do the same thing for the most popular shows of today.  So I sat down the other evening and watched – but instead of merely watching I took note of every sin that was blatantly highlighted.  I’m sure I missed plenty, because I got tired of writing them down – but here’s what I saw: Idolatry, greed, covetousness, love of money, gluttony, complaining, tempting God, high-mindedness, disobedience, cussing, careless use of God’s name, laziness, filthy talk, dishonoring parents, murder, anger, hate, enmity, rage, brawling, rioting, unforgiving, wrath, spitefulness, stealing, dishonesty, lying, slandering, extortion, fornication, adultery and MORE!!  I decided they should call some of these shows How Not To Live As A Christ Follower.  The list was longer than my cartoon list for sure — but my conclusion is that a worldview that espouses the satisfaction of our own desires has always been the way of media.

I’m not trying to make you turn the television off – and I am certainly not calling watching television a sin. I enjoy a good television show after a stressful day, it is one of my favorite escapes.  But don’t fool yourself into believing that you can watch sin filled images (or listen to sin filled messages) all of the time and not be affected by it in any way. Be careful not to be fooled into believing that what you see on that screen is merely entertainment.  Be careful about the last image you see on that screen; do you really want that to be the last thing that enters your mind before your head hits the pillow?  The world’s job is to lull you into a false sense of what sin is and to convince that you should take advantage of the grace extended to you as a follower of Christ – but the word says different (Romans 6:1, 2).

In 1 John we are admonished not to love the world; the world’s ways; the world’s things because we squeeze out the Father when we do so.  When we begin to schedule our lives around these images that have nothing to do with our Father or His ways – I think that means that we are coming to ‘love’ these images.  Just my opinion.  Truth is that once an image is on television or in a movie, we begin to believe falsely that the image is mere entertainment.  Be careful, my brothers and sisters.  These images are not our reality and they are not our truth.  God did not send His son to die for us and free us from the bondage of sin so that we could enslave ourselves once again to our enemy, Satan.  Ensure that you are filling your mind with the Word of God and with the Truths of God and take care to call the sin you see what it is!

Go ahead — watch your favorite shows, but  let it be entertainment and not what fills you up.  I encourage you today to make a covenant to fill your eyes, your mind and your ears with things that are genuine, honorable, upright, trustworthy, crucial, and compassionate.  Make the choice!  It will change your lifeview – it will make you walk lighter – it will help you to be joy!   Be careful – our enemy is doing a great job; lets not make it easier for him…

1 John 2: 15 – 16  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Can You Handle The TRUTH?!

truthAs Lloyd and I watched Selma last week and reflected on the many injustices that people of all backgrounds have had to endure in America based upon a person’s/group’s belief that they were somehow superior — it prompted me to think about the fact that we often form our own truths. We take our opinions and our personal views of right and wrong and hold to them as truth. It can be something as trivial as a person who believes that you should never wear white after labor day; or something as serious as America does not need/want a woman or minority as their president. It can be as silly as you have to have turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving; or as critical as not wanting to host your colleagues of different ethnicities in your home. It can be as ridiculous as whether the television should be mounted over the fireplace; or as severe as not wanting your children to date a person of another ethnicity. We – all of us — take our own opinions and hold them out to be truth.

I’ve heard it said that truth is a matter of perspective. I’ve heard it said that truth is a matter of experience. I’ve heard people say that they walk in ‘their own truth’. What defines truth is morphing into something unrecognizable. Truth becomes truth based upon what notable person said it; which political party said it; which news outlet reports it; which group of friends holds it to be true. The fact is — there is but one truth; The Truth — the Almighty, True and Living God.There is no shadow in Him — no deceit – no hidden agenda – no preference for one group over another – no ulterior motives. When you want to know what the truth is — Just Ask God. Listen to Him through prayer; worship music; scripture on tape; bible reading; etc. As you lean into Him – you lean in to Truth. Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified in Truth. Jesus declares that He is the way, the Truth, and the life. The truth is not merely what is said — it is a force – The Force by which we must live our lives.

Don’t you want to live free from the strongholds and encumbrances of this present age?? Lies are the stronghold of our enemy, Satan. Lies are what are dividing us and causing us to think more of ourselves that we ought. We are mere clay – we are vessels to be used by our King — we are servants of the Most High God. We are not autonomous entities who operate in our own strength and power and we Do Not have the wisdom necessary to form our own truth!

When we hold fast to the Word of God; making it the guide and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and to teach us, then (and only then) we will know Truth. Knowing the Truth about who He is and about who you are in Him – You Will Live Free. You will not hold to irrational thoughts as truth; you will not even hold to your own personal feelings as truth — you will be able to stand in the Truth.

I want to learn to stand on His truth in all that I think, say and do! I want to reflect His glorious majesty on this earth and not my own lackluster shine. May He make my heart to live His way; love His way; believe His way. Help me Father to walk in Truth! Help me to walk Free!

“and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (‭John‬ ‭8‬:‭32‬ NASB)

Discipleship is Teaching the TRUTH of the gospel

learn_the_truthA person who does not believe the truth of the gospel – will necessarily rail against it.

As believers, our motive should always be that people come to know and understand the truth of the gospel.  Not that they can be saved from Hell – but that their lives can be redeemed for the sake of the Kingdom of God that will never end.  When people call themselves believers but they rise up against the truths that are in the Bible because it does not suit them, I am forced to ask myself if they are true believers.  Paul mentions his former ways and clearly tells us that he did these things out of ignorance – because he did not know that the gospel was truth.  But once he knew – his life and his behavior was transformed.  His life became about exposing people to their redeemer, Christ, and teaching them how to live for Him so that their lives would matter in eternity.  Are we doing that?  Leading people to Christ AND helping them to live for Him?

Father,  May it never be enough for my heart to see a person come to salvation, but may I always desire that they know you personally as Father and are able to give their lives to you so that they will be made fruitful.  Thank you for using me as a vessel of honor.  I bless your name! Amen

1 Timothy 1:12 – 14

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus”