KEYWORDS: lord, god, georgie, love, family, meg

Shooting Straight, Part 15--Letter Links: Our Mates and Loved Ones Are the Lord's

April 25, 2005

(ML #3540‚ GN 1130)

FD/MM/FM March 2005

Third Epistle to Pastors

ML #49:17- 21, Vol.1


17. SOME OF YOU IN TIMES PAST HAVE SACRIFICED THE WORK FOR YOUR HUSBAND, AND OTHERS OF YOU, IN TIMES PRESENT, ARE DOING JUST THE OPPOSITE! The characters in this epistle are purely factual, and any resemblance to personalities now living is positively intentional!

18. THE RULE OF THUMB IS VERY SIMPLE—the solution is plain, but not always easy! God's Word makes it very clear, and it's summed up in the little slogan on priorities, "JESUS AND OTHERS, THEN YOU"! If you'll follow this simple rule, it'll keep you out of a lot of trouble! Jesus comes first! The first commandment is to love God! "For I the Lord, thy God, am a jealous God, and I will have no other gods before Me." (Deu.5:7,9)—Not even His Work, or your mate, much less yourself! Some of you thought, that by seeking first the Kingdom of God, that you were putting the King first—the King of Kings, that is, but this is not always necessarily so! SOMETIMES YOU CAN NEGLECT YOUR FELLOWSHIP WITH THE KING OF KINGS, BECAUSE YOU'RE SO BUSY WITH THE AFFAIRS OF THE KINGDOM, AND THIS CAN BE DISASTROUS TO YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE AND COMMUNION WITH THE LORD! YOU CANNOT DO THE MASTER'S WORK WITHOUT THE MASTER'S POWER AND GUIDANCE! You can't make bedroom slippers for God, above His fellowship! Some of you have been guilty of this—and it's had serious consequences, however sincere and faithful you were to His Work! YOU MUST PUT HIM FIRST—GOD, THAT IS, NOT THE WORK‚ NOR YOUR HUSBAND, NOR YOUR WIFE‚ NOR EVEN OTHERS, ONLY JESUS! HE DOESN'T FIT SECOND PLACE, AND HE WON'T TAKE IT! HE WON'T STAND FOR IT, AND YOU'LL HAVE TROUBLE!

19. OTHERS HAVE PUT THE WORK BEFORE YOUR HUSBAND, BUT IF YOUR HUSBAND 'S MINISTRY IS YOUR WORK, THEN THIS WON'T WORK, EITHER‚ and what you're really trying to do is seek a self-glorifying ministry of your own‚ instead of being a helpmeet, as God intended for you to be!


21. But instead, some of you have been so demanding that you've been insisting on being treated like a god yourself, and IF YOU CONTINUE TO TRY TO TAKE THE PLACE OF GOD IN HER LIFE, GOD IS JUST APT TO TAKE HER AWAY FROM YOU COMPLETELY, UNTIL YOU LEARN YOUR LESSON, as He's had to do with some other husbands—and you're no exception, I don't care who you are! ဦ IT'S JUST PLAIN, PURE‚ MASCULINE JEALOUSY, DAMNABLE‚ HELLISH PRIDE, and you're going to wreck her life as well as yours, and maybe even some of God's Work if you persist! I have told you before that when it comes to God's Work in the realm of the Spirit, and the ministry of the Church, there is no male nor female in Christ Jesus‚ neither bond nor free! Here she is no longer yours, but God's, no longer yours, but her public's, no longer bond, but free, no longer even female! IF SHE HAS TRAINING, SPIRITUAL EDUCATION, TALENTS AND GIFTS WHICH FAR EXCEED YOURS IN THE SPIRITUAL MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH, THEN YOU MUST NOT TRY TO HOLD HER DOWN! You cannot keep her back‚ or you're in trouble! You're apt to break her spirit, crush her heart, smother her zeal‚ destroy her ministry, and displease God! Watch out!

One Wife

ML #249‚ DB 5

1. GOD WILL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE HIM, NOT EVEN THE SANCTITY OF THE MARRIAGE GOD! God is God of marriage, too & the main thing is to be married to Him & His Work, & when a marriage is not according to His Will‚ He doesn't hesitate to break it up & form other unions to further His Work!

2. THE SPIRITUAL REALITY BEHIND SO-CALLED GROUP MARRIAGE is that of putting the larger family, the whole family, first, even above the last remaining vestige of private property, your husband or your wife!

3. WE DO NOT MINIMIZE THE MARRIAGE TIES AS SUCH. We just consider our ties to the Lord & the larger Family greater & more important.—And when the PRIVATE marriage ties interfere with OUR FAMILY & GOD ties, they can be readily abandoned for the glory of God & the good of THE Family! We are not forsaking the marital unit.—We are adopting a greater & more important & far larger concept of marriage: The TOTALITY of the BRIDE & her marriage to THE BRIDEGROOM is THE Family!

4. WHAT DOES "UNIT" MEAN?—SOMETHING THAT IS UNITED!—Something that is ONE! So if God has to break up these little private twosomes in order to make us conscious of the greater unit of THE Family, He will do it! If He can trust you with the private unit for the glory of God, He will do it. But if you put that privacy first before the whole Family Unit, God will blow on it & destroy it if He has to! It would be worth it!—If that's what it took‚ if they weren't able to put God first any other way. We would keep right on rolling stronger than ever! When anything begins to HINDER more than it HELPS, it is time to ABOLISH it!

5. GOD HAS MADE ME CARRY OVER FROM MY SMALL LITTLE PRIVATE FAMILY INTO THE LARGER FAMILY‚ & to do so God has had to break up many little families of the World to make our kids all members of His Family. God is in the business of BREAKING UP many FAMILIES to make them all ONE Family!

6. WE HAVEN'T HESITATED TO BREAK UP WORLDLY FAMILIES BY [making disciples of] THEIR [legal-aged] KIDS FOR GOD'S FAMILY! What is the difference in that & breaking up HUSBAND & WIFE? Jesus said you're going to have to forsake ALL—mother, father, sister, brother, HUSBAND or WIFE! This is nothing NEW with the LORD!

7. GOD'S IN THE BUSINESS OF BREAKING UP LITTLE SELFISH PRIVATE FAMILIES TO MAKE OF THEIR YIELDED BROKEN PIECES A LARGER UNIT—ONE FAMILY! He's in the business of destroying the relationships of MANY wives in order to make them ONE Wife—THE Bride of CHRIST! God is not averse to breaking up selfish little families for HIS glory, to make of the pieces a much larger unselfish unit—the WHOLE Family—the ENTIRE Bride—ONE WIFE instead of MANY wives!

8. GOD HAS BROKEN UP THE MARRIAGES OF ALMOST OUR ENTIRE TOP LEADERSHIP AT SOME TIME OR OTHER. I've certainly seen a lot of good fruit in these since this has happened, & also it has borne good fruit amongst the kids. If you have not forsaken your husband or wife for the Lord at some time or other, you have not forsaken all!

10. GOD IS TRYING TO TEACH US THE LESSON OF PUTTING HIM & HIS FAMILY FIRST. If you cannot be trusted with a PRIVATE relationship & keep it in its proper perspective—LAST—then God will break it up in order to ensure HE & HIS work get FIRST place! There can be no superior or selfish private ties which supersede our ties to GOD above ALL! And if you don't give God ALL, He will just TAKE them away & MAKE you forsake all! This is one of the most outstanding lessons God has taught us from the top right on down: These personal private husband–wife relationships are unedifying & unfruitful unless they are kept totally subordinate!

11. MARRIAGE IS GREAT!—REAL UNSELFISH LOVE! Only the utter unselfishness of genuine sacrificial love can ever make such things possible. So it's the very last vestige of forsaking all to forsake even your husband & wife to share with others. Marriage is not the supreme thing. This over-emphasis of the marital relationship is making a GOD & a FETISH of marriage, where they're not willing to forsake PRIVATE families to serve GOD & THE Family!

12. GOD IS TRYING TO SHOW US HE WILL NOT FIT IN SECOND PLACE! IF He allows you any nice cozy little PRIVATE relationship, you can be very thankful for it! It is, in a sense, a PRIVILEGE, a special little dispensation of grace to feel that only TWO of you belong to each other in PARTICULAR. But He will ONLY allow that provided you make it very clear to EACH OTHER & the LORD & the OTHERS that you belong to GOD MOST OF ALL & your private relationship doesn't interfere with your WORK & your relationship with the LORD & others!


14. BUT LOVE OF GOD & HIS FAMILY IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT TO HIM than these little PRIVATE interpersonal relationships, including marriage! Either He wants you to love Him so much you don't even WANT a mate, or that you love Him so much that you would be willing to share them with Him! Maybe we're learning something about marriage & its UNimportance!

15. WE ARE REVOLUTIONARY! If the church has OVER-emphasized marriage, we are going to go to the opposite extreme of UNDER-emphasizing & almost BELITTLING marriage & not even hesitating to destroy marriages that don't glorify God! What GOD has put together don't let MAN put asunder: But if GOD didn't put them together, He won't hesitate to break them up for HIS glory & the welfare of His Family!

19. God & His Family come FIRST. Any private relationships are neither here nor there, if they in any way hinder or interfere with GOD & HIS Family.

20. "WHATSOEVER YOU DO IN WORD OR IN DEED, DO ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD‚" & whatever glorifies God, that's what's right!

The Doorknob's Too High

ML #1141:53– 58, Vol.11

53. (Dad:) [My mother] REALLY LOVED SOULS & REALLY SACRIFICED & SUFFERED TO PREACH THE GOSPEL, even to the point of leaving her own husband‚ or him leaving her for awhile, & her children. And she gave up home which she dearly loved. She gave up the city that she loved, Miami, & the climate she loved. At one time or another all through her life God required her to give up things that she loved dearly & which seemed to be perfectly normal legitimate loves, like love for your husband, love for your children‚ love for your home.

54. BUT GOD OFTEN TESTS US ALONG THESE LINES TO SEE IF WE'RE WILLING TO GIVE THEM UP to make sure we don't worship them more than Him & that we don't put them before His service. But on the other hand, most of the time He allows us to enjoy our mates, our children, our homes in a normal natural physical fleshly life—food, clothing, shelter, sex, play‚ recreation, entertainment‚ all of these things. Most of the time He allows us to enjoy these things for our own pleasure & our own benefit.

55. BUT EVERY NOW & THEN HE'LL TEST US TO MAKE SURE WE'RE NOT PUTTING THOSE BEFORE HIM, we're not having any other gods before Him & that we're not sacrificing His work for those things, we're not sacrificing His will for these carnal natural normal satisfactions & pleasures.

56. HE OFTEN TESTS US LIKE HE DID ABRAHAM by making us think He's going to take it away from us permanently, just to see if we'll still obey Him & still follow Him, still worship Him & love Him & serve Him. But I've found most of the time, that once He's threatened to take it away from you or looks like He's going to take it away or He does take it away from you for a little while, it's just a test to see if you'll still love Him.

57. JUST LIKE JOB, WHOM HE ALLOWED THE DEVIL TO TEST. He first of all took away all his wealth, then He even took away his family, his children & wife & all that he loved, & finally his health. It was all a test, perpetrated by the Devil but allowed by the Lord in order to show that Job really loved Him in spite of it all.

58. AND WHEN JOB PASSED THE TEST & GAVE THE FINAL RIGHT ANSWER: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15), well, he got his diploma & the Lord gave him back everything & several times over what he'd had before!

Married to Jesus

ML #1953, DB 3

3. (Dad:) You must put God first, instead of your personal problems with your wife. You've got to be married to the Lord! If the Lord gives you a little sweet personal fellowship in the Lord together, that's a bonus. But don't blame it on a person if you don't have it—it's up to the Lord!

4. IF YOU DON'T HAVE IT, JUST BURY YOURSELF IN THE LORD'S WORK—& LET HER DO THE SAME. You just go your way, & let her go her way. ဦ You must get your mind on the Lord & put Him first. You left your First Love—now you've got to come back to Him. Your love for the Lord cannot hinge on your wife! You're going to have to put God first—nothing except God's work. God's testing you now to see if you're going to put Him first!

5. YOU CAN'T EXPECT TO WORK TOGETHER ALL THE TIME. You're both so valuable your talents can't always be all concentrated in one place at one time. Unless the work unites you where you have to be together—God expects you to be willing to put Him first & be separated from each other. You have to be willing to say, "Lord, if You want to give her back to me, okay, but if not, I'm going to go ahead anyway without her & praise You no matter what!"

6. YOU'LL JUST HAVE TO SET HER FREE, & if she comes back, great! You can't make or force somebody to love you. You've got to inspire that love.—And you've got to do it by becoming the kind of man she can respect & admire‚ & the kind of man she wants you to be for the Lord.

7. SACRIFICE HAS BEEN THE PRIMARY REQUISITE FOR LOVE IN OUR FAMILY! That's the kind of person she will love. But a selfish possessive love doesn't work in our kind of Family. She'll explode & hate you & feel like killing you just to get her freedom! But if you'll earn her respect by showing you are putting God first, she'll love you in the Spirit‚ & this in turn leads to love in the flesh. Don't expect this to happen overnight. You'll have to prove yourself—it may take a long time. Leave it all in God's hands!

8. YOUR WIFE FEELS LIKE YOU SMOTHER HER & SHE HASN'T GOT MUCH FREEDOM AROUND YOU. You may just have to let her go until she gets fed up with it & comes home to you. And if she sees that you will let her go cheerfully & sacrificially, she'll love you for it. Real love prefers the happiness of the other above your own. Selfish love wants to cling & hang on & put her in bondage. If you really love her, you'll free her!

9. THE PERSON WITH THE MOST DEDICATION IS THE ONE WHO ALWAYS COMES OUT BETTER. When you're totally dedicated & sold-out to the Lord & Him alone, you don't care so much about it. Get busy & involved in the Lord's Work & it won't bother you so much!


ML #2339:7- 13, Vol.17

7. (Mama:) The Lord wants to be our husband, & I think that's the main conclusion that we're coming to. Having a big romantic love affair, maybe that's nice for a bonus once in awhile, but it just seems that if we put each other first, we're not going to be putting the Lord first.—How can you? There's not enough time.

8. Just like having two mates, most people can't really handle it very well. Some situations do fairly well providing everybody knows their place. It's not that they all get equal treatment, but that they have all yielded & resigned themselves to the situation, which usually means one person gets a little less, & the other person gets a little more. Somebody has to come first. You can't really put more than one person first, & it's the same way with the Lord. It's like you have to make a choice.

9. Even with Dad & myself, I feel bad sometimes when he says, "Sometimes I miss the way we were before when you were just my little girl & we had more personal time together. But now you're a Queen & you have the responsibility of the whole World on your shoulders." He feels bad‚ & I feel bad, but what can we do? It's just the way things are. The Lord's Work has to be first, you have to put the Lord first. That's just the way it is in a lot of our situations, we can't be as close or take as much time with each other as we'd like, simply because the Lord's Work is there & that's the main thing, the job that He's given us.—That's what we have to do.

10. Besides, the Lord is going to repay, & this present time isn't going to last much longer anyway. The Lord is going to make up everything, give us the desires of our hearts‚ & greatly repay us for the sacrifices we make, & it's not going to be so long from now. This is such a small sacrifice to make compared to what the Lord has in store for us! "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us!"—Romans 8:18. PTL!

11. Maybe this is more for leaders‚ this kind of thing, but I think that it's what the Lord is requiring of many of us now.—Or would like to require of us if we would yield to it. We've found by actual experience that people can be close work-mates & get a lot done for the Lord without having to be all romantically involved with each other. As I said‚ such involvement often distracts & detracts them from the most important thing.

12. So the question is‚ if this is what the Lord requires of us, are we willing? Our people need to realize that they should be willing.

13. As Dad has said, "Whatever glorifies God the most, that's what's best," praise the Lord!

Living the Lord's Law of Love, Part 11

ML #3211:49– 56, 62– 69, 74, 77- 78, GN 814

49. (Dad speaking:) Putting the greater marriage first doesn't mean you need to minimize your ties to your personal family, but it means giving the greater marriage the proper importance. It does not mean you must forsake the marital unit, but you are to embrace the far greater concept of marriage. It means that instead of drawing a circle around your own little family that will shut others out, you are to draw a circle that brings others in. ဦ It means bringing others up to the level of your personal marriage relationship and your personal individual family—bringing them up to the level of love, understanding, sympathy, concern, and all the things you naturally feel for your personal family.

50. The Lord wants us to love others as we love ourselves. He wants us to be considerate of their needs, to give of our time, strength‚ love, and prayer, to do what we can to make sure all our mates are well cared for, happy and complete, as much as possible. On the other hand, He purposely, distinctly, and within His will gives you greater natural feelings for your personal family, for your one wife or mate, and also for your own children. He does that because He knows we all need some personal touch in our lives. Children need personal attention and personal love, to feel like they belong to somebody, that they have a place. They need to feel the security, comfort and warmth of the family unit.

51. So there's a place for both—the personal, individual family and the greater family. Each has its purpose, and you can love one without neglecting the other.

52. I would say the tendency of most people, of course, is to have a deeper love for their personal family, their immediate mate and their own children. Our priorities usually center around our own mates and our own children—not only because of our natural selfishness and independence, but also because of God-given desires and burdens that He's put in our hearts to care for and protect our individual family units.

53. It's very natural and understandable to be more concerned about your own mate and your own children—that they have their needs supplied, that they are happy, that they feel loved and content and challenged. It's good to love your mate and children in this way, and it's part of your duty as a husband or wife or father or mother.

54. People of the world are also concerned for their immediate family. But it takes the supernatural love of Jesus, the miraculous grace of God, to try to love others as much as you love your personal family, and to care as much about their personal needs and their feelings of happiness, security, contentment and challenge.

55. It takes the supernatural love of the Lord to care as much for a single mother and the needs of her children as you do for your own wife and your own children. It takes a supernatural vision in the spirit to see that single mother and her children as being your wife and your children in the spirit. It takes the supernatural love of God to be moved with compassion for that single brother or sister, and to reach out and give them what they need—whether it's a shoulder to cry on‚ a prayer, some time of communication, or lovemaking.

56. All of this requires the work of the Spirit. You can't do it on your own. You have to be strong in the Spirit, strong in faith, strong in love, strong in sacrifice. That's why so few people in the Family fully understand the principle of "One Wife" or the concept of the greater marriage‚ because very few people want to make that kind of sacrifice. And the sacrifice I'm talking about is not forsaking or minimizing or mistreating your own individual family, but it's broadening the borders of your tents and giving more love and more concern, bringing others in and making them feel a part.

62. To put the greater Family first means to love your brethren with as much love as you can possibly muster up! It means‚ by God's grace‚ to give your brethren, your mates‚ your teamworkers‚ your co-workers, your friends, that single mother, that single brother or sister, and all the children as much love, attention, recognition and appreciation as you possibly can.

63. Remember, when you feel like you're doing all you can to muster up the love‚ that's when you must let the love of Christ constrain you! It all has to be a miracle of the Lord's love! The supernatural love of God is love enough to love anybody—and that's what it'll take to live the Law of Love. This is what it's all about—loving others with His supernatural love. But you're going to find that if you just step out and obey, He'll give you the love you need.

64. This is what He wants to do; He wants to love others through you. He has no hands but your hands, no arms but your arms, no mouth but yours to speak His words of love and encouragement. Right now it might seem impossible to you, but if you'll just give God a chance to love others through you, He'll do all the rest. He'll do what you can't do. His love will constrain you and move you to love others in a way you never thought possible before. As you put Him first and love the Family with His love, He will pour down His grace upon you—grace enough to love others, because it'll be His supernatural love working through you.

65. Each of you needs to ask the Lord to help you to love others as much as you love your own immediate family. That's the spirit of "One Wife" and putting the greater marriage first: When you're willing to expand your exclusive private relationship and reach out to others; when you're willing to sacrifice some of the private time you would have together to include others; when you're willing to open up your heart, mind and time to include other children when you're tutoring your own, or teaching them to read, or doing a science project with them, or reading them a story, or helping them to learn a new language, or just having fun, fellowship or get-out with them.

66. It's so easy to be private and exclusive; that's the natural way of man. It takes something supernatural to be giving‚ open, unselfish, and to love others as you love your own personal family. But it's not an impossibility! The Lord can do it! You just have to work at it and be willing to try. And above all you have to ask the Lord for His supernatural grace and love.

67. Now some people are called to make a decision that requires them to put their personal family in second place to the will of God. Sometimes people, especially shepherds and leaders or those with unusual callings, are asked to make great sacrifices for the sake of their ministry. You look at our leadership today and you see that many of them spend a lot of time away from their loved ones or their lovers or their children, and they do that for the greater good of the Kingdom and the Family. In many ways I guess it does look like they're putting their personal family in second place, and I think they are, because what has first place in their hearts is a desire and willingness to do the Lord's will no matter what the cost. If He asks them to do something to serve the Family, to shepherd the Family, to pioneer, to feed the Family or to strengthen the Family, and it requires a sacrifice of the time that they would normally have with their individual family, then they're willing to do that.

68. In such cases, they do put their family in second place. But you can be sure that the Lord blesses such sacrifices—both for the mate who must leave to fulfill the Lord's will and for the mate and children who stay back. And even though such sacrifices are difficult, and sometimes it may even look like the children or the mate suffer as a result, you can be sure, and I guarantee, that the Lord will bless such sacrifices in ways both seen and unseen. It might not always seem like it to those involved, but in the long run the Lord will more than repay—you can never outgive God!

69. The Lord asks all Family members to make sacrifices to one degree or another. Just like the example of the leader or shepherd above, the Lord will ask something of you personally in order to promote His Kingdom and His love and the unity He's trying to bring about, and to help you to be the loving Family He wants you to be.

74. Take it from me‚ I can guarantee that if you'll begin to look at the needs of others‚ as you begin to look outward, as you become more sensitive to the needs of others around you, you're gonna find that the time you spend sacrificing to meet the needs of others is not really a sacrifice at all. You're gonna find it doesn't have to harm your marriage or your own personal family to help meet the needs of others around you—someone who has less than you, someone who is needy. You're gonna find that, instead of it being a sacrifice, you'll have the Lord's blessing and reward for your giving. You're gonna discover the great benefits there are in living His Law of Love, and that you never lose by giving!

77. So you see‚ putting your greater marriage first does not mean you're putting your private marriage down to a place of lesser care, or to a place where your mate or children will be harmed. It means that you bring others up to a place of greater care, and you're willing to let your own desires and personal preferences take second place to the needs of others at times.

78. I know this isn't easy, but that's what living "One Wife" is all about. And you can be sure that the Lord will bless your efforts and reward you. It may not happen immediately, and it may not be in the way that you expect, but some way, somehow, the Lord will make it pay. He'll show you that you never lose by giving—by giving love, care‚ and attention to others, as you give to your own loved ones, your mate, your children, and those closest to you. (End of message from Dad)

Put Jesus First

Peter #35‚ DB 3

(From a Talk to a Staff Member.)

1. (Peter:) I'VE TALKED TO YOU BEFORE ABOUT JEALOUSY‚ & I know that you had some victory, but partial victory is not enough! The Enemy is really fighting you & he's out to win, & it's for keeps!

2. BY BEING SO PREOCCUPIED WITH YOUR JEALOUSY & your problems & all that it entails, like wondering what your mate is doing all the time, your usefulness to the Lord is diminishing! You can't concentrate on your work, you can't follow through on anything & you're letting the Enemy in! Pretty soon it starts to affect others & this jealousy not only defeats you, but it starts to defeat everybody else in the Lord's work, & that just can't be!

3. WHEN I WAS HAVING BIG PROBLEMS MYSELF, I REALIZED THAT IT WAS WAR, & the only way to win was to be as militant about it as the Enemy was being, & it took desperate prayer! When you call on the Lord with your whole heart, then He will answer! What really pulled me through was total desperation & total fight!—Which the Lord gave me the strength for, I didn't have it myself. I just cried out to the Lord & then had to really take the stand! You're fighting the attacks of the Devil on one hand & the Lord on the other because of unyieldedness‚ & there's no victory there, it's a losing battle!

4. BUT LIKE I FOUND OUT DURING THE TIMES WHEN I WAS REALLY JEALOUS, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE LORD IS TRYING TO MAKE YOU SEE THAT HE'S ALL THAT REALLY COUNTS! Human love or relationships, your job, everything can fail, it's never enough! It doesn't supply the need, because the Lord doesn't allow it to supply the need! The only thing that does supply the need is Jesus! It's as simple as that!

5. BUT YOU'VE GOTTEN YOURSELF INTO THE POSITION RIGHT NOW THAT YOUR HAPPINESS & YOUR PEACE OF MIND & YOUR JOY ALL REVOLVES AROUND YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR MATE & it's not getting you anywhere! Because as long as that is where your treasure is, that's where your heart will be also! And if that's the main point in your life, then you're revolving around the wrong thing! The Lord said, "I will have no other gods before Me!" And that's what it amounts to when you allow yourself to get so jealous! You get attacked with it, but if you yield to it as you are doing, you're putting something else before the Lord.—It doesn't matter if it's your job or whatever you're jealous of.—You're putting it above God's will!

6. YOU'RE DEMANDING: "FOR ME TO BE HAPPY & TO BE FULL OF THE LORD & FULL OF JOY, I HAVE TO HAVE THIS!" But then what happens when the Lord says, "I don't want you to have that anymore!" Then you're not happy & you fight back with‚ "Well, I know better than You, Lord!" You're yielded to the problem, the jealousy, & because of that you can't be happy unless everything's going your way.

7. SO THE ONLY WAY TO GET A REAL VICTORY IS TO PUT THE LORD FIRST IN YOUR LIFE. If you had your eyes on the Lord all the time, your battles & situations around you would be insignificant! I know that's a pretty broad statement, but it is the truth! As long as you love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind & strength, the rest isn't going to matter that much! He'll make it so it doesn't matter!

8. WHEN YOU GET YOUR EYES OFF THE LORD, HE WON'T LET YOU HAVE WHAT YOU WANT, BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT DELIGHTING YOURSELF IN HIM! Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that if you get your eyes on the Lord again that you're going to have your mate back, because maybe that's not the best, I don't know. Only He knows best. But if your heart & mind are totally on Jesus, it won't matter that much either way.

9. BUT AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT PUTTING THE LORD FIRST, YOU'RE GOING TO BE A MESS! And the more & more you yield to the problem, the worse & worse it's going to get. It's going to destroy you! The victory's there, you just have to want it no matter what the cost!—And the cost is going to be to put the Lord first in your life no matter what, because the most important thing is your relationship with the Lord & your service for Him!

10. THAT'S WHAT THE GOAL IS! That's what you're going to have to reach, that's what you're going to have to let the Lord do in your life by drawing close to Him. All the rest is temporal, the rest is nothing in comparison. I think when we get to Heaven & we see how things really are, we're going to be pretty ashamed of some of the things that we made so valuable & so important in our lives here on Earth, because in the long run our own desires & will are the least important!

11. THE ONLY WAY THAT YOU'RE GOING TO GET THE VICTORY IS TO GIVE HER UP, TO FORSAKE HER!—To really forsake her to the point that it doesn't matter any more, that you don't care any more, that all you care about is that you love Jesus & Jesus loves you & He knows what's best! Maybe the reason the Lord allowed your mate to fall in love with someone else was to teach you that the only thing that counts in this life is Him & pleasing Him & living for Him & not worrying about all this other stuff! Because all these affairs just cause you to worry & to fear you're going to lose what you want. Part of being a disciple is forsaking all & putting the Lord first, & that's what we're here for!

12. I KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING IS 100% RIGHT‚ BUT I ALSO KNOW IT'S NOT THAT EASY TO DO, & IT TAKES THE LORD'S HELP TO GIVE YOU THE GRACE TO DO IT! But you've got to get the victory, because if you don't, you're going to go crazy!

13. The crux of the matter is, you're putting something before the Lord‚ & nothing satisfies except the Lord!

14. YOU'RE IN A PRETTY SERIOUS SITUATION, & WE DON'T WANT TO SEE YOU CRACK UP! You don't have to as long as you put the Lord first, as long as you yield to what the Lord wants. You can't put anything before the Lord!

15. THE JEALOUS ARE IN DIRECT OPPOSITION TO THE LORD'S WILL, BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT WILLING TO ACCEPT WHAT THE LORD'S DOING IN THEIR LIVES! And I dare say that often the Lord allows that to happen to people to get'm to say "uncle" to the Lord, to say‚ "I don't care any more, all I know is I need Jesus!"

16. IT'S JUST LIKE TORTURE TRYING TO HANG ON TO SOMETHING YOU KNOW YOU'RE LOSING! When really the Lord just wants you to let go of what you think is going to make you happy‚ & what you think is important, & then He'll catch you & show you what really is important & what real love is all about, what He wants.—Your love, first & foremost, with nothing else in the way!

17. THE LORD JUST DOESN'T WANT YOU TO PUT ANYTHING BEFORE HIM! Whatever you try, He slaps it out of the way! Or if you're too demanding, maybe in some cases He lets you have it & sends leanness to your soul. I'm sure that lots of people get in that situation. They sort of demand for the Lord to do something, & then the Lord does it & it's just husks! The only way to really know true happiness & the only way to really have peace of mind is in finding the Lord's will & not fighting against it! If you're not willing to yield, you could have a physical & spiritual breakdown!

18. THE ENEMY CAN TAKE THESE RELATIONSHIPS & MAKE THEM THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN PEOPLE'S LIVES.—And they allow it! But if you're putting the Lord & His work first & His Kingdom first, with all your heart & soul & mind & strength, then everything else isn't going to make that much difference. The Lord can send blessings your way then because He can trust you with them, but if you forsake your plow & your relationship with the Lord to run off & get involved with some personal relationship, the Lord's not going to bless it & the Enemy can use it as a distraction!

19. SO FOR YOUR SAKE, FOR YOUR SANITY & FOR YOUR CONTINUED SERVICE TO THE LORD, YOU'VE GOT TO GET THE VIC. In other words, to have the victory & to defeat the Enemy in this thing is worth it, no matter what it takes, & it might take everything! But if it does, it's worth it, because if you don't get the victory, it's going to destroy you. It's that simple. But you have to be willing to do whatever it takes.

20. I'M JUST SAYING WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO DO, YOU NEED TO SEE THAT THIS IS WHAT THE LORD WANTS, BECAUSE HE WANTS YOU! He doesn't want your good works‚ He doesn't want your good intentions, He doesn't want your relationships‚ He wants you! And I'll tell you something, He'll do whatever He has to do to get you! Because He wants you, & He wants your love, & that is the most important thing!

21. IT'S NOT AN EASY ROAD TO TAKE, IT'S EVEN LIKE DEATH. But then there's the resurrection, the new man that you become when you become totally dependent on the Lord. God only uses broken men & women‚ that's who He can truly use, those who are totally dependent on Him & not on themselves or somebody else!

22. SO INSTEAD OF LOOKING AT IT ALL LIKE, "OH, THIS IS TERRIBLE THAT I'M SO WEAK," YOU SHOULD THANK THE LORD THAT HE'S ALLOWING YOU TO GO THROUGH THESE THINGS! And maybe He's not done, I don't know! But it comes to the point you either yield to what He's doing, or you get flushed out! He wants to use you for greater service, but He can only use you if you're completely yielded & the way He wants you. So you have a choice: You either go through it & you come out better & more useful, or you refuse to go through it & you die spiritually.

23. IT'S LIKE "FIRST LOVE", YOU HAVE TO PUT THE LORD FIRST. The Lord is the only place you'll ever find the comfort & the peace that you need. Every other situation or person will fail, your jobs, everything. If you put your hopes in natural relationships, they will fail. It just doesn't work! The Lord's pretty smart, He designed things so that the only thing that really fills the void is going to be Him & nothing else is going to satisfy!

24. SO JUST LOVE THE LORD & PUT HIM FIRST & JUST LET HIM WORK OUT WHATEVER OTHER SITUATION HE WANTS TO WORK OUT. Just determine here & now that no matter what, you're going to put the Lord first! Because if you'll do that, that's the victory, that's the answer‚ & without that there is no answer, there is no victory! Because as long as you're putting something before the Lord, He's not going to bless it.

25. IT'S A REAL FORSAKING ALL! You just have to say, "Okay‚ Lord! I'm going to trust that You know what's best, even if it doesn't look to me like it's best!" You may be praying for bread & what you get looks like a stone, but later on you find out that the stone was really bread! You didn't think it was so great at the time, it didn't seem like a very great answer, but it turned out to be bread after all!

26. SO SOMETIMES THE THINGS WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH DON'T LOOK SO GREAT & THEY LOOK PRETTY PAINFUL, like an operation, but in the end you're stronger than before! So if it means you have to lose your mate completely—I'm not saying that's the case—I'm just saying in your heart you have to forsake her, but no matter what‚ the Lord in the end is going to make it better.

27. HE ALWAYS HONORS IT IF YOU FORSAKE ALL, IF YOU PUT HIM FIRST. You know that, those are spiritual principles. If you put Him first, He's going to take care of you, He's going to give you what's best, if you yield your life to Him! If you put the Lord first & delight yourself in Him, He gives you the desires of your heart. If you seek first Him & His Kingdom, He adds all these things unto you. It's so simple‚ & yet it's so hard! But you have to trust, you have to have faith in His Word that He's going to do all those things, & He does!

28. IT'S A TOUGH LESSON TO LEARN‚ BUT LEARN IT! When the decision was made that Juan would come to our house, it really fritzed me out! He wasn't even there yet, but I got jealous! And Mama pretty much socked it to me, nicely‚ but straightforwardly. What she said was awesome & crushing to me, but yet it was also the truth. She said, "Look, what difference does it make if I love you or don't love you, or have feelings toward you or don't have feelings toward you or have anything to do with you or not? What difference does that make as far as you & the Lord go? The Lord is what counts! Jesus should be the most important thing in your life, so what difference does another's love for you make at all?"

29. WHEN I THOUGHT ABOUT IT LATER, IT WAS REALLY THE TRUTH! I REALIZED THAT ALL THAT TRULY MATTERED WAS MY RELATIONSHIP TO THE LORD, NOT TO ANYONE ELSE. It's fearful & it's scary if you're in that situation because your relationship or your love is just like your security blanket! But the truth of the matter is when that blanket's taken away & there's nothing left, there really is something, there's the Lord, & He's really all that counts! He's the most important of all! And that's why He took the blanket away, because He wants our love in First Place for Him! So actually nothing else should really matter at all in comparison!

30. WE HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO BE IN LOVE OR NOT IN LOVE, TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP OR NOT HAVE A RELATIONSHIP. Whether you have someone to have sex with all the time or you're in jail & you don't have anybody to have sex with ever, what's the difference, really? Does that mean you're going to stop serving the Lord or stop loving the Lord? It shouldn't! Because all that counts is the Lord! All the other stuff should really neither be here nor there. It's just a little extra added frosting on the top, the cherry‚ but it's not the whole sundae!

31. AS LONG AS YOU KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE LORD & THE GOAL, YOU'LL DO FINE! WHEN YOU GET YOUR EYES OFF THE GOAL, FORGET IT! But as long as you're going forward & staying on the Lord's path & His will & don't get sidetracked by your job, your mate, your lover, as long as you stay on track for the Lord‚ He supplies all those things & gives you what you need, but they're not that important. But boy, if you get off track, or side-tracked, your usefulness is lessened or lost—your connection with the Lord, your connection with the Word, your relationship with others‚ everything suffers! But as long as you put Him & His Kingdom & everything else first, it's all taken care of!

Through It All

ML #3394:2- 138, GN 1001.

The Chaplain

2. Georgie Graeme [pronounced "Graham"] slipped deeper into the trench as the whine of the howitzer* shell grew louder. He knew that within seconds it would land somewhere very near him, exploding in a hail of white-hot shrapnel, burning and tearing into anyone in its path.

3. "Keep your bloody head down, Reverend!" shouted Joe White, the regimental sergeant major, who at this time happened to be in the trench next to him. "Pagan Joe," the soldiers called him—a man of undoubted bravery, but one who had earned the epithet* because of his almost constant cursing and disregard for any religious sentiment. He was, in his own words, "a heathen gladiator determined to slaughter as many in combat as would fit on his bloodied bayonet, and equally as determined that all who served under him would do the same. And if any man jack* of his regiment shirked their murderous duty‚ he would have their guts for garters."

4. Normally the British Army was a little more mindful that the senior enlisted man of a regiment would have a higher claim to rectitude* than Pagan Joe. But the murderous battles of Ypres in Belgium and others in the Great War had relegated such moral sensibilities to somewhere near the end of the list of priorities. The job at hand was to win battles, and if it took someone like Pagan Joe to do it, then so be it.

5. Georgie Graeme was another kettle of fish.

6. Destined for the clergy for as long as he could remember, he had grown up in the Cornish countryside of southwestern England. Sickly as a youth, with recurring bouts of consumption (tuberculosis), he wasn't regarded as the best catch around for any of the ladies of Cornwall. He had devoted himself to a bookish, almost monkish, life at Christ's College, Cambridge‚ where he earned his Doctor of Theology and eventually was ordained into the Church of England. He then became a curate* at a small Cornish village. There, much to his surprise and all who knew him, he met, fell in love with, and married the lovely Meg Tavistock, the catch of the county. Georgie had grown out of his juvenile infirmities, but the lanky and awkward curate was not regarded as much of a match by the locals for the lovely and cultured Meg.

7. Still, it seemed that the marriage was a happy one, and soon there were several little Graemes running around the rectory* where Georgie became the rector* on the retirement of old Reverend Douthy. Theirs was an idyllic* world in many ways. The parish was not a big one and Georgie had lots of time to indulge his passion for reading. He had also become somewhat of an expert on the history of Cornwall and spent many of his days going to various historical sites, and even engaged in some amateur archeology. The old Celtic Cornish culture was his special love and he enlisted the help of several of the elderly in his parish to help him learn to speak Cornish, the old Celtic language of the region. He secretly thrilled to the deeds recounted in the old poems and ballads, of the bygone heroes and villains‚ of druids and dragons.

8. Meg loved Georgie and she loved their children, but she had her sights on grander things than being the wife of a village rector. The church was a career and she had dreams of being married to Bishop Graeme and being a high-flyer in not only Cornish society, but British society in general. Once George is a bishop, he will be able to sit in the House of Lords and I will be known as Lady Margaret Graeme, she often thought to herself. So she indulged Georgie's passions while she schemed, in a nice and polite way, of course, as to how to achieve her dreams.

9. Then came the fateful day of June 28, 1914, and "the shot that was heard around the world." Soon all of Europe was at war, and the doleful news of the horrors of war began to be the daily staple on the pages of the newspaper.

10. It was May 15, 1915, Georgie's great day of choices, as he now looked back on it. A letter had arrived from the bishop in Truro [the county seat of Cornwall] and Meg excitedly rushed in with it in her hand. Meanwhile‚ Georgie was sitting at the dining room table, his eyes fixed on a small article on page three of the newspaper. "Army Seeks Chaplains," said the headline. Meg's voice finally broke through the trancelike state that Georgie was in.

11. "Darling, it's a letter from the bishop!" she exclaimed. "Open it‚ Georgie. I am sure it is wonderful news!"

12. Georgie looked up at his beautiful Meg and smiled. Almost as though in a stupor he reached for the envelope, opened it‚ and pulled out the handwritten letter.

13. "What is it‚ Georgie?" Meg begged.

14. "The bishop wants me to come to Truro," replied Georgie. "They are considering separating the office of dean of the cathedral from that of the bishop and he wants to interview me as a candidate to fill the post."

15. "Oh, Georgie, that's wonderful!" shrieked Meg. "This is our chance to move on to greater things. That will put you right in line for becoming bishop once the old man retires. And you're so young and all for a job like this. This is a marvelous opportunity. You must go at once!"

16. Georgie sat stunned in his chair. Meg was absolutely right, this was an incredible opportunity and any other day he would have had no hesitation at all. But just seconds earlier he had had the most amazing experience of his life, his epiphany, as he would come to call it. For the first time in his life he had had what he could only term as a spiritual experience. As he had been reading the article about the need for chaplains he swore he had heard out of the blue a deep, resonant voice intone: "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (2Tim.2:3- 4).

17. Those scriptures were well known to Georgie. Paul's admonition to Timothy was something that he had read many times, but somehow he had never associated the word war in the scriptures with actual warfare. Georgie knew at that very moment what was being asked of him. He was being called to a mission of reaching the tommies* in the trenches of Europe. The unexpectedness of it had left him dumbfounded. He went about the rest of the day's business almost as if he were in a dream. Meg rushed down to the station to buy him a ticket to Truro on the next morning's train and then hurried home to pack his day bag for the trip. Georgie somehow managed to go through the motions of all he had to do that day, but that night in bed he lay awake.

18. Meg lay beside him and he gazed at her sleeping face illuminated by the moonlight coming through the window. She is beautiful, he thought. How can I bring myself to leave her? A tear rolled down his cheek as he timidly stroked her face. "Lord, You cannot be asking me to leave her to go off to war," he prayed. "You are the Prince of Peace and I am a minister in the church. I should be promoting peace, not involved with war." These and a thousand thoughts and prayers like it ran through his head. After several hours‚ Georgie quietly got out of bed and slipped out the bedroom door. He stopped by the children's rooms one by one and gazed at the little sleeping bodies. "Lord, these are my children that You have given me. How can I leave them? What right have I to leave them without a father? What will Meg and the children do? How will they survive without me?"

19. At length, Georgie made it to the living room and turned on the light and sank into his easy chair. The family Bible sat on the small table next to him and he picked it up. "Lord," he prayed as he set the Bible on his lap, "I have not been what You would call a great worker in Your harvest fields. I have been a pastor to a small flock that has given me time to pursue a lot of hobbies and interests on the side. I am not what You would call a terribly 'profitable servant.' I have done my little bit, but I am certainly no battlefield evangelist. Why on earth are You calling me?"

20. Then that deep resonant voice rang again, this time not audibly as before, but in his mind. Many are called but few are chosen, it said. Pick up the Bible and read.

21. Georgie lifted the Bible and it fell open to Matthew chapter nine. "But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest" (Mat.9:36- 38).

22. Georgie groaned inside because now it was becoming more than obvious that his calling to the chaplain service was undeniable, and any objections he had, he knew he would be striving with God on the matter. Sheep scattered abroad. Certainly that describes these poor soldiers overseas, he thought.

23. He flipped through the pages of the Bible and it fell open to Luke 10. "Therefore said He unto them‚ The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth laborers into His harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves" (Luke 10:2- 3).

24. "Almost the exact same words," he wondered out loud. "Lord, I am in turmoil inside. How can I do this?" Again he flipped through the pages, hoping to find something that would perhaps point in the direction of Truro and not the battlefields of France and Belgium. His eyes fell on the following:

25. "And‚ behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto Him‚ Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother: and‚ Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith unto Him‚ All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven: and come and follow Me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

26. "Then said Jesus unto His disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. And again I say unto you‚ It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. When His disciples heard it‚ they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

27. "Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Behold, we have forsaken all‚ and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses‚ or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife‚ or children, or lands, for My name's sake‚ shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first" (Matthew 19:16- 30).

28. Georgie's eyes went back to the line "or wife or children." "Dear God‚" he whispered, "You are asking an awful lot here. Surely I am not supposed to forsake my wife and children! After all, I am in Your service and have not had to forsake them so far. Surely this is too much and You are calling me to too great a task for one as I. One more time, Lord. Please confirm to me what You are doing. Make it unequivocal so for me there is no ambiguity."

29. As he flipped through the pages one last time, his eyes fell on the second half of Luke 14. The first verse shocked him as he saw that the Lord had made it extremely plain where his future lay.

30. "If any man come to Me‚ and hate not his father, and mother‚ and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. For which of you‚ intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply‚ after he hath laid the foundation‚ and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build, and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear‚ let him hear" (Luke 14:26- 35).

31. There was no denying the calling. Georgie slipped out of the chair and onto his knees. Burying his face in the carpet, he cried and prayed until the sun broke through the living room window. Wearily, Georgie rose to his feet, retraced his steps of the previous night and slipped back into bed. Meg stirred and opened her eyes.

32. "Goodness me!" she exclaimed‚ "It's morning already and you need to be on your way, Georgie Graeme! Rise and shine, you sleepyhead. I've pressed your best suit. Get dressed now and I will make you breakfast."

33. Meg was in such a state that she didn't notice her husband's tearstained face as she pulled on her robe and headed off to the kitchen. Georgie dutifully obeyed, dressed, ate in silence, and was pushed out the door with a peck on the cheek.

34. Later that day he found himself sitting across a table from the elderly Bishop of Truro drinking tea with lemon and eating dainty little biscuits and scones. The bishop was a kindly old man with a genuine love for God and his flock. Picking up a stack of letters tied in a neat little bundle, the old bishop waved them at Georgie.

35. "Your wife's relatives have been doing an inordinate amount of lobbying on your behalf, young fellow. Scarcely a day goes by and I don't have a Tavistock writing me about your wonderful virtues and eminent qualifications for the job of dean. If I am to believe everything I read, why, I would imagine that I am speaking to a future Archbishop of Canterbury."

36. "Forgive them‚ sir," Georgie said in a low voice. "I think they talk much too highly of me. I had no idea that they were bothering you in this way. I am embarrassed at their pressing my cause. I really had no idea."

37. "Well, what would you think if I offered you the post?" inquired the bishop.

38. "I would be extremely honored and even flattered," replied Georgie, "but I am afraid that I would have to turn it down. It seems that God has other plans for me that I knew nothing about until yesterday."

39. "What do you mean, young man?" inquired the bishop further.

40. Georgie then went on to relate all that had transpired in the last 24 hours. The bishop listened intently, nodding, smiling, and giving an occasional verbal prod and seeking clarification on some points.

41. "And that's about everything," Georgie said as he finished.

42. "Congratulations, young man," said the bishop after a moment's pause. "God has spoken to you in forthright and unequivocal terms. That is not something a lot of us can attest to. There must be a great work for you at the front, and I would not want to hinder you in the least from answering that call. I hereby withdraw your name from the consideration of the lowly job of dean of Truro cathedral and hereby recommend you to the head of the Chaplain's Service of His Majesty's Armed Forces for the great and noble task of apostle to the tommies."

43. "But my wife and children‚ my lord. I fear I cannot leave them for this task, and if I do, they will hate me for it," Georgie responded despairingly.

44. "Leave your wife and children in God's hands," replied the bishop. "There are none better, not even your own. Do not let yourself miss your calling. You will hate yourself if you do and will undoubtedly earn the scorn of your loved ones in the long run. Take it from an old soldier of Christ who didn't achieve much because he settled for a bishopric. Don't take the same second best as I did."

45. Georgie looked up at the old man and noticed a tear travel down the wrinkled face.

46. "Yes, you heard right," smiled the bishop. "I could have been a missionary to China, but I settled for a cathedral in Truro. Believe you me, not a day goes by that I don't regret my decision. So get you to the front. The Lord needs His soldiers there to fight for the souls of all those boys. They say there are no atheists in foxholes, so the harvest will surely be plenteous as the Lord told you."

47. Georgie rose from his chair and kissed the ring on the old man's outstretched hand. He then fell to his knees and begged the bishop to pray for him.

48. The old man closed his eyes and laid his hand on Georgie's head. "Dear God," he prayed, "bless this Your soldier who is off to fight Your battles. He was a peacetime, behind-the–lines soldier, but now You have called him to the thick of combat. Help him to go in the spirit of Saint Paul, Your great warrior and apostle of old. Help him to know that it is by Your might he shall prevail and that by Your love he shall succeed. Help him now as he has to go home to fight the toughest battle of all‚ that of explaining to his loved ones that he is called away from them to fight on foreign shores and that they may never see him again in this life. Grant him Your help, for You fail us not. Amen!

49. "Go in peace, my son. Make the Lord proud."

50. Georgie's trip home was the longest and most agonizing one he had ever taken. He stood at the front door of the rectory for the longest time as he tried to pluck up the courage to enter. Finally, he turned the doorknob. Meg was at the door before he had opened it all the way.

51. "You're home!" she squealed, as she threw her arms around him.

52. Georgie hesitatingly hugged her back. Meg quickly noticed the hesitation in Georgie's manner and pulled back to look him in the eye.

53. "That old bishop turned you down, didn't he?" she said bitterly. "After all my family has done for that decrepit old man. He owed it to us to appoint you dean."

54. "It's not that," stammered Georgie. "The bishop was very kind and we talked a lot. He might have offered me the post if ဦ"

55. "If what?" demanded Meg.

56. "Well, we decided that the Lord was calling me to a different place of service," said Georgie‚ gaining a little confidence.

57. "There is another opening elsewhere?" said Meg, suddenly thinking that all was not lost.

58. "Yes," said Georgie, "but I am afraid it is not what you're expecting. The Lord is calling me to be an army chaplain."

59. "Army chaplain!" Meg almost yelled. "Where? How? You don't mean at the front‚ do you? You could get killed! No, you will be killed. You'll leave me a widow and your children fatherless. That is the height of irresponsibility. I won't allow it, Georgie! I won't allow it. Your place is here with your family, not off on some atrocious battlefield."

60. Meg then sank into a chair and started crying uncontrollably.

61. Georgie knelt down beside her in an effort to comfort her. He prayed with all that was in him for the words to say. Slowly he pulled her head toward his chest and began to speak in a steady and reassuring voice.

62. "I have to, my darling. God is requiring it of me, and I cannot turn my back on His call."

63. "But you are serving God in the church. You are serving God here. It is unfair of Him to take you anywhere else. I need you, your children need you, your parishioners need you," Meg sobbed.

64. "God needs me elsewhere for now," said Georgie. "It would be unfair of me and of you to refuse to let me go where the need is greatest. The need is with the troops at the front."

65. "But why you? You are a sickly, awkward man. You are not robust like all these young recruits. They need a man of stronger constitution‚" Meg tried to reason.

66. "God has unmistakably called me," said Georgie in a calm and soothing voice that surprised him. "I cannot let Him down, else both of us will spend a lifetime regretting it."

67. Meg coolly pushed herself away. "So that's the end of it?" she questioned.

68. "I am afraid so," said Georgie‚ trying to look as reassuring as he could.

69. Meg stood up and straightened out her dress and turned back into the rectory living room.

70. "Dinner is ready," she said icily. "I will call the children."

71. The meal, along with the next few days‚ were some of the most difficult times Georgie had ever experienced. Meg had coolly told the children at the table that father was going off to war and might never come back. The children were a little more enthusiastic than Meg and wanted to know if daddy would wear a uniform and carry a gun like all the other soldiers. They were disappointed that Georgie wouldn't have a gun and thought that would make him a rather second–rate soldier.

72. Georgie found himself crying often during the day when he thought of what he was going to be missing, but Meg never shed another tear after her initial outburst. She had retreated behind an icy exterior of British decorum*. Many of the parishioners came to wish Georgie luck, and she was as she had always been—the perfect hostess and village parson's wife.

73. But then on the last day before Georgie shipped out, Meg melted.

74. "I can't do it," she admitted. "I can't hate you. I have tried my damnedest to hate you but I can't. I have tried to hate God and I can't hate Him either. I want to hate you and Him for what you are doing, but all I can think about is what a good and loving man you are and how I have been so fortunate to have you as my husband. I thought I was going to ride on your coattails into the upper strata of society, but instead I am liable to be a war widow. I am so scared of losing youဦ" she broke into tears, unable to finish her sentence. "Please be careful!" she finally managed to get out between sobs.

75. Georgie broke into tears too as they both hugged and cried for a long time.

76. "You know this is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life," Georgie finally said.

77. "It darn well better be!" said Meg. "And when you come back, it better be for good."

78. "I can't promise that," said Georgie.

79. "I know you can't," replied Meg. "But I will be having lots of debates with God while you are away and I am going to try and talk Him into letting you stay, not to mention that He'd better take care of you over there. I need a husband, and you are just on loan."

80. "As much as I would like to agree with you‚ I think it might be the other way around, that we are both on loan from Him," said Georgie.

81. "You and He are so infuriating!" said Meg with a look of resignation in her eye. "I can't seem to get anything my way."

82. "Well, by the time I get back, maybe you would have talked Him around to your way of thinking," said Georgie with a grin.

83. "I haven't so far," Meg replied with a smile‚ "but it won't be for lack of trying."

84. Their last night together was the most wonderful they had ever had. Something magical seemed to come over them. The bittersweet memories of that night stayed with Georgie and he dwelt on them often, especially when the shells were whistling overhead.

85. Pagan Joe was cussing up a storm next to Georgie.

86. "Are you an atheist?" shouted Georgie over the din.

87. "I am a heathen pagan," Joe shouted back as the two men were showered with earth kicked up by a shell exploding nearby.

88. "But do you believe in God?" shouted Georgie.

89. "Wouldn't matter if I did," yelled Joe.

90. "And why is that?" Georgie yelled back.

91. "Because if there is a God I am going to Hell, and if there's not, I'm already in it. Either way, I am fodder for the furnace," shouted Joe.

92. "But Jesus loves you, sergeant major, even if you are Attila the bloody Hun reincarnated," Georgie yelled. Inexplicably, at that precise moment there was a momentary pause in the shelling, and in the silence Georgie's voice carried over the battlefield. A roar of laughter went up from soldiers nearby who overheard the comment.

93. "Don't go embarrassin' me in front of the men," Joe replied, laughing.

94. "What? For calling you Attila the Hun?" asked Georgie.

95. "No, for saying Jesus loves me," replied Joe.

96. "Look lively, men," an officer yelled in the distance. "Jerry's* coming calling."

97. The faint outlines of a horde of German soldiers could be seen in the distance disgorging themselves from their trenches.

98. "Hold your fire," shouted Joe. "Wait till they are so close you can't miss 'em. Pick your targets! Hold it! Hold it! Fire!"

99. The withering hail of bullets ripped through the enemy lines, but the horde kept coming. The British kept firing, but the Germans had reached the British trenches and now the fighting was hand to hand.

100. A tall German sergeant lobbed a grenade into the trench near Georgie. Georgie instinctively grabbed it and went to fling it in another direction, but the grenade went off just as it cleared the top of the trench, only a few feet from Georgie's hand. The blast blew his arm off. Georgie lay on the ground mortally wounded.

101. "Get the stretcher-bearers over here," roared Pagan Joe.

102. Two medical corps personnel scurried over to Georgie and pulled him onto the stretcher. The Germans were retreating, now having lost the best part of an infantry regiment in the failed assault. Trench warfare is total idiocy‚ thought Joe, as he was relieved from the pressing business of fighting the enemy. They attack us‚ we attack them‚ thousands are killed on both sides, and we all stay just where we started. Total idiotic lunacy.

103. Joe rushed after Georgie and the stretcher-bearers as they wended their way back through the maze of trenches to the British field hospital.

104. "Hang on, Reverend," said Joe as he caught up to them. "We are going to get you patched up and you'll be right as rain."

105. "Don't be a Kraut's ass," Georgie replied in a hoarse whisper. "I'm slipping away here and you know it."

106. "You'd better not go slipping away‚ Reverend," said Joe, fighting back tears. "You've still got unfinished business."

107. "What's that?" asked Georgie, slipping in and out of consciousness.

108. "You've gotta save the heathen‚" replied Joe.

109. "All right, you big bloody heathen," whispered Georgie, "repeat after me: Jesus, I want You to come into my life and save my immortal soul."

110. "I can't do that, Reverend," said Joe‚ fighting back tears.

111. "You'd better bloody well do it," whispered Georgie, "elseဦ."

112. Georgie's voice trailed off and his head slumped lifelessly sideways.

113. Joe, the hardened veteran who had seen it all and seemed to be touched by nothing, broke down. Clasping Georgie's remaining hand in his, he looked down at the amazingly serene face of the man he had secretly admired most in the world.

114. "All right, I'll do it," cried Joe. "Jesus, this was the best bloody man I have ever known. He went about doing nothing but good, and he didn't deserve this. He was a source of warmth and comfort to everyone in this regiment, and I never admired a man so much in my life. I wanted so much to pray with him when he was alive‚ but never had the gumption to do it. I want You to come into my life and save my immortal soul."

115. In December 1918, one month after the Great War ended, a tall, burly man in a sergeant major's uniform stood outside the village rectory. Nervously, he knocked on the door. Meg opened the door inquisitively.

116. "Mrs. George Graeme?" asked the man.

117. "Yes," replied Meg.

118. "The name is Joseph White, ma'am. I had the distinction and honor to serve with your husband in the war. The best man I have ever known."

119. "Pagan Joe!" exclaimed Meg. "Come on in."

120. "You know of me, ma'am?" asked a surprised Joe as he entered the house.

121. "My husband scarcely wrote of anything else," Meg replied. "You were a major part of every letter I received from him. He and I made a pact to pray for you every day. Ever since Georgie's death I have continued to keep you in my prayers. What a wonderful surprise to see you here!"

122. "Well, I guess those prayers of yours worked. I somehow survived four years of the foulest war that ever was. And the most amazing things kept happening to keep me alive, like God was protecting me or something. Your husband got me believing in God and then he prayed for me as he was dying. I asked Jesus into my life at that point and that was the end of 'Pagan Joe.' Some of the men were even calling me 'Saint Joe' before the war ended. I didn't get to know a lot about being a Christian and going to services and all that, but it seems I sure learned a lot about God and being different than I had been."

123. Meg smiled, and Joe thought it was the most beautiful smile he had ever seen.

124. "Your husband was a mighty lucky man to have a beautiful woman like yourself for his wife," Joe said. "I can't understand how he could have left you and gone off to war like that. Being a reverend and all, he didn't have to go."

125. "It was God's call in his life and we couldn't deny it‚" explained Meg. "Oh, believe me, I tried to. I made some of our last weeks together hell for him, but the last day and night together is something I will cherish always. And of course his letters meant the world to me. The day he died he visited me‚ you know. I didn't see him, but his presence was here. I knew he was dead but somehow I knew I wouldn't be alone, and I had a serenity that I couldn't explain. The news came from the War Office a few weeks later that he had died trying to save others by throwing a German grenade out of the trench."

126. "I was next to him, and what he did saved my life and that of several others," said Joe. "It was an act of uncommon valor and ဦ"

127. "Love," interjected Meg.

128. "Yes, love, I suppose," said Joe, "like he was sacrificing his life for the rest of us."

129. "That was the Georgie I loved," said Meg, "and the one I will love forever."

130. Joe stared at Meg and he swore he could see a glow about her.

131. "Mr. Whiteဦ" said Meg.

132. "Just Joe, ma'am," interrupted Joe.

133. "Joe, what are your plans now?"

134. "Well, I have no family, so I don't have a lot to keep me any place in particular right now."

135. "Do you think you would consider staying here awhile? The bishop has allowed me to stay at the rectory since there was no replacement pastor available for this village. But the old place is in quite a state of disrepair and I can't afford to pay for the work, but if you wanted three good meals a day and a roof overheadဦ"

136. "I would be honored to, ma'am," replied Joe. "Just show me where to begin."

137. And that was the beginning‚ a new beginning. As you might have guessed, Joe and Meg eventually married. Their life, however, took an unexpected turn as Joe and Meg became active in the Salvation Army. Joe, being an ex-army man, seemed to feel at home in a denomination based along military lines, and the evangelizing‚ coupled with social work, were something both Joe and Meg felt called to. They eventually moved to Liverpool and performed great works in the name of charity and won many to Jesus in their long and fruitful lives of service.

138. So the death of a witness resulted in another taking his place. While one was brought Home to a Heavenly reward, another picked up his torch. Is there a torch near you waiting to be raised?