No. 150

This is article No. 150 that I have written for this newsletter. Does that mean that I have completed my task of writing 150 articles? Or am I just halfway through with writing 300 articles? Only God knows. I don't think it matters if I write more articles. What matters is that I continue to reach out to other people in Christian love. It is the message that is important, not the method of delivery. And the message is one of hope, love, and forgiveness.

Expressing your joy in the Lord to the unsaved can be a very effective witnessing tool at times. But using joy as a "proof" to others that Christianity is worthwhile can sometimes backfire. You wish the unsaved could see the peace in your heart that says you don't care about circumstances because your joy remains constant. But the unsaved become confused when you have a bad day and are unhappy. They wonder where your joy went. Your joy is still there. But the unsaved can't see past your unfortunate circumstances.

The unsaved cannot understand the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is a good feeling you get when you are living in favorable circumstances. But joy is both a sense of tremendous elation and of quiet comfort. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Happiness depends on you changing things around you to meet your expectations. Joy depends on you allowing the Lord to change things inside you to meet God's expectations. Happiness results from your working toward and achieving some goals. Joy results as a peace you receive when you know you are one of God's children. Christ bore the weight of your sins on the cross. He did all the work. You are forgiven. So you don't have to work at producing joy or peace. You just accept it.

Joy may make Christianity seem very attractive and appealing to the unsaved. They may look at Christianity as a way to get a life with no problems. But Christianity does not promise there will be no problems, just that we will never have to face our problems alone. That brings long-term peace. Happiness seems to buy only short-term peace. You have a peace and a joy that everything is going well. But happiness shatters very quickly when misfortune strikes. And then peace is replaced with turmoil. True joy cannot be shaken. True joy and peace remain through the hard times.

Consider using your dependency on God as a witnessing tool. Most people want to believe that God cares about them. But the world is so full of wickedness and problems that the unsaved are confused and think that God does not care about them. It is our job to show them that God does care about them very much. Whatever encouragement we can offer will go a long way toward showing someone the peace and joy of being a Christian. People are looking for some kind of positive sign from any source that it is OK to go ahead and trust in God, that He will never forsake them. We need to tell others how we depend on God and how we have grown to trust and obey Him. We need to tell them that they can depend on God, too.

Let me give you an example of how I depend on God's help. Brian works in a different department at the company where I am employed. I overheard a conversation which led me to believe that there was a way I could encourage Brian. So I dug up a past article that I had written that spoke to some of the needs in the conversation I overheard. But I did not know how to present the article to Brian. We had never talked before. I wanted to relate the article to the needs in the conversation I overheard, but was cautious about starting a relationship on an overheard conversation. And Brian seemed like such a "together" person, that I felt awkward trying to offer any encouragement to someone who apparently would never need any encouragement.

I brought the article to work, but didn't know what to do with it. So I prayed about it. I depended on God to help me. I trusted Him that He would help me. I went to the copier machine to make a copy of the article for Brian. As I was making the copy, guess who happened to walk by! It was Brian! And he introduced himself to me. Then I said, "Maybe you would like a copy of this!" And he took it. He later told me how much he appreciated the article's message.

So it was my dependency on God and my trust in Him that broke the ice between Brian and me. I cannot take credit for being an outstanding and fearless evangelist. My method of delivery was not flashy or polished. I was just a quiet, faithful servant of God. And that was all it took. It was the message that was important, not the method. So you don't have to be fearless and flashy to reach out to others in Christian love. All you need is a sincere heart that is faithful to God.

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