Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dr. J. Vernon McGee

One of my most important mentors in becoming a Christian is a man named Dr. J. Vernon McGee. Do you know him?

I didn't meet him until 2004. He died in 1988.

I stumbled across his radio ministry as a young Christian. His down-home demeanor, unique voice & dialect, and methodical way of going through the Bible - the entire Bible - to teach his listeners one half-hour at a time was curious (and addictive!) to me.

Anyways, he taught me much of what I know of Scripture. I may not have always agreed with the stances he took on certain things (most of the time I did), but I love the way he teaches! And his voice is reaching the lost in over 100 languages & dialects, more than 20 years after his death.

I look forward to the day I meet Him, in Heaven. Here's a short excerpt from one of his newsletters. It's nothing revolutionary by any means, but I always feel indebted to him, to share his voice:

God of Our Past and Our Future

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13, 14)

As one year departs forever and a new, unknown year is here, the thoughtful person remembers and meditates on days past and ponders the future.

It seems there are two opposite suggestions in Scripture. Paul reminds us to forget those things that are behind and to reach out to those things that are before us (see Philippians 3:13). However, God commanded Moses to remember all the ways in which He had led him and the children of Israel (see Exodus 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 5:15).

Is not God saying to remember the good and forget the bad, except as it can be a deterrent for future mistakes? We can be so immersed in guilt over our failures as to forget that God can still forgive and use us. Confess and forget that bad stretch and “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). Athletes work through slumps and come out stronger.

In remembering God’s marvelous guidance, our faith is fortified to face a nebulous unknown. If He could bring us through last year, can we not trust Him for this year? “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12).

--From a January 1985 newsletter written by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

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