ENCOURAGEMENT FROM JOHN 17

Recently my Facebook devotions have been focusing on John 17. So, today I would like to encourage and exhort each of you from this powerful portion of our Lord’s High Priestly prayer to God the Father. On the eve of His crucifixion, He interceded on behalf of everyone who would ever be converted by the mighty demonstration of the power of the Gospel, “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” Our great Intercessor was praying that ‘all of those, whom He had selected out of the world, (through the birth from above)’, would then be propelled into the world, to carry out the Great Commission. Notice carefully, that the Lord was not only praying for us to enter into the blessed reality of eternal life, He was also praying for us to be sent into this wicked world for the purpose of declaring His glorious Gospel! Friend, if you have been called by a heavenly call of grace, then you have also been commissioned to be a caller to other needy sinners. In other words, if you have been reconciled to God, then the scriptures declare that you are a minister of reconciliation!

God the Father has sent His Son into the world, for the singular purpose of accomplishing His great salvation mission. Now, the Lord Jesus was sending these original eleven into the same hostile world, for the sacred purpose of effectuating their personal responsibilities in this majestic mission. Friends, this same mandate from the Master is assigned to all who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Every bonafide disciple has been ‘set apart to be sent’! Earlier on this very eve of the Cross, our Lord had issued an awesome promise, saying, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, … .” (John 15:8)

Brothers and sisters, we must remember that the ‘proclamation of the message of the Cross’ is an offense to all sinners, until they are born from above! For the Cross confronts men and women in their rebellious, guilty and condemned condition before the pristine holiness of God and His moral law. The message of the Cross is offensive to the ‘falsely imagined morality and superficial religiosity’ of the self-deceived church member. The message of the Cross is foolishness to the poisonous pride of every unconverted sinner. And yet, Paul could faithfully testify, “I am determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified”. Oh dear ones, may each of us demonstrate a stronger determination and a resolute devotion ‘to know nothing, but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, risen and ascended as our King of kings and Lord of lords!

 

July 2020 Update

Dear Friends in Christ,

We pray that you are doing well, in the midst of all that is taking place in this world. If you are like our family, your conversations are often accompanied by phrases like, 'This is SURREAL'; or questions like, 'Now, what day is this'? But even though we are walking through uncertain days, we have the sweet assurance that our Lord is reigning on His throne and His promises are standing sure. As I have been studying through John 17, the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, I have been reminded of the great gifts that our Lord has given to every child of God. One of our Savior’s precious gifts is the certain promise that we may be filled with His joy, in the midst of the storms of life! Friends, this assures us that no matter the adversities, the afflictions or the challenges that we may face, we can know the sweet assurance that ‘the joy of the Lord is our strength’. You may be passing through a troubling and chaotic valley. Nonetheless, you must remember that nothing can take away the unspeakable joy that God has placed within your inner man. We are well aware that all of the destruction and mayhem, which we are witnessing, is exposing both the futility and depravity within the lost souls of men. And yet, the Lord has placed us in the midst of this collapsing culture, as living witnesses, for such a time as this! We are to live as light and salt; and we are to fix the our eyes of our hearts on the joy set before us. We are to live our lives in such a manner, that we are shining a spotlight on the One who has saved us and filled us with His Holy Spirit. We must never forget that just as the Lord Jesus was our only hope for salvation; He is the Only Hope for others to be saved. So let us be faithful to live our lives in the joy of God’s salvation, as well as, possess an ever-increasing burden for the lost around us. May we be daily reminded of the urgency of the hour.

These last few months, I have been given the privilege of preaching weekly at the Mission of Hope in Mobile. I was also given the precious opportunity to preach a 4-day outreach meeting at the Mission. It has been a great opportunity to build week by week upon God's Word, with the same group of men. The Mission has been very organized in the way each service is carried out. Strict precautions were implemented to keep everyone safe from the possibility of being exposed to the virus. Their plans have proven to be very successful; for they have had no cases whatsoever of COVID- 19. One of the greatest blessings was to have men accompany me, who were converted in the past few years at the Mission of Hope, through the ministry that God has given to me! They were preciously addicted to drugs and alcohol, but that have been set free to be witnesses unto Jesus! These extended months have also afforded me an extended period of time to prepare my new workbook on the Great High Priestly prayer. This intensive time of studying this magnificent chapter has been both a tremendous encouragement and powerful challenge to my life.

Additionally, as we shared with you previously, we have been given many wonderful opportunities to help people experiencing great need during this pandemic. This has not only been true here at home, but in a number of other countries as well. This pandemic has severely affected all of the pastors and church planters that I have taught on numerous occasions, throughout India and Kenya; as well as their congregations. The pastors and church planters that we work within these countries, have been encountering tremendous needs among their people. These faithful servants of the Lord have been faithfully giving of themselves and their limited resources, to help others. Most of the people that they are serving have no other means to help themselves. God has allowed us to be a ‘channel of physical blessings’ to literally hundreds and hundreds of believers and non-believers in these nations. We have been able to receive both messages and videos from some of these precious pastors, which blessed us with visible evidences of how the funds that we gave were being used in providing food and a witness to hundreds of people. I wish I could share some of these videos with you. I would love for you to be able to see the joy on the faces of these brothers in Christ, as they served the needy souls around them. I am thinking of one particular video, which was a special blessing to our hearts. Let me attempt to describe it to you. They prepared a very large vat of food, which is an Indian staple for them.

After all the prep work and cooking is completed, they loaded this large and heavy vat into the trunk of their small vehicle. Once they arrived in a poor, dirty and dilapidated village, people of all ages with all types of medical issues and deformities lined up to receive the food. It was amazing to view this event, because everyone in line was awaiting their turn so patiently. This was so remarkable to us, because it was just one large vat of food. There were no guarantees that there would be enough food for all of the people who were standing in line. And yet, one by one, they patiently came to the pastor's car and handed him whatever container they could find, that would hold some food. One little girl may have had a small plastic bag. A teenage boy may be holding a small pot. A man or woman, who lived in a cardboard shack, may be holding out a small, rusty tin can. This precious pastor who was obviously filled with the joy of the Lord, would scoop the food into whatever they brought to him. The faces of these pastors, which I have taught in past conferences, were filled with such a loving and caring smile. As we gazed into the background of the video, we could see that the area was so dirty and impoverished. The video was so vivid, that you could almost imagine the stench that had to surround them. These were people that the Indian government and the vast majority of the Indian people totally ignore. Oh, but not these pastors who have been called to shine the spotlight of their lives on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friends, why do I share these things?--Because you are such a vital part of all of these blessed opportunities. For it is because of your prayers and your willingness to give, that we can help so many others. Dianne and I wish that we could see each of you, individually, and express how very thankful we are for you. We realize that this has been an unusual and trying time for all of you. No one has been exempted from various types of major changes, that have occurred in their lives, in the midst of this pandemic. Many have walked through health-related issues, financial challenges, separation from loved ones and even the loss of close friends and relatives. There have been radical changes in the way that we buy groceries and conduct our daily activities. However, your faithfulness to pray for us and support us, in the midst this deep and dark valley of adversity has been unwavering! Our hearts are overflowing with joy, love, and gratitude for you. Your thoughtfulness and generosity, which you have so willingly shared with us, is truly an amazing blessing to us, to this ministry and to countless thousands of people worldwide. We thank the Lord for you. Your heart to share and be a blessing to others is truly a gift from the Lord.

Please be in prayer for us. This next weekend will be the first time that I will resume preaching in a church meeting. As you can see from the schedule, I will be in Ocala, Florida. This county has had very few cases of Covid- 19. So we feel that it is safe to carry on with this meeting. I think that this study on the Armor of God will be a much needed and timely message for these days. So again, please be in prayer for the Word to go forth in power and for people to be blessed for His Name Sake.

Your Servant for Jesus’ Sake,
Ed Lacy