Once a month, we go to a church some distance from our home. Most of the drive is through farmland and a couple of small villages, but there is also a considerable section of forest on both sides of the road. Some years ago, the road was raised and partly relocated. As a consequence, the topography of the area was changed, a big portion of the treed area was flooded in the spring when the snow melted, and the trees all died. For a number of years, there were no trees with leaves on them, just stark-looking trunks without bark, and many of the branches had fallen off as well.
One Sunday this past spring, I noticed a multitude of new small trees in among the dead ones. I suppose that either the fallen bark, branches, and trunks had decayed and might have raised the ground somewhat, or else the water had perhaps found another way to drain off, allowing new growth to develop.
Occasionally, there are articles in newspapers or Christian magazines about church growth in various places around the world. Last year, we saw a church service on television, and the guest speaker was an evangelist from Africa. He had such a great message about the growth of the Christian church in his homeland.
Early in the book of Acts, we read about the growth of the church after Pentecost. We are told that Peter was preaching to the people about Christ's ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection, and then it says:
Acts 2:40-41 – And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (NKJV)
The early disciples faced the almost impossible task of bringing the good news of the gospel of Jesus to the people of that time. They were threatened by the authorities, imprisoned, and even killed for their faith, yet they carried on to fulfill the commandment that Jesus had given them to bring the gospel to all nations.
The evangelist from Africa was so enthusiastic about bringing the gospel to the people in his homeland, and to us in North America as well. As the Christian church is struggling in so many places, it is good to see that there are still places where the seeds of faith are finding fertile ground and where there is new growth.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You for the people of old and those of the present time, who in many cases, under very difficult and perhaps even life-threatening circumstances, have brought and do bring the gospel to those who want to hear. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Take My Life And Let It Be" (Lyrics)