“Of old You founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
“Even they will perish, but You endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.
“But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.
“The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You.” (Psa 102:25-28)
Here we are once again, the first day of a brand new year. What will 2014 hold for us? Perhaps better still, what will 2014 hold for the world?
In my understanding of prophetic history, 2014 could well be the beginning of a turning point in the progressing of redemption. But I’ll leave that unsaid for now.
And then I can’t help but wonder, ‘Where did all the time go?’
But I can truly say that two thousand thirteen was a wonderful year for us. The Lord has been so good to our family and to the ministry of Christian Challenge. In looking back, I recall there were struggles but there were also so many wonderful moments.
Moments to Remember
One of our great moments in 2013, happened quite recently. I’m speaking of Nathan’s and Lori’s adoption of two beautiful children from Colombia.
They are so precious. This now gives us twelve grandchildren. The number twelve is quite significant in the Bible.
Hmmmm – Kinda of makes you wonder.
Of course the story of our two new grandchildren will continue to unfold over time.
Another great memory in 2013, had to do with our 50th Wedding Anniversary. The celebration at Christian Challenge was wonderful beyond words.
So many friends filled the banquet tables. The laughter, the entertainment, the testimonies continue to be relived in my heart time and time again.
I don’t know how often I’ve watched the Martin family video. It brings tears to my eyes every time I see it.
With respect to our 50th celebration, I wrote a song especially for my bride of fifty years. The song is entitled, ‘You Are More Beautiful than Ever.’ It includes the statement, ‘Where did all the years of time go? It seems a bit like yesterday.’
OK, I’ll take a chance. You may have to increase sound to hear the guitar. Don’t expect anything professional but here it is -
But there is more.
It is About God’s Work
When I pondered what to write in this first journal entry for 2014, a Scripture came to my mind. It was part of the prayer Jesus prayed to the Heavenly Father.
“[Father] This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
“I glorified You on the earth…
“… having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.“ (Joh 17:3-4)
The work of redemption is now being worked out in history. And the heart of redemption is that humanity would come to know the only true God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Then last evening at the stroke of midnight, the ball dropped at Times Square. Untold numbers of people celebrated and rejoiced. And all over this planet nations were celebrating the incoming 2014.
I thought, ‘Whether they realize it or not, this is all about Jesus.’
Think about it. What does the date, 2014 actually mean? A.D. is an abbreviation for ‘anno Domini’, which is Latin for, ‘in the year of our Lord.’ The birth of Jesus Christ is the counting point of time as we know it today. It means that all time is recorded around Jesus Christ.
Wow – This recalls to mind what the prophet said -
“For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab 2:14)
But what about …
The Works We Are Given to do
Can it be that our heavenly Father also gives works for all His children to do, works that have to do with the redemption that came through His Son? I certainly believe so. Paul addresses this -
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus FOR GOOD WORKS, which God prepared beforehand SO THAT WE WOULD WALK IN THEM.” (Eph 2:10)
Of course none of us can say like Jesus did, that we’ve accomplished the work that the Father has given us to do. The future belongs to God alone. We are simply to walk in the works of grace that He gives us to walk in.
Naturally this brings my thoughts to Christian Challenge. As I reflect on the years 1976 to 2014, I think about how it began. It all began in a storefront building in Boyce, Louisiana.
So much has happened through the years. We’ve trained hundreds of believers for the work of the Lord.
Actually the first missionary we sent out was our son, Nathan. He helped to raise twelve churches in Mexico. But the Lord had him eventually return home to help further the work at Christian Challenge.
The point is that Christian Challenge has never been my work.
Yes, the stewardship was given to me of the Lord, but the work is His work. The body of Christ belongs to him. We each just have our assignments. Christian Challenge would never have been had not the Lord added believers according to His purpose.
There will always be an ebb and flow in the body of Christ. This is because believers are alive in Christ and He directs our goings and our comings.
But we can’t live in the past. What about …
The Christian Challenge of 2014
This picture is a sampling of our earlier years. We know where we have been. Now it is time to seek the Lord for where we are going.
It is not that we can know everything about the future. That isn’t how faith works.
Jesus Himself says that all the workings of time belongs to the Father.
“So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’
“He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses …
” … after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” (Act 1:6-9)
Many miss on what the Lord is saying. Two things especially stand out.
First, the nation of Israel will once again be received into the kingdom of God. They will turn to Jesus, in their time.
Secondly, the power of heaven will be given to believers so they can carry out the works that God gives them to do.
We are given the power to accomplish those things that God gives us to do.
So, what does 2014 hold for Christian Challenge?
We will see. Yes, we can thank the Lord the days gone by, but the work must continue.
What is the work?
Listen once again to how Jesus prayed -
“[Father] This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Our work is to proclaim God’s work of the cross and point all men to the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Paul said it this way -
“For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. Prescribe and teach these things.” (1Ti 4:10-11)
To all believers –
May the Lord richly reward the work of your hands, and may He increase your part in the harvest.
In Christ always,