Dear Friends & Family,
Happy summer! Julie and I hope you are well and enjoying yours. We are having a great time keeping grandsons while Charley Jr. and Kelly are in Peru. I am enjoying the extra time to read and do some cooking. Among other things the Lord has been taking me through a restudy of His dealings with Abraham. I have found some encouragement I would like to share with you.
In Genesis 21, Abraham is 100 years old when God put Isaac in his arms. He lived on to the ripe old age of 175. So in doing the math, he was 57% finished with the life God gave him. This is when he received “the promise”. Now that is encouraging. He was a middle aged man plus some. Middle age and later, can be quite perplexing for some of us.
A few years ago Holy Spirit spoke these words to me, “The middle ages don’t have to be the dark ages”. Later, I learned psychologists have studied that people are most happy in their twenties and that their happiness begins to slowly decline. Until mid fifties or early sixties, then it begins to climb back up until many are much more happy in their sixties, seventies, and eighties. Even more than in their twenties. Seems like I bottomed out last year. Now at 55, I feel that first part of the upward curve. There’s more excitement about this than the 10% discount I can now get at IHOP. Ok, so please think about Abraham with me.
God came into his life many years before and blessed him and made him to be a blessing. God had given and fulfilled many promises to him. There are promises and then there is “the promise”. God had tested him and then entered into a covenant with him and changed his Identity. Then Abraham and Sarah took matters into their own hands and tried to bring God’s plan and purpose about in their own strength and in their own way. Ishmael was born. Not too big a deal after all because “the promise” was still for God’s appointed time.
Suddenly one day (God’s appointed time), when in their circumstances it looked like it was impossible, God’s visitation and grace came. So Abraham at 99, and Sarah at 86, conceived and “the promise” began to manifest. While reading Genesis 21, I heard the Lord say, “You see, I don’t give the promise to young bucks. I don’t put my Isaacs into the hands of novices and those who are not ready. I wait until you give birth to your Ishmaels but can later trust me enough to send them away believing that I will bless them and take care of them. I wait until you finally get tired and quit and then…yeah. When you quit is when I begin.” You see, it’s when you are in that place of “ I’m through Lord, I can’t do it anymore”. Then the Lord says, “Ok perfect. Now I can finally get started and bring the promise to pass in your life.”
In July of 1999, I left my law practice. Julie and I took our family, left behind the new custom home we had built the year before, and set out from our hometown of Canton, TX to Cd. Victoria Mexico. Feels like yesterday when we answered the call to serve as missionaries and evangelists. Back then, God spoke “I will use you to take my nation from the nations”. He also gave me instructions saying that there were three main things he wanted me to do for Him: 1. Call men, women, and children to come to Him. 2. Be an instrument of revival. 3. Help others get started in their ministries.
After twenty years, I sense we are back to “the promise” of “ taking His nation from the nations”. We are still doing those three things He told me to do. Now, he is sending us into more nations to do so. In August and September, we will be working in Colombia and Mexico. Then in October and November, we will be working in Asia. For now we are so blessed to swim, play with, and cook for our grandsons and enjoy some summer!
I think it is so painful for us to think of sending our Ishmaels away. Because they were born out of our ego and sometimes so much effort, energy, and cost. However, when you hold the Isaac that was born of God’s Spirit and plan for your life, you will be able and glad to do it. We fear our Ishmaels will die and/or decline, but God is so good He will even bless and cause our Ishmaels to thrive and prosper. We just have to let them go and into God’s hands. What is “the promise” in your life? Be encouraged because God gives Isaacs to old guys and I think you know why.
We are praying and believing for you to prosper in all things during this season. Please believe and agree with us for robust finances this summer. We all want a summer bump not a summer slump!
We love you so much,
Charley & Julie