March 26, 2020
Dear Family in Christ,
We normally would be sending out a newsletter about this time but since everything is up in the air concerning our schedule, it doesn't make a lot of sense to send it out. But I did write up a little article that I hope will encourage you today.
Epaphras, who is … always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. Colossians 4:12 (ESV)
Above is the passage quoted in our devotion this morning. During this time when we are self-quarantined in our homes, we might run the risk of thinking there is nothing substantive that we can do for others. Nothing could be further from the truth. In her conclusion of this devotion, author Ava Pennington concludes: Today, you and I also have a role to play in the perfection of others. We can pray daily for them to mature as God uses their experiences to bring them to His perfection. It's not about changing others for our convenience; it's about others becoming all God intends for them to be. (Ava Pennington. One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God (p. 16). Kindle Edition). Though from our human standpoint, we may be tempted to think that prayer really does not accomplish much, Epaphras would beg to differ. Though he could not be with the Colossian believers in person to help, teach and encourage them, Epaphras fell to his knees and trusted God to meet their needs and to build them up in the faith. We can take advantage of our time at home and do the same for those in our lives.
Pie in the sky advice? Consider the experience of missionary James Frasier (886-1938) who ministered in China to the people of Lisuland. EPC Pastor Dave Moody recently sent out a link to an article that highlighted the experience of this early 20th century missionary who served with China Inland Missions. Because of a very harsh winter, Fraser had a decision to make – to either travel several days to the people in the highlands under harsh conditions for only a brief time of ministry before heading back or to stay in the lowlands and focus on his ministry there (while prayinhg for those in the highlands). He felt the Lord clearly leading him to stay, pray and to trust the Lord to care for the needs of the Lisu people in the highlands. Here is what happened: James Fraser discovered that his converts in the highland villages had prospered during the winter months in which he had found himself unable to gather them together. In fact, as he met with them to hear about their winter Bible reading and their isolated prayer times, he came to the remarkable conclusion that his converts in the highlands of Lisuland had grown far more during the winter than his converts in the lowlands - the converts that he had been busy visiting and gathering all winter long. He recorded his conclusion: “If two things stand out clearly in my mind, they are firstly how ‘foolish’ and ‘weak’ our new converts are, and secondly that God has really chosen them.” Thereafter, he was determined never to fret when he could not gather people, but always to seize it as a God-given invitation to pray for people instead. “If I were to think after the manner of men, I should be anxious about my Lisu converts - afraid for their falling back into demon worship. But God is enabling me to cast all my care upon Him. I am not anxious, not nervous. If I hugged my care to myself instead of casting it upon Him, I should never have persevered in the work so long - perhaps never even have started it. But if it has been begun in Him, it must be continued in Him.” James Fraser never knew the full results of his prayer experiment. Many missiologists trace back the enormous revival that has swept through China in the past fifty years to the revival that began amongst the highlanders of Lisuland during the winters when he stayed at home and prayed.*
Let us make good use of these days by doing the most productive and powerful thing in our spiritual arsenal: trust in the Lord and pray for one another. May we one day be able to look back on this pandemic and testify: What we have learned is that the work of God does not depend on us but, by God’s grace, we must be prayerfully engaged. “The work began in God and it must continue in Him.” Let us struggle for one another in prayer.
In His Grace, Pastor Kevin
*read the full article - The Corona Virus Experiment by Phil Moore - by following this link: