News From The Ranch – December 1998

The Newsletter of Eric Elder Ministries

If hindsight gives us 20/20 vision when we look back, what gives us 20/20 vision when we look ahead?

Looking Ahead

Looking Back

I thought I’d share a few statistics with you about this past year.

I’ve answered over 120 questions to apply for non-profit status with the IRS. I’ve rebooted my computer over 285 times after it’s crashed. I’ve watched my Internet connection drop over 780 times without my consent. I’ve called out to God for help over 1825 times in prayer.

But somewhere along the way, a new ministry was born, a new web site was created, and the gospel was preached. In the end, God’s will won out. In the end, if we yield to him, it always does.

I’m sharing this as a reminder to both me and you so we can have hope for the coming year.

Year-end letters and Christmas cards usually point out all the good things that happened during the year.

But I don’t think people leave out the nitty-gritty on purpose. I think it’s just that our sight finally catches up with our faith. We can look back over the year and see what God was doing through it all. And our daily problems that seemed so big tend to fade away when we see the big picture.

People call it hindsight. They say it gives us 20/20 vision. Now if we could capture that, reverse it, and look into the future with 20/20 vision as well, what would that be called?

Faith. “Faith,” according to the Bible, “is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Imagine going into next year with the same 20/20 vision as you have now when you look back at last year. You could write next year’s Christmas card now. You could focus on all the things that God is doing, then watch the day-to-day problems fade away like the morning mist.

Even though we can’t see all the details of the future with 20/20 vision, we can know this with certainty: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

We can look forward to next year with eyes of faith. God’s will WILL be done!

Looking Ahead

As 1998 fades and 1999 arises, I’m praying for God to expand what he’s begun this year.

My guess is that my prayer will be answered like this:

I’ll have to answer over 240 IRS questions, reboot over 570 times, reconnect to the Internet over 1560 times, and call out to God over 3650 times. Now you know why I need your help!

Would you join me in praying that God will expand the fruit of this ministry as well?

I recently read that over 60% of the top 100 key words that people search for on the Internet are related to sex: everything from sodomy to bestiality, (these are some of the more tactful words on the list).

The anonymity of the Internet makes it ideal for pornography, but it also makes it ideal for people to share their real hurts so they can get real help. Please pray with me that this ministry will be a guiding light to bring many out of darkness.

People are already starting to trickle into The Ranch, even though the web site is not quite complete. Through word of mouth and some free advertising around the Internet, we are seeing God answer the prayer we’ve used at the end of every newsletter, “for people to find their way to The Ranch so they can find their way to You.”

Would you pray with me that this trickle will become a stream in 1999? And the stream a river in 2000?

Year-End Gifts

This would also be a great time to give us a financial boost for the new year. If you plan to make some year-end gifts this month, please consider us in your prayers.

We have been richly blessed as over 40 families have sent almost $40,000 this year to get this ministry off the ground. Almost half of that went towards computer equipment and start-up costs.

Our projected budget for this year was $56,530. In my mind, I thought we’d be doing good to receive $30,000, but in my faith, I prayed for $56,530 to do all that God had put on my heart to do. It looks like God is making up the difference between my mind and my faith!

If you’d like to help us make up the rest of the difference this year, we’d be thrilled! And we’d be able to finish all God has called us to do.

According to our three-year plan, our budget for next year is over twice that amount. (You can review our three-year plan on our web site.) So if God wants to accomplish all that, I’m excited to see how he does it, and through whom he does it.

Bringing Faith to Life

If hindsight helps us look backward with certainty, and faith helps us look forward with certainty, what can we do to face today with certainty?

Here’s the best way I can phrase it: “Stand up!”

I remember as a kid watching a show about the filming of the movie Huckleberry Finn. The actor who played Tom Sawyer said when they filmed a scene out on a lake, the boat accidentally tipped over, throwing him into the water. Not knowing how to swim, he struggled for air and started to scream for help. The people on shore yelled, “Stand up!” He did, then burst out laughing when he realized the water was only waist high.

There are times when our boats tip over and we struggle for air and start to scream. With the water over our heads, God calls out: “Stand up! Stand up in your faith! Have I not called you to do this? Will I not do it? Will I leave you there to drown? I know what it looks like from there, but I know how it ends! I know who wins! Stand up! Stand up in your faith.”

Paul says that when we’ve done all we can, we need to stand. “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)

Hindsight is for the past. Faith is for the future. Today, we might just need to “Stand up!”

Please Pray With Us

Thank you Lord,

  • for bringing us through another year,
  • and for letting us take part in your great plan for the world,
  • and for giving us the strength to stand up in our faith.

And Lord, we now ask:

  • for the finances to finish this year as you have planned,
  • for this ministry to expand next year,
  • and for people to find their way to The Ranch so they can find their way to you.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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