77th Anniversary Service
The Laymen's Evangelical Fellowship International
IN HIS HAND Shepherded 77 years
The unerring hand of God has led us these 77 years.
The Psalmist says, “Thy faithfulness reaches unto the clouds.” (Psalm 36:5) These words must sink into our hearts. We must never think that we are wiser than God, nor that we are building some great work. The Lord Jesus Christ who said, “I will build my church,” is the Builder. He knows what is best for us.
Today men are so blind and try to convince themselves that everything including goodness emanates from man himself. Really even a little enlightenment teaches us that what seems like a tiny discoloured pimple can turn out to be a malignant growth which has the potential to claim one’s life. On the one hand many feel that with our research and modern expertise, we can handle almost any issue. Then others live in fear that almost any indisposition or pain can prove fatal. One can see that both these positions are equally erroneous.
A message turned up on my wife’s cell phone, “Do not delay to consult this reliable astrologer.” Of course, we pay no attention to such irrelevant communications. All advance in many people’s lives is simply scuttled by the paralysing fear of one’s own fate. We see this strongly emphasized and doctrinally enforced in several religions (Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism) but in Christ we are lifted to an entirely different plane. We are taught by faith in God’s Word to arrive at the strong confidence to be able to say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13) We are moving thus from zero to infinity. Being thus undergirded, surely we should have the sense to ascribe all dominion and power, majesty and grace to Christ our Redeemer, Shepherd and Guide.
Yes, we must show forth His praise and thank Him for His great faithfulness and join our voice to the Psalmist’s when he says, “With my mouth will I make known your faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 89: 1)
One thing however greatly saddens me, that I reflect so little of my Saviour’s matchless beauty and love; also that collectively we represent Jesus so poorly and in reality come very close to caricaturing our Immaculate and Perfect Saviour.
One of the songs which my father—who always called himself an out-of-tune singer—made us sing in the early days prior to and following revival outpourings was,
O Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou for ever near me,
My Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle
If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway,
If Thou wilt be my Guide.
We sang the four verses of this beautiful hymn with all our hearts and we meant it. The love of the Cross just made it the most logical and appropriate thing to put our ALL upon the altar. Now this was not the result of some moving appeal made by an eloquent speaker. It just followed most normally and naturally that we gave all our love and the strength of our young hearts to Jesus. Although in most cases there were no vows made as such, we did pledge our fealty and loyalty to Jesus.
Now I know that some people do vow to God as Samuel’s mother, Hannah, did. “O Lord of Hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of your handmaid ..., but wilt give your handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life …” (I Sam. 1:11) Now if you have made some vows to God, this would be an appropriate time for you to check honestly, whether you have kept your vows. What does the Scripture say? “When thou vow
est a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for He hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.” (Eccl. 5:4)
Religion today is a worthless hotchpotch of broken vows, deception, make-believe, commercialism and even vanity. True Christianity knows nothing of such religion.
During all these 77 years, we have trusted God to move and work in the hearts of men in His own sovereign manner. We have never used gimmicks, tricks, handouts, or other means to gather adherents. There were never any membership drives amongst us or any attempt to advertise ourselves. We have made it our practice to be low profile. We began with twos and threes and claimed the promise, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20) We counted on God to change hearts, transform lives and build His own work.
Now we have become a large body and are widely scattered across many nations. It is imperative that we should see our grave need of a new humbling at the Cross and experience in a deeper measure, than ever before, of being “wholly sanctified by the Truth of God’s Word.” There should be in us an honest accounting of how we have used the gifts and graces of God. Have we used them for self-gain or self-aggrandizement? I say this because I see this dreadful danger creeping into some of our shallow preachers and centres. As for myself, I constantly humble myself both in private and in public.
As we enter this 78th year of service, let us cleanse ourselves of all “filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit” and let our celebration consist of “sackcloth and ashes.” The world around us is literally dying and we are doing so little. They know not Christ, because we have not lifted up our Saviour. We should give no room to the sin of self-satisfaction and self-praise amongst us. True humbling is always the precursor to revival. --Joshua Daniel
77th anniversary service
Sunday, Aug. 5th 2012 at 6:30-8:45pm
Laymen's Evangelical Fellowship, Amalapuram, Andhra Pradesh, India
Amalapuram, Andhra Pradesh
suryanagar, Behind Z. P. Boys High School,