Torch, Summer 1991

--------------------------------------- continued from page 5 Third, the people who put God first have great vision for God. They see God everywhere and in every circumstance. Under house arrest the Apostle Paul wrote from Rome and referred to the chains that bound his feet, hands and neck as the "necklace" or "jewelry" of an ambassador for Christ (Ephesians 6:20). He saw Christ in his chains. And he proudly wore them as one would a necklace or fine piece of jewelry. Can we see God in our trials like that? Peter states, "Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed" (1Peter4:12-13). Those who put God first can see God in their trials. They know His grand plan of the ages is being worked out through them. Two days before my father passed away, I was standing by his bedside when he asked me to preach his funeral. He was dying of a rapid form of leukemia. For 32 years I had watched him energetically pastor five small churches, but now he appeared extremely weak and frail. His spirit was strong, however. And he had not lost a bit of his keen perception; he could tell that I was having difficulty accepting the idea of his death. Through blurred eyes I watched him as he quoted to me words I will never forget, words that Job had originally spoken to his foolish wife, "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" (Job 2: 10). Those words burned themselves into my mind. The correct answer is "No! " But the point is, are we going to follow God only through good times? Or will we follow Hirn through the tough times , too? My father could see God where I could not see Hirn. God was at work even in his leukemia and in his death. The people who put God first have great vision of God in their lives. They see God at work everywhere. And they know "that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). The young man I referred to who made Christ first in his life began to evidence substantial changes. His wife returned for a brief visit and said, "Things have really changed for the better. I should have left home sooner." She missed the point. Even though he still dearly loved her, he said to her, "I have not changed to get you back. I have changed because that is what God wants me to do, whether you come back or not." Then she realized the changes were serious. Two weeks later, on the very day the pretrial for divorce was scheduled, she also gave her life to Christ. She returned to her husband. They dedicated their baby to the Lord the next Sunday and were baptized a few weeks later. You will not find a couple happier in the Lord. If you ask them today what they are living for, you had better be ready for an hour lecture on making God first in your life. • continued from page 7 high crime, or become a dual wage-earner household in order to purchase a home in an area with good schools and low crime. Employment of the wife outside the home naturally diverts time and attention away from the children. The pursuit of buying the ideal home and the coveting engendered by the media can dominate the marriage in ways that do great harm. Small families and high incomes have become the norm for the American family which, at the same time, is the most affluent household on earth. It is curious that the world 's most well-to-do families appear to be living under such financial oppression. One cannot help but wonder if this is self-imposed. If society is permitted to determine the alternatives from which the family must choose, then scriptural guidelines can become lost in the decision-making process. The obstacles faced by the Christian family should not be amplified to the extent of being bigger than the God it claims to serve. Biblical norms for the family are not servant to the circum– stances pressed on families by the culture. Commitment to godly marriage and the family is becoming one of the most effective ways to declare the gospel of God 's grace to neighbors, co-workers, and classmates whose families are collapsing and who have nowhere else to turn for help. Those who believe the biblical family is no longer necessary and useful contribute to the destruction of society. Those who practice biblical family values may be the only hope against its eventual collapse. • TOUR March 9-20, 1992 ECE C edarville friends and alumni are invited to join Drs. Robert Grornacki and Martin Clark for an unfor– gettable journey to the lands of the Bible. Scores of people have testified that their Bible study and devotional lives have been transformed by participating in Cedarville 's tours to Israel. The Bible stories you have known for years will come alive. Dr. Grornacki, chair of Cedarville's Biblical Education Department, will provide inspirational insights as you visit the locations where these events actually occurred. Your tour will encompass all the major sites in Israel plus several not normally included in other tours. You will also experience Athens, Corinth, and a Greek island cruise. For further information, please contact: Dr. Martin E. Clark, Cedarville College, P.O. Box 601 , Cedarville, OH 45314-0601, 513-766-2211