I'd like to begin by expressing my thanks for all those who prayed, wrote or called this past week in wake of my dad's passing. Your words of comfort and encouragement were greatly appreciated by myself and Nancy. Knowing he died in Christ brought a sense of peace, but the grief at losing him was deeper than anything I've ever felt before.
Please continue to uphold my mom (sister, brother, spouses and grandchildren as well) in prayer as she grieves his loss and learns to go it alone without him. He was a wonderful man, good father, committed husband, public servant, and 8 years ago, a man who came to faith in Jesus. I'd like to offer this weeks "thoughts" in his memory.
There are three short thoughts, and they come from David Wilkerson (of "The Cross and the Switchblade" fame) in his book: "I'm Not Mad At God" published in 1967. He worked for years with gang members in New York City, and is now the pastor of a church there. The first has to do with prayer, the second the inner stirrings of the soul and the last with affliction. I trust one of them will hit the mark! Enjoy.
"Stay here and keep watch with me." (Matt. 26:38)
"The true purpose of prayer is that we enjoy much personal communion with the Lord. The heart is reluctant to dwell in God's presence and satisfies its self instead with 'devotions.' This describes a hurried period late at night or early in the morning when a 'quikie' prayer is offered and a hurried portion of scripture is partly absorbed. All the witnessing in the world cannot excuse a man from his duty and privilege of prayer in the secret closet -- locked in with God until the carnal soul is transformed! No man should pray without ploughing and no man should plough without praying. Every gift from God will cost you a groan. True men of God feel too weak to face the enemy without daily, consistent praying."
"As an eagle stirs her nest...." (Deut. 32:11)
"The man God uses is often a restless man. He cannot be satisfied with the status quo. His nest is always being stirred. Just when he settles down to rest in a few months of enjoyable ministry, he loses heart or becomes strangely restless. He cannot tell you why. He may know the great joy of the Lord, but at the same time be absolutely disgusted with his present situation. Watch out -- God is ready to break up the nest. You will soon be flung out into the space of faith and trust, ready to do God's bidding. All new ministries He has thrust me into have come immediately after a 'nest stirring.' Restlessness and discontent are the motivation forces that drive all men of God to great heights of service."
"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word." (Pslam 119:67)
"I believe in healing. I believe in affliction. I believe in 'healing afflictions.' Any affliction that keeps me from going astray -- that drives me deeper into His Word -- is healing. God's most gracious healing force spiritually and physically can be afflictions. To suggest that pain and affliction are of the devil is to suggest that David was driven by the devil to seek God's Word. I have suffered great pain. I have called on God for deliverance and I believe Him for complete healing. Yet, while I go on believing, I continue to thank God for the present condition and let it serve to remind me how dependent on Him I really am. With David I can say, 'It is good for me.' Pain and afflictions are not to be despised as coming from the devil. Such burdens have produced great men of faith and insight."
In the Bonds of Christian Affection (or should I say 'Christian afflictions'?), Pastor Jeff