The GOOD NEWS is that God is sovereign, just, and is STILL Lord!! He doeth all things well!!
Recently, a minister friend of mine asked me concerning “the ministry” and its difficulties and challenges. My response to him was that some things are worth dying for—a hill with a Cross on it—from which you will not back down. The three Hebrew men said, “Our God is ABLE to deliver us … we may burn, but we will NOT bow” (paraphrase mine)! There are things in ministry that are irrefutable, irreversible, that deal with matters of integrity! At that point in a person’s life and ministry, there must be no retreat, reversal, or regress.
Some would say that when they get to the “core” of integrity they will take their stand. Integrity is like an onion—there is NO core to an onion. The onion itself is the core and every leaf compromised and removed from the whole is a diminishing of the “core” itself! The Bible calls it “truth in the inward parts” (Psa. 51:6). If the babies of compromise (in a metaphor to the people of Israel in Babylon) and lukewarmness appear in one’s life, one must take these “little ones” and “dash [them] against the stones” … the “little ones” grow up to be teenagers and later our enemies (Psa. 137)!
Some other issues are the picayunish—things that do not have a significant impact on the Kingdom of God or on us. I call them “pimples, peanuts, and things persnickety”! These are matters that so often make up much of Church life in time, effort, money, and relationships. Spiritual gnats or leeches that attach themselves to the Church and our lives—that draw us away from the larger goal and purposes of the Church—these fleshly and satanic divisions of the mind, body, and soul. The Scriptures tell us that where there is “bitter envying (rivalry, disharmony, selfish ambition, boasting, and trying to get the better of others and to look better than others) and strife (jealousy, self-seeking, competition, control, loveless service), this is the worst kind of lie … [they] are not God’s kind of wisdom” (James 3:15 NLT). This “kind of wisdom” is from the earth (understandable), sensual (unspiritual, power struggles, “up the ladder”), and DEMONIC! What is often called “Church politics”, God calls DEMONIC (James 3:13-18).
Each of us must put on the “garment of humility” and receive the Spirit to keep focused on the larger picture in the Church and in our personal life. We must hold to the main things (the major things) and leave those things that are “pimples, peanuts, and things persnickety” at a much lesser place in our life and ministry. There are enough things in our mind and spirit that must take priority in time and effort! Ask the many in foreign countries and the 150,000+ who will be martyred for their faith this year (according to Dr. David Barrett) what the important things are—the things that have eternal value. They will tell you the difference!!
As you know, these days have been different for us! Although I was diagnosed with brain cancer in January, we have experienced the “peace that passes understanding”! I am bragging on the Lord, for I know where it comes from! I have had 10 intravenous and 3 oral chemotherapy treatments—a new challenging journey. The Lord has done some exceptional spiritual work in me and in our extended family. He has also done much spiritual work in others as well, and has opened many “doors of utterance” of His saving grace to doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, and patients, and visitors. Much Seed has been sown … the Lord gives the increase!
In these past 10 months we have truly experienced God’s grace and mercy … His love and care for His own! This has been a spiritual and physical journey … one that I have not traveled before. I praise Him not only because of the good physical outcome (He is worthy whether I have the good physical results or not), but because of Who He is, and the spiritual work He has accomplished and is accomplishing in our lives.
To say “thank you” in such an informal way is almost ludicrous to the way we feel! The faithfulness of your love, prayers, many with support, your encouragement of letters, cards, visits, calls, and friendship is DEEPLY appreciated!! We thank the Lord and you for entering in this “trial of faith” with us.
Continually you are in our hearts and prayers. You are “our glory and crown of rejoicing” (I Thess. 2:19,20).
Blessings … Jesus is Lord! Maranatha!
Serving Christ with joy as Lord,
Reuben & Carmen Sequeira
II Corinthians 4:17,18