I had been in prison ministry in one form or another since 1973, first as a volunteer, then chaplain and later inmate. I have shared repeatedly some of my better days was behind the bars and some of my greater experiences in doing God’s work and feeling His guidance, and love, was right there. My last time, 2010-13, I would be given one directive to follow: “Stay on your bunk and I will guide those, who I want, to you.”
Now, this would sound strange, to me. I’m one of those kind of guys, an extrovert, and have no trouble meeting new people and sharing. In fact, a close friend once confessed, about me, “You’ve never met a stranger.” However, my whole character would have to be set aside in order for me to follow God’s directive. It would also seem to go against the grain insofar as the “Great Commission”, which we are so fond to recite. Let’s quote it here:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:…” Mat 28:19 (KJV)
How does one “go ye therefore” and remain on their bunk? But the key which I learned very soon was to be found in the last point of the directive, “I will guide those, who I want, to you.” This is the important lesson I would learn: I would be given three years to witness. In that time, I would come in contact with thousands of men in some capacity or other. My knowing and appreciating the time and zeal with “prison ministry” would waste no time in witnessing to those dressed in “green” like I was, as well as “blue” (officers) or “white” (command). I would also feel free enough to witness to those in “black” chaplaincy, and did so in one instance. But God’s directive would prove true. I learned whenever I sought someone, my words fell upon deaf ears, but when someone came to my quarters, the time spent was productive, fulfilling and rewarding! What was the message learned through all of this:
“Roy, you don’t know who will be saved, but I do. You do not have time to reach everyone so I will send those who are “reachable” to you.” There was a very sobering message I learned by this as well. It was, “Not everyone will be saved.”
Not everyone will be saved. Everyone is given an opportunity, but not everyone will be saved. There is another thought I had to come to grips with as well. It was this, “Some people were created to serve a certain purpose, like Judas, like Pilot, like Pharaoh, and the end of their story was not one of salvation. So, God didn’t want me to spend precious time, only three years, reaching out to those who were beyond reach when He knew who was wanting and could direct them to His servant to be given whatever it is which would win them over and give them what they had been searching to receive.
I am often confronted regarding my posts which deal with President Trump. I’ve been asked regarding “compassion”, “those who have not heard”, “Islamist”, and why it seems I’m “happy” during this time of earth’s history. The answer is quite easy. I’m thrilled to be living in the closing scenes of this world’s history and to see the work of the Gospel come to a close. Yes, I’m ecstatic. I’m also saddened by those who will not be saved, but I recognize God knew who they were and He would not lose any who desired to be saved. I know what He has done on my behalf and I have to believe the same effort, if not more, has gone into saving those others. I had a choice. I made my choice. They, too, would have made their choice and although I may not know it, God has assured me to move on.
We are nearing the close of Probation. There will not be any “holding hands and singing Kumbaya around the campfire” moments. We have to accept the fact there are friends, loved ones, and family who will not be saved, and our efforts have to “move on…” to the next one. The adage, “As long as they’re breathing…” doesn’t hold water. Many will continue to breathe when it has been already deemed too late for them. We’re getting ready to face that time when, “He that is holy be holy still and he that is filthy be filthy still…” you know the verse. There will be many who think they are saved and they aren’t, just as there will be many who think they are lost but are in fact saved. The making up of the 144,000 is not something future but is being made up NOW. We also know those going through that “Time of Trouble” will be Commandment-keepers. What does this imply? It means those who are NOT Commandment-keepers, who are good people, may even exemplify Christian characters but they have failed in that one point, are lost! This is why it is a very sad time. A tragic time, but it is a time we must go through nonetheless.
Christ is NOT speaking to the world when He says, “Depart from Me…” He’s speaking to those in the church. Those in the world are already lost. They realize this and have already accepted it. It is those who are in the church who will have the struggle when they ask, “Lord, didn’t we…” They are the ones who had a working relationship with God but they failed to comply with the total program, “They who keep the Commandments of God…” They wanted “grace” and “faith” and every other excuse to be good enough to grant them admission. They will be so disappointed to find out they were wrong and it will be too late to rectify it. We have to accept this fact, while Christ died for everyone’s sin, there are many who never accepted this gift therefore they never received it. They now have to die for their own sin. Someone wanted to pay the penalty, but they chose to pay it themselves. These are the ones God is telling us to “move on…” to keep going forward because there is someone who will accept the invitation, change their ticket destination and will be on time for their ride into Glory.
February 12, 2017