— By Leta Witt, pastor’s wife and free-lance author, Gravette, Arkansas.
Wrong choices. Why do we make them? Fear of what others might think? A lack of faith in a loving God? A stubborn will to do things our own way? Fear that God does not know what He is doing? Pure ignorance?
One summer, I spent two weeks in an ESL academy in southern Arkansas. When the final day arrived, I was elated that we were dismissed two hours earlier than expected. I wanted to get home for the ongoing local campmeeting.
As I headed toward home I came to an intersection where I was faced with a choice, east or west. I knew Gravette was not in the eastern part of the state, so I chose the other road. It was a beautiful day, perfect for driving the six hours home. I hoped to arrive in time for the evening service.
However, after a while I began to feel uneasy. I should have been nearing Little Rock. Then I saw a sign, Texarkana, 8 miles. Surely that was not right! Finally I checked a rest area map and discovered I was indeed on the wrong road. Even today I can feel my chagrin that I had wasted those two precious hours!
The result of that poor choice caused me distress, but Abram’s choice to lie about his wife brought worse consequences. It caused suffering in Pharaoh’s palace, and Abram and his family were sent away from the land of plenty back to the area of famine from which they had fled.
When making choices, it is always best to obey God.
— by Mark Avery, General Manager and Editor, Herald and Banner Press and Bookstore.
The night was cold and the lines were long. The homeless and poverty-stricken of the inner city were cold, hungry, and worried. With little to eat and no warm place to sleep, the prospects of a hot meal and a warm, clean bed made it worth waiting in line.
Inside the mission, preparations were underway for another night of ministry. The chaplain had studied and prayed in preparation for presenting the gospel. The cooks had spent much effort in preparing a meal that would warm and fill those hungry people who were waiting. The support team of volunteers had worked hard cleaning and taking care of countless details.
Why all this effort? These Christian men and women believed that by ministering physical comforts they could minister to the spiritual needs of these unfortunate people. The word was out. Anyone who was hungry, cold, or hurting could come and be filled, warmed, and helped.
Just as food, warmth, and comfort were available at the mission, God offers forgiveness to all who call upon Him. The invitation is not only to the rich, the strong, the accepted, but the gospel invitation is to all who will believe. The prophet declared that you could be forgiven, satisfied simply by coming to God in faith, confessing your need to Him.
— by Leta Witt, pastor’s wife and free-lance writer from Gravette, Arkansas.
“And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me” (II Kings 2:9).
As a young bride, we visited my husband’s grandma’s house on several holidays. While setting the table, it amused me to see names on pieces of paper taped on some dishes. When I asked about it, she told me that when she died, those people were to receive those dishes. I felt it a rather strange practice, so it was several years before I gathered courage to ask for “my inheritance” — a set of stemware glasses. They are in my cabinet today.
Elisha somehow knew that his mentor Elijah would soon leave him and go to heaven. The two men visited companies of the prophets at Bethel, Jericho, and Gilgal. At each place, Elijah told Elisha to stay there, but Elisha was determined to stay with his teacher. After crossing the Jordan on dry ground, when asked what he wanted, Elisha was ready with his answer — he wanted to inherit Elijah’s ministry. I imagine Elijah was pleased with the request, but of course, the determination was left up to the Lord. As Elisha saw him leave, he knew his request had been granted. His had indeed been a wise choice.
The choices of our youth may well affect us and others for eternity.
— By Michelle Avery, Editorial Assistant, Herald and Banner Press
Adam failed. God gave man freedom, but one bite ruined him. Yet remember all those animals God had him name?
Noah got drunk. Noah had an embarrassing failing, but when everyone else went wrong, he went right and stayed afloat.
Abraham was old. Senior discounts were fitting for the couple with a nursery in their tent. God was not worried.
Isaac lied. Fearing the envy of his new neighbors, he lied about a relationship. He learned, though, and even changed.
Jacob stole. From his brother — and tricked his father to do it! Yet God though him raised an incredible family.
Leah was ugly. Her husband was only tricked into marriage. Still, her children have blessed all of Creation.
Joseph was abused. He was sold by family! Yet God was using Joseph to “save much people alive.”
Moses stuttered. Moses’ speech impediment only served to show God’s power more clearly.
Gideon was afraid. He was hiding when the angel came to make him commander! Yet God made him a hero.
Rahab was a prostitute. She was not a respectable person, but she did believe in the power of Israel’s God.
Jeremiah was young. When God called Jeremiah, he responded, “I can’t. I’m too young!” Youth did not stop God.
David had an affair. David had everything going for him until he got careless. Still God loved and used him.
Jonah ran from God. Even when Jonah pouted about God’s mercy, God was kind to him and used him.
Naomi was a widow. She and her family moved away; years later, she moved back — alone. Yet God gave joy.
Job went bankrupt. People, things, health — gone. When he called God out, God answered for posterity.
John the Baptist ate bugs. He lived in the desert after all. People called him insane as he fulfilled prophecies.
The disciples slept during prayer. Once they were Spirit-filled, they went out and turned the world upside down.
Peter denied Christ. The words came when his life was threatened. Peter hid from the cross then, but never again.
Martha worried. Guests arriving, and Mary wasting time! Then Christ explained: the spirit is more important than the stomach.
The Samaritan woman was divorced. Five husbands! She did not seem likely to witness for Christ. Jesus knew better.
Zaccheus was small. Even in character. He cheated. People enjoyed pushing him aside. Then Jesus challenged him to something better.
Paul was over-religious. For religion, he imprisoned and killed. Jesus changed him into a missionary spreading what he once cursed.
Timothy had an ulcer. Maybe his job was a little too stressful, yet God used him to build His church.
Lazarus was dead! But only until his Friend Jesus stopped by.
Maybe there is not anyone God cannot use.