Ray Corbett - Argentina Convention

I have had a busy morning. I've been in two meetings already. One was in the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth, in the hill lands of Judah. There were just three people present in that meeting. Elizabeth was the first to speak. She spoke in a loud voice. It was easy to hear her. Her heart was filled with gratitude. Mary was the next to speak. The old man in the corner had nothing to say, but no doubt tears would have been running down his face as he listened to those two women. People talk about the generation gap. Elizabeth was no longer young. Mary was young, but they could enjoy fellowship together. 
        
The other meeting I was in this morning was on the Isle of Patmos. John the apostle was there alone, but yet not alone. He was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and it takes 22 chapters to tell of the meetings John enjoyed. 
        
Twenty-nine times the words "I saw" are mentioned. God wants us to see many things today. To be in the Spirit is to be separated from our circumstances and our feelings; in the body but out of the body; in the condition where God can lift us up and show us things of Himself. Monday followed Sunday and John was still a prisoner. He was still alone; still without fellowship with others, but he had much to think about. The best meetings cannot change our circumstances, but it can change our attitude toward our circumstances. 
         
It is not hard to give thanks for the good things that please us, but did you ever give thanks for the things that don't please you? Would Joseph's eleven brethren have given thanks for the famine? It brought them to their knees and made them look inside and plead for mercy. Maybe we've had some experiences like this? Have you ever thanked God for forgiveness? We often ask for forgiveness on Sunday morning, but would it not be more fitting if we would say thanks for His forgiveness? 
        
When my companion was only 8 years old, he became intrigued with the car in the garage, and one day, playing around, he got it started, but didn't know how to stop it. He ran away and hid, until sunset; but since he couldn't stay outside forever, returned to the house. His father had just come home from work and was taking off his shoes. He looked up at him and said, "Let this be a lesson to you." He could hardly believe his ears. Forgiven. This moved him so much that he ran and got his father's slippers. I wondered about the disciples, in this matter. Would they have ever given thanks for the Sea of Galilee? It got into their boat, but this brought them to their knees and made them cry out, and there they got to know their Master better. 
         
Do you like traveling? You'll need your traveling documents, as I want to take you on a journey. Our journey begins in Moab. We were singing about Jesus' footsteps. Now we'll trace, for a little the footsteps of Naomi and Ruth. I wonder how they crossed the River Jordan? It would have been overflowing. I can see them on the other side, with their clothes wet, and maybe sitting down for a while to let them dry. The journey would have taken them past some memorials. Maybe Ruth would have begun to look around and would have seen a pile of stones a little ways off. "What are these?" she would have asked, and Naomi would have replied, "Those are there to prompt the children to ask, 'What happened here?' That's how the children of Israel crossed the River." (Joshua 4) Maybe it would have taken Naomi a lot of time to tell her the story, which begins with the coming of Moses and Aaron to Egypt; two servants of God. God worked miracles, hardening Pharaoh's heart, and at the same time creating faith in the children of Israel. The kind of faith that moved them to do what God asked. This is how the way of salvation begins for everyone - God working miracles and creating faith in the heart that finds us, afterwards, taking steps in faith. 
       
There's another heap of stones way off in the distance. "What's that all about?" Ruth would have asked. Naomi would have replied, "That's where Achan is buried." Have you read about his story? When Jericho was taken, God gave strict instructions that nothing was to be taken that belonged to Jericho, but Achan took what God told him not to take. It brought death. Ruth would have come to understand that this God of Israel required obedience. The first principal of heaven is obedience. What kind of obedience? A willing obedience. Sometimes as children we didn't have this kind of obedience. We were asked to do something "Well, I suppose, since I was asked to do it, I'll do it." What kind of obedience is this? It's reluctant obedience. God isn't looking for this kind of obedience-doing things just because others ask us to. In this book of Ruth, we read about two women who had a shopping list. There was just one item on their shopping list. The circumstances of life had left them destitute, with no hope for the future, and they were out shopping - shopping for a way back to the opportunities that were lost. There were two possibilities. One man refused, but the other one paid the price. Perhaps later on Ruth would have asked Boaz why he did it; and would he have replied, "Because the Lord told me to?" No, he would have said, "I did it because I loved you." 
        
We think of Jesus today and all He has done for us. Why did He do it? Was it because He was bound by a law, or made to do it for his Father? No - He did it because He loved us. Today is a day of remembrance. God knows we're prone to forget, and so He arranged that we gather together the first day of the week to have a memorial service. Did you ever forget that you are not your own? We begin to make plans for ourselves and leave God out of them. We have forgotten that we're not our own. We gather together and remember the sacrifice of Jesus. There's the bread and wine. The bread is a symbol of Jesus' life and teachings, and the wine of His blood. Why does the bread go around first, because it's a symbol of His life and teachings? When we reach for it, we're saying that we're willing to be a participant in His teachings, and only then can we reach for the cup and accept the provision made by the Lamb. 
       
When Jesus gave thanks for the bread and the cup, with His disciples, before they partook of it, I wonder what He said? He was the Bread. The wine was a symbol of His own blood. I wonder if He was thanking God for the privilege of being the bread and the wine? Could we ever forget all that God has done for us? The price was paid so our future could be clothed with hope. 
       
There's a portion in John 8 that I read often, about the woman taken in adultery, who was brought to Jesus and put in the midst. According to the law, that woman had left home for the last time, but here she was, returning home. Why? Because of Jesus. The law said she was guilty of death, but because Jesus was there, she returned home. I have traced her footsteps sometimes, to her house. What would she have been thinking? "I should be dead, but I'm alive." And we should be, too, but because of Jesus, we're alive today with a wonderful hope. 
       
Peter thanked God for the resurrection of the dead. He said that because of this, we have been begotten again unto a lively hope. God has used different things in the scripture to keep us reminded. Did you ever see the rainbow here in Argentina? What do you think when you see it? God put it there to remind Himself of His promise to Noah. You wouldn't think that God would need a reminder, would you? The sun and moon and stars don't have any meaning to you, do they? They meant a lot to the children of Israel, especially when they were in Babylon. While these remained Israel would remain a nation forever, as God had promised. No doubt there were days when the sun did not shine in Babylon, but perhaps in the night time the sky would be clear and they would see the moon and the stars, thinking "There is yet hope for us." And sometimes when the night was dark, but then the day would dawn and the sun would shine again, and they would think, "There's hope for us." These were precious memorials for the children of Israel in Babylon. 
       
Today we thank God for His faithfulness towards us. He knows our tendencies to forget, and keeps us reminded of what is important for our salvation.