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Entries in Christian Survival Kit (4)

Monday
Mar202017

An Open Invitation

“I don’t want to hear it…. I said no! I’m with my grandkids right now,” an older lady snapped at my friend. It was an unusually angry response to my friend’s cheerful greeting. But as we walked away, we both knew something more was going on.

“I was raised Baptist, but I stopped going to church a long time ago. Christians are hypocrites.”

“We have to get going. Sorry.”

“My kids…”

These were all things my friend and I encountered at the mall as we were street evangelizing. We would start off each conversation by asking people if they knew how much God loved them, if they knew He had a wonderful plan for their lives. Many times we were met with openness. Other people were shy or surprised. Sometimes the stark contrast in responses was interesting: from a smile of familiarity to an outburst of anger. It reminded me of the parable in the Gospels about the great supper.

Jesus said in Luke 14:16-20:

“Then He said to him, ‘A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, [17] and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, “Come, for all things are now ready.” [18] But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, “I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.” [19] And another said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.” [20] Still another said, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”’”  

New King James Version

During our time at the mall, more people were receptive to accepting Jesus than not. But it’s not fun being yelled at, especially when you know you’re offering someone the best gift in the universe.

In his Christian Survival Kit series, Andrew teaches about this very thing in a message called “How to Handle Persecution.” In it, he explains what’s really going on when you’re being persecuted. He says,

“People hated Jesus. If they hated Jesus, then if you are a true representative of Jesus, then they’re going to hate you. Not everybody, but certain people are…. If you are ministering effectively, the Holy Spirit is going to use your life and/or testimony to try [to] pressure a person to change, and if the person is receptive to God, then they’ll love you…. They’ll embrace you. They’ll look at you as a mentor, and they’ll receive you. And it will be a positive thing. But if the person is rejecting God, well, then they’ve got to reject you. Most people aren’t spiritual enough to be able to distinguish between [you and] the conviction they’re feeling come through you and…the power that’s behind you…. They’re just carnal. They’re looking at it as this is you that’s making them feel this way.”

Invitations for that great supper are still being sent out, and it’s for anybody who will accept it. “Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled’” (Luke 14:23, NKJV). As long as you are being kind and respectful, don’t take it personally if your “supper” invitation is rejected. It’s like what Andrew says: “Persecution is a backhanded compliment.” God wants to have a full house, so make sure you bring your friends!

To hear more about what Andrew has to say on persecution, you can get his individual teaching titled “How to Handle Persecution.” You can also get the complete Christian Survival Kit series.

Share a comment below if you can relate to this.

Monday
Mar132017

You Are What You Speak 

Have you ever been around people who just love to talk? They are sometimes known as extroverts, and they typically have a lot to say! And then there are introverts like me, who’d rather spend an hour in a dentist’s chair than be forced to converse. Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, neither personality is better or worse than the other, but all of us can learn from Scripture about the power of our words.

I used to read James 3 and think about the loquacious members among us and how challenged they must be to always have to watch their words: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature…. [8] But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:6 and 8).

I would thank God that He made me the way He did. After all, most people have heard, or have even had it said to them, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all!” It was easy for me to choose the latter option and stay silent. But I later realized that just because I refrained from speaking negative or hurtful things didn’t mean I was necessarily doing what God wanted—or even required—me to do.

In his teaching The Power of Faith-Filled Words, Andrew encourages us not to speak our fears, doubts, unbelief, or anything that we don’t want to happen to us. As he likes to say, based on Proverbs 6:2, “We are hung by our tongues.” However, we should speak what we do want to happen. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit…” (Prov. 18:21). There are two sides to this verse: Words can produce death, which is why it’s sometimes best to stay silent. But they can also produce life. Good and bad fruit are produced when we speak.

Throughout Genesis 1, God created our world by speaking it into existence. He didn’t snap His fingers, clap His hands, or simply think it into being. He used words. Therefore, we also must use words to create what we desire—whether it’s healing, prosperity, peace, or anything else God wants us
to have.

In The Power of Faith-Filled Words, Andrew stresses the importance of watching our words during times of crisis. This doesn’t mean simply not speaking out our fears; it also means to speak words of faith that align with Scripture. We have the power to literally speak God’s will into our circumstances. Jesus said in Mark 11:23, “Whosoever shall say unto this mountain…he shall have whatsoever he saith.” We have to actually say, not just think or even pray.

The Power of Faith-Filled Words is one of the teachings included in Andrew’s Christian Survival Kit package, a Word-filled collection of Andrew’s best that will help you survive and overcome crises that come your way. Check out our store to see what this package includes.

So, extroverts, keep on talking! But think before you speak, and align your words with God’s. And introverts, let’s make our voices heard so we can “have whatsoever [we] saith” (brackets mine)!

Extroverts, we know you likely have a comment. Introverts, do you want to give it a try? You are all welcome to comment below if this has blessed you.

Monday
Mar062017

When God Says You’re a Winner

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Hebrews 12:1 (English Standard Version)

The gun had fired, and I was running for my life! Well, at least it felt that way. In reality, though, it was a referee’s pop gun, and I was running beside thirty other high school girls. We were all jockeying for positions in our three-mile race. Just as with most of the races in my cross-country career, I eventually dropped into my normal place…near the back. I was never a fast runner. In fact, I never came in a place higher than a few from the end. With results like that, many would question why I kept running. And sometimes I questioned
it too.

This race in particular was a rough one. As is typical of an early fall day in Michigan, it was hot, humid, and sticky. It was hard to breathe, and my legs were aching from shin splints and tendonitis in my knees. From the back of the pack, I was laboring just to keep moving forward.

I heard the approaching footsteps on the grass indicating that someone was catching up to me and was about to pass. When the blonde girl moved past me, I almost shrugged. This was just so “normal,” almost expected. What I was not expecting was her voice in my ear as she passed by: “You should just give up, you loser.”

Anger rushed through me much faster than I could have imagined. But I put that anger to use and threw my head up, lengthened my stride, and somehow found the strength to push forward. I raced after the girl and passed her moments later. When I dashed toward the finish line, every part of my body was screaming. I was not going to let that girl beat me.

And I didn’t. I crossed the finish line a few minutes later, sucked in some much-needed air, and limped away. My shins and knees still hurt and, yes, I was limping—but I was limping triumphantly.

There were plenty of times in my four-year high school running career when I could’ve given up. I had sustained multiple running injuries and had regularly finished at the back of the pack. I never actually won a race. I never
even placed.

I may not have seemed like a winner, but one thing I was not was a loser.

This winner/loser scenario made me think about something I heard from Andrew. In his A Sure Foundation teaching, he tells people, “When God says that you’re a winner, man, agree with him. You may not see how it’s working, it may not be visible to you at the moment, but don’t come out and disagree with God.” He goes on to explain how grace and peace come through the knowledge of God.

So, we get to know who we are as we get to know God better. And one thing I am learning is that I am a winner, no matter who is passing me. It’s
my race.

No matter how many times I came in last or finished ahead of only a few, I was a winner. God says I was then and am now, so I’m going to believe Him. That’s all that matters at the end of the day. The better you know God, the easier it will be to see yourself as a winner in every circumstance, regardless of how it feels. The more you build that foundation through the knowledge of God, the easier it is to see the truth: You are a winner!

If you’re interested in hearing A Sure Foundation for yourself, you can get it in Andrew’s Christian Survival Kit Complete Package. Find out about this and the other teachings offered in this package here.

We’d love to hear your comments if this has encouraged you in any way.