Some of you have mentioned that you miss my little additions to the newsletters, and I’m surprised to hear that since many of you express yourself a lot better than I do.
My lack of education, and the fact that English is my second language, kind of handicaps my ability to express myself. Its very hard to put into the written word the things God has taught me though the years.
All of us here have been blessed with good Bible teachers. Billie, through the example of her life, taught us a lot about God’s love and forgiveness, and how God uses the circumstances and experiences in our lives, like sickness, loss of loved ones, etc., to correct us and make us ready for that other world we will one day inhabit.
Dr. Scott was the greatest teacher of all. He had a PhD from Stanford University in Philosophy of Education and spent his entire life studying, translating and preaching the Word of God. And now we have his wife, Pastor Melissa Scott. In a world where the majority of churches are only teaching about family values and how we can succeed and be better people, we are greatly blessed to have someone as a teacher who actually knows and teaches the Bible, and nothing else.
Our purpose for publishing Dr. Scott’s messages is simply that you may learn God’s Word. Knowing His promises, and holding on to them, will keep your heart, mind and soul at peace.
I am not a Biblical scholar, and I have not by any means arrived at a place superior to anyone. God had mercy on me or He would not have chosen me to be one of His own in the first place. But for many years I hated church and religion, yet knew down deep that I had a need, that I suspected only God could fill.
While trying to show how God deals with us, the emphasis has to be on God, only on what He can do, not on the testimony of what a person has done. And there is a fine line between elevating a person, when all glory goes to God, and only Him. Many religions elevate saints and people, when in reality these people are just part of the human race, just like us, and the Bible teaches that we are all saints if Christ is in us.
I wish I could make it crystal clear to everyone that everything is God’ s doing. We always think we did this or that and it’s our accomplishment if anything good comes out of our life.
It is God, Who from the beginning by His Spirit, draws us to Himself, who gives us a desire to know Him, and to know that we have a need. He does it all. Yes, we have free
will, but it is He who activates that will. Philippians 2:13: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” It is all Grace, even the faith we have inevitably is His faith in us, His righteousness in us. We have nothing of our own. He knew from the foundation of the world the people that would answer His call, and so they were chosen.
I have said this before, but I think it bears repeating: Salvation does not come by saying the “Sinner’s prayer” or going forward in church, and it most definitely does not come by jumping up and down and having a “praiseathon.” Salvation often comes a little at a time (that was my experience), but it always comes with a growing feeling of being sick to death with what and who we are, and a desire to turn away from ourselves to God. And that is repentance. The Holy Spirit will then become a part of our life and will open up our understanding of Spiritual things and guide us into the Truth.
The faith I have today is not the faith I had 20 years ago. Faith should grow, and if it doesn’t then you need to stop and take a new look at what you do believe. The Bible says that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Then the more we hear and know God’s Word, the stronger our faith becomes.
As an example, when I had this same eye surgery almost 2 years ago, I was afraid. I remember repeating to myself “whenever I’m afraid I will trust in the Lord” (Psalms 56:3), and many other of God’s promises. But it was very different during this surgery. Of course I prayed, but my faith had grown and I felt a calm restful spirit knowing I was in God’s hands and it was up to Him as to what the outcome would be.
I have seen Shirley take hold of her faith during this time of loss. It’s never easy to loose someone you love. But she knows, as we all do, that we are citizens of another kingdom, pilgrims and travelers. No doubt that is why we are all so restless, always looking for something that will never be found until we are with God. And Ed is now home where he belongs.
Dave Hunt wrote a book entitled “Whatever happened to Heaven.” Have you noticed, no one ever talks about Heaven? When someone dies, we are told that “they are in a better place.” What about Heaven? Why the reluctance to speak of it? “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen, and if Christ is not risen your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1st Corinthians 15:16-19).
This was written by the Apostle Paul during a time when it cost something to be a Christian. Being a Christian during Paul’s days often meant loss of freedom, or loss of your very life. So they certainly were to be pitied if Christ had not risen from the dead and if there was no hope for their own eternal life. Why die for a lie, is what he is saying here.
Christianity, with its wonderful moral code, is very acceptable today, as long as our conversation and behavior are centered on the things of this world. But God has a way of getting our attention, if we are of the elect and chosen. In the book of Hebrews, it says that “if you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons” (Hebrews 12:7-8). In the Greek, the word “chasten” means training.
Many years ago my daughter disappeared. God did not make it happen, but he knew in His foreknowledge that it WOULD happen. Humanity, being what it is (very flawed), will, with it’s God given free will, make its own history, and God uses it as if it were His purpose for us.
One day Penney and I spoke on the phone, the next day she could not be found anywhere. We called the police, and called everyone who knew her, without any results. Almost from the first day I felt such an emptiness in my heart, like she was not here in this world. She was gone. She was my first child and my friend, and I don’t have the words to explain what that pain was like. But she was gone from this world, I somehow knew it. It took years and a lot of investigation before the FBI came to the same conclusion.
We knew the man who was responsible and he was someone she loved. He had a good lawyer, and the authorities could not do anything. She disappeared and her body was never found. There was only circumstantial evidence and no real proof of a crime.
I grieved and I was angry, but the day came when God gave me the grace to see the entire experience through the eyes of faith. I wanted fellowship with God. And you cannot have that and be full of bitterness and vengeance and so I forgave the man who we all knew was responsible. He answers to God, not to me. He was at one time loved by this family and I pray that one day he will confess and repent.
Dr. Scott made a statement that has stuck in my mind. He said, “nothing can happen to us that God does not allow.” And from his prison cell under the streets of Rome, Paul the apostle wrote, “but I want you to know brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12).
Then, in 2nd Corinthians, he writes of these happenings: “. . . in labor more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prison more frequently, in death often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one; three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep . . . ;” (Chapter 11, verses 23-25). He continues for a couple more verses - hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, and so on.
After speaking all that, Paul writes these victorious words: “For I consider that the suffering of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
Now here was a man who completely understood God’s plan for mankind. I don’t think that any of us will ever attain to the knowledge he had. He also speaks of running a race and obtaining a prize (1st Corinthians 9:24), so let’s all keep our eye on the prize.
This article is from MISSION NETWORK NEWS, October 4, 2011
The life of an Iranian pastor continues to hang in the balance as the Iranian state media is now getting involved in the case. Thirty-four-year-old Pastor Yousef Nardarkhani was arrested two years ago this month for protesting Muslim education for his children because he is a Christian. He was convicted of apostasy, but now new false charges are being leveled against him.
Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, “Now they’re saying that what he’s actually going to be executed for is not apostasy, not becoming a Christian, but actually rape and extortion are the charges that he will be executed for. So it’s really a 180 degree turn for the Iranian government.”
According to Nettleton, this is mind-boggling. “After an initial court hearing, an appeal to the Supreme Court, and then another hearing back at the local court - after all those hearings where they never talked about extortion and never talked about rape, now they’re saying he’s actually going to be executed for rape and extortion.”
A bit of good news about this case, according to Nettleton, is that “the international pressure is working. The Iranian government is hearing from people around the world, including regular people like you and me, as well as government officials and government agencies. They’re saying, ‘Listen, you cannot put this man to death for being a Christian. That’s a complete violation of human rights.’ The Iranian government is hearing that, and it’s having an effect.”
There is something you can do to help Pastor Nardarkhani. Nettleton says you can pray for him as he continues to be in prison. You can also “go to PrisonerAlert.com where you can write Pastor Yousef himself and also send e-mails to Iranian government officials, including the office of President Ahmodinejad. So we can pray first, and then we can also have a voice for him, as well.”
Prayer Requests for November, 2011
For Johnny Carruthers, Florence, Arizona, for various health issues.
For Nolan Holland at Tucker, Arkansas. He is soon to submit his application for executive clemency.
For Ken Hogan, McAlester, Oklahoma, who pulled a muscle in his back.
For John Crutcher, who lives in Oklahoma. He is only 17 years old and in need of a liver transplant.
For Ron at Buckeye, Arizona, who seeks peace and a continued faith in God.
For William Holland at Pontiac, Illinois, for better health and success in the Federal appeals process.
For Roger Best, Hominy, Oklahoma.
For Eddie Berry, Lexington, Oklahoma, that he gets to see the parole board soon.
For Calvin Watkins, McAlester, Oklahoma, who has a bad fungus problem.
For Shawn McFall, McAlester, Oklahoma, for his appeal.
For Johnny Carruthers, Florence, Arizona, who seeks Spiritual growth.
Jimmy Huff, Colorado City, Texas, for health. He has neuropathy which affects his legs.
For Richard Burns, Menard, Illinois, who has diabetes and takes daily injections.
For Mike Long, at Larned, Kansas, for health.
For Willie Scott at the Varner Super Max at Grady, Arkansas, for health, and for spiritual growth and faith.
For Willie Clark, Iowa Park, Texas, who still wants to be transferred closer to Houston. He no longer has to take medication for his Glaucoma. His eye pressure is normal now.
For Sister Ann & all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For Frank Williams, Jr., Death Row, Grady, Arkansas. The Arkansas State Supreme Court is going to hear oral arguments in his case next.
For Freddie Lee Lott, Dixon, Illinois, to keep his healing and stay cancer free.
For Willie Harper, Joliet, Illinois, for health, and that his cancer stays in remission.
For Robert Heffernan, Grady, Arkansas, that DNA evidence will prove his innocence.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry (The University Network) in Los Angeles.
For all of us at Wingspread, especially for healing of Margaret’s eye.
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