Our Incredible Journey HOME By Harry Bollback
Our Incredible Journey Home Harry Bollback ISBN: 978-0-578-21988-2 Copyright © 2019 by Word of Life Fellowship
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.
Published by Word of Life Fellowship, Inc. Schroon Lake, NY 12870
Harry Bollback has lived a long time.
He was born during the presidency of Calvin Coolidge. That means Harry spent his growing-up years during the Roaring ‘20’s and the Great Depression of the ‘30’s. He met Jack Wyrtzen after one of his rallies in December 1941. He first played the piano for him on December 7, 1941, the day of the Pearl Harbor attack that launched the United States into World War II. And that led Harry to serve with the Marines in the South Pacific. After he met and married Millie, they spent many years as missionaries in Brazil. Eventually he came back to America to lead the worldwide expansion of Word of Life. Harry told the story of his life in his book, Our Incredible Journey . This book is not a continuation of that story, it’s something else entirely. Harry has lived long enough to see the world he was born into disappear altogether. No one knew about the internet back in those early days in Brooklyn where he grew up. No one could imagine satellites or television or men walking on the moon, much less, social media and talking gadgets in your home.
A few months ago, Harry told me he had some things on his heart he wanted to share while he still had time. This is not exactly his final message, but it’s the answer to the question – “what’s on your mind as you stand on the edge of eternity?” Harry has had time to contemplate the promises of God in a new way. Heaven has become brighter and more real to Harry and Millie as they make their way in that direction. As you read these pages, you’ll discover that Harry has not in any sense given up. At the age of 94, he’s still serving the Lord even though his circumstances have changed considerably in recent years. As he comes down the homestretch of life, he shows us how to keep on serving the Lord until we cross the finish line. I found myself encouraged, challenged, and invigorated by the thoughts shared in Our Incredible Journey Home .
I’m glad he wrote it.
Thanks, Harry, for your testimony of faithful service to our Lord for so many years. And thank you for sharing this challenge as you get ready for the final leg of your incredible journey, the one that will lead you Home to be with the Lord Jesus forever.
Ray Pritchard President, Keep Believing Ministries
Table of Contents
FOREWORD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 A GREAT FAITH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Don’t Live in the Past. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Doubts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Death and Dying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Learning Humility. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Keep Singing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 A GREAT FIGHT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Keep Going! It’s Not Over. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Bible, Prayer and Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Helping Others. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Witnessing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 A GREAT FINISH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Don’t Let Sin Creep into Your Life. . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Get Everything in Order. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Family, Friends and You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 A GREAT FUTURE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 We Shall be Changed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 We Will See Jesus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Even So, Come, Lord Jesus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
I am an old man married to my beautiful wife. We just celebrated our 70th wedding anniversary... so now you know we are both old. My wife, Millie, and I were both just fourteen years old when we received Jesus Christ as our Savior, and we are thankful for the lifetime of years we’ve had to serve our Lord. I am writing this book so you will know that our service for our Lord is not over. We are still serving the Lord as we wait for His glorious appearing. The apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 put it this way: For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. As we get older and reach retirement age, many people think it’s all over, so I’ll just coast from here on out. Through the years people have asked me if I am retired, and I tell them, Yes, I retire every night to go
to bed so I can get up the next morning to find out what God has for me to do. I lived in Florida for many years, and I met numerous Christians who retired to Florida and did nothing for the Lord. They may have been busy and active in their churches in the past, but once they retired, they let it all go. These were good people who loved the Lord, but they had not only retired from their vocational work... they also retired from serving and giving to the Lord. I understand that changes happen as we get older; I’ve certainly experienced some difficult challenges along the way. Now that I’m 94 years old, I’ve had to face some limitations. Millie and I can’t do everything we used to do. We don’t get out very much, and when we do, it’s usually to go see the doctor. Compared to the life we used to lead, this is a big change for us. I’ve written this book to encourage you to continue serving the Lord no matter how old you are. It may get harder to be involved as we grow older, but it’s always better to keep serving the Lord. I’m going to share some things the Lord has taught me over the past few years. I hope these lessons give you some encouragement. We all need to keep on going for the Lord until the day He calls us Home. What a great day that will be! Someday soon Jesus will return, and we will meet Him face to face, or we will die and go to be with Him. Either way, we will be with Jesus forever. I’m excited about that because I know that day is not far away. Please accept these words written by an old man who wants to encourage you to keep going, keep fighting, and finish well for the Lord.
A GREAT FAITH
I Have Kept the Faith 2 Timothy 4:7
A Great Faith
Don’t Live in the Past
As we get older, we like to sit around and talk about everything that happened in the past, and we call it the ‘good ole’ days. Well, they were good because God blessed in a wonderful way, but those are the old days. We’re not there. We’re living in a new day. I want to take a moment to talk about this because the Bible does tell us to remember what God has done, but we’re not to live in the past. I remember the day I got saved. My Sunday School teacher sent our class to a Christian camp. We got in trouble, and they were going to ship us home. Thankfully they decided to give us one more opportunity. That night I got saved in the meeting. I experienced the great faith that comes when you receive Jesus Christ as Savior. Millie came to Christ when her friends invited her to come to church. After hearing an evangelist preach, she invited Jesus Christ into her heart, and she was gloriously saved. That changed the direction of her life forever. Praise God for the day we got saved and experienced this great faith that only Jesus Christ can give.
I remember the day I went to a meeting where Jack Wyrtzen was preaching. He was just starting a radio program in that city. That night he said he had a meeting the next day and needed a young man to go with him to play the piano. I offered to go, and the next day, December 7, 1941, was the first day that I played in a service with Jack Wyrtzen. That started an association with Word of Life that has lasted over 75 years. I need to remember that. We need a growing faith. I remember the day we purchased Word of Life Island in Schroon Lake, New York, in the Adirondacks. The lady who owned it was asking $125,000. Jack offered her $25,000, and she took it. To the glory of God, that island has touched the lives of more than 400,000 young people. Thousands have been saved, and thousands more have given their lives to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. I remember the day Millie and I went to Brazil. We went out to the jungle and worked with the Indians. The first time we met the Xavante Indians, they shot arrows at us. They tried to kill us. But today, there are 40 churches, and they’re all pastored by Xavante Indians. And God says to remember this. In 1958 we opened our first overseas camp in Brazil. It was a humble beginning, but God blessed in such an amazing way that we began to think, “Boy, if we can do this in Brazil, we might be able to do this around the world.” Later, we opened the firstWord of Life Bible Institute in Brazil, and that gave us the idea that maybe we could start an international part of Word of Life, which we did. Now, Word of Life has 1,800 missionaries working in 70 countries around the world, and there are 15 Word of Life Bible Institutes. And God says we are to remember this because we are building on this faith He has put into our lives. Then God gave Millie and me the opportunity to travel with tours and singing groups from Word of Life Bible Institute in New York. More than two million people came to see these programs, and thousands found Jesus Christ as Savior. It was miraculous. And the Lord says, remember this.
A Great Faith
One of the most difficult things Millie and I ever did was to start the Word of Life ministry in Florida. Everybody told us to quit. People said it will never happen and that is was impossible. But, praise God, in 1990 we opened the Word of Life facility in Florida. Today it is home to a Bible conference center, a youth camp, an RV park, and the Florida campus of Word of Life Bible Institute. It’s a miracle what God has done. And God says, remember .
Yesterday is a Memory. Thank God for all the memories we have.
Tomorrow is a Mystery. We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.
Today is a Gift. That’s why we call it the present.
Philippians 1:6 puts it this way... Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you (and that was the day we were saved) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. He keeps us going. He keeps us moving ahead for the glory of God. After I retired from my active ministry at Word of Life, it took me about two years to get my act together. I was sitting around living in the past. I wasn’t moving forward. But then God reminded me, Come on, get up, you can live for me today . Every morning when I wake up, I sit on the edge of my bed, and I say, God, here’s another day. I’m glad I’m still here. You must have something for me to do. What I want to do is to magnify Your name. I want to please you in all that I do. Remember this, Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world ( I John 4:4). That’s why we keep moving ahead. Psalm 118:24 says it beautifully... This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Don’t Live in the Past
This is the day the Lord has made, and we will praise His name. We will glorify Him. That’s what I want for Millie and me for the rest of our lives as we travel on our journey to the place the Lord is preparing for us.
A Great Faith
Satan shoots fiery darts at us. He puts questions and doubts in our minds because he’s trying to slow us down. Soon or later, he comes with this question, All you’ve been saying all these years, is it true? Even John the Baptist had his doubts (Matthew 11:1-6). He baptized Jesus and pointed Him out and said, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world ( John 1:29). Two years later he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask Him if He was the promised Messiah. I went to my uncle’s birthday party when he was 99 years old. He loved the Lord. We sang hymns and all his favorite songs. We read the Bible, and somebody preached. But then he pulled me aside and asked me a question, What do you think? Could this really be true... that we’ve been right? I assured him he was absolutely right because he had put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I remember making a visit to a hospital to see a great missionary who had served the Lord for many years. He asked, Why is God doing this to my wife and me? We served the Lord so faithfully. Satan had hit him
in a weak moment with one of those fiery darts. I’m so glad a few days later he called me and said, I’m so sorry I said that. My confidence is in the Lord Jesus Christ. I need to make a confession myself. In 2006 my wife, Millie, suffered an acute anxiety situation, and since then it’s been a long, slow goodbye. Little by little, over the years, she is losing more and more of herself. We talk less and less. She walks very little. She sleeps most of the time. I need to be honest and tell you that one day I, too, said, Dear God, why are you allowing this to happen to us? Look how faithful Millie has been and how we have served you. God began to speak to me, and soon I was able to say, Okay, God. I’m sorry. I know you are planning the best for us, and we accept it. Then I lost my eyesight. I’m legally blind now, and that news came as a heavy blow. When you lose your vision, everything slows down and stops. It was a difficult battle for me because Satan hit my heart and my mind with those fiery darts of doubt. But one day I said, Okay, God, I’m going to surrender my eyesight to you. I’m sorry I ever doubted because I know your ways are perfect. A number of years ago, I fell and hurt my shoulder. For the first time and the only time I can remember, I was depressed. I sat in my chair. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t want to do anything, and it didn’t bother me that I didn’t want to do anything. I just sat in my chair for days. After three or four days of that, God began to speak to me. I remember saying, Lord, I’m sorry for my bad attitude. Then I said this, Lord, if I never play another note on my organ or my piano or my keyboard it’s perfectly alright. I’m going to thank you for the thousands of times I was able to play those instruments for Your honor and glory. I thought about my situation a little bit more, and I said, God, if I never preach another sermon, thank you for the thousands of times you allowed me to preach to multitudes of people all over the world. Thank you, God. I gave it to the Lord.
A Great Faith
When I am willing to accept what God brings into my life, I get the victory because God is molding me into being the person I need to be. He’s making me to be more like Jesus in this world. I need to put on the whole spiritual armor of God every day so that I’ll be able to stand against those fiery darts of Satan. I want to live my life to the glory of God. The armor of God keeps me praising God for the great faith I have which is anchored in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ – His death, His burial and His resurrection. Let me say one final thing. Don’t be ashamed of your doubts. The best Christians have questions and doubts from time to time. Take your doubts, and ask the Lord to help you. Go back to what you know to be true. Rest on the Word of God. Put on the armor of God, and when those fiery darts come at you, you can fight them off with the shield of faith. Stay in the battle. Keep fighting, and God will give you victory over your doubts.
Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4
A Great Faith
Death and Dying
There are many advantages to living a long life. I have enjoyed watching my kids grow up, seeing grandkids born, and now meeting all the great-grandchildren. When I was younger, I used to perform mostly weddings; now I mainly get invited to do funerals. At my last funeral, I said, I think I’ve got more friends in heaven than I have on earth because I have lived so long. My list of friends on earth is getting shorter, and my name is moving up higher on the list all the time. That can only mean one thing; I’m getting closer to Home every day, and I’m thankful for that. However, there are also some disadvantages to living so long. Several years ago, we built an extension on our house so Millie and I could live on one end of the house and our daughter, Linda, and her husband, Rick, could live on the other end. They were such a great help for the five years they lived with us. Then one day Linda was diagnosed with cancer. We watched Linda slowly go downhill, and one day the Lord called her Home. That’s difficult to face. You usually think of your children burying you,
but when you live a long life, you may outlive your children.
Death knocks on every door eventually. We’ve had to learn what Psalm 23 says, Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me. I praise God we can walk through to the victory side because we can cast all our burdens upon the Lord who cares for us. Facing death is difficult for all of us. The great evangelist, D. L. Moody, said, I’m not afraid of dying because I know where I am going. Though absent from the body, I will be present with the Lord. That’s true, and all Christians look forward to being with the Lord forever. But the process of dying can be difficult. We all wonder what it will be like for us in the end. Will we be in pain? Will we be in a wheelchair? Will we be in bed? Will we be conscious or unconscious? If you are a caregiver, it’s difficult to watch another person slowly die. And yet we know with certainty God is in control. He is sovereign. If the rapture takes place, we’ll be out of here right away. We’ll be caught up to be with Jesus. But if we remain, we die sooner or later. We’ll also be caught up in a different way. Our body will be placed in a grave, but we’ll go to be with the Lord waiting for the sound of that trumpet. I confess, I’d rather hear the sound of the trumpet and go directly to be with the Lord. However, either way we win. It’s either rapture or resurrection, and both bring glory and victory. We know all things work together for good to those who love God. (Romans 8:28) While we must face the prospect of death, we also know we’re on the winning team, and one day we’ll be finally Home.
A Great Faith
As we get older, we begin to lose some of the abilities we once had. When that happens, it often becomes difficult for us to ask for help, which makes it difficult for the people around us to help us. We must honestly face the issues God allows to come into our lives. But that’s not easy because our pride gets in the way. We don’t want to give up our rights or what we think we should be able to do. We certainly don’t want to share it with anyone else. Pride keeps us from receiving the help we need. One day when I was writing my journal, I said, God, keep me humble. But I had to go back and correct it. Instead, I wrote, God, make me humble . Pride keeps us from accepting what God brings into our lives. We fight and resist the Lord. This creates problems not only for us as older people but also for our family and our caregivers. They know what should be done, but we’re not willing to do it. That’s why this chapter is called Learning Humility .
If I make the right decisions, it helps everyone else. Several years ago, I called my automobile insurance company. I told the lady in the office I wanted to cancel the insurance for my car. She asked, Why is that, Mr. Bollback? And I said, My vision is very poor, and I have neuropathy in my feet, and sometimes I don’t know if I’m stepping on the gas or the brake. It’s time to cancel before I kill somebody or kill myself. After a long pause, she said, Mr. Bollback, I want to compliment you for being willing to take this step. You have no idea the fighting and arguing that goes on in this office when an older person has to give up their driver’s license. I knewwhen I made this decision, I was taking away one of my liberties. I was losing my freedom to drive my car. Because, from now on, any time I wanted to go anywhere, someone would have to drive me. I can’t grab the keys and go wherever I want to go. Now I have to call somebody. That means I’m totally dependent on someone else. Once again, I had to fight the issue of pride because it’s something that shows up in our lives every step of the way. A few months ago, I had to give up writing checks because my vision got so bad that I couldn’t see what I was doing. I had to sign this over to my son, Larry. I thank God I have a wonderful family around me. Larry comes every day to help me. He’s my checkwriter and takes care of my finances. My daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, John, live next door. But I need to say, friends, it’s a battle when you have to give things up in your life because it can make you ask, What can I do anymore? It’s easy to lose sight of the sovereign will of God. I know God has a plan for my life, and He makes no mistakes. He wants the very best for me. When I can accept God’s plan, I have the victory. Listen to what 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, In everything give thanks. Stop for a moment and take that in. We are to give thanks in everything; not in some things, not in many things. The Word of God says, In EVERYTHING give thanks to God through Jesus Christ. We thank God for everything He brings into our life. Why? Because He’s molding us to be more like Jesus in this world. He’s working in our lives and our hearts. That’s why we give thanks. Here are the last few words of this verse... this is the will of God
A Great Faith
concerning you . This means God has a plan for my life. God has a plan for your life, if you know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, and it’s a perfect plan. When I get over my pride and willingly accept what God brings into my life, then He can mold me more and more into the image of Jesus in this world. The more I give Him the glory, the easier my life becomes each day. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you. I Thessalonians 5:18
A Great Faith
The Word of God is filled with music and singing and praise to the Lord. Twice a day Millie and I take the time to sing praises unto the Lord, go over some Bible verses and pray together. Here is our verse for the year: I will trust and not be afraid for the Lord Jehovah ismy strengthand song.Hehas becomemy salvation. (Isaiah12:2) I find the sequence in this verse very interesting: strength, song and salvation. Most of us like to sing after the problem is resolved. While that is great to do, this verse is saying the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song. So, I am to sing before I even know the solution to the problem God has allowed to come into my life. It’s just like Paul and Silas when they were in prison (Acts 16:16-34). They sang before their problem was solved. Do you remember what happened? There was an earthquake, the jailer got saved, and then his whole family got saved. So, no matter what happens to you, keep singing! The great songwriter, Fanny Crosby, was blind from the age of six weeks because of a quack doctor whose “treatment” took away
her sight. You might think that “mistake” would have left her embittered for life. Yet she wrote over 9,000 hymns in her life, including such favorites as Blessed Assurance and All the Way My Savior Leads Me . The chorus to Blessed Assurance expresses her strong faith, This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long . When someone told her that it was a “pity” she had lost her eyesight, she quickly responded this way... If at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind. Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior. Psalm 40:3 says, He has put a new song into my mouth, even praises unto our Lord. He keeps us singing, and that’s good news. At our age, our voices are not strong. But we keep singing, and we look forward to that glorious day when we will be finally Home. When that day comes, we will be part of that great choir that will sing, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. (Revelation 5:12) Have you ever put your personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? You can have a great faith, but unless you make it personal, you will never enjoy all the things the Lord has done. If you’ve never made that decision, why don’t you do that right now? Admit to God you’re a sinner and then ask the living Son of God to come into your heart. Take a moment to thank Him for dying on the Cross for you. Invite Him into your heart, and then you will experience in a personal way this Great Faith.
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A Great Faith
A GREAT FIGHT
I Have Fought a Good Fight 2 Timothy 4:7
A Great Fight
Keep Going! It’s Not Over
As you get older, it’s easy to coast to the finish line and do absolutely nothing but sit around. But as long as we are here, God has a reason and a purpose for us. So, keep fighting, keep moving, and keep trusting God. Don’t live in the past. You can’t do what you used to do. At your current age, you can’t expect to do the same things you did when you were 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60, and there is nothing wrong with accepting you are older and retired. If you stop and think of it, it is actually a blessing because now you can enjoy your children, your grandchildren and even your great-grandchildren. Don’t be afraid to say you are retired. You’re not giving up. You are just going to find new things to do. You’re going to keep going for the glory of God. You just need to find new ways to serve the Lord day by day. You keep fighting. Look for small things you can do. Find the new things that God has equipped you to do so you can keep fighting. Psalm 37 contains some verses I’ve used as a guideline in my life. Although these apply to everybody at any age, they matter even more as we get older.
Psalm 37:3 says, Trust in the Lord . Now, that’s a big step to trust in the Lord, especially at this stage of life, but God doesn’t make any mistakes. He wants us to accept what He brings into our lives. Years ago, I was with Jack Wyrtzen at Moody Memorial Church in Chicago. Dr. Harry Ironside was the pastor at that time. I remember going into his office which was filled with more books than I had ever seen in my life. As we were talking, Dr. Ironside asked Jack about the budget for Word of Life. (Remember, this was a long time ago.) Jack told Dr. Ironside our weekly budget was $3,000. Back then, that was a lot of money. So, Dr. Ironside said, Jack Wyrtzen, what would happen if the money didn’t come in? Jack smiled and said, Well, I’d probably go to jail. I will always remember what Dr. Ironside said, You can trust God. He hasn’t failed anybody yet, and you’re not important enough for Him to change His mind. So, keep going. Psalm 37:4 says, Delight yourself in the Lord. Do you know what this means? You’ve got to get a good attitude about what God brings into your life. He knows what’s best for you because He cares for you. He’s concerned for you. He wants to mold you into the person He wants you to be for His honor and glory. So, get a good attitude about it. Delight yourself in the Lord. This verse goes on to say, He will give you the desires of your heart. Then Psalm 37:5 says this, Commit your way unto the Lord . To “commit” means to roll your problems onto the Lord. You’re going to make whatever necessary adjustments need to be made. I like what Amy Carmichael, the great missionary to India, said, I’d rather burn out for God than rust out. Everyone who loves the Lord should feel that way. Start moving out. Keep fighting. It’s not over. God has a reason for you to be here. Keep going. It’s not over. Keep fighting for the Lord Jesus Christ.
A Great Fight
Bible, Prayer and Church
I have discovered that I need help to keep fighting for the Lord.
Where do I go for help? I go to the Word of God, and I go to prayer. Isaiah 40:31 says, Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles. I want to pause here for just a moment. Notice that they mount up with wings. An eagle needs two wings in order to fly. For me to keep a balanced life, I need the Word of God and prayer. The Word of God talks to me, and in prayer I talk to God. I’m a complete person. Now I can mount up with wings like an eagle. When I lived in the jungle in Brazil, we kept parrots as pets. Instead of putting them in cages, we clipped one of their wings so they couldn’t fly away. When they got upset, they would squawk and squawk and squawk and go in a circle and stir up dust. That’s like a lot of Christians today who spend their days squawking and stirring up dust. You need to read the Word of God, and you need to pray if you want to live a balanced life. Everything we need to live for the Lord is found in the Word of God.
It’s incredible what happens when we take the time to read the Word and then talk with the Lord. Prayer is a time of fellowship with the Lord. In these years when Millie and I are home all the time, we’re learning this more and more. It’s not just saying, God give me this. Give me that. God wants us to lay those requests before Him, but prayer is taking time to be in the very presence of the Lord, to fellowship with Him and to thank Him for all He has done. To worship Him. To adore Him. To thank Him for making us one of His children through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. I can now call him Father. He knows me. He loves me. I know Him, and I love Him. It’s wonderful to be in the presence of God, to humble yourself and talk with the Lord. Many times, I just start singing, rejoicing in the presence of God. Here are a few other things that have helped me. Now that my eyesight is fading, I have a large screen so I can enlarge everything and read it just a little bit. I use the online version of the Word of Life Quiet Time. When I highlight the text, the computer reads it to me. These amazing helps make it possible for me to enjoy some of the things that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. We also need the fellowship of the local church. No matter how old you are, you need the encouragement of other believers in the family of God. I can remember one time sitting in church after a period of time when I had been unable to attend due to an injury. I went to church in my wheelchair, and tears came to my eyes as we sang the hymns of the faith. I wept tears of joy because I was in God’s house in the presence of other believers. I can’t attend church too much anymore, but at home I can watch the service as it is streamed over the internet. I can see what’s going on and be part of it all. There are many other devices I use here in my home that help me. For example, I have an electronic device called “Alexa” that listens to me. When I say, “Play the Christian station,” any time day or night, it gives me beautiful music, and I’m able to hear men of God preach.
A Great Fight
Not only does Isaiah 40:31 say that those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, and they shall mount up with wings like eagles. But it also says they shall run and not get weary, and they shall walk and not faint. That’s the goal of my life. I might be soaring as an eagle, running or maybe even walking, but whatever it is I want to keep going for the glory of God. I want to fight the good fight of faith until that glorious day when I am finally Home in the presence of my Savior.
Bible, Prayer and Church
A Great Fight
When you start helping others, something amazing happens. You begin to feel better. At this stage of life, we are limited in what we can do, but we can be helpful and do all kinds of things to encourage people. Here are some of the things I do. These might not work for you, but this is what I’ve been doing, and it’s brought me great joy. I send flowers to celebrate with others. We send fruit to those who are very sick. I send cards and a lot of emails. More than anything else, I call people. What a joy it is to talk to people on the telephone, to pray with them, and to listen to their stories and have them tell me how they’re doing and what’s going on in their lives. It brings encouragement to them, and I’ll guarantee you it makes me feel good inside. At church a couple of months ago, we were asked to fill out a card with various things we could do to help in the ministry. When the pastor talked to me, I said, Pastor, there’s only one thing I could do. I can’t travel because I don’t have a car, and I can’t drive because
I can’t see, but I can make some telephone calls. If there is anyone who needs a telephone call and somebody to pray with them, I’d be glad to do it. I’m so thankful for the opportunities God gives us along the way. We keep fighting. We don’t give up. We keep pressing on. I’m old and legally blind with neuropathy in my feet and in my hands, but I want to keep going. Twice a day Millie and I get together to pray, to talk and to sing hymns of praise to our Lord. Millie is in a hospital bed. She’s on oxygen, and her memory is very limited. We hold hands, and we talk about all that’s going on. Then we pray for our friends who are in need. We go through a big list of people, and we earnestly pray for these friends and ask God to encourage them. You know what happens? We feel much better after we’ve finished praying because we know God has heard our prayers. You see, we help each other. It’s an encouragement to keep fighting for the glory of God. So many people are in desperate need all around us. I want to keep helping as long as I can.
A Great Fight
My opportunities for witnessing are like everything else at this stage in life, limited. So, we look for every open door to talk about Jesus. We mostly see doctors, nurses, dentists, or rehab people. We either go to their office, or they come to our home. That gives us an opportunity to witness to them. We go prepared to see them with some tracts, some Gospels of John, and then we share a word of testimony with them. I love talking to people about the Lord. I haven’t lost the excitement of witnessing for Jesus Christ and sharing the gospel. Several years ago, I became involved with the VFW and the American Legion in Chestertown, New York. When we decided to build a memorial to honor all those who served from the Chestertown area, I was asked to be the Chairman of the project. At the first meeting I laid out some ground rules for discussions. First, since I loved the Lord, His name would not be used in vain. They all agreed. I then told them there would be no profanity used at any time. They all agreed. I also told them we would open and close each meeting in prayer as we looked to God for His blessing. They all agreed.
On dedication day the committee presented me with a plaque. It said, To Harry Bollback in appreciation for his service in the United States Marines. A man of God. A few days later they asked me to start a Bible study for veterans. Our Bible study continued until I was 91, when my vision became so bad, and I could no longer continue. Several of the men made decisions for Christ, and some have already gone Home to be with the Lord. I thank the Lord that even at this stage of life, I can still be a good witness for the Lord. Millie and I pray we will be good finishers for the Lord as we wait for His glorious appearing. The Lord said in Acts 1:8, Ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost has come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me. That’s all we want to be... a witness for Jesus wherever we are. Whatever opportunity comes our way, we want to keep telling others about Jesus until we are finally Home with Him.
Listen to: God’s Been Good
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A Great Fight
A GREAT FINISH
I Have Finished My Course 2 Timothy 4:7
A Great Finish
Don’t Let Sin Creep into Your Life
As we get older, it’s easy to sit around and think we have nothing to worry about. We may even conclude sin is not a problem to us. We like to think everything is okay. But, be careful. Remember how King David messed up his life? Abraham and Moses also messed up their lives, and we can do the same thing many others have done. Our only hope is to stay close to the Word of God. D. L. Moody said, This book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book. So, stay close to the Word of God. One day I was talking to my good friend, Dr. Lehman Strauss. He was a pastor, a well-known Bible teacher, and the author of many books. He spoke at Bible Conferences all over America. When we talked, he was getting old and was thinking about his own life. He said to me, I need you to pray for me. I want to finish well. I asked him, Is there anything wrong? He said, No, I want to finish well. He quoted 1 Corinthians 10:12, Wherefore let him that
thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall .Then he added, The only people who can fall are those who are standing. I thank God I am standing, but I want you to pray for me that I finish well. Pray that I stay close to the Word of God. Satan is out to get us. He’s shooting his fiery darts at us, and he’s attacking us at every level. Don’t sit around and criticize everything and everybody. Don’t let your life go sour. A critical spirit drains the joy of the Lord from your life. Be careful about what you watch on TV and the movies you see. Remember, God hates sin. So, be careful! Do you know how much God hates sin? When His only Son, the Lord Jesus, became sin for us on the Cross, God turned His back because He could not look at sin. Since most people today use the internet and computers, smartphones and iPads, it is very easy to get involved with pornography. It’s a major problem for people today. The Barna Group, which is a research organization, has compiled some astounding facts about how widespread this problem is even among Christians. Forty-nine percent of men between the ages of 50 and 68 view pornography monthly. Fifty percent of religious men stated that they were addicted to pornography. On the other hand, regular church attendees are twenty-six percent less likely to look at pornography. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of pornography. It’s easy to fall in and hard to get out. Satan can’t take away our salvation, but he wants to ruin our testimony. Be a good finisher. As you cross the finish line, may you hear the Lord say, Well Done, thou good and faithful servant.
A Great Finish
Get Everything in Order
Are you ready to die?
I’m not asking about your eternal salvation. I trust you know Jesus. I’m asking, Have you made the practical preparations for your death? The way we prepare for our death reflects our love for our family. We are not being good stewards if we get ready to go to heaven but don’t take care of those who are left behind. Here are a few suggestions: Make sure you have all your documents in one place, and make sure at least one person knows where they are. Organize your documents so your family can find the important ones after you are gone. Make sure you have an estate plan such as a will or a living trust. Unfortunately, many Americans, including many believers, don’t have a plan. You know what they say... you have a plan whether you know it or not. Either you write your own estate plan, or the state will write one after your death.
An estate plan is the only way to make certain your assets will go where you want them to go. It is also the place you can name the person you would want to settle your affairs when you pass. For families with young children, a plan is the document in which you can name guardians for minor children. Planning your estate is the most basic act of stewardship. You spent your life using the gifts God gave you. What will happen to your assets when you are gone? Don’t leave that to chance. Whether you decide to use a will or a living trust, find a Christian financial advisor and a good Christian lawyer who can help you make good decisions in this area. You can help Christian ministries by designating a part of your estate as gifts to them. This is a powerful way to help your local church, the ministries you support, and missionaries who serve the Lord. Make sure you have designated someone to have power of attorney. That person will take care of all your affairs after you are gone. Plan your own funeral. Who would you like to speak? What hymns do you want sung? Which Scriptures do you want read? Make a list of personal things you would like to have given to certain people. If you want to be a good steward and a good finisher, you need to get everything in order. Estate planning for the Christian should never begin in an attorney’s office. It starts on your knees, submitting to His guidance with open hands and open hearts. He will take care of the people we love, and He will also provide for the ministries that have been important to us. Our greatest desire should be to hear His voice and to get involved where He is working. I hope you’ll take my words to heart. Your family will thank you after you are gone.
A Great Finish
Family, Friends and You
If you love somebody, be sure to tell them that today. Never miss an opportunity to tell people you love them. If you have had disagreements over the years with certain people, resolve the problems. If you have offended someone or if you know someone who has offended you, get in touch with that person and get it settled. Don’t live the rest of your life thinking you should have resolved the problem. Life is too short to let bad feelings pile up. 1 Peter 4:8 says, Keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins . That means we must become quick forgivers. Sometimes people sin against us, and we must forgive them. But sometimes we said something foolish, and now we need to ask them to forgive us. It goes both ways. Sometimes we get in a fighting spirit and go so far that we hurt someone else unnecessarily. When that happens, you must make it right. Take the time to do it. Don’t wait for a better time . Who knows when that will come? If you have offended someone, take care of it right now.
Now, a personal word. If you can read and understand what is written in this book, it’s time for you to make the necessary changes. Get things in order. Get things right. If you have never received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, do it now. Then you will be on the right path Home to the place the Lord is preparing for those who love Him. If you’ve never made that decision, it’s time for you to decide right now to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. A – Admit you are a sinner. The Bible puts it this way – All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. ( Romans 3:23) Admit to God you are a sinner. We’re all sinners – everybody. B – Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe, when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross, He shed His blood to wash away your sins. If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. (Romans 10:9) C – Call upon the Lord. The Word of God says, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13) As you read this book, wherever you are, right now, would you just admit to God you are a sinner, and then thank Him for sending Jesus to die on the Cross for you. Thank Him for the blood that was shed to wash away your sins, and then say, Dear Jesus, come into my heart and save me now. If you have trusted Christ, I want you to write down your name and the date so that you will never forget this moment. Just remember this... you are on the right path. You are on your way Home to that place the Lord is preparing for us. It’s as easy as ABC –
A Great Finish
My Decision for Christ I confess I am a sinner, and I am trusting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for dying for me. Help me to live for You from this day forward.
Name: ____________________________________________ Date: _____________________________________________
Place this Decision Slip in your Bible as a reminder of your decision to follow Jesus Christ. If you would like to talk to someone about your decision, contact Word of Life by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: 518.494.6000. If you are a believer, begin to live with eternity’s values in view. One of these days you will finally be Home. You will cross the finish line. I know you would like to hear the Lord say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Remember this, if you haven’t been a good and faithful servant, you’re not going to hear the Lord speak those words. No matter what your past has been, you can begin to live every day for the Lord Jesus Christ. Book 4 is coming up. It’s an exciting look at the hope we have in Christ. One day we will be Home in the place the Lord is preparing for those who love Him. The best is yet to come.
Friends, Family and You
A GREAT FUTURE
A Crown of Righteousness 2 Timothy 4:8
A Great Future
We Shall Be Changed
One of these days the Lord is going to take us Home, or we will hear the trumpet sound at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). If the Lord takes us Home, we know that absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). If we are here for the sound of the trumpet, the dead in Christ will be raised first, and then those of us who are alive and love the Lord will be caught up to be with Him forever in that place He is preparing for us. It will happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and we shall be changed. Our Lord said in John 14:1-3, Let not your heart be troubled. If you believe in God, believe also inme. Inmy father’s house are many mansions and if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there you may be also. We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like him (1 John 3:2). We will be changed. What a glorious day that will be. Just think, no more suffering, no more sorrow, no more heartaches, no more crying and no more death or separation. I will have a new body.
I will have my vision again, and it will be better than 20/20. And I will no longer use my walker. It will be gone. If you know the Lord, you will be there also. My beautiful wife, Millie, will no longer be in a hospital bed on oxygen. She will be Home with the Lord she loves. She will be changed. That is why we are looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ. What a day that will be when we are finally Home. Take a moment to read these words to a beautiful song called, Finally Home by Don Wyrtzen:
When engulfed by the terror Of tempestuous sea, Unknown waves before you roll;
At the end of doubt and peril is eternity, Though fear and conflict seize your soul. Chorus: But just think of stepping on shore And finding it heaven! Of touching a hand and finding it God’s! Of breathing new air and finding it celestial! Of waking up in glory and finding it home! When surrounded by the blackness Of the darkest night, O how lonely death can be; At the end of this long tunnel Is a shining light, For death is swallowed up in victory!
Copyright 1971 New Spring, a division of Brentwood-Benson Publishing
A Great Future
Listen to: Finally Home
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We Will See Jesus
Just recently a new thought filled my mind and my heart.
I have heard a lot of sermons and read a lot of books about heaven. They are usually filled with descriptions of heaven and all that will take place there. We have heard a lot about the streets of gold, the pearly gates and the gemstones on the foundation of the heavenly city. Those sermons and books also reveal the fact that we will see our loved ones who have gone on before us. And with great detail, Revelation 21-22 describe heaven and the great holy city which will come down from heaven. Indeed, one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth. These glorious truths about heaven fill our minds, but, for some reason, I had missed one very important truth. Jesus said, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3) When we get to heaven, we will see Jesus! We will be with Him for all eternity. I confess that as a human, it’s impossible to comprehend
A Great Future
the full measure of eternity. We cannot even think in terms like that. The best thing we can say is it is going to be forever. We will see Jesus, and we will be with Him forever. I Corinthians 2:9 says, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. Friends, heaven is a place beyond words. But we know with absolute assurance that we will see Jesus. There’s an old hymn - Oh, That Will be Glory by Charles H. Gabriel - that says it so beautifully:
Friends will be there I have loved long ago; Joy like a river around me will flow; Yet just a smile from my Savior, I know, Will through the ages be glory for me.
If you know Jesus, that’s what’s ahead for you and me.
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