“And Peter said” or “Who Said That?” or “I’m Very Proud” or “God, Damn Cancer!”

“And Peter said…”  (Throughout the Gospels and Acts)

 

In our quoted text above we read a very common phrase found in the Gospels, “and Peter said..” Peter was always saying something or answering for everyone present. This is not to his shame but speaks to his readiness. This trait earned him a rebuke from our Lord every so often, but it earned him a “blessed art thou,” just as often. After a while no one was surprised by Peter’s readiness to respond, in fact, when the disciples were asked a question they probably sat quiet, and looked at Peter, waiting for their response. Again, these things are not said to shame Peter or those like him. There may be a lot of unanswered questions if Peter didn’t speak up.

We write the above not so much to speak of Peter’s ability or readiness to answer but to draw a contrast between Peter and others that sat quietly and simply listened. You find Peter speaking far more than John. However, John wrote (5) five of the canon books to Peter’s (2) two. This again, is not to shame Peter or to praise John, but to demonstrate a contrast. We also see James writing (1) book to Peter’s (2) two, and James lived his whole life with the Christ and obviously heard and seen much. James was also the head of the (12) twelve after our Lord’s ascent but, only (1) one book. The point is – sometimes the quiet one’s have the most to say, even though they say very little.

I have a brother-in-law that for the last (20) years has sat quietly under (4) four different preachers and (1) one prior to that. He was not one to speak up, yet there have been a number of times that he has caused me to sit and wonder at his wise words or silent glances. or raised eye brows that expressed more than several paragraphs spoken by others. He has also sat behind a piano and sang praises to God that must have angels blushing. He has rebuked me a number of times, which had me thinking and praying for many days.

This man has sat quietly, saying little, and asking few questions, but has proven himself to be a deeply spiritual and extremely wise saint. He never bragged about his spiritual practices but his knowledge proves years of sitting at the Master’s feet. My brother-in-law has been the source of great blessings to his parents and his family and friends. His nieces love him very much and are always happy to spend time with him, and he loves to spend time with them, too.

He is one that i find myself seeking, as an objective source, as he is not one to take my side due to our relationship. He is “no respecter of persons,” which is a Christ-like quality that demonstrates courage. I have seen and heard things from him that many would be hard pressed to do and say. When Robert felt it time to leave our small house church, he simply approached me and told me, “This will be my last Sunday here.” I was so proud of his courage and have never been hurt or angry at his choice. Robert is some one I am very proud of and fortunate to know. Robert is a man to be respected. One would do well to follow his pattern of quiet courage.

If you are a reader of C.S. Lewis, you have probably read, “Mere Christianity.” In one of the last chapters he makes the point of the change one sees in others after they have come to Christ. He also makes the counter point that there are, at time, very little observable changes in others after they have come to Christ. For example, if someone was a seemingly decent and loving person before meeting Christ one may not notice very little changes in them. While someone that was a great sinner will show tremendous differences after meeting Christ. I have known both. I can think of a woman that was sweet as could be before being a new creature. If one was to look for changes in her one would be hard pressed. However, the changes are there. The love for the Word, the love for the church, and the great love for the Lord are all present, but for some who know her only professionally or in passing these changes may not be observable. Those who know her in a deeper sense do see these changes.

I have known more of those that have had a very noticeable change, as their lives B.C. were lives of sin. However, one should not be more in awe of the latter than the former. They have both been greatly changed for the immeasurably better. I think of my neighbor now. One December morning, he knocked at my front door. I opened it and welcomed him in. He simply said to me, “The Lord saved me yesterday and I would like to start going to church with you tomorrow.” Not trying to show my shock and awe simply welcomed him, and that was it. To explain my shock let me add this, We have simply waved at each other in passing for many years and spoke very, very little. I can remember speaking of my faith to him only once as he stopped me in my garage years prior. This man has attended church for over (10) years now and he has been very faithful. This man prior to knowing Christ was an addict to Alcohol and gambling. He and his wife had a poor marriage for years. Added excitement came when his wife, also came to Christ and their marriage has been made so much better, and strengthened so very much. You see, both the woman from the above paragraph and this neighbor and brother, mine came from different back grounds and have demonstrated different changes after being made new but to those of us that are blessed by their friendships see the fruit in their lives and in their persons.

I am a better person for having known these people I have written about. They have all sat under my preaching and teaching for years but have now, per our Lord’s will, departed for other ministries. I have been so blessed to have pastored them and so glad to still pastor them in private ways, as I am so proud knowing that they have taken our teachings with them. They are proof that a flock is as great a blessing to the shepherd as is the shepherd to the flock.

My brother in law and neighbor have both had a rough few days. My brother in law has had a serious surgery on Tuesday and my neighbor has just lost his very loved sister this week as well. Please pray for them.

We have written of those to whom we have ministered and now I would like to write of (2) two that have ministered to me. My friend and mentor, Richard Sandlin, author of (2) two books and writer at “Today’s Journal,” is in a strait betwixt (2) two. He, his family and his wife of (5) decades have learned of her pancreatic cancer. Please donate what you can and not “as the Lord leads.” No need for sounding spiritual. We know it is the Lord’s will that we all support each other and to do so until it hurts, financially.

Mrs. Sandlin, who has been an unspeakable blessing to the Lord’s people since she was (8) eight tears old. She has had one round of Chemotherapy and it has proven to be too much for her system. She and her family, after much prayer, spiritual counsel, and many tears have decided to do away with the chemo and enter into Hospice.

I have known her husband; this preacher, pastor, evangelist, and writer for at least (20) years. They both have been huge, huge helps in the lives of my wife and I. He named our eldest daughter’s middle name. We had, Hannah Loder but were searching for that middle name, Sandlin said, “Faith, because Hannah had Faith.”  This man also flew from California to Illinois to ordain, your truly. Mrs. Sandlin has taught ladies, sang for God and His church, and has also written much to the glory of God and great benefit to us, who know her. This dear saint has been given “only a matter of months” to remain with us. When we say, “only a matter…” we speak as mere humans, but we also know “God is Able,” and “My God is so Big, so strong and so mighty; there’s nothing my God cannot do for, Mrs. Salle Sandlin.”

The Lord may choose to deliver her from this cancer or He may choose to deliver her from this world. The choice is always His. We have often said, “One’s salvation is not only a gift to the one who is saved, but a gift to those that love them, too. It is an inheritance to God’s only begotten Son.”  This Christian couple are the parents to many children and grandparents to many more grand children. They have sacrificed so much for their ministries and shall be repaid one hundred fold. Please give at their Gofundme.com account.

Now I speak of a man and women that I have known for almost (20) twenty years. We speak of Pastor and Mrs. Ronald Ruben. Mrs. Ruben’s name is, Margaret. There is much history between myself and the Rubens. I was a member and teacher at Freedom Baptist Church when we voted Pastor Ruben in as the Church’s second pastor. He was the man for the job and his (17) seventeen year pastorate proves it.

I believe that we all, if we pay attention, play different parts that have already been played by those recorded in the Scriptures. For example, I have played, “the Good Samaritan” to a sick man at a road side. I have also played the Timothy to many Pauls, the prodigal son, Solomon’s fool many times over, the publican who beat his chest, and unfortunately the pharisee, too.

In relation to Pastor Ruben, we have played Paul and Barnabas. We, or rather, I had a “no small” disagreement with him and i departed. We have been absent from the Church, “Lighthouse Baptist Church” in Romeoville, Illinois for over (10) years. The name of the church was changed from Freedom to Lighthouse. During that time he has pastored faithfully, as I have taught the Scriptures from my home, in welcoming churches, and on this and other websites. He has seen the church through valleys and stood with the church on the mountain tops. He has preached Christ for a zillion years. He has not taken pay for his Gospel services from day one…to my utter insanity. Why do I right about this man and his Lord-loving wife? …..She, too has cancer, though it be in remission. She has had a recent check up and all is well. Pastor Ruben also has skin cancer in different places, but “It is well with [both their] soul[s]” and their bodies. All Glory and thanks to God.

Pastor Ruben and I, after a decade, crossed paths at Walmart over the summer. We spoke in front of the store for many minutes. Our meeting wrapped up with, a “let’s do lunch.” The “Let’s do lunch” was a real one. We have had lunch (4 or 5) four or five times now and I have gleaned so very much. He and I were two trees planted to close together. One of us (me) needed to be dug up and replanted. We both have grown and he is now one of my most prized friends. I am fortunate to attend Pastor Ruben’s Wednesday night Bible Study. The Bible study has allowed me to learn much, have much confirmed, and to be reunited with friends, never forgotten, and much loved.  This Christ-ian couple have done much in service to their/our Lord while fighting cancer and other usurping agents of (s)atan. This man and this women, independent of each other, are Trophies of God’s Grace. This man and this women together are an example of what a Christ-ian couple, under grace, and in love with the Master should be.

Methinks, We will write about people we know in future articles. Not to their glory, but unto God’s great glory.

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