26 06 2011

As requested: Excerpts from my speech at the LWML National Convention in Peoria, IL Friday, June 24, 2011.  I apologize it took me so long to share these words with you. This evening was extremely powerful, and this speech became very personal to me.  It has brought so much peace, joy and understanding into my life and I pray that it might be a blessing to others.  Thank you for your continued prayers.

“…This is the moment in which I was thrown a curve ball.  I have to be honest, I had something prepared to say for this evening, but after attending last night’s service, I was almost moved to tears because of inspiration, a powerful messge and one little word that kept creeping into my mind and moving me to action.  That little word is conviction.  As I was sitting in the congregation taking in the beautiful ceremony, I kept feeling convicted that I was not truly living on the edge for the Lord.  Have I really done enough for my Lord?  Am I doing enough for my Lord?  These questions constantly stinging me.

Immediately upon return to my hotel room last night, I was inspired to start from scratch, so I picked up a pen and paper and started writing.  I was up late last night, early this morning and worked right up until the very moment I left to come here this evening on crafting a new message to share with you all tonight.  God was again speaking to me and leading me.

That little word conviction has been sticking around me for quite some time now.  A few weeks ago when the world was supposed to end on May 21st and everyone knew it was going to be Judgment Day, I had an epiphany; my first run in with conviction.  Everywhere you turned you saw the news that the world was going to end on that particular day and that the man who figured it out, found it in the Bible according to dates and times of other historical events.

I, of course, did not pay attention to any of those fictional messages thinking to myself, “You are trying to base this information on what it says in the Bible, but you’re missing the most important part of God’s message for the return of Jesus Christ.  the Bible says He will come like a thief in the night and we will not know the time or day in which He will return.”  Though I knew that everything everyone was saying was false, it spurred an important conversation with my husband.  If tomorrow were the end of the world as we know it, have I done everything I wanted to do on Earth before entering Heaven?

I started thinking, what is it that I haven’t done yet that I must before Judgment Day?  I immediately thought of two things and even after some time of allowing that thought to simmer, I stick with my initial two.  I have always wanted to be a Mother.  I was born to be a Mother and I cannot wait to start my family.  The second thing is that I have never read my Bible front to back.  I have never taken the time to read the entire thing front to back.  How dare I?  Well, on May 22nd, I opened my Bible and made a promise to complete that goal.  I once heard that if you read three chapters of your Bible every day, you will read the entire thing in a year.  I don’t want another year to go by before finishing this goal.  I am ahead of schedule and I will continue towards this goal.  I was convicted.  I have seen where I am wrong, I see how I can get better and I am making changes accordingly.

Another moment of conviction came a few weeks back in my Bible study group. My pastor wanted us to do an activity in preparation for our discussion.  We were to choose an event in the future where people would get up to speak about us. We were to answer the following questions:  Where am I?  What character traits do others use to describe me?  What does my spouse say?  What do my children say?  What do my friends say?

I started filling this out.  I chose my husband’s and my 50th anniversary.  I put a lot of time and effort into each question.  And, when I got to the last question, I stopped dead in my tracks.  What would my friends say at my wedding anniversary?  The reason I paused was because I couldn’t think of very many friends who would be there.  I am so focused on investing in my family and in my business relationships, which turn into friendships, yet I invest no time or energy into people and friendships outside of those areas.  Yes, I am very, very busy, but we MAKE time for the things we really want to do.  I have too many text messages, voicemails and emails go unanswered because I am too busy.  I might as well have spat in the face of old friends trying to rekindle a friendship.  Again, how dare I?  God blesses our lives with relationships and friendships that bring so much joy to us, and not answering is just as bad as bluntly turning them away!

I have seen where I am wrong, I see how I can get better and I am making changes accordingly-investing in friendship.

The latest conviction most recently was brought on through last night’s worship service, but has been eating away at me for weeks.  I started reading the book, “The One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven” within the last few weeks.  The author describes the one thing you cannot do in Heaven as witnessing to a nonbeliever, because there are no nonbelievers in Heaven.  The author’s purpose is to inspire, encourage and motivate you to be a better witness for the Lord.  He offers incredible stories from personal experiences that will fill your heart and also offers resources and ideas on how to start the conversation, and more importantly, why you should start the converstaion.  After reading portions of this book, the thought came to my head that I grew up in a family who were the epitome of JOY (Jesus, Others, You), taught me about my Savior and continues to feed me spiritually.  What did I ever do to earn that?  Nothing.  I had no choice in the matter just as those who were born into an atheist or agnostic family or have never heard the good news before in their life.

Where would I be if someone had not shown me God’s love?  I am not doing God’s work if the only places I go to witness are churches, parochial schools and church-affiliated events like these.  I was convicted to live on the edge, to go outside of my comfort zone to witness.  I have had two opportunities lately God provided for me to witness to a stranger.  Both on an airplane and I didn’t take either opportunity.  I simply froze when the conversation allowed an opening.

Last night we heard about people in Bible times that were living on the edge for their Lord, and they could have faced death!  I might have just left those people from the plane and never seen them again.  Maybe, I would have offended them so much that bad-mouthed me to all of their friends and co-workers.

I am an extremely cautious person.  I only take calculated risks.  The risk did not outweigh the reward in this situation!  I could have brought a believer to God or maybe I could have just planted a seed, either way, I didn’t live on the edge for my Lord!

I am leaving here with a newfound hope, joy and renewal.  Never have words pierced me the way these did.  Never have I been more convicted.

Live with conviction everyday!

Live for Jesus!

Live like Jesus!”

Dear Lord, my Heavenly Father.  You call us to be a witness to all nations, baptizing them in Your name.  You have already put your words in our mouths (Jeremiah 1:7) and with you, we will succeed.  Help us heed your calling and live on the edge for you every moment of every day. Amen.

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One response

2 12 2011
Barbara Martin

Thank you Katie for your words and I am so thankful God has placed in this place in this time to be His living witness, beautiful words straight from God’s heart to yours and then your lips. God please help us all to live on the edge for you and help us not to take for granted those opportunities you place us in to plant seeds of hope, truth, life, salvation and Your love.

Barbara Martin
Brownstown Church of the Nazarene
“Porches of Hope”

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