On The Journey, Judy Bowman

Cast your net

At the end of the day, we should ask ourselves, “How did I draw others to Christ this day?” We can have all kinds of good intentions, but we know where good intentions can often lead. Folks don’t know our intentions, they only know our words and our actions. So maybe the question should be, “What did I say and do today to draw others to Christ?” These days, we all need to ask ourselves this question.

Well, if you walked around with your head down staring at your phone, chances are you didn’t do a whole lot of leading by example. How many opportunities to help, to show kindness, to be merciful, or to offer hope do we lose because we’re so involved in responding to those little glowing screens in our hands? I do this way too often, especially as a way of “killing time” while I’m waiting in a line, waiting in a doctor’s office, or even as a way of not engaging with the people around me. I’m being self-centered and proud—-hardly an example of a joyful disciple of Christ.

In order to reveal our Savior to another person, we have to be open to engage with them. This seems incredibly obvious, but so many times we don’t do it. Look people in the eyes. The cashier at the supermarket. The bank teller. Your spouse. Your child. Listen to them. Don’t just mentally prepare what you plan to say in response once they’re stopped talking. Really listen to their words and the meaning behind them. You may hear something you weren’t expecting. Ask questions. Be patient. Don’t feel that you have to make small talk to fill in any silences. Sometimes silence is very important. Connecting with another person in that way can be the first step in sharing the love of Jesus.

Joy. That’s right, joy. If there’s one thing that should distinguish a Christian from an unbeliever, it’s that we live our lives with joy. Everyone can be happy in the good times, but I’m talking about being joyful even in the worst of times. Joy comes from the gift of faith and the Holy Spirit. Joy is the deep and abiding assurance of the love of Jesus Christ. I love the traditional story of St. Lawrence as an example of Christian joy. He was a deacon in 3rd century Rome, during some of the worst times of Christian persecution. He distributed alms to the poor, which won him the anger of the Empire. As punishment, he was strapped to a grate over a raging fire. After he had been burned alive for a time, he told his torturers, “You can turn me over now—I think I’m done on that side!” Now that’s joy — an enduring happiness which grows in relationship with Jesus.

If you faithfully engage with the people your meet every day and you listen to them and reflect back the joy of Christ, you can be assured that your life will bear the light of Christ to others. You don’t have to be a professional preacher or write inspirational books or teach Sunday School. Just be who God made you to be and live each day in the hope of the Cross. God will set people in your path that are hungry to have what you have to know the One Who gave it to you.

“Joy is a net of love by which we catch souls.” — St. Teresa of Calcutta

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Pleasant Valley Baptist will suspend in-person services until further notice due to COVID-19. Sunday morning and Wednesday worship times can be viewed on Facebook or YouTube. Come join with us each time as we hear from God’s Word. An inspiring online message was brought by Brother Cody Cranmore on Sunday. As never before, we need encouragement and truth. During this pandemic, if you feel yourself drifting away from God, be sure to watch and listen to be refreshed in the things of God.

Our world, our country, leaders, families and friends need our prayers like never before. Please pray for these, our freedoms or the loss thereof, and the days in which we now live. Everyone must realize our greatest need and answer to our struggles is to turn back to God. As a nation as well as people, we have sinned against God. The Bible tells us if God’s people will repent, He will hear from heaven and heal our land. Our nation must repent and acknowledge God, His Son, and our sin. Be expecting Christ’s return. Our hope is in God, not man.

Remember to pray for the availability of vaccine and the vastly increasing cases of COVID-19 and take precautions to protect yourself and others.

Pray for members Mike Cross, Denise, Ken and Jason Pitts, Betty Pitts and her brother and sister, Grayson Cranmore, Mike Smiley, Glenda Smiley, Larry Armstrong, Wendy Miller, Wyondia Hill, along with Brother Dwayne Hill as he serves in Georgia House of Representatives, and all who need our prayers. Our pastor and his wife, Jill, earnestly need prayer for recovery from COVID-19 while we praise God for their improvement. Pray for our shut-ins, Carolyn Denton and Lula Petty as well as others with high-risk situations. Pray for our churches, missionaries, and evangelists.

Pleasant Valley Baptist continues to live-stream Facebook and YouTube Sunday mornings and mid-week Bible study. Visit or view our services for encouragement from God’s Word.

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