"An Inside Perspective"

July 2008

My dear family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! It has been a great blessing and privilege to be allowed to share my heart with you each month. This month begins my twelfth year and it is my heart-felt prayer that you might find a nugget or two of encouragement in the things that the Lord teaches me. Please know that I remain grateful for all your prayers.

I want to share about my Mom. She is wonderful. She was the greatest Mom you could ever ask for growing up. She was, and still is very "happy-go-lucky," as they used to say. She was always involved in everything we did as kids. Sadly, I would eventually alienate her and I went for a period of about 15 years without seeing her. Then, about 5 years ago, the Lord brought her back to me through Sister Debbie. Mom was gracious in her forgiveness; we had a tear-filled reconciliation and determined to leave the past behind us. As our relationship began to grow anew, I started to develop a burden for her soul. Have you ever had a burden for someone's soul? Do you know what that is? It is the Holy Spirit leading you to a person that He desires to save. That person will be, as David said of his sins, "ever before me," meaning you can't get them off your mind or out of your heart. You fall asleep praying for them and you awaken praying for them. Your duty is to bring them before the Throne of grace and petition God for their salvation and your prayers should be coupled with a well thought out plan of sharing the gospel with them. It is through prayer and the dispensing of God's Word that the Lord saves people. We are simply the earthen vessels He uses for this Holy task. It's a wonderful and awesome responsibility.

Usually the burden is for the last person you would think of and oftentimes, it's for someone you really don't even know. That calls for you to initiate a relationship and this is where many of us fail. It is written, "The fear of man brings a snare," meaning that if you worry about rejection or what this person may think of you, you'll miss your opportunity to play a role in what the Lord is doing. Have you ever had a burden and not acted upon it? If so, I urge you to repent and determine in your heart that the next time, you will bring glory to God by heeding His voice.

Anyways, Mom and I are getting along swell and we're talking fairly regularly on the phone. Mind you, Mom is 73 years old and has basically never read the Bible. Debbie had visited and witnessed to her many times but I had not yet challenged her as to where she stood with the Lord. I was so guarded over my newly restored relationship with her that I feared pushing her away again if I "got all up in her business" with the gospel message. Yet on the other hand, I could not bear the thought of not telling her about Jesus. I feared that if I didn't, she would go to hell.

You see, from a human perspective, my Mom is an angel. I never heard her curse, lie or steal, so it would require supernatural wisdom to convince her of her need for the Lord. One day, I just came right out and told her all that was on my heart. I asked her if I could send her some lessons and she agreed to do them! I was overjoyed! My son Carlos and I stepped up our prayers and spent some time with the Lord over her. At the same time, knowing the purpose of the law, I walked her through the Ten Commandments one at a time; one each week. It is by the law that the Holy Spirit convicts men of their sin and once convinced, He then leads them to the cross. Praise God!

Soon Mom began to change. I noticed a new sensitivity to sin that had never been there before. One day I called her and she asked, "Philip is speeding a sin?" The Lord was on the move. All of our conversations turned to talk of the Word with many questions about the lessons. I besought the Lord with these exact words and he heard my cry. I prayed, "Lord please, you remembered your mother while you were on that cross dying, please now remember my mother too." I believed it was a petition of love, like an arrow shot through His own heart that He just could not deny. Then, I simply waited expectantly upon my King.

One Sunday, I came "home" from church filled with the joy of fellowship. At that point, Mom and I were only on the fifth commandment but I felt as if the Holy Spirit was telling me, "You don't have to walk her through all ten commandments; she is ready!" I told Carlos, "I'm leading my Mom to the Lord tonight!" I called her later that night and we spoke of repentance and the cross. I remember it as if it were yesterday. She said, "I know that I'm not going to Heaven." With my pulse racing, I said, "Mom you can go - do you want to?" My heart leapt within me as I heard her say, "Yes!" Praise the Lord! We prayed together and the King of glory came in! That was about four months ago. Mom, or maybe I should say Sister Nancy is now growing wonderfully. Only with the Lord could my mother also become my sister!

"Hallelujah to the King"

Joyfully in Jesus,