Answered Prayer

A story is told about a small church that was located close to a major highway. Sometimes during the church services, the church’s sound system would pick up the voice of a trucker using his CB radio. The truckers, of course, had no idea that their voices were being heard in a church meeting.

One Sunday, the preacher began a prayer by saying, “O Lord, we ask you to make your presence known to us today…”

He was immediately interrupted by a voice over the loudspeaker that said, “I’ll be right on down!”

Prayers aren’t always answered immediately, or in a dramatic fashion. But we know that God hears the prayers of his people, and he acts upon them in accordance with his will. That is enough to inspire us to keep on praying.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”—Ephesians 6:18

 

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Deeply Rooted

For many years there has been a pear tree on the property of our church. Every year the tree produces an abundance of juicy, tasty pears. Neighbors often stop and ask if they may gather some of the pears. Sometimes people driving by will stop and ask permission to take some of the fruit home with them.

A recent storm blew through our town, knocking down many trees and limbs. The church’s pear tree was one of the casualties. Full of small, unripe pears, the tree blew over. Apparently it did not have much of a root system. From what I can see, it’s a wonder the tree has stood for as many years as it has.

If we don’t have a deeply rooted faith, it is highly likely that we will eventually become uprooted by one of life’s storms. We need to put down deep roots. We must study the Bible intently, obey God boldly, pray fervently, worship passionately and serve diligently. Put your roots down deep in the faith!

“…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power…”—Ephesians 3:17-18

 

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Joy in Trials

Sometimes I scan the congregation during Sunday morning worship services. I like to see the faces of people as they express their love to God with their singing.

I remember one time looking at the crowd and seeing the face of a young lady for whom my wife and I had been praying. She had been going through a terrible time. Through no fault of her own, she was experiencing a great sorrow in her life. No one would have blamed her if she had chosen not to sing that day.

However, I noticed that she was singing, and she was smiling as she did so. There was joy on her face as she sang along with the congregation “You’re a good, good Father!”

She understood that God was good no matter what she was going through. With her heavenly Father’s help, she would endure this trial and worship him every step of the way!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”—James 1:2

 

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Important Job

Charlie Plumb

Charlie Plumb was a U.S. Navy pilot during the Vietnam War. After flying 75 successful combat missions, Plumb’s plane was hit by an enemy missile, forcing him to eject and parachute into enemy territory.

He spent 6 years as a prisoner of war, but survived the ordeal and came back to the U.S. to resume his life. One day while he was sitting in a restaurant, a man came up to him and asked if he was Charlie Plumb.

“Yes,” he answered. “How do you know me?”

“I’m the guy who packed your parachute.”

Sometimes we forget about the importance of those behind-the-scenes jobs!

Your job in the church might not get you a lot of attention, but don’t ever doubt the importance of your work for the Lord.

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”—1 Corinthians 12:27

 

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Time Well-Spent

A certain man often referred to a special day in his childhood when his father took him fishing. The day was fixed in his adult mind, and he often reflected upon many of the things his father had taught him in the course of their fishing experience together.

After having heard of that particular excursion so often, it occurred to someone to check the journal that this man’s father had kept, and determine what had been said about the fishing trip from the father’s perspective. Turning to that date, the reader found only one sentence entered: “Gone fishing today with my son; a day wasted.”

Let us never underestimate the importance of time that a parent spends with a child! The value is immeasurable!

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”—Deuteronomy 6:6-7

 

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Healthy Fear

Yesterday I noticed something extremely unusual. A fox was sitting on the front steps of a country church building. I parked my car near the fox, but he just looked at me as if he did not have a care in the world. Even after I got out of the car, he showed no fear whatsoever.

I, however, was a bit afraid. A fox that shows no fear of humans is likely sick, and perhaps dangerous.

My friend Karen lives right across the road from the church, and I wanted her to know about the situation, so I knocked on her door. She informed me that there was a family of foxes that had taken up residence near the church building, and that they were not afraid of people.

It would have been good, for their own sake, for the foxes to have a healthy fear of humans.

In the same way, it is good for humans to have a healthy fear of the Lord. Those who don’t fear God—well, there’s just something wrong with that.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”—Proverbs 1:7.

 

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No Cussin’!

Years ago the city council of South Pasadena, California, did something unusual. They adopted a resolution calling for one week off from swearing. It was called, “No Cussin’ Week”. No one would be arrested or fined, but it was an attempt to encourage more civility in our conversations. Interestingly, it was a 14-year-old boy who suggested the idea. The young man, who admits that he occasionally cussed, started a “No Cussin’ Club” at school.

One can only hope that such initiatives will encourage others to be more careful in their use of language.

The Bible continually warns us against inappropriate language and exhorts us to use speech that is holy and uplifting.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”—Ephesians 4:29

 

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Accepting the Pardon

President Andrew Jackson

About the year 1830, a man named George Wilson killed a man. Wilson was tried, convicted and sentenced to be hanged. However, President Andrew Jackson sent him a pardon. But Wilson did a strange thing. He refused to accept the pardon! No one seemed to know what to do about this, so the case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Marshall wrote the court’s opinion. In it he said, “A pardon is a slip of paper, the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged.” And so he was.

Through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus, God has pardoned every member of the human race. However, for the pardon to be valid, it must be accepted.

“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”—Mark 16:16.

 

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Always Praying

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray continually.” How can we do that? What does it even mean, anyway, to “pray continually”?

Here is what Mandy Smith says about the matter—“Having a daily time of prayer is essential, but we must be careful not to divide our lives into ‘prayer time’ and ‘non-prayer time’. Our daily prayer time should be the time when we only pray, not the only time when we pray.”

Maybe she has something there. What do you think?

In any case, let us always be pursuing a prayerful lifestyle.

 

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We Know the Words

Blues fans sing the National Anthem

Devoted St. Louis Blues fans gathered at the Enterprise Center to watch their beloved team on the big screen as they played in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday night. A glitch in the video system caused the game feed to freeze during the National Anthem. That was no problem for the fans. They started singing “The Star Spangled Banner” themselves! Someone later noted that he never had been so proud to be a Blues fan.

This shows that there is much unity in our country when it comes to patriotism. If only the church could be so united! If only we knew the words of the Bible so well that they could bind us together in love and service! What a witness that would be to the world!

“My prayer is…that all of them may be one…so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”—John 17:20-21

 

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