The Difference Of His Presence
You don’t have to worry about your ministry, beloved. God isn’t going to let it fall. He is going to keep on keeping on in His perfect purposes, glorifying His name.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Well, I trust everything’s alright at your house. Bless your heart. This is your good friend Dr. Cook, and I’m delighted for the privilege of sharing with you, once again by way of radio, from God’s Word. What we try to do is to put a handle on it, so that you can get hold of it for yourself, and apply it to your own life. The Word of God is forever true, whether or not anyone reads or believes it, but it becomes a value when you and I apply it to our own lives. We put a handle on it for you, by God’s grace, and by the enablement of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God who, as one of His tasks, has the interpretation of God’s Truth for our hearts.
We’re looking at Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me”. All of the things that can happen under the heading of evil. Now, he’s talking about physical dying- we have plenty of troubles that happen while we’re living, but physical dying, I think, one of the things that is uppermost in your mind as you think about this is, “Is it going to hurt?”, That’s the question that a little child very frequently asks. When the parakeet dies or whatever, “Does it hurt to die?” And of course I’ve never been there yet so I can’t tell you. I remembered old Dr. Woodland who was our family doctor, in the old days in Philadelphia, and he came one day when I was very sick with the flu, I think it was, or the grip, or whatever I had, I don’t remember. But I was miserable and complaining, and he looked at me and prescribed some medicines or other and he says, “Well for whatever comfort it is, you’ll feel a lot better than this the day you die”. He says, “You feel much worse when you’re sick and you’re good to get better, than when you’re dying”. Well that may be true but it is a question that does hang over us. What’s it feel like? Does it hurt? Is it a struggle? Well I don’t know. I’ve watched people as they slipped away into eternity, as a minister of course, all of us pastors and ministers have that sometimes heartbreaking duty, and people live differently and they die differently, but the point is, it’s not an evil thing to contemplate, it’s not a trouble, it’s not a threat to contemplate the cessation of your physical life. Why? Because He’s there. He’s got His hand on you. He’s going to take you across and He’s not going to drop you. He didn’t bring you this far to drop you, I often say to my friends. You don’t have to fear the trouble and the evil though of physical discomfort or pain or agony because, He’s there. Oh, yes He is!
A minister friend of mine went to call on a lady who was afflicted with a terminal form of cancer and was in great pain. Constantly suffering great pain, and she didn’t like to take the pain deadening drugs because she wanted her mind to be clear, so there she lay, suffering intense, intense pain. Well my minister friend said, “I’m going to pray for you now”, and she said breaking into the conversation, “What are you going to pray for”? Oh, he said, “I going to ask that God will ease your suffering and that He will be with you, and that He will bless you, and that He’ll strengthen you, and that He’ll comfort you”. And she said, “Oh pastor”, she said, “That’s not it. Pray that I won’t waste all this suffering. That somehow it will pay out for the glory of God. Pray that I won’t waste all this suffering!” Now, that is a different point of view, isn’t it? “I will fear no evil”, why, “because Thou art with me”. God can sanctify pain, suffering, tears, sorrow, heartbreak, business reversals, the failing of your health, misunderstanding among people, your dear ones and relatives misunderstand something that you’ve done and your feelings are hurt. God can sanctify our sensations, our experiences, and our feelings. Have you learned that? “We have”, the writer to the Hebrew says, “We have a High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. If you’re tired, He knows how you feel; if your hurt, He knows how you feel; if you’ve been neglected and snubbed, He knows how you feel. If you tried hard but failed and you’re despondent over your failure, He knows how you feel. So, that Paul having learned this said, “Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me, for when I’m weak then by God’s grace I’m strong”. Do you follow that? “Thou art with me”. I’ll fear no evil -the physical incapacitation, discomfort, pain, and even agony that may be associated with crossing from this life to the next, is not a threat to you, because He’s there.
I think everybody wonders what will happen after you’ve gone, in terms of your children and grandchildren and all that. There again, you can trust your dear ones with the Lord. Someone told me years ago the story of the father of Paul Rader. There were three Rader brothers that are remembered now for their work for the Lord; Paul, the evangelist, Luke, a Bible teacher and evangelist, and Lyle Rader, who also was a great soul winning Christian. Paul and Luke and Lyle. None of them, Christians, at the time when the elder father Rader lay dying. But he had prayed for them so faithfully through the years. Paul Rader actually was a boxer. He had a tremendous physique and it was quite an athlete. I don’t know what the other brothers were developing into, but at that point, none of them knew the Lord. But the father was praying. Well you know how thoughtless people can be, and so someone visiting the old man as he lay dying said, “Well”, said, “don’t you feel bad because none of the children are saved?”. “Oh”, he said, “No”, he said, “I’m trusting God’s promise, ‘Thou shall be saved, and thy house’”, he said, “I’ve committed them to the Lord and I know that they’ll be saved”, and he died triumphant not despondent. The end of that story is that within a year or so, all of the family were brought to Christ, and Paul Rader, as you know, was known all over the world as a great evangelist, and won thousands upon thousands of people to Christ. “I will fear no evil”. Are you fearing, beloved, about your family? You wonder what’ll happen with those dear grandchildren that are growing up, you wonder if they get off into the wrong crowd and get mixed up with drugs and all that, and your heart just sinks, and you think, “I won’t be around to say or do anything that would help”. You don’t have to fear. God is still on the throne, He’s still on the job. He hasn’t forgotten you. He’s not going to quit answering your prayers, after you’ve gone over into the presence of your Lord. He’s going to keep on answering them.
George Mueller prayed for many years for the salvation of a few people: one of them was saved within of a comparatively short time, another one was brought to Christ after good many years, and still another was as yet not converted, they tell me, when George Mueller passed away, but was brought to Christ after his death. God doesn’t quit when you and I are finished with our physical life. You don’t have to fear about that. Now, I’m talking to some folk who have been active in Christian work, and you’ve built up quite a ministry, and you think yourself, “Well, if I were to die, what would happen to my ministry”? Well, that my friend, is something else that you can leave in complete confidence with your blessed Lord. God will carry on His work. He buried Moses, but He had Joshua all ready to take up the work. God buries His workmen, but He carries on His work, someone has said. You don’t have to fear about what’s going to happen to your work in your ministry. No, you don’t. Now, to take sensible human steps, if you’re in business, to take sensible human steps for instance, for succession of leadership in your business, is good sense. To take sensible steps of protecting your ministry as best you can, and providing for some succession of leadership, that’s good sense.
I recall when my good friend Warren Wiersbe told me that someone had approached him about casting in his lot with Back to the Bible broadcast, and he wasn’t sure about it time, he just didn’t know how it might work. But, that dear brother Theodore Epp, course is now with the Lord, he was sure about it. So, he kept on exploring the possibilities, working them out. Warren Wiersbe, with his genial and gracious and always challenging thoughts, is carrying on that ministry. The ministry keeps on even though Theodore Epp has now gone into the Presence of his Lord. Incidentally, this has nothing to do with the Bible teaching, I’ll just throw it in free, I owe a great deal to Theodore Epp, in that one day while we were sharing a hamburger together out on Rt 30, near Winona Lake, Indiana, I said, “Well, teach me something. What’s the Lord been doing for you?” Well he said, “I’ve been praying earnestly that God would give me a new touch by the time on 50. I’m coming up on 50, and I’ve just been praying that God would give me a new touch”, and that struck a chord in my own heart because, at that point I was I think may be 47 or 48, I thought, I’m going to start praying that God will give me a new touch and a new dimension to my life, when I turned 50, and I did. Well, on June 7, 1962, it suddenly dawned on me, here I am 50 years old, and God has put me in a new job as president of the college, with a new challenge, and so much of responsibility that is just staggers me to think about it, it’s more than I can handle unless I go to my knees and trust God, it is indeed the answer to that prayer. Theodore Epp, started me on that, now when I get to Glory, I’ll thank him again. But well anyhow, God carries on His work. You don’t have to worry about your ministry, beloved. God isn’t going to let it fall, He is going to keep on keeping on in His perfect purposes, glorifying His Name. Be sure of that. Nothing can be wrong with what God has planned. Once you’ve settled that, you’re at peace, “I will fear no evil for Thou art with me”. Oh, by the way, good advice is one thing, but the presence of a person is something entirely different. You and I may talk to each other as I’m speaking with you now, about these truths, and you can you can agree with them, I hope you do because they’re all true. But that doesn’t make you feel much different. You know, good advice if you’re crying, good advice doesn’t make you stop crying. You notice that? You ladies of course are allowed to cry, we men are aren’t supposed to, but dear lady, you’re crying about something and a friend comes up to you, and pats on the shoulder and says, “Don’t cry”. Does that make you feel better? No. Actually, it makes you feel a little resentful because you think the individual doesn’t understand how bad off you are. Advice and lectures don’t make us feel any better, but the Presence of a wonderful Person, our blessed Lord, makes the difference. Oh, seek His Presence. If you’re feeling down today, if you’re afraid today if you’re sick today, if you’re broke today, if you’re hurt today, seek your blessed Lord. His Presence makes the difference. “I will fear no evil for Thou art with me”, and once you touch by faith the hem of His garment, you will feel differently. You’ll be encouraged, and you’ll go on to be a victor by His grace.
Dear Father today, may we have that delightful experience of Thy Presence, even in the things in life that would threaten us, through Jesus our Lord, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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