Tertullian (c. 155 – 240)

Tertullian (c. 155 – 240)

One of the most noteworthy personages belonging to the early Church. Born at Carthage (Tunisia) his father being a Roman centurion in the service of the proconsul of Africa. His natural endowments were great, and they were supplemented by a comprehensive course of studies whose fruit appears in the wealth of historical, legal, philosophical, physical, and antiquarian elements contained in his writings. He was destined for the civil service of the empire, and was accordingly trained in Roman jurisprudence and the art of forensic eloquence. His mode of argumentation and terminology everywhere reveal the legal turn of his mind, and his writings in many places throw light on disputed points of the Roman civil law.

Tertullian was converted to Christianity between thirty and forty years of age, and he immediately became its fearless champion against pagans, Jews, and heretics, especially Gnostics. He was the first religious teacher after the apostles who attained to a clear recognition of the mighty contrast between sin and grace, and who presented it in all it force to the mind of the Church. He was married but nevertheless entered the ranks of the clergy. Jerome, says that he was a presbyter of the Catholic Church, but his own writings do not determine whether he was a member prior to his transition into Montanism or not.

The transition to Montanism occurred a few years after Tertullian’s conversion, and about A.D. 202. The act doubtless had its origin in his eccentric disposition and rigorous moral views, which predisposed him to regard that heresy with favor and to dislike the Roman Church. Jerome attributes it to personal motives excited by the jealousy and envy of the Roman clergy, and modern writers have ascribed it to disappointed ambition. We know, however, that the penitential discipline of the Church was administered at Rome with exceeding laxity, and that such indifference was an abomination in the eyes of Tertullian.

Assuredly he did not regard Montanus as the Paraclete. He recognized in the latter simply an inspired organ of the Spirit. He, rather than Montanus, became the head of the Montanistic party in Africa, giving to their undefined views a theological character and a conceded influence over the life of the Church, and establishing it on foundations sufficiently firm to enable it to protract its being down to the 5th century. He died in old age, between A.D. 220 and 240. The assertion that he returned to the Catholic Church before he died is sometimes made, but cannot be substantiated, and the continued existence of the sect of Tertullianists would seem to contradict the assumption.

It is a significant fact that it was precisely this great defender of Catholic orthodoxy against Gnostic heresy who was a schismatic to such a degree that he has never been included by the Church of Rome among the number of her saints, or among that of the patres (Church Fathers).

As a writer, Tertullian was exceedingly fresh and vigorous, but also angular, abrupt, and impetuous. He possessed a lively imagination, a fund of wit and satire, as well as of acquired knowledge, and considerable depth and keenness; but he was deficient in point of logical clearness and self- possession, as well as of moderation, and of a thorough and harmonious culture. He was a speculative thinker, though the bitter opponent of philosophy. His aspiring mind sought in vain for adequate language in which to express itself, and struggled constantly to force the ideas of Christianity within the forms of the Latin tongue. His style thus became exceedingly forcible, nervous, vivid, concise, and pregnant.

His adversaries were assailed without mercy and with all the weapons of truth and of art, and nearly always appear in his writings in ridiculous plight. He was the direct opposite to Origen, holding the extreme position of realism on the borders of materialism. He was, furthermore, the pioneer of orthodox anthropology and soteriology, the teacher of Cyprian, and forerunner of Augustine, in the latter of whom his spirit was reproduced in twofold measure, though without its eccentricities and angularities. It is possible, also, to trace resemblances between him and Luther with respect to native vigor of mind, profound earnestness, unregulated passion, polemical relentlessness, etc.; but the father lacked the childlike amiability of the Reformer, who was both a lion and a lamb.

Tertullian’s writings are usually of brief extent, but they traverse nearly all fields of the religious life, and they constitute the most prolific source for the history of the Church and of doctrines in his time. No satisfactory classification of them can be executed, because but few of them afford the necessary data on which to base a scheme. The classification here presented rests upon the nature of the several writings as being either Catholic or Anti-Catholic, in which light the former are considerably more numerous than the latter.

(I.) Catholic Writings, or such as Defend Orthodox Christianity against Unbelievers and Heretics. — Most of these works date from the Montanist era of the author’s life.

1. Apologies against Pagans and Jews. — First of all, the Apologeticus, addressed to the Roman magistracy, A.D. 198 or 204, and forming one of the best rebuttals of the charges raised by the heathen of the time against Christianity. Similar in character are the Ad Nationes Libri II. In De Testimonio Animae the author develops an argument for the unity of God and the reality of a future state from the innate perceptions and feelings of the soul. In the work Ad Scapulam he remonstrates with the African governor of that name, who was bitterly persecuting the Christians. The Adversus Judmeos Liber draws from the Old-Testament prophets the proof that the Messiah has appeared in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

2. Doctrinal and Polemical Writings Aimed against Heretics. — Here belongs, first, the De Praescriptione Haereticorum, or rules to be observed by Christians in dealing with heretics. The argument involves, as its fundamental principle, the idea that heretics, as innovators, are under the necessity of proving their positions, while the Catholic Church is assured in its sole right to the allegiance of-Christendom by the uninterrupted current of apostolical tradition and an unimpaired succession, so that it need not enter into controversy with heretics. After the defection to Montanism, Tertullian wrote against various individual heretics, e.g. in the fifteenth year of Septimius Severus (A.D. 207 or 208), Adversus Marcionem Libri V, his most extensive and learned polemico-dogmatical work, and a principal source for the study of Gnosticism: — Adversus Hermogenem, a painter at Carthage, who had adopted the dualistic theory of the eternity of matter: — Adversus Valentinianos, a tragico-comical representation of the Valentinian Gnostics: and Scolpiace, an antidote against the scorpion- poison of such heretics.

Particular Gnostical doctrines are, assailed in De Baptismo, a defense of water-baptism against the Cainites and their peculiar theory of a mystical spiritual baptism: — De Anima, an inquiry into the nature, etc., of the soul: — De Carne Christi, a defense of the true humanity of Christ: — and De Resurrectione Carnis, a confutation of the heresy which denied the resurrection of the body. The tract Adversus Praxeam assails the Phrygian Antimontanist Praxeas, and confutes his patri-passionist errors in the interest of the orthodox view of the Trinity.

3. Ethical and Ascetical Writings. — This class is composed of works of small size, but of considerable value to the regulation of practical life and the administration of ecclesiastical discipline. The list includes, De Oratione, an exposition of the Lord’s Prayer and rules for prayer and fasting: — De Spectaculis, a warning against theatrical exhibitions: — De Idololatria: — Ad Uxorem Libri I., advice to his wife to govern her action in case she should outlive him: — De Paenitentia, a Catholic and Anti- montanistic presentation of the doctrine of repentance, dating from the earlier period of his Christian life: De Patientia, a commendation of the virtue of patience, accompanied with a lamentation because of his own lack of that virtue: — Ad Martyros, an exhortation addressed to the confessors who in the time of Septimius Severus awaited. in prison the martyr’s death.

(II.) Anti-Catholic Writings, in which Montanistic Divergences from Catholic Customs are Expressly Defended. De Pudicitia, a retraction of the principles laid down in the earlier work De Paenitentia and violent advocacy of the rigoristic view on which deadly sins, like murder, adultery, and flight from persecution, should never be condoned: — De Monogamia, an emphatic denunciation of second marriages — De Exhortatione Castitatis, in which three degrees of chastity are distinguished the first, absolute and lifelong restraint; the second, continence from the time of baptism; the third, refraining from contracting a second marriage: — De Virginibus Velandis, denouncing the habit of unmarried women appearing in public unveiled as being contrary to nature, the will of God, and the discipline of the Church generally: — De Habitu Muliebri et de Cultu Feminarum condemns the adorning of the person by females with ornaments, etc.: — De Jejuniis adversus Psycliicos (Catholics) is a defense of exaggerated fasting: — De Fuga denies the right of Christians to flee from persecution: — De Corona Militis commends a Christian soldier who refitted to wear the festive chaplet on a great occasion and suffered punishment for his act: — De Pallio is a witty explanation of his conduct in wearing the pallium instead of the ordinary Roman toga, difficult for us to understand because of its numerous allusions to obscure customs of the time.
The earliest edition of the collected works of Tertullian was that of Beatus Rhenanus (1521). It was followed by those of Pamelius (1579), Rigaltius (1634, 1744), Semler (1770) and Migne (1844). The latest and best edition is that of Oehler (1853).

The life of Tertullian has been written by: Neander (1825; 2d ed. 1849).

http://www.biblicalcyclopedia.com/T/tertullian(us)-quintus-septimius-florens.html

We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand the things freely given us by God. And this is what we speak, not in words taught to us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit

1 Corinthians 2:13-15
We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand the things freely given us by God. And this is what we speak, not in words taught to us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing / combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words / comparing spiritual things with spiritual things / explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? (Isaiah 40:13) But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Korintiečiams 2:12-15
Mes gavome ne pasaulio dvasią, bet Dvasią iš Dievo, kad suvoktume, kas mums Dievo dovanota. Apie tai ir kalbame ne žodžiais, kurių moko žmogiškoji išmintis, bet tais, kurių moko Šventoji Dvasia, – dvasinius dalykus gretindami su dvasiniais. Bet sielinis žmogus nepriima to, kas yra iš Dievo Dvasios, nes jam tai kvailystė; ir negali suprasti, nes tai dvasiškai vertinama. O dvasinis žmogus gali spręsti apie viską, bet niekas negali spręsti apie jį. „Kas gi suvokė Viešpaties mintį, kad galėtų Jį pamokyti?“ O mes turime Kristaus protą.

1 Corinthians 3:1-8
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

1 Korintiečiams 3:1-8
Aš, broliai, negalėjau kalbėti jums kaip dvasiniams, bet kaip kūniškiems, kaip kūdikiams Kristuje. Maitinau jus pienu, ne tvirtu maistu, kurio jūs negalėjote priimti. Net ir dabar negalite, nes tebesate kūniški. Jeigu tarp jūsų pavydas, nesantaika ir susiskaldymai, – argi nesate kūniški? Argi nesielgiate grynai žmogiškai? Kol vienas sako: „Aš – Pauliaus“, kitas: „Aš – Apolo“, – argi nesate kūniški? Kas yra Paulius? Kas yra Apolas? Tarnai, kurių dėka įtikėjote ir kurie tarnavo, kiek Viešpats kiekvienam skyrė. Aš sodinau, Apolas laistė, o Dievas augino. Todėl nieko nereiškia nei sodintojas, nei laistytojas, bet Dievas – augintojas. Kas sodina ir kas laisto, yra viena, ir kiekvienas gaus savąjį užmokestį pagal savo triūsą.

When unbelievers come to the church, they look at the church as if it’s all one: it is all Christian.

God says in the church there are various categories of people. Scripture says there are 1) spiritual 2) fleshly 3) infants.

There are those who are fleshly. They cannot understand what the Holy Spirit says. They do not have the Holy Spirit in their heart (mind). They have not yet been born. When they hear what the Holy Spirit is saying, they consider it foolishness. For them it is very hard to understand that Jesus died on the cross. They are so proud that they do not accept the gift of salvation. They trust in their own strength and righteousness. They say, I will build my life. Tomorrow is up to me. There is no room for God in their lives. And they do good works to be accepted by God. Holy Spirit tells us in the Bible that God has given us salvation as a gift. We need to receive it.

The second category of people are infants. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3, I was unable to speak to you with solid food, because you are still infants. I remember when I was an infant. I remember when I first believed, I began to understand God. Like a sponge I began to drink up everything, all teaching, whatever anyone said, I accepted it all. It did not matter to me where the teaching was coming from, from who, for me it was only important that it’s about Christ. I loved to read the Bible. I loved to listen to sermons. I had the desire to give my life to the Lord completely. I was ready to serve the Lord completely. I was ready to do everything. It is that time when you first come to know the Lord and His love and God begins to answer your prayers. I asked for everything and God showed me everything. God was caring for me like a little child. Because I was a little spiritual child! God answered all my prayers. I loved God. Holy Spirit was in me. But unfortunately not many people wanted to be friends with me! Because my character was still the same as it was before! It had not yet been changed. I was a Christian but at the same time the old nature was still there. The old character, the sinful tendencies. And often I would have to repent so that I would change.

There are also spiritual people, those who have the mind of Christ. They are able to appraise all things. But no one is able to appraise them. Why are others not able to appraise them? It is because they resemble Christ. The spiritual person thinks like Jesus, acts like Jesus, even their motives are like Jesus. It is often difficult to understand them because of their behaviour! Sometimes it is difficult to appraise others by their behaviour. All of us come to church. All of us serve in some kind of ministry. But what kind of motive lies behind it? Who is leading us? How are we living? In 1 Corinthians 1:2 Paul writes that we are called to be holy people. In another place Paul writes that God has chosen us that we would be transformed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3). This is a spiritual person. This is the person in whom lives the Lord Jesus Christ. And people see in him/her the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a fourth category, the carnal person. The carnal person is also a Christian. Scripture says he has the Holy Spirit. He has been born of God. He was an infant. But he has remained that way. In Uzbekistan there is a church that runs an orphanage. Our church would visit the orphanage to share the good news. There was a man there who was 40 years old. His head was that of a man who is 40 years old. His hands and body and feet were like that of a child. Imagine. Head like 40 year-old, but body like a child. And the sisters and others would feed him. He could speak. He listened to the teaching. But it so happened that his head grew but his body didn’t. The carnal person is similar to this person. He came to God. Grows older, but spiritually he does not grow! When other people meet these carnal people they may say, if Christianity is like this, I do not want to be like that. If a spiritual person, a person with the Holy Spirit is like that, then I don’t want to be a Christian. Sometimes we do not see our own growth. But to others it is visible. How fearful it is to be in the church for 20 years and have these various inconsistencies. To come to Christ and be full of joy like a child, to enjoy being fed, but not to grow to maturity (Matthew 5:48, Matthew 19:21, 1 Corinthians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 14:20, Ephesians 4:13, Philippians 3:15, Colossians 1:28, Colossians 4:12, Hebrews 5:14, James 1:4)

1 Corinthians 11:29-31
For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weakand sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. Now if we judged ourselves properly, we would not come under judgment.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13
What business of mine is it to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (Deut. 13:5; 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21,24; 24:7)

Love on Fire

A fire burned inside Myo Zaw. It was lit the day the Lord redeemed him, and it grew hotter and more intense every single day. He was like the prophet Jeremiah, unable to keep the love of Christ hidden within himself. If he tried, he felt restless, he felt sick.

Weary of holding it in, Myo Zaw shouted from the roadsides and in market places, “Christ [redeemed] me, and He will [redeem] you also!”

People thought he had gone mad. Those in his community already knew him as a hot-blooded drunkard who fought with people and beat his wife and children, and now he proved his insanity.

“But I knew I was not mad,” Myo Zaw says. “The love of God just would not simply keep [quiet] in my heart. I wanted to pour it out and share it.”

Independently Ministering

Consumed by a fire that could not be put out, Myo Zaw traveled throughout his region, walking from place to place, sharing the Word of God. He told people “how a sinner like me was found by God.” In three years, he visited 100 communities. His wife, Shway, sent him letters while he was away to encourage him.

“If your life can change by Christ, there is no one who cannot be changed by Christ,” she’d say. “So wherever you are going and sharing the Word of God, we are here to pray for you. I believe people will be changed by the love of Christ.”

And people were—350 of them. They heard of His great love and saw it lived out in His child, and it changed them.

Following Like Jesus

Not long after, a man visited Myo Zaw’s village and shared about the different places in their country and how Jesus went to a foreign land, though heaven was His home.

The fire inside Myo Zaw intensified. He knew without any doubt that his life needed to be about sharing the Lord’s love with others. It was a powerful love that transformed him, and he knew others needed it, too.

He told himself, “It is better that I go and give my life for the people in foreign lands.” So he and his wife prayed and prepared themselves to live in an area where people were unfamiliar with the Lamb of God.

Nearly 10 years later, God sent them to the southern region of their country as GFA-supported missionaries.

Forced Out of Community

In their new community, people quickly realized Myo Zaw and his family were Christians and decided they would have nothing to do with the new arrivals.

“We were [forced] out of community,” Pastor Myo Zaw says, “and it is very difficult to live without community.”

People threw stones at Myo Zaw’s home and threatened to penalize others if they spoke to the Christians. Even Myo Zaw’s young children faced discrimination at school because of their faith.

“Sometimes, when we would go to the market,” Pastor Myo Zaw recalls, “they’d look at us as if we were enemies. All these things we faced, but the Lord showed His grace upon us through which we are still OK now.”

Turning of Hearts

Myo Zaw, Shway and their children trusted Christ throughout the hardships, and with the Spirit’s fiery love pulsating within them, they learned how to love the people in their new community.

The pastor started with film ministry, showing people movies they enjoyed and also the film of Jesus’ life. The local children felt Myo Zaw’s and his wife’s warmth and began visiting them. Myo Zaw and Shway would give the young boys and girls treats, teach them songs and bathe the ones that came looking haggard.

The community watched how they cared for their children and wondered why this man and his wife loved them so much. Soon, people talked to them at the market, and Pastor Myo Zaw and Shway were able to reveal Christ’s love to them.

They cared for the sick and took people to the hospital when needed. When floodwaters destroyed homes and livelihoods, they and other GFA-supported workers helped provide relief. Pastor Myo Zaw frequently visited people to encourage them and offer words of life and hope in Christ Jesus. And people visited him as well.

God’s Most Powerful Weapon

The fire God kindled within Myo Zaw on the first day of his redemption continues to burn brighter and hotter as the years pass.

“My love has become deeper for them. I care for them more,” he says of the people who are now his friends. “That’s why I don’t want to go back to my hometown. That is why I would like to sacrifice my whole life for them.”

After 14 years of displaying Christ’s love, people feel and understand Myo Zaw’s love for them and many return it. They’ve come to know that “everything I do is for them,” he says. And he does it because of Christ.

“What I have found in my life,” Myo Zaw says, “is that love is the most powerful weapon we have from God.”

The Galilee Boat

The river was busy. It was always busy during high tide. Boatmen competed with each other to ferry people and belongings from the market to villages and back. Some boats were so weighed down that the tops were only a few inches from the water’s surface.

This was the way of life for people living near the shores, where channels of water sliced through the ground and boats helped people get around from village to village.

But the Galilee Boat was different. It was just Pastor Myo Zaw and his disciple, Nyein Shein, on this boat. They traversed through the river together. Myo Zaw stood toward the front of the boat, a handwoven bag slung across his chest and packets of information about true hope in his left hand. Nyein Shein was at the stern, bending this way and that as he navigated the vessel through the murky waters, careful not to collide into other boats.

For Pastor Myo Zaw and Nyein Shein, traveling through the waters was less about getting around and more about meeting people.

“Galilee Boat is like a second life for us, which is very important for our [ministry],” Myo Zaw said.

The boat was a means to minister. It created opportunities for Pastor Myo Zaw to talk with fishermen or the men waiting to ferry people from the market. He’d also go to villages that could only be visited by boat.

Through the Galilee Boat, people who had never heard about the redemptive love of Christ could finally witness it. They’d see it in the life of the man who traveled in the boat just to see them, and they’d hear it in his voice when he’d speak words of life found in the Word of God. And something would happen inside their hearts. They believed that still, small voice that whispered to them, “I am the living God.”

Three fellowships and 16 other smaller fellowships grew in villages that Pastor Myo Zaw visited via the Galilee Boat.

The boat has become “famous,” Myo Zaw said. But not because it’s constantly traveling through the channels of water, looking to meet new people. It’s become famous because of the timely help it’s provided.

The region where Pastor Myo Zaw and Nyein Shein serve is known to flood during monsoon seasons. When it does, they use the Galilee Boat to bring relief supplies, like food and medicine, to stranded villagers and to rescue people by transferring them to safer regions.

“I believe God gave me this boat to help the community in the times of difficulties,” Myo Zaw said.

And that’s where you’ll find him and Nyein Shein, out on the Galilee Boat, navigating the busy river to help people in their community.

https://www.gfa.ca/news/articles/gfa-world-love-on-fire/

https://www.gfa.ca/gfa-world/2017/march-departments/#mf-0317

Munay’s Testimony

Tears freely tumbled down Munay’s cheeks and spilled onto her already soaked pillow. It was so hard. Cancer raged inside her body even though Munay had underwent surgery and eight chemo injections. Now radiotherapy attacked her cancerous cells. Too sick to move, Munay lay on her bed. Thoughts raced in her head, moving her past the physical pain—her heart was breaking. She couldn’t die now, not yet. There was so much work yet to be done, and if she didn’t do it, who would?

Munay grew up going to church and knew the Bible well. Her pastor even appointed her to be a Sunday school teacher, but she felt something was missing.

“I never committed myself freely into God’s hand,” she said.

Because of this, she had no peace. She searched for it by going to different prayer meetings, but “I always came back empty handed,” she said. “Yet there was hope in my life that one day God would touch me and fill my heart with His divine peace.”

That revelation came while attending a Christian convention. She was inspired by the believers and their passionate worship. It seemed they loved Jesus deeply. After hearing a message from Isaiah 44:22, Munay understood for the first time that Jesus had willingly laid down His life for her. When she took this to heart and personally accepted God’s love, everything changed.

“Peace and joy filled my life in abundance,” she said.

Munay was now entrusted with a deep yearning to help those who didn’t know Jesus, her Savior. She cried out to the Lord to use her, and He answered. After she graduated Bible college in 2006, she began serving the Lord in her home state. Munay, there on her knees, would find true victory amidst years of controversy.

During her ministry Munay didn’t experience an easy road. Because she was not an eloquent speaker it was difficult for her to convey to people the message of hope she carried. The individuals she served were highly educated and thought little of Munay, especially as she stumbled through her words. The youths also threw stones at her house as an attempt to scare her off. But no matter how much the locals looked down on her and treated her as lowly, she would not become discouraged. Munay was convinced she was called by God, and she was prepared to face all kinds of adverse circumstances on her knees.

It was an uphill climb, but the more difficult the situations Munay faced, the more she was willing to bow her head. As a result, the Lord in His mercy answered her prayers and blessed her ministry. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, she established a prayer fellowship with eventually 10 believers. The local people mocked them in their new journey with Jesus. They tried to discourage them with sarcastic remarks, but Munay encouraged the believers and fixed her eyes heavenward with them. Munay well understood what they were facing.

After five years of serving in this community, Munay’s life weathered yet another difficult season. In 2014, Munay found out she had cancer. This devastated Munay, but not for herself. She cried out to the Lord day and night, asking God to spare her life.

“Lord, please heal me, as I have much work remaining to do,” Munay prayed through her sobs. “I must do the work.”

However, even in sickness Munay was not deterred from loving and trusting Jesus. She believed God would heal her body. Her ministry didn’t stop either. Munay encouraged her brothers and sisters in God’s Word while on her sickbed, praying and longing to be with them daily.

After a time, the Lord answered Munay’s faith-filled prayers and brought her healing. Munay came through her terminal illness as one tried through fire, and her testimony in Christ appears golden.

“When you are in good health, do as much as you can for the Lord. Do not take your life for granted,” Munay exhorted her brothers and sisters, managing to stand before them as her body grew stronger. “Let us not grow weary, but let us be zealous in serving the Lord. And may the Lord not have to put you in a position to make you realize how little you have done. We must do the work. If we do not do it, then who will? Make the most of the life that God has given us.”

https://www.gfa.ca/news/articles/when-cancer-tries-to-take-over/

Jesus will never end

ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER DAILY SO YOU DO NOT BECOME HARDENED BY THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN

SEE THAT NONE OF YOU BROTHERS AND SISTERS HAS UNBELIEVING HEART MAKING YOU TURN AWAY FROM THE LIVING GOD

GODS GRACE IS GREATER

I WANT TO SAY HAVE HOPE

JESUS IS GREATER THAN REJECTION AND CONFUSION

GREATER THAN IDOLATRY

GREATER THAN LUST

ADULTERY

FORNICATION

PORNOGRAPHY

IMMATURITY

PERVERTEDNESS

JESUS CHANGES PERVERTS

AND PERVERTED MINDS

SEXUAL IMMORALITY

SEX ADDICTION

PROSTITUTION

HOMOSEXUALITY

CORRUPTION

THEFT

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

INCEST

RAPE

ABUSE

HAVE HOPE

FAMILY ISSUES

BAD UPBRINGING

BAD MOM

BAD DAD

NO MOM

NO DAD

JESUS IS DAD

JESUS IS MOM

JESUS OVERCOMES

JEALOUSY

ENVY

COVETOUSNESS

LIES

BITTERNESS

HATE

MURDER

PRIDE

LONELINESS

NIGHTMARES

NO FRIENDS

PROBLEMS AT SCHOOL

PROBLEMS WITH TEACHERS

LACK OF SUBMISSION

PROBLEMS AT WORK

JOBLESSNESS

HOMELESSNESS

HUNGER

THIRST

POVERTY

BLINDNESS

DEAFNESS

MANIPULATION

COLD HEART

STONY HEART

NO LOVE

NO HOPE

DARKNESS

ANCESTRAL SIN

CURSES

GENERATIONAL SINS

DEMONS

FALLEN ANGELS

DEMONIC ATTACK

DEMONIC MANIPULATION

BEING CAPTURED BY DEVIL TO DO HIS WILL

IN THE HANDS OF SATAN

MIND CONTROLLED BY SATAN

POWERS

IN HEAVEN

ON EARTH

GREATER

THAN LAZINESS

WEAKNESS

LACK OF DISCIPLINE

LACK OF SELF CONTROL

LACK OF MATURITY

LACK OF CONSISTENCY

LACK OF VICTORY

DEFEAT

NOT FINISHING WHAT YOU START

IRRESPONSIBILITY

NO MEEKNESS

NO HUNGER THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

NO LOVE FOR PEOPLE

MENTAL ILLNESS

MENTAL IMBALANCES

ANXIETY

SCHIZOPHRENIA

BIPOLAR

INSOMNIA

DEPRESSION

DEMON POSSESSION

DEMON OPPRESSION

ADDICTION

COMPUTER

DRUGS

ALCOHOL

MARIJUANA

COCAINE

ECSTACY

HEROIN

METHAMPHETAMINE

SUICIDE

SICKNESS

MEDICATION

CANCER

PILLS

MEDICINE

PSYCHOLOGISTS

PSYCHIATRISTS

THERAPY

COUNSELORS

FEAR

SELFISHNESS

ANYTHING

ANY PROBLEM

WHAT PROBLEM YOU HAVE

JESUS IS BIGGER

OVEREATING

IDOLATRY TO FOOD

SLAVERY TO FOOD

ANOREXIA

BULIMIA

VANITY

MATERIALISM

COMPROMISE

RUNNING AWAY FROM GOD

BREAKING PROMISES

FAITHLESSNESS

FAILURE

COWARDNESS

WORLDLINESS

CARNALITY

QUENCHING THE SPIRIT

HATING BROTHERS AND SISTERS

JUDGING OTHERS

INSECURITY

JUDGING ACCORDING TO APPEARANCE

NOT COMING TO CHURCH

CHOOSING SELF OVER OTHERS

CHOOSING OTHER THINGS MORE THAN JESUS

LOVING THE WORLD

DESIRE OF EYES

DESIRE OF FLESH

PRIDE OF LIFE

SIN

DEATH

HELL

WAR

ISLAM

ISIS

TERRORISM

VIOLENCE

VIOLENCE IN THE WORLD

VIOLENCE IN YOUR MIND

EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS

ALL EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS

ALL SOCIAL PROBLEMS

UNBELIEF

PRAYERLESSNESS

IGNORING THE BIBLE

UNREPENTANCE

HARD HEART

IDOLATRY

HYPOCRISY

DOUBLE HEART

DOUBLE MIND

HIDING

COVERING UP

WEARING MASK

AFRAID TO BE OPEN

LIVING A LIE

SECRET SIN

THAT NOBODY KNOWS

SECRET FAILURE

LYING

FEAR

PAIN

HURT

BROKENNESS

NOT ABLE TO LOVE

NOT ABLE TO GIVE

NOT ABLE TO HELP

NOT ABLE TO SERVE

NOT ABLE TO CRY

NOT ABLE TO HEAR GODS VOICE

GUILT!

SHAME!

UNCLEAN HEART

NO PEACE IN CONSCIENCE

UNCLEAN CONSCIENCE

SEARED CONSCIENCE

NO FREEDOM

TURNING BACK ON JESUS

NOT FOLLOWING JESUS

NOT TAKING CROSS

NOT LOVING JESUS

NOT LOVING HIS CHURCH

NOT LOVING THE LOST

LIVING FOR SELF

SPIRITUAL DECEPTION

JESUS IS MORE POWERFUL

HE IS BIGGER

HE IS GREATER THAN YOUR HEART

HE KNOWS ALL THINGS

THAT WHAT 1 JOHN SAY

WE PROCLAIM JESUS

HE IS THE ANSWER

HE IS LOVE

HE SHOWS HIS LOVE FOR US ON THE CROSS

JESUS IS GREATER THAN UNFORGIVENESS

GREATER THAN MISTAKES

GREATER THAN ACCUSING THOUGHTS

CONDEMNATION

GREATER THAN WASTED LIFE

GREATER THAN FALSE RELIGION

POLITICS

TRUMP

YOU NAME IT

FOOLISHNESS

COMPUTER ADDICTION

PHONE ADDICTION

LACK OF OBEDIENCE

FAILURE

UNSURE OF FUTURE

BAD WITNESS

NOT GOING TO CHURCH

NOT LOVING

GETTING FIRED

DISRESPECTING MOM AND DAD

MISTAKES

NOT HAVING MANNERS

NOT SUBMITTING TO AUTHORITY

DESPISING OTHERS

JUDGING

BAD ATTITUDE

NOT REJOICING

NOT TRUSTING

NOT BELIEVING

CANCER

STROKE

DISEASES

COMPLETELY BROKEN WASTED LIFE

TRYING TO BRING GLORY TO SELF

TRYNG TO BRING ATTENTION TO SELF

ATTENTION AT THE CHURCH

CENTRE OF ATTENTION

SPIRITUAL IDOLATRY

CURIOSITY

IDOL OF INFORMATION

RICHES

WEALTH

MONEY

YOUTHUL LUSTS

ETC

NOT SUBMITTING TO JESUS

NOT SURRENDERING

WASTED DEGREES

LACK OF CONFIDENCE

LACK OF BOLDNESS

LACK OF AUTHORITY

LACK OF IDENTITY

IDENTITY CRISIS

FAMILY BREAKUP

DIVORCE

MULTIPLE DIVORVE

SEPARATION

ADULTERY

REMARRIAGE

BAD CHOICES

WRONG MARRIAGE PARTNERS

NO MARRIAGE PARTNERS

STUNTED GROWTH

BACKSLIDING

SHIPWRECK OF FAITH

BROKEN HEART

LACK OF REVERENCE AND FEAR OF GOD

LACK OF RESPECT

LACK OF WISDOM

LACK OF BIBLE READING

NO BIBLE MEMORY

LACK OF PASSION

LACK OF ZEAL

LACK OF EVANGELISM

PREACHING

WITNESSING

BROKEN PROMISES

NOT SHARING TRUTHS GOD HAS REVEALED

NOT DOING HIS WILL

ABORTION

FEELING UNWORTHY

FEELING UNFORGIVABLE

FEELINGS

NOT KNOWING GOD AS FATHER

NOT KNOWING JESUS IS GOD

NOT SEEING THE CROSS OF JESUS

HIS GREAT LOVE

NOT BELIEVING

NOT HAVING FAITH

JESUS OVERCOMES

BRAIN DAMAGE

EVIL MUSIC

FALSE RELIGION

RELIGIOUS PRIDE

DEFEAT

NO COMPASSION

NO REALITY

EVERY KIND OF EVIL

ALL EVIL

ANYTHING

JESUS STAYS VICTORIOUS

GREATER THAN STUBBORNNESS

COMMUNISM

ATHEISM

ALCOHOLISM

UTTER RUIN

GREATER IS JESUS

THAN GANGSTERISM

GREATER THAN FEAR

GREATER THAN INADEQUACY

POWERLESSNESS

JESUS IS GREATER THAN LACK OF KNOWLEDGE

LACK OF CHARISMA

GREATER THAN

AKWARDNESS

HE IS GREATER

HE TAKES NO PLEASURE IN EVIL

BUT REJOICES IN THE TRUTH

JESUS

BEARS ALL THINGS

BELIEVES ALL THINGS

HOPES ALL THINGS

ENDURES ALL THINGS

JESUS NEVER FAILS

WHERE THERE ARE PROPHECIES

THEY WILL END

SAME WITH LANGUAGES

SAME WITH KNOWLEDGE

BUT JESUS WILL NEVER END

Sing a new song with gongs!

Recently in a country in Asia, Wycliffe Bible Translators held EthnoArts and Storying workshops, designed to equip people to tell accurate Bible stories in their own language and culturally authentic storytelling style. The idea is to encourage local Christians to share the content and message of the stories with songs, music and other art forms that are rooted in their own culture.

One worker involved with the workshops reported: ‘In one location all of the language groups involved have historically used gongs for their indigenous music. In a previous training, several groups lamented that the Christians among them had given up using gongs when they became believers, and now they no longer owned any gongs. They recognized the value and power of using these traditional instruments and musical style to worship God. At the most recent workshop two groups reported that they had acquired some gongs and were composing new worship music to glorify God. One man told of playing the new songs on the gongs and four families (about 15 people) responding by deciding to follow Jesus! A man from another group told of making a recording of their new songs on the gongs and introducing this to a neighboring community. They were having trouble with people stealing the discs from each other because the music was so popular! Part of a new song: Lord, show mercy to my villagers because so many have not come to know Jesus. The coming day of Jesus Christ is so soon; He promised to come back.’

Pray for further workshops over the next year – for good attendance, participation and new, culturally authentic music that glorifies God.

https://www.wycliffe.org.uk/blog/2017/01/sing-a-new-song-with-gongs/

Impaired or Enlarged?

Impaired or Enlarged?

~ H. Stephen Ebersole

As I briefly observed my seat mate while we were buckling up prior to take off, I thought she appeared middle-aged and somewhat frazzled. She certainly did not seem to be the talkative type. “It will probably be a very quiet ride,” I mused to myself. However, when the stewardess asked her what she wanted to drink, her answer stirred my interest and suggested otherwise.

“May I please have two vodkas and a tomato juice?” she responded. “I’d like to make myself a Bloody Mary.”

Breathing a prayer, I ventured, “May I ask you, what does drinking an alcoholic beverage do for you?”

Making a guilty grimace my seat mate replied, “It takes all the tensions away that I have when I travel and need to face the crowds. In a few minutes I’ll get this warm, pleasant sensation inside and all my worries and troubles will just melt away.” As a dreamy look crossed her face she continued, “You see, I have a disorder called agoraphobia—I lock up with panic and tension when I’m in a crowd.”

She went on to tell me her story. As a teenager in Peru, she had been traumatized by being kidnaped and then held hostage for ransom. She had come through the experience without physical harm, but inside she still had many emotional struggles.

It really felt like I was venturing further into dangerous territory, but I decided to risk it anyway—“Ma’am, I have a question. I’m a minister of the gospel and last night I preached from Proverbs 31. I was speaking about the subject of what people turn to for a solution when their emotions overwhelm them. I warned them about the dangers of strong drink and how it impairs the individual’s judgment. I’d like to know from your experience if this is true?”

Opening my Bible, I offered it to her so she could read Proverbs 31:4-9. She slowly and thoughtfully read the words,

“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”

After reading the passage she asked, “Now what was your question again?”

I explained that we all need something to turn to when our emotions bottom out and tie us up in knots, or when we feel that life is almost more than we can handle. “So here is my question, ‘Is it true that alcohol impairs and distorts our judgment—that while making us feel we can handle our problems, it actually blinds us to the larger reality of life, and keeps us from feeling other people’s suffering?’”

“It most certainly is true,” she replied, “And what’s more, I really shouldn’t be giving myself this little liberty today. It’s just that I need the courage to face these two airplane flights and all these people.”

But then she turned toward me with another question, “Are you telling me, that in all your life you’ve never had a drink of beer or whiskey? That’s really amazing!”

“That’s true,” I said. “Our people have been taught to never even taste the stuff. But I’ll admit, that a number of our people are on different types of psychotropic medications.” Then I went on and risked yet another question, “Tell me, do you have any experience with psych meds; you know, the kind that people are given to help them deal with their emotional problems? You see, the reason for my asking is that many of our people are told by doctors that they need medications in order to handle difficulties of life. I’d like to know if that also affects people negatively?”

“I sure do have experience,” she responded. “My struggles have taken me down that road as well. I have had about all the drugs which are available that are supposed to help people with emotional issues. And I have to say that they aren’t much different than alcohol. They take effect in different ways, but they are actually designed to do the same thing. In fact, because of my experience I’ve become an advocate for individuals who are being medicated against their will.”

She went on to explain how some people use medications to control other people who should actually be allowed to work through their negative emotions, with compassionate support. “Tell your people not to go down that road! There’s no one out there who really needs medications” she asserted, “except for those who are on them and just can’t stop taking them right away. Tell them that medications will impair their judgment of life.”

Will we impair our brains?

And so this conversation raises even more questions. Many doctors and even conservative ministers encourage people struggling with emotions to turn to prescription medications for the mind. May we consider the negative impact of this? What do the experts know about these medications? What are the long-term effects of taking this route for our emotional and mental struggles? The following is a brief summary of these findings.

First, though, let us ponder what Lemuel’s mother told him almost 3,000 years ago. Consider the words she chose to describe the effects of alcohol. “Forget, pervert, forget, remember no more.” It does not say, “Give your brain enlightenment and balance.”

Like my seat mate on the plane, a person who uses alcohol to self-medicate can tell you that he chooses to drink because it makes him feel better about his problems. The tensions he feels inside temporarily melt away. Social awkwardness and other inhibitions disappear and the person feels good about himself for a while. He will often admit that it does not change his reality but rather it makes him feel different about his reality. In fact, using strong drink often makes reality much worse, but his negative reality no longer troubles him, while he is under its influence.

Sadly, it is true that the new distorted reality also narrows an individual’s perception about other people’s problems—troubles and needs are of no concern to him. Lemuel’s mother warned him that his ability to decide cases of judgment would be affected, especially where human suffering was involved. The sharp edge of living with eternal realities also fades; the will of God as written in the law subsides. Or to put it another way, the conscience is dulled and God’s still small voice becomes quieter still.

A psychology team put it this way. “If people do feel better when drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana it is because they feel better when their brain is impaired. Psychiatric drugs are no different. The people who take such drugs may feel less of their emotional suffering. They may even reach a state of relative anesthesia. But to the degree that they feel better, it is because they are experiencing intoxication with the drugs.” 

This thought often surprises people, because we have been led to believe that medications are actually medicine. In reality, medications that target the brain do not bring balance to any brain chemistry, nor do they fill some void in the neural pathways. Rather, drugs that are designed for the brain are actually created to change the normal brain chemistry, based upon clinical theories, not research facts.

The following is a quote from foundationsrecoverynetwork.com. “Every type of drug, no matter how potent or addictive, has some type of effect on the person using it. These effects can range from mild to severe, and can include both physical and psychological [or spiritual] symptoms. While each drug is different, one common effect of drug use is impaired judgment. Every drug side effect has the potential to be dangerous, but impaired judgment can be especially risky to a person physically, psychologically and socially. It is essential to use drugs with extreme caution, knowing that they can impair a person’s judgment in multiple and sometimes unexpected ways.”

Another quote from the same source: “The NIDA (National Institute for Drug Abuse) also describes the changes that occur in a person’s brain while on drugs. The chemicals in the drug disrupt the communication system of the brain, changing the way it processes information by either acting like the brain’s natural neurotransmitters, or by causing the brain to release too many neurotransmitters.” 

Choosing this remedy for emotional or mental suffering is sometimes described as closing out communication between the two worlds we all experience. Each of us has an ongoing dialogue between the sensations we gather from our bodies and what we tell ourselves in our minds about our world. When our bodies fail to respond the way they should, or when we become aware that our bodies are not doing what we want them to, we choose a corrective choice. For example, if we feel dizzy, or shiver, or get the impression that we are not making sense to others, we stop and choose a response in order to correct that specific problem.

When the brain is impaired by alcohol or mind-altering drugs (prescription or street), that self-dialogue and correction is minimized or stopped altogether, depending upon the substance type and the level of ingestion. An alcohol-impaired person becomes decreasingly aware of his staggering steps or his self-centered conversation. He not only stops seeing the full reality around him, but he also stops sensing it within himself. It is common for the alcoholic to resist treatment because he has lost perception about how the alcohol is affecting his actions. Not being aware of his actions, he is naive about his addiction to the substance. When he finally becomes sober he finds that he has “wounds without cause” (see Proverbs 23:29-35). This same self-blindness is also experienced, to one degree or another, across the whole spectrum of psychoactive medications.

How much of this impairment are we responsible for? Only God knows and only the judgment will reveal how He feels about all of this. What is the soul (mind) accountable for when the brain is under an impairment brought on by alcohol, psychiatric medications, or any other psychoactive substance?

If Lemuel had resisted his mother’s direction and chosen to self-medicate, he no doubt would have allowed the oppressed in his kingdom to suffer. He would have chosen a life with few inhibitions such as described in Proverbs 23:29-35. He would have come back to reality after a night of little or no self-awareness and wondered what all he had done during his drunken stupor. How much of this would he have been responsible for?

Another question about the impaired mind is this: “When our world is made smaller, what happens to our self?” Is it not true that a smaller world makes a larger self in comparison? Do any of us need to have a world where our personal story becomes more and more important and other people’s worlds matter less and less? Is it not right to treat emotional distress the same way we do physical suffering?

This is a question that is often asked.

When a person breaks a leg or suffers from a serious cut we readily seek medical assistance. Part of the remedy is to relieve the pain of the wound. So why would we imply that there are cautions in regards to seeking medical help for the emotional struggles of a broken heart, a malfunctioning mind, or for fears that seem to rage out of control?

Even more closely related to the situations of emotional agony are the physical conditions which affect our emotions. When a blood sugar condition is out of balance we know it will bring a mental instability. When hormones are involved or when there is a thyroid problem, we do not hesitate to seek medical help, even if it may involve chemical medications. We should make it clear here that when some physical organ of the body is not functioning properly, we believe the Bible supports finding medicinal relief.

So why not address emotional pain such as fear, worries, anger, distress, or grief from the same perspective? God’s Word clearly makes a difference. We all know of Luke, the beloved physician. Paul gave Timothy a medicinal remedy for a stomach problem. God’s Word gives place for physical remedies for physical problems. But in these cases the medicine enables or enhances the functions of the body.

Is this also the case when treating the mind with medications? Are minds helped because brains are enhanced or enabled? Do people find their way out of fear or guilt because their brains are sharpened by the drugs? The words of Scripture would show, and even many professionals would agree, that this is not the case. The facts of Scripture, science, and research clearly detail that in most cases, emotional help which is received through substance use or prescription drug use is, in reality, experienced as help because the brain is hindered and impaired, not because it is enhanced or enabled.

This is why we see mind issues as an entirely different matter. The mind (heart or soul) uses the brain in this life, but the mind is first and foremost spiritual in nature. The brain is considered to be a physical organ, but the mind is not. God directs us to give care to our minds, but that care is supposed to come through biblical, spiritual enhancement. The command to be sober teaches us to establish boundaries on our thought life in order to experience peace and Christian victory. The biblical direction to speak to ourselves through songs is to help establish our mind’s activity.

Promises in both the Old and New Testament focus on God’s ability to bring peace to hearts that are in turmoil. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165). “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever” (Isaiah 32:17). The activity of true biblical worship is a wonderful mind stabilizer.

Jesus has both comforted and commanded us with His words, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). We also know the promise, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galations 5:22-23). “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

This brings us to the other option regarding the seeking of help for emotional needs.

Will we enlarge our hearts?

“O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged” (2 Corinthians 6:11).

The Apostle Paul is a great encouragement, perhaps most of all because of the tremendous spiritual legacy he left in his writings. We marvel at his example. When he met Christ on the Damascus road and surrendered to Jesus as Lord, he gave his life unreservedly to spreading the Gospel. Because of this choice Paul suffered unbelievable rejection and persecution. Several passages highlight what he endured, but one passage reveals the effects of the suffering—what that suffering did to his heart.

This is recorded in 2 Corinthians 1:3-8.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:”

In 2 Corinthians chapters 4 and 11, Paul gives us more insights into this account. He was repeatedly traumatized, one time even to the point that the persecutors thought they had solved the problem of Paul once for all, as they left him for dead. But through this all, Paul believed that his suffering was for a grander purpose. “Our light affliction”, as he calls it, and which he tells himself is “just for a moment”, he understood as happening for the purpose of working “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”. In chapter 12 we have Paul’s thoughts recorded about a very private time in his life when he struggled, asking for a certain distress to be taken away. After repeatedly praying for God’s deliverance the answer was “No.”

“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he [God] said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

In short, Paul turned to God for his comfort. Then to give him comfort, God did not dull or impair Paul’s perception, but rather helped him see the big picture and gave him strength to endure through his distress. When Paul embraced the big picture and received comfort from God, his heart and world were enlarged. Through this experience, he was then able to connect with hurting people from many different walks of life.

When we hurt or go through what the flesh does not want, God often does something for our spiritual man that He could not do any other way. We may be brought to the edge of eternity where we may see God’s purposes more vividly. We may be brought to a fuller grasp of God’s grace and what it does for us. Thus our hearts are enlarged. By going through suffering we are brought into a more complete understanding of what others may be going through.

In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul again details what he went through for the church at Corinth. The list is intimidating—one could almost expect to hear him say at the end, “I am all worn out! I have no more patience for you!” But Paul rather exclaims just the opposite, “Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians, we are hiding nothing, keeping nothing back, and our heart is expanded wide for you! There is no lack of room for you in our hearts…”

One of the blessed outcomes for us is that our view of our self changes when our heart is enlarged to care for others. Is it not wonderful when our self-focus shrinks to lesser importance? When our needs, our hurts, and our thoughts are not the center of our attention anymore, but rather our emphasis is on what God is doing in the lives of others?

We all experience suffering

All of us suffer. We live in a fallen world. People betray us. Events disappoint us. We may receive wounds, big or small, from both the church and the world. Sometimes, after we suffer long enough, the hurts and disappointments seem to add up to a great sense of disillusionment. No one would argue whether or not the suffering is real.

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:22-23)

During some seasons of life, many of us will struggle so much with pain that we wonder whether or not we will lose our ability to reason. Sometimes it seems like the hurts and wounds are so deep and last so long that we can no longer control our thoughts. Everything gets jumbled together until it seems almost as though we can no longer think clearly.

Maybe our struggle is depression. We feel so bad that we do not even want to get out of bed, much less face the public or our church family. The struggles of the mind affect our ability to face life with vigor and vitality. Job 3 is a good passage to read when we feel badly about life.

It is helpful to remember that it is God who created us for living on this earth. We did not create ourselves. We did not choose to live in a fallen world. God understood what we would be dealing with, even from the very beginning of time. The God who made us also assures us that we will not face temptations or struggles greater than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Just like He created us with controllable sexual desires or the ability to regulate our anger, so He also created us with the capacity to endure suffering.

Additionally, it is helpful to remember that Jesus understands whatever we face. He went through great human suffering and struggle. In eternity past He told the Father, “I delight to do thy will.” Then when He walked on this earth and finally faced the cross in a physical body, He cried out in an appeal asking for a different path. “Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me…”

In conclusion, which will we choose?

Impaired? Enlarged? Which will we choose? There is no doubt that God will have us suffer during our earthly journey. And the suffering isn’t only physical; some of the most challenging times we experience are in our emotional journey. We actually need this suffering, as it honors God, strengthens us, and helps us to more readily relate to others. But we still have a choice.

One option obviously leads to a narrowed view of life and a limited ability to serve others. The Bible teaches us that by choosing to see life from an eternal perspective, and to see God as being involved in our lives, that this helps us to see beyond ourselves and reach out to God and others. This also helps give us the ability to make a difference for eternity.

Which way will we choose? God’s way or the world’s way?

Berki’s Testimony

Berki, a member of the Hamer community of southwestern Ethiopia, was a slight child. His father said he was too weak to look after the cattle, so when Berki was 16, he sent him to school. There Berki met an evangelist, who told him about Jesus, and he became a Christian.

Berki completed school and returned home to teach. When Berki told his family about his new faith, his father dismissed the notion. His parents stopped supporting him financially. After eight months of teaching and family tension, he sensed a strong prompting to leave his job and go to Dimeka.

Berki resolved to work full time in ministry. Soon, he accepted a church position.

Berki returned home for a visit. To his surprise, his family welcomed him warmly. He hoped they had softened. Even Berki’s older brother, Gadi, seemed to set aside their differences.

‘Brother, do you want to go with me to cut the honey?’ Gadi asked. Berki loved honey.

They set out the next morning, walking far from home. At dusk, Gadi and Berki walked into a valley. Gadi told Berki to rest while he walked a little way to see where they were.

What Berki didn’t know was that his family had told his brother to kill him.

As heavy rain began to fall, Berki realised his brother had left him. He climbed out of the valley to see if he recognised any landmarks.

Terrified, he sat in the mud and cried. As Berki tried to stand again, he realised a river of sand and mud had swallowed his right leg like concrete. Exhausted, Berki pleaded with God.

Lord, if you don’t take me, help me sleep. I don’t want to be awake if the wild animals attack me.

Sleep overtook him. As dawn broke, he opened his eyes. Praise God!

Berki tugged to free himself. Hyena tracks everywhere but they had not attacked. Berki climbed to the top of a nearby mountain and breathed a grateful prayer. With renewed strength, he began the long walk home.

Later, Berki attended a workshop where he’d learn to tell accurate Bible stories. Today, as a full-time evangelist, Berki wears traditional clothing and rides his bicycle to nearby villages to tell Bible stories where people welcome him.

Born to Reproduce

Twenty years of my life were lived on the wrong side of the cross, and twenty-nine and a half were lived on this side with Christ. I can honestly say that the joy and pleasure I experienced in any week or month of these 29 years outweighs all the joy and pleasure that I could squeeze out of those first twenty.

As a little boy I began trying to get some of the world’s pleasure. I remember the first time I wanted something that I shouldn’t have had. My father had left home, and Mother was working at Woolworth’s for our living. She used to put her dimes in a little bank on her dresser. Many a time I looked at that bank but could think of no way to get those dimes out. As I watched her drop dimes in from time to time, I decided that she could not tell if one was gone. So one day I put tins in the slot, and all of a sudden the dimes dropped out. I put them all back but one.

I went down to a store and bought ten pieces of round, chocolate covered marshmallow candy, each of which had a little lead prize inside. I ate all ten pieces, though I did not know what to do with the ten prizes, because Mother would see them and ask me where I got them. I became sick from eating so much candy, but I also felt sick at heart to think that I had taken a dime from Mother.

How I wish I had been caught then! I was not caught until ten years later, when I was twenty years of age. During my teens I robbed my employer of hundreds of dollars. I had been the president of the student body of the high school and valedictorian of the graduating class. My subject was “Morality versus Legality,” yet I was stealing from the school funds. Such is the deceit of the human heart. Down in the heart of each person there is a twofold desire — a desire for happiness and a desire to be somebody and do something. Sometimes we give serious thought to these matters.

I tried to find a way out of my difficulties. I joined the Boy Scouts and took the oath to be “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous. etc.” I put on a Scout uniform, and I felt like a new man. But it was all on the outside. Nothing happened to change me for the better. At 14 I joined the church, but I had not met Christ. At the age of 17 I began going with a Christian girl. She asked me to go to a young people’s meeting. I went with her and kept on going until I became president of the young people’s society. Then on high school graduation night I ditched that Christian girl and went out with a beautiful unsaved girl.

THE PATH OF SIN

After that I thought, “I just can’t do what is right. It’s not in me to be good. I guess I’m one of those guys who just can’t win.” It seemed that the longer I lived, the weaker I became and the more I traveled downhill. Finally I gave up trying. I had not touched a drop of liquor until that time, but just a week after I graduated from high school I went out and got drunk at the suggestion of some of my acquaintances. They told me I would have fun. What a lie!

I woke up the next day at two o’clock in the afternoon. My suit was ruined, my vest was gone, my mind was blank and I did not know where I had been.

You would think that would have been enough, but it was only the beginning. In my twentieth year I was picked up four times and hauled away in an ambulance. Four times the police were after me. Two months after I had reached my twentieth birthday I was arrested and was on my way to jail. Mother was at home sick in bed with cancer. She must have had a premonition of this, for she had said to me that very week, “Son, you’re breaking my heart. I’m praying for you, but you know, I’m afraid if I ever hear that you are in jail, I’ll die. It will kill me.”

On the way to jail, though I was under the influence of liquor, I did what any man does when he gets into trouble — I cried out to God. I said, “O God, if You will get me out of this mess tonight, if You will keep me out of jail, I’ll do whatever you want me to.”

It frightened me as I said that, because just one month before, I was nearly drowned in a lake. The girl with whom I was swimming across the lake could not make it. I had a bad heart, and I was hardly able to make it myself. She yelled, and I grabbed her, and we both went down under the water. I just said, “God, save me! I’ll do what You want!” We bobbed up, and a couple coming along in a boat (they had not seen us until that moment) pulled us out.

I had forgotten that promise I made to God, but this time I thought, “God, if You will save me this time, I will do what You want.”

That big policeman had me by the arm, and he was angry because I had done something he rightfully hated. But the moment I cried, he looked down at me and said, “Do you like this kind of a life?”

I said, “Sir, I hate it!”

He took me to a park and made me stay there three hours, until I sobered up. Then he let me go with a promise to do better.

THE BEGINNING OF BETTER THINGS

That took place on Friday night, and Sunday evening I went to church. This was in a little town of 5,000 people, where there were four churches, with young people’s groups in all of them. And though there were some young fellows my age among them, still there was not one whom God could put His hand on and say, “I’ve got a job for you.” There was not one fellow whom God could guide to Dawson Trotman to tell him the Gospel story.

God picked out a couple of schoolteachers, Miss Mills and Miss Thomas, to have a large part in my coming to Christ. Miss Mills was a general science teacher, and I was one of her problem pupils. She wrote my name on her prayer list and prayed for me every day for six solid years.

On the Friday night I was arrested, she was home with Miss Thomas, looking up verses in the Bible, trying to find ten on the subject of salvation which they could give to the young people to memorize. Little did she know that the boy for whom she had been praying for six years was going to memorize those verses. When Sunday came along, I decided to go to young people’s meeting. The pool hall where I played billiards and gambled was about half a block from the church. That evening I looked around to make sure none of the pool hall bays were looking, and I sneaked down to the church and joined in the young people’s service.

A young couple who knew me from high school days were standing in the entrance to the church. They recognized me and gave me a warm, kindly greeting. “We’re starting a contest tonight,” they told me.

“Be on my side,” said Johnny, and Alice said, “You be on my side.” I went on Alice’s side. She gave me a piece of paper and said, “Now, you hang onto this.”

Then we went inside, and the young people had the usual preliminaries and service. I do not remember what was said, except that they discussed a party and a contest in which the points were to be given for various things, among them the memorization of Scripture.

“What do I do with this piece of paper?” I asked.

Alice said, “Do you see those numbers? They indicate the chapter and verse in the Bible. When you learn a verse, you get five points — 10 verses, 50 points.”

I went home and dug out my little Testament, and in the course of a week I learned all ten verses. Here I was, an unsaved fellow, learning, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23); “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23); “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27); “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). John 1:12 was also in that group: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God…”

My side was ahead on the following Sunday because of my 50 points, and Alice came around and gave me ten more verses. Miss Mills and Miss Thomas had thought that if anybody memorized the first ten verses, there should be ten more; and this second ten should be for new Christians, to help them live the Christian life. How they prayed that first week for me!

In the new group of ten verses were these: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17); “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil” (2 Thessalonians 3:3) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

I went back the following Sunday and got another 50 points for the Reds, The Reds were ahead of the Blues, and I helped put them there. We won the contest.

GOD’S WORK IN A SOUL

One unforgettable event resulted from that. During the third week of my renewed interest in young people’s meetings I was on my way to work with these 20 verses of Scripture stored away in my memory. I walked along, minding my own business, with my lunch pail in my hand. I was back in my sin. My promise to God, made that night when the policeman was taking me to jail, did not change my life. Going to young people’s meeting on Sunday did not change me either. I was the same guy. I was spending Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at the taverns and beer joints, and going to church on Sunday and feeling, “Well’ I’m a little better. I guess a little of this good won’t hurt me after all.”

But Miss Mills was praying, and the Word of God was working; and all of a sudden that morning, as I walked along, the Holy Spirit brought one of those verses to my mind: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life…” (John 5:24).

Those words “hath everlasting life” stuck in my mind. I said, “O God, that’s wonderful — everlasting life!” I pulled my little Testament out of my pocket and looked it up, and sure enough, there it was — “…hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

There for the first time I remember praying, after I had grown to be a man, when I was not in trouble with the police or something like that. I said, “O God, whatever this means, I want to have it.” And just like that the Holy Spirit brought John 1:12 to my mind: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God…” I then looked up that verse, and there it was, just as I remembered it. “O God,” I said, “whatever it means to receive Jesus, I do it right now.” That was my new birth.

Do you know how I know? I did not know the next verse, which tells of the new birth — “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13) — but a distinct change had taken place. I could no longer enjoy the dirty stories or taking of the Lord’s Name in vain. I used to think it was fun to use bad language when I lost my temper, but that grew distasteful to me. When I cried to God for help, the Holy Spirit brought one of the 20 verses to my mind. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins…” So I said, “Okay, God, forgive me.”

My Bible teaches that if any man can bridle his tongue, he can bridle his whole body. That was one of the first lessons I learned at the beginning of the Christian life. That is one of the reasons why I love to see a brand-new Christian begin to get the Word of God down into his heart. If it had not been for those 20 verses, I would have been back in the dance hall and the beer joints.

Immediately after my conversion I began learning verses, and I learned one a day for the first three years. In those years I learned my first thousand verses.

My preacher said to me when I went to him for help in leading others to Christ, “I’ll tell you something, lad. There is an answer in the Bible for every excuse that any man can give for not coming to Christ.” I believed him. Then I went alone to prayer and said, “God, if there is an answer to any man’s excuse, I promise You I will never be caught on the same excuse twice.”

That is a little promise to make, but it changed the course of my life. After all, there are only so many excuses. This was the seed from which the Navigator work started and grew.

ASKING GOD FOR BIG THINGS

One day I said to my second daughter, when she was about seven years old, “Now, honey, if you get all that work done by Friday night, I’ll see that you get a pony ride.”

Then I happened to hear Bruce, who was nine, whisper to her, “You may not get it. He promised me one once that I didn’t get.”

I had made Bruce that promise but had forgotten about it, and he had not come around to claim it. When I overheard him say to his sister, “It may not work, because it didn’t work with me,” he got his pony ride within 24 hours. I would not feel very good toward the man who promised his child something and then refused to give it to him.

God says in His Book, “…what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” (Matthew 7:9-11).

In line with this read what God promises in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” In substance this particular verse says that if you will ask God for something big, He will answer; and He will show you things that you have not even imagined.

For those who might say, “Well, that might have been good back there, but how about in this day and age?” there is this corresponding verse in the New Testament: “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20).

Every person who knows Jesus Christ has a hookup with heaven.

When you say, “Father in heaven,” you have addressed God the Father, the Maker of the universe, the One who holds the worlds in His hands. What did you ask for? Did you ask for peanuts, or toys? Or did you ask for continents? It is a tragedy when we think of the little things we ask of an Almighty God. When He says, “You call unto Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you know not,” we should believe Him to mean what He says.

A SIX WEEK PRAYER MEETING

I asked a friend of mine, whom I will call Dick, if he would join me in praying on the basis of that great promise. He agreed to. We figured that we were not going to take any chances on anything. We examined some verses of Scripture which dealt with importunity in prayer. We read that the Lord got up in the early morning and went out into a solitary place (Mark 1:35), so we decided to meet every morning up in the hills, where we would be away from noises and distractions. We agreed to meet with God from five until seven o’clock each morning of the week, including Sundays.

Dick was a plumber and I was a truck driver, and we had to be in another city ready to go to work by eight o’clock. We agreed to meet two weeks, five weeks, ten weeks — the whole year, if necessary; but we were not going to quit until somehow down in our hearts we could say to God, “We believe You’ve heard us; we believe You’re going to give us what we’ve asked for.”

We decided to ask first for the things that we were doing and for the people around us and to keep our hearts open, so that God could widen our interests to the fullest extent.

We were challenged by Acts 1:8: “… ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” We were going to let God lead us by His Holy Spirit to ask for the biggest things possible.

THE BEGINNING OF GOD’S WORKING

God had already worked in our home town. I had taken a Sunday school class of six boys, though I had been a Christian for only a short time. The superintendent of the Sunday school said to me before I had my first session, “We’re going to give you this Sunday school class, and we’re going to pray for you, because this class has killed off two teachers already.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, “the two teachers have already given up; they could not get these boys to listen.” I had prayed about that, and the Lord had given me the hearts of three of these kids.

On the first Sunday they did not listen, and I prayed to the Lord about it. I said, “Lord, I had my lesson prepared, and those boys didn’t listen. How am I going to get them? You made little boys. Give me some idea.”

He gave me an idea. I went down to see George, who was the ringleader. I saw him alone, and I learned something right there. A boy is different when you get him alone. George was not blowing any beans when I looked him in the eye. I said, “George” (I had read him Mark 4, where it says that the sower tried to sow the seed, and the devil snatched it away), “you know, the devil didn’t have to be in Sunday school last Sunday. He just used you. While I was trying to give those other boys the Word, you were drawing their attention away. Those five other boys failed to hear what God wanted them to hear because of you.”

“Oh,” he said, “what’ll I do?” Now this is not good theology, but I told him, “You come back next Sunday and be a good boy and act like an angel, and maybe the Lord will forgive you. The better angel you are, the more He’s likely to forgive you.”

Although I was not very well versed in theology in those days, it worked! The class listened, and George was saved, and so were Jimmie and his other buddies. We did not get through our lessons. We found that we had to meet in the middle of the week, and that little class of six boys grew to where it was 225 boys who had accepted the Lord. The Sunday school grew from 100 to 400.

Dick and I had already seen this victory, and he was helping me with the boys. We began praying up there in the hills for each of these boys by name.

Since we had calls from other towns — San Pedro, Long Beach, Glendale and Pasadena — to come over and help them because of our work with the boys, we began to pray for those cities also. We prayed for Pasadena and for Redondo Beach; as the weeks rolled on, we found ourselves praying for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego. When we began these morning prayer meetings, it seemed a big thing to pray for those towns, but soon it did not seem any bigger to pray that God would use us in those places.

ENLARGED PRAYING

About the fourth week I said, “Dick, would you be willing to pray that God would use us in every state in the United States?”

“Well, He’s big enough,” Dick said.

So we made a list of 48 states, and we prayed. Morning after morning in these little prayer meetings we would look at our list and ask God to use us and other young fellows in Washington, in Oregon, in California, and in all the other states of the Union. Five weeks went by, and we did not miss a morning. We met at four o’clock on Sunday morning and spent three hours in prayer. During the sixth week the Lord put it on our hearts to get a map of the world, and we took it up to our little cave in the hill. We began to put our fingers on Germany, France and Italy. We put them on Turkey and Greece. I remember looking at one little island near China — you had to look close to see what it was — and we prayed that God would use us in the lives of men on Formosa.

We could not have prayed like that the first week. I don’t think that time has much to do with whether God hears you or not; but I do believe that time has something to do with whether or not your faith is built up as you pray and ask. I don’t believe that God will ever give much to those who have their little conscience-easer prayers in the morning and evening. If you cannot take 1/48th of your day to be alone with your mighty God and King, I rather doubt that He is going to do very much through you.

SOUL WINNING IN THE HOME

My wife and I took Isaiah 60:11, “…thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night…” as the motto for our home. We were married on Sunday, and we opened our home on Wednesday. It was not long until the first sailor accepted the Lord. Men from every one of the 48 states have since then found the Lord in our home. There was a period of six months when we seldom ate breakfast or our evening meal alone, because sailors were there. I believe with all my heart that one of the greatest soul saving stations in the world is the home.

WORK IN FORMOSA

Five years ago I went over to Formosa as a representative of The Navigators and got together all the ministers in the city of Taipei. There were nine churches in that city then. I met for a week with the pastors of those churches and other pastors who came in from some of the towns around, explaining how our Navigator plans worked in the Navy and Army. We inaugurated this plan in Formosa, began to work with Dick Hillis, and took charge of the follow-up.

Today there are 90 churches in Taipei. Over a sixth of a million converts, spiritually five years old or less, have finished at least one Navigator Bible study and parts of the Topical Memory System, and they have led another hundred thousand to Christ. We have 27 full-time Chinese secretaries to handle the work we are doing with both young and old in Formosa. Similar work is carried on in Okinawa, Hong Kong, Saigon, the Philippines and Korea.

Such soul winning starts in this way: First, you have to believe the Book, then you must ask, and keep on asking. Before you can touch people in 48 states, you have to touch them in one state. And before you can touch them in one state, you must touch them in one city. And before you can touch them in one city, you must be able to touch them on one street. Any person who knows how to be saved and is saved has enough knowledge, if imparted to another, to reach that one for Christ.

FEAR IN SOUL WINNING

Sometimes I am almost afraid to ask the Lord to give me a soul, because I know that if I ask Him, I am going to have to get busy. I have been a Christian for 29 years, and it still frightens me to talk to a man about his need of salvation.

Having that fear after so many years of doing personal work used to bother me. Suddenly I realized that such fear was only a little red light going on and off to remind me that it was “…not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord…” You never get to the place where you can do it on your own. You need Him.

I made such a request one day; then I began to look for a man. I was driving an old Model T at that time; and as I rode along, I saw a man hitchhiking on a six lane highway. I kept my eyes straight ahead and watched the red signal light at which I had to stop. Looking at the fellow out of the corner of my eye, I saw that he looked big and tough, so I decided that he was the wrong one. As I waited for that red light to change, I don’t know what happened to it, but it was on for a long time, it seemed. I thought the man had gone back to the curb, but when I looked at him, he was looking right at me. Inviting him in, I lost no time in getting a Gospel tract into his hand. He read it through and then handed it back to me.

“What did you think of it?” I asked.

He replied, “I think it’s wonderful.”

I was startled at his answer and said, “Oh, you’re a Christian!”

“No,” he answered, “I’m not a Christian. I’ve been going to some tent meetings down this way every night for two weeks, and I can’t get through. I have gone down to the front every night, but I can’t get through.”

“Through what?” I asked.

He answered, “Isn’t there something to get through?”

I pulled over, stopped, and said, “Buddy, I’ve got news for you. Somebody already got through.” All he needed was the simple Gospel instead of being told to do something, and he accepted Christ.

Do you know what I had been doing? I saw this rough character, and I thought, “He won’t repent. He won’t believe.” That was not my business. I have no right to decide for any other man whether or not he will accept the Lord. My business is to tell him the story and let him decide.

WE NEED TO REACH NEIGHBORS AND RELATIVES

“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). We must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ to give an account of the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10). And I want to tell you that to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, it is sin (James 4:17). I do not know of any greater sin than to let a man or woman next door to you go to Hell. You have the pardon written right out in the Book; but they have never seen it, and you have not told them.

I read over in Proverbs, “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his works?” (Proverbs 24:11-12).

When I first came to know the Lord, I talked to my brother about the Savior. He laughed at me and said, “I’m not interested. Don’t talk to me any more.” I do not talk to a man when he tells me not to, but I talk to the Lord.

Three years later I said, “Roland, could I talk to you for a moment about Christ?”

He said yes, and smiled a bit. The Lord had just brought him to Himself. He had seen some things that had touched his heart. Three weeks later headlines in the Los Angeles Examiner read, “Hero Gives Life To Save Girl.” How do you think I felt when I found out that my own brother was gone? What if I had not spoken to him about Christ?

The very first trip I ever took on United Airlines was on a 12 passenger Boeing plane. It was about a three-hour trip, and I wanted to witness for Christ, but it was not until the last half hour that I got up the nerve to talk to the stewardess. She said, “Do you know what? I’ve never heard this story before.”

She was a church member, but she did not know that Christ died for her. She thanked me for speaking to her about her need of salvation. Evelyn Sandino accepted the Lord just as we came into Burbank.

Three weeks later while riding on a train, I picked up a newspaper and read: “United Airliner Crashes in Utah Mountains 40 Miles From Town.” Evelyn’s picture was there. She was the stewardess on that ill-fated plane. We do not know how soon a person may die.

I do not know what it is going to take to wake up God’s people to the fact that we must get this message out now. As I look back over the past 29 years and see how God has taken a few little things and made big things out of them, I covet the same for all of God’s people.

WHY MEN LOSE OUT WITH GOD

I told you that Dick prayed with me in those early days. Do you know what he said to me about three years ago? “I’ve got my seventh church, and I don’t have one person in my church who is down to business for Jesus Christ; and I don’t know anybody I’ve had in the past six months who has been down to business in the manner you describe.”

Then he added, “Maybe it’s because I never got down to business.” No “maybe” about that!

I remembered the one event that turned the course of his life. It happened while we lived in Long Beach. The Long Beach Municipal Band used to play for all of the people who came to the seashore on Sunday afternoons. The Fishermen’s Club, of which Dick and I were members, had the right to come in at the close of the band program and announce that we were going to preach the Gospel. About ten percent of the audience would stay, and then we boys would get up and give our testimonies. It was in June, just the time when the swimming was best. We had to decide whether or not we would give our Sunday afternoons to that or to the Lord’s work. Both Dick and I made the decision that we would go to the band shell.

A couple of weeks after we stopped praying together, Dick did not show up at the band shell. The following Sunday it was the same story; and as I rode home that day after giving my testimony, I passed a car in which were Dick and his girl friend in their bathing suits. It is possible for some Christians to do that and get away with it; but I do not think it was possible for Dick, because he had made a covenant with God.

I did not say anything to him, and he did not know that I had seen them; so when I met him the next Tuesday evening at Fishermen’s Club, I gave him a little piece of paper with Isaiah 58:13-14 written on it. “Don’t look this up now,” I said to Dick, “but you go and get Nancy. Then read these verses together and pray about them. Now, promise me you won’t read this by yourself.” He gave me his word.

I left the church and went on out to catch the bus, but as I waited for one to come along, I became very thirsty and decided to go back into the basement of the church for a drink of water. There I found Dick reading by the light of a match the paper which I had given him. He had broken his promise.

Here are the verses which I wanted Dick and Nancy to read: “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 58:13-14).

I gave it to him to make him face the fact that maybe it was not the best thing for him to be going swimming instead of witnessing for Christ on the Lord’s Day, but he did not come back to the band shell.

GOD HAS A WORK FOR YOU

Suppose Dick had taken that word of exhortation and asked the Lord’s forgiveness. Is it possible that God would have let him zoom right ahead on His plan? It is not only possible; it is probable.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). I believe that verse will hold right down to the last minute that you take a breath. If you have drifted from the Lord and from His will for you, return now. If you will do it, I believe He will permit you to go ahead in His plan for you.

BORN TO REPRODUCE

A few years ago, while visiting Edinburgh, Scotland, I stood on High Street just down from the castle. As I stood there, I saw a father and a mother coming toward me pushing a baby carriage. They looked very happy, were well dressed and apparently were well-to-do. I tried to catch a glimpse of the baby as they passed and, seeing my interest, they stopped to let me look at the little, pink-cheeked member of their family.

I watched them for a little while as they walked on and thought how beautiful it is that God permits a man to chose one woman who seems the most beautiful and lovely to him, and she chooses him out of all the men whom she has ever known. Then they separate themselves to one another, and God in His plan gives them the means of reproduction! It is a wonderful thing that a little child should be born into their family, having some of the father’s characteristics and some of the mother’s, some of his looks and some of hers. Each sees in that baby a reflection of the one whom he or she loves.

Seeing that little one made me feel homesick for my own children whom I dearly love and whose faces I had not seen for some time. As I continued to stand there I saw another baby carriage, or perambulator as they call it over there, coming in my direction. It was a secondhand affair and very wobbly. Obviously the father and mother were poor. Both were dressed poorly and plainly, but when I indicated my interest in seeing their baby, they stopped and with the same pride as the other parents let me view their little, pink-cheeked, beautiful eyed child.

I thought as these went on their way, “God gave this little baby whose parents are poor everything that He gave the other. It has five little fingers on each hand, a little mouth and two eyes. Properly cared for, those little hands may someday be the hands of an artist or a musician.”

Then this other thought came to me, “Isn’t it wonderful that God did not select the wealthy and the educated and say, ‘You can have children,’ and to the poor and uneducated say, ‘You cannot.’ Everyone on earth has that privilege.”

The first order ever given to man was that he “be fruitful and multiply.” In other words, he was to reproduce after his own kind. God did not tell Adam and Eve, our first parents, to be spiritual. They were already in His image. Sin had not yet come in. He just said, “Multiply. I want more just like you, more in My own image.”

Of course, the image was marred. But Adam and Eve had children. They began to multiply. There came a time, however, when God had to destroy most of the flesh that had been born. He started over with eight people. The more than two billion people who are on the earth today came from the eight who were in the ark, because they were fruitful and multiplied.

HINDRANCES

Only a few things will ever keep human beings from multiplying themselves in the physical realm. One is that they never marry. If they are not united, they will not reproduce. This is a truth which Christians need to grasp with reference to spiritual reproduction. When a person becomes a child of God, he should realize that he is to live in union with Jesus Christ if he is going to win others to the Savior.

Another factor that can hinder reproduction is disease or impairment to some part of the body that is needed for reproductive purposes. In the spiritual realm sin is the disease that can keep one from winning the lost.

One other thing that can keep people from having children is immaturity. God in His wisdom saw to it that little children cannot have babies. A little boy must first grow to sufficient maturity to be able to earn a living, and a little girl must be old enough to care for a baby.

Everyone should be born again. That is God’s desire. God never intended that man should merely live and die — be a walking corpse to be laid in the ground. The vast majority of people know that there is something beyond the grave, and so each one who is born into God’s family should seek others to be born again.

A person is born again when he receives Jesus Christ. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God…Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12,13) — the new birth. It is God’s plan that these new babes in Christ grow. All provision is made for their growth into maturity, and then they are to multiply — not only the rich or the educated, but all alike. Every person who is born into God’s family is to multiply.

In the physical realm when your children have children, you become a grandparent. Your parents are then great- grandparents, and theirs are great-great-grandparents. And so it should be in the spiritual.

SPIRITUAL BABIES

Wherever you find a Christian who is not leading men and women to Christ, something is wrong. He may still be a babe. I do not mean that he does not know a lot of doctrine and is not well informed through hearing good preaching. I know many people who can argue the pre-, the post- and the amillennial position and who know much about dispensations, but who are still immature. Paul said of some such in Corinth, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual (or mature), but as unto carnal, even as unto babes…” (1 Corinthians 3:1).

Because they were babes, they were immature, incapable of spiritual reproduction. In other words, they could not help other people to be born again. Paul continued, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it … ye are yet carnal (or babes): for … there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions…” (1 Corinthians 3:2,3). I know a lot of church members, Sunday school teachers and members of the women’s missionary society who will say to each other, “Have you heard about so and so?” and pass along some gossip. Such have done an abominable thing in the sight of God. How horrible it is when a Christian hears something and spreads the story! The Book says, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him…a lying tongue…” (Proverbs 6:16,17). Oh, the Christians I know, both men and women, who let lying come in!

“…he that soweth discord among brethren” (Proverbs 16:19) is another. This is walking as a babe, and I believe that it is one of the basic reasons why some Christians do not have people born again into God’s family through them. They are sick spiritually. There is something wrong. There is a spiritual disease in their lives. They are immature. There is not that union with Christ.

But when all things are right between you and the Lord, regardless of how much or how little you may know intellectually from the standpoint of the world, you can be a spiritual parent. And that, incidentally, may even be when you are very young in the Lord.

A young lady works at the telephone desk in our office in Colorado Springs. A year and a half ago she was closely associated with the young Communist league in Great Britain. She heard Billy Graham and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. Soon she and a couple other girls in her art and drama school were used of the Lord to win some girls to Christ. We taught Pat and some of the others, and they in turn taught the girls whom they led to Christ. Some of these have led still other girls to Christ, and they too are training their friends. Patricia is a great-grandmother already, though she is only about a year and four months old in the Lord.

We see this all the time. I know a sailor who, when he was only four months old in the Lord, was a great-grandfather. He had led some sailors to the Lord who in turn led other sailors to the Lord, and these last led still other sailors to the Lord — yet he was only four months old.

How was this done? God used the pure channel of these young Christians’ lives in their exuberance and first love for Christ, and out of their hearts the incorruptible seed of the Word of God was sown in the hearts of other people. It took hold. Faith came by the hearing of the Word. They were born again by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They observed those Christians who led them to Christ and shared in the joy, the peace and the thrill of it all. And in their joy, they wanted someone else to know.

In all our Christian audiences, I am sure there are men and women who have been Christians for five, ten or twenty years but who do not know of one person who is living for Jesus Christ today because of them. I am not talking now about merely working for Christ, but about producing for Christ. Someone may say, “I gave out a hundred thousand tracts.” That is good, but how many sheep did you bring in?”

Some time ago I talked to 29 missionary candidates. They were graduates of universities or Bible schools or seminaries. As a member of the board I interviewed each one over a period of five days, giving each candidate from half an hour to an hour. Among the questions I asked were two which are very important. The first one had to do with their devotional life. “How is your devotional life?” I asked them. “How is the time you spend with the Lord? Do you feel that your devotional life is what the Lord would have it to be?”

Out of this particular group of 29 only one person said, “I believe my devotional life is what it ought to be.” To the others my question then was, “Why is your devotional life not what it should be?”

“Well, you see, I am here at this summer school,” was a common reply. “We have a concentrated course. We do a year’s work in only ten weeks. We are so busy.”

I said, “All right. Let’s back up to when you were in college. Did you have victory in your devotional life then?”

“Well, not exactly.”

We traced back and found that never since they came to know the Savior had they had a period set aside for daily devotions. That was one of the reasons for their sterility — lack of communion with Christ.

The other question I asked them was, “You are going out to the foreign field. You hope to be used by the Lord in winning men and women to Christ. Is that right?”

“Yes.”

“You want them to go on and live the victorious life, don’t you? You don’t want them just to make a decision and then go back into the world, do you?”

“No.”

“Then may I ask you something more? How many persons do you know by name today who were won to Christ by you and are living for Him?”

“The majority had to admit that they were ready to cross an ocean and learn a foreign language, but they had not won their first soul who was going on with Jesus Christ. A number of them said that they got many people to go to church; others said they had persuaded some to go forward when the invitation was given.

I asked, “Are they living for Christ now?” Their eyes dropped. I then continued, “How do you expect that by crossing an ocean and speaking in a foreign language with people who are suspicious of you, whose way of life is unfamiliar, you will be able to do there what you have not yet done here?”

This is not for missionaries and prospective missionaries only. It is for all of God’s people. Every one of His children ought to be a reproducer.

Are you producing? If not, why not? Is it because of a lack of communion with Christ, your Lord, that closeness of fellowship which is part of the great plan? Or is it some sin in your life, an unconfessed something, that has stopped the flow? Or is it that you are still a babe? “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again…” (Hebrews 5:12).

HOW TO PRODUCE REPRODUCERS

The reason that we are not getting this Gospel to the ends of the earth is not because it is not potent enough.

Twenty-three years ago we took a born-again sailor and spent some time with him, showing him how to reproduce spiritually after his kind. It took time, lots of time. It was not a hurried, 30 minute challenge in a church service and a hasty good-bye with an invitation to come back next week. We spent time together. We took care of his problems and taught him not only to hear God’s Word and to read it, but also how to study it. We taught him how to fill the quiver of his heart with the arrows of God’s Word, so that the Spirit of God could lift an arrow from his heart and place it to the bow of his lips and pierce a heart for Christ.

He found a number of boys on his ship, but none of them would go all out for the Lord. They would go to church, but when it came right down to doing something, they were “also rans.” He came to me after a month of this and said, “Dawson, I can’t get any of these guys on the ship to get down to business.”

I said to him, “Listen, you ask God to give you one. You can’t have two until you have one. Ask God to give you a man after your own heart.”

He began to pray. One day he came to me and said, “I think I’ve found him.” Later he brought the young fellow over. Three months from the time I started to work with him, he had found a man for Christ, a man of like heart. This first sailor was not the kind of man you had to push and give prizes to before he would do something. He loved the Lord and was willing to pay a price to produce. He worked with this new babe in Christ, and those two fellows began to grow and spiritually reproduce. On that ship 125 men found the Savior before it was sunk at Pearl Harbor.

Men off that first battleship are in four continents of the world as missionaries today. The work spread from ship to ship to ship, so that when the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor, there was a testimony being given on 50 ships of the U.S. fleet. When the war closed, there was work by one or more producers (I am not talking about mere Christians), on more than a thousand of the U.S. Fleet ships and at many army camps and air bases. It had to have a start, however. The devil’s great trick is to stop anything like this if he can before it gets started. He will stop you, too, if you let him.

There are Christians whose lives run in circles who, nevertheless, have the desire to be spiritual parents. Take a typical example. You meet him in the morning as he goes to work and say to him, “Why are you going to work?”

“Well, I have to earn money.”

“What are you earning money for?” you ask.

“Well,” he replies, “I have to buy food.”

“What do you want food for?”

“I have to eat so as to have strength to go to work and earn some more money.”

“What do you want more money for?”

“I have to buy clothes so that I can be dressed to go to work and earn some more money.”

“What do you want more money for?”

“I have to buy a house or pay the rent so I will have a place to rest up, so I will be fit to work and earn some more money.” And so it goes. There are many Christians like that who are going in big circles. But you continue your questioning and ask, “What else do you do?”

“Oh, I find time to serve the Lord. I am preaching here and there.” But down behind all of this he has the one desire to be a spiritual father. He is praying that God will give him a man to teach. Perhaps it takes him six months. It need not take that long, but maybe it takes him six months to reach the other for Christ and get him started taking in the Word and giving it out and getting ready to teach a man himself.

So this first man at the end of six months has another man. Each man starts teaching another in the following six months. At the end of the year, there are just four of them. Perhaps each one teaches a Bible class or helps in a street meeting, but at the same time his main interest is seeing how the new fellow he won to the Lord is doing. So at the end of the year the four of them get together and have a prayer meeting and determine, “Now, let’s not allow anything to sidetrack us. Let’s give the Gospel out to a lot of people, but let’s check up on at least one and see him through.”

So the four of them in the next six months each get a man. That makes eight at the end of a year and a half. They all go out after another and at the end of two years there are 16 men. At the end of three years there are 64 men; the 16 have doubled twice. At the end of five years there are 1,024. At the end of fifteen and a half years there are approximately 2,147,500,000. That is the present population of the world of persons over three years of age.

But wait a minute! Suppose that after the first man, A, helps B and B is ready to get his man while A starts helping another, B is sidetracked, washes out and does not produce his first man. Fifteen and one half years later you can cut your 2,147,500,000 down to 1,073,7500 because the devil caused B to be sterile.

God promised Abraham “… in Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Genesis 21:12), so Abraham waited a long, long time for that son. God’s promise to make Abraham the father of many nations was all wrapped up in that one son, Isaac. If Hitler had been present and had caused Isaac’s death when Abraham had his knife poised over him on Mount Moriah, Hitler could have killed every Jew in that one stroke.

I believe that is why Satan puts all his efforts into getting the Christian busy, busy, busy, but not producing.

Men, where is your man? Women, where is your woman? Where is the one whom you led to Christ and who is now going on with Him?

There is a story in 1 Kings, chapter 20 about a man who gave a prisoner to a servant and instructed the servant to guard the prisoner well. But as the servant was busy here and there the prisoner made his escape.

The curse of today is that we are too busy. I am not talking about being busy earning money to buy food. I am talking about being busy doing Christian things. We have spiritual activity with little productivity. And productivity comes as a result of what we call “follow-up.”

MAJORING IN REPRODUCING

Five years ago, Billy Graham came to me and said, “Daws, we would like you to help with our follow-up. I’ve been studying the great evangelists and the great revivals and I fail to see that there was much of a follow-up program. We need it. We are having an average of 6,000 people come forward to decide for Christ in a month’s campaign. I feel that with the work you have done you could come in and help us.”

I said, “Billy, I can’t follow up 6,000 people. My work has always been with individuals and small groups.”

“Look, Daws,” he answered, “everywhere I go I meet Navigators. I met them in school in Wheaton. They are in my school right now. (He was president of Northwestern Schools at that time.) There must be something to this.”

“I just don’t have time.” I said.

He tackled me again. The third time he pled with me and said, “Daws, I am not able to sleep nights for thinking of what happens to the converts after a crusade is over.”

At that time I was on my way to Formosa and I said, “While I am there I will pray about it, Billy.” On the sands of a Formosan beach I paced up and down two or three hours a day praying, “Lord, how can I do this? I am not even getting the work done You have given me to do. How can I take six months of the year to give to Billy?” But God laid the burden upon my heart.

Why should Billy have asked me to do it? I had said to him that day before I left for Formosa, “Billy, you will have to get somebody else.”

He took me by the shoulders and said, “Who else? Who is majoring in this?” I had been majoring in it.

What will it take to jar us out of our complacency and send us home to pray, “God, give me a girl or man whom I can win to Christ, or let me take one who is already won, an infant in Christ, and try to train that one so that he or she will reproduce!”

How thrilled we are to see the masses fill up the seats! But where is your man? I would rather have one “Isaac” alive than a hundred dead, or sterile, or immature.

BEGINNING OF FOLLOW-UP

One day years ago, I was driving along in my little Model T Ford and saw a young man walking down the street. I stopped and picked him up. As he got into the car, he swore and said, “It’s sure tough to get a ride.” I never hear a man take my Savior’s name in vain but what my heart aches. I reached into my pocket for a tract and said, “Lad, read this.”

He looked up at me and said, “Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?”

I looked at him closely. He looked like someone I should know. We figured out that we had met the year before on the same road. He was on his way to a golf course to caddy when I picked him up. He had gotten into my car and had started out the same way with the name “Jesus Christ.” I had taken exception to his use of that name and had opened up the New Testament and shown him the way of salvation. He had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. In parting I had given him Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” “God bless you, son. Read this,” I said, and sped on my merry way.

A year later, there was no more evidence of the new birth and the new creature in this boy than if he had never heard of Jesus Christ.

I had a great passion to win souls and that was my great passion. But after I met this boy the second time on the way to the golf course, I began to go back and find some of my “converts.” I want to tell you, I was sick at heart. It seemed that Philippians 1:6 was not working.

An Armenian boy came into my office one day and told me about all the souls he had won. He said that they were all Armenians and had the list to prove it.

I said, “Well, what is this one doing?”

He said, “That one isn’t doing so good. He is backslidden.”

“What about this one?” We went all down the list and there was not one living a victorious life.

I said, “Give me your Bible.” I turned to Philippians and put a cardboard right under the 6th verse, took a razor blade out of my pocket and started to come down on the page. He grabbed my hand and asked, “What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to cut this verse out,” I said, “It isn’t working.”

Do you know what was wrong? I had been taking the 6th verse away from its context, verses 3 through 7. Paul was not just saying, “All right, the Lord has started something, He will finish it.” But you know, that is what some people tell me when they win a soul. They say, “Well, I just committed him to God.”

Suppose I meet someone who has a large family and say to him, “Who is taking care of your children?”

“My family? Oh, I left them with the Lord.”

Right away I would say to that one, “I have a verse for you: ‘But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he…is worse than an infidel’ (1 Timothy 5:8).”

Paul said to the elders of the church at Ephesus, “Take heed…to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers…” (Acts 20:28). You cannot make God the overseer. He makes you the overseer.

We began work on follow-up. This emphasis on finding and helping some of the converts went on for a couple or three years before the Navigator work started. By that time our work included fewer converts but more time spent with the converts. Soon I could say as Paul said to the Philippians, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5). He followed up his converts with daily prayer and fellowship. Then he could say, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). In keeping with this the 7th verse reads: “Even as it is meet (or proper) for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart…”

Until this time I had forgotten to follow up the people God had reached through me. But from then on I began to spend time helping them. That is why sometime later when that first sailor came to me, I saw the value of spending three months with him. I saw an Isaac in him. Isaac had Jacob, and Jacob had the twelve, and all the rest of the nation came through them.

IT TAKES TIME TO DO GOD’S WORK

You can lead a soul to Christ in from 20 minutes to a couple of hours. But it takes from 20 weeks to a couple of years to get him on the road to maturity, victorious over the sins and the recurring problems that come along. He must learn how to make right decisions. He must be warned of the various “isms” that are likely to reach out with their octopus arms and pull him in and sidetrack him.

But when you get yourself a man, you have doubled your ministry — in fact, you have more than doubled your ministry. Do you know why? When you teach your man, he sees how it is done and he imitates you.

If I were the minister of a church and had deacons or elders to pass the plate and choir members to sing, I would say, “Thank God for your help. We need you. Praise the Lord for these extra things that you do,” but I would keep pressing home the big job — “Be fruitful and multiply.” All these other things are incidental to the supreme task of winning a man or woman to Jesus Christ and then helping him or her to go on.

Where is your man? Where is your woman? Do you have one? You can ask God for one. Search your hearts. Ask the Lord, “Am I spiritually sterile? If I am, why am I?”

Don’t let your lack of knowledge stand in the way of winning the lost. It used to be the plan of The Navigators in the early days that whenever the sailors were with us for supper each fellow was asked at the end of the meal to quote a verse.

I would say it this way, “Quote a verse you have learned in the last 48 hours if you have one. Otherwise, just give us a verse.” One evening as we quoted verses around the table, my little three-year-old daughter’s turn came. There was a new sailor next to her who did not think about her quoting Scripture, so without giving her an opportunity, he began. She looked up at him as much as to say, “I am a human being,” then she quoted John 3:16 in her own way. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only forgotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” She put the emphasis on the “whosoever” because when she was first taught the verse she could not pronounce that word. Days later that sailor came over and said to me, “You know, I was going to quote that verse of Scripture. It was the only one I knew. But I didn’t really know it, not until little Ruthie quoted it. When she said ‘whosoever,’ I thought, ‘that means me.’ Back on ship I accepted the Lord.” Today that young man is a missionary in South America.

Until several years after we were married, my wife’s father did not know the Lord. Here again God used children to reach a hungry heart. When Ruthie was three and Bruce was five, they went to visit Grandpa and Grandma. Grandpa tried to get them to repeat nursery rhymes. He said, “Mary had a little lamb” and “Little Boy Blue,” but the children just looked at him and asked, “Who is Little Boy Blue?” He thought they did not know very much.

Their mother said, “They know some things. Quote Romans 3:23, Bruce.” This Bruce did. Then he asked, “Shall I quote another one, Grandpa?”

“Sure,” said Grandpa.

Bruce began to quote verses of Scripture, some 15 in all, and Ruth quoted some in between. This delighted Grandpa. He took them over to the neighbors and to the aunts and uncles, showing them how well these children knew the Scriptures. In the meantime the Word of God was doing its work. It was not long before the Holy Spirit, through the voices of babes, planted the seed in his heart. “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength…” (Psalm 8:2).

Soul winners are not soul winners because of what they know, but because of the Person they know, how well they know Him and how much they long for others to know Him.

“Oh, but I am afraid,” someone says. Remember, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25). Nothing under heaven except sin, immaturity and lack of communion will put you in a position where you cannot reproduce. Furthermore, there is not anything under heaven that can keep a newly born again one from going on with the Lord if he has a spiritual parent to take care of him and give him the spiritual food God has provided for his normal growth.

Effects obey their causes by irresistible laws. When you sow the seed of God’s Word you will get results. Not every heart will receive the Word, but some will, and the new birth will take place. When a soul is born, give it the care that Paul gave new believers. Paul believed in follow-up work. He was a busy evangelist, but he took time for follow-up. The New Testament is largely made up of the letters of Paul which were follow-up letters to the converts.

James believed in it. “But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only,” he said in James 1:22. Peter believed in it, for he said, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). John believed in it, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). All the writings of Peter, Paul, James and most of the writings of John are food for the new Christian.

The Gospel spread to the known world during the first century without radio, television or the printing press, because these produced ones were reproducing. But today we have a lot of pew sitters — people who think that if they are faithful in church attendance, put good-sized gifts into the offering plate and get people to come, they have done their part.

Where is your man? Where is your woman? Where is your boy? Where is your girl? Every one of us, no matter what age we are, should get busy memorizing Scripture. In one Sunday school class a woman 72 years of age and another who was 78 finished The Navigators Topical Memory System. They then had something to give.

Load your heart with this precious Seed. You will find that God will direct you to those whom you can lead to Christ. There are many hearts ready for the Gospel now.

Robert Moffat (1795–1883)

Robert Moffat (1795–1883) was a Scottish pioneer missionary to South Africa for over 50 years.

He opened mission stations in the interior, translated the Bible into the language of the Bechuanas, and wrote two missionary books on South Africa:

Missionary Labours and Scenes in Southern Africa (1843)

Rivers of Water in a Dry Place (1885)

His oldest daughter Mary, married David Livingstone.

He and his wife worked passionately for the missionary cause, enduribng many hardships.

Once he went for days without water and his mouth became so dry he was unable to speak.

Often he bound his stomach to help him endure fasting when he could not find food to eat.

Besides his early training as a gardener and farmer, and later as a writer, Moffat developed skills in building, carpentry, printing and as a blacksmith.

Robert and Mary Moffat had ten children.

Mary (who married David Livingstone)
Ann

Robert (who died as an infant)
Robert (who died at the age of 36, leaving an uncompleted, but published work on the Setswana language)
Helen
Elizabeth (who also died as an infant)
James

John
Elizabeth
Jean.

Their son John became a missionary and took over the running of the mission at Kuruman.

Their grandson Howard Moffat became a prime minister of Southern Rhodesia.

Mary preceded Robert in death in 1870, at home in England where they had returned because of failing health.

For the last twelve years of his life, Robert spoke throughout England, seeking to raise interest in the mission work.

He was presented to Queen Victoria twice at her request and was presented with a Doctor of Divinity degree from Edinburgh University.

Robert Moffat died at Leigh, near Tunbridge Wells, on 9 August 1883, and is buried at West Norwood Cemetery. A memorial monument, paid for by public subscription, was erected at his birthplace in 1885.

It seemed a small thing to some godly men in a southern Scotland church when a boy about four years old, from a home of poor but pious parents, knelt at an altar to pray. His decision was despised by the elders as one who was too young to understand. Thank God, one unnamed, unknown-to-us brother bothered to kneel in prayer with “Robbie.”

Moffat may well have been converted to Christ then — if not, it was the commencement of a chain of events that led to his conversion and to the opening of doors of evangelism to the uncharted depths of the dark continent of Africa.

In his mid-teens he left home for High Leigh, near Liverpool, England, to begin work as an undergardner. It was there that Moffat’s spiritual convictions were confirmed and he became a member of the Methodists. And it was on a walk from High Leigh to Warrenton that another event occurred which would engineer him into evangelism in Africa. He saw a sign announcing a missionary meeting. On such a small thing as a poster, God prompted the heart of the youth to purpose to become a missionary. Moffat attended the meeting and there is every evidence he got the message for shortly afterward he contacted Rev. William Roby, the Methodist preacher in Manchester, and was soon recommended to the London Missionary Society. At the age of twenty-one, Moffat reached South Africa.

His earliest ministries were treks taken into the interior. There were few railroads or roads and oftentimes those were washed away by rains. Travel was difficult, dangerous and often death-bringing. Rivers, rocks, swamps, and forests had to be avoided or mastered somehow. Intense heat by day and chill cold by night complicated travel. Always there were the wild beasts: lions, jackals, hyenas, crocodiles, snakes, monkeys and, worst of all, warlike and untrustworthy native bushmen. Such journeys were not often undertaken by those who knew the country well, and to a newcomer like Moffat such treks were deadly dangerous! But Moffat, motivated by his missionary call, meant to master all such obstacles. He gradually became physically acclimated to Africa’s extreme climates. He learned the country and became proficient in its customs and its languages, and he developed the great power of leadership that was to be his badge and make him a blessing to multitudes.

In 1817 he set out for the kraal, or village, of the Namaquas where the chief, Afrikaner, a blood-thirsty butcherer, was converted. That conversion has been considered one of the great accounts of the grace of God on the mission fields. On that trip he saw for the first time the Kurumon River and the Bechuanas, the peoples with whom he would spend most of his long missionary ministry.

The Bechuanas’ reception of Moffat’s ministry ranged from stony indifference — to steeled intolerance — to incorrigible rejection. Moffat, who had now married an English sweetheart, “saw no reward for untiring work.” That work, by the way, consisted of being a builder, a carpenter, a smith and a farmer all in one; while at the same time preaching.

Probably one of the most momentous events in Moffat’s ministry was not preaching but attempting to defend his Bechuanas from the warring Zuluas. He did not avert a war, but procured firearms and equipped his people. The Bechuanas conquered the Zuluas and, realizing Moffat’s bravery and compassion in their behalf, they began to respect him as a friend.

It was twelve more years before his message bore the fruit of revival. Suddenly the meeting house was crowded. Heathen songs were not sung in the village and dancing stopped. Prayers came to the lips of the Bechuanas, and the songs of Zion were sung. They began to give up their dirty habits. Converts were recorded, then time-tested, then baptized. Other tribes, hearing the news, sent representatives to learn of the white man’s teaching. Moffat often would return with them and thus the revival message and results spread.

It was then that Moffat realized he must concentrate on translating the New Testament into the language of the people if they were to learn God’s Word and live God’s way. And, customarily, he not only translated the text, he procured a press and printed it.

Moffat returned to England only one time before returning to die. On that visit he persuaded Livingstone to go to Africa instead of China. Livingstone built mightily upon the foundation that Moffat had so ably laid, yet, incredibly, Moffat outlived Livingstone ten more years.

He had opened jungle villages to the Gospel, he had braved the dangers, the deadliness of African jungles, he had withstood medicine men like Elijah had withstood the prophets of Baal at Carmel. He had preached, he had translated, he had instructed Africans to read, write, sing and farm. He had exalted Christ and magnified the ministry of a missionary. August 9, 1883, he wound his watch with a trembling hand. “For the last time,” he said. And it was so. The next morning the 88-year-old soldier of the Cross was dead, with eighty-four years of life for his Lord since that night as a four-year-old bairn (boy) he had come to Christ.