Friday, January 19, 2007

BEGAN Part 2

Here is day 2, today I will cover 2 letters as they were not very long. Again, please keep in mind that these blogs in particular, are purely speculation. The stories come from church history, Fox Book of Martyrs, a book called Jesus Freaks, and my own memories. I pray that as you read these blogs on the word BEGAN, you will draw comfort that the God of the universe has BEGAN a work in you as well. May you yield to Him allowing Him to carry that work He has BEGAN to completion. Enjoy, and please leave me a comment on what you think!! Thanks, Jim

Acts 1:1"In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach"

Then came the letter “e”. What went through the mind of God as Luke wrote the letter “e”? I wonder, was God’s mind drawn some 1500 years into the future to the country of England? Thomas Bilney was a professor or law at Cambridge University. After having been arrested for heresy, he was brought before the bishop of London. They threatened him repeatedly with torture and burning. Filled with fear, Thomas recanted his beliefs. After being freed, there was no joy in his heart. His mind raced one moment to the cross, another to Peter. Just a thought from the mind of Christ could have ended his turmoil – that thought never came. Then there was Peter. There was the dark day when Peter recanted his beliefs as well. Ah, but later, he was given a second chance. Could Thomas expect the same? Finally, with great sorrow, he repented and soon he was brought back before the Council and condemned to death by burning. Before Bilney was burned, he stated that he fully believed in the opinions of Martin Luther. When chained to the stake, he smiled at all who were there and said, “I have had many storms in this world, but soon my vessel will be on shore in heaven.” As the flames roared around him, he stood unmoved and cried out, “Jesus, I believe!” Then he went to meet Him in whom he believed. Is it possible that as Luke wrote the letter “e” that the mind of the Almighty was on England?

Next, the hand of Luke moved to the letter “g”. It’s hard to tell what God may have been picturing as Luke wrote this letter, but I wonder if God wasn’t thinking of another word. The word that comes to mind is the word “Greatness.” We learn from the Scripture that God sees greatness totally differently than does the world. Perhaps when thinking about greatness God’s mind moved 2,000 years into the future. To the world, there was nothing at all impressive about Doug, greatness and Doug didn’t even belong in the same sentence. But the eyes of the Almighty look deep, deep to the very depths of a man’s heart. It is there where you see the true measure of a man. When God’s eyes moved to the recesses of Doug’s heart, He saw greatness. The world saw a man who was unable to pass the eighth grade until his third attempt. God saw a man with the determination not to quit. The world saw a common laborer. God saw an uncommon servant. With all his heart, Doug wanted to be a missionary, but he wasn’t even great in their eyes. Doug’s determination made a mission field out of every path that lay before him. His place of employment, whether a farm, garage, or factory, was a mission field. The bowling alley was a mission field. If he opened a door, he opened a door to a mission field. When he put his vehicle in gear, his final destination was a mission field. To the world, he may not have qualified as a missionary, but as a missionary in God’s eyes, he was greatness personified. He was a missionary who was never off duty, who had one basic goal in life: to see people put their faith and trust in Christ. He was only 65 years old when he died. His funeral was in a church that held close to 500, packed with a standing room only crowd, one after another the stories were told by those whose lives had been touched by the greatness of this missionary, including a letter from the country of Russia, written by a missionary pastor, who attributed the existence of his church largely to the unswerving dedication of Doug. While the majority of the people on his short term mission trip saw the mission field in those they would have very little contact with, Doug saw a mission field in the young gal who provided translation for them, and on that first trip they made to Russia, she put her faith in Christ. That letter came from her home town, the missionary pastor, her husband. When Luke wrote the “g” on the parchment that day, could God’s mind have been on the “Greatness” of my father-in-law, Doug Mills?

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