Praise be to God who can use anyone who is willing. I asked yesterday for opportunity to tell others about God. I am not pushy. I am firm about what I know to be true, and if I believe that, then it is absolutely critical that I share what I know with others. But I'm not pushy. I was one of the early-in people at work, and I ran into my coworker Thomas who immediately started telling me that he was thinking about having a relationship with God, but he didn't think he had to go to church. I told him that the relationship was the most important thing, but it would be a really great idea if he started reading his Bible daily ( I don't think he has one yet). I love to watch as people grapple with coming to know God, as he works in their hearts, and leads conversations. It is so exciting. My day was off to a good start. Then came Adam. Adam is our kitchen manager, a portly young New York Italian, who has a cocky grin and a filthy mouth. I ask people not to curse around me at work, and most try to respect that. Adam respects it to a certain extent, but if at any time he forgets I'm around, I get an earful. And its not only him. I have asked him to come to church with me; he has expressed interest, but never committed to coming. It has become sort of a joke with us that when I hear him cussing, I'll say, "So, when are you coming to church with me?" He usually will make up some excuse or another, but I never force the issue; I just want him to know he is always welcome. Well, another woman we work with heard this exact exchange take place yesterday, and she got a little upset about it. She is from Taiwan, and I have heard her say before that she prays to her ancestors. I just kind of gave her an "ohhhh" look when she told me because I didn't know what to say. We are somewhat of friends, we've gone to the movies together a few times, but we don't really talk on a personal level very often. So, I was very surprised when she asked me if just because she didn't believe in my "religion", did that make her wrong? Then she stormed off, came around on the other side of the kitchen, and told me she just thought it was inappropriate to talk about it at work. She was really upset. Adam called her a jerk in my behalf, but not in those words. I said that I thought it was inappropriate for them to use foul and sexual language all the time. Besides, I wasn't pushing anything on Adam. He knows that. I was shaken by the incident: I have lost closeness with old friends because of my choice to follow God, but I have never before been hostilely attacked like that before. I felt sick for a while after that happened, but we never resolved the issue, we just let it go. We still are on speaking terms. My friend Heather said she went through something similar with a man we work with, but they were able to talk through the initial negativity and have a really good conversation. So maybe that will happen. After work I grabbed Starbucks with another friend from work, and we had a good hour of theological (friendly) debate. He (brought up Catholic, living life secularly) was telling me how cool the book of Revelation is, how all the stuff in there is actually coming to pass; we exchanged stories of things in our lives that had to do with God, although he says his sister and grandmother are seers ( they are from Kenya). He then said that he believes in God, but that he just doesn't think that, for instance, his Muslim neighbor, who leads a very "pure" lifestyle, will go to hell just because he's not a Christian. He gave an example of a bunch of hands(religions) all pointing to the same ball (God)..it didn't really matter which hand you were looking to for direction. I told him as much as I could about works vs. faith, that Jesus did in fact claim to be the ONLY way to the Father, but he isn't convinced. We talked for quite some time, but I was slightly frustrated because I said that Christianity is the only religion that claims to be the only true religion, and he said that wasn't true..I am pretty sure I heard that before, but I guess Islam thinks the same thing.
This is where I feel I need to do the most studying. I want to know more about other religions so that I know what the exact differences are, and how to explain it. I know that Jesus is who he says he is. When I got home last night, I wrote my coworker a long letter..I actually still need to finish it. I was able to more coherently explain why the Bible is true..the fact that he himself was talking about the prophecies being fulfilled in the beginning of our conversation, the fact that Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies of his coming, who I am now compared to who I was B.C... and trust me, I wrote that letter in love, and filled it with scripture, so that he can see that there is not some random God(s) floating around out there, not worried about how our lives are going. He knows us by name, and he desires that none should perish but that all should be saved. Pray for him, please. His name is Will. We saw a poster in Starbucks appealing to young (teenage) gay, lesbian, and transgendered kids to join a support group to talk about their feelings as young homosexuals. Why, my God, is it more socially acceptable to cross-dress than it is to go to church? I am not being condescending, I am just hurting for the state this country is entering. But I will be encouraged, because God is moving.
Isaiah 5:20 (New International Version)
20 Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
1 Peter 4:12
12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And,
"If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"[a]
19So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
We are going to need to be able to take rejection, because the alternative is keeping quiet.