"Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should." Ephesians 6:19-20
I couldn't help but pause when I read these two verses. Paul is asking for prayer for two specific reasons. Two reasons that we should find ourselves in prayer for, concerning ourselves:
That God would give us the right amount of boldness and the right words to say as we seek to make known the beauty of the Gospel in the course of everyday life.
And within this prayer request is a three letter phrase that caught my attention: ambassador in chains. That is what Paul called himself. An ambassador is "an authorized representative or messenger" and the chains...well, that was what made up Paul's everyday life. (take some time to think about that!)
You and I may not be ambassadors in chains....but we are each ambassadors. 2 Corinthians 5:20 explains it beautifully:
"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ's behalf, " Be reconciled to God."
Each one of us, who has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, represents Jesus Christ and is a messenger of the gospel that brings peace and forgiveness of sins. We are an ambassador right where we are. Maybe you are an: ambassador in sickness, ambassador in your neighborhood, ambassador in nurse scrubs, ambassador through suffering, ambassador in cleaning, ambassador at the park, ambassador in the grocery line, ambassador folding laundry, ambassador in the cafeteria, ambassador on the basketball court, ambassador in the classroom, ambassador to the frustrating boss, ambassador in the dead-end job, ambassador in diaper changing. Wherever God has placed us is where He calls us to be an ambassador of the Good News. To our family first and then to those in our neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, athletic teams, parks and even grocery stores and restaurants.
I don't know about you, but it's easy to look at my life and see a bunch of mundane tasks. Ordinary stuff. But, when I read God's Word and my mind is renewed...my life comes alive in light of the eternal. I'm an ambassador for the King of kings and the Lord of lords! You are an ambassador for the Creator and Sustainer of this whole entire world and the galaxies beyond!
And He has given us a message to share...to the little lambs in our home straight through to the cashier in our checkout line: There is one true God who is perfectly holy and cannot be around sin for even a minute. We are sinners separated from that holy God without any way to get to Him on our own. So God made a way. He sent His Son into the world to live the perfect life we could not live in our place and to take all our sin upon Himself on the cross and bear the wrath of God so that we might be reconciled to God forever.
May we, like Paul, pray for boldness and the words to say and, by God's grace, might we live each ordinary moment faithfully fulfilling our extraordinary calling as ambassadors of Christ!
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
After almost 3 feet of snow falling since last Friday, God gave us the sun...even if it was just for a day. It was brilliantly beautiful and freezing cold, all at the same time. Literally, below freezing. So, when I looked out my front door today, I did a double take. Drip, drip, drip. Snow was melting off our roof and our driveway...even though the temperature said nothing should be melting. But that's what the sun does. Its light and heat cannot be ignored, no matter how cold it is. (okay, and then there is sublimation...but this isn't a science lesson :))
Isn't that the way it should be for us, as those who follow Christ? The Bible tells us that we are the light of the world. Light shining in darkness. The darkness cannot hold onto it's darkness much like the snow cannot hold onto it's "freeze". Not when the Light, the "Son", is shining.
The "temperature" of our world may truly be cold, even freezing, to the things of the Lord, to the truths that the Bible teaches...but we are called to shine. We are called to proclaim. We are called to magnify. We are called to glorify the Name that is above all names. We, too, were once in the cold darkness but the light of the gospel shone in our hearts and melted our hardened, frozen hearts.
May we shine forth the Son wherever He has placed us and, by His grace and for His glory alone, might He melt the hearts of those around us till they, too, proclaim the excellencies of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light!
Monday, February 6, 2017
Of course, all that she was, all that she did and even the attitude in which she did it, came from the Lord. "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things" (Romans 11:36). Still, it is right to look at her as blessed (though, false religions have given her undue praise and prominance). Elizabeth called her blessed. Even Mary in the beautiful "Magnificat" recognized that all generations to come would call her blessed.
Hard not to be a little envious of her...but this is where it gets fun! :)
Another woman called Mary blessed about 9 chapters later in Luke 11:27 and said, "The womb that bore You and the one who nursed You are blessed." Nothing to argue about there...but what happens next is MIND BLOWING for the believer. Jesus replies, "Even more, those who hear the Word of God and keep it are blessed." (vs 28)
Even more, we are blessed.
Even more than the blessing of the physical, belongs the blessings of the spiritual...for those who are in Christ.
Read these beautiful words from Ephesians 1:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ; for He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." (vs. 3-8)
We are blessed...truly, so very blessed!