Many years ago Dr. R. T. Williams related the following true incident about a ship that had gone down in a storm. On board there were only half the lifeboats needed for the passengers. What could be done? The captain got a plan. He gathered the passengers together and said: “We have just enough lifeboats for half of the passengers. Before you I have placed a hat, in the hat I have put, as many cards as there are passengers. Babies not counted. On half of these cards is a cross the other half I have left blank. We want all to pass by and draw a card. Those who get a card with a cross on it will be permitted to enter the lifeboat. That is your ticket. Those who draw a blank must remain on the sinking ship.”
The passengers said, “It is fair.” And so they all filed by and reached into the covered hat and drew out a card. Were they drawing life or death? It was a very solemn time and not a word was spoken. Among those who passed were a father, mother and child. They solemnly drew their cards and passed, too afraid to even look at their cards. Finally the husband looked at his and was quite happy for he had drawn a cross. The wife looked and she had drawn a blank. One ticket to life the other ticket to death.
The husband quickly exchanged his ticket with her. She hesitated but he drew her to him and looking into her eyes he said, “Yes, you must! But I have just one request. Be true and meet me in heaven. Take care of our baby and the day she is twelve years of age sit her down and tell her of this tragic incident, my love for you both and how much I long to be with you in heaven.”
There was no time left. The ship was about to go down and listing terribly. The man kissed his wife and baby good-by and tenderly helped them into the boat. Soon the old ship sank and he along with it. The years sped by, and the day the little girl was twelve years old arrived. True to her promise, the mother took her into the living room and related the sad experience to her. She told her how her father had taken their place. The father’s picture was nearby and as the mother was relating the story to her the little girl wept bitterly. She reached out and drew the picture to herself and kissed it and pressed it against her cheek and said, “Oh Daddy, dear Daddy. You were a good daddy. You died for us and I love you so.”
Such love, such gratitude, but think now of the sacrificial love of Jesus; He did not die for His friends but for his enemies. “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” How could we not love and serve Him with all our hearts.
Sacred to us all is the memory of Jesus Christ. He took our place on the cross and gave his life that we might live, and be with Him once again in Heaven. I have read the above account many times and found myself impressed by each individual mentioned in the story. I am impressed by the hard but fair choice made by the captain and the crew to not be included with the passengers in receiving a card. By the father who gave up his life so that his wife and child would live. By the mother who was so faithful to the promise made on that disastrous night which changed her life forever. And then the young girl who realized for the first time the sacrifice made by her father and her pledge of undying love and devotion to him.
In so many ways we ourselves were in a similar situation and there was one who died so that we could have life. But how many times have we had a chance to remember the sacrifice of one who loved us and died that we might live? This past weekend because of your faithful donations and love for others you have been a big part in helping us tell others about Jesus.
A Simple Way To Love
The outreach went well. The weather was cool but sunny and the roads were clear with no delays or problems. We gave out a hundred sacks of groceries along with a hundred frozen turkeys. The majority of the families were of a different ethnic background than us and we prayed for many and asked them about their relationship with Jesus Christ.
One young woman who I got to personally minister too was hardly able to walk. When I asked her what happened she said a year ago, her husband, in a rage, had thrown her off the bed causing her to be crippled. I prayed for His love to heal her heart and for His healing balm to come and soothe her physical wounds. As I prayed you could see that she was visibly touched as she began to weep as I continued to minister to her. As I watched her walk away her steps were lighter and you could see her walk was almost normal, a far cry from how she looked when she first approached me. Many of those who were prayed for were powerfully touched by His love and it was obvious that they were not only surprised that we would pray for His love to touch their hearts but were amazed when they actually began to physically feel that love as it came upon them.
It is always a little overwhelming to go into the hood and into this church because of the atmosphere of poverty and hopeless situations. But when you begin to give and minister God is there. It really feels like being in a foreign third world country but there is a normal flushing toilet to use.
So you go on an outreach. You work, you love and you minister to the best of your ability believing God to somehow use you to bring his Kingdom into this dark place. Many of the people say “thank you” and you smile. But when you go home you sometimes wonder, “Did we make a difference?” I know that God sees even our smallest efforts to love his people. From our past experiences when we were greeting them we realized that something had happened. We were no longer strangers; we were people they had come to know as one’s who always treated them with respect and dignity and now they were treating us like part of their community. This is what is being cultivated now by our friends who have made a “safe place” in the midst of their chaos and by our going and giving of ourselves out of His love the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND THANKS TO ALL OF YOU
As we look upon another Christmas in celebrating our precious King and Saviors birth, we come with much gratitude and thankfulness for the incredible blessing it is to be His adopted son and daughter. No more orphans, adopted and fully accepted for who we are into His Kingdom of all love, faithfulness, peace, and joy.
Our prayer is that in this wonderful season of celebrating His coming to earth. That we can grasp the wonder and meaning of it all in a fresh revelation of the greatest gift given to all mankind, the gift of His son come to earth as a tiny baby. Because,” The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Precious Jesus, the light of the world. Prince of peace, mighty God, Emmanuel with us.
And our prayer for you also is that you will know the secret place in abiding in Him and live in the safe place only He can provide. For our deliverer has come and He is always standing by ready to give us rest even in the midst of this busy season and in every moment of our lives here on this earth.
Merry Christmas and Much Love Always,