Stay Encouraged !
It’s been sometime since I’ve just sat down and wrote a long message. As you know life keeps us quite busy in ministry and actually when I write I always try to say as much as I can with as few words as possible and a few pictures. However, its 3 o’clock in the morning and God has been talking to me so clearly about something and I believe He wants me to put this in words for you.
Sandy and I have been back in Florida over the holidays and we leaving for Africa Wednesd morning. It’s been wonderful to be here with family and dear friends. We did do some speaking at a few churches but not as much as we normally try do. Part of the reason for that has been my back. I have lower back degeneration and needed to have this worked on. I had two deep nerve blocks put in over the last few weeks and finally the pain is subsiding…. Thank you Jesus.
However, why I’m up at 3am is what I believe God wants me to write about something on my heart. Each time we’re on this side of the pond we get the feel for the mood of the country. Meaning what we see in TV and news, and the family and friends we talk with. Living in Zambia, Sandy and I, we're removed from the daily media noise. To me personally, I’ve sensed a great deal of division in the USA and concerns with this upcoming presidential election. Then you add in all the concerns with terrorist threats like ISIS and the different shootings at schools and gun control concerns. Then wars overseas. Let’s add in health care and social security concerns too. And let’s not forget to thank the wonderful world of the media to keep it fresh in our minds. It just leaves you with a real sense of fear from what I’ve been hearing from everyone.
And yes, the world and the USA has it’s troubles and challenges ahead of it. However, there is no politician, government or war that will fix it either. And with all the presidential candidates making empty promises and throwing mud at each other and calling each other liars, it makes you just wonder.
Now the words I’m getting from the Lord is this. We are told over and over in God’s word that these things will happen in the last days. Never before has there been so much prophecy being fulfilled than right now in the world. Ecclesiastes says, “Nothing new under the sun” and this is true. However, for me personally, I’m finding this time on the world to be the greatest time to be alive! Anything could happen at any moment. I’m not going to be surprised if the second coming happens ether! What a joy that would be to see Christ return!! You see, for those that have faith in Christ Jesus and believe deep in their hearts He is their Lord, there is great freedom and joy in this life we are living RIGHT NOW! There is nothing to fear. Not one thing! Not even death… there is no STING in death! I receive emails daily of dear friends that passed away. I know they are with Jesus and I celebrate that passing. I had the privilege of attending two dear friends celebration service the other day. A father and daughter. Some of you might know them, Bill & Dawn Blakely in Orlando. What a wonderful sendoff I witnessed. Sure there is a sadness for the family and friends that loved them (like me) but wow, all the wonderful testimonies about their lives and the way they touched lives and how they loved others was just deeply moving and a joy to see and hear. God is so good!
I want to somehow encourage you to look at these days as the best days of your lives. No matter where you are in the world and the age you are. These are great days to be alive! Be ready for anything to happen. Especially if Jesus returns. Be busy telling your friends and family about Jesus and what He has done for you and all that believe in Him. Romans 10 tells us.. "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone tells them?" Also it says. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Do not be worried about what people might say or think or if it is politically correct. In the world’s self-interest standards today there is nothing politically correct about Jesus and the words of God. You might say, “we live in different times". That has nothing to do with your faith. Take God’s word seriously and believe it! It’s interesting how today our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone - except God… I believe Billy Graham said that too. We are living in the end times! Can you imagine being that voice that says the right word of truth at the right time to change the hearts of someone or even a group of confused people. I have lived in war and unrest in Africa, mostly in the DRCongo to many years now. I know what panic and injustice looks like. I’ve seen what fear can do. Good people and society turn into civil unrest over night. It’s heart breaking. All because they are trusting in all the wrong things in life. Jesus repeatedly said, “I have come to bring YOU peace. To set the captive free. That whoever believes in Me will have everlasting life!” Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
The most important question today is not who will be the next president or what is happening with ISIS or gun control or health care or anything else the media wants you to be concerned about. In my faithful option, the most important question is this... "If Jesus comes or if you pass away in your sleep do you know for sure, 100%, you will be with those who have gone before you in heaven?" And more importantly... "Do you know why you are going to heaven?" Meaning, if there is an actual gate into heaven and God or the angel Gabriel is standing at the gate to let you in and He asks you, “Why should I let you in?”. Do you know why? Do you have the confidence to answer that question? I sure hope so because that’s where your real concerns and fear should be focused. All the rest is just noise. "Nothing new under the sun…"
I gave my life completely to Jesus Christ on September 19th, 1977. I was in my pastor’s office at Aloma UMC, Florida. Rev. John Brackman asked me those questions and I have never forgotten them. Sandy and I have raised our family over the last 38 years. We have four sons and they all know the answer to those questions and know Jesus personally. So do my five grandchildren. In fact, I had the wonderful privilege of baptizing three of my grandchildren last Sunday! Two from a confession of their faith. Think about that! I have taken those questions with me in business and the mission field and have asked hundreds of thousands those over the years those same questions. I’ve had 30 plus years now in African mission service and am privileged to see thousands give their lives to Christ because of those questions. I have seen the work of the Holy Spirit move in so many ways. Faith in Christ is very important, but living by the Spirit of God is life changing and freedom! Miracles still happen! The lame walk, the blind see, the sick are healed, and even the dead have risen. I have seen it all. All because of Jesus Christ. I have so much confidence in the future it’s not even funny. My faith stands unshaken. You see I don’t tell God how big my problems are, I tell my problems how big my God is! I know these are just words to some, some might even laugh, but friends they are so much - much more. AND they are for you as well. Please remember, it’s not by your doing good that saves you and gives you power and victory over fear or death. It’s what Jesus already did for you… In other words if I paraphrase Eph. 2:8-9, For by Jesus’ grace and death on the cross you have been saved through your faith in Him. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, through Jesus, not a result of your good works or deeds, so that you can’t boast about. You can only thank God for sending your Savior, Christ Jesus, and believe in Him. That is the greatest news in the world today. It’s the only news worth reading or hearing or talking about...
So let me say again, to you my dear friends and fellow believers, This is a GREAT TIME TO BE ALIVE!!! Lift up your head. Be expecting something wonderful to happen any day, even if it seems different than you thought. God will use all of it for His good will and pleasure. AND you are part of that!
Now I have done what God wanted me to do. I’m going back to bad… I love you, but Jesus loves you so much more….