"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17
I once heard Lou Holtz say at a leadership conference, "You are the product of the people you meet and the books you read." I believe Solomon would have agreed with Coach Holtz. God has certainly used "iron men" to hone the edge of my life and ministry. Here are a few words spoken to me or written by them that have impacted my life along the way.
My father, Don Miller, is the greatest man of prayer I have ever known. He defines prayer as two way communication, and reminds me often to give God time to speak to me in prayer.
- "Prayer is the intimate communication between the Heavenly Father and His child."
Ron Dunn, pastor/preacher/ Bible Conference leader and author, went to heaven in July 2001.
- "Good and evil travel down parallel tracks and arrive at the same time."
Dr. W. Fred Swank, long time pastor of Sagamore Hill Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas. These words were spoken to me on the occasion of my wedding, and in response to my complaint that I was ready for this thing to be over. I had been so caught up on the wedding, I had forgotten about the marriage. Bro. Fred was never one to suffer a fool gladly.
- "Boy, let me remind you that you are going home with that girl after this wedding is over."
Manley Beasley, one of the greatest teachers on faith, remains one of the brightest lights God has ever allowed to shine on my life.
- "God can take a 'nothing' and so fill him with His glory that he will be equal to any task God calls him to."
Vance Havner, prolific author, pastor-evangelist, and revivalist of the 20th century. I was privileged to hear him speak at chapel in seminary before he died. His blasts from the past still warm my heart and light my way.
"Christianity is not a matter of how high you jump in the pew, but how straight you walk in the world."
Bill "Wild Bill" Stafford currently resides in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His no nonsense preaching still puts God's truth on a shelf where I can get it.
"The purpose of God is to knock you out of you."
Arville Senter, field evangelism missionary to East Africa, was my Advisor and mentor while I served two years as a Journeyman in Tanzania.
"These people will not remember what you said here, but they will remember that you were here."
Dr. Freddie Gage, evangelist, and champion of the underdog taught me to care about pastors who have been wounded in ministry.
"Never leave a wounded pastor behind enemy lines."
Samuel Chadwick, English evangelist, pastor and Bible teacher known as "The Wesley of the 20th Century." He was a mentor of Leonard Ravenhill:
"It is amazing what God can do with a broken heart, if you will give him all the pieces."
Dr. John Bisagno, author, evangelist, and long time pastor Houston's First Baptist Church, taught me to think outside of the box. He is still preaching, and writing. I am proud to call him friend.
"There has never been anything of any merit accomplished in this world without the element of risk. Take the word risk and replace it with faith, and remind yourself that without faith it is impossible to please God."
Jerry Waggoner, layman and deacon at First Baptist Church, Borger who stood by me in a hospice room when we were in a vigil for his father's home-going. This was his response to my admission that I knew enough to pray, but not enough to know how to pray for him and his dad. Bro. Jerry's words have helped me minister to people more effectively for the past 20 years.
"I have learned that the best thing to do is to ask God for mercy in situations like this."
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, preacher, pastor and author known as "The Prince of Preachers" in 19th Century England.
"I would rather teach one man to pray than 100 men to preach."
Oswald Chambers, professor and chaplain with the British Expeditonary Force in Egypt when he died in 1917.
"Discernment is given for intercession never for fault-finding."
Lloyd John Ogilvie, Presbyterian pastor and United States Senate Chaplain,
"Knowing God's will in specifics comes out of a consistent companionship with God."
Andrew Murray, missionary, pastor, and conference speaker from South Africa in the 19th Century.
His little book, "Waiting on God" was my first introduction to this amazing man of prayer.
"Has the life of God's people reached the utmost limit of what God is willing to do for them? Surely not. We want to wait for Him; to put away our experiences, and give God time and place to show us what He could do, what He will do."
George Whitefield died in New England in 1770 after making 13 crossings of the Atlantic, and traveling throughout the American colonies as an evangelist during the First Great Awakening.
"God is thus at work. Let the devil roar; we will go on in the name of the Lord."
Note: There are times God will bring an "iron man" into your life. It may be a work spoken or a book read, but they will have an impact on you. Don't be surprised if there is a jolt to your ego, and sparks fly between you. It means God is preparing you for a battle that can be won, but you need to have the rust knocked off your blade before you can cut the enemy down to size.