FMH Childrenís Club International
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, thatís the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
8 March, 1998
It was Friday morning that I received a call from Mrs. E. R. Carrowan (Grace) concerning her husband Ray. The news she gave me about my very good friend and brother in Christ was good but bad at the same time. The good part was that he finally got what heís been living for, because heís now gone on to be with Jesus. You see it was sometime Thursday morning, while he was at work, that Brother Ray had a heart attack and died.
Now his death is nothing to be sad about because he was without a doubt prepared and ready to go. And because of this fact heís now in his permanent home in Heaven; a place of perfect peace and life everlasting with our Lord and Savior. Thatís the good part of this story but the bad part is that he left the rest of us behind... and because there is no US Postal Service or E-mail connections to Heaven I will no longer get to hear from him on a regular basis. You see not only was Brother Ray responsible for leading me out of Satanís grip and into the loving arms of Jesus, but he was also one of my longest running and most sincere friends. Because it was somewhere around 1980 that, as my boss, Brother Ray saw the destructive path my life was taking. And thatís when, as all good Christians should do, he witnessed to me about Jesus Christ. Right there at work he did what Jesus had called him to do and my life hasnít been the same since. And you had just better believe that I am going to miss him.
But even after we went our separate ways and moved to different parts of the country he continued to stay in touch over the years through phone, letters, and E-mail. And not only has he stayed in touch but he has been an avid supporter of the Childrenís Club Ministry since itís beginning. In fact it was in his last letter dated February 8, 1998, that he so generously included a $50 check "to help with postage and printing".
You see Brother Ray was a man with a heart for Jesus. He was striving day by day to walk the walk and talk the talk required by all of us. It was his desire to follow Jesus and thatís what we always talked about in our letters to each other. In fact it was in his last letter that he wrote:
I finished reading the last weekly sermonet on the subject of the Christian Scientist. I never knew what they were about, I only have seen the "reading rooms" downtown in Greenville. My previous boss was active in the movement, too.
Have they missed the mark! How do well educated well meaning people get off on these tangents? Is it they do not read or observe what is around them? I have difficulty with this. I had several good friends in Florence who were Mormon. One was an elder or preacher in the church in Hartsville. We talked some and he said he preached from the King James version of the bible and the Mormon bible. I have researched them since and I am convinced they are a cult. I never reached them... Oh, well. I guess I missed. This leads to a new ( to me) concept. I can do nothing worthy for God in my own power. I can do all things through him. I can also do nothing unless it is on his time table. This later revelation is the hardest for me to comprehend. You know we get enthused and spring into action. It may or may not be of Godís timing. Then I am ineffective or fail completely. Looking back on my life, I see I have accomplished more when I was unaware of any special consequences, when I was just being faithful. God uses this act of faith in ways I never knew at the time. Have you ever experienced this?
I tried to call Redbird when we drove down in Ft Lauderdale over the Christmas holidays. He must have been out of town. I will catch up with him again. I talked to Toby on the telephone recently. They are doing OK...
We are still struggling with the Sunday evening services each month. We have about 15 to 30 people that attend. I suppose that is enough to keep going. I think we should have more in a church of 1600, donít you? There have been so many things going on that I feel the Lord will not bless us until we get in His grace and doing right! King David comes to mind when he repented and again the people prospered. I believe churches are like that...
I gotta go. Take care and keep me posted. Keep the faith and remember "in HIS time!"
Because HE Lives,
your brother, RayC
That was his last letter and the following was his last E-mail dated March 02, 1998:
An update on the Sunday evening services. They are going well with a limited few attending, usually about 20 people. However, the spirit is strong and our pastor is getting interested. He is going to have three services on healing! He is to have communion and teach/preach on healing. We will have services with oil and laying on of the hands. How about that?
Got your letter. Keep em coming. Keep the faith, Cu RayC
And as I hope you can see, through his letters to me, Brother Ray was living his life for the Lord. You see his life was dedicated to helping others find out the real truth about Jesus. Whether they were lost in false religions, lost in no religion, or even worse lost in dying religions. It was Brother Rayís desire that all come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. And that was what he was doing right on up to the time of his departure... from this life to the next. Heís gone home to be with Jesus and the rest of us are left to fight the good fight of faith without him... but boy will I miss him.
You see Brother Ray was a near and dear friend, and it was his last letter that I will use to lead me right on into this weekís message. Because it was my friend Brother Ray who said "King David comes to mind when he repented and again the people prospered." And it just so happened that this was what God put into my heart to write on before I even realized Brother Ray had already mentioned it several weeks ago. So to put the two together, friends and King David, weíll go right on into the message of the week.
You see Iím still trying to reach my next door neighbor (friend) and it was only last Monday that I asked the Lord "what do I do next?" And thatís when He gave me the Scripture that we are about to cover for today. But to first lay a little ground work let me tell you about the "friend" part of the message.
The friends that we will be reading about today were King David and the prophet Nathan. And as most of you should know a prophet is one who gives a message from God to the person God wants to speak to. And it was in this very special position that we first read about Nathan in the Bible. So turning to II Samuel 7 and reading, "And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies; That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee."
David was Godís choice as the king of His chosen people the Jews. And it was only shortly after David was anointed for this very special job that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. And it was this same Spirit that gave him the power to be the king that God intended for him to be. In fact it was right about that time that David fought and won his very first battle with the biggest baddest giant that ever walked the face of this earth (Goliath).
Now the beginning of Davidís life as king of Israel is found in I Samuel 16, and todayís message is found in II Samuel 7. So as you can imagine there is a whole lot of stuff in between the 24 chapters that we wonít even attempt to cover today. But anyway, most of this stuff being talked about was fighting. In fact it was approximately 21 years, from the time he was officially chosen as king to the time of the story we are covering today, that he led the nation of Israel in war against their enemies.
But as we have just read in verses 1-3, it was at this point in time, in the life of David, that he got into what you might call a kicked back mood. You see now that the fighting had ended he had a little extra free time on his hands. And this was when he came up with the idea of building a house for God... and that was when he mentioned it to his good friend Prophet Nathan... and thatís when his good friend Prophet Nathan said go ahead, have at it, do what ever it is on your heart because God is with you.
But it was very shortly after that God had a little talk with Prophet Nathan about the statement he made to King David. Because picking up the story in verse 4 and reading, "And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?"
God let Prophet Nathan know that in no uncertain terms had He ever lived in a house of any sort, and furthermore He had also never asked that a house be built. This was what He had to say to David, but He didnít stop there. Because He goes on to say, "Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of host, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house."
Do you think it possible that just maybe David had gotten a little big headed about all of his accomplishments, and just maybe this was Godís way of setting him straight? You see God traced Davidís history all the way from his being a sheep farmer to king. And then He let him know that he wasnít going to build God a house but God was going to build him one instead. And oh what a house (family) it was going to be. Because God went on to say, "And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he committed iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David."
And it was this one promise from God that would result in two of Davidís sons being a very important part of establishing the Kingdom of God. You see it would be through his son Nathan (not the prophet) that Mary the mother of Jesus would be brought into this world. And it would also be through his son Solomon that Joseph the father of Jesus would be brought into this world. And it was through the combination of these two that the promise of "thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever" would come about. And believe it or not but both of these two sons would come about through their mother and Davidís wife Bathsheba. But letís not get ahead of the story.
So after God lays it on the line David seems to humble himself just a tad, because as we go on to read, "Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O LORD God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?... For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, LORD, art become their God. And Now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said. And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of host is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee. For thou, O LORD of host, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house; therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer to thee. And now, O LORD God, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant: Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O LORD God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever."
That was the very first appearance of Prophet Nathan in which he not only gave King David the good news of his very exciting future but also made him very humble before the Lord. And it was only about 7 years later that this same good friend of Davidís reappears on the scene... but this time the news wasnít so great. Because as we can see by reading for ourselves from II Samuel 12, starting with verse 1, "And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor manís lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And Davidís anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man."
This little story that Prophet Nathan had just delivered to David was true, even though the characters werenít the same as in real life. And quite naturally, it was because of this fact that David didnít recognize the real life story that it actually was. You see the story caught him off guard and he condemned, just as he should have done in the first place, the wrong doings of the rich man. Because as it turns out, the rich man was none other than David himself. And thatís just about the time that Nathan letís the rest of his message from God fly. "And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy masterís house, and thy masterís wives into thy bosom, and I gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife."
Now just so you can understand the story, letís put it in reverse and go back one chapter; thatís where weíll read the nitty gritty bad and gory details for ourselves. So reading from chapter 11, "And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the kingís house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child."
You see if we ainít working for the Lord, as hard as we should be working for the Lord, then we can expect Old Splitfoot to stick his nose into our business and cause us mucho trouble. And since it was Davidís job to lead the soldiers into battle, then thatís exactly what he should have been doing. But for some unknown reason it was this very special time that David didnít go out to fight; he stayed at home instead, he did what he shouldnít have done, and he got into some pretty serious trouble because of it. Now I personally think he had his eyes on this woman for some time, just waiting for the right opportunity to come along and make it happen. And that right opportunity came along very conveniently when her husband just happened to be out fighting Davidís battles.
But even though this whole scene was terribly bad in the eyes of God, it wasnít so bad that David couldnít have asked forgiveness and gotten it. But he didnít do what he should have done, and because of what he did do he only made matters worse. And just so you can see what this dastardly dirty deed was, letís read it for ourselves in verses 15, 26 and 27: "And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten and die. And it came to pass... And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD."
Pretty low down huh? And because of that fact God went on to tell David through his good friend Prophet Nathan, "Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thy didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriahís wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth."
Now what we have just read is the key to this entire message. You see David had done something very bad, but God had been, and always was, ready and willing to forgive him... but he had to first ask forgiveness for this sin. And it was because of the fact that David had covered up his sin for so long that he could no longer admit to it. He had lied to himself for such a long time that he could not even see the truth about himself until he was tricked into doing it. And I personally believe it was because of Nathanís little story that David was finally able to confess to the evil that he had done, and without ever realizing that he had done it... until it was over.
And even though David and Bathsheba both deserved to die they didnít. You see not only did David commit murder but he and Bathsheba both broke Godís law concerning adultery. And it was this death that should have not only put out their lights in this life time but also in the life to come (everlasting). Because even though David was a very dedicated servant of God, saved by the blood of Jesus Christ Who was yet to be, he committed a sin that if not forgiven would have taken him straight on into Hell. But it didnít. Because David, with the help of his good friend Prophet Nathan, fessed up in time. And thatís why, reading it once again, "And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die."
You see David was a human, and like all humans he had to die. But this one death that he was required to die was because of what his great great great... grandfather Adam had done. Thatís a given. So the death that the Lord said he wouldnít have to die was not the natural death resulting from Adamís sin but the death of his spirit instead. In other words, if David would not have asked forgiveness for this sin he would have died with unconfessed sins. And because of the nature of these sins, and they would have remained unconfessed, he would have gone on to Hell and burned forever... but he didnít... because he said "I have sinned against the Lord" and he meant it. So once again the Scriptures deal a mighty blow against the teachings of "once saved always saved".
But to finish the story of David and Bathsheba, reading on, "And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died... Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done?... And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him. And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD."
Wow, what a beautiful story of Godís love; the love that He has waiting for us all. But can you even imagine a marriage resulting from adultery and murder turning out the way this one did? Now donít get it wrong by believing that sin is the thing to do, because it ainít. You see both David and Bathsheba suffered greatly because of these sins they committed... but because they admitted their sins, and asked God to forgive them of their sins, they were blessed by God in their marriage. Just think about it. It was this same couple who produced Solomon and Nathan, who eventually produced Joseph and Mary, who became the parents of Jesus.
So wise up to the facts and confess all them dirty old unconfessed sins of your past. Donít hide em any longer, drag em out into the open and let Jesus take care of them the right away. Clean up your act now, donít wait any longer, and allow God to do the great and mighty things that Heís already prepared for you.
And in closing Iíd like to once again remember my dear friend Brother Carrowan. Thereís no doubt about it that I will miss him greatly, but, there is also great comfort in knowing that because He (Jesus) lives Ray lives too.
Until next week, keep praying, keep on a studying, and keep the faith!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
Home | Maggots And Fire? | Statement Of Purpose
Early Beginnings | Sermonet Of The Week | Classic Sermonets
Internet Tools | E-mail Us