Holding Forth The Word Of Life
What a privilege God has given us Ė to hold forth "the Word of Life!" What else could we possibly give our fellow man in this "crooked and perverse" world that would be of such great value? (Phil. 2:15-16). This is the Word of the great "King over all the earth!" (Psa. 47:7). This is the Word of the "high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy" (Isa. 57:15).
Before we can hold forth Godís Word in a worthy way, we must ourselves hold His Word in due reverence and honor. If we want Godís favor upon us, we will hearken to the "thus saith the Lord" in Isaiah 66:2: "Öto this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word." How easy it is to take too lightly that with which we become more and more familiar.
On the other hand, those of us who are growing older, who are becoming more acutely aware of how fleeting life is, we who see that which we thought was steadfast beginning to shake and crumble and fall Ė how much more intently do we want to stay on the Word of God. It is eternal! "Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven" (Psa. 119:89). "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever" (Isa. 40:8). "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35).
And more, "Thy Word is truth" (John 17:17). "Thy Word is pure" (Psalm 119:140). "Thy Word isÖ a light unto our pathway" (Psa. 119:105). Godís Word is a "a faithful Word" (Titus 1:9). It is a "Word of life" (1 John 1:1). Truly it is to be highly honored and esteemed!
Holding Forth to Children
How good it is for children to come to know and to love the Bible stories! That alone will not get them into the Kingdom of God Ė they must be born again by their own personal surrender to Christ. But Godís Word is as valuable to them spiritually as the food they eat at the table is to them physically. Faith in God and His Word is the greatest preparation we can give them for the life ahead of them and the greatest inheritance we can leave them when we depart.
Like some of you readers, more than once in my young years, I received an award for a yearís perfect attendance at Sunday school. It was because my parents were training their children in the way in which we should go. I grew to know and love many Bible stories. The New Testament earned by memorizing the Twenty-third Psalm and the "Lordís Prayer" was one of my treasured possessions.
When I received Christ as my personal Savior at about age twelve, my mother encouraged me to read the Bible and pray each day. Our dear Christian father had recently died, but he would have encouraged that also had he been with us. Conscientiously I launched into reading the Bible nightly, beginning at the first chapter. It was hard going in places, but I more or less continued on that course. A little seed had been planted by rivers of water, and though long and slow in growing, under Godís gentle tending, in His time, there would be fruit. How blessed are we whose faith is so largely encouraged by grandparents and parents in whom it first dwelt!
When studying at a state teachersí college, my time with the Lord languished somewhat. When getting back into stride I switched to early morning devotions. My rustling of the pages disturbed my roommate who was not yet ready to arise, but a mutually satisfactory solution was found by my closing myself in the walk-in closet which had a light by which to read. The last term I lived in the dormitory, and for every eight girls there was a study room with eight desks. It was not hard to find a time when I had the study room to myself to read and pray without distraction.
Occasionally, though, I was made to wonder if it was respectful to continue when one of the girls filled the atmosphere with her cigarette smoke. Somehow that seemed disrespectful of God and His Word, even sacrilegious. With my sheltered background of a conservative Christian home, I little realized how much God puts up with and what His unfailing love will break through to meet a searching heart. No doubt a good number of Christians must strive to worship and serve God in an inescapable atmosphere of ungodliness day and night. Might God cause His grace and keeping power to abound to such!
You mothers, who nourish a new life in your body near your heart for months, and then at your breast for an added time, yours is a sacred privilege which even the father cannot enter into. And it may be he will be equally detached in developing the child spiritually when the time comes for that. Too often the father who is a willing partner in imparting physical life has little or no thought about the childís spiritual life. Godís plan is that parents work together in this training, with the father taking the lead. But even though the father fails, might you, mother, keep faithful. Godís Word is a safe path for little feet, someone has written. And oh, how these precious little lambs need safe paths in this day of ravenous wolves!
Let the Word of God Dwell in You Richly
I must confess and am ashamed that with all the wonderful access God gives to His Word, I have fallen short in meditating, studying, and memorizing Godís Word. It is something I work at and heartily recommend to others.
Who of us has not found, though, that lifeís difficult times have a way of taking us deeper into His Word? God so graciously sustains us by speaking personally to our hearts through His Word. Certain verses will be forever cherished because God leads us to them as a rock to stand on or a shelter to hide in when the waves might engulf us. Through His Word He assures us He is with us and will never leave nor forsake us. How that endears Him and His Word to us!
And might we all strive to return our love to the Lord by obedience to His Word. "JesusÖsaidÖ, If a man love Me, he will keep My Words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him" (John 14:23). What could be more precious than that!
Holding Forth the Word of God
Because the Bible is so easily obtained nowadays in this nation, we are quick to forget that there was a time when the English Bible was outlawed. Just consider how wonderful it is that through the centuries that have passed since God first moved upon chosen vessels to record His messages to mankind, He has preserved it through many attacks, for us of this generation! His Word is ours to have and to hold in a very tangible way. I must qualify that sentence: some of us have it in a very tangible way.
"Unto whom much is given, of him shall be much required" (Luke 12:48). Great responsibility rests upon us to share this treasure of Godís Word with those who have not.
And it is more than a responsibility. Many of us are quick to say we are eager to give it! Freely we have received; it is in our hearts and is a glad privilege to freely give.
As Herald of His Coming receives mail, especially from developing countries around the world where the Gospel is not so readily accessible, it is obvious that there are many who have "tasted" the Word of God and found it to be good. It has whetted the soulís appetite for more. They want a full meal. Here is a grand opportunity to freely give that which we have freely received. Making an investment in giving Godís Word is an investment with eternal dividends! God has promised that His Word will not return to Him void (Isa. 55:11). It is not given in vain.
Christians, God has called us to "be blameless and harmless, the sons of GodÖin the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom [we] shine as lights in the world; holding forth the Word of life" (Phil. 2:15-16). We are living in an hour when Satan and those cooperating with him, are zealous to snuff out the "Light of the world." They love darkness rather than light; in fact, they hate the light lest their evil deeds should be reproved (John 3:19-20). Our challenge is to hold it ever high and to hold it forth.
The ministry of Herald of His Coming as readers well know, is to print articles by anointed writers who are Godís gifts to the Church, for teaching, correcting, exhorting, instructing in righteousness, etc. Godís precious flock must be built up in the faith, stirred up in spirit, equipped to stand faithfully and to serve zealously, etc. The Bride must be prepared for the coming Bridegroom! Satan and his cohorts are ferocious in this hour in their attack against Godís people. He is deceiving many. Proper teaching in Godís Word provides a bulwark against the enemy and his deceptions and helps the teachable ones to endure to the end.
Herald of His Coming is deeply grateful to all who are standing with the staff in prayer and with gifts, to continue the printing and mailing of the papers month after month, year after year. The printing was 82,000 papers for the month of April. Faithful and zealous volunteer workers helped prepare them for mailing to you readers. From a core of reading friends came finances to pay postage and other needed expenses. We pray that more of you will involve yourselves in helping to hold forth the Word of Life through Herald of His Coming. Will you be one to respond to the vast need? Thank you and God bless you, as you pray with us for the following:
*For every friend who is taking a part with Herald of His Coming in sustaining this ministry of the Lord in a "crooked and perverse" world helping to hold high the Light of the World, the Truth, the Word of Life in an hour when growing forces would drag it down, deepening the darkness!
* That God will implant in Herald readers a deeper hunger and love for His Word and a greater determination to obey it and hold it forth, as they read the articles in this issue.
* That when Godís Word goes forth to saint and sinner alike, Satan will not be able to snatch it away, but God will watch over it and cause it to take root and grow and bring forth abundant fruit.
* That God will touch the hearts of more friends to send their supporting gifts, that we will not need to cut back on the mailings, when the opportunity and the need call for larger mailings.
* For a deepening spirit of prayer among Godís people, in an hour when only Godís intervention with revival in answer to prayer can preserve this or any nation as one He can use to speed the spread of His Gospel into all the world.