Musings ~ I am reading scripture, meditating, writing thoughts in a journal, using phone apps to support study, texting encouragements, verses, and prayer requests, including praying for others. O Lord, what a privilege.
God’s Living Word ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11- I cannot emphasize how valuable the entire chapter is. It is full of God’s “personal applications” for the balanced Christian life. I encourage you to study the full text and then focus your thoughts on verse 11.
My Thoughts from the Garden Bench ~ Recently, I was attending a women’s ministry team meeting for my church. Text messages were signaling notice of importance. When one of the team members put her text on-hold, she said, “You know, texting can really be a ministry.” We began to share the times we have received an encouraging word from a texting friend or instances when we sent similar texts. They are “right now,” and “meeting the need”. Psalms 55:17 speaks to a 24/7 prayer life – “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.” I am living this 24/7 prayer life. I will be in the midst of my day when one of my loved ones or a sweet friend is brought to my mind through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Immediately, I text an encouraging word, a verse that will uplift their spirits, or offer up a prayer on their behalf. Oh Father, thank you, thank you for this incredible channel to share you on the spot. It seems to draw them away from their crisis and re-focus their thoughts on you.
Lord, thank you for – Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” I do come boldly to you, Father, to intercede for mercy and grace in their time of need – their pressing need. So often, Lord, the responses are filled with appreciation – not always, of course. Sometimes there is no response, or a negative response, but Father, you have said in Isaiah 55:11, “So it is with my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord do not change.”
Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Thank you for your promises – from you who does not change.
What a cause to rejoice – when I text God’s word to someone, it will accomplish His desire and purpose! This is His promise and it is never broken! I heard Joni Erickson Tada say that, “Jesus is smack-dab in the middle of everything that is going on in our lives.” So friend, if you are in step with the Holy Spirit then re-think texting as a ministry that gives God the glory, because He is “smack-dab in the middle of everything.”
I want to use the technology available to me to reach others for Jesus. Like you, I have been guilty of saying that phones are an addiction, social media is an ill, texting is not necessary, e-mail is a nuisance; but my Heavenly Father knows my thoughts and my ways and I am so thankful that His thoughts and His ways are directing mine (adapted: Isaiah 55:8,9). So, as technology continues to evolve, why not use it to glorify God? I am aware that technology can enable sin, too. That will always be with us, because we live in a fallen world. It is not going to go away. So often, we believers quote John 17:16 “We are in the world but not of the world,” yet we lack a clear understanding of what this means. David Mathis of desiringGod.org asks us to look at verse 18 where Jesus says, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” He is praying for “them” as they are “sent into the world.” Clearly “we as believers have a mission, to the world – not being mainly on a mission to disassociate from this world,”(desiringGod.org).
At this point, I want to bring the word balance into this conversation, because texting, like all things we do, needs to fit into a balanced life. If we are to live a balanced Christian life, we cannot deny any connection or involvement with somebody or something – so what do we do? Well, Ephesians 2:10 says, ‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” We are a work in progress and healthy people function as God has designed and intended them to function,” (jashow.org). I pose this question to myself over and over – How will I know if my life is out of balance? “Here is a very simple way to identify imbalance: If I love anyone or anything more than God my life is out of balance,” (jashow.org). I am learning daily that “balance is keeping my eye fixed on God’s Word and His will; resolved to practice things that are true and loving,”(jashow.org). I keep things in perspective when I am balanced.
So, back to texting as a ministry. When I realize, that, like the disciples Jesus spoke to, I am “sent” – I have a mission and one of the ways I can carry out that mission is to use texting to “encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thess.5:11). My Heavenly Father also reminds me in Ephesians 4:29 to, “let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” And “finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things,” Philippians 4:8.
Gracious Lord, how wonderful it is to have so many ways of communicating available to us to share your truths. Lord, show us how to “walk the balance beam of life” that we would glorify you in all that we do – in the texts we send.