A Scripture comes to mind about the time we have on earth.
James 4 :14 says “…whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
While this blog has been about sexual immorality, I just want to take the time to talk about a connected issue which I will include.
William Barry Dye III, the oldest son of William Dye, Jr. and Lessie. B. Dye, passed away on Sunday, December 23, 2012.
Just one day before my late mother in law’s birthday on Christmas Eve. She went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, October 10, 2011.
For years, Barry, my brother in law, would live life his way. It’s quite common in families that serve the Lord that children live rebellious lives.
For years this would be the case. However, it pays to pray. Parents that pray for their children know the power of God. Mom Dye did this every day. She prayed every day for her children. One of the things that I love about the Lord is that He has inside information.
No prayer that man prays goes unanswered. Many of us do pray prayers in accordance with His will but the answer never materializes, but just because what we’ve prayed for didn’t manifest, it doesn’t mean that the Lord didn’t answer it. There are many variables that take place. We must also remember that man sometimes do not cooperate with God but when man cooperates with God, the answers were always what the Lord had in mind.
When the Father knows all things and the “cloud of many witnesses” are given inside information, the praise in heaven is deafening.
Mom Dye, while she was here, had many prayer partners. One person of note is Mrs. Thomas. A very close friend and prayer partner in the Saratoga projects in Brooklyn, NY. There is no question that they prayed in agreement and in earnest for Barry.
As another side note these ladies of Zion Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY, had prayer partners all over Brooklyn. My first landlord, Mrs. Marion Batson, a long time member of Zion Baptist Church, would have prayer with other prayer partners in her house almost every day during the late morning hours, or at noon.
I’m here to tell you that somewhere in the United States, in a community near you, there may be prayer partners praying and you will not know who or where they are but when you see the results that turn positive, just know that the God of prayer answer the saints of prayer.
While circumstances happen and while the devil will use every thing in his playbook to get a soul into hell, Barry was no exception. Every time he would attempt to join certain organizations, he would get kicked out. Martial Arts. Masonic Lodge. You name it. He didn’t last long. Certain churches. It didn’t matter. Barry wouldn’t last.
There is no question that prayer to prevent entrance into places where he wasn’t supposed to go, had something to do with why he wouldn’t be accepted into these organizations.
When it comes to prayer, God works in a spectrum of time but He is not governed by time. God governs time from eternity. Just because “there is a time and a season” for every purpose, God doesn’t look at a clock. The will of God was completed before time began. However, man is governed by time on earth. So when the Lord begins to pull man, there are times when they will know it and there will be times when they will not.
Nonetheless, Barry was running out of time but God is God.
It’s amazing to watch God unfold His plan without man’s permission, with the exception of the human will. God will not make you come into His kingdom. You have to desire Him and His Word. Barry knew where truth would be but when you are still led by the flesh and the mind, sometimes you really don’t care about time or eternity.
Just as we were driving away from the Crematorium to have his remains cremated, we were talking about getting into the apartment he was living in. In NYC housing, it’s called “succession.” After Mom Dye passed away, Barry had succession rights to the apartment. Barry had a roommate. This roommate had a porn problem. There would be porn pictures all over the roommate’s wall. So, my daughter found out about these pictures through a friend of my other brother in law, Vernon. To protect me from being exposed to these pictures, because I wanted to help out getting the apartment squared away after Barry’s passing, the Lord used my daughter to warn me not to go.
Without hesitation, I immediately complied, and I will not go.
LESSON. No matter how much distance you put, the affects of porn are still strong. Paul says we are to “Avoid the appearance of evil.” Strength is in avoiding, not in exposure. Name me one person that stuck his head up with a sniper taking shots at you and he survived. Not one. Each one got a hole in the head as proof that the devil is not out to wound you but to kill you.
But after Barry received Jesus, one Sunday, when Barry came to our church, the Lord dropped in my spirit that someone was watching pornography.
Right before my sermon, I said, “The Lord told me that someone was watching porn.”
You see, when you’ve been cleansed from the devastating affects of porn and self gratification, commonly called masturbation, you begin to pick up things along these lines. It doesn’t happen often but the Lord will tell you something.
I looked at all the brothers and the sound of silence was deafening in the house of the Lord. Yes, even the ladies were shocked but not that shocked because I’ve made an effort to inform the wives to check up on their husbands before this incident took place. I believe that wives need to know what is going on in the life of a man and if they are to save their marriage, if you haven’t confronted your husband about porn, your marriage may not last long.
Anyway, I looked at Barry and you could see that God was speaking through me about that situation. It is not certain that the Lord told me specifically that it was Barry that was watching porn, but I’ve seen my brother in law in action when women would walk near him. Like most men, there is a lust of the flesh and lust of the eyes problem. His eyes would travel and he would lay his best rap on these women.
One day, we were driving my mother in law home and in the back seat of my car, I had a copy of my book, Secret Sexual Sins. He looked and saw these three words and there was no question that his interest perked.
Why am I sharing all of this?
You and I do not know the degree of God’s grace. No one knows the limit of His measureless, abundant grace.
All those prayers and all of these incidences. God doesn’t care where you’ve come from or what you’ve done, so long as you finally make a decision to quit sin and come to Him. To cut right to the chase, shortly after my mother in law’s death, Barry came to church and received the Lord as His personal Lord and Savior. Mom’s prayers were answered by the Lord.
We all know that a sinner’s prayer anyone could pray, but it is what a person practices that determines if the salvation sticks. Now, mind you that Jesus mentioned that we must be born again. We know that Jesus said that “the wind blows where it wants and you hear the sound, but you cannot tell when it comes and where it is going. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit.”
In other words, you cannot see the work of the Holy Spirit according to Titus 3:5, but you can see that a person begins to change. They begin to say and do things that shows signs of a person that is genuinely born again. The organizations that Barry would be thrown out was because Barry would say things and make statements that would drive you nuts.
When Barry received Jesus, he didn’t have carfare to get to Prevailing Word and his sister, (my wife) told him just to go somewhere and get the Word. After mom’s passing, Barry’s closest voice to remind him of mom was his baby sister, but Barry needed a pastor. Bishop-elect Al Jackson, pastor of Highways and Hedges Christian Church, right across the street from the Saratoga projects, was right there. He baptized him on the profession of his faith and Barry participated in the church’s Men Talk men’s meeting.
Even there, Barry brought about controversy but the pastor, and the men at Barry’s new church handled business to “reel him in,” and bring him along in the Lord. You all know how much of a handful some of us were when we got saved, so do not look at yourself in your “perfection.”
Every one of us came with stuff and some of us still have stuff.
Pretty much the story of William Barry Dye III.
Yeah, this was the real Barry before the old Barry died and came alive in Christ.
In the last year, we’ve seen signs of a child of God emerge while he was making his way through so much struggling. Over 20 years before he gave his life to Jesus, from losing his job, losing his marriage. Angry and bitter at the world, and just causing controversy and mayhem with everything and everybody, God still had His hand on him.
Over this short period of time, one year’s worth, we’ve seen the Lord save him and delivered him. However, as with all persons, relapse does happen, as it did with Barry, but you learn to pick yourself up and keep it moving. Sometimes, even a relapse is costly. It turned out to be the tipping of the scales against him.
Drugs, alcohol, and a rebellious life. Pretty much a story of many people searching for answers to life that could only be found in Jesus. Or, perhaps, looking to mend wounds of the past by drowning oneself in the world’s pleasure drugs.
However, God’s love is greater. The Lord never overlooks sin, but He uses people to point the way to His grace. Even if circumstance of life happen, through it all, God is still a marvel.
In the remaining months of Barry’s life, congestive heart failure (CHF) took away from him a life that would have been wonderful to watch fully bloom in the Lord. Barry had a habit of “crying wolf” and we really didn’t put stock in what he was telling us. That he had what Mom Dye had, CHF, but Barry knew something. That he didn’t have much time left on earth.
We thought that Barry was joking but he was dead serious. We didn’t know how serious it was until after he departed this life. We’ve should have known when he gave his life to Jesus that something was up.
With reconciling and getting closer to his own three sons, and grandchildren, and reconciling with his younger siblings, somewhat accomplished, the grains in the hour glass of life were quickly assuming its place on top of the other grains of sand of his past. The last grain of sand fell when his heart stopped for the final time.
As we stood around to view his remains, at Matthew Barrett Funeral Home for the family viewing, at his Homegoing, and again, on Saturday, January 5, 2013 before we escorted his remains for the last time to the Crematorium, we couldn’t help but remember and laugh at the many antics of Barry. He left us with a treasure of memories that is characteristics of a life filled with, not just controversy, but a desire to see people laugh.
Even in pain, laughter is a medicine.
I recently hung my wedding pictures in our house. I look at how young we were, Valeria and I, but even though you may not see Barry, you see his handiwork. It’s just as good as a picture of him. For those pictures he took now serve as my own personal memorial of him on our living room wall.
What an amazing gift from you that you gave us Barry.
But what was the Lord doing?
He was showing us that life happens but eternal life happens too.
We also looked at the standpoint that sometimes when a person that has been through so much, that to avoid other incidences that have the potential to pull him away from the Lord, we can only say that in heaven, there is no better safe haven. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
You’ve often wondered if certain loved ones made it into His kingdom. We will soon find out, but when you have that assurance in your heart as the Holy Spirit witnesses to you, you get that sense of knowing that at least, he professed Jesus as Lord. The rest is up to us to be even more diligent to make OUR calling and election sure.
Again, it is good to have inside information that Barry would finally make it in his Lord’s kingdom. No preacher can preach a man or woman into the kingdom of heaven. Even when we have a sense in knowing that he made it, we are only assured of our own individual salvation.
Nonetheless, we all want a story to end nice and neat. However, one thing is certain, you can always tell when a person crosses over from death to eternal life. It’s all about practicing righteousness, but when you are a babe in Christ, while there is no exception, we must remember that even babies are vulnerable, but babes are still in the family.
While there was a number of factors that help a person come to the Lord, sometimes the small things are enough to place a marker in a person’s mind that perhaps someone is in your corner. That’s all Barry wanted. No quicker that God uses small things to attract them, they come to your church and get saved. We did that for Barry. Paid some of his bills. Helped him stay in the apartment. Put money in his hands. The little things pay big dividends. In some cases, eternal ones.
Barry, we miss you but we will meet again in Jesus. For now, we will chase after the Savior you now behold. And we will do our best to command those in our family to repent and receive the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as you did if they are to have any chance of seeing the Lord and you, in that great getting up morning.
The plan of the devil to get him into hell was foiled, and the prayers of the saint once again prevailed.
Barry, with all that happened in your life, you knew that you didn’t have much time left, but you made the right choice in the end.
God saved your spirit man, just in a nick of time.