Helen Phimister - Durban, South Africa Convention - November 1998

I want to say, "Thank you."  It's been very special to be here.  I'd just like to share with you a thought that an older brother shared with us a few years ago just before he left us.  It wasn't what he was talking about, but he said, "Before I leave you I want to leave you with this little thought."  The thought was this:  "If we don't love what we believe, when the tests come, we're going to follow what we love - even in spite of what we believe.

Well, it wasn't a little thought to me.  It was very searching.  To think that if we don't love what we believe, that when the crunch comes, we are going to follow what we love, even in spite of what we believe.  It proves to me, and it proves over and over again that love is the strongest power.  Love has the strongest pull in our lives and it's the thing we love that's going to conquer.  I firmly believe that.  I don't think there is anybody in this tent, but what believes this is the WAY.  We heard it so beautifully last night that Jesus is the Way and that the Way is Jesus.  We believe it with all our hearts, a strong conviction.  I hope nothing will shake our faith in this, that this is the Way, this is the Truth and this is the Life.


 It is not enough to believe that this is the right way - we need to LOVE it!  This needs to become the love of our life, because there are tests going to come.  Only if we love what we believe, that this really is the love of our life, that we'll defend it.  We'll defend it!  I don't think we've any guarantee that nothing will separate us from our faith.  We believe.  I do believe, however, that nothing will separate us from the love of our life.


We heard about the Titanic when it went down.  There were young honeymoon couples on that ship.  The women got the first chance to go into the life rafts but those brides just wrapped themselves in their bridegroom's arms and they went down together.  It proves to us that love is stronger than death.  The thing we love is going to have the strongest pull and its going to win.  Jesus said, "Where our treasure is, there will our heart be also."  He didn't say where our faith is but where our treasure is.  Our heart is always with our treasure.  It shows to me that our love needs to be more than our faith - this faith, this that we believe in, it needs to become our treasure.  It needs to become the LOVE OF OUR LIFE!  That's what it needs to be, so that when the crunch comes - and the tests will come - if it is our treasure, our heart will be there.  There's nothing that will separate us.  We'll defend what we believe.  Of if we love something else, if there's something else (as Martha was saying), that's stealing our love, that becomes the love of our life, then - oh - when the crunch comes, we're going to follow what we love, in spite of what we believe.


I was reading about Judas, and he didn't believe in anybody else.  He believed Jesus was the Son of God.  I believe he loved Him too.  However the day came when his love went out to thirty pieces of silver.  He didn't stop believing Jesus, but he began to love something else.  Then when the crunch came, he followed what he loved and he denied what he believed!  Denied it!  Searching to me!


We read of Demas, that Paul could say of him, "Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world."  I don't think Demas believed in any other ministry.  He would never believe in any other ministry, I'm sure, but that wasn't enough to hold him.  It says he loved this present world.  Then the test came, as it comes to us all.  He followed what he loved.  It has the strongest pull every time.  You know, he denied what he believed. 


I was reading about Solomon, and he wrote thousands of proverbs, a thousand or more songs, and these were all inspired by God.  Those proverbs were proven truths, and he believed them.  He wrote them and I believe he loved them.  He didn't only believe they were the truth but I believe that for a while, they were his treasure.  He would keep them in a treasure chest.  They were special to him.  As long as they were his treasure, that's where his heart lay, what he believed, what was inspired by God.  Proven truths!  However the day came when his love went out to strange women.  When the crunch came, he followed what he loved and he denied those proverbs.  HE DENIED WHAT HE REALLY BELIEVED - what one day had been inspired by God, one day was his treasure!  Where our treasure is, our heart will be there.  As long as it's our treasure, we don't need to fear because nothing will separate us from where our heart really lies.  It lies with our treasure, not just with our faith. 


Peter was speaking and he spoke of those who had forsaken the right way and gone astray.  They'd gone in the way of Balaam.  It says that Balaam loves the wages of unrighteousness.  Those people knew it was the right way - they believe it was the right way and maybe they would never doubt that it was the right way, but they forsook it, because they loved the wages of unrighteousness.  Balaam believed God was right.  Balaam said, "All that the Lord has spoken to me.  I'm going to do it - I must do it.  All that the Lord has said, I'm going to speak it."  He believed God - those precious truths.  He believed those people were right.  He wanted to die like them, yet he loved what was wrong.  The crunch came - and he followed what he loved.  He denied what he believed!


When I read about Adam and Eve, I feel sorry for them.  I can't believe that Adam didn't believe God.  The first one that God had created and God had so many dealing with.  I feel he did believe God; that he believed the truth, but the Devil came along and spoke a lie.  Do you know what it was?  He loved the lie!  He believed the truth, I'm sure, but he loved the lie.  The lie was appealing to his ear, his taste, and he loved it.  Then the test came.  He followed what he loved and he denied what he believed.


I was thinking about Jesus.  We've heard a lot about the will of God.  I believe Jesus had a strong conviction what the will of God was and He knew it was going to take Him to the cross.  It was quite a will.  No wonder He struggled.  I feel He needed more than just the strong conviction that, "This is the will of God for Me."  He said in John's gospel, "The will of God is My meat."  Is My meat!  It's more than a conviction.  It's My meat!  It's My life!  Even though He struggled with His own will, it didn't conquer, because the will of God wasn't only what He was convicted of.  It was His very life.  It was the LOVE OF HIS LIFE.  Even though it was difficult, it was the thing He loved.  It was the thing that was His meat.  That is where His heart lay - with the Will of God.  Even when He was struggling!  His own will could not separate Him from His treasure.


I'd like to tell you a little story, a nice story, an experience in our field one year.  A few years ago there was a young girl, and she was serving God.  She was a beautiful looking girl, a hearty girl.  She was in our field, and she was taking her degree.  There was another young man in our field that she was friendly with.  He used to come sometimes, and he was a handsome young man.  He had a wonderful future, a wonderful profession, and they looked like a beautiful couple.  In my heart I felt that this couple is going to make a useful couple.  At the end of the mission, we went to our room.  There was a knock on our door, and here was this young girl, breaking her heart.  She said, "I don't know if I'm going to be willing for what the Lord has laid on my heart."  She said, "I've sat in the mission, God seems to be claiming me for the work."  Well, I just thought of this young man, her love for this young man, and honestly, I just didn't know how she was going to do it.  She loved that young man.  That young man loved her.  She fought that battle out and thankfully, that young man wasn't her treasure.  She loved him, but her love for the will of God was more - I don't think she could have gone though with it, even if it was just a strong conviction.  She needed more than that.  She needed for this thing to be the love of her life, the will of God.  I can never sing that hymn but what that couple comes to my mind, "The things above now claim first place, and in Thy name, I'll seek through joy or pain, Thy Kingdom first."  We saw the pain, but she went through with the will of God because the things above had claimed her love, her first love.  They were the love of her life.  She worshiped the will of God.  Because of that, she was able to stand true to her conviction.  She's filling a wonderful place - and so is HE in the Kingdom of God.


When Jesus spoke to Peter, He didn't question his faith.  Jesus knew this man believes in Me.  He had a clear revelation.  Yet Jesus said, "Peter, lovest thou Me more than these?"  He'd gone back to the fishing.  Jesus questioned his love.  He knew he was going out to be tested and if he loved these other things more than he loved Jesus, when the crunch came, even in spite of his strong conviction, he was going to follow what he loved.  Peter said, "Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee."  Jesus knew then, "I'm more than just what Peter believes in.  I'm his treasure.  I'm the love of his life."  He knew then that was where his heart would go and nothing would separate him from this.


May God help us to search our hearts and that this wouldn't just be our faith, that this that we believe would become our treasure, the love of our very life, our first love, that whatever comes, our heart will lie with our treasure and that nothing will separate us from what we believe.