NEW DEVOTIONAL "COME CLOSE TO GOD": WRITTEN TO CHANGE LIVES
by Dr. Doug LaPointe
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by Joann Jordan
Would you like to spend eternity in
Issue No. 12
BECOMING A WOMAN OF . . .
Something is in the air . . . do you feel it? Warm breezes are a balm to the soul. Where will those breezes find you this summer? Vacation plans provide a break (however brief) from the hectic routines of school/work. Will your plans honor God?
We all need a break from time to time. How we choose to use our free time really depends on needs and values. However, what we need to do and what we want to do are two very different approaches to planning free time.
Have you ever gone on a vacation and felt like you needed another vacation when you returned home? Busier is not always better. Expensive is not always better. Traveling far away is not always better.
Whatever you choose to do this summer, I encourage you to make a difference to increase the Kingdom and honor our Lord. Volunteer, share, support, help, guide . . . in short, take a Christ-like approach to your free time. You will be refreshed and inspired. Be that tree planted by the water. The Psalm says that "whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
Churches and worship centers have all sorts of opportunities for involvement on a local level in the summer. Vacation Bible schools, revivals, conferences, concerts, etc. are just some of the activities that are available. If you are in Sevier County, you can find a list of events and announcements on our Pastors' Coalition & Events page.
Summer is a time of celebrations, including our Independence Day. There is no more critical time to be praying for our nation and celebrating our freedoms.
I wish you a safe and meaningful summer.
President and Founder
Garlands of Grace Ministries International
Thursday, September 8, 2016
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
MISSION HIGHLIGHT - S.E.E.K.
July 21, 2016 - Don dreamed that he and I were in Africa standing in front of grandstands filled with children. He felt the Lord was showing him that through this ministry thousands of children and youth have been saved for Him and into His care, that our race is not yet over, and we will return to Kenya to encourage the laborers at S.E.E.K. Though Don is too weak to travel, we are seeing doctors and having tests run to sort out the problem and get him able to eat and regain strength.
As Don shared the dream, I began to cry, and I realized it was God’s heart for the children, the precious 120,000 in Suba, the 50,000 orphans moving me to do so. Raised in harsh, discouraging, superstitious, dangerous, degraded circumstances they respond with joy to learning their value to God and learning how to overcome for a wonderful life. They are truly a treasure to Him. Through YOU, S.E.E.K. is able to reach out to them.
~ Nancy Richards
On a hot summer evening in West Tennessee, I joined a large group of men who were praying for revival services that would soon begin. As we knelt on the banks of the Mississippi river the Spirit of God fell on our prayer meeting. It was their custom to pray out loud all at the same time. I heard a man near me praying, “God stamp eternity on my eyes.” He kept repeating this over and over. Afterwards, I asked what he meant. He said, “I want to see everything and everybody in light of eternity." For days this phrase kept running through my mind. For several decades now, I have been praying this prayer.
Seeing all of life in light of eternity creates within us a sense of urgency regarding the souls of men and the part each of us play in the Kingdom of God. Each of the 7 billion plus individuals on this planet will face death and then eternity in either Heaven or Hell.
Dr. L. R. Scarborough, hot-hearted evangelical leader of the early 20th century, said, “To refuse to witness the saving gospel to a lost world, day by day, is nothing short of high treason, spiritual rebellion, and inexcusable disobedience to His holy commands.”
Millions of precious souls are perishing in their sins and falling into the fires of Hell. Do you hear their bitter cries? Can you hear the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth? Who is weeping for these souls? Where are the tears? Does anybody really care? Do you care?
Churches have never had more Bible studies, seminars, training sessions, and glorious worship services. God’s people are flourishing and it’s fun being among the saved even with the challenges from Isis, the threats of revolution in our own country and the daily burdens of life . It is still a wonderful day to be alive and know the Lord. But what about the lost? Who is seeking lost sinners? Who is pointing people to the cross? Who is rescuing the perishing? Who is lovingly pursuing condemned sinners? Are you?
~ About the Author
Dr. Jerry L. Spencer, a former high school and college athlete, attended Union University for 3 years and graduated from University of Tennessee (MB) in 1964.
"One night during WW2, I was in London waiting for the subway. As I stood under the street light a poor little boy approached me and asked for something to eat. As I looked down at his pinched face, I saw that his tears had created little white lines on his soot-blackened cheeks. I grabbed his hand and rushed him over to a cafeteria.
I let him pick out what he wanted to eat and said a prayer. The boy just sat there. I urged him to eat. He said, “Sir, I can’t eat a bite.” I asked, why? He said, “my friend is out in the dark and he must be so hungry, how can I eat without him joining me?” I asked him to go fetch his friend.
What a joy to watch him take his friend through the cafeteria line and gather up his food. I missed my train sitting there watching these boys enjoy the rare treat of eating all they could hold. After the boys disappeared into the night, I sat silently musing. I thought to myself, how do we Christians sit in church feasting on the delicious Word of God, scarcely noticing the empty pews, and not giving a thought to the starving souls out in the darkness of sin?
That night I bowed my head, and from my heart, I breathed a life-altering vow; “Lord, from now on when I go to your house to feast on your soul nourishing word, it is my pledge, that by Your holy enabling, I will invite someone to join me. By Your grace when I go where Your Word is being ‘served up’, I will NEVER DINE ALONE.
There's no joy like the joy of soul-winning. Listen to the late, great C. H. Spurgeon: “Even if I were utterly selfish, and had no care for anything but my own happiness, I would choose, if I might, under God, to be a soul-winner, for never did I know perfect, overflowing, unutterable happiness of the purists and most ennobling order till I first heard of one who had sought and found the savior through my means! No young mother ever rejoiced so much over her first born child, no warrior was so exultant over a hard-won victory."
When we forfeit the joy of sharing our faith, are we not ignoring the Great Commission? Are we not forgetting that God expects us to give the unredeemed a chance of being converted through the gospel? Our hearts ought to break. Let us face the tragic reality that our indulgence of the good things of God often keep us from sharing the gospel with the millions of unsaved souls who are marching toward a burning Hell.
While we bask in the ‘Sonshine’ of our exciting worship services and refresh ourselves with the cool blowing breeze of God’s Holy spirit in our midst, let us not forget that the lost face the ‘fire’ and their only hope is the Gospel. The elder brother may have glanced, unmoved, at the empty chair left vacant by his prodigal brother, but when his mother and father looked at the empty, chair they viewed it through eyes of compassion for their missing son. The father’s broken heart must have longed to see his boy, and the mother’s face must have been covered with hot tears as she grieved over the child that she had birthed into the world. How do you view the empty pews in your church or the empty chairs in your Sunday School class?
I once heard a stirring message delivered by Englishman, Harold Wildish, to the Moody Church in Chicago. The auditorium was only partially filled and Dr. Wildish was grieved over the empty pews and the absence of those who could have been present had someone invited them to attend.
The following is an excerpt from his sermon:
He attended Southwestern Baptist Theolgical Seminary in Ft Worth, TX and has been awarded a number of honorary degrees including a doctorate from Liberty University. He has been actively involved in his denomination - Southern Baptist. He served on their Executive Committee for 9 years and served as SBC Vice President. He also served as president of both the SBC Pastor's Conference and SBC Conference of Evangelists. He has been privileged to preach in many outstanding churches . . . He has preached in over 100 Area Crusades in the US and in over 50 Countries. He just made his 50th trip to India. Additional information is available on his website: jerryspencer.org.