On December 5, I turned 50. Thank you, Jesus! God has been faithful all these years.
- 42 years ago (age 8) I decided to be a preacher.
- 40 years ago (age 10) I gave my life to Jesus.
- 38 years ago (age 12) I preached my first message.
- 29 years ago (age 21) I graduated from Bible College and was ordained to preach the Gospel.
And throughout all this time, GOD has been faithful.
Faithfulness should be reciprocal.
Yes, the Bible does say, "If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful..." (2 Timothy 2:13, NLT.) This is so wonderfully assuring - that God will remain faithful, even when we are not always as diligent in our faithfulness as we should.
However, we must also be faithful to our loving Lord, as He is faithful to us. Imagine the joy when the Lord says to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matthew 25:23, KJV.)
Even if you and I accomplish very little in this world, but it can be said of us, by the Lord himself, that we were faithful! It would be the greatest reward from the Lord imaginable.
I don't know how many years I have left in this world. As a kid, I could have died in a freak shooting accident. And who knows how many times I brushed death's door, but escaped unscathed. 3 1/2 years ago I had a heart attack, but I am still here - more healthy and in shape than I was even back in my late 30s. But whatever years the Lord will give me, I want to serve Him faithfully!
We should not become discouraged. I have been discouraged many times, but the Lord was always there to help me up.
I would like to say a little something about my dad, Tony. Dad went to be with the Lord this year. He was 75 and married to Mom for 50 years. November 25 was the first anniversary he wasn't with Mom. And December 12 will be his first birthday without us.
One thing I cherish about my dad is that he always had a positive attitude, even when disappointed. I remember when we were drilling for water on his farmette in South Africa. We were hoping to hit one of the hot mineral springs. But after several thousand South African dollars (i.e. "Rands,") we had to let it go - there was not going to be success.
(Here is a picture of my dad and I. I love it!)
My heart sunk for my dad. I felt so sorry for him. But he seemed fine. When I told him how I felt for him, he said something like, "No, no, no! You don't have to feel that way. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but life goes on, and we just do our best!" (That was not the exact words, because I can't remember exactly how he put it. But I do remember it was something like that, and I remember the positive attitude in which he spoke it.)
Such an attitude still speaks to me today. I thank the Lord for this thing in my dad, because it encourages me to do the same.
People depend on you and I, to be strong and faithful.
This is my point. People depend on us more than we realize! If we are down in the dumps and negative, not only does such an attitude drag us down, but it's a drag on those who see us like this.
Yes, at times we may become despondent and discouraged - we are all human. But we should pick ourselves back up from the floor and keep running with the Lord. He will direct our paths, because He is right there with us!
Be strong in the Lord. Not only for your sake, but also for those around you. It will bear fruit for many generations.
I hope I have encouraged you today. Let's continue to serve the Lord fervently, and be an inspiration to all those God brings into our lives. And let us remain faithful...