Radiant Faces

Description

We tend to think as Christians we are witnesses to the unbelieving world, but we are also witnesses to those who also share abiding trust and faith in the Lord Jesus.

TODAY’S TREASURE

Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

— Psalm 34:5 ESV

In our first devotional this week, we talked about how spiritual mothering happens in the mundane moments of life. My friend Cindy shares how an act of mercy to a hurting friend turned into a “holy ground” moment:

“When Lynn invited us to stay and share the meal we had brought to her, we were delighted to say yes. Lynn was recovering from knee replacement surgery. When LouAnne and I arrived with the meal, we were pleasantly surprised two other friends of hers, from two other churches, had dropped by unexpectedly. Since I worked at a local Christian bookstore, I had enjoyed meeting both women previously. We invited them to share the meal with us. What a fun time of talking and getting to know one another.

Following clean up LouAnne suggested we close with a time of prayer for Lynn and for one another. LouAnne opened in prayer and, after a lengthy silence; I too prayed and eventually closed in prayer. When we opened our eyes, we saw tears on the cheeks of our two new friends. They assured us that we had not offended them in any way. Rather, they were so touched by the whole evening they were moved to tears. They both said they could not imagine this kind of evening happening in either of their churches. The bringing of the food, the invitation to join us for dinner, the time spent in prayer was all very foreign to their experience among the body of believers where they attended.

We offered hugs and promises to pray that the Lord might use them in the places they worshipped to extend love, hospitality and compassion to those in their local fellowships.

As we drove home that evening, we realized what was so natural for us to do was foreign among some church communities. We concluded we tend to think as Christians we are only witnesses to the unbelieving world, but this experience taught us that we are also witnesses to those who, too, share an abiding trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are called to be His ambassadors, to model His love and reflect His glory everywhere we go. Our experienced encouraged us that through acts we consider mundane, the light of Jesus can shine.

As I look back over my own faith journey, I recognize that what we did that night we learned to do through women’s ministry. I’m so grateful that other women taught me the truth of Titus 2. I am a recipient of women teaching me how to walk by faith in the mundane moments of life. I am convinced that the Titus 2 mandate is an incredible privilege and blessing, not only to the receivers, but also to the givers. After all, Jesus has told us many times, to ‘love one another as I have loved you!’ His love was costly and sacrificial, but also gracious, abundant and free. May we find great joy in shining His light that He might receive all the glory, and honor, and praise. We experienced that joy when others recognized His love in us.” 

Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

— Psalm 34:5 ESV

LIFE GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT

Who has encouraged you to walk by faith? Have you ever thanked that person for offering life-giving encouragement? Reach back into your life and ask the Lord to remind you of that teacher, women’s Bible study leader, author, or friend who came alongside of you at just the right moment and helped you get through a parenting crisis, relationship conflict, depression, a difficult marriage, a challenging task. Send them a note and thank them for their influence. Most of them will probably be shocked that the Lord used them in such a helpful way. 

Years ago, I spoke at a women’s event sponsored by a church whose pastor was married to Elisabeth Elliot’s daughter. I asked her to tell her mother how grateful I was for her books and solid biblical teaching. Though I had never met Elisabeth, I considered her a long distance spiritual mother. Her daughter challenged me, “Have you ever thanked her yourself?” I stuttered a few words and then said, “She’s world renowned, I feel as though my thanks won’t mean much. She probably hears from lots of people.” 

Her daughter paused and then said, “My mother doesn’t understand why people read her books or listen to her speak. She really needs to hear from people like you, to encourage her that her life has had such eternal purpose in the lives of so many others.” 

I wrote a thank you letter to Elisabeth as soon as I arrived home. A few weeks later I received a handwritten thank you note from Elisabeth, expressing her gratitude for knowing how the Lord was using her work to influence my life. 

Who has encouraged you? Tell them.

PRAYER

Oh Lord, may acts of love flow naturally from our hearts because You live there. May others recognize Jesus in us by the way we love one another.

From Cindy’s story above and in closing, I continue to be forever “convinced that the Titus 2 mandate is an incredible privilege and blessing, not only to the receivers, but also to the givers. After all, Jesus has told us many times, to ‘love one another as I have loved you!’ His love was costly and sacrificial, but also gracious, abundant and free. May we find great joy in shining His light that He might receive all the glory and honor and praise.”

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  

— Titus 2:3-5

 

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