By Lois J. Stucky
"Dear Friends at Herald of His Coming, you have been sending to me the paper for some time now, and it is consistently precise. On Death Row we have seven different tiers inmates live on. I would appreciate if you would send to me six more Herald of His Coming papers each month--one for each tier."
We are struck by the significance of this request and ask your prayers with ours that God will use the seven Herald papers going to this Death Row in a mighty way. How many on this Death Row will be ready to meet God when the day of execution arrives? The last opportunity of these inmates to get right with God could come swiftly. We feel urgency that the Herald messages help them to the utmost.
Then we ponder the fact that there are other readers on the Herald mailing list for whom death could come just as swiftly as for those inmates, only for them it comes unexpectedly! And, oh, what of the blessed hope of Christís coming again! Caught away in a moment! In the twinkling of an eye! How it behooves every one of us to have a right relationship with God and to keep it intact! Please agree with us that God will use Herald of His Coming in a substantial way to "make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17).
An inmate wrote recently saying he was known as a trouble maker. "Of course," he continued, "everybody makes mistakes." Another inmate wrote about his having made "bad choices." It is true that everybody makes mistakes and bad choices at times. That is to be expected considering our human nature and is not necessarily sinful if we are referring to that which results from human imperfections such as poor judgment, lack of knowledge and wisdom, etc. Such faults have to do with an imperfect mind.
But when it comes to moral matters that spring from the heart, it is a different thing. God calls such behavior "sin" and so must we. We need to say with God that "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and add, "I have sinned and come short of the glory of God." God further tells us, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
All of us, whether incarcerated or in the "free world," must call sin what God calls it-- "sin." It will not cover or lessen it before Godís all-seeing eyes to refer to it as mistakes or bad choices, and it may dull our sense of the seriousness of dealing with it. God looks at the heart and knows well the deceitfulness of it.
Dr. Kienel spoke of this in his article in the April issue of Herald of His Coming, saying that many children are taught nowadays to speak of "bad choices." Indeed they might have made a bad choice, but they must be helped to realize when these choices are sin, and be led to handle it the way God has provided for us to do so--confess it; repent and ask forgiveness of God; partake of His grace and have peace restored.
I witnessed recently a boy about ten years of age who confessed to the congregation his transgression of lying that day at school. But he repented before God and was forgiven and had peace restored to his troubled heart. He was able to sing with sweet understanding that came through experience, "Glorious freedom! Wonderful freedom!..." He had partaken of Godís grace and release from condemnation.
It is not only children who need to be taught this and learn it by experience. All of us need to face our sin for what it is, for "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13).
I think of a female inmate in jail who was very "upset" because she had been picked up for driving with a suspended license and incarcerated for a short time. She felt the law should be devoting itself to cases involving crimes more serious than hers. How typical it is of us all to compare ourselves with others, feeling our "crime," our transgression, is not as serious as most and can be excused lightly. Still, she had willfully broken the law, displaying a rebellious spirit that portends more and deeper trouble ahead. "Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4).
We need to face our sin with what someone has termed "judgment-day honesty." Now while we have opportunity to confess and forsake sin, is the time to face it and clear it up! God speaks in His Word of those who "tremble at His word" (Isaiah 66:5). This implies great respect and honor and reverence for Godís Word and a healthy fear of disobeying it.
"It is written, as I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:11,12).
Ralph and Lou Sutera of Canadian Revival Fellowship have been holding a Crusade near Newton and we have been able to attend some of the services. They are revivalists who preach the truths of Godís Word in a convicting, convincing way in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is blessed to see the response of humble hearts and the liberty that comes when the Blood of Jesus is applied. Who can tell what outflow will come from revived hearts!
How important it is to have Godís Word search our hearts. We cannot trust our own searchings apart from the Word, for "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).
We Christians who are eager to be all God would have us to be in holy living, in faithful witnessing and in effective praying--have no choice but to hearken diligently to Godís Word and obey it. Only as the Holy Spirit controls the cleansed heart can we hope to live the blessed holy, fruitful life that God intends. "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).
Dr. Paulson, in his article on page eight tells that it was after he faced sin in his life as a busy, devoted missionary, and was forgiven and brought into new relationship with God, that the power of God fell in the meetings he held with Africans. Revival came to their station.
How foolish we are to gloss over or cover up sin, and to hold onto it, giving evidence of a proud, stubborn heart that needs to be broken at the foot of the cross. For the sake of our dear, loving God, for our own sake, and for the sake of others who can be blessed and helped by our lives, might we confess and forsake! What can compare with the sense of joy and peace when guilty hearts are forgiven and experience a fresh touch of God--this God who is the perfection of divine grace and love and beauty. No price is too great to have a right relationship and blessed fellowship with Him!
"Cleansed and made holy,
humble and lowly;
Right in the sight of God."
Please pray with us that this issue on revival will remind Christians that revival begins with Christians getting right before Him, willing to bow before Him and His Spirit in humble confession and forsaking of sin. Ask God to stir all of us afresh to seek to have and to maintain that blessed relationship, with nothing between our soul and our God.
"Who can tell of the love He will send from above, and how happy our hearts will be made!"
Praise God With Us!
* That darkening days cannot blot out the hope of Godís moving among His people in revival power, a hope based on His unchanging Word.
* For every Christian of humble heart and mind willing to follow on to know God and obey Him and enjoy His full blessing, whatever the cost to himself might be.
* For more fruit to come from the Hear, O Israel paper for unsaved Jewish people, and especially for 500 copies that have gone to Alberta, Canada, and twenty copies to Vermont.
* That God will sustain Christians who are incarcerated in correctional facilities, that they will be enabled to live uprightly in the midst of many temptations. Pray for prison chaplains and volunteer workers who visit, to be used of God to turn many more inmates to God and help them make a clean break with sin.
* For Godís provision and clear direction as we continue to prepare for moving the ministry to Indiana. About $100,000 is the cost for the building that needs to be done.
* For our capable worker, Arlene Plant, as she returns to California. Her father and a niece have very serious physical ailments. Pray God will be glorified in the trying times the family is now experiencing, even with a miracle healing. Thank God with us for excellent help Arlene has given while on staff here.
* That God will resolve the computer problem which resulted in some readers not receiving Heralds for two months.
* For clear direction concerning the messages to print each month.
* For revival in the Church around the world, to prepare Godís people to bring in a great harvest and be ready to meet our Lord Jesus at His coming!