“For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven, and returns not hither, but waters the earth and makes it to bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto to I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:10-11
“…the centurion sent friends to him saying, ‘Lord, don’t trouble yourself: for I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof…but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.’” –Luke 7:6-7
Last week, I had the privilege of cutting a TV broadcast with Pastor Daniel Moore of Iglesia Del Senor church in Dallas and Pastor Fran Quesava from Madrid, Spain. Pastor Fran, who is thirty-two years old, brought with him a book that he and his wife have written entitled GOAL! Pastor Fran said the idea for the title came to him from the Spanish custom of screaming out “GOAL!” whenever their soccer teams score. As we were discussing the book, Pastor Fran said he was inspired to write the book from ministering in Central and South American cities with Dr. Luis Palau. When Pastor Fran made that comment I said, “Let me tell you a story you probably don’t know.”
Back in the 20’s and 30’s, there was an on-fire, Holy Ghost movement in the United Kingdom that came out of the famous Welsh Revival. They believed in radical personal salvation through faith and confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and in the offices of the Ascended Christ. They were especially strong on the gift of prophecy and the office of the New Testament prophet. They believed in waiting on the Lord for direction.
On one occasion as they were in prayer, the Holy Spirit began to speak through the prophets about the needs of their nation and the world. As the prophet spoke of various places in need of ministry, one place was named that nobody attending the meeting had ever heard about. So they did the only thing they could – try to find out if such a place could be found on a world map. After much looking and searching, they found a city in South America that was a match to the prophetic word. Not knowing what else to do, they sent missionaries. My father was one of the missionaries sent out by that revival; and although he was sent to Australia rather than South America, a very close friend of his was sent to the Argentine.
Today there is a huge move of the Holy Spirit in South America, and particularly in Brazil and the Argentine. One of the families that came into the move of the Holy Spirit as a result of all this effort and activity was Dr. Luis Palau of Argentina. I met Dr. Palau in Wales in 1987 when he spoke at the annual convention of the organization that sent out the missionaries. Dr. Palau later came to set up a headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, before leaving to continue his work in Portland, Oregon.
Part of Dr. Palau’s vision was to raise up one hundred young evangelists. While cutting last week’s TV broadcast, I asked Fran Quesava if he was one of the one hundred evangelists. Pastor Fran said he wasn’t, but he had travelled with Dr. Palau and was inspired by him.
What if the man who gave the prophetic word so many years ago in the United Kingdom had hesitated and not spoken forth that word because he did not recognize the name of the place or understand what he was saying? If the word is truly God’s word, it is not spoken in vain but rather accomplishes and prospers according to God’s purposes.
Don’t be afraid to speak a word from God, whether in testimony or Sunday school or private conversation or wherever. If it is God’s word, He will clothe it with substance. God’s word always brings a return; He is the One that closes His loops. A very interesting loop of that sort just closed for me in an unexpected way while meeting with Daniel and Fran last week in Dallas.
John G. Cathcart
“…What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
‘Tis the star spangled banner: O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”
— excerpt from “The Star Spangled Banner,” lyrics by Francis Scott Key
Interestingly, the common nickname for the flag of the United States of America did not come from that second verse of Francis Scott Key’s famous poem, even though you might assume that’s the source. Actually, “Old Glory” was a name given to the flag by William Driver, an early nineteenth century American sea captain. Specifically, the title refers to the flag he owned, which has become one the U.S.’s most treasured artifacts.
“Old Glory” was made and presented in the 1820’s to the young captain by his mother and some young ladies from his home-town of Salem, Massachusetts. The flag is big — measuring about ten feet by seventeen feet — and was intended to be flown from the mast of a ship. Originally, the flag had twenty-four stars with a small anchor sown into the blue corner as a symbol of its nautical purpose. William Driver first hailed the flag as “Old Glory” as he left harbor for a trip around the world in 1831-1832 — a trip which climaxed with the rescue of the mutineers of the famous H.M.S. Bounty.
The captain quit the sea in 1837 and moved on to Nashville, Tennessee. He flew the flag on all patriotic occasions using a rope strung across the street. “Old Glory” soon became known to all the local citizens. In 1861, it was modified to show 34 stars. Tennessee seceded in 1861 when the Civil War broke out; and fearing the local Confederate government might try to destroy the flag, Driver had it sewn inside a comforter by some neighbor girls. The flag survived, and Driver flew it again when Union forces retook Nashville the next year. The 6th Ohio Infantry was present to cheer and salute and be inspired to take “Old Glory” as their motto.
All these events were widely reported, and soon “Old Glory” became nationally famous. The flag remained for a time as a treasured keepsake in the Driver family. Eventually, the flag was given to the Smithsonian. Captain Driver’s grave is in the old Nashville City cemetery, which is one of three places authorized by act of Congress to allow the flag of the United States of America to be flown twenty-four hours per day.
As you celebrate this Fourth of July, take a few brief moments to appreciate the flags waving about your own neighborhood. And as you do, you might want to reflect on the words of Lee Greenwood’s beloved song:
“And I’m proud to be an American,
Where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
Who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up
Next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.”
By John G. Cathcart