When looking at the future it is easy to think of one word to describe it: “unknown.” I love this famous poem, written by Minnie Louise Harkins and used in the end-of-the-year message of King George VI, in 1939:
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’
And he replied,
‘Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!’
So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the night
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.
So heart be still!
What need our human life to know
If God hath comprehension?
Photo by viking_79
I’m not sure what you may be going through in your field of labor, or what may be taking place in your lives individually, or with your families. Put your hand into the hand of our all-knowing God and walk into the unknown. He is in control. Someone said, “Those that see God’s hand in everything, best leave everything in God’s hand.”
I recall listening to a senior minister earnestly praying. He kept saying, “I put my tiny, little hand into your big, big hand.” How true!
God is alive.
God is awake.
God is aware.
God is alert.
God is active.
God is actively pursuing His plan in your life.
He never sleeps!
Pick up a newspaper. Tune into a radio station. Surf the Net. Dreary stories are plentiful. The economy plummets. Terrorists provoke panic. Political chaos prevails. Extortionists plunder. Calamities produce pressure. The future is pessimistic. It would be easy to be caught in despair, depression, and desperation. It’s a fact. We live in unsettling times. However there are a couple more facts to remember. God’s Word remains the same. It is forever settled. And, our God never slumbers or sleeps (Psalms 121:4). We can put our confidence in Him and His Word.
Photo by Temari 09
N. McMichael tells this: “A poor woman, as the Eastern story has it, came to the Sultan one day, and asked compensation for the loss of some property. ‘How did you lose it?’ said the monarch. ‘I fell asleep,’ was the reply, ‘and a robber entered my dwelling.’ ‘Why did you fall asleep?’ ‘I fell asleep because I believed that you were awake.’ The Sultan was so much delighted with the answer that he ordered her loss to be made up. But what is true, only by a legal fiction, of human governments, that they never sleep, is true in the most absolute sense with reference to the Divine government. We can sleep in safety, because our God is ever awake. We are safe, because He never slumbers.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote:
And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
Longfellow wrote those dreary words while grieving the loss of his wife in a tragic fire, and after hearing the news that his son, Charles, had been severely wounded in the Civil War. It was a distinct possibility his son would never make it home alive. In despair he pinned his poem. Later it became a Christmas carol, recently revived and made popular by “Casting Crowns.” The words illustrate our undeniable and unwavering faith in the Almighty, all-seeing God; trusted by both you and me.
To Be Continued…
By Jarvis Munn,
Saturday, July 9th 2011 was a day that will not soon be erased from my memory. Sis. Carter, Rev. Albert Awuku, and I attended a joint service in Zua, in the Upper East Region of Northern Ghana. There were 188 in attendance. All were there to meet with the Lord, and receive the blessing that He had in store for them.
When we first arrived there was an elderly lady sitting along the side of the church. She had a sizable lump on her neck, almost as if it was in her throat, and it was comparable in size to that of a softball. The service continued, and after the Word of God had been delivered, the offer was made for those who were in need of the Holy Ghost and of healing to come forward. Almost the entire congregation came forward, expecting great things from God.
Great things certainly came! There were thirty filled with the Holy Ghost, and thirty-four claimed their healing. For this one particular lady, healing was extremely evident. After prayer for healing, she reached out, and the lump began to shrink. It shrank and shrank for the remainder of the service until it was virtually unnoticeable. God had without a doubt touched her with His mighty healing virtue, and we praise Him for that.
She didn’t leave like she came!
Photo by Wootang01
Reaching the Newest Nation on the Planet
Years ago, Patrick Groves met Africa Regional Director, Jerry Richardson, in Detroit, at one of our general conferences. He expressed his burden for Sudan, Africa. Brother Richardson listened intently and responded that he was thrilled with Brother Grove’s burden. He too had been praying for years. But, unfortunately, at the time, the door to evangelize Sudan was “closed.”
Photo by maistora
Missionary Patrick Groves, at the 2011 East Africa Sub-regional Conference, testified about what God was doing in one of the nations. Guess which one? You are right, Sudan. There was a pastor from there in the conference.
We now have three small churches. Brother Groves shouted triumphantly, “The door is now open!”
Photo by di_collins
Two of the three churches in Sudan are in the southern part of the nation. Southern Sudan became an independent nation on July 9, 2011. Any idea what that means? The United Pentecostal Church International has the opportunity to reach the newest country on the planet. We are already there.
Paul Orjala said, “When God wants to send a message, He wraps it up in a person and sends the person.” And we already have a missionary under appointment. Missionary Patrick and Jean Groves, along with their three children were appointed in March 2004. They have been working in Kenya, the neighboring country to Sudan. In Kenya, Brother Groves and a local pastor are working with people from Sudan. Already, twenty have been baptized in Jesus name and filled with the Holy Ghost.
Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography
I’m often asked, “What business are you in?” I sometimes ponder what reaction I’d get if I said, “I’m in the people-growing business.” Ministers are grown. Students don’t arrive in our Bible school classrooms as spiritual giants. They come with willing hearts and pass through a spiritual formation and maturation process. Effective Bible school programs enable students to reach their maximum potential. We’re equipping others for works of service in God’s kingdom (Ephesians 4:12) and in apostolic ministry. Like Robert Dale once said, we’re “sowing seeds of ministry and growing believers toward leadership.” That is one of the chief purposes behind ministry. Like a sign I saw, “We build Pentecostal leaders to grow Pentecostal churches.” Spiritual growth is one of our four core values. We value helping people grow.
We create a “culture of growth.” It’s the way we do things around here. I sometimes lament when I see other churches with more developed educational programs than ours. We can make a difference. John Maxwell in Go for Gold mentions a nursery in Canada that displays a sign on its wall: “The best time to plant a tree is twenty-five years ago…The second best time is today.”
Our work will affect long after we’re gone. A Greek proverb says, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” Be deliberate at leaving a mark on this planet, to do something that imparts seeds of truth to the next generation, and impacts eternity for our world. Someone once said, “If your vision is for a year, plant wheat; if your vision is for a decade, plant trees; but if your vision is for a lifetime, plant men.” When a friend asks, “What have you done today?” I hope you can thankfully respond, “I saw someone grow today and I helped. I’ve been planting people; growing giants!”
Last night I took a journey
To a land across the seas.
I didn’t go by ship or plane
I traveled on my knees.
I saw so many people there
In bondage to their sin,
And Jesus told me I should go,
That there were souls to win.
But I said “Jesus, I can’t go
To lands across the seas.”
He answered quickly, “Yes, you can
By traveling on your knees.”
He said, “You pray, I’ll meet the need.
You call, and I will hear.
It’s up to you to be concerned
For lost souls far and near.”
And so I did; knelt in prayer,
Gave up some hours (minutes) of ease,
And with the Savior by my side,
I traveled on my knees.
As I prayed on, I saw souls saved
And twisted persons healed,
I saw God’s workers strength renewed
While laboring in the field.
I said, “Yes Lord, I’ll take the job.
Your heart I want to please.
I’ll heed Your call and swiftly go
By traveling on my knees.”
Written by Sandra Goodwin
Imagine the Classified Section of Heaven’s Chronicles. One ad for employment reads something like this.