April 24, 1974
THE ALL-IMPORTANT "IF" OF GOD
Our national leaders have seen the spiritual and moral plight of our land and have recognized the possibility that if America does not return to God, divine judgment is imminent. A call has gone out to set aside April 30 as a day of repentance, humility and prayer.
In Second Chronicles 7:14, God has given us a spiritual recipe for the healing of our land. Briefly here it is: It is a call to humility ("humble themselves"). Reliance upon our wealth, our mighty armies, and our technical "Know how" has led us to a sense of self-sufficiency. We need to recognize that "our help is in the name of the Lord" and not in "things". "And pray". Oh, how we need a time of calling upon the Lord. Not just a sentence prayer, not just the usual formal well phrased prayer, not just for an hour or a day but agonizing prayer until we have prayed to victory.
"Seek my face". Let's recognize the fact that a lot of America has turned their back upon God. The moral filth and spiritual confusion, the coldness of heart of professing Christians is ample evidence that our face has been turned toward "things" instead of God. "And turned from their wicked ways". We need and must have full repentance or "Godly sorrow" for our sins. Sorrow, deep enough to turn us from our sins. This, we must have if we expect God to "forgive our sins and heal our land". THE DESTINY OF A ONCE MIGHTY NATION DEPENDS UPON HER FULFILLING THIS MIGHTY "IF" OF GOD. PERSONALLY, THE DESTINY OF YOUR SOUL DEPENDS UPON REPENTANCE AND TURNING TO GOD.
"Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter therein." (Luke 18:17)
Yesterday at the meeting of the Conf. Audio-Visual committee, we previewed several films for purchase. Among them was one entitled, "Bare-Feet." This was the story of a tired and discouraged salesman who in his weariness and dejection sat down beside a park pool, loosened his tie and removed his coat.
It was in this position that a group of little children found him. At their urging he took off his shoes and socks and then at their persistent urging joined them in their carefree play.
The closing scene shows him refreshed and in an entirely different mood and ready to return to his work.
An old Dutch saying goes like this, "Old too quick. Smart too late." And to this I can say a hearty "Amen." All too quickly we lose the valuable qualities of child-hood, and become jaded and tired of life.
Now, I don't think that Christ meant that we had to go without shoes and forever engage in child's games to be a candidate for the kingdom of God. I think that Jesus was referring to was a carefree, trusting abandonment of ourselves to the will and care of God.
As the spring months draw on with their testimony of the resurrection of nature accompanied by Lent and Holy Week Services and climaxed by our Easter celebration of the resurrection of Christ and His assurance to his followers that "As I live, ye shall live also." Why don't you lay aside the coat, shoes and socks of worldly cares and anxiety and in child-like faith abandon yourself to your Heavenly Father's love and care?
Since St. Patrick's Day has become so much a part of the American scene, maybe we ought to know some facts about Patrick: First of all, he was not an Irishman, He was a Briton and was born in Scotland near Dumbarton. He did not drive the snakes out of Ireland. It is pure folk lore. He is not a saint in the technical sense of the Roman Catholic Church. His sainthood is only by popular approval. In Ireland, St. Patrick is claimed by Protestants as well as Catholics with some of their churches named after him.
WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT ST. PATRICK? At the age of sixteen, he was captured by a band of Irish pirates who sold him to a Druid priest who ruled in northern Ireland. Before his capture Patrick had had no real experience of God and salvation and looked at his captivity as punishment for his ungodliness. With the suffering of exile came an understanding of the gospel and salvation in Christ. After six years of captivity, he escaped and returned to Briton and then against the pleadings of his people, he returned to Ireland to bring his former captors the message of salvation. As a result of his ministry, thousands turned to Christ. St. Patrick paid much honor to the Bible and as one writer has said, "Patrick sounds like a Fifth century Billy Graham. Really, though it doesn't matter whether Patrick was Irish, British or another nationality. The truth is he acknowledged himself as a sinner and found salvation where all sinners find it, in Christ Jesus. The one thing that really counts for you is whether or not YOU have trusted Christ for salvation and turned your life over to Him.
February 28, 1975
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