Thursday, December 1, 2011

Word of Mouth

My dad loves to think he is a cowboy.  He loves to watch the old western movies, wear his boots, and even occasionally his cowboy hat (much to the dismay of my mother).  I am not a fan of the old westerns, but I liked watching a couple of the more modern shows when I was a teenager.  Our family used to watch "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" and "The Young Riders".  I loved both shows and looked forward to watching them every week.  "The Young Riders" was about a group that rode for the Pony Express.  They carried letters and current news and events all over the west.  It is hard to imagine that was how news traveled, but it was the case back then.  There were no telephones, TVs or radios were not invented, and certainly nobody even thought of computers with internet.  You had to wait to learn what the happenings were.  You would find out, it might be a month later, but you would hear about.

This was true in Bible times as well.  When I was thinking about how fast we know about things in our current society, a few Bible stories popped in my mind.  People heard things even in the Bible times by word of mouth.  News travels fast, as the saying goes, and even though it was not instant like today, news still traveled to other parts of the land.  One might call it gossip, but for this instance we will just call it relaying the facts.

The first story that came to mind was when the famine had struck the land.  Thanks to God's ultimate plan for Joseph, Egypt had prepared and was able to help even the surrounding areas with providing food.  In Genesis 42:2 we read, "And he (Jacob - Joseph's father) said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt:  get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live and not die."  God had a plan to bring this family back together.  It involved heartache, famine, and forgiveness, but the plan was carried out to God's will.   And by word of mouth, the reuniting of a broken family took place.

The next example is found in Joshua and is a favorite of mine.  It is the story of Rahab.  She hid the spies in Jericho and was able to protect her family from destruction in the process.  We read in 2:9-11, "And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.  For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and earth beneath."   She "had heard"; they knew just by word of mouth that their Lord was "God in heaven and earth".  Talk about having faith by hearing.  Rahab's family was spared because they heard the miracles and believed in the One True God.

Today's Verse
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."  Rom 10:17

That is a good and popular verse.  We have to hear about God in order to have faith in God.  What is the best way for us as Christians to hear about God? ... to read our Bible.  We have to seek time with Him in order to increase our faith.  How can we get others to have faith in God? ... by word of mouth.  We can't hope they are going to decide one day to go on the internet and search for "How do I ask Jesus to come into my life?"  We have to be out there spreading it by word of mouth.  We have to be talking about Jesus' love.  We have to be showing His light through our words and actions.  I am saying that stuff to myself right now too.  It is so hard for me to start that conversation with people.

It has been hard not having a church to invite people to.  We are still not sure where the Lord is leading us, and so how do you invite someone to church when you are a visitor yourself?  We usually have Christmas plays or special services that were easy to invite neighbors to.  I always loved going into Food Lion this time of year and saying, "Our church is right next door, I hope you will come see the play."  Now, I have to find a new way to tell others by word of mouth.  I need to seek wisdom from God, and He will show me other ways to tell of His magnificent blessings.  By word of mouth, we need to be showing and shouting His love for the world.  Rahab believed by word of mouth...others will too...we just have to open our mouths to get the conversation started.

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