Interview with Jean McClure, Part 2
This article was taken from an interview with Jean McClure in September 2020 with Calvary Chapel Magazine writer Christmas Beeler. Jean and her husband Don McClure, a longtime Calvary Chapel pastor, now run Calvary Way Ministries, a teaching ministry reaching around the world. They have been married since 1968, and Jean has served in full-time ministry for nearly five decades. You can find more information about Calvary Way Ministries at calvaryway.com. In Part 2, she discusses the importance of Christians having daily devotions and spending time with the Lord, including the study of biblical prophecy.
Christmas Beeler: How important are daily devotions? How and why do Christians do them?
Jean McClure: (Jean shared about a fellow student in her Christian high school who explained how some people who were saved were on-fire for the Lord, and others never changed.) I’ll never forget what he said: “It’s very easy. It’s about having your devotions, having a quiet time with the Lord, and reading the Word. Those who don’t do that, don’t grow. Those who do, they grow.” That’s what makes the difference. I’ve found throughout my whole life that that is true.
First of all, you have to have a place—it has to be a quiet place. And you have to do it every day. It’s just like eating the right food, exercising, going to the gym. All of those things you choose to do on a regular basis, it’s the same for your devotions. I often tell women, “If you don’t spend time in the Word, you’re not going to grow. If you want to be a deeper, stronger Christian, then you need to start today by having devotions.” Having devotions is reading God’s Word. I do it in the mornings; some people do it at night, twice a day. They’ll read in the Book of Psalms before they go to bed at night. Everybody’s different. The Lord will show you how to do it. But the most important thing is reading God’s Word.
I was challenged 13 to 14 years ago by a pastor’s wife who said she had read through the Bible 60 times. I felt so convicted, and at that point our ministry was changing to where we were travelling and speaking. We didn’t have our own church at that point. So I had a lot of free time to have a creative devotional life; before I’d always been studying books for teaching others, and I began to read through the Bible in a year. I’ve fallen in love with it. I’ve done it different ways at different times. But that’s the first thing you have to do: Find a quiet place, read the Word, get a good devotional book or a few (pick different books for different mornings).
You want to keep a journal. I’m not good at diaries and journaling, like that, but as the Lord shows me something in Scripture and answers to prayer, I write it down and date it. And then on difficult days, I pick that up. I look back, and say, “Wow! Look what God has done since then! Look what He’s shown me—I’ve completely forgot about that.” You know what that does? It builds my faith.
Another thing I do is, I have a pad of paper [near me]. The thoughts will come into my head: Don’t forget to make that dentist appointment. Don’t forget to call so-and-so. I write that down and put it aside so I can forget about it and concentrate on God’s Word and what He’s showing me. I know Kay Smith, Chuck Smith’s wife, used to say, “You don’t have to read four chapters a day. Read until you get something.” I think that’s great advice.
Christmas: There are so many benefits for us as believers when we’re getting into the Word. It’s living and powerful. What are some things that the Word of God does for us?
Jean: You wake up in the night, and you just get attacked with all of these discouraging thoughts. Everything looks worse in the dark—I don’t know why. And then I go back to sleep and wake up in the morning. And I’m not kidding you, the Scriptures I’m reading that morning absolutely answer the question that I’ve been struggling with. I remember once, I was worried about my three boys. It was so great because the Scripture that He gave me that day was in Isaiah 54:13: All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. Today, they’re all in their 40s with families of their own; Don and I just get blown away, thinking, They all are born again, they’re married to wives who are born again, and they love the Lord. I know that’s God’s grace. It’s not because we were perfect parents, because we certainly were not. But when you see these things in your life, it’s really God’s grace.
Another thing that He does, and I think we all find this, is that He gives comfort. Especially in the psalms. I would encourage all of you to read the psalms today along with whatever else you’re reading. They’re just so comforting; they tell you that God is going to fight for you. He’s going to take care of His own. He’ll never leave you, He’ll never forsake you.
I’ve been reading this book, Adorned, by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. She was talking about why it’s so important to have correct theology. Before, I didn’t think about it like she put it: If you do not have correct, sound theology, nothing else is going to work because your doctrine is going to be all messed up. We know that Scripture says that false teachers are going to come in and lead many astray. It says, even if it were possible, the very elect will be deceived (Matthew 24:24). I look at that and think, I need to know sound doctrine. I need to know what I believe. The only way I’m going to get that is through reading God’s Word. And reading it again and again because it gets clearer, it all ties together.
I love to go to bed at night and think, Oh, I get to get that steaming cup of coffee in the morning. I get to crawl back on my bed (where I have my devotions) and I just get to sit with the Lord. It’s heaven. It gives me peace for the day. It gives me Scriptures that I need. Sometimes they’re not for me but for someone else who calls me that day, and I realize that they need it. I love Psalm 130:5, 6b, and there are so many like this: I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. … More than those who watch for the morning. Amy Carmichael, who’s passed away and was a missionary to India, said: “The morning never disappoints us by not coming. Neither does our loving God.” Just as you see the sun rise in the morning, know that your God is there every morning, and He won’t disappoint you.
Christmas: Why is it important to study prophecy in our devotions?
Jean: Today, I am so excited about prophecy and thinking about this world and where it is. If you read God’s Word and study prophecy, then you’re going to look at the news, and say, “Wow! This is so exciting.” [Biblical] prophecy very clearly says that we will have one-world government. Hopefully we’ll be gone in the Rapture and won’t be here, but we can see it coming down the pike. We can see all the things that are lining up. We’re headed in that direction where the government and the world leader can control us. According to Scripture, Revelation 13:7, there is going to be one world leader, the antichrist.
The Book of Revelation is difficult. I would go to the Blue Letter Bible (blueletterbible.org), to some of Chuck Smith’s books, and to some of the good guys on prophecy out there, to see the commentaries as you’re reading. But Matthew 24 is pretty clear; it says all the world is going to hear the Gospel. We know in the very end, that there will be two prophets on the streets of Jerusalem. They will give the Gospel and the whole world will hear. Of course, we have television and all the technology, so now we know why the whole world can hear. I look at it today, and I’ve watched Franklin Graham come on almost weekly and say, “God loves you. He has a plan for you. You can know Him. You don’t have to be afraid. Here’s the sinner’s prayer that you can pray with me.” I thought, Oh, my goodness, that is totally giving the Gospel to the world.
And if you know prophecy, when you’re listening to the news, those Scriptures pop into your head. That makes your devotions so real. It’s actually really exciting. You begin to see these prophecies—wars, rumors of wars, evil growing worse, famine, earthquakes, pestilences—we’ve talked about them for years. Some of you have taught them. The exciting part is, all those things we’ve talked about, now we turn on the news and see it happening. That makes this one of the most exciting times in history to live and see what God is doing.
All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
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