Thursday, August 2, 2018

"Forty Years"

   "Forty Years"

     The Lord called me into the ministry forty years ago today, on August 2, 1978.  The details are personal regarding how this happened, but I believe that on that day, He made clear to me His will for my life.

    "Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

   The path from the altar built within my heart so long ago has been very different than I anticipated.  Certainly, some aspects of communicating God and His Word have fulfilled expectations.  Many, however, have surprised me (and continue to surprise me).  Email, for example, did not exist in 1978, at least to the average person who possessed no personal computing device.  Even after this means of communication came along in the 1990s, I did not anticipate using it for these devotionals we've now sent out for nearly twenty years.  I also never expected to conduct as many services as we are privileged to perform.  When first called to preach, I remember wondering how I would come up with three sermons a week (the number expected in the church and denomination in which we were involved).  We have long done more than twice that many meetings each week, and I have discovered that the truth of the matter is that no preacher has enough time in this life to even begin to fully communicate "the unsearchable riches of Christ").  I also could not anticipate how many wonderful people we would meet in the venues of ministry God has given to us, including all of you whose fellowship and example continues to immeasurably bless Frances and me.

    Speaking of Frances, I didn't know what an amazing partner in both marriage and ministry God had already given me on August 2, 1978.  Frances and I were engaged at the time.  She was wholeheartedly supportive of me when I informed her of the Lord's will.  She has remained so, and even more, the Lord has graced us to conduct our ministry together in every way.  She is with me in most services (while still working at the hospital), singing, reading the Scriptures, sharing testimonies of God's gracious working in her life, and being a wonderful personal blessing to those who attend our meetings.  Most of all, she has sacrificed more - far more - than I could ever describe in order for us to do what the Lord has called us to do.  No words would suffice, other than "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Ephesians 3:20 - the life verse of our marriage).

   The concept of forty years used to seem like a long time.  Not so much any more.  Now it seems more like a shooting star that leaves the most momentary of traces across the skies of our lives.  Much has happened in these four decades, some of which I hope will abide God's testing of purity and genuineness at the judgment seat of Christ.  That which has happened most, however, bears no uncertainty.  The Lord Jesus Christ has proven perfectly faithful.  The Holy Spirit has constantly revealed His trustworthiness.  Our Heavenly Father has confirmed that "His way is perfect."  His Word abides in our confidence as inerrant and infallible.  And we continue to be amazed by the privileged responsibility of sharing the theme given to us for life and ministry so long ago, namely, that no one has ever trusted in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and been disappointed for doing so.  And no one ever will.  "Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds" (Psalm 36:5).

"I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever. With my mouth I will make known Thy faithfulness to all generations."
(Psalm 89:1)

Weekly Memory Verse
     If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:25)


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