January 5, 2018

Dear Brethren,

In the late 1990’s, I attended a ministerial conference where an interesting paper was handed out. I’ll share that paper here tonight.

Who Was This Courageous Man?

He drifted through his 20’s. When he turned 31, he thought: “I’ve got to get myself going and do something!” He formed a partnership and went into business, but in 18 months he was bankrupt. Then he decided, since he was broke anyway, he would go into politics. In his first local election he lost badly. Two years later, aged 34, he went back into business. Bankruptcy again.

A year later he thought things were improving when he fell in love with a beautiful woman. She died. At 36 he suffered a nervous breakdown and was confined to bed for six months. He recovered and went back into politics, running for another local government post. He lost again. He started another business, with a little more success this time. So, at 43, he decided to run for Congress. He lost.

At 46 he ran for Congress again, and he lost again. At 48 he ran for the Senate, and lost that as well. When he was 55, he tried for his party’s nomination for Vice-President. He was badly defeated. At age 58, he ran for the Senate again, and again he lost.

Final, at 60 years of age, Abraham Lincoln was elected to his first office – President of the United States. Lincoln told his friends late in life that he had a lifelong battle with fear and depression, but he wouldn’t quit. Lincoln was a fighter, a man of courage… a winner.

President Lincoln faced adversity throughout his life, but he still wasn’t a quitter. Had he been, he would never have become our sixteenth president. Horace Greely (the editor of the New York Tribune), wrote the following words about President Lincoln in his obituary:

He was not a born king of men but a child of the common people who made himself a great persuader, therefore a leader, by dint of firm resolve, patient effort, and dogged perseverance. He slowly won his way to eminence and fame by doing the work that lay next to him – doing it with all his growing might – doing it as well as he could, and learning by his failure, when failure was encountered, how to do it better. He was open to all impressions and influences and gladly profited by the teaching of events and circumstances, no matter how adverse or unwelcome. There was probably no year of his life when he was not a wiser, cooler, and better man than he had been the year proceeding.’

Sometimes, we as God’s people can see only the metaphorical “dark skies” when experiencing our own set of trials. That’s not what God wants us to see. We all experience them! NO ONE is left out. God wants us to “gain ground” spiritually through our trials, to be wiser, and become a better person than we had been the year before.’

God’s end-time apostle, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong experienced trials like all of us. Here is ONE experience he wrote about in a “Brethren Letter”, 1972.

Dear Brethren of God’s Church,

November 2, 1972

I want you to REALIZE THIS:  God could have refrained from calling YOU, now.  He could have left YOU, like MOST of this world, to be called later, when there will be no devil to contend with. Then you wouldn’t have had to fight constantly against that spirit of DISCOURAGEMENT, that tendency to LET DOWN in prayer and Bible study — that tendency injected by Satan to get into an attitude of criticism, or even bitterness.  

CONSIDER THIS:  WHY did not God wait to call YOU, at that EASIER time, along with the rest of the world?  Do you realize that in GOD’S SIGHT YOU are something very SPECIAL, very PRECIOUS to Him?  He selected YOU as one to be CALLED NOW — and for ONE REASON ONLY — that YOU might have YOUR PART, with me, under CHRIST, to PREPARE THE WAY for His Coming — to ANNOUNCE the Good News of the soon-coming KINGDOM OF GOD — to prepare YOU, even by stern trial and test, even by DISCOURAGING situations He allows to develop, for YOUR PLACE IN HIS KINGDOM FOREVER, as well as for YOUR PART in His Work, NOW! That means a GREATER REWARD — a GREATER GLORY FOREVER, than if He had called you LATER! 

Do you suppose Satan does not know all this? He knows! He will do all in his power to get you DISCOURAGED — to get you to find some fault — to LET DOWN in prayer and Bible study — to LOSE YOUR INSPIRED ZEAL for God’s Work!

In August, 1947, the city building inspectors condemned our first college building, demanding we make all walls one-hour fire resistant, and install complete new electric conduits and plumbing pipes throughout the three floors and basement. The cost was over $30,000. That year the income for the Work was averaging about $360 a day. I did send letters to the Brethren stating this crisis. But they were accompanied by FASTING AND PRAYER. The money came. One man — not a member, but a radio listener on The PLAIN TRUTH mailing list, whom I did not know, borrowed $5,000 on his own home up in central California and sent it to me. We had been threatened with never being able to open the college.  But God answered our prayers, and the college opened October 8, with FOUR  pioneer students. During autumn 1947, and nearly all of 1948, I  had to hear some faculty members and others (NOT praying Brethren)  constantly speaking discouragingly about “… when this thing FOLDS UP.”

God is PERFECT. Everything He does causes GOOD.  NOTHING He does causes evil, or pain or suffering, or fear or worry or frustration.  When we are ALL like HIM there will be NO pain, NO sorrow, NO discomfort, no evils, no fears or frustrations — but PEACE, and JOY, an exuberant well-being.

As we know, God did not allow The WORK of God to fail in 1948. It continued to grow through 1986, when Mr. Armstrong died in the FAITH. Though he faced adversity many, many, times in his life, he was NEVER a quitter! If he had been, God would never have used him!

As we find in the book of Romans:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
(Romans 8:28)

We can count on those words! They are RELIABLE and TRUE!

Please have a wonderful Sabbath!

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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