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Thursday, April 28, 2022

1 Peter 5:10 (https://www.bibleverseimages.com/grace-bible-verse-5.htm)

"Whatever Happened To Hallelujah Frank?"

Message summary: Today let us again declare our commitment to being steadfast and receive God's promise to restore and make us strong, firm and steadfast!

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"And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 5:10,11).

Brooksyne and I attended Central Bible College in Springfield, MO in the mid seventies. It was a relatively small school with about 1,000 students at that time. The focus was the Bible, theology and training for ministry. We started dating our freshman year, married in 1976 after our Junior year, and the rest is our history together.

We have stayed in touch with many friends from college though some who have now passed on. Yesterday I called a former roommate named Wayne who has been steady over the years, though he did not pursue a pastoral role following college. We wonder how others we've lost touch with have  done in life and above all we prayerfully hope that they stayed faithful to the Lord.

There's one man I especially have wondered about recently. In college he had the nickname "Hallelujah Frank". He shouted out "Hallelujah" often from the balcony of our large chapel as an agreement to what the preacher in chapel was preaching. It was a shout not just for the preacher but for the thousand or so in attendance no matter where they sat! As we recall Frank had been saved out of a very rough inner city background with drugs and so forth, so special grace was given, as to his voluminous response to sermons. I'll bet the students who might have struggled to stay awake at our 7:30 a.m. chapel services suddenly found themselves wakened by Frank's spontaneous hallelujahs, especially those sitting nearby. Frank expressed his faith loudly, similar to the car we featured in yesterday's message (photo).

After finishing school in 1977 we all scattered and lost touch with most of our school mates. But 45 years later I wondered how Hallelujah Frank has done in life. Did he find a place to minister and above all did he stay faithful to Christ? Was he able to resist the temptations to go back to his old way of life?

You've probably had people like Hallelujah Frank in your life and wonder how they've done. Social media has assisted in this and Brooksyne has reconnected with many old friends. But everyone's not on social media. I'm not, but she will often show me something interesting she saw on Facebook. Neither of us do Twitter, which never made much sense to me, but obviously does for many.

Yesterday I went up in my barn loft to look through an old, musty and slightly mildewed college year book and found Frank's full name. I searched on Brooksyne's Facebook page and, lo and behold, I found a much older Hallelujah Frank and he's still Hallelujah Frank, faithfully expressing his allegiance to Christ in his distinctive way in a video sprinkled with hallelujahs. That is such a blessing to my heart!

Today's verse is such a blessing. I find it helpful personalize by changing the pronouns from you to me. "And the God of all grace, who called me to His eternal glory in Christ, after I have suffered a little while, will Himself restore me and make me strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 5:10,11).

Doug Goins comments on this verse:

"We are dealing with the God of all grace, the God of all resource, all adequacy, all provision. This is like a doxology, building in intensity, in volume, in enthusiasm. If it were set to music there would need to be a great crescendo. Tympani rolling, it would be getting louder and fuller and stronger. It's hope that we hang on to! The promises, in verse 10, tell us that God will do four things for us as we go through times of suffering." He will restore, and make us strong, firm and steadfast.

Today we will focus on just the word "steadfast".

“Steadfast”, is the quality of being resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. “Are you in it for the long haul?”, a phrase I've heard often as a young believer and have used myself as a challenge to others. It means to be dedicated to doing something for a long period of time, to intend to continue doing something until it is finished, even if it is difficult or unpleasant. That describes steadfastness!

Throughout my years of ministry I have met those who are into the “Jesus thing” for just a phase of their lives. For some it’s a very short phase, like the young man I met who responded, when I tried to witness to him “I tried that, but it didn’t work for me.” (I suppose he thought by saying “it didn't work for me” that all his problems would just disappear!)

Still others serve Christ for a season in their lives and yet there comes a time when the beckoning call of this present world is just too much for them to bear. I sadly think of several I have known who diligently served the Lord for a number of years but over time fell away. Most of the time this departure from faith was incremental; one small step at a time.

And then there are the steadfast, those in it for the long haul. They hear the words of Paul who at his end wrote, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7,8). Today let us again declare our commitment to being steadfast and receive God's promise to restore and make us strong, firm and steadfast!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we know that it’s not the one who runs the swiftest, nor the one who runs for just a day, but the one who endures to the end that will be saved. We lift up to you the people in our lives who were at one time fervent in their walk with you, but have drifted aimlessly or even carelessly into the ways of the world. Draw them to Yourself even if it takes a crisis in their life to do so. Meanwhile, help us to remain steady, and consistent, being "joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer" for it is the only certain hope for today and our absolute hope for all eternity. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Note: We tried to reach out to Frank yesterday via Facebook on the "chat" but he has yet to read it. He is pretty inactive on his page so it may be awhile before we connect.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Same God"  Video  Jonsal Barrientes  I recently started hearing this song and am blessed by the way it uses Bible characters and their battles to remind us of God's faithfulness. We are calling on the same God! We dedicate it to all who may find themselves in a time of great suffering or difficulty:

I'm calling on the God of David
Who made a shepherd boy courageous
I may not face Goliath
But I got my own giants
O God, my God I need You!

One thoughtful comment read: "Each of the people mentioned in this song went through a season of doubt. They went through a season where they did not understand the plan of God or how He would make the promises He made to them become true but God! They stayed faithful even when they had every reason to doubt and were faced with so much uncertainty! This is so needed at during these times where we live in a world that we are surrounded by so many uncertainties but God hears your prayers and see your tears! Remain faithful to God as He has remained faithful to us even despite our imperfections and sin and when we have not stayed faithful to Him."

"God of All My Days"  Video  Casting Crowns

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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