Category Archives: GOD Blog

This is a periodic e-newsletter in line with the theme of this site: GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? Knowing and Experiencing God by His Hebrew Names. These are posts in addition to those of the free e-course and may expound upon the lessons in the workbook by the same name.

Many Are the Afflictions of the Righteous and What We Can Learn From Them

When adversity comes, knocks, strikes, and hits down your door

My husband and I recently made a beautiful ascent into Jerusalem onto the Mount of Olives (where Jesus’ feet will one day land) that descended past the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed before His afflictions and crucifixion. The steep path led into the Kidron Valley that led up to the Eastern Gate through which He will return to the city.

I’ve documented our trip with images and explanations on my Facebook page: C.R.O.W.N. Calling Real Ordinary [Wo]men NOW. That’s about all I’ve done business/ministry wise in the last four months since we left for Israel in October.

We soon learned that a descending of afflictions into the valley follows an ascending

Jerusalem is a city built on the mountains. So, to go out from Jerusalem, the disciples had to go down. They had to go down the mountain. So, to send them out from Jerusalem was to send them down from Jerusalem. Just as important as it is to ascend the mountain is to descend it. In fact, that’s the direction of ministry . . . down the mountain (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, (Charisma House Book Group 2016, pg. 325).

Our traveling plans were to return home through Germany to see our daughter and family at their Army post. She had warned us that they were on the top fourth floor of their apartment building. They had missed getting into a house four months prior when they moved there. But it didn’t matter that they had no elevator, because Jim and I were both afflicted that whole week.

After arriving home, I discovered I had double pneumonia; Jim had ear and sinus problems. Six weeks after I recovered, I was able to care for my sister who had a hip replacement and get ready for Christmas for our children. A couple days later, I went for a walk and then another sudden affliction hit me…a complication from the pneumonia which put me on a breathing machine three times per day for thirty days. Today is the first day off that contraption!

During this trying time, I tried to pray which was hard since energy was out the door. But, one morning I heard in my spirit, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” How encouraging that was! I looked it up in my Bible:

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart; and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:18-19 NKJV). Click to Tweet

 

Many are the Afflictions of the Righteous with free arrows and shield laminate

What is the Definition of Affliction?

To afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain and suffering. To afflict means to cast down; to strike; humble; overthrow; to distress so severely as to cause persistent suffering or anguish; trouble; injure; torment.

Afflictions are the state of being afflicted; the cause of persistent pain or distress; great suffering.

What strikes me about this definition is that a “cast sheep” is one that has turned over on its back due to outside sources. Because it’s heavy with lamb and wool, it cannot turn over on its own. Without the shepherd’s help, it will die. To be enlightened how we are like sheep, go to>>  Sheep of the Lord and Jehovah Rohi

Where Do Afflictions Come From and Why?

The Bible shows where adversity comes from and why most clearly in the book and story of Jōb.

Jōb lived in the land of Uz with his wife, seven sons and three daughters. He was a righteous man, who was blameless, honored God and shunned evil. He was blessed by God with material wealth: seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and a large number of servants.

One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?”

Satan answered God, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”

God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Jōb? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”

Satan retorted, “So do you think Jōb does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him and his family or his possessions, bless everything he does— he can’t lose!

“But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”

God replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of God.”—Job 1:6-12 The Message

Ruins of Jerusalem with text overlay of How to Find Deliverance from Adversity and Afflictions

 

 

If you are going through a difficult time right now, you will want to go HERE to read this full story. The story of Jōb will help you like no other. It guided me at our most difficult days years ago. It shows what is going on behind the scenes where Satan brings disaster upon Jōb by taking away everything he owns except his wife. Eventually, his own body is struck with painful boils.

Job’s three ‘friends’ came to see him. They accused him and his adult children of sin and criticized him for days. Never did they pray for him.

Job gets so frustrated that he said, “I’m going directly to God for answers.” Of course, this is exactly what God wanted to hear >> The Story of Job.

We will look at four principles this story teaches us about suffering, adversity and afflictions, and what God is doing by filtering through His great big hands what Satan wants to bring against us––and how we can overcome.

Why Face Adversity?

Although Job was angry with his friends, one thing they did do was to put some fight into him. Would Job have given in to his afflictions and let them get the best of him if they had not troubled him more? We don’t know, but Job did learn to face his adversity. And, in doing so, He overcame.

Do you know of someone who lays down in the face of troubles and gives in to every blow that comes along and are always sick, having surgery or are perpetually distressed? They live by their emotions, and only what they can see, feel, taste, touch and only what the doctor says about them.

The first step to overcome is to face it by going to the Great Physician to see what He says about it, rather than what friends say. Facing adversity takes courage and means FIGHTING to overcome.

The Lord delivers those from afflictions who not only fight the spiritual battle, the good fight of faith, but they know God by knowing His Word; it’s not automatic and takes a lot of effort, but it’s so worth it.

Through Job’s story, we learn these four principles:

Afflictions Help Us See God and Know Who God Is

 

Flowers with text overlay of Jeremiah 30:17

1.      God is sovereign. We cannot understand his working through rational thinking alone.

When we want to ask, “Why God, why me?” we must remind ourselves that God sees the big picture of what He hopes to accomplish through our lives. Job took his complaints directly to God and God answered him. Bottom line: Job realized how small he was and how big God was and that there was a purpose in his whole ordeal.

The Lord had asked Job to listen to Him and give Him some answers. Listen closely to Job’s reply, for this is the purpose of all suffering: “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6 NIV). Click to Tweet

2.      God’s will toward us is good – always God is good. God really is near to those going through adversity. He always makes His presence known – when we are looking to Him and His word.

After many weeks of weakness, I pulled out my ARROWS SWORD & SHIELD (a 5 x 7 laminate) that I made after previous difficulties. I spoke these Scriptures over myself out loud declaring His promises as already fulfilled while thanking God for strength and healing although I didn’t feel like it.

The next morning during my one hour of computer time of scheduling pins for my Pinterest business, SEVEN times this Scripture crossed my vision:

“For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 30:17). Click to Tweet

God always cares and will communicate His care to his children.

Afflictions Bring Growth in Humility and Reveal His Divine Purposes

3.      We can focus on our innocence and question God’s justice as Job did, or we can grow in humility and wait for God to reveal Himself and His purposes for us.

The Lord spoke to Job and answered his questions. Job replied, “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head” (Job 42:1-3 Msg).

Job found that God did not have a list of offenses against him, but his only offense was his complaints against God during the suffering. He knew God had to have had a purpose, and now he knew what it was: “I admit I once lived by rumors of you, now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!” (Job 42:5 Msg).

Afflictions Make Us Stronger and Build Character

4.      The testing of our faith is an individual, personal testing.

At times uncontrollable forces will come against us. Family, friends, health, houses and job, and other sources of strength may be taken away leaving us seemingly ALONE in the battle. It’s in this ALONENESS, however, that we must hear God’s voice rather than the voice of others.

We must trust God alone to fill our voids and return us to victory. After Job did this, God asked him to pray for his friends; in doing so he had to forgive them, and Job was healed. God restored double to him of all he lost, and he was now on the road to be able to comfort others as he had been comforted by God alone (2 Cor. 1:4).

Who Can Overcome Afflictions?

We know the righteous will be delivered as Psalm 34: 19 says, but what about non-Christians? Does God hear their prayers, too? My friend Janice was married at seventeen years of age. Her husband tried unsuccessfully to drown her when she was pregnant. At the birth of her daughter, the doctor announced, “You will never take this baby home. She has only half a liver.”

But, Janice, not yet a Christian, did what James 5:13 says to do, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” She went out into the hallway to call her sister to pray for her. A woman appeared beside her and voiced the prayer over the phone. To read this miraculous story go HERE

How Can Suffering and Afflictions be Overcome?

Barbara Watts suffered from multiple sclerosis. It hit her while she was witnessing to a friend. Her story shows how perseverance and the Word of God brought her miracle from this incurable disease. And it all happened in a church that did not believe in divine healing. Here is her story of faith>> What Does the Mature Bride Look Like?

God is Jehovah Rapha [The Lord our Healer]. Over and over again I’ve seen miracles of healing from my past, in our marriage and with our children––mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Here is my story of learning about faith and how to pray for family and friends: Because God is Jehovah-Rapha I Am Healed

What Current Afflictions Are Teaching Me

I’ve realized that my old habit of a performance mentality is not dead. Early in my marriage, I unknowingly felt I needed to work to gain God’s approval and was unable to see myself as God saw me. I’ve written about that in My Red Umbrella Story.

With all that needs to be done with a Web site and business/ministry, I’ve lately let that wrong attitude gain mastery in my life at the exclusion of other more important things.

Over these last few months, and without ‘my’ help, God has demonstrated that He doesn’t need my help (but he wants me and loves me). He has brought a 279% increase in traffic to my site with six times more organic browser searches. If I’d not been absolutely prevented from writing more posts and doing other ‘marketing’ things I would not have known that.

Immediately upon falling ill, I asked God, “How am I going to keep up with Pinterest?” When I read about Jesus turning the water into wine and the marriage feast, He spoke to my heart, “Just fill one jar, or one day, at a time with your pins and trust me to turn them into wine.” He’s doing that. And subscribers are still finding my free ecourse on this site––with the excerpts I’ve given you here.

I’ve determined not to make any more deadlines of my time with the Lord so I can “get on the computer.” I will not merely throw a kiss to Jesus from a distance, and I commit myself to spend more time with Him in His Word and in prayer.

I’ve repented and  made a quality decision to do only what He says when He says and how He says––having descended the mountain into the valley where other people are.

Free Booklet, Because God Is . . . I Am, with sign up of Free eCourse

 

FREE E COURSE - LEARN MORE

 

Revelation 2:2-5 (NKJV)

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot [b]bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.

“Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”

May I Pray with You?

I’m closing with more Scriptures about affliction, but if you’d like me to pray with you, please hit reply or post a comment below.

Here are some additional helps you may enjoy:

Because God Is . . . I Am << this link is the booklet given away with the free ecourse of GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? You can get it now for only $.99 that makes it available at your fingertips on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo and many more. It has additional healing Scriptures of Jehovah Rapha and eleven more Hebrew names of God that cover every area and need in life.

Eyes Wide Open << this link is the booklet given away with my periodic newsletter. It will help you know who Holy Spirit is, His benefits, and how you can know Him better and give you the power to live the Christian life. Same price; same reading apps.

lady in chair afflicted with text overlay of 4 things you should know about afflictions suffering and adversity

Scriptures about Afflictions:

Psalm 34:17-20 ESV

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Romans 8:18 ESV

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Romans 5:3-4 ESV

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

Psalm 119:71 ESV

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

James 5:11 ESV

Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Romans 8:28 ESV

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

Psalm 22:24 ESV

For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.

What is Heaven According to the Bible and What Will We Do There?

This post was written by my friend Susie Kyman. I discovered it after I completed writing a series about the 5 Eternal Crown Rewards Christians will receive in heaven.  I went to her Facebook profile to look for a certain post she had made.

However, this is what I found, I was astounded at the clarity and insight she wrote about heaven and what it will be like for Christians. I know it will bring deeper insight for you, too.

As you read the last paragraph keep in mind that she wrote it before her beloved husband Troy was diagnosed with cancer that took his life. He personally “liked” her post and is now in the great cloud of witnesses watching for her!

HEAVEN: A RESURRECTED LIFE, IN A RESURRECTED BODY, WITH A RESURRECTED CHRIST, ON A RESURRECTED EARTH!

October 8, 2011 at 10:53 AM

What is heaven according to the bible and what will we do?

Heaven and eternal life are talked about and taught about very little considering it is our only hope! The Word of God gives us many glimpses of Heaven and even goes beyond that to promise life on a new and redeemed earth.

Even many Christians continue to fear death, dread death and are not confident about what awaits them when this life ends.

Many have been taught or have assumed that heaven is a place of “disembodied spirits,” that we will spend our days floating on clouds, in a state of eternal sleep, or that all of eternity is spent worshipping around the throne.

None of these descriptions fit what the Word promises us regarding eternal life!  It will be a LIFE, although much richer than the one we enjoy now.   We can’t know everything that awaits us, but the Bible has given us many clues as to what we can look forward to.

I am going to include the Scripture references for each of these claims, but I am going to let you look most of them up, as I believe our own diligent search in the Word brings the most revelation.

HEAVEN HAS PHYSICAL PROPERTIES AND IS CAPABLE OF CONTAINING PHYSICAL OBJECTS. IT HAS CITIES, GARDENS, BUILDINGS, BANQUETS, AND BODIES!

City – (Hebrews 11:16)

Buildings – (John 14: 1-3) Jesus promised a house with many rooms.

Food – We are promised a “wedding banquet” and a supper. Jesus talked about eating and drinking again when the Passover was fulfilled (after His death) – Luke 22. Wedding feasts and banquets in Jesus’ day served the best foods available to them.

Garden – Jesus called it paradise when talking to the thief on the cross (Luke 23-43). The Greek definition of paradise compares it to the enclosed gardens of the Persians.

Heaven has physical properties and is capable of containing physical objects. It has cities, gardens, buildings, banquets, and bodies! Click to Tweet

Are you confident about what awats you when this life ends?

IN HEAVEN WE WILL NOT BE DISEMBODIED SPIRITS. IF THERE IS NO NEED FOR A BODY, THERE IS NO NEED FOR A RESURRECTION!

The body is referred to as a glorified body free of sickness, pain, and limitations.

A resurrected body is the thing that distinguishes Christianity from every other belief.

In order to receive and believe in Jesus for our salvation, we have to believe that His BODY was resurrected after 3 days.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  Romans 10:9-10

To be CONFIDENT in your salvation, go here>> My Story How God Found Me

A resurrected body is the thing that distinguishes Christianity from every other belief. In order to receive and believe in Jesus for our salvation, we have to believe that His BODY was resurrected after three days. Click to Tweet

WE WILL HAVE REAL THOUGHTS AND CAPABILITIES

The Word suggests our memory won’t be erased but will be free of any painful memories

~ Lazarus, full of sores and forced to beg crumbs at the rich man’s table, found comfort in heaven from his hard life on earth––in the bosom of Abraham (Luke 16: 19-31).

~ The martyrs in the book of Revelation ask God about justice for their murders on earth  (Revelation 6:10).

WE WILL BE INDIVIDUALS KNOWN BY NAME

EACH NAME is written in the book of Life (Philippians 4:3, Revelation 20:12 and more).

EACH is given a robe (Revelation 6:11).

Jesus came back after the resurrection and said: “It is I, myself . . . .” He resumed his previous relationships when he returned.

When Moses and Elijah made a visit to a few of the disciples with Jesus, they were still recognizable as Moses and Elijah. (Matthew 17:1-8).

We will not be different people in heaven, but the same people relocated and transformed!

We will not be different people in heaven, but the same people - relocated and transformed! Click to Tweet

WE WILL ENJOY RELATIONSHIPS AND COMMUNITY IN HEAVEN

Heaven = rich relationships with people and with God

Hell = isolation from others and separation from God

Abraham and Lazarus were together (Luke 16:19-31)

Moses and Elijah returned to earth together to visit with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-8)

Jesus tells the thief on the cross that he will be “with him” in Paradise (Luke 23:43)

WE WILL BE ABLE TO ASK QUESTIONS, WE WILL STILL BE LEARNING

The martyrs ask God a question in heaven (Revelation 6:10).

THE SCRIPTURES SUGGEST AN AWARENESS OF “TIME” IN HEAVEN

Jesus refers to time and dates for all events of the future.

The angels are aware that there are future events yet to unfold.

The martyrs in Heaven ask “How long until there is justice for our murders?”

WE DO NOT BECOME “ANGELS” WHEN WE DIE

Angels, as described in the Word, are separate created beings who have only resided in heaven.  We will remain children of God when we die which is an even higher privilege.

When Jesus was asked if we will marry in heaven, he said, “no you will be ‘like’ the angels (in that you will not marry).”  Even the angels have their own names and identities (Michael, Gabriel, etc.) which further shows everyone has their own identity in heaven.

THERE IS A CONNECTION BETWEEN PEOPLE & EVENTS IN HEAVEN AND PEOPLE AND EVENTS ON EARTH

Heaven’s occupants may not have knowledge of your everyday coming and going, but are aware of the spiritually important events on earth:

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).

A great multitude is rejoicing over God’s judgment on the earth.(Revelation 10:1-5).

There is much rejoicing over one sinner on earth that repents (Luke 15:7).

He promises even more than that.  The heaven that we refer to is the “3rd heaven” that Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 12.  It is the heaven where God currently dwells.  It is the location where believers in Christ currently go when leaving this earth but is referred to as a “temporary place” until the formation of the New Heavens and the New Earth! (2Peter 3: 10-13).

This hope does not completely erase the current pain of losing someone you love.  As one pastor said, “The depth of your grief can be measured equal to the depth of the love that you had for that person.” Even Jesus wept when his friend Lazarus died even though he was about to resurrect him from the dead and return him to his family. But it can keep us from being hopeless and look toward the day when we do get to see them again.

A NOTE FROM ANN:

Susie’s article brings to light what I’ve recently read in The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn. He compares life on this Earth and heaven to living in the womb and after birth. In the womb we have eyes, ears, a mouth, feet, and hands, although we can’t see, hear, speak, walk and touch; however, we were created to do those things. Just think how much more the difference will be for us to LIVE in heaven compared to our existence down here!

Free Booklet Eyes Wide Open with God Blog Sign Up

FREE Booklet with Blog Sign Up

 

Heaven A Resurrected Life in a resurrected body with a resurrected Christ on a resurrected earth

Witnessing For Christ Ideas in Life – Crown of Rejoicing

On the way back from a mission trip to India, our boarding seats were scattered all over the plane. Although witnessing for Christ was the last thing I wanted to do, I  said, “I wonder what assignments the Lord has for us now?”

Pastor Marty looked at my seat assignment, a number B, and said, “You have a double assignment, A and C.”

“Oh no! I don’t think I can handle that.” It had been over 24 hours since I’d slept.

Witnessing-for-Christ-Ideas-in-Life-with-Cerative-Ideas-and-Divine-Encounters

Finally, it was time to board the plane. As I found my seat the lady on the aisle did not budge. She had her eyes closed while she asked me if I could step over her, which I managed to do. She obviously was very tired and not in the mood to talk. Whew!! Me too!

The young lady by the window was a beautiful young lady wearing a brown and tan plaid hajib which revealed to me she was Muslim. We smiled at each other as I thought, Lord, do you really expect me to witness to this lady?  I don’t know the first thing about witnessing to a Muslim. All I know is that Allah is not God and they believe Jesus was only a prophet, not God. But Lord you know I’m willing. Give me the right words. So, for the next hour the Lord gave me His strength beyond anything I’d experienced before.

I learned her name and that she was returning to America from seeing her sister in Pakistan. Her husband was a physician; she was also, yet, she chose to be home with her three children.

That gave me something to say. I told her she reminded me of my daughter because she was just as pretty, and her children were about the same age. Then, it occurred to me to ask her the questions I’d been thinking since being in Dubai––our layover.

“Can you tell me the difference between how you dress and those who wear all black with the black headdress and face covered? Does it have to do with the Muslim sect?”

She explained. “The extent to how we dress is by choice. I just cannot live with the mouth covered. Many wear makeups. I don’t.” That explained the many women I saw in Dubai with bright red lipstick and fancy headdresses, especially the stewardesses.

She spoke of the things she had to do, like praying five times per day. saying, “I believe it’s good that we learn about each other’s religion. That’s good.” She kept bringing up the word “religion” until I could take it no longer. I realized then how important it was to be at a church with the motto: Relationship not Religion, and I could hardly believe she was the one bringing up ‘religion.’

“I must say respectfully, I don’t believe in religion, I believe in a relationship, a relationship with Jesus Christ. I have the Quran, but I’ve never read it. Is it a book about love?”

She didn’t answer, but said, “I’ve never read the Bible.”

“Well, I just happen to have a little New Testament with me you can have.” I explained how it was only part of the Bible and how it related with the Old Testament. I turned to John 3:16-17 and couldn’t even see the words, so I asked her to read them.

She looked at me with a shocked face and said, “If I say those words, it will change who I am! I’m told I will go to hell if I even say those words!” I nodded as she said it would change who she was.

I called her by her name and said, “I want you to know it’s not just by chance we are sitting beside each other now. God is here with us.”

“I know.” She motioned with her hands in the air and said, “I can feel him.”

That opened the door for me to share the high points of my testimony that I’d practiced for the India trip. A printable pdf file of my testimony >> My Story How God Found Me  << is at this link. (It includes my Red Umbrella Story with diagram.)

Witnessing for Christ - Crown of Rejoicing

I looked right into her eyes and could see tears that she immediately tried to hide. She said, “Well, I know I’m right.” She didn’t sound convinced, but she knew I was.

“If you aren’t right, wouldn’t you want to know it?” She didn’t answer and took no offense. “Are you aware that millions of Muslims are turning to Jesus Christ right now?”

“Christians are turning to Muslim, too.”

“If they are Christians who are turning, it’s because they don’t know who God is, and therefore, don’t know who they are.” I couldn’t believe I’d said that, but she still took it in. I felt like maybe she had heard the Truth about Jesus before.

The words to the old hymn from In the Garden came to mind, “He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own. And He loves you, too.”

Suddenly, I couldn’t say another word and said, “I’ve enjoyed our conversation, but I have to sleep now.” I tucked my written testimony in the New Testament, with my Scripture booklet, “Because God Is . . . I am,” and my Two Super-Natural Events paper. She took them all. I felt like I was pouring water on a dry and thirsty heart.

So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:7 NKJV

So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:7 NKJV Click to Tweet

As the plane neared our destination and morning had come, the lady on my right was watching a movie and finally finished. I had no clue what to say to her, if anything. Before leaving Dubai, a stewardess came up to her when she had her eyes closed and expressed appreciation for her being on their flight, calling her by her name. So, I knew she was some kind of frequent-flyer VIP.

I thought maybe I should use a friend’s tactic and told her the truth of not being able to get into India because our visas were not accepted even though they were granted. I would at least find out where she stood. She said she goes to India about twice per year – with Texas Instruments. Her daughter had met her there this time and she had pictures. She showed me her pictures of India! They were amazing, and I let her know how much I appreciated her doing that, saying, “We didn’t even get to see Chennai.”

“Chennai! That is absolutely the hottest place on the planet I’ve ever been. It’s at least 120 degrees this time of the year.”

She continued, “All the different religions in India are each trying to force the other to convert to their own. It’s pretty volatile right now.”[1]

“Trying to force?”

“Well, I just don’t think it’s right to tell another, ‘you are wrong.’”

“I couldn’t agree with you more.”

“It’s about sharing.”

“Exactly.”

“Do you mind if I share with you my story?”

“That would be okay,” she responded, and I pulled out my Two Super-Natural Events paper and handed it to her as the plane landed. I wondered did she hear me talking with my new friend? I wish I had another story of my testimony and brochure.

I turned to my left and asked my new friend if I could take her picture for my prayer book. She said it was okay as long as I didn’t share it with anyone else. We also exchanged phone numbers, but she wouldn’t give me her address saying, “If something comes in the mail, my husband . . . ”

When we got to Baggage Claim, our eyes met, and she smiled. Her husband’s family and her mother live with them in a 7,000 square foot home—each family on opposite ends. They all need to come to the Lord together, and I will forever pray and believe God for that.*

“We are in control of who gets in to see the King. When we are silent, we’ve chosen to keep those who would hear away from eternal life. Sobering indeed.”––Bill Johnson

“We are in control of who gets in to see the King. When we are silent, we’ve chosen to keep those who would hear away from eternal life. Sobering indeed.”––Bill Johnson Click to Tweet

God taught me a valuable lesson that day: witnessing for Christ is easy when we are prepared, ready, expectant and alert to opportunities with a written plan. That plan can be our written testimony or other creative, easy ideas we will address in this article.

This is the last of the five crown rewards in heaven we are examining. Today––the Crown of Rejoicing, or the Soul-Winners Crown. A pdf file summary printable of all five crown rewards with Scriptures is at the end of the overview article HERE.

What is the Crown of Rejoicing – or the Soul-Winner’s Crown?

This crown reward comes from 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For YOU are our glory and joy.”

The Crown of Rejoicing is also called the Soul-Winner’s Crown because the people at the church of Thessalonica were the apostle Paul’s converts and reason to rejoice. He and Silas led many people there to Jesus Christ with their witnessing and teaching so that the church became the second major one on the European continent.

Creative Ways to Witness for Christ – for Individual or Group

My friend Dwight taught me how to witness for Christ with a New Testament on hand––with highlighted Scriptures––an easy way to witness. He quit his job with a diesel repair shop and started his own so he could treat people honestly. One day, his employee, Sam approached him, “I’ve noticed things are done differently around here. Do you mind sharing with me why you believe the way you do?”

Dwight had not been talking about God at work—only working . . . honestly. He tried desperately to share about Jesus with Sam that day but felt he had botched it up good. At church the next Sunday, he shared his frustration with an older lady. She told him about a book by William Fay (with Linda Evans Shepherd) called Share Jesus without Fear. William had run a house of prostitution until he found Jesus. The lady felt Dwight could learn from this man who had led 25,000 people to the Lord one by one.

Dwight bought the book and devoured reading it in two days. He bathed the situation in prayer for God to prepare Sam’s heart. Dwight wanted more than anything to share his faith, and hopefully, help someone else avoid making the mistakes he had made with two divorces.

“Sam, will you allow me to try again to share my faith with you? I feel I did a lousy job the other day.”

“Well sure. Go ahead.”

Dwight highlighted John 3:16 in the New Testament, plus other Scriptures as indicated in the book. He opened the Bible to the very first page that said, “Turn to John 3:16, page ___.”

“Sam, will you read this verse out loud?”

“You want me to read it?”

“Yes, and when you finish, at the bottom of that page is another Scripture. Turn to the page number listed and read it too.”

After Sam read the verses out loud to Dwight and voiced what they meant to him he said, “If I receive Christ, I will have to change my entire life!”

There was nothing in there that told Sam he would have to change his life, Dwight thought. He witnessed the Holy Spirit working through the Word—convicting of sin and righteousness—that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, that the wages of sin is death, and that all must be born again spiritually to have eternal life.

Sam made no decision right then, and Dwight said, “Okay. Just remember . . . if you die tonight without choosing Jesus . . . you will go to hell. Drive carefully!” [This is not a recommendation from the book he read, but the words that came to his mind to say to Sam.]

About one week later, Dwight arrived at work. Sam was already there and announced, “I got saved last night!”

Sam’s wife had kicked him out of the house. With nowhere to go, he went to the shop and read and reread the Scriptures from the New Testament Dwight had given him. He asked Jesus to come into his heart. God restored their marriage. They now serve the Lord and have a new baby. [These are the Scriptures Sam meditated on that night: John 3:16; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; John 3:3; John 14:6; Romans 10:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Revelation 3:20.]

After this experience, Dwight taught a class at his church to forty other Christians who felt inadequate to share their faith. He told them what he learned: “It takes between six and seven times of hearing the Gospel for a person to make the choice to follow Jesus. We want to be the one to reap the harvest, but we are successful in sharing if we have shared in a clear manner. It’s like a chain where we are only one link. If we are silent when given opportunity, we break that link. God cannot use our silence—we must be prepared!”

[New Testaments can be purchased at discount INDIVIDUALLY or BY THE CASE and IN BULK   – all below two dollars each, even whole bibles. How easy and fun it would be to have a highlighting Bible-marking party in a small group.]

Witness for Christ with Your Own Written, Salvation Testimony

OR

How to Witness to Strangers

A complete stranger came up to me and handed me her written salvation testimony. She was certainly witnessing for Christ proactively. It was about her husband’s legs being crushed behind a trash truck by another vehicle when he was working. This incident brought both of them and their children to Jesus, and her written story found its way into the local newspaper—the same newspaper that reported the accident a few years earlier.

This lady’s obedience to Christ to witness for Him has been like the link in a chain that Dwight mentioned. Look where her story and example has landed right now. The power of the printed word is just that––powerful!

I give you permission to use my testimony shared above if you don’t think you can write yours. Grandmothers have used mine to lead their grandchildren to the Lord. The John 3:16 prayer is good for young and old.

I personally don’t use tracts, but they are good. I believe personal stories are better. You have a story, too. Put it in writing. Above all, please don’t do what I’ve seen some Christians do: put a tract or fake 100-dollar-bill tract on the table for the waitress’ tip with no real money with it! How can anyone think that is witnessing for Christ?

When NOT to Witness for Christ With Your Words – Spoken or Written

When it comes to witnessing for Christ to our families, especially our spouse, our words don’t do the trick. In fact, they will turn them off, unless under the leading of the Holy Spirit in certain situations.

“Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition” (1 Peter 3:1 The MSG).

Other translations say, “they will be won by the conduct of their wives.” Creating that inner disposition that will win a person to Christ whether it is a wife or husband or family member may take a lifetime, but isn’t it worth it to see them in heaven and out of hell at the end of life?

You may remember Don Piper’s story in the book 90 Minutes in Heaven. This Baptist preacher was killed in a car wreck and spent 90 minutes in Heaven until he woke up singing with a man in the back of his car who was praying for him.

In this incredible true story, Don said everyone who had mentored him and witnessed Christ to him met him at the gate. He immediately saw everyone who was responsible for him even being in heaven.

WITNESS FOR CHRIST: SHARE-JESUS-WITHOUT-FEAR-EASY-IDEAS-INSPIRING-TRUE-STORIES

How to Share Jesus Without Fear

The “How to Share Jesus Without Fear” book contains questions and answers to guide us in how to answer seekers we are willing to engage in conversation as we seek to witness for Jesus Christ.

However, I believe the KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) principle is the way to go. It removes anxiety in the process when we have a testimony or marked Bible in our purse or pocket that we can hand to someone at a given notice—like the lady I met on the plane.

When we are ready, God will do the impossible. We were not supposed to be on that plane on that day at Spring Break when my Muslim friend was returning home from Pakistan, but it was a set up by God Most High of the universe. If I had not been ready, God would not have been able to do anything through me. What a valuable lesson I learned that day.

It’s not about rules or steps, it’s about being our self from our relationship with Jesus Christ. When we keep ourselves filled up with His Word and Holy Spirit, He will witness from our overflow to those around us.

When we make God’s mission our mission, it’s especially easy when we are proactively willing, and expectant with a ready and written testimony or marked Bible to witness for Jesus. There is no greater joy. The Crown of Rejoicing award in heaven is only an added benefit.

And they overcame him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:11

And they overcame him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:11 Click to Tweet

Do you have a witnessing for Christ story to share to encourage us and/or to give us new ideas?  And remember – sharing is caring!

Free Booklet, Because God Is . . . I Am, with sign up of Free eCourse

FREE E COURSE - LEARN MORE

[1] My friend, Diane Fitzgerald, who had returned from India said they have a Muslim Reclaim Day where Christians are told to “renounce or go to your funeral.”

*An Excerpt from 8 Hours in India.

Get the Book(s)