Tag Archives: witnessing

The Game of Pin the Tail ~ Strategies for Sowing God’s Truth

Pin the TailHave you ever played the game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey?  It is a fun group game where someone posts a picture of a tail-less donkey, then people take turns trying to tack its tail back on the proper place, a task at which few participants succeed.  That is because the real enjoyment of the game comes from watching when players, spun and blindfolded earlier, miss the spot on the donkey, landing the tail on random, hilarious sites instead.

Although humorous as a game, there are situations in life when missing the mark is not at all fun and games.  This is especially true when sharing our faith.

Do you ever feel like the truths of God you try to sow or ‘pin’ into another person’s life miss the mark?
Have you ever experienced times, where it seemed like the enemy so spun the circumstances around, that it seemed like the words bounced right off and fell to the ground? 

As followers of Christ, we must be ready in season and out to share His truth in love.  So often when we do, though, those same truths seem to fall on deaf ears.  When we rarely see a harvest for our labor, it is easy to start concluding we missed the mark, from inadequate sowing. 

Proverbs depicts the ideal:

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
Prov. 25:11

When I read this, I imagine a canvas still life showing a fine silver goblet surrounded by luscious golden apples.  Words of truth spoken in such a timely, Spirit-directed way that they reap a harvest as lovely as a masterpiece.  Sadly, that is rarely the case anymore.

The reality of our culture is an outright refusal of truth, predicted years ago by the prophet Isaiah:

“And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.” (59‬:‭14‬)

Do you see this happening in your efforts to share the gospel?  The precious words of Truth seem to fall on the street, left for trampling underfoot.
Does the lack of receptivity tempt you to give up?
If rejected, should we continue to cast the treasured pearls of God’s word, as if to swine?

We cannot and must not give up on anyone, but we do need to understand the mission.  To explain, I’ll take us back to the game of Pin the Tail.

First, it is never our job to decide when, where, or how a person needs a word of truth.  Our only responsibility is in the sowing, or for illustration purposes, the pinning of the Word.

Also, we must remember that although it can seem like it, we are not blindfolded or alone, as we go about this call.  The Holy Spirit is always there to direct and give us the boldness needed in every situation.  He is the One completely capable of effecting the intended purposes of the Word, despite the devil’s attempt to spin things in a wrong direction.

Even when we do not see results, we can rest assured that the Word does not come back void.

We always err in assuming that what we see now is the reality of what will be in eternity.  Doing so only sets the stage for discouragement or the temptation to take matters into our own hands, both of which are futile.  Discouragement weakens our own faith and self-effort only pins truth further away from the intended goal of winning people to Christ.

Finally, for effective truth-pinning, we don’t wear blindfolds, but actually could use blinders, of sorts.  Anything that would enable us to shift the focus from an outside monitoring of truth’s effectiveness, to an inward inspecting of our own obedience. Willingness is all that God asks of us.  He is Lord of the harvest and the One who gives the increase.

The word of God is NOT the tail, even though that is exactly what the enemy deceives people into believing. That God’s word is irrelevant, unnecessary.
Jesus is Author, Finisher, the living Word.  He is Alpha, Omega and lifted high above all.  We are the body of Christ, but He is always the Head. 

Am I clear?

Like any other, this attempt at sharing truth may miss the mark.  However, God knows how to pin His truth to accomplish His purposes, and as such, will use even this.  That is because only He knows how to reach each of us lost (by nature, clueless as a donkey?) sheep!

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Oh, How Proud We Are ~ Not Recognizing a Need for God

Oh, How ProudOh, how independent we are
Ever doing but never realizing our need for God

Oh, how complacent we are
Ever enjoying but never remembering others in need.

Oh, how deceived we are
Ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of truth.

Oh, how foolish we are
Ever seeking but never discovering the fear of the Lord

Oh, how proud we are
Ever boasting but never recognizing the Creator of all

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It makes me sad that there are still so many people without Christ.  This becomes especially noticeable during the Christmas holidays, where fewer and fewer understand the true meaning of the season.  They think that it has more to do with the accumulation of gifts or holiday cheer than reverent worship of the King who came wrapped in swaddling clothes. 

As the holiday season approaches, and the possibility of spending time with lost family and friends, let us remember to pray for opportunities and boldness to point them to Christ.  He is their only source for true hope and peace. 

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“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Romans 1:20, 21

For more of my poems, see Poetry Corner

Sue Nash/2013

Bringing in the Sheets ~ Mundane Things Matter to God

A recent photo of my mom ~ taken by my brother, Chuck

A recent photo of my mom ~ taken by my brother, Chuck

I wrote this a while back, but decided to post it now in honor of my sweet mom.  She is seventy-eight years old today, and brings blessings to every life she touches.
Happy Birthday, Mom!

Bringing in the Sheets

 When I was young, we used to sing a hymn in our church that went something like this:

 “Bringing in the sheets, bringing in the sheets,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheets.”

At least, that is what I thought we were singing.  Never having heard the word sheaves, I just thought that for some reason it made God happy if we did not leave sheets hanging on the clothesline.  Not understanding why, I nevertheless joyfully sang along about the sheets.

I later learned that sheaves represent souls, and that this song is a reference to a passage in Psalms, where after sowing with tears the precious seed of God’s truth, we will one day present a harvest of souls reaped for Him. (Psalm 126:6)

Mundane Things Can Show the Love of God

Although I understand the song’s meaning now, I question whether as a child I was that off base.  I got to thinking about the rather mundane task of bringing in the sheets, and remembered how when growing up my mother would always hang our laundry outside.  Even though we had a dryer, she was more accustomed to saving on electricity, and just much preferred the freshness of things dried outside. 

The rigors of clothesline laundering were tiring, but I never heard my mother complain.  She routinely performed this mundane task, out of love for her family.  Memories of her loving hands caring for us caused me to consider that perhaps God is pleased when we bring in the sheets.

As Christians, we tend to think that to harvest souls, we must do the extraordinary.  We view soul winning as something reserved for missionaries, or as lengthy gospel presentations by visitation teams through our church.  However, what if there are equal opportunities in the mundane?  Little, seemingly insignificant things we can do to sow the love of Christ.  

Mundane Things Can Soften Hearts Toward God

Life provides many such opportunities.  Things like helping an elderly woman carry her groceries, showing kindness to the checker at the supermarket, or simply smiling in the bank line when everyone else is complaining.  With every little thing done and by throwing in a sincere nugget of I’m praying for you here or a God bless you there, it shines His love even more. 

There are many small measures, which if done for Him, could be the very ones that soften cold, sin-hardened hearts toward God.  They could be the precursors of readiness for when an opportunity presents for the gospel.

I doubt I will ever hear the old hymn, Bringing in the Sheaves, without getting a mental picture of my mom toting the laundry basket back from the clothesline.  Like a loving mother, caring for her family by drying their sheets outside to fill them with freshness of a summer breeze, we have many ordinary opportunities in life to demonstrate the love of God.

 If we have faithfully sown seeds of God’s love and truth, we will doubtless enter heaven rejoicing, bringing in sheaves.  He will honor our faithfulness in the harvest.  He will also be pleased with our record of well-doing in seeming mundane efforts for Him.  God will rejoice that we brought in the sheets!

Sue Nash/2013

The Sweet Fragrance of Christ

Gardenia beauty

Gardenia beauty

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.
2 Corinthians 2:15

Gardenias are one of my favorite flowers, mostly because of their sweet fragrance.  Preferences about fragrances differ, though.  I have a neighbor who detests plants like gardenias because of that same sweet smell.

Although I disagree, the reason for our dispute has nothing to do with the appearance of the flower, rather the characteristics of its scent.  Aromatic flowers like gardenias have what I call in your face fragrance.  A fragrance detected before you even see them, and one that grows stronger the closer in proximity you get.  When around gardenias, you either love them or not, because their aroma is distinctive and pervasive. 

My bouquet of gardenias

My bouquet of gardenias

I recently brought home a fresh-cut bouquet into our home, but had to move it from where I had it in the dining room to our sunroom.  Their scent can literally take over the air around them, and since taste involves the sense of smell, our food was beginning to taste like gardenias!  I don’t want them in my salad, but I still love them and look forward to their blooms each summer. 

The Fragrance of Christ is Distinct

Our lives as Believers should emit an equally distinctive and pervasive fragrance of Christ-likeness.  Our walk with the Lord should differ so from that of unbelievers that it is blatant.  No one should doubt to Whom we belong, because of the fruit of the Spirit, so vividly on display in our lives that even strangers spot the difference when we walk in the room.  The closer others get, the more evident the aroma of Christ.  At least, that is how we should live.

Arguably, though, we all fail in allowing the fragrance of Christ to pervade our daily walk. Many times, instead of a sweet aroma, we emit the stench of the old Adam by letting self-control quench a Spirit-led life.  Then, we merely blend in with the world around us.  Hindered is the sweet aroma of Christ, with its life-giving distinctiveness for a lost and dying world.

God knew we would struggle.  That is why He gave us the Holy Spirit, who continually changes us to resemble Christ.  Even in our frailty, God uses us as conduits of His aroma to the world.  Unfortunately, not all respond.

The Fragrance of Christ Confronts

Just as opinions vary on fragrances, the same holds true with the aroma of Christ.  It is the same kind of in your face scent.  When confronted with the presence and truth of Christ, it either attracts or repels.  Others either accept the Christ in us or refuse Him.  They either love Him or not. 

I love gardenias so much that I have a hard time comprehending why others do not. To me, their fragrance is nothing short of heavenly.  I love the Lord so much that I struggle grasping why not everyone does.  His fragrance is heavenly, for Jesus was heaven-sent.  He wants the world to taste and see that He is good, but what is good to taste must first start with a savory aroma. 

Does your life routinely emit the fragrance of Christ?

Let us each be increasingly mindful of how our lives are a fragrance rising up to God, and grow by allowing the Spirit to emit His sweet aroma to those around us. 

In my next post, I will share some more gardenia photos and relate another reason I love them so much.