It Is Not Asking Too Much
By Lois J. Stucky
A recent letter that crossed my desk from a Campus Crusade for Christ ministry said that a Christian leader, in addressing some gatherings of young people, urged them, when they finished their education, not to take a job until the year 2001 but instead to give these intervening years to serve God full-time and help get the Gospel to the unreached people of the world. What sense of urgency burns in the heart of this man, what realization of the shortness of time, what alertness to the fleeting opportunities--that he urges young people to do this for the sake of Christ and the souls for whom He died!
"That is asking a lot!" someone says. "Asking too much!" says another. The Apostle Paul would call it "our reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1).
Some of us, though, do not have the strength of our youth any more to invest for Christ. But we do have the strength of our years to invest for Christ. Let us not exempt nor excuse ourselves. God has faithfully worked in our lives through the years, often in an almost hidden way. His purposes in life's happenings have often been far higher than we suspected. Our responses and cooperation may often have disappointed Him sorely. Yet, He worked as freely as we allowed Him, as fully as we submitted and trusted Him. Sometimes we were able to see that what came our way was not happenstance--it was God at work. It was God giving us the privilege of being fitted for effective service here on earth--and who can comprehend what glories He has in mind for us in the future?
God has helped His teachable children to learn through life's trials what really matters in life. Many interests we were giving ourselves to, many supports on which we were relying He has allowed to be shaken and to fall away. Some of us have willingly loosened our grip on such and have let them crash, without crashing ourselves. Some of us are down to bedrock dependence on God, which is where He wants us to be. The Bible tells us that when we are weak in ourselves, then are we strong in the Lord (2 Cor. 12:9-10). He does not take pleasure in our earthly losses, but He delights to turn those losses into spiritual gains.
The spiritual battles we sought to flee and eventually with reluctance fought--have been the means by which He has helped us gain spiritual strength and learn to be overcomers. God has taught us through these struggles to become more adept in handling spiritual weapons. He has instructed us to be more alert to our spiritual enemy and his tactics and has enabled us to acquire experience in dealing with him.
Oh how patiently God has sought to teach us about prevailing in prayer! As F. J. Huegel says in his article on page four, prayer is the greatest force in the world. Prayer allies us with the almighty God. It brings us into the secret place with Him, to a closeness, even a oneness with Himself--which is where His heart desires His loved ones to be. What an honor He bestows upon us unworthy ones, to lead us deeper into prayer, and to give us a part with Himself in His marvelous plans and purposes for the salvation of mankind.
Yes, God can use the strength of our years, the years through which He has guided and guarded and worked for high and holy purposes in our lives. I believe He has urgent need of that strength which He has developed in us. He has invested much grace, much long-suffering, much in every way--in these unprofitable lives of ours. Might He receive in return the ultimate of what we can give.
A publication that came to my desk recently urged those who possibly could to come out of retirement--out of pleasant, well-earned leisure. In the urgency of the hour, give it up to God and slip into the harness again! Pull with strength of heart and will.
Many athletes look back on brilliant records with pride, but today that's all they can do--look back. Christian brothers and sisters, we can still carry on in the race! Few of us are star performers, but we can all be part of a team that is going to win in the end. In particular, God has great need of us in the prayer team. This does not take physical strength as much as spiritual strength, and it is this in which God has been training us.
G. D. Watson wrote: "God wants to make our last days the very best, but He cannot, consistent with His wisdom, do it unless we definitely and earnestly and persistently plead with Him to do it for us." Let's pray to that end; expect God's help; give ourselves to it; go forward in the faith that our lives will count to the very end.
Take The World To Your Heart.
From many sources we learn that there is increasing persecution against Christians, sometimes in countries where we have not heard of it before and where we would not expect it. Around the world the anti-Christ, anti-God spirit is gathering momentum. We read of things going on in America that are horribly pagan and evil. Yes, here in our country as well, satanic forces are gathering momentum in an alarming way.
God's Word encourages us: "When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him" (Isa. 59:19). God works through His people when they are available to Him to help put the enemy to flight and to overcome evil with good.
Things have gone so far that great sovereign movings of the Holy Spirit are needed. Can you envision God sweeping across our land in mighty revival power? Here and there are places where God is doing it, saving and delivering souls from sin's sway in considerable numbers. That is because someone got in earnest there. Someone sought God--"beyond reason" some would say. But God answered with conviction on sin, with repentance, with salvation and deliverance, with joy and victory!
God would have many of us, all of us, to be on the prayer team. He would have us take the world to our heart as much as we can. Yes, begin with our own needs, with the needs of our family, but lift our eyes and look farther. See church needs, community needs, world needs. Many in the world do not know enough to cry out to God for their own spiritual needs. Our eyes have been blessed of God to see and our hearts to understand and to care. We must cry out for those who have no knowledge of their need--or they will perish!
Prayer takes time. To make time may mean turning away from the TV, or laying aside a favorite hobby or forgoing some pleasant pastime. God help us to so govern our lives that we can give good account of our time on the final day of reckoning!
We urge you to pray daily for the world, following the calendar on pages 7 and 8. Join in the May 18--June 16 days of praying for the Hindu world as told on page 11.
Please pray also for Herald of His Coming. It is remarkable how the Lord helps the small staff here to get the Herald paper out to you month after month on schedule. What gives us inspiration and strength and zeal and enabling to do it? It is the mighty help of God given in answer to the prayers of many friends! What brings in the letters of testimony you read on page 12 month after month? It is the working of the Holy Spirit in answer to the prayers of faithful friends.
And how abruptly would there be a stoppage of the work were it not for friends who send their gifts, faithfully and generously, so bills can be paid! It is blessed beyond words to be part of a team, where many members, never having seen us, love us and pray for us and send their supporting gifts. Together we accomplish that purpose for which God raised up Herald of His Coming 56 years ago. To God be the glory, and to you, dear friends, be our very great thanks.
Let us each one keep looking unto Jesus and abide in Him, that we might be faithful to the end. "Himself He cannot save!" was the shout mockingly hurled at our Saviour hanging in agony on the cross. He could have called hosts of angels to His aid, but He could not save Himself and mankind, too. So He hung there, and He died. Someone has written, "You paid far too great a price for me...." That is love, Jesus' sacrificial love for you and me. Our response to that can only be, "Lord, here am I...for whatever You choose. It is not asking too much."
* For the wonder of divine love shed upon our lives, and for divine love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, enabling us to be caught up in God's grand purpose that souls should not perish but have everlasting life.
* For all who help extend the outreach by handing or mailing on their Herald of His Coming paper after reading it, or by sending us names and addresses, clearly written, of those who would welcome the paper.
* For God's intervention in the Jerusalem area, as tension grows regarding its future. Stand for freedom to propagate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the land of Israel.
* That God will prosper this issue of Herald of His Coming as it goes to call people to prayer and revival.
* That God will protect all the Herald work and workers under the Blood of Jesus, preserving from sickness and accident and anything that would hinder the outflow of the Gospel. Pray for safe and prompt delivery of mails, especially in countries where the Gospel is not welcome.
* That God will continue to inspire giving of Herald readers to maintain a generous mailing out of the Gospel. Thank God that all bills are paid to date. Ask God to richly bless foreign readers who are learning the joy of giving as they send to their local address. Pray for God's provision to those desiring to give but hardly having enough to meet the bare necessities of life.
* For fresh and powerful anointing on the Salvation herald, RIGHT CHOICE, and the paper to warn of the occult, TRUTH FOR YOU, and the herald for unsaved Jewish people, HEAR, O ISRAEL.
* That God's people will give themselves to prayer for revival as never before, and will pay the price of humbling themselves that God might be able to send a revival to individual hearts and to churches and to communities across this land and around the world.
"I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing" (Ezek. 34:26).