Dear Friend in Christ:
Grace and peace to you. These blessings seem all the more precious to us in these days. There is no need for me to give a recitation of the grim news headlines, but if there was ever a time in my lifetime where we need a Holy Spirit outpouring of grace and peace, it is now.
In 1973, fifty years ago, was another such time of turmoil. War raged in the Middle East. Political scandal rocked the United States. The Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision made abortion the law of the land. Inflation, spurred by high oil prices, skyrocketed. That year, songwriter Paul Simon sang:
I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
Or driven to its knees
— “AMERICAN TUNE” BY PAUL SIMON (1973)
Many of us can identify with those words today. So, what are we to do? When my daughter was a little girl, and she would become afraid, my wife and I would sing to her this praise chorus, taken from Psalm 27:
The Lord is my light and my salvation
Whom shall I fear?
For the Lord is the strength of my life
Whom shall I fear?
In the time of trouble
He will hide me
Whom shall I fear?
Wait on the Lord
Be of good courage
And He shall strengthen thine heart
I still believe. Do you? Though we may be buffeted by a severe tempest, and our vessel may be taking on water, Jesus Himself is in our boat with us (see Mark 4:35-41). He is at peace. And, He cares for us. In these moments…
• Seek Him
• Draw near to Him
• Trust in Him
• Listen to Him
• Do as He says
• Rest in Him
• Watch what He does
Oh, yes, there is a cacophony of voices screaming for your attention. Soothsayers of doom arise again, hoping to make bank on some spicy end times theories. False prophets seeking fame and fortune scratch itching ears on traveling road shows peddling sham “gospel,” conspiracy theories, and counterfeit revival. Politicians pander and barrage you with relentless appeals for money and time. Enemies–both natural and spiritual–stand at the gates, breathing out threats and blasphemies.
Faced with family tragedy in 1903, Presbyterian minister Cleland Boyd McAfee wrote these simple words: “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.” King David understood this when he wrote Psalm 27, which I invite you to read in its entirety now, in prayerful meditation and expectation:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me to eatup my flesh,
My enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.
One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me; do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help; do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.
Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
My purpose here this month is not to do expository preaching, but to ask the Holy Spirit to write these words on our hearts and minds in our time of trouble. David was no stranger to trouble! But, hallelujah, he was no stranger to the Lord! Knowing about God can be a great value; knowing God is a matter of life and death.
If you’ve ever been in a storm on the sea at night, a treatise on lighthouses isn’t going to save you; what you want is to see the light. Our friend Pastor Curtis Forman tells a story of him sailing home in the dark, looking for buoy lights. He spied a red light and used it to navigate his way closer to shore. When he got close, he realized the red light was a sign for the Ramada Inn!
To survive these days, we need to know where were going and with Whom we are going. Who you believe will be a primary factor in what you believe and where you go. Choose wisely. In the Holy Spirit, we not only have a map, but a guide … a faithful Navigator. Not only can He take us through the waves, but He can tell the waves to sit down and be quiet. He’s not only observant, but He has power, and all authority has been given to Him.
When Jesus healed the blind man, and folks in town wanted to argue with the man about Jesus, he told them: “I don’t know about all of that, but I once was blind and now I see!” Have you ever experienced blindness? I have. Everything can seem confused and chaotic. Hopelessness whispers constantly in your ears. Even worse than natural blindness is spiritual blindness. Perhaps even worse than that is thinking you see something that is not really there, and then acting on it. The shoals are littered with the skeletons of many ships that steered wrongly in the storm.
“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see you!”—PAUL BALOCHE, FROM EPHESIANS 1
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus:
“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:15-21).
One of the best ways to re-gain our sight and see the light is to give thanks to the Lord in all things (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Thanksgiving lifts our eyes off of ourselves and our troubles and onto Jesus and His Sovereign grace. Now is a great time to practice thanksgiving again.
Please join with us in prayer this month that the glory of God might be revealed among the nations; that the name of Jesus would be lifted high and many would come to His light. Thank you for your financial support, which helps us to continue Gospel declaration across the world, and to sow into ministries that desperately need resources in zones of war, famine, and disaster. If the Holy Spirit leads you to stand with us this month, please visit us here.
Our family has gone through some significant health challenges, and I am personally dealing with severe stage four chronic kidney disease. My hope is in the Lord. He has provided a wonderful medical team to work with me, and family and friends to walk with me. Prayer is always treasured and appreciated.
Both my dad, Charles Simpson, and I travel in ministry. If you would like either of us to visit your church or community, please contact our office (251) 633-7900. We’d love to see you! Share this letter with someone who needs encouragement today. Thanks again for standing with us. We love you!
You do not have to give anything to receive ministry from us. But when you do, you equip us to reach many others. Visit us online at csmpublishing.org, on our Charles Simpson Ministries Facebook Page, our CSMPublishing YouTube Channel, or on X (Twitter) @CSMinPublishing.
Plan now for our annual CSM Gatlinburg Conference, April 30-May 2, 2024: “Restoring the Generational Bridge.” More information to come! Thank you for your friendship!
STEPHEN SIMPSON is the Editor of One-to-One Magazine and the Director of CSM Publishing. In addition to publishing ministry, Stephen has served in leadership for churches and ministries in Costa Rica, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Michigan, as well as being the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile (2004-2013). He continues to travel in ministry across North America and in other nations.