A Day Late

ten virginsIf you have from time to time looked at the devotionals posted on NHIM’s website, you are aware of my propensity to utilize folk sayings and witticisms to advance a point. The saying “a day late and a dollar short” follows that form. I have often heard this statement when someone has missed a valuable opportunity.

The sentiment expressed in this saying is especially true related to the spiritual realm. By God’s grace, people are given multiple chances to repent and receive eternal life through Jesus Christ. However, God’s gracious invitation neglected over time results in the opportunity being lost. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20 KJV). 

A poignant word came from Jesus concerning a tragically missed opportunity. Jesus shared a parable about ten virgins. “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish” (Matthew 25:1-13). The five that were foolish neglected to adequately prepare for their ‘big moment’ when the bridegroom arrived. They had not taken enough oil to keep their lamps burning, which was their primary responsibility. While they were gone to find oil, the bride groom came and those who were prepared entered in and the door was closed. The five who were not prepared came and found they had been left outside. They pleaded, “Lord, Lord, open to us!” But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you” (Matthew 13:11-12, NKJV).

We have been invited to be a part of “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb”. We have one main job to do. We are to keep our lamps burning brightly and be ready when the cry goes out that the bridegroom is coming. Have you accepted the Lord’s invitation? Is the ‘light’ of your life in Christ burning brightly? Oh, don’t be caught “a day late and a dollar short”! Don’t be left outside!

Prayer: Lord, help me to heed your plea, “Prepare To Meet Your God” (Amos 4:12 NKJV). When Your call comes, I want to be ready to enter in to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

~ Brother Roy

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All In

All InEarly in my days at Asbury College, I learned the importance of the word ‘all’.

My Freshman Composition professor was generous in her use of the red pen in grading my work. Words I used frequently such as “always”, “never”, and “all” drew the red ink. This was especially true for the use of the word ‘all’. The professor informed the class these words expressed generalizations that were seldom true and typically should be avoided. Normally, there will be exceptions in most situations. For instance, we might say, “All of my friends agree on politics,” or “All of the houses in this neighborhood look alike”.

I did finally concede the point and usually tried to eliminate such absolute terms from my speech and writing. There is, however, an area where I will not yield. That is in the spiritual realm.  The Lord’s words stand as absolutes for me. The following dialog illustrates the point: And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself ’”  And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live(Luke 10:25-28, NKJV).

In our relationship with the Lord, partial obedience, half-hearted love, or incomplete surrender will not do. If we are to walk with the Lord and inherit eternal life, it must be an ‘all’ proposition.

The 1992 song ‘All That I Am’ by William Hines reflects the desire of my heart:

All that I am, all I can be,
All that I have, all that is me,
Accept and use, Lord, as you would choose, Lord,
Right now, today.

Take every passion, every skill,
Take all my dreams and bend them to your will.
My all I give, Lord, for you I’ll live, Lord,
Come what may.

Prayer: Lord I want to be “all in”. I want to live for you with no reserve, no retreat, and no regret.

~ Brother Roy

I Was Hungry

kya

Kya Sands Slum

My daughter and son-in-law, Lori and Rich, recently led an NHIM mission team to South Africa. They spent time visiting families in some tiny shacks in the sprawling slums where they are working. These areas, like Soweto and Kya Sands were made infamous during the days of Apartheid and Mandela. Since Mandela’s era, progress has been painfully slow in addressing the grinding poverty in these areas. For many who struggle to survive in these places, there is no running water, no electricity, no sewage and meager shelter. There is mainly a panorama of shacks, garbage, rats, and deprivation.

Returning from one of those desperate communities to the place where the team was staying, members were emotionally spent and in ‘shock’ at what they had witnessed. Some team members were asked what had made the greatest impression on them. One of the young men gave a moving response. The team had taken food to families where they were working. He said in one of the homes they had visited a man told him, “Having food here is not a right, it’s a privilege”.

While a short term mission team can do little to remedy the overall situation, they still have an extremely important ministry. They offer people the knowledge that someone knows, cares, and prays for them. The temporary relief the team can provide lifts spirits and the message of the Savior’s love gives a long term hope.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Its better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. The South Africa team was busy lighting small candles in these dark places. We need to know that as Jesus was welcoming believers into heaven, He said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in I needed clothes and you clothed me…” (Matthew 25:35-36, NIV). Believers then asked when had they ever ministered to Jesus in that way. He said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40, NIV). What a privilege to be able to minister to the Savior in such a way.

Prayer: Lord, may the ‘least of these’ hear you say, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1, NIV). And may we who are able be your presence to them.

~ Brother Roy