From a Friend in South Florida… October 4, 2022

HurricaneFortMyers

Just a few days ago we shared a helpful article on using gospel tracts. That post was written by Pastor Tom Sexton of the Gulf Coast Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL. Soon after that resource was made available Hurricane Ian made landfall in the place where he ministers. Their church sustained damage and Pastor and Mrs. Sexton had their home flooded. Like many others, they are dealing with tremendous loss. Early this morning he sent me the following thoughts that God has given him. My heart was stirred by his concentration on the open door for the gospel. Please read his reflections and allow these verses to speak to you. Then, take a few moments to pray for many believers in South Florida in this time of need. -SP

“IN” Everything Give Thanks
Pastor Tom Sexton

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18).

Dear friends, we who live in Southwest Florida are “IN” it. Please pray for us! Our difficult days began Wednesday 9/28/22 with the arrival of hurricane IAN, a very unwelcome guest in our state. If he had lingered any longer we would have all perished.

The little word “IN” at the beginning of this verse makes it hard to understand and claim. We would like to get past all the troubles brought by IAN and then look back and rejoice that we made it. But God’s Word says, “In everything give thanks” not after every thing give thanks. Why?

* Nothing can touch a child of God without our Heavenly Father allowing it. We are kept in God’s loving hands.

Jesus said, “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29).

* What touches our lives has a greater purpose than we first see.

Jesus sent word to the sisters of Lazarus that their brother’s sickness was “not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (John 11:4). There was a greater purpose which Mary and Martha could not see. When God allows something to touch our life there is always a greater purpose that we cannot see.

* We must believe to see.

And that my friend is why there is an “IN” everything and not an “after” everything in this promise. Jesus said, “If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God” (John 11:40). Mary and Martha believed and saw the greater purpose. The Bible says, “Many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him” (John 11:45). The greater purpose is always the salvation of the lost.

PLEASE PRAY FOR US:

1. Pray that Christians will not become bitter at God and blame Him for their loss.

Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27).

2. Pray that we do not lose faith in God using this disaster to work in the hearts and lives of others.

Jesus said unto them, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22).

The Bible says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

All of the people who do not know our loving God need to see our faith and confidence in Him. Believe God.

3. Pray that people will come to Christ and believe the Gospel.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

The salvation of the lost is the greater purpose. This is our hour because God has everyone’s attention. Let’s thank Him “IN” this hour and see what He can do. The Jews in Mary and Martha’s village became believers and joined the mission Christ gave them.

How many will we see come to Christ in this hour and join our mission from God?

(If you would like to contribute to the relief of God’s people and local churches in SW Florida you may do so through Hearts with Hands at heartswithhands.org/hurricane-ian. We will also receive a special love offering at next week’s Southwide Baptist Fellowship gathering in Atlanta, GA to send to this effort.)

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