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Watch. Guard. Keep.

September, 2002

I am once again reminded of our vulnerability as people, as nations, as a global society. As the anniversary of September 11, 2001, causes strong emotions to arise in our hearts, relics of remembrance become a telling record of the force, the pain, the import of an act of terrorism still fresh in our history.

Immediately after the initial shock of 9-11, the caretakers of history recognized the need to sift through the debris and sort out what would be saved for museums and memorials of this catastrophic turning point. One womanís brief case fell far too many stories to survive, yet was found intact. She also miraculously survived and then was given a choice: keep this symbol and attestation for herself and her family alone, or share it with nameless others and future generations. To others it would not or could not carry her emotions, but it would serve as a proof, evidence of her survival and the aerie aftermath of what made it throughóand what did not.

One story that aired only once or twice became for me a poignant reminder of the power of love and life. After days of removing rubble from the Towers, workers found in a WTC restaurant a mother cat and her kittens clinging to life in a struggle to survive. There she was, giving her life to keep her kittens alive, her instincts overruling such a hostile environment. She and her kittens were saved, a precious encouragement given to the rescuers amidst the rubble of destruction. These little kittens knew only their motherís selfless love and then the strong but gentle arms of the men who carried them to safety and supply.

The stories, the documentaries, the evidence being collected, comprise the record of an event yet to be measured in magnitude. Museums, memorials, scrap books, video collections, one generation telling the story to their children and grandchildren and anyone who will hear, form the repository of the record. We all become responsible for preserving the truth.

Let remembrance bring resolve. I donít know about you, but I tend to go "soft," ease up, think itís not so bad, etc. I need reminders to jostle and jolt me back to reality.

As I was praying about this message, knowing it goes to countless pastors and all over the world, one word came boldly to the forefront. GUARD. I heard the Holy Spirit saying:

The elect from every nation will come in and then the wrath of the Lamb shall be released upon those who disobey and disbelieve the Christ, the Child of the Holy Ghost. Many will blaspheme and mock the Holy Ghost, sealing their destiny as children of wrath, even as preachers water down the gospel more and more, denying the lake of fire, denying Gehenna and any and all places of punishment. The people will be warmed into delusion so as no longer to despair of their sin and godlessness, lawlessness and apostasy.

But you, preach the whole counsel of God. Guard the truth. Love the truth. Proclaim the truth, not according to the social constructs of man, but according to the construct of God. Hold fast to Him and to His Word in the hearing of itching ears.

As their doom impends upon them, they think themselves pure, okay, good, unworthy of such destruction, for they see not their sin, their falling short. In diminishing the holiness of God, they judge Him and desire Him to be as they are. They are less than they should be and could be and so they desire to make God the Almighty less than He is and will be.

Suffer with those who will come to Craighouse. [or your house or place of ministry] Love them. Give them the truth and pray they will receive, acknowledge the truth and conform to it.

Little ones, keep yourselves from idols. Remain alert and watchful. Be innocent as doves but wise. Let wisdom enter your hearts. Be guided by the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of God.

A history-altering event has occurred. Its lingering effect into the future is yet to be comprehended and witnessed. Our American borders have been "open" because of our freedoms, but inasmuch as governmentís role is to protect our borders, this is changing. In addition, the threat without is also a threat within. Which is greater has yet to be determined. We, therefore, are to watch, guard, and keep.

What about the kingdom of Christ? Unparalleled events occurred when Jesus Christ invaded history and when the Holy Spirit was poured out. The Scriptures, inspired by the Holy Spirit, set forth the proclamation of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ into glory. This gospel record is one of grace, mercy, peace, and the love of God. Jesus Christ came to save His people from their sins and to give to those who believe in Him eternal life.

The gospel, the trust, the testimonies, the teachings, the truth are to be remembered, guarded, kept, preserved, passed on to the faithful able. Remembrance brings resolve and resilience. It strengthens our faith and encourages us in the midst of suffering. Right now is a good time, a crucial time to remember the charge given to those called to ministry.

We are to guard the gates of our own house and Godís house, to guard the walls and doors, and our own souls, to set a watch over our mouths. As we do, God will do. God guards the way to the tree of life, our hearts and minds through Christ with His peace, the feet of His saints, the city, the paths of justice and the way of the saints. In 2 Thessalonians 3.3 Paul celebrates: "But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one."

In Paulís charge to Timothy, his son in the faith, Paul says: "O Timothy, keep that which is committed in your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen." (1 Timothy 6.20, 21) If we have failed to guard the gates and doors and opened the borders to another gospel, we must remember and restore our resolve to guard the truth of the gospel.

Paulís testimony demonstrates how the gospel is the power of God unto salvation and Godís grace in committing this sacred trust to such as he. Timothy is to guard the gospel and the teaching that flows from it, to stand for it, and fight a good warfare against Satan and those who abandon a good conscience and faith, who blaspheme, and who teach heterodoxy. Paul warns Timothy against an apostasy arising because of deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. (1 Timothy 4.1) Truth must be guarded, kept, proclaimed. Timothy will need to take heed to his public duties and his personal spiritual life so as to be an example to believers. He must be on the watch for false and erroneous teachings and for those for whom "religion is a means of (financial) gain." (1 Timothy 6.5b)

To pastors, teachers, shepherds of the flock, ministers, and indeed every believer entrusted with the gospel of salvation, Paul issues demands which are to be kept until the coming of Christ (6.14):

      1. Flee the things Paul has warned against, e.g., perverse disputings, false teaching, the love of money, youthful lusts, impurity, ungodliness, etc. (6.11)
      2. Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (6.11)
      3. Fight the good fight of faith. (6.12)
      4. Lay hold on eternal life. (6.12)
      5. Keep the commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. (6.14)
      6. Charge the rich in this world not to be high-minded nor trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Charge them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be ready to distribute, willing to communicate. (6.17, 18)
      7. Keep that which is committed to your trust. (6.20)

What will it take? Grace and the power of God!

Do not be ashamed of the gospel or the testimony of our Lord, but partake of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God. (2 Timothy 1.8) God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace. This grace is given us in Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Come to that place like Paul:

I know [oida] whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. (2 Timothy 1.12)

Paul exhorts Timothy to "hold fast the form of sound words, which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."(2 Timothy 1.13)

God will take care of his suffering servant and all those who suffer for the gospel. Guard the trust, the truth content of the gospel. Guard the deposit of the gospel account that God has entrusted to you. Guard against it being lost or damaged. Guard its value and truthfulness. The Holy Spirit indwelling you enables you to carry this out. (2 Timothy 1.12-14)

Pastor Jim and I both want to express our gratitude to all of you who have prayed and given toward making Craighouse a reality. Sunday, we dedicated Craighouse to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As we have been entrusted with the gospel and the teachings that flow from it, so also we entrust our lives and ability to fulfill our callings to Godís Holy Spirit.

We also continue to prepare for our expedition into Chile, Argentina, and Antarctica at the end of this year. This will be a crucial mission literally "to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1.8) The time is fast approaching, and we hope you will want to participate in the praying, giving and sending.

Trusting in the grace of the gospel,

Mary Craig

That good thing which was committed unto you,
keep by the Holy Ghost which dwells in us. 2 Timothy 1.14

© 2002 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.


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