I have had some GREAT times sharing the last couple of days. And I have had some efforts that bombed.
One huge victory was that I had the courage to finally bring up faith to a woman in my writing group whom I’ve known for several years. I’ve always felt this wall that I put up — a wall of fear of trying to talk to her about why she believed what she believed.
But at our writing group, it turned out that it was just me and her, and at some point, I took a deep breath and just said the words, “I would like to ask you, and you don’t have to answer, but how is it you have lived in the South all this time and don’t know much about the Bible?”
She was happy to talk about this, and we had the best talk! I didn’t find an open door to change her mind, but I was able to share things about myself, and she told me where she is coming from. It was a great victory, just to be able to talk about these things, and not have me always wishing I could say something, but never able to do so.
On the low side, I invited one woman to church at Dillards. I wasn’t going to say anything. But then I thought, “This is the kind of person I’m trying to make friends with — someone my age.”
So I asked her, and her face immediately shut down. She gave me an almost condescending smile and told me she had a church. I tried to say something else, just to share why I was doing this. My mind went blank. I was having a hot flash. I made some rambling stuttering comment. She just smiled at me tolerantly, waiting for me to go away. Ugh.
We had a super house church last night. Mike talked about giving your whole heart to God. We made resolutions to try to give our whole hearts to God in three areas for 2015. One of my areas is sharing my faith.
As I’ve been going over Romans, listening to Doug Jacoby, one verse stuck out —
… a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God. Rom 2:29
Circumcision of the heart. That means cutting off anything that is not for God.
I started reading some other verses about circumcision of the hearts:
In Jeremiah 9:25 I read that a time was coming “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh.”– Jer 9:25
God doesn’t want us just to go through the motions.
I LOVE this passage in Deuteronomy where Moses tells the Israelites, after they have created the golden calf, to circumcise their hearts:
“Go,” the Lord said to me, “and lead the people on their way, so that they may enter and possess the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul . . .
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome . . . Deut 10:11, 12, 16, 17
And I love these prophesies —
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh Ez 11:19
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jer 31:33-34
We live in a time now when these prophesies have been fulfilled and we CAN love God with our whole heart. He has given us the Spirit to help this be so. He has crucified our sinful nature. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Gal 5:24
It is a huge battle for me to share wholeheartedly. I want to just invite someone here and there and feel good that I’ve done it. I have such a large barrier of fear that I have to cross.
But here is something I am finding. When I do this, God starts opening doors all around me. An old friend contacted me and gave me the phone number of someone who wants to come to church. I ran into someone I know at the grocery store at just the right time to ask them to help a friend who is applying for a job where she works.
Repentance truly does bring times of refreshment.