John Henry Patterson is regarded as “one of the greatest salesmen of all time." He purchased the National Cash Register Company after cash registers used in his own store showed a profit of $5,000. Yet, in 1884 there was no market demand for cash registers. Patterson and his salesmen had to "persuade" store owners they needed this product.
Patterson realized his salesmen were unprepared. He said, "One half of our salesmen are so ignorant of their product that they will actually prevent a man from buying, even though he wanted a cash register." Although many of his salesmen resisted, Patterson created a mandatory sales manual and training schools for his employees. Sales doubled the first year, and by 1914, the NCR company was producing 110,000 cash registers per year!
As Christians we are to be witnesses, ambassadors, and one might say "salesmen" to "persuade" others to follow Christ. Yet, how many times have we not known HOW to do this? Are we fearful of questions about our faith because we are unsure of the answers?
The Scripture says "KNOWING." It might help to learn from Patterson who required his salesmen to learn the sales manual by heart. "KNOWING" is going to require some work: Bible reading and Bible study. Just as Patterson's salesmen had to go to training school, the Christian also must take advantage of learning opportunities (Sunday school, youth services, church services).
In today's culture, it is more important than ever that God’s people "be ready always to give an answer … of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15).
There is a children’s song that says: "The more we work together, the happier we’ll be. For your work in my work, and our work is God’s work." Paul wrote to let his Christian brothers and sisters know that he thanked God for them every time they came to his mind. Why? Because of their "fellowship in the gospel" (verse 5). It blessed Paul to hear that they were working together in spreading the Gospel.
When I think of my church family, there are so many things to be thankful for, but like Paul, I believe the greatest blessing is that we are "workers together with him" (2 Corinthians 6:1). It might be cleaning the church, sending cards, working in the dining hall, testifying, singing, praying, or fixing food for a funeral. These are just a few of the many ways the family of God works together in sharing the Gospel. There is an old saying, "Many hands make light work." What a blessing to be a part of God’s family and work together! I, too, thank God every time I think of you.
My parents had six children, and keeping track of all of us must have been challenging. Once they forgot my youngest sister after a church service. She stood, patiently waiting, outside the church building because she knew as soon as our parents "remembered" her, they would be back.
Many verses in the Bible tell of people asking God to "remember." Yet, why would they ask that, as God never forgets? The Hebrew word for "remember" is defined as "to bring someone to mind and then ACT on that person's behalf."
When God "remembered" Noah, He dried up the waters; when He "remembered" Rachel, she had a son (Joseph); and when He "remembered" Israel in bondage, He sent a deliverer (Moses).
When we read that God "remembered," we also find that there was action. Verses that tell us God "remembered" are followed by proof that He never forgets.
When we cry out to God, "Remember, O LORD," it is not because He has forgotten us or our needs, but because we need Him to move on our situation. God KNOWS we need Him. He is waiting for us to realize our need and call out to Him: "Remember [me], O LORD."
In these two verses, we read of Phebe and learn that she is a Christian, a servant, and a helper of many including the author of the Book of Romans (Paul). I could find no other mention of her in the Bible. Yet, there is much more to Phebe’s story than what was recorded here. It is believed that due to her name, she was a Greek named after the god Apollo. She is noted as being at Cenchrea, a port outside of Corinth (a very wicked city). Was she married? Did she have children? Was she wealthy or accomplished? Was her family well known? None of these details about her have been historically preserved.
Phebe is remembered for what she did for the cause of Christ. These verses remind us that when our life is over, what TRULY MATTERS is what we have done for Christ. "Only one life, so soon it will pass, Only what’s done for Christ will last."
Bad news travels fast. Often a phone call, text, or email can bring "evil tidings." The phone rings or we hear a text notification, and our heart seems to stop. We think, "What now?" Can you imagine what Job must have thought as each messenger came running toward him? In Job 3:25 he said, "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me."
Sometimes we are tempted to say: "I knew this would happen! Nothing ever seems to go right." Evil tidings have a way of depressing and discouraging us. But this verse says we do not have to be afraid of them. Evil tidings will come; good news will come. Only God knows what today holds. The key is to have our heart FIXED (or focused) on the Lord. It was only when Peter stopped looking at Jesus and focused on the water that he began to sink.
The next time bad news comes, this verse is a good reminder to focus our "heart" (thoughts) on God. When our eyes are "fixed" on Him, we remember that God is in full control of the problems of life (the "evil tidings"). Nothing is impossible when you put your TRUST in God!
In the book Great Expectations, a young man named Pip sought after wealth, status, and education. He was greatly dissatisfied with his life, and as he cultivated relationships that he thought would help him become a "gentleman," he abandoned the moral guidance of his youth. In the end, he had no spiritual values and no meaningful purpose.
Where are we placing our expectations? In people, things, education, or accomplishments? Will any of these bring long-lasting peace and fulfillment? This verse tells us to "wait ONLY upon God." Our "expectation" (what we live, hope, and long for) must be with God. A key word, though, in this verse must be remembered: "wait." In His time, God will reveal His plan for our life, and it will exceed all our expectations!
In Jesus' day, the phrase "a grain of a mustard seed" was often used to describe anything of a small quantity or weight. Yet, this small seed can grow into a plant that is 8 feet high, providing a place for birds to rest in its branches. Another common phrase used in Bible times when describing respected teachers or Rabbis was, "He is an uprooter of mountains." While physical mountains are exactly where God placed them, there are often things in our life that look just as impossible as moving a physical mountain.
However, the smallest amount of faith planted in good ground and watered with prayer and the Word will grow into a tall, strong plant that provides rest and encouragement for you and for others in your life. This faith, based in God's Word, can take hold of His promises. He hears us (1 John 5:14), and He can do greater things than we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). I am so thankful that God is mindful of me when my faith is weak due to the great mountain that is in my way! What a good reminder that nothing is impossible with God!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.