Monday, June 09, 2008

110% On Gate 2 Street

" 110%" was David's answer to my question to whether he was sure of where he would spend eternity. He was sure..110% that his meditation and religious practices and studies of his "ancient" Hindu beliefs would land him in "heaven". He said it without hesitation. Scary. David appeared to be very interested in what I had to say and looked me straight in the eye as I shared what the Bible was as if I could "feel" the Holy Spirit stirring him, causing him to question that 110%. His demeanor was soft and receptive and a great encouragement to me. When I finished talking with him (he needed to keep shop-I didn't realize), he studied the map we gave him to our church and sounded as if he would visit. It would take much more than the 5-10 minutes I had with him to point out the truths in the Bible needed to lay some groundwork for understanding and belief. God (lower case g) to him is completely different from who God the Almighty is in truth. I am sure there were language barriers as well. As I left him, I prayed for someone to water the seed that was sown and that he would truly make time to visit our church to learn more.

David believes he can meditate and work his way to heaven. My friend Alice ,a missionary to the Japanese, explained a bit more of his beliefs to me and again the magnitude of what the Lord does here on earth to reveal truth overwhelmed me. Nothing is more affirming of the Lord's work in people's lives than soul-winning. It is unexplainable and far beyond my understanding. Anyway, David has been deceived into thinking that his religion is ancient and dates before the Bible and therefore must be the truth. The lies of Satan reach in every direction don't they?

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

David was one of the many that Alice and I handed a tract to last Thursday... we saw mostly Japanese. Most Okinawans are either Shinto in belief or Buddhist . My missionary friend Alice was able to speak with many of them- which is such a blessing to witness! Alice amazes me :) I love when we go together in search of those who will listen. We met all types, the polite, the indifferent, the Japanese man called after Alice sarcastically in Japanese..."Oh, God will only help me AFTER I accept Him...AFTER". Yes, my Japanese friend, all things become new *after*...just as marriage is offered AFTER acceptance of a relationship, there is an acceptance and a giving of one's self to the would be groom-it is an agreement, a covenant, not some happenstance it is not a slavery- it is a choice.

The old man's chuckle followed us to the next group of lost souls...Japanese youth, still in uniform and giddy. One boy looked interested in what Alice was sharing, but the rest joked and laughed. I prayed for clarity and understanding as Alice spoke-she asked me to pray that she would "think in Japanese" to better explain the Gospel. She finished by asking them to read the tracts she had distributed, and we walked on down Gate 2 street as we had only a short time remaining. One of the boys Alice had just spoken with, probably encouraged by his peers, raced loudly passed us as we walked, he tagged a pole in front of us and then raced back to the cheers of his friends, Alice calmly looked at me and said, "He's showing off" which just tickled me for some reason. "Well, he is", she said, in the same matter of fact voice, *chuckle*. I can't wait until I can share more with you about Alice! Her testimony points to what an Amazing God we serve.

As we distributed tracts, Alice continued to handle the Japanese and I handled the Americans who were mostly GIs out to hit the bars and clubs on Gate 2 street. Jesse was the last person I had time to speak with before meeting back with my husband and heading back to church. Jesse was a young GI of not more than 25 years of age and when I began speaking with him, his breath was heavy with the smell of alcohol and a sarcastic grin played at his mouth. After some small talk and a turned down invitation to visit our church, he allowed me to share the Gospel with him. When I concluded, it was clear he was convinced I was just trying to push "religion" on him. He was "spiritual, not religious", he informed me...did he even know what that meant? Probably not-I have heard this many times.

The scripture I pointed out to Jesse in hopes of him allowing it to penetrate the darkness he was in, fell on dead ears and blind eyes, only the Lord really knows what was going through his mind as I looked into his blue eyes..glazed over due to the affects of at least alcohol -but who knows what else he was laced with to better deaden him to any truth offered. This night was fought over in the spiritual realm long before Alice and I came on the scene. He probably prided himself on having an "open mind" since he shared that the Bible was created by Kings to "control" the people- "wisdom" from the god of this world blinding his eyes to keep him on the path of destruction. Rather than argue the lies he had been fed, I just kept sharing the Truth-I would not be tempted down the dead end road to which arguing against lies leads. I would step over each lie and offer the Word in its place. The darts of discouragement burned as they hit my heart-he would not *hear*. I offered a few more "pearls" before I retreated in one last hope of the WORD being received which could cause the scales to fall from his eyes.

Dear lost soul, in the end, it is not your spirituality that saves you- or your is your trust and belief on the Lord Jesus Christ...only He can regenerate the heart dead in sin, but it is a concious choice to respond to the Holy Spirit. Finally, "That is your belief" J. dismissed me with, "I'm just along for the ride...then I'll see what the next life brings". I was silenced by this frightening remark delivered so casually after just sharing with him what the Bible says about his lost heart sank as I gazed upon the seed that fell on the wayside (or appeared to) and was trodden down...the fowls of the air, or his preconceived false ideas plucked up the precious seed and left him standing unchanged-for now. The Lord did remind me though, that His Word will not return void which filled me with hope (in hindsight). I thanked Jesse for listening and prayed that the Lord would send another sower and prepare the ground for the seed or the water if Jesse read the tract and perhaps thought back on the Word that was shared.

In the end, the lost all say the same thing, I will go my OWN WAY, I will cling to MY OWN god of this world. If I choose to think on it, in a negative sense it really depresses me- to basically hear the same thing over and over-different words, same truth- "I will go my own way". They are lost and rejecting Christ- they will blindly follow a lie to destruction because they have turned away the Light. It makes me sick inside, to see so many who will not hear, but at the same time, I am urged to keep sharing in this knowledge: the Bible says the fields are white already to harvest. The days when the Lord allows us to reap...oh the JOY...but sow, we must, until He returns. This verse was key to my understanding our labor in the fields: John 4:38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

It is the Lord allowing us the BLESSING to reap where others have labored! Along with our sowing and watering...yes, there will come reaping! When I think about that, I feel the obligation and better understand the commandment to share the Gospel. We enter into "fields", not our own and I think of those Believers who have DIED sowing and watering and here I am afraid to risk reaping?! How is it that my heart so quickly grows indifferent to the commandment to GO or even just to open my mouth when the Lord drops them in my lap, so to speak? Again, Eph 6:19...let it be my prayer for the rest of this life. We need to share the Gospel because there are many like David and Jesse who believe a lie... 110%.

Choose to be burdened for the lost. 2Cr 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.


Pam--in Jerusalem said...

I have a feeling that this might have been hard for you to share with us... I know how much you hate to talk about things that 'you' have done. But I'm so glad you did! I pray that it spurs more Christians to be labourers in the harvest.

Oh, and I LOVE Alice too! I got the little reference to her not 'getting' why you chuckled ;) Can't wait to read the post all about her!

Heather said...

Pam, actually, at first I hesitated, but I am reminded that it is the Lord's work and I should never feel "shy" or afraid to share what HE does. I am sick of worrying about how people are going to take things-I love hearing what the Lord is doing in other parts of the world! :) So, I figure will just share what I don't feel tempted to be puffed up over and leave the rest between the Lord and I!

Pam--in Jerusalem said...

Good for you, Heather! It's about time ;)

A Note From Theresa said...

Praying for this man.

Happymama said...

It saddens me to hear of those that scoff and laugh at those trying to give them hope of Heaven with a Christ who loved them enough to die for them. Will their eyes and ears ever be opened before it is too late? I HOPE so. You never know, one of those GIs or one of those little Japanese students may come up to you in Heaven one day and say, "Thank you...for giving to the Lord."


missy said...

Although it may have been discouraging for you at the time, I was incredibly encouraged by this story for many reasons.

First, you are such an inspiration, as I have never witnessed to a perfect stranger before, and you make it seem like something I could do. Hopefully soon I will find the faith to do what I should be already doing!

Second, because I love thinking about the possibility that both you and that young American were sent clear across the globe, only to find each other seemingly randomly, and that brief, chance meeting could have changed his life. for we know that it WASN'T random, and that the few minutes you spent with him could have planted a seed that is being harvested as I type this comment.

I find that so beautiful.