Smoke on the Horizon

Wheat
Written By Don Maes
Throughout the New Testament’s example after example, we see the courage of the disciples under immense trials. The suffering, torture, imprisonment, and death they faced for their faith and trust in Jesus is truly exemplary. The difference maker was that each of them had a force so powerful behind them, that as the billows of smoke were seen on the horizon (figuratively speaking), they did not hesitate to charge full speed ahead as commanded.
But it wasn’t always this way.  In Matthew 8:23-27, the first disciples boarded a boat with Jesus and before they knew it, they were faced with a great storm bearing down on them. As the disciples cried out in fear, fear that they would die, Jesus was found comfortably sleeping. Then, Jesus awoke.
And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (Matthew 8:26)
Sometimes we Christians can become crippled with fear and unable to speak or take action.  As believers, as followers of Jesus, we will be faced with moments that seem utterly overwhelming. Moments that will paralyze us. Moments that will cost us.
 When Jesus first sends out the disciples, He warns them, before they even begin, of the immense trials they will face on His behalf.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. (Matthew 10:16-18)
The disciples were told by Jesus, that they’re going to be flogged and dragged before courts and kings. Think of what may have been going through their thoughts when they heard that they’d be beaten, ridiculed, and mocked for faithfully following Jesus.
We are commanded to be witnesses (one who tells the truth about Jesus) for the faith that is in us. To give a defense for our faith.  To go and share the gospel to a lost world. The great thing about this is that it is not by our own strength, or even our own desire, that we are empowered to carry out the commands of Jesus. The same promise and power given to the disciples, lives in us. The Holy Spirit dwells in the body of the believer.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Because of this, the disciples faced overwhelming situations that would have paralyzed the bravest of humanity. This is what gave them the power, strength, and endurance to spread the gospel through out the hostile world.
Jesus goes on to say:
When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (Matthew 10:19-20)
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:26-28)
We as Christians have the power of the Holy Spirit to PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL ON THE HOUSETOPS! When we’re in the will of almighty God nothing, absolutely nothing, can stand in the way of His will. Not our fear. Not the enemy. Nothing. God’s sovereign will is in control of all situations.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
Jesus tells us the there is no greater love than to lay your life down for your friends.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:12-14)
How much more can you love someone than to point them to the one who alone gives eternal salvation, Jesus Christ? If we love someone so much, and know Jesus is the only way to life everlasting, why are we not proclaiming this news every chance we get?
 The enemy wants to whisper thoughts of doubt, fear, inadequacy, and unworthiness to us. Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to fill you with the courage, to give you the words to say, to not pass up the opportunity when it is before you.
Read this passage by Paul:
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
Paul, the disciple who took the gospel message to the other side of the world, experienced fear, at times trembled.  As Christians, we are messengers. We share the gospel message. God grows that seed into salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. Not by our power, not by our elegant speech or qualification, not by our strength, but in demonstration of the Spirit and by the power of God.
The battle line has already been drawn. Smoke is seen on the horizon. Eternal lives are hanging in the balance.
Trust in the power of God, and Go!

 

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)

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