Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Who Will the Next Heroes of the Faith Be?

  I have been thinking about something the last couple of days.  I'm asking myself who will fill the shoes of men and women who have run their race well and are graduating on to heaven.  It seems to me like the Lord has been calling several of His great saints to their eternal home over the past year.  I think of the death of Elisabeth Elliot who went home to glory last year.  This lady has impacted me since my girlhood.  I grew up hearing about her work with the Auca Indians who murdered her first husband, Jim Elliot.

  I had the privilege of seeing her speak at Houston's First Baptist when I was a young lady.  I remember hearing her on our local christian radio station during my formative years.  She would always remind her radio listeners that, 

"You are loved with an everlasting love, that’s what the Bible says, and underneath are the everlasting arms." Elisabeth Elliot

  Elisabeth Elliot is one of the godly LADIES who impacted me to desire to be a Biblical woman.  Her frank proclamation of the truth without compromise was unique.  I look around me and sadly do not see too many Elisabeth Elliots in today's christian culture.  

  At the close of last year news came out that Vonette Bright, who co-founded Campus Crusade for Christ with her husband, Bill, in 1951,  died from complications of acute leukemia.  She was 89.  While I was not personally as impacted by the life of Vonette I am aware that she was a woman with a vision for the kingdom of God.  Her life impacted many for Christ and she remained faithful to the end.  What a lovely example of a woman fully devoted to her Lord and Savior and living for His kingdom purposes.  
  As I think of saints who have passed to glory I also think about the many who have proclaimed Christ and taught His Word but who have not finished the race well.  Growing up in a pastor's home and being familiar with the evangelical and homeschool landscapes I have been devastated time and again by men whom I respected who fell hard off the pedestals I had put them on.  There has been a huge lesson for me in this.  The lesson is that I can learn from others, but "On Christ the solid rock I stand.  All other ground is sinking sand."  May I never hold up any author or teacher with such awe and respect that I put my hope in their teaching rather than in knowing Christ and seeking His face.  
  Just this past week news broke out about two more men of God passing away.  Jerry Bridges and Gary Smalley went home to their Lord.  Gary Smalley's death hit me in a personal way, because when Matt and I were preparing for marriage we watched a video series where Smalley taught about marriage.  It was an exciting time of listening to him and anticipating the marriage the Lord was preparing us for.  

  A few years back Matt and I went to an event in Houston with Gary Smalley.  During the break we were surprised to walk right past him in the back of the room.  We stopped and shared with him how we had watched his videos while preparing for marriage.  He was very personable and kind towards us.  Now that he has gone to be with the Lord I treasure that we were able to have that opportunity to talk with him.  

  So back to the question that has been going around in my head lately.  Who will fill the place of the men and women who have run their race, served Christ and are graduating to heaven.  I can think of several more that might not be on this earth too much longer.  

  Our culture has degraded itself morally and is becoming darker all the time.  We need men to rise up and lead their families and spread Christ and His gospel in their places of work.  We need women to be godly ladies and not women who buy into the lies of the culture.  Our children and future generations deserve for those of us who are older to rise up and be strong leaders for Christ.  I look around and wonder who God will use in the macro scale. Who will be on the platforms proclaiming His truths in the years to come?  Will those proclaimers be faithful unto death......even if it eventually means persecution?  I also am acutely aware that we don't have to be on a platform to greatly impact those in our sphere of influence.  For us Mamas our greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be in something we do but may be in the people we raise.  

  So for myself I ask myself am I pointing my children to Christ and His gospel day by day?  Am I prioritizing the Word of God and His ways in our home?  Am I teaching by example that things of eternal value are what is most important and that all we do should be to the glory of God?  Am I giving my children vision for knowing Christ, for seeking Christ, for loving Christ, and for sharing His light and His gospel with a dark world?  

  This culture desperately needs Dads to rise up and take spiritual leadership in their homes and train their sons to be godly men.  It breaks my heart to see how many young men are confused as to what it means to be a man.  Fathers need to be discipling their sons to have spiritual vision and lovingly lead their future families.  
  When I think of the kind of ladies we need to step up and impact the next generation I think of the words graceful, godly, feminine, intentional, focused, wise, winsome, discreet, nurturing, and surrendered to Christ.  Truly "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." - William Ross Wallace

  I truly hope to see more men and women rising up as Queen Esther "For such a time as this."  I pray to be that kind of lady.  I know that right now my biggest arena of influence is tucked away on our little farm with my seven children.  I pray that I am faithful in this mission field the Lord has placed me in.  I pray that wherever the Lord has me in each season of my life that I will be a lady who makes a difference for the kingdom of God.  Life is short, and I really desire to not fritter it away caught up in the enticements of this world.  There is a lost world out there, and I have seven young lives growing up in my home who are looking to me for spiritual direction.  Their eternal souls, their commitment to Christ, and their character training is far more important to me than chasing after worldly pleasures.  I look at my life and know that if I don't live to be extremely old that I have probably hit midlife.  My life so far has passed quickly, and I know the second half will pass even more quickly.  Time is definitely not slowing down.  I am inspired by those who have gone before me to prayerfully do my best to make my life count to the praise and glory of my Savior.   May the Lord raise up many strong and godly men and women to proclaim His kingdom and His righteousness.  

“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life's busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in 'that day' my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God's holy will to cleave;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.
When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.
Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e'er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.
Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, "twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,"Thy will be done";
And when at last I'll hear the call,
I know I'll say "twas worth it all";
Only one life,'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last. "
--- extra stanza ---
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I'll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”
C.T Studd


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