Thinking He was
in their company
Other than His birth, the only story from Jesus' childhood
occurred when He was 12 years old. A routine trip to and from Jerusalem turned
into a drama when Mary and Joseph discovered that they didn't know where
Jesus was. The Gospel of Luke tells us that they left Jerusalem thinking He was
in their company (2:44). In the preparations to head home and the packing of
their bags and gathering of food they would need along the way, their most
precious cargo of all was left behind.
It shouldn't be
thought that Mary and Joseph failed in their parental responsibilities or that
they did not love Jesus. Mary assumed that Jesus was with Joseph while Joseph
was certain He was with Mary. In assuming that Jesus was among them, they moved
along and made good time before the awful truth dawned on them. They thought He
was in their company... but in fact, He was not.
of us approach yet another Sunday having never uttered a word of invitation to
our great Lord to make Himself welcome among us. We plan our programs without
ever seeking His leading and then ask Him to bless that for which He has been
an afterthought. We go and see our friends, sing some songs we either like or
dislike and finally listen to or daydream through whatever might be served up
from the pulpit. That the altar is empty, that there is no sense of God's
Spirit at work among us often is of little concern. We had a good day at the
corps today. But He was not in our company. Grieved that we spoke around Him
rather than to Him, saddened that we sought for an experience instead of a
Savior, distressed that we have focused more on lifting our emotions instead of
bowing our hearts before Him, He has been absent from our company. We hardly
missed a beat.
A group of seminary students decided to
visit Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, to hear the "Prince of
Preachers," Charles Spurgeon, and hopefully discover the secret of his
spiritual power. An elderly man greeted them as they walked in and asked,
"Would you like to see the church's heating plant?" Stacks of
coal and dirty pipes in a dark basement were among the last things that the
students wanted to see, but out of respect they followed him down into a large
open room where they saw over 700 people in earnest prayer for the meetings of
the day. "This," said the wise man, "is what heats this
church." Judging from the thousands who sought and found Christ at the
church, God blessed where He was invited.
remark that because God is omnipresent, He is always in every gathering of
believers. But there is a difference in treating God as another spectator in
the stands and seeing Him as the star of the game. Frequently what we call
worship is a performance for each other rather than setting the stage for the
One whose breath brought life to dust. Worship - to be real worship - does not
assume that the Lord is in our company. Worship is our heart's pledge that
if He will not go with us we will not go, that we would rather suffocate than
take a breath without Him, that if He will not be our song we shall never sing
a note again.
If you did not pray for God's presence in this
Sunday's meetings, then kneel now at the Mercy Seat and seek forgiveness of
the Holy One you have ignored. Don't assume someone else has invited Him or
excuse yourself because others have not. It is your prayer He is waiting to
hear, your heart He is longing to fill. Like Mary and Joseph, retrace your
steps until you find the place where you left Him behind.
Get on your knees
It had been snowing just as we arrived home on the night after
Christmas. As the road became steeper, the car's tires started to spin. We
were not able to go any higher - in fact, the car began sliding
One tire even slipped into a ditch, but we were
able to back out - only to start a slow slide again. The car had turned a
little sideways, and we felt both helpless and petrified with fear. Fortunately
we were now able to pull straight into a neighbor's driveway.
Now that we were stopped safely, and off of the road itself, the
next order of business was to walk across the street and up the hill to our
house. Easier said than done.
I had a snow-shovel, but the
asphalt was slick with a thin layer of ice. As we tried to walk across the
road, we couldn't keep our footing. Libby's voice came from behind me:
"Get down on your knees!" I quickly obeyed (as I usually do!).
The only way we were going to get across that street, we
concluded, was to crawl on our hands and knees - a most humbling act,
considering the neighbors were probably getting quite a show!
We made it across, and on the grass the footing was much easier.
Once in the warmth of our glowing hearth, we could laugh about it.
Going to your knees is also necessary for the safety of your
spiritual life. The Psalmist urges: O come, let us worship and bow down: let us
kneel before the Lord our maker (95:6).
It's great advice. Otherwise,
you'll certainly slip and fall.
For many years I have been greatly helped and
blessed spiritually through the column of Major Allen Satterlee. God has given
him unique insight and wisdom. But his column in the Oct. 20, 2006, issue was a
big disappointment to me. He was discussing the film "Facing the
Giants." His summary of the film was excellent. His application of the
storyline in the film to our Christian life is where I disagree with him.
Accusing the film of showing an unreal side of Christianity is not
a fair evaluation. The film is trying to show what can happen to a
person who places God first in his life, family and work. In the Bible, Joseph
was sold as a slave. Genesis 39:2-3 says, The Lord was with Joseph and he
prospered ... The Lord gave him success in everything he did. The Bible
teaches if we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then
all these things (our needs) will be given to us as well. No, everyone
won't be given a "shiny new red pickup truck." But the gesture of
the successful businessman, who had his relationship with his son and with God
restored, was motivated by God to secretly share his blessings with a needier
Christian brother. This is scriptural, and I have personally experienced such a
blessing in my life.
The purpose of the film was to show how
God can take a lost, defeated person and change his life around, so that his
focus is on God rather than himself. As anyone will find, a strong focus on
pleasing God will provide more than they could ever dream or imagine. Restored
relationships, guidance, peace, love, contentment and motivation are more
important gifts from God than material possessions and success...The film
focuses on the positive blessings that are available to us as we walk close to
God and live each day to please Him.
I pray everyone will take the
opportunity to view this film and thank God for using a rural church to
proclaim God's message of salvation to so many.
Effective Jan. 31, 2007, except where
& Jean Wilson Tierra Nueva, Guatemala - corps officers and school
Latin America North (effective
Arkansas & Oklahoma Division
Major Richard Brittle Little Rock, Ark. - area
Major Fay Brittle Little Rock, Ark. - coordinator of
Major Phillip Murphy Sarasota - area
Major Donna Murphy Sarasota - coordinator
of women's ministries
Maryland & West Virginia Division
Captains Edward & Goldie Long
Middle River - corps officers
National Capital & Virginia
Captain Hilda Chadwick
Assistant divisional youth secretary
Captain Vickie Lesene
- assistant corps officer
North & South Carolina
Captains Charles & Kristina Nkanza
Greensboro, N.C. - associate corps officers