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Sunday Sermon - 5/6/01 - The Deliverer - Joel 2:32


The Deliverer

"And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered (saved)" (Joel 2:32).

A sermon had been prepared for this week, but it's not this one. Sometimes, things come up that are greater than our sermons, greater than our plans. One thing that came up was Friday Study Ministries and the other is my grandson.

The good news is that Friday Study Ministries, Inc. is now a CHURCH in every sense of the word. You will be interested that the IRS person in Washington DC who has been handling our "case" (his name is Bob) said at one point, "in over fifty years of trying, no electronic entity has EVER been approved by the IRS. He went on to include "radio, TV and the Internet." He continued that "EVERY case in Court ruled in favor of the IRS."

Well, that sounded - difficult! Our case is unique, of course (I'm sure others felt unique as well, though), because our primary intention is to reach out to those who cannot or will not attend a traditional Church. Quadriplegics have always been a part of this ministry, and we are available to others as well, such as agoraphobic persons and the hearing impaired. A surprise was the homeless, because many have one of those free e-mail addresses and stay in touch with family, through the Internet at a local resource center.

Now, the Friday Study DOES meet in person, and from a human perspective, that may have been a deciding factor. But God certainly does answer prayer and we have learned anew that "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes" (Proverbs 21:1). God answers prayer. In the eyes of the world and in His eyes, we are a Church (the first Church) on the Internet for those who are in need. Praise His Holy Name! It is a miracle and we thank God!

But what about my grandson? His name is Christopher David Beckham, II, but from his birth, he has been "Christo" to those who love him, and many do. He is one of those lovely people you meet, beautiful on the outside, and gentle on the inside - a few times in your life you meet this kind of person. We usually think our child or grandchild is the best, and he is, but Christo is not only beautiful, he also has Muscular Dystrophy.

It is in Christo's family and it was always thought he might have it, but now the tests are in. Most children have levels of Creatine Kinase (something I never even heard of before) at right around 138. Christo's level was tested the other day, and was found to be 32,000. What was suspected is now a known reality.

His future seems bleak in the light of current medical knowledge, and includes gradual loss of functions, wheelchairs as a teenager, and probable death in his 20's.

The events of this week have been like hammer blows. An elation like nothing I ever expected accompanied the Church Status of Friday Study Ministries, and then an immense sadness, as I considered Christo's father (my son), Christo's mother (my daughter-in-law), and the boy himself, who will become a man - but for how long? The roller coaster continues, for emotions are high, then low, with astonishing speed.

We see again that God answers prayer, but then the question, how much does he love Christo? His Mom, His Dad - you and me? I remember my years as a boy in a wheelchair and wonder, will this happen to Christo?

God does answer prayer. Charles Spurgeon knew this and he said (in relation to Joel 2:32) "My case is urgent, and I do not see how I am to be delivered; but this is no business of mine. He who makes the promise will find ways and means of keeping it. It is mine to obey His commands; it is not mine to direct His counsels. I am His servant, not His solicitor. I call upon Him, and He will deliver."

Spurgeon's statement is the cry of faith. With the Friday Study, we have SIGHT - We know God answers prayer, because we SAW it happen! And we REJOICE at what He has done. With Christo, we must have FAITH at this point. He may be healed. The medical researchers can come up with treatments never thought of before, and God can simply HEAL our 1-year old boy. But will they? Will He? I do not know.

I do know this. God loves Christo, and his Dad Chris, and his Mom Tricia, and He loves you and me. Christo is "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14) just like the greatest soccer player that ever lived (Christo's Dad was a professional soccer player). With the Friday Study, I was sure from the beginning that God intended us to be a Church, but doubter that I sometimes am, I was concerned to the end (this is actually the beginning).

With Christo, I do not know the outcome, but I know that he is SPECIALLY made. He is designed to make people like you and me become more than we are. In relation to him, we wonder, just as Job wondered, so long ago, and asked God "Why do You contend with me?" (Job 10:2). God is not contending with us; but rather He is building the opportunity for faith into us, that we might find the PEACE and the JOY that is His will for each one.

I am so pleased to be the Senior Pastor of the First Church on the Internet - Friday Study Ministries, Inc. I love Christo, and just as God has blessed our Church, He has blessed that little boy. How will God particularly and specifically express that love? I don't know yet. But God loves this boy - and his parents; and we will see.

Father, please heal Christo. We want EVERY child in the world to run, and walk, and leap, and praise the God who made them, and right now, we ask for this little boy. We know he will be healed in eternity, and we thank You that all illness, all trouble - is temporary, for we are healed by the blood of Jesus Christ. That's good, Lord, and we praise You that we ARE healed in every way. But you encourage us to ASK, and we ask for him right now. Please heal Christo in THIS life, as well as in the next. (And bless the Friday Study for all who are in need of You). Thank You, Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

Tel: (562) 688-5559
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)