Sharing God’s Mercies In A New Year

by | Jan 10, 2013 | 17 comments

Christmas is out the door, with the exception of a few hanger-on pine needles I’ll be finding well into August. It’s time for another year, and like a train on a schedule it doesn’t hold its doors for me to get on board, before its smoke plumes and whistles and gears start cranking. Ready or not.

I begin each New Year with a general sense of contemplation, as I imagine most do.

Whether we buy into resolutions, diets, gym-joining, goal-setting, we are naturally designed for turning seasons and fresh beginnings. It is only right and good that we consider afresh what we long to do, who we long to be this coming year.

Marketing companies may cash in on what this month represents, but its’ newness they did not create.

This is God’s gift of time measurement. Without it we’d have days running into one another unbound by solstices or seasons, the markings that make it possible for us to determine things like, “Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far.” Januaries give us context for what is “far”. They offer us a moment to pause and consider what has happened, and what we long to have happen.

I’ve been doing much of my contemplation this year through the Gospel of Mark. A new friend of mine encouraged me to steep myself in this particular book because Mark writes more about the Kingdom of God than any of the other Gospel writers. Since one of my desires this year is to see a greater coming of Jesus’ Kingdom here on earth – in everyday, real life we’re talking about here – I’m enjoying a book I’ve read many times before, only this time in a different way.

I mused with this new friend who happens to be ministering in a particularly unsettled part of the world. I told her how I struggle to talk about the Gospel in ways the people around me understand, even desire. This is a much bigger conversation than whatever fits into the going length of a blog these days, but her response to me needs little room. In fact, she began with a question: “Kelly, what did Jesus tell the man from Gerasenes, the one He cast the demon out of, to do?” We were eating at a place called Potbelly’s. Just being at a place with this name made me less smart. I couldn’t remember. She smiled and then began to deliver a truth the way Proverbs speaks of a word fitly spoken. “Jesus simply told him” she said, “tell your people about the mercy God has shown you. That was His evangelism strategy.” (Mark 5:19, for precise quotation).

I nearly burst into tears for two reasons I can trace. The first was out of relief. I have so thoroughly complicated the process of sharing my faith, witnessing, evangelizing, however you may name it, that I have missed the ease with which a person speaks about Jesus who has firsthand experienced Him. We should speak of His mercies as naturally as the songbird carols from our windows; I have never once prompted her. If we have a redemptive story to tell we should tell it often to all manner of listeners. Which brings me to my second traceable reason for tears: Sometimes I struggle receiving the mercy God has shown me. If I can’t connect to His personal love then the faith-story I tell others will be forced and awkward, saddled with inaccessible doctrines that may be true, but they won’t be life. The man from Gerasenes had everything he needed to share the fame of Jesus in his community because he’d had a personal encounter with Jesus.

We will talk about Him to the degree we experience Him.

I am still contemplating. Contemplating about what the Lord has done for me, and how He has had mercy upon me. I am examining why I often struggle to receive such goodness, or simply fail to recognize it. The truth is that every Christ-follower has a story of mercy to share, and when we share it with passion, humility, joy and even ease, well then, perhaps more people around us will respond the way the people of the Decapolis responded to the man from Gerasenes.

“and they were all amazed.”

 

Categories

17 Comments

  1. @Acunala

    Kelly-beautifully written and beautifully said. The Robin Mark song, "What the Lord has Done in me" was playing through my head as I read this. It is so simple but we do make it so complicated.

  2. Sophie

    Well this is gorgeous. And I'm going to write this down in my journal: "If I can’t connect to His personal love then the faith-story I tell others will be forced and awkward, saddled with inaccessible doctrines that may be true, but they won’t be life." That's a good word.

  3. Ann Oliphant

    VERY good, Kelly. Thank you. And that is some new friend.

  4. Jessica

    This post was meant for me to read at this particular moment in my life. In a few weeks, I will be speaking at my first women's conference. I have been struggling with what to say and how to say it. All I have to do is share my faith story and God will do the rest. Thanks Kelly!

  5. WendyBrz

    Thank you for this. I've been running from my need to contemplate because I, too, struggle to accept His mercy, though I'm quick to recommend it to others.
    Relief was a perfect word as well. Simpler IS better. Blessings on your new year.

  6. Laurie

    "We will talk about Him to the degree we experience Him." – just love that!

  7. Tammy

    Kelly,

    I so needed a Word from Him tonight.

    “We will talk about Him to the degree we

    experience Him.” I have not had the devoted time

    with Him these last two weeks like I normally do. I have

    not sensed His presence until I read your entry.

    Thank you for your openness to share and your

    pure devotion to Christ. I love how you write and

    have enjoyed all three of your Bible studies. I pray

    continued blessings on your life and ministry.

    In His Love,

    Tammy Brinkley

  8. Sandy

    Kelly~Thank you for sharing your contemplative thoughts. I was moved by “If we have a redemptive story to tell we should tell it often to all manner of listeners.” This was huge to me! You helped me realize this is just the beginning. Thank you for sharing how I can carry such an important message to anybody. God Bless you!!!

  9. Julie

    Lovely. And is this the truth or what?! You're going to knock it out of the park in 2013 Kelly- no doubt about it.

  10. Susan

    Yes! These are such excellent words to ponder!

  11. LauraLee

    Well spoken, Kelly. I don't recall noticing that in Mark before. So thankful your friend pointed it out & then you shared. Seems like that was always Paul's evangelism method too, he'd go from place to place telling His redemptive story of how The Lord changed Him from a murderer of Christians to a slave of the gospel. It's magnificent of our multi-tasking God how He takes each of our individual testimonies & talents & uses them to resonate His glory. Thank you for giving me one more thing to thank The Lord for this morning.

  12. Carole Ferguson

    Thank you, Kelly.
    I was with my daughters over New Year's Day and we were talking about "spiritual " new year's resolutions. I have e-mailed your blog to them. You have framed with encouraging words a beautiful step into 2013.
    Carole

  13. Peach

    I am very excited to begin your Nehemiah study soon at a Women's Bible study. Thank you for your ministry!

  14. Rachhel

    "… to the degree …" is so right on. I can share nothing out of my emptiness. One word from Him and I can share Life & Hope. Had a rich time in the Word tonight, feasting around Lesson 5 in Nehemiah — the centrality of PRAYER, the willingness to change (or to Be Made Willing) and both the the conviction & encouragement of chapter 9. So thankful for faithfulness, both Nehemiah's and Yours, but ultimately, HIS !! in Him, Rachel (Camp Zama, Kanagawa-ken, Japan)

  15. Marie Raymond

    Hi Kelly,

    You have grown up to be so much more than I could have imagined, God has really blessed your family. My womens group decided to do your Nehemiah study and just so happens that your dad performed my marriage ceremony, back in 1981, and was one of the first ones for Reston Bible Church. Unfortunately, Paul and I are separated now for 6 yrs, and will get a divorce this year. It is inspiring to see what God has done in your family, and the opposite is what happened to mine. I am part of Fairfax.cc so still have my faith and womens group. Good for you that your dad and mom did a phenomenal job of raising you kids in the Lord.

    Marie Raymond
    [email protected]

  16. melissa stover

    i am still struggling to understand what god is doing in my life too and i think that's why i often find it so difficult to talk about it with people. i don't have a pretty little story to tell with a happy ending, it's a constant struggle. a daily battle and i fail so often.

  17. Scottie Doyle

    Soul: Thank You, Lord, for Your goodness in remaining with us in this exile as the God of mercy (90) and blessing us with the radiance of Your compassion and goodness. It is through the light of Your mercy that I have come to understand how much You love me.

X