Examining Our Priorities
By Lois J. Stucky
A new year is upon us – "Already!" some of us would add. Time is slipping fast into eternity. This is a good time to take stock of our priorities. Right priorities are important! The comparatively short time of our life span here on earth has much to do with our destiny in eternity. "To him that overcomes…" our Lord said to the churches in Revelation, and He made gracious promises of reward to overcomers. What of those caught up in the things of this world who do not become overcomers? It is God’s prerogative as a righteous Judge to do what is right in His sight. But I believe that many Herald readers can say it has become our heart’s high desire to hear the "Well done!" of our beloved Lord. We want to overcome and to please Him who is worthy, so worthy! It is a priority to which we must hold.
In this hour when the anti-Christ spirit is intensifying, let us seek God’s help to honor and exalt and glorify our blessed Redeemer as never before. In his recent newsletter David Wilkerson warned about a subtle new movement that is deceiving even evangelicals into merging with various religious traditions and coming up with a Jesus who is not the Jesus of the Bible. Oh, how important that we look regularly into God’s Word, and trust the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the precious Jesus pictured there! We want to know and worship and obey the true Jesus as revealed by God through His Word. When on earth Jesus warned that in the last days many would be deceived, even the very elect if it were possible (Matt. 24:11,24). God’s Word is our firm foundation and our defense.
Let us take to heart the admonition of J. Hudson Taylor in his article on page 4, to give sufficient time to be alone with our Lord and His Word, not only to bring our needs to Him but to hear what He has to say to us. It is written of Taylor that in spite of incredible demands on his time as the founder and director of a pioneer missionary work in China, which involved the oversight of many stations and missionaries – in the midnight hour might be heard the scratch of his match as he lit the little candle by which he would read the Word and hold holy communion with the Lord. Surely the richness of those hours contributes to the blessedness of his relationship with the Lord which his article reveals.
And what of our cherished children! The prophet Micah warned the Israelites of the "children in whom you delight" being taken off into captivity as a result of that nation turning away from God (Mic.1:16). Is that not a picture of what is happening to many children today? They are being taken captive by Satan, who comes to steal and to kill and to destroy. He is enslaving many through drugs or alcohol or pornography or immorality of various sorts.
Parents, grandparents, teachers – do not miss Kim Butts’ article each month, "Our Families and Homes for God." It is filled with Scripture to guide you in God’s ways of protecting and instructing the children who are in your care, helping to develop in them a heart that is devoted to the Savior and His Word. What greater privilege and responsibility could God have given than entrusting His children into your care, shepherding His little lambs in this day of many preying wolves? Might loving and teaching and protecting them be a daily priority for you.
In thinking of the priority we need to give to sharing the Gospel with others, we are printing below a tribute to a Herald of His Coming friend, a faithful witness who sought in season and out of season, to speak up for his Lord.
Tribute To G. Max Barber
In last month’s Herald of His Coming we made mention of the homegoing of G. Max Barber, who was serving on the advisory board of Gospel Revivals Inc. About 1997 we were privileged to have Max and his dear wife, Martha, spend several weeks with us, volunteering their help in the office and mail room. This couple had been readers and supporters of the publication for many years. Fellowship with them was rich, and our hearts beat as one for revival in the Church and the evangelization of the lost. We were grateful to have him accept an appointment to the board of advisors.
Max’s spiritual life had beginnings when as a little boy, he faithfully walked down the country road to church on Sundays. There he learned stories from the Bible and listened to the sermons of the preacher as attentively as might be expected from an active little boy. One night as a nine-year-old, Max sat upright in bed and said, "I want to be a Christian!" but he did not understand at that time how to become a Christian. That changed when he was thirteen or fourteen. He came to realize he was a sinner and needed to be saved, and he had come to understand that when Jesus came into one’s heart, He was to be Lord as well as Savior. But Max was resistant to turning his life over to the Lordship of Christ. He wanted to be the one in control of his life. While he was drawn to attend revival meetings at church, yet he was reluctant to go, for when decision time came, a battle raged within. Max was not willing to bow to the Lord.
Then when twenty-one years old, he found himself in a very difficult situation. Desperately he cried out, "Jesus, what am I going to do?" Immediately Max sensed Jesus was there. Max bowed his heart and life to Jesus and became a new creature in Christ Jesus. It became the love and desire of his heart to tell others of Jesus, his Lord and Savior, to let a lost world know they, too, could be saved.
After graduating from a Christian college and attending seminary for a year, he taught math in public school. Later he obtained a Master’s degree and a Doctorate in education, and served in various positions in colleges, as well as on numerous state and national educational consortia. At times his work took him to Washington, D.C. where he met with senators and other government officials.
While serving as Dean of Instruction at a local college, Max initiated off-campus Bible study classes that began a prison ministry. He was active in local community affairs and was a marathon runner and enjoyed golf and water skiing as well. Max did not separate his life into the secular and the Lord’s work. Whatever he did was unto the Lord. He kept the proclamation of the Gospel ever in his heart and on his lips, and witnessed whenever and wherever he could.
Throughout his busy professional life, he maintained active service in his church as well – deacon, teacher, church leader and lay witness. He was an active Gideon and particularly enjoyed distributing Bibles in New York City streets near the subways. He also asked to be assigned to distribute in the prison. Along with serving on the advisory board of Herald of His Coming, he served on the boards of the Salvation Army, D&D Missionary Homes, and Child Evangelism Fellowship.
Max’s faithful witness and his sweet, friendly manner and smile enabled him to influence many lives for the Lord. Let us take fresh inspiration from such a life and seek the close union with our Lord that will result in a constant outflow of His life through us wherever we go, however we serve.
"Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31). Can we make that a supreme priority of our life? Many of us are much limited, compared to our brother, Max, but God only asks us to be faithful to the opportunities He brings to us to tell the wondrous story of Jesus and His love, and of the salvation He died to provide for all.
"Hear, O Israel" Salvation Herald
Friends having opportunity to witness to Jewish people may find it useful to share the publication, "Hear, O Israel," with them. This is not a periodical but is a one-edition, eight-page paper containing items about the coming of the Messiah, His atoning Blood, His resurrection, etc. One item clearly shows that Jesus Christ of Nazareth fulfilled the many Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah who was to come. Also included are glad testimonies of several who have received Jesus as their Messiah and Savior, and there is an invitation to the reader to receive Him also.
Friends having opportunity to make effective use of "Hear, O Israel" are invited to write us for copies, suggesting the quantity you wish to receive. We will gladly send as the Lord enables. It is also available in the Russian language.
May we ask that all readers pray for God to use "Hear O Israel" greatly to bring Jewish souls to Himself. In undying love His heart continues to cry out for them as when He lamented over Jerusalem, "How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings…" (Matt. 23:37).