The Contender – A Cry From Jack’s Heart

August 2017

Right Words

Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

Malachi 4:6 “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

When I sit to write, my heart overwhelms me with surges of heart-cries that gush forth into my mind so forcibly that I feel frail and without capacity to communicate rightly. While writing seems more difficult to me, addressing my heart-cries with speech seems more natural to what Job might refer to as forcible words.

Job 6:24 – 27 “Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. How forcible are right words!

One of the most needful questions that I ask of people is: “What is the cry of your heart?”

Any serious musing upon this piercing concern ought to find everyone of us with an overwhelming sense of introspection. We are living in an ‘hour’ when expressions of the heart are being foolishly written in ‘tweets’, ‘facebook jottings’ and ‘text messaging’ to note a few. One thing is certain…our words tell on us!

Many reading this letter will never see my earlier expressions concerning the powerful words of C.H. Spurgeon concerning: “Preventing Grace.” I trust everyone reading right now would just take a few moments to read 1 Samuel 25 and consider the impact of Abigail’s life upon David.

“And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood and from avenging myself with mine own hand.”

Abigail’s timely and courageous words to David spared him from evil and helped him to understand the plan that God was yet working in his own life. Right and forcible words were spoken by Abigail to David as noted in these words from verse 29:

“The soul of my lord (David) shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God.”

In Romans 2:3-4 we read these ‘right’ and ‘forcible’ words from God:

“And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”

Abigail’s gracious intervention in David’s life spared him from a great sin and preserved him for his imminent role as the anointed king of Israel.

Take a few moments and muse upon the ‘goodness of God’ in your own life! Ask God to bring to your mind and heart the individuals whom He has placed in your life which spoke words of encouragement into your experience at the right time with right words! Let us all, for a moment, pause and ask God to convict our hearts concerning His goodness in sending us ‘graces’ that ‘prevented’ us from sin, ruin and even death itself.

I began my thoughts in this letter with two scriptures that I have brought to you on several occasions. Go back and read the Hosea and Malachi passages from each of their texts of chapter 4 and verse 6. Note the relationship of forsaking repentance to the curse and woe that is brought upon the children.

Just yesterday, I visited with 9 youth in our adult prison, two of whom had just been charged with homicide. Each of them had been to our Kid’s Bible Clubs and one shared that he had attended our overnight camp on at least two occasions.

I ache in my heart that the myriad of tragedies that fill my mind in this ministry have so often become realities because of the failure of ‘preventing grace’ to spare such ones from falling into sin. In all of our labors through these many years, the only real saving grace is ‘pardoning grace!

In all of our efforts to reach into this darkening, dangerous moment-in-time; we must lift up the cross and clearly declare the precious words of Christ Jesus himself: Ye Must be born again!

Pray for us as we continue to bring the glorious message of the Gospel into this present darkness. I am overwhelmed with the present working of God at the ‘Camp at Old Mill’, Chester County Prison, the ‘Providence/Coatesville’ church plant, ‘Bridge Academy Community Center’ and in law enforcement initiatives from Chester County to what seems the ends-of-the-earth.

Our very best efforts might be called: “preventive grace” when as Abigail, we are called to speak life into situations and individuals that are on the very edge of peril and destruction. But, it is only when God works in ‘pardoning grace’ that sin is addressed and lives are delivered from heartache and tragedy.

I’m very aware of the urgency of this hour! As confessed earlier, my heart’s cry is overwhelming! While on one hand keeping my eye on ‘Israel’ and the ‘peace of Jerusalem’ (God’s Clock); I am also realizing the imminent dangers within our own nation’s borders and beyond.

Oh, for father’s hearts to ‘turn to their children!’ The wonderful Christmas carol: “Joy to the World” comforts me in this: ‘as far as the curse is found’ He is able to pardon and deliver!

Sunday, August 27

I invite you to attend the Fourth Sunday Night Meeting at Camp at the Old Mill on Sunday, August 27 at 6pm.

Dr. Charles Ware, President of Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis will be our featured preacher while we will also host Diane Susek, Minister Bill Reeves and the Unified Chorus.

As I began, so I shall close: writing is so much more difficult for me than speaking! Our website reveals much more than I can possibly communicate in this format. I long to see you face-to-face and one day bring the ‘heart-cries’ of my life to your understanding.

One thing is certain, I find my rest in such texts as: Isaiah 66:2, Jeremiah 17:12 and Habakkuk 2:1. I rejoice that God knows the cries-of-my-heart and that my true rest is in Christ Alone!

Thank You for Loving Me, No Less, Pouring Your Encouragements into All of Us!

Jack Crans

Director   

Psalms 63:7 “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” For further encouragement: read Jude 20-25

 

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