October 22

Today's Bible Reading
     II Kings 3 
     II Thessalonians 3 
     Daniel 7 
     Psalms 114-115
''For your yourselves know how you ought to follow us...''; ''...ourselves an example of how you should follow us." (II Thessalonians 3:7a; 9b)
            Do you live your life in such a way that you can say, not only to your own children and grandchildren, but to other believers, “You can watch my life, you can examine my conduct, and I will be your example. If you follow me, then you will be following Jesus Christ?” Now that is either a statement of great presumption and arrogance, or it is the statement of one who walks with God, and wants to instill his lifestyle into other believers. That was the case with the Apostle Paul.                
            Paul made the most and best use of his time. Even in prison, Paul did not want to waste time. When he wrote letters, he would say things like, “Bring my books because I'm going to use this time to study, read, and write.”
            Several years ago I was sidelined for two years in a serious struggle with cancer.  I have a deep conviction that God wanted me to use this time in a way that can benefit you and others, and exalt the Lord Himself. Aren't you glad Paul used his time in jail to write?  That's where we have gotten a lot of the books he wrote.  While in jail, he made the best use of his time.
            I'm glad John Bunyan used his time in Bedford Prison to write Pilgrim's Progress; it still continues to bless the lives of thousands. John wrote the Revelation in exile. Paul refused to be resentful. As you read his epistles, you discover that, regardless of how people treated Paul, whether it was inside the church or outside, he believed God had a plan and purpose in all of it. He realized that what men meant for evil, God meant for good.
            In the midst of all of his challenges, Paul was reaching out to others. No man in the history of the church has been more compassionate toward the lost than the Apostle Paul. He was devoted to others and sensitive to their needs.
            The late Grady Nutt, a Christian humorist, told a story about a preacher who went to a home for dinner. They had prepared everything perfectly for that meal, with the china, crystal, and the silver. They were trying to impress the pastor. The little girl in the family spilled her tea, and her brother jumped back to keep from getting tea all over him, and spilled his tea.
            Now you can imagine how the little girl must have felt, and her daddy felt her pain immediately. That daddy reached out and “accidentally” spilled his tea. The preacher, sensing what was going on, also dumped his tea. Everyone soon spilled their tea, and they were all cleaning up the tea in the midst of laughter. 
            Just look around you and you'll find others hurting more than you. Reach out and touch their lives. Paul had that kind of spirit. The reason behind Paul's spirit was probably that he realized the presence of God. Paul knew that it did not matter who rejected him. The Lord was with him to strengthen him (II Timothy 4:17).
            We must learn from Paul that the Lord is always with us.
            As you continue to pray for the children of the world, pray especially for the child refugees. Their number has risen from 7 million in 1992 to 10 million out of the world’s 21.5 million refugees. There are an estimated 100 million slave children who are sold to settle debts, and 10 million of these are child prostitutes. The need is so great. It breaks our hearts and brings tears to our eyes. I have just had the opportunity to minister to some of these dear children in India. We have members of our ministry team who minister to these children and are bringing hope to their lives. The only hope for this army of children is to have a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Pray for them today.