Monday, March 12, 2007

Conversations with Fred cont 4

part 4

I am truly blessed…

This again, is coming from a man that knows with certainty he is dying. He knows that it will be a painful and unpleasant death. Why does he feel so blessed?

He started ‘counting his blessings’. [This list is not complete; it is a partial list of the salient points. It is also an incomplete list of verses he quoted supporting each blessing.]

I have gotten to live the promises of the risen Christ.

-“Every step of the way I have been comforted.

John 14:16-18, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

-“Every day I have been given the strength to carry on - even when tempted to have a bad attitude, or rail against God, or just give up.

1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

-“God has blessed me by giving me the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with so many. They see my ‘hope’ and want to know why.

Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”

- Fred is a humble man. He had a hard time expressing this blessing. He cried tears of joy as he relates how blessed he feels to know some of the fruit of labor. Fred knows John 4:36-37, “And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ However, God’s gift to Fred has been to often share in the effects of his ministry. In other words, Fred is constantly told by others how his life, testimony, faith, and his sharing of his faith has affected others positively for Christ.
Back in the beginning of 2006, (Running Out of Time) Fred challenged ‘us’ to reach one person positively for Christ. What Fred never expected was how many people would come to him and tell him how HE had influenced them for Christ. He cries for joy every time someone tells him that - he cries a lot. [Fred understands the eternal implications of just one person coming into the family. In Luke 15:10, Jesus tells us, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

What a joy it is to share in that joy with Fred.

-Fred concluded counting his blessings with a passage Loren shared in the comments of “Conversations with Fred part 3”

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Tim 4:6-8)

Fred’s final thoughts in that conversation were simple.

“While I am here, I will continue in earnest. But, my bags are packed, I am ready to go whenever He calls.”

That is our challenge - Fred’s godly life, Christ-like attitude, commitment to a conviction evidenced by conduct (faith) - are examples we can emulate.

The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Can we make the same claim: ‘While I am here, I will continue in earnest. But, my bags are packed, I am ready to go whenever He calls’?”


Blogger Cleopas said...

What a powerful, gentle ending to this piece, but also to the legacy Fred leaves behind him. And I'd like to take this opportunity to encourage others.

Fred's testimony came, not through efforts and diligence, but through wholehearted surrender. I know this because, if we look through the thin veil of his flesh we will see, not Fred, but our beloved Lord shining through Him. Of course, it could only be He.

Twenty years ago, Fred himself may have found it difficult to envision such a testimony in his life. The kingdom of God is like a seed that springs forth, we know not how. But day by day the grain that fell into the ground and died thrives again, as His life springs up to course through ours, bringing us to maturity in Him.

So let us take heart by Fred's example, for the same Lord is at work in us. For what is Fred's final joy to be? Is is not even ourselves in the Lord's presence, and others through us in turn, because of the life that was seen through him? It is so great a thing that it is humbling, and worth more than life to be found worthy of such honor. The honor can only be given back to the Lord, and who could ask for anything more?

7:10 PM  

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