Friday, November 26, 2010

#70 Black Friday

Revelation 3:5 NASB 'He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life...'

Yesterday was an amazing day for our family. We decided to just stay home and enjoy Thanksgiving as a family and it was great getting to spend uninterrupted time with my wife and children; something I rarely get.

As we spent time together my mind kept going back to the time I spent in Iraq with the Army from June of 2006 to June of 2007. During that deployment I can honestly say that I never worried about whether or not I would live; even when mortars would slam onto our base or when I felt the reverberation of the truck bombs from outside the perimeter. I placed myself in God's hands before I left and I never took myself out of them. I knew that even if I lost my life I would rest in Jesus' precious care until the day He comes to carry me home to be with Him in heaven.

However, a constant and perpetual concern for me was whether or not I would see my wife and kids again. I did not want my kids to grow up without a father. I did not want my little girl to miss out on having her daddy teach her how a young man is supposed to honor and respect her. I did not want my boys to wonder how they are supposed to be spiritual leaders and providers in their eventual homes. I did not want my wife to be forced to working outside the home while taking care of the children by herself. So many things ran through my mind in regards to my family. No, I did not want my children to be fatherless children.

Sadly, in our world today there are many, many fatherless children. No, I do not mean in the physical sense of children not having their dads around which too often happens, but rather in the sense that far too many live their lives without knowing their heavenly father. They are orphans in this world of sin with no one to guide and protect them. They are not orphans because God has died or otherwise abandoned them, they are such because they either do not know the God of heaven or have rejected Him as their father.What can we do about it?

Each year retailers around the country look forward to the Friday after Thanksgiving to begin the end-of-year blowout for their businesses. The "black" in Black Friday of course refers to the accounting ledger. Retailers want to end up in the "black" having made money instead of the "red" having lost it.

I must admit that I am amazed at the lengths people will go to that they might secure the best deal on the latest gadget, gizmo, toy, or piece of clothing. Long lines form from the early hours of the morning. Bundled and anxious, shoppers assemble along the store fronts counting down to the time when the doors will open. If you were standing in line this morning in central Michigan it meant enduring temperatures in the low twenties. Can you say, "Burrrr!" It takes sacrifice to endure the elements and deprive yourself of sleep. It takes dedication to do the research and know which deals are where. Time must be spent preparing a plan of action if you hope to hit more than one store and get the super deals first.

As I merge the thoughts of what it takes to be successful as a shopper on Black Friday with the idea that we live in a world with millions of spiritual orphans in need of the Father it makes we wonder if we are willing to go to such great and extraordinary lengths to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to hear the gospel. I am not just trying to poke anyone in the eye today and I do not want to make anyone feel guilty for being a frugal shopper and good steward of their resources as they prepare for the holiday season, but I can't help but ask the question, "What holiday plans have we made to share the good news of Jesus and what He has done for each of us?"

Each of us have family and friends who do not know the Lord Jesus. Would we stand outside in the cold to make sure they learn of Him? Have we spent any time researching how to reach their hearts for Christ this season? Have we been lifting each one of them up in prayer asking that the Lord would give us a plan of how to reach them and that the Holy Spirit would go before us and begin to soften their hearts?

It is my prayer for each of you--as well as myself--that we will approach soul-winning and sharing the gospel with greater zeal and enthusiasm than we approach shopping and holiday preparations. Work together as families talking about how you can help bring Jesus and thereby the Father to each one we know. Let's purpose in our hearts and covenant afresh with our God to be actively engaged in bringing people to Christ. Pray for windows of opportunity to share your faith this season with the world around you. Please do not beat people over the head or bludgeon them with the gospel, but look for ways to lovingly and gently share Jesus.

May the retailers do well today and throughout the end of this year, but much more importantly, may the record of heaven be filled with new names that are added to the book of life because we had the courage to share our faith and be partners with the Lord Jesus.

Dear Father,
Thank You for being such an awesome God. I pray that You will give each of us courage to plan to share Jesus this holiday season. May our preparations be blessed by the Holy Spirit and may the name of Christ be brought to spiritual orphans around the globe. We pray these things in Jesus holy name, Amen.

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