What's stopping you?

‘Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvellous deeds among all peoples.’
Psalm 96:1-3
Quick question…. How many times have you been asked to recommend something in the past few weeks? Maybe a Netflix series for binge watching, a good book or a favourite restaurant offering take away food? My social media and WhatsApp groups are full of these sorts of questions as we all look to others for ideas, suggestions and recommendations.
It’s easy to share your favourite takeaway or box set but ask yourself how would you answer if someone asked you to share the best thing you know? Who or what do you think of? Is it your family or friends, your hobby or is it more, so much more?
Psalm 96 is a psalm of praise. The Psalmist talks of singing to the Lord, of proclaiming His Salvation, declaring His glory and telling of His marvellous deeds to everyone.
It is a psalm that reminds us of God’s glory and goodness and urges us to tell others. When you discover something really amazing you don’t keep it to yourself, you share it with others! When we take time to reflect and consider God’s works our hearts are filled with appreciation and thankfulness. What better message is there to share with others than that God, through Jesus, has made a way for us to be reconciled with Him, to be brought into His family, to be forgiven and accepted, to be saved.
We know we should praise God and tell others but we don’t always do this, why not?  What’s stopping you from telling others about God?
Thinking first of our words and talking, do we use our words properly to share our faith with others? In Acts 1:8, just before Jesus ascended to Heaven, He told the disciples ‘you will my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’.
As Christians, we are tasked to be God’s witnesses; to share the good news and to tell others about Jesus.
In Colossians 4:2-6, Paul in his writing to the church at Colossae talked of how we should witness and tell others about God.
 ‘Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful’. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains’.
 Colossians 4:2-3
Pray that God will give you the opportunities to tell others about Him, pay attention to the chances to make sure you don’t miss them. When you do share the good news, thank and praise God for entrusting you with such an amazing responsibility. Pray for each other, that they will also be given the openings to share their faith and experience of God.
Often the chances we have to share about God can come at really unexpected times, it could be a conversation started over a coffee when some asks you about what book you are reading at the moment, or what you did at the weekend. Don’t be afraid to tell others that you went to church, or that you watched an online worship service or took part in a Bible study group or Youth Fellowship. Invite them to join you next time, share the details of the online services, give them the details of the worship music you are listening to. God will use opportunities to reach people’s hearts and to soften them to His message, no matter how small, insignificant and unremarkable the encounter or conversation may seem to us.
‘Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.  Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of very opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.’
 Colossians 4:4-6
Try not to get too hung up on worrying about what you would say. Yes, it’s a good idea to have a few things in mind and to think about your answers to questions about your faith but don’t tie yourself up in knots and worry about having all the answers. Don’t shy away from difficult conversations. Trust and know that God will be with you. That the power of the Holy Spirit will give you the right words at the right time. God will help and sustain you and He will equip you to do what He wants you to. Spend time reading and studying God’s Word and you will be equipped to know what to say. Be wise and cautious in the words you choose but also, don’t just play lip service to the words and message you are sharing.
When we call ourselves Christians, it is not a just a label, it is an act of love and devotion, or acknowledging that we have given our lives to Christ and commit ourselves to following Him. When you call yourself a Christian, is it only a label or do you show this to the outside world in not only your words but in your actions?
We all know the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’. In your actions, do you demonstrate the same faith and commitment to Christ you are telling people about?  How do you treat others?  Do you show mercy, kindness and love? You don’t have to be afraid to be different and to stand apart or to have a different view to the typical world view in issues; God is with you and He understands.
Listen to the prompts from God, be aware of His presence and don’t let the opportunity go by.
The more you get to know God yourself and spend time with Him, the more you will feel confident to tell others of Him. That’s why it is so important to spend time reading your Bible and praying, in doing so, you will learn so much of who God is, His power and majesty and you will grow deeper and stronger in your relationship with Him.
But what happens if you don’t take the step and before you know it the chance has passed. You think you’ve blown it! That’s it, I’m never going to get the chance to speak to that person about this again!
But that’s not right; God will continue to use us and challenge us. Thankfully God forgives us when we don’t take the chances in front of us; He will continue to give us opportunities to share our story and experiences of Him with others.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s all get out there and share the amazing news of Jesus. In whatever way we can. As in Psalm 96 let us all ‘Sing to the Lord a new song’, ‘Proclaim his salvation day after day’ and ‘declare his glory among the nations’.
I pray that over the next while, we will all have the God given chances and opportunities to share our faith and experiences of God. How exciting! We would love to hear your stories of how you have shared your faith with others, please get in touch via email to gems@gbni.co.uk anytime!

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