Trevor Loechel - Living for Eternity - Darwin Special Meetings - July, 2009

It is good to consider that Heaven is not far away and could even be a little closer than we think. We know there is an eternity without God, but we want to consider what it is to have an eternity with God. God has put us in a wonderful setting with nature all around to teach us, and every man will be left without excuse.


Have you children ever thought, “Why did God make the ants?” The Bible tells us that God made the ants to be our teachers.


Proverbs 6:6, “Go to the ant . . consider her ways and be wise.” The ant is a feeble little fellow but is wise in preparing his meat in the summer. Be wise in making the most of opportunities because we don’t want to be lacking when it comes to the end of life. We want to have something that will sustain us in a day when maybe we don’t have someone at our side, or maybe in a day when we aren’t able to gather together like we are today. A lot of people cannot gather like we are, but they have something to sustain them. We all need the wisdom of the little ants in providing something to sustain us.


It is wonderful what a day like today can do for us. Psalm 84:10, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.” Well, a thousand days is about three years, so just being together here today is better than three years of living. If we live to about seventy years of age, we are getting far more out of life by spending twenty days living for God than a person who lives for seventy years without God.


Aren’t we a privileged people? God’s word has a wonderful effect on our hearts, like living, flowing water. We were walking through the mountains in Peru, getting near to the home we were visiting and we crossed a little stream. In the stream was a cane basket and it made me curious, so I looked in and saw that it was full of lupins. I wondered if the lady of the house decided to prepare some and had brought them there to wash them before cooking, or maybe she had gone to move her cattle and would return to pick them up. Later, I realized that we didn’t have lupins for tea that night.


Next morning, I went back to the stream and the little basket was still there with the gentle water just flowing through it and the lupines totally immersed. So I asked the lady why she left the basket in the stream. She said, “Those little grains are just so hard that if we put them in the pot we could cook them all day and they wouldn’t soften, and they are so bitter we couldn’t eat them. So we put them in the stream for a week or ten days with the water just flowing through the basket and the grains soften and all the bitterness is taken out.”


Aren’t we thankful for the effect of God’s word on our lives? It can soften all our hardness and take away all bitterness, and we can go out changed by the effect of the word of God.


Some experiences may try us and take us off course. One very hot summer afternoon when I was just a teenager, I stepped out the back door and suddenly a little pigeon swooped in under the veranda and fell on the floor at my feet. Just one metre behind was a hawk, ready to grab him. The poor little pigeon was exhausted and the enemy almost had him. I picked him up, got a bowl of water and tried to get him to drink but he couldn’t even hold up his head, so I put a few drops of water in his mouth with an eyedropper. He had a little ring on his leg, and I could identify his owner from that. We put him up out of reach of the cats and left him some water and wheat but he was too exhausted to eat or drink. Next morning, there he was in the same place and I noticed that he had drunk some water. He stayed there all day and I called his owner. He said he had one bird that was overdue by two days and he told me where he had let the birds go. That little bird was now 50km off course and had almost lost his life.


The next day he was there and he was eating and drinking. About 9 o’clock in the morning he suddenly flew out, onto the roof of the shed and looked around. He was totally lost and knew he didn’t have the strength to fly very far, so do you know what he did? He came back to his perch and kept eating and drinking.


About the same time the following day he flew out and sat on top of a high tower, looked around but didn’t know where to go. He knew it was no good going on unless he got his bearings.


Suddenly, he took off and went around in a little circle, up and up until we could scarcely see him and all at once he just went off in a straight line. We knew where his owner lived, and we knew that he had got his bearings. Just one hour later, we got a phone call to say that the little pigeon was home safely.


Maybe there are times when our experiences are like that and we are so grateful for One who cares for us and teaches us the wisdom of just waiting when it’s no use trying to push on, but just to wait for directions.


I believe there is a man in the Bible who considered many things. He wasn’t a man who had the easiest path in life. He was one of the Bible characters who had very difficult experiences, and that was Job. It is beautiful to read at the end of his story that through it all, Job never lost his faith in God. He couldn’t understand what it was all about, but he didn’t blame God for what happened. He could say, “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee.” Those experiences just brought him closer to God.


We don’t know why we are where we are, or why we are going through what we are facing today, but it is just on the way to reach an eternal home. God takes us through experiences to help us get nearer to Him. We don’t want to ever forget that we need to consider there is an Almighty God.


Job had friends, and I believe they were the best men who lived on earth at that time. God said Job wasn’t a man who kept bad company. He was a righteous man and those men weren’t bad men, but they didn’t understand what had happened. God didn’t plan it. The devil planned it, and God allowed it. God said it was without a cause. Job 2:3, “And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou moved me against him, to destroy him without a cause.” Job said it was without a cause. Job 9:17, “For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.” Satan was not justified in doing what he wanted to do with Job, and he never will be justified. But God can use any experiences in life to our advantage, so we just want to accept it and go through it with God.


We often read of the need to consider our ways. Isaiah 1:3, “But Israel doth not know, My people doth not consider.” Nothing is a greater grief to God than to see His people not even considering their creator. Many people worship the creation and not the creator. Who is the greatest, the house, or the one who builds the house? It is the builder.  God is the One to be honoured and held in the highest esteem in your life’s experiences. It just helps us to trust Him. He knows and is planning all that is good and best for us with the thought of our eternal future in mind.


Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” Often, provoking may not be in a good way. Paul encouraged parents not to provoke their children to wrath, but to teach them in a way that would provoke to love and to good works. We think of loving as being kind all the time, but Proverbs teaches us that he who loves his child chastens him. It is necessary and it helps us to understand how much God loves us. As we feel chastening here or in any other meeting, it is a little sign that God really loves us and He plans the very best for us.


Something that is going to make it easy for people to love us and forgive us, is to be willing to get up and try again. That solicits forgiveness. If someone has fallen and made a mistake, if they are prepared to get up and try again, people are willing to forgive. Provoke to love and to good works. Good works is not an open door into eternity with God, but it is something that God honours. The whole life of Jesus was occupied with living for others. The work that Jesus did was a work that no one else could do, and He is still doing something for us that no one else can do.


In Peru, a dear old soul heard the Gospel when she was about 80 years old, and got a clear revelation of Truth. She lived alone in a little mud hut in the mountains and it took her about two hours to walk down to the meeting. She never missed a meeting, but do you know, that dear old soul is deaf and wouldn’t hear one audible message in the meeting. One day, someone asked her, “Why do you come when you cannot hear what is said?” She said, “I come here because God is here.” She was in touch with God and it meant everything to her.


One Sunday morning, she didn’t arrive and everyone knew something was wrong. So, two young school boys got a three-wheeled trike and went up the mountain path to look for her. They had to carry the trike over streams in parts and when they got to her hut, she was out on the verandah with a broken ankle and had been there three days. So they got her onto that little trike, took her back to the village and helped her until she was well enough to walk again.


Something very special happened in that little meeting as a result of what those two boys did. It provoked many others to good works, to think of others less able than themselves. “Live for others every day, 'tis the true, the better way.” It is the example that God has given us in His Son, just to consider. We don’t want to forget to consider a perishing world. We are so thankful to be here and enjoying our day together in fellowship. But when we consider the multitudes who need what we have today, and are not here, our hearts go out to them and we don’t want to be weary in well doing. We want to make the most of every opportunity, to have a word in season to any who would ask the reason of the hope that we have.


I learnt a very clear lesson as we were visiting once. The lady of a home we stayed in invited her neighbor to a Gospel meeting, and she came and listened very well. A month later we got back to that same home and I said, “Did your neighbor make any comments after the meeting last time we were here?” She said, “Yes, she spoke quite a bit about it and how much it meant to her.” Then I asked, “Have you invited her to come tonight?” She replied, “She is dead.”


She was just a young woman, eighteen years of age. That was her only opportunity and it made me realize that we cannot afford to miss any opportunities we have to let others know just what this Truth means to us. We are so grateful that we can leave everything in God’s hands. We didn’t know her feelings or what was in her heart as she went out from that meeting, but God knew. Just that one meeting she was in could have changed her eternity forever.


We are so grateful that what we have means everything to us and how good to let others see that is the way it is. It is wonderful to see the effort you have all made to be here today and I am sure no one is going away disappointed, but you would be here next Sunday, if it were possible! What God has brought to us in the Gospel has become more precious than silver and gold and we cannot put a value on it.


Deuteronomy 32:29, “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!” Where is this going to finish? If you are going down a road and you have doubts about where it is going to end up, you are pretty foolish to keep on going without checking. If we realize it is going to lead us to somewhere we don’t want to be, we would be foolish to keep going in the opposite direction to where God wants us to be.


We are grateful that God gives us the courage to deny ourselves and put our own human pride down, to turn around and go in a different direction, where it is possible for us to be where we want to be for all eternity.