Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â We might wonder, from time to time, if God hears our prayers to share our faith with confidence and boldness. But did you know that when you step up to witness and speak up in faith, it gives God the perfect opportunity to show up and answer those prayers?
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â If you pray those kinds of prayers before going out witnessing, as Steve and his family did, then donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be surprised if God shows up and does the unthinkable. Before heading to the mall, SteveÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s family prayed to be used by God for the gospel. If you were to ask them if God answers those kinds of prayers, they would answer with a resounding Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â When God shows up in big ways while youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re sharing your faith, it becomes clear that you are not alone as you witness. Remember, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well done, thou good and successful servantÃ¢â‚¬Â but Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.Ã¢â‚¬Â And your faithfulness might be exactly what HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s waiting for to impact someone beyond their wildest imagination. See if you can pick out who is the most blessed in this encounter:
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â This past December, my wife and I took our two teenage daughters to the mall to do some after-Christmas shopping. Believe me, coming from a Ã¢â‚¬Å“villageÃ¢â‚¬Â of seven people, this is a huge deal.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I have been evangelizing for years, and my daughters have been with me for much of it. But my wife usually has to stay back and take care of the home front. (SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a true blessing.) This time, I wanted her to see how God Ã¢â‚¬Å“shows upÃ¢â‚¬Â and answers prayer as we boldly proclaim the name of Jesus. So, without any of them knowing, I thought, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am going to take the Christmas bonus that my church gave me and pray that God will use it to bless someone.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â Off to the mall we went, like the GriswoldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Christmas Vacation.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Once we got to the mall, I said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pray that we can share our faith with someone today and that we can be a blessing to that person.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Dressing Room
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â The girls were having a great time trying on clothes, like they were in a fashion show. We were laughing, joking, and having fun. As I sat outside of the dressing room waiting for our oldest daughter to exit, a young boy and his mother approached the employee who was working at the dressing room area. After they exchanged some words, the boy went into one of the dressing rooms. He came out with his head hanging low. As he looked at his mother, he shook his head left and right as if to say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“No.Ã¢â‚¬Â So, I thought, Ã¢â‚¬Å“God, is this the one?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â After they left, I approached the employee to ask what had just happened. She informed me that the young boy was trying on some clothes and left the money he had received for Christmas in the changing room.Ã‚Â Needless to say, it was gone. So, I asked her if she knew how much he lost.Ã‚Â It was the exact amount that was given to me as a bonus Ã¢â‚¬â€ NO REAL SURPRISE THERE! So, I thanked her, gave her an Eternity tract, and waited for my daughter.
Eternity is Forever
Ã‚Â Ten minutes later, out comes my daughter. So, I thought, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Okay, God, if these were the ones you wanted to bless, they need to be easy to find.Ã¢â‚¬Â I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to wander through the mall looking like a stalker. No sooner had this thought entered my mind then there they were, at the front of the store right near my wife and other daughter. Not only were the boy and his mother there, but both grandmothers and his younger brother were there as well.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I gently approached the mother and her son and said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I heard what had happened, and I just wanted all of you to know that Jesus Christ says Ã¢â‚¬ËœItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more blessed to give than to receive,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ and I believe Him.Ã¢â‚¬Â Man, they came unglued. The son was crying, the mother was crying, and we were all crying. Hugs and more hugs. I handed them all an Eternity tract and said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“For me, this has nothing to do with the money, but it has everything to do with where you will spend eternity. If giving you that money will cause you to read this tract and think about what it says, then, to me, it is all worth it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Little did I realize that as this was happening, there was a crowd gathering around to see and hear what was going on.Ã‚Â So, all those within earshot heard this conversation, too.Ã‚Â To God be all the glory!!!!
Hearing Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well DoneÃ¢â‚¬Â!
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â BUT WAIT!!!!Ã‚Â What about my wife? She was about 20 feet away. All she saw was me handing money to some strange people, them crying, and all of us exchanging hugs. So, as I walked up to her, she asked me, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Who were they?Ã¢â‚¬Â I replied, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve never met them before in my life.Ã¢â‚¬Â Then I told her about the dressing room, the money the boy lost, and my Christmas bonus. She said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a good man, Steve.Ã¢â‚¬Â Few things in life are greater than a wifeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s compliment.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Never underestimate the power in the name of Jesus Christ. Boldly proclaim it!!! All we have to do is show up; the battle is already won.
The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you.Ã‚Â
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â The battle for the souls of men was won at Calvary. Our job is to boldly proclaim the cross of Jesus Christ wherever we go. Remember, the gospel is good news only if it arrives on time.
Until the Nets are Full,
P.S.Ã‚Â I recently Ã¢â‚¬Å“showed upÃ¢â‚¬Â at a restaurant in town and bought the meals of these two ladies. As I was chatting with them, they said they had heard me speak at their church two years ago! We had a really good talk about serving the Lord, going through trials, and all of the fun things we can discuss as Christians because we know where to go to find our answers. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the same Bible that tells you to be reaching the lost and proclaiming the Lord everywhere you go!
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