Daily Devotional for Tuesday April 23, 2019

The story 19 yrs ago of Elian Gonzales!

(Matthew 19:14)

***DAILY PERSONAL PRAYER FOR YOU: Lord, USE ME in these perilous, last days, as a messenger of Your hope in Jesus. Father, make me aware of the people You have put in my life each day, many who will die and burn in hell for all eternity for rejecting Christ, and use me as a vessel of Your love and hope. I Thank You for sending Jesus to die for my sins that I might know the free gift of everlasting life, and I ask today that You help me to lead others to that wonderful eternal relationship with Christ. For it is in HIS name I pray...AMEN!

***19 years ago, Liveprayer was less than one year old. The nation was transfixed by a little boy from Cuba, Elian Gonzales. It was a heartbreaking story of a little boy who came to the US from Cuba with his mother in a small homemade boat that took on water and caused his mother and several others to drown to death. Little Elian had family in Miami’s Little Havana who welcomed him into their home. However, his father in Cuba wanted the boy returned and after months of negotiations at the highest levels of both governments, Elian was sent back to Cuba to live with his father. This all took place in the final year of President Clinton’s second term, Janet Reno was the US Attorney General, and her assistant handling this issue was former Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder. Sadly, Elian went back to Cuba and embraced the atheism of the Castro regime. He is now a grown young man and we can only pray that the seeds planted in his life nearly 2 decades ago will one day spring forth in a commitment by faith to Jesus Christ!!!

(Liveprayer Daily Devotional April 27, 2000)

In spite of the wall-to-wall coverage over the last 5 months of the Elian Gonzales story, especially since the government's pre-Easter raid last weekend, I want to share with you what the real tragedy of this story is. It has been my immediate concern since the story broke and is an aspect that I promise you has not been explored or discussed on any of the vast media coverage of this event. The real tragedy of this whole episode has nothing to do with parental rights, or with politics, but is spiritual.

You see, to understand this tragedy, you must first know that Cuba is an atheistic society, and by Castro's design, void of God. Unlike in our great country where parents exercise their rights in raising their children, that is not the case in Cuba. A father DOES NOT have control over his children, the government does, which is why the whole father's rights aspect of this saga is so ridiculous.

At age 11, a Cuban child is sent off to school to learn how to be a good communist, and is taught that there is no such thing as God. I was impressed with the Pope's visit to Cuba and pray that his courage in going there will be rewarded with lives God was able to reach, but from Castro's standpoint, it was merely a symbolic gesture since he has removed God from the daily life of his people.

This is the world Elian Gonzales will return to with his father.

Lost in all of the hype and political rhetoric of the tragedy has been the understanding by those in the Cuban exile community of this fact. Many have not only found freedom and opportunity in this country, but they have found a relationship with God that they never would have had in Cuba. Their passions have centered on the fact that if this boy is returned to Castro, his opportunity to know God could be lost.

The irony to me has been the involvement of the United Methodist Church and the National Council of Churches in defending Castro. I grew up in the United Methodist Church, was saved in the United Methodist Church, and have preached in many of their churches over the years. The liberal arm of that denomination founded by Charles Wesley and greatly used by God to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, has influenced many of its churches to question the inspiration of Scripture and preach a message far different than what that great church was built on.

I just pray that in its dealings with the Cuban side of this tragic situation, someone took the opportunity to share Christ with Elian's father and wife. The one thing we do know, is that those Miami relatives and faithful men and women of God who came to that house each day, made sure Elian knew there was a creator of the universe named God.

I have never used this forum to express any of my political views. That is not the purpose of this Devotional, and I have tried to temper my comments and keep them on point today. I apologize if my position on this matter may be in contrast to yours. As much as I take objection to many of the things that have gone on in our government over the last 7 years, my Bible says that I am to pray for those in authority over me. God placed them there, so I have to trust His wisdom and I do faithfully pray for those in power daily.

The key point today is our scripture and Jesus telling the adults not to hinder the children from coming to Him. I pray today that those words will echo in the hearts of everyone who will be involved in the eventual outcome over the next weeks and months. I am still praying, still believing that little Elian will not be sent back to be taught by Castro that there is no God.

I pray he is able to stay here and be in an environment where one day those precious seed that have been planted in his life the last 5 months will spring forth Instead of Elian Gonzales being lost for eternity, his soul will know God's gift of everlasting life as he comes to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and savior. Amen.

In His love and service,

Your friend, brother, and co-laborer in Christ,

Bill Keller