"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

As 2001 Draws To A Close

By Lois J. Stucky

    The year 2001 is soon to slip into history but memories of the terrorist attacks on the United Sates are too deeply stamped on the hearts and minds of many people to ever forget this year. Along with the terrible tragedies with their heart-wrenching loss of beloved family members and friends, will be remembered the heroic and self-sacrificing actions of the passengers on the fourth plane, the firemen, the policemen and other rescue workers, including many volunteers. Churches were quick to respond along with emergency personnel, and Christian workers were alongside the rescuers to comfort and to encourage.

    A letter from the New York City Rescue Mission, the country’s oldest Rescue Mission still in existence, founded in 1872 by Jerry McAuley, told that it is located about a 10-minute walk from where the Twin Towers were struck. As thousands of people streamed by the Mission doors in flight for their lives, workers of the Mission immediately began to offer aid to those in need. A number of people came into the chapel, to pray or just to sit to "regain composure." The police allowed the mission to remain open, although in general the area was evacuated, so they were able to continue their ministry.

    Less than five miles from the tragic attack is located the Bible House of the American Bible Society (ABS). Within hours they were distributing Scripture portions to hospitals, churches, relief workers and many others. Eugene B. Habecker, president of ABS, said that the thousands of people streaming past their building as the towers collapsed, could only be likened to scenes he had seen overseas where refugees fled from war and famine.

    Trying to imagine the fleeing multitudes, I cannot help but think of a blessed contrast--that instead of having to flee for their lives from the burning, collapsing buildings, these fellow Americans would have been flocking to Houses of God to hear the Gospel. When Satan does his hellish work, people flee in terror and tears. When God moves in His blessed sovereign power, the streets are thronged with people moving with intense eagerness to seek Him, and many among them find refuge from the fiery depths of hell through faith in Christ.

    Read below of several scenes that have taken place elsewhere or in other times. Would you not like to see such scenes repeated today instead of massive flights from destruction?

The Spirit’s Urgent Call To Mankind

    Fifty or so years ago, a dear saint of God writing of revival that came to the church her husband pastored, says, "Over four hundred meet me every morning in the four o’clock prayer meeting... Through rain and shine the people gather for prayer. For two mornings I walked to church so that I might get a real view of the people running from all directions at four o’clock in the morning to pray. Every street we came to there were people running as if it were their last time to meet God. The tabernacle has five floors and people were rushing in at each one as fast as they could to meet God..." (From the tract "What It Means to Pray Through" by Sarah Foulkes Moore.)

    Accounts of the Welsh Revival (1904), tell of groups of people hurrying along the streets to the chapels and quickly filling them. Policemen had to stand at the doors of the chapels to keep back others from crowding into the already overflowing buildings. Some had arrived three hours ahead of time to be sure of getting a seat where God was present and was working so wonderfully.

    Writing of a scene in the Hebrides Revival (1949-52), Owen Murphy reports what happened at the conclusion of one service: "A messenger hurried up to the preacher very excited: ‘Come with me! There’s a crowd of people outside the police station; they are weeping and in awful distress. We don’t know what’s wrong with them, but they are calling for someone to come and pray with them!’

    "The minister described the scene: ‘I saw a sight I never thought was possible. Something I shall never forget. Under a starlit sky, men and women were kneeling everywhere, by the roadside, outside the cottages, even behind the peat stacks, crying for God to have mercy upon them.’ Nearly 600 people had been making their way to the church, when suddenly the Spirit of God had fallen upon them in great conviction--like Paul on the way to Damascus--causing them to fall to their knees in repentance." (From When God Stepped Down From Heaven, by Owen Murphy.)

    Is not this what we need to see happening in America and around the world in our day? Of course, God may not choose to work in the same pattern He has heretofore. But as sin becomes exceedingly sinful all around us, let us not despair nor give up hope. Let us press in all the more diligently in faith and prayer for revival.

God Requires Holy, Praying People

    The great moves of God’s Spirit described above, came as a result of much prayer. And not only is volume of prayer needed; the lives of the praying people influence the outcome. God requires a holy people, a sanctified people. "This is the will of God, even your sanctification..." (1 Thess. 4:3). Dr. Henry Blackaby, one of today’s Christian leaders, has expressed the thought that the outcome of the war against terrorism in which our nation is involved, may well rest on the holiness of God’s people. As go God’s people, so goes the nation!

    So it is also in revival. God works through holy, praying people. If He does not find such, He cannot work as He would. Repeatedly in the Old Testament, God gave His people into the hand of the enemy because of abounding sin. But when they cried to Him and turned back to Him in humble repentance, deliverance came. How this behooves us to take stock of our lives! Are we walking as we ought to walk to please God? God has called us to holiness (1 Thess. 4:7).

    In Malachi 3:1-3 we read, "...the Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple....But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver..."

    God help us to realize the significance of this hour in which we are given to live. It is full of opportunities, privileges, and responsibilities. We live in perilous days. We need to grasp our opportunities and use them as fully as possible, to help souls be prepared to meet God. This recent terrorist happening reminds us of how suddenly and unexpectedly life here on this earth can end for multitudes in moments of time.

Jesus’ Coming Is Sudden!

    And none of us knows how suddenly Jesus will come. The Bible tells us, in fact it is Jesus Himself who said it, "The Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not." He also says, "Be ye therefore ready!" (Luke 12:40).

    Some of you will have read already the article of W. C. Moore, on page 5, "Be Ready!" Someone wrote us recently of being deeply stirred by Brother Moore’s "heart-burning" articles (which we have continued to print from time to time since the Lord took him to Himself in 1980). Why not write for copies of the message in tract form as offered on page 5, and share them with ones who will read them? Of course, some will dig in their heels, determined that nothing will stir them, or they will scoff at the message. But some will respond humbly and favorably.

    Brother Moore often exhorted those of us who had the privilege of working with this dear man of God: "The Bible says, ‘Exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin’" (Heb. 3:13). And though Brother Moore exhorted us with the earnestness which God’s Word deserves, he did it also in the spirit of meekness and gentleness required of spiritual leaders. Are there those you can exhort with the timely "Be Ready" tracts?

    Repeatedly we hear from various sources, "Life will never be the same." Certainly might it not be the same for us Christians if we have been idling along only half awake to the lateness and urgency of the hour. Let us take the recent terrible happenings as a wake-up call and put ourselves wholly at God’s command.

    So much can be wrought by faithful, fervent prayers of faith. So much must be wrought by prayer if righteousness is to triumph over evil. Perhaps you find as I do that it is difficult to make time for the quality and quantity of prayer we feel is needed. God’s Word warns us that the enemy Satan comes to steal, to kill and to destroy (John 10:10). He steals our time from prayer every opportunity he can, diverting us into secondary things. Let us Christians pray one for the other, that we will press the prayer battle like never before, like the rescuers who courageously, nobly did their part even unto death. If our vision for revival has grown dim, let’s revive it! And very importantly, let us keep ourselves from sin! Let us enter the new year in faith, hope and love for revival.