Watch And Pray
By Lois J. Stucky
All of us were shaken to learn of the heart-wrenching tsunami in Southeast Asia, occurring on December 26. Might every remembrance of it call from our hearts sincere prayer for the surviving victims. Day by day some survivors continue to live amid hardship beyond what we imagine, facing the almost overwhelming loss of family, home and livelihood. Thank God for the many in the affected countries as well as from around the world who have rushed to minister to the suffering. Continue to uphold the Christians in that number in prayer that as much as possible, a bright witness for Christ will be given along with material aid, resulting in many persons coming to eternal salvation.
What insight have we as Christians into this happening? Dr. Geoff Adams, professor at Toronto Baptist Seminary in Canada, in an editorial in the Gospel Witness, suggests that the tsunami shouts to us all – "Prepare to meet your God!" Dr. Adams reminds us of the answer Jesus gave to those questioning Him about "the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices." Jesus’ answer is found in Luke 13:2-5: "Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." It is clear that in place of passing judgment on victims, we are to examine ourselves. We are all frail creatures of clay, only a breath away from eternity. Are we in need of repentance? Believers as well as unbelievers do well to ask themselves this question.
Personally, this sudden, unexpected and inescapable happening in Southeast Asia brings to mind the sudden coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus told His disciples in words that we can plainly read 2,000 years later, that only the Father knows the time when His Son will come (Matt. 24:36). There shall be "two in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left." And in the light of that, Jesus went on to say, "Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come…Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 24:40-44).
"Repent!" "Watch!" "Be Ready!"
These words express a prominent message the Lord gave Brother and Sister Moore to preach when He used them to begin Herald of His Coming. As long as this publication continues, it has this same commission. Repent! This means to turn from sin. Watch! How watchful am I against sin in my life? Am I harboring sin that I secretly love and am reluctant to let go or refuse to let go? There is danger that I can become so hardened by continuing in it that I no longer consider it sin. Or perhaps I indulge in sin about which I feel guilt and I plan to some convenient day put it out of my life, but by my procrastination, I get in deeper and deeper. It may be that I feel hopelessly bound and unable to free myself from some besetting sin though I hate it. The devil and sin are enslaving.
Might God help us all to place ourselves before Him and pray: "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" (Psa. 139:23). Some make this a daily prayer. If we are alert and walking in the Spirit, God will help us "nip in the bud" – cut off at the very outset – some relationship, or some pastime or pleasure, or whatever, that can result in sin taking root and having dominion over us. If we are in bondage, we will have to be desperate in order to be free. We might need to add fasting to prayer. We might need to humble ourselves and confess to godly people and ask them to pray for us to be delivered and healed of sin.
God, through the Holy Spirit, is preparing a Bride for His holy and beloved Son. In light of the glorious hope of being in that Bride which is being made ready for the heavenly Bridegroom, how faithful we ought to be in spending time in God’s instructive Word, with ears tuned to hear the soft voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us. How can our lives please our Beloved more? How can we prove more perfectly our love for Him by careful obedience to His Word? We Christians have too precious and too high a calling to be casual and slipshod about our soul’s condition before God. He wants the highest for His worthy and honored Son. God wants the Bride to be "a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but…holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:27). Might we never lose the wonder of being drawn by the Holy Spirit to run after Christ, and might we eagerly press on toward the mark for the prize of our high calling.
Praying Always…for All Saints
The Apostle Paul lets us know that we are to do more than exult in our glorious calling; we are to be conformed to our Bridegroom’s intercessory role of praying always…for all saints (Eph. 6:18). You will have discovered by now in this issue the various articles on prayer to stir us to better praying. We’ve all learned that Satan hates and opposes prayer. Let us avail ourselves of the mighty help of God and of fellow Christians to maintain the effectual prayer life which flows from the victorious Christian life.
Here we mention the article by Nancy Leigh DeMoss in this issue, giving excellent help in being a faithful, passionate, revived servant of the Lord whose prayers are effectual. Please take time to study it with a humble, teachable heart. You will profit greatly.
Knit Together in Love
Here at Herald of His Coming headquarters, we have the blessing of seeing the family of God functioning in the love of God. Some write with a keen desire to receive Herald of His Coming, but they have no funds to cover the cost. Often they assure us of their prayers, which they hope will count as their part (and prayer does count greatly!). Other friends write with supporting gifts, wanting to help send the Herald to those who are unable to send financial support. What a blessing to see God’s provision through these generous hearts.
Twenty or thirty volunteers come, some for as much as 12 or more hours monthly, to package the papers being sent in bulk to distributors in many countries of the world, and to put thousands of copies one by one into envelopes for individual readers. The faithful distribution of those receiving bulk copies is a helpful savings in postage money. The Lord has provided young people to fold the papers to envelope size, and later to fill the mail bags up to 40 pounds in weight, ready for pickup by the mailing company or for mailing through the post office.
Some of us are regularly at our computers in the Herald office, preparing messages for the printer, receipting your gifts, responding to your requests, changing addresses, etc. Some friends donate their expertise when there are repairs to be made. And thank God for His provision of capable ones to shoulder the responsibility of leadership and to oversee all the necessary procedures so that month after month Herald of His Coming papers and other literature go on their preaching mission far and near.
It is as though each of us is a little cog in the wheels that move Herald of His Coming forward, carrying God’s eternal Word to countries far and near. It is significant, however, that the "cogs" are not indifferent metal pieces, but hearts warm with love to God and to His work. Christ’s vision is to have His body knit together in love. God’s way helps to keep us each one humble, needing one another, not getting puffed up if our part appears to be more prominent, not getting discouraged if our bit seems to count for little, and all of us thankful for the help each one supplies. And, importantly, all of us giving glory to God whose power alone makes our efforts effectual and life-giving. How good are God’s ways! Thank you, dear friend, for wherever you fit into God’s pattern. Keep faithful! The Lord has need of you! We need you! God has reward for you!