Thursday, June 7, 2018
Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ…and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
(Personal Note: Happy Birthday to my daughter Rochelle. Please know that your birth and life have absolutely NOTHING to do with the opening line of this devotional.)
I wonder how much suffering I could endure? I asked myself that question over 10 years ago when I joined 19 other men and women from our church on a mission trip to Bayou DuLarge Baptist Church in Theriot, Louisiana. We were headed there to help them rebuild a couple of houses that were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. We established a wonderful relationship with this church and its pastor at that time. He had an amazing heart for Jesus. But it is not an easy place to minister. The church is located in the last village on the road as you travel south toward the Gulf of Mexico on the Mississippi delta. Now you understand why the church has the word Bayou in its name.
But God has started a revival in this area, and the church is being blessed. I want to share with you a letter I received from Pastor Jerry prior to our mission trip.
Dear friends, members of God’s eternal family, and partners together with us in His work,
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is right.” (Titus 2:11-15)
Indeed, we wait for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ… and as we wait for His return, we work in His field. Cindy and I are grateful to the Lord, for God has allowed us to see some fruit in His harvest of souls here among our bayou people. We are experiencing a season of harvest, souls saved, many turning back to follow the Lord, and a general expectation of God’s working like may never before have been experienced here.
Someone asked me what I attribute this to. I can only say it is God’s doing; He is working out His own will to save people from destruction, giving instead to them a sure and eternal hope. We have worked in this field, mostly just to keep our heads above water. We have not known any new or exciting evangelistic “strategy” or “program” to institute. We have simply tried to stay in place, to do what God leads us to do day by day, and to WAIT on Him to do that which we have been convinced is His will.
Many have labored here before. Many have prayed. Practically all have passed on without seeing the fruit of their labor or the answers to their prayers. Over the past few years sometimes life has been difficult, particularly for Cindy. Often, just living day to day is for her a challenge. In times of physical difficulty for both of us, I have sometimes wondered if we would live long enough to see God move as we have been led to pray for and ask of the Lord.
We feel blessed to see what we are seeing today. Others have worked; others have been faithful; and yet they have not seen… but by God’s grace we are living in the middle of the greatest days so far of God’s work here on Bayou DuLarge.
We need physical, as well as spiritual endurance. Pray for us, good brethren, that we may be alert and disciplined to take every advantage of the many opportunities that are being presented to us to serve people in Christ’s name and bear witness to God’s amazing grace.
May the Lord bless you richly as you serve Him. Thank you for your prayerful support.
Jerry & Cindy Moser (Cindy is now with Jesus in glory.)
That’s what Paul meant when he said, I want to know Christ…and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. God uses suffering in our lives to bring us into a deeper dependency on Jesus, who suffered for us.
I have been deeply impacted by the phrase becoming like him in his death. What was Jesus like during His suffering? The author of Hebrews tells us – Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:2 – 3)
That’s what I saw in Pastor Jerry’s life. That’s what I want to be true of my life: to endure suffering because it perfects my faith, letting the hope of being in God’s presence someday be my strength.
Press on, my friends – there’s a blessing coming!