The Skeptical Saint

ptl chick

As a baby Christian I often stood in awe at some of the antics people played with the local church. Case in point: One evening following a potluck dinner the church members were making their way to the sanctuary from the social room. There were still a few folks clearing dishes and chatting about when a couple and their children came through the door. We greeted them with Baptist’s niceties and welcomed them in. Not long after that they began to share their story of hardship and how they were traveling through the area in need of food and gasoline to make it on to a very important destination. It’s been too long for me to remember all the details. But the details I do remember make me nauseous still today.

Victory Baptist Church is one of the most loving churches I’ve ever encountered. Immediately our guests were offered the food from our dinner, which was no small amount of some of the finest homemade foods you could lay eyes on. They were then told to fill their bellies full and when they were finished they could go to a local gas station where we would arrange for them to fill up their car on credit. They declined it all, they much preferred cash.

What?

Over my nearing twenty years of salvation I’ve seen similar events take place time and time again. It’s not long until you begin to get a skeptical heart towards people needing help. You want to help, but are they for real? I find the same truth in business. Not every “Christian” organization is on the up and up.  For some they know that it’s a tender market and not always monitored by astute financial leaders of the church. Or perhaps they truly believe in what they’re doing and unknowingly sell a church on unnecessary products or services. So I’m skeptical of people in need, businesses and non-profits who tout success and blow their own horns.

It’s also why the Pocket Testament League has been such a blessing. I was recommended by a friend to apply for an ambassador’s position, which I did, and was accepted. I read the background of the ministry which in short was began in 1893 as the vision of a teenage girl named Helen Cadbury, daughter of the president of Cadbury Chocolates. She was so excited about sharing her faith that she organized a group of girls who sewed pockets onto their dresses to carry the small New Testaments her father had provided. The girls called their group “The Pocket Testament League.” Using small membership cards, they pledged to read a portion of the Bible every day, pray, and to share their faith as God provided opportunity. That same vision still drives the ministry today. (https://www.ptl.org/about/history.php)

So what does that have to do with my story of the skeptical saint? First… Who wouldn’t trust a fella that makes Cadbury eggs? Secondly, over my almost 20 years of salvation I’ve also learned to try the spirit.

1 John 4:1

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

As children of God we are warned not to trust everyone, and God has instilled in us a discernment for such matters of the heart. The world would call it a “gut” feeling. Leave your gut to discern the taste of Cadbury chocolates, but when trying the spirit of a new person or organization, leave that one to God. If possible make no rash decisions, my best way of getting myself into a mess is to leap first and then start looking for a net; that’s my best described personality trait. But God said no, test the waters… there are people out there who want to take you for a ride.

The Pocket Testament League (PTL) has a Spirit of God. They’ve asked me for nothing. I’m provided the KJV Gospel of John Testaments, (other versions are available, I prefer only KJV) which also clearly outline salvation, to share with people one on one that I meet along the way or in larger quantities for speaking events. I do send them a donation each time I order because God laid it on my heart to that, and without request people have read or heard my story of the PTL and provided funds to help me out. No, that’s not a request, just a statement of truth that God is so good at not only speaking to our hearts when something is of Him, but providing for His children.

It’s a hurting world out there. People need to see generous, loving saints of God (even the crooks need Jesus). So try the spirit of those you meet, ask God if they’re for real and then love on them the best way you can regardless.

If you choose to take a part in The Pocket Testament League please provide them with my PTL Member ID#  which is 574096 when offered the opportunity. Thanks and God Bless!

About what you’re S.O.W.I.N.G.

CHICK POINT 2

Its harvest time in many of the gardens of West Virginia. But because of the extremely wet season I’ve heard many of our farmers say that their gardens have been swampland for the most part, causing a few things to grow in great abundance and other plants to rot away leaving a disheartened farmer for all his or her labor. Life can be like that too can it not? I try so hard to be all “spiritual.” I mean really, I’m the Jesus Chick; if you give yourself that title you better be able to back it up with some proof! But the truth is some days I’m fruitful, and some days I’m just a rotten vine with little to show for what my Master has put into me. But that didn’t catch God off guard, he left me some instructions in the book of Galatians 6.

Apostle Paul wrote in the closing of his letter to the Galatians the results of poor gardening.

Spiritually speaking

Don’t throw rocks in someone else’s garden and think that you’re going to reap a bountiful harvest in your life. One of the greatest struggles for me, who tries to live spiritual, is the people around me who live like heathens. They frustrate and suck the life out of me. And they’re everywhere! I turn on the news and they are there, Facebook… they are there, in my family… they are there, in the church…. They are there, at the grocery store… they are there, everywhere. And then I hear the screeching of the tires on Apostle Paul’s car.

Paul said in verses 1-3

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

Questions: Have I tried to restore them with kindness? Have I looked in the mirror? Have I tried to help?

Own it

If I consider my own garden, what have I planted in it? I need to spend more time proving my own work; studying the Word of God and living the Word of God so that I can be a testimony and a help to those who need Christ. I’m first responsible for me. It’s hard to judge the fruit of another person’s orchard when you take care of your own as you should, there’s little time for judging. And I’m pretty sure when we get to Heaven we’ll not hear the words “Good job judging your neighbor,” come out of God’s mouth, but He will likely have much to say about the condition of the soil in our own lives.

4-6 ~ But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

Whatever it is

We know the “whatevers” in our lives that are not healthy. Spiritually and physically we’re constantly gardening to the body and soul. From the time my feet hit the floor in the morning I begin either sowing to the spirit or to the flesh. If I turn on the television before I turn on God, flesh. If I eat donuts instead of cereal, flesh. If I care more about the physical house I’m building than the spiritual house, I’m sowing to the flesh.

7-8 ~ Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Idle Farmers

I don’t think I say it in judgment, just in reality, that I see churches filled with idle farmers. They come to church to get the store bought goods. The stuff that’s prepackaged and ready to eat. Spread out on the table like a banquet for royalty to pick over and discard the unwanted fruit. Church is not a grocery store, it’s a farm store and conference center. It’s where we gather together to hear and learn the Word of God and to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul took the time and effort to write a very long letter of encouragement to the church. It is said that because of Paul’s poor eyesight that he struggled to write at all, and yet he wrote the bulk of the New Testament. Paul truly cared about the church.

Paul said in verses  9-11  ~  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.

Nothing but the Cross

For me, work and service come easy. Often times it’s so I’ll feel vindicated or accepted by those I serve; both of which are wrong because in so doing I’m sewing to the flesh to make me feel better. I certainly need to serve but not to prove myself to anyone, I need only to prove to Christ that I am a new creature because of what He did for me on the cross. Many of the Jews who had gotten saved had a hard time separating the works of man from the grace of Christ. Even circumcision was viewed as a part of salvation. Sowing and reaping is not to bring our work before the Lord and say look what I’ve done, but rather to keep the harvest coming till the Lord returns. Then and only then will we discover what the fruits of our labor have been.

12-16 ~  As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Grace. Enjoy it.

If we sow seeds of grace in the lives of others, I believe we’ll reap and enjoy grace in our own lives, including forgiveness for all those times of sowing to the flesh.

17-18 ~ From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.