Whoops!

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Earlier today I was forwarded an email that contained a prayer request for a lady’s brother. I was asked to add the man to our prayer list. (Click this link to see it http://is.gd/fCVyR.)

What I normally do is to copy and paste the information into a new note. Then I edit it as needed, spell check it and then copy the final draft into a new email that I send blind carbon copy to all those on the list. Then it gets made into a post and put on our church blog. Normally, this goes smoothly but today I goofed it all up. The result was that the post was right but the emails were wrong: It appeared that I was requesting prayer for my brother (and I don’t even have one).

Anytime we get any information from any human source (news programs, the Internet, email, phone, even in person) it is subject to be incorrect. Scripture isn’t like that though. The verse referenced today says that all Scripture is inspired but it is really much more than that! The original Greek wording translates out more literally “breathed out by God”.

I’m so glad that in a fallen world where most everything can be questioned or suspect we have the infallible Word of God to guide us in all points of our lives! Take a few minutes today or this weekend and think about the Bible, God’s inspired Word, breathed out by Him, to us. And then thank Him for providing you with a Source you know is all true, completely correct, and for your benefit.

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Lost Dog

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

This afternoon one of our dogs went missing, after someone opened the gate on our fence, for several hours. I looked for him as best I could but my physical limitations and being sick really limited what I do as far as searching goes. After two hours of driving the neighborhood, walking as much as I could and hollering for the dog I was exhausted. I came home and began to pray at that point.

I knew that what I was asking, for God to deliver Jack home safely, was just a raindrop in the ocean compared to His power. After all, my God spoke the universe into existence, created all things and has moved mightily in my own life; this prayer was a pittance to Him compared to many that He has already answered.

Time drug on slowly. An hour later my wife came home and began to search the neighborhood. As she searched I moved inside the house to continue to pray. Another hour or more passed and I realized something: My flesh was warring against my spirit. My head kept trying to say it was hopeless, it had been too long, Jack wasn’t coming home. But my faith kept saying trust in God. It was a very real battle and I can’t really explain to you how it felt to know it was going on as it was.

Thank God after over four hours of being gone a neighbor several homes away, who I don’t know, brought a still-damp Jack home. He had fallen into her pool and had been treading water for God only knows how long. She said she went out to put chemicals in her pool and found him, got him out, dried him off and brought him to his address on the tags. She added she’d never have seen him if it weren’t for adding this chemicals and she hadn’t planned to do it today but for some reason did. I told her the reason was that she was used to answer my prayer.

I said all that to say this: Even though we are redeemed through the blood of Christ we are still going to have fights with our flesh. Though we are not of the flesh any longer we are still in the flesh. And as long as we live in this fleshly body we will have to fight against it, for it is still part of a fallen creation. So don’t let the battles drag you down; that’s what the devil would love. No, instead rejoice! The war is already won and as long as we keep up the fight one day we’ll experience the total victory!

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Red Mike

Galatians 6:10a As we, therefore, have opportunity, let us do good unto all men.

A few weeks ago my pastor gave a message on reaching out to someone (he used the fictitious character of Red Mike as his example) in our lives that though we might have interacted with for a long time we had not witnessed to them. It could be anyone: friend, family, neighbor, etc.

When I came across this story I thought it illustrated the “Red Mike” theory much better than I could in a short note. I hope it strikes a chord with you; it did me.

“A writer in the Sunday School Times tells how, during a season of revival, a friend was praying one evening for a certain unconverted neighbor. After this manner he prayed: “O Lord, touch him with Thy finger, Lord!” The petition was repeated with great earnestness, when something said to him: “You are the finger of God. Have you ever touched your neighbor? Have you ever spoken a single word to him on the question of salvation? Go now and touch that man, and your prayer shall be answered.” It was a voice from the throne. God’s servant arose from his knees self-condemned. He had known the man to be impenitent for a quarter of a century, yet he had uttered not a word of warning. Hundreds of opportunities had come and gone, but the supreme question of life had been set aside for such topics as “the weather,” “the latest news,” “politics,” “trade,” etc. His first duty as a Christian had been left undone.”

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Fully Committed

Matthew 4:19 And (Jesus) saith unto them, Follow me…

This morning our associate pastor, Bro. Adam Bowen, preached a message on Peter’s actions leading up to and following his betrayal of Christ. It has been on my mind all day and I wanted to share some of what I got from it with you.

Jesus told Peter after he was “converted” he was to “strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 23:32). The way this word is used in the text isn’t what we think of today as being converted: becoming a Christian. It meant fully given over to love and obey God, or fully committed. As we know, Peter certainly went on to be fully committed to God and He did great things through Peter.

Do you ever wonder why the church isn’t full? Why people are not being saved? Why prayers seem to go unheard? I think the answer is the same to us today as it was to Peter some 2000 years ago; our people aren’t fully committed to love and obey God.

Do you have areas in your life that aren’t fully committed and submitted to God? If we are honest with ourselves the answer has to be yes. We all get a little slack, a little weak or weary from time to time. It’s so important that we listen to the Spirit’s voice and admit it when this happens. The sooner we do, the quicker we can get that area back into God’s will by fully committing and submitting to Him. Just think of what the Church could accomplish if all of God’s children would fully commit!

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Prayer-alyzed

Matthew 26:42 “… thy will be done.”

I was thinking about opportunities that the Lord sets out before us yesterday. It occurred to me that many of us probably miss out on countless blessings by allowing some of these opportunities to slip away. I wonder, how many of these multiple missed chances are due to fear but are covered over by the excuse of being “prayer-alyzed”- I term I made up -, meaning to avoid doing God’s will with the excuse of needing to pray about “it” first?

Yes, we ought to pray before we undertake many things. And we ought to always be in prayer (1 Thes. 5:17). But there are times when God presents us with opportunities that are just so obviously of His will that further meditation just isn’t needed: action is!

Do you know what prayer-alization REALLY is? A lack of faith mixed with an abundance of fear.

Still Useful

Psalm 1:3

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither

I remember seeing a rather strange sight once while walking in the woods. An old, gnarled tree had been broken, likely by a storm of some sort. But new, green shoots were still proceeding from it. The large broken section was also supporting a fallen tree.

As we age, our thoughts as to future usefulness to the Lord often occur. Like that tree, no matter how broken or useless we perceive ourselves to be, God can find a purpose and a use for us. Perhaps He will send forth “green shoots” of new learning in our lives or maybe use us to support another who is weak or in a season of turmoil. If we are only willing to see the new opportunity that God has made in our life and be obedient to go in His new direction, we, regardless of age or other conditions, will always have some work for our King.

A Rebellious Prayer

A Rebellious Prayer

This unattributed piece made me stop and think for a few minutes. Truly, our God has what is best planned in His sovereign plan.

“Let him become what he will; so he may live, I shall be satisfied.” Thus prayed the father by the sick bed of a youthful and only son. He had prayed importunately for the abatement of the disease, but the child continually struggled with intense pain. A calm at last visited the sufferer. The pulse that had throbbed and fluttered beat feebly and slowly. A deathlike hue overcast the features. The physician shook his head sadly, and said there was no hope. Suddenly the father thought that perhaps God was about to take this child away, to save the child from a life of error. Should he pray God to change His purpose? There was a struggle in the parent’s heart. He gazed wistfully upon the child’s countenance. It was calm, beautifully calm. The cheeks that used to dimple with laughter were rigid, still, marble-like. The eye, that depth of affection into which he had loved to gaze, was unusually brilliant. The pale red lips wore those marks of sorrow that always touch a parent’s heart. The longer he looked upon his idol the more lovely it seemed. All his desire and affection centered upon it. It seemed hard to give it up–hard, very hard. Tears filled his eyes, and he uttered the rebellious prayer recorded above. The child recovered. . . . “Father, will you see me to the tree?” Many years passed since the scene just described. That son had passed through an almost unparalleled course of iniquity and villainy. He had broken the sensitive heart of an affectionate and watchful mother, and brought her to a suicide’s grave. He had been tried for crime, convicted, and sentenced to death. Pardon was offered him by the officers of the law, if he would reform and lead an exemplary life. But he preferred the alternative of the gallows. In vain his white-haired father attempted to reason with him. With a careless air the criminal asked if he would see him to the tree, and then went out of the prison with the sheriff, and was hung. This story is true and instructive. In our dissatisfaction with the prospective providences of God, we are in danger of having our desires granted us. It is our duty to bear, as well as to do, the will of God. All his acts towards us are acts of love. Our journey heavenward is necessarily variable. We have our Gethsemanes. Let us not forget, when praying for the bitter cup of affliction to pass, the words of our Master, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39).