Drinking from My Saucer

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“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For God is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.” (Psalm 100:4-5)

When I was a child, I remember my grandmother (I called her Ma), pouring coffee out of her cup and drinking it from the saucer. I’m sure Miss Emily Post would have had a fit at Ma’s lack of manners, but she made that coffee look so good. I hate coffee to this day, but I always wished I could drink it from my saucer. That seemed to be the very best coffee Ma drank. She made it seem like it was such a joy to drink from the saucer.

As we pause here in the United States to celebrate our national holiday of Thanksgiving this week, I wonder if you ever stop and think about just how blessed you really are. I’m afraid that in the fast-paced world in which we live, we have become too busy to stop and count our blessings. I’m not going to get into the debate about shopping on Thanksgiving or waiting until Black Friday. It seems to me that greed is greed no matter what day it happens. But I am concerned that we no longer stop on ANY DAY and just take time to drink from the saucer.

Some years ago, a friend send me a little poem which has become one of my favorites because every time I read it, I think about Ma. I hope you find some encouragement as you read it. I also hope you will take time over the next few days to stop and thank God for all the things He has blessed you with. 

I count those of you who read this little blog each day among some of my greatest blessings. I pray that if you are traveling this week, you will arrive and return safely. I thank God for your encouragement and your kind words. You truly are an encouragement to me. On behalf of Edna, we would like to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. God bless you and your family.

I’m Drinking From My Saucer

I may not have done all the things I wanted to do, and I guess it’s too late now
But I don’t worry about that much, ’cause I’m happy anyhow.
As I go through life’s journey, I’m reaping better than I sowed.
I’m drinking from my saucer, ’cause my cup has overflowed.

I don’t have a lot of riches, and sometimes the going is tough.
But I’ve got friends who love me, and that makes me rich enough.
So I just thank God for His blessings, and the mercy He’s bestowed.
I’m drinking from my saucer, ’cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when everything went wrong, and my faith grew kind of thin.
But after a while those old dark clouds broke and the sun peeped through again.
So Lord, help me not to gripe about the tough rows I’ve hoed.
I’m drinking from my saucer, ’cause my cup has overflowed.

And if God will grant me strength and courage when the ways grow steep and rough,
I’ll not ask for other blessings, ’cause I’ve already been blessed enough.
And may I never be too busy to help another bear his load;
And I will keep drinking from my saucer, ’cause my cup has overflowed.

You know, when I stop and think about it…I’m just like my Ma! I’m drinking from my saucer too! 

Happy Thanksgiving my friends.

Thankful for PAIN?

“For Christ also has suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” (I Peter 3:18)

The Epistle of I Peter was written to a suffering church. The Christians there had been persecuted for their faith in Christ. If you take time to read the entire letter, you will find Peter dealing with the subject of suffering quite often.

Can I just start by saying that NOBODY likes to suffer? I’m sure you would give a hearty AMEN to that. Nobody deliberately goes out and seeks to be persecuted or desires pain and suffering. And yet, we all suffer because of the evil and sin that exists in our life and in our world. It’s part of our life. But I Peter 3:18 says that Jesus suffered because He did good. The kind of suffering that you and I endure is the logical consequence of our sin. It’s equivalent to putting your hand on a hot stove. You touch the hot stove — you get burned. You reap what you sow.

I see that illustrated in life every day. Whether it is on the news (via TV or newspaper or Internet) or through the sharing of a personal story with someone who calls to talk with me — we reap what we sow. It ALWAYS happens that way. And we ALL have to go through that kind of suffering.

The thing about I Peter 3:18 that captures my attention and causes me to stop and give thanks is this…Jesus did not suffer for HIS sins, He suffered for MY sin! He who was the perfect creator suffered for the imperfect creation. This is the only time in history when what was reaped didn’t match what had been sown. Jesus never sinned, yet He took all the sin of the world upon Himself. Jesus never had one bad thought, yet He took all the bad thoughts of the world upon Himself. And He did all this voluntarily and for a purpose.

Look right there in the middle of our verse. Peter says that Jesus Christ suffered so that “He might bring us to God.” WOW! Just stop and let that one sink in for a second. Christ voluntarily suffered so that He might bring ME to God. Jesus Christ served as MY SUBSTITUTE — He died FOR ME. Unbelievable! I certainly didn’t deserve that — do you? Of course not. If we reap what we sow — we suffer for our own sin. Jesus took that upon Himself so that you and I could have a right relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Charles Spurgeon said that when he was under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, he had a clear and sharp sense of the justice of God, and sin became for him an intolerable burden. He said, “All the while I had upon my mind a deep concern for the honor of God’s name and the integrity of His moral government. I felt that it would not quiet my conscience if I could be forgiven without justice being satisfied. But then came the question: ‘How can God be just and yet justify me with all my guilt?'” Spurgeon finally came to see that Jesus’ sacrifice was the perfect answer to his problem.

And Jesus’ sacrifice is the perfect answer to my problem as well. Jesus suffered for me — the “just for the unjust” so that I might come to God. As I near the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, I must pause today and say “Thank you Jesus for voluntarily suffering — not for YOUR sin, but for MINE!” 

Hallelujah! What a Savior!!!

Do Others See Jesus in You?

“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained me, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)

After Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples came under great scrutiny by the Jewish rulers because of their witness for the Lord. Since all the apostles were “uneducated and untrained,” it soon became evident that they were simply radiating the love and personality of Jesus Christ. The fact that they had been associated with Jesus had so infused their lives with His grace that it was apparent to all who saw them that they had been with Jesus. They were energized by the Holy Spirit and they automatically reflected the character and attributes of Christ.

The same should be true for me and you. When we spend time walking and talking with Jesus, we become more Christlike. When we spend time in prayer and in Bible study, we reflect Christ’s character to our co-workers and our friends. In II Corinthians 3:18, Paul says that when we see the glory of the Lord, we are “transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 

Becoming Christlike is a progressive experience. From the time we are saved until we die, we are being “transformed” into the image of Christ. The Holy Spirit works in our lives and points out the areas in our life that need to be submitted to the will of God. Through the preaching of the Word, our personal study of God’s Word and our prayer life, the Holy Spirit is guiding us in that transformation process that will only be completed when we get to Heaven.

I don’t know the author, but I have a little card with a verse on it called “How Is the Christian Different?”

The Christian sees through kinder eyes — like Jesus.
He gives from a bigger heart — like God.
He speaks with a purer tongue — like Christ.
He serves with more willing hands — like Jesus.
He walks with a great faith — like his Lord.
He loves with agape love — like the Father in heaven.
He thinks with a spiritual mind — like Christ.
He sees the needs of others with a compassionate view — like Jesus.
He heals the wounds of others with love — like the Master.
The Christian is different only when Jesus rules his life.

B.B. McKinney said it this way in his hymn…

“While passing through this world of sin,
and others your life shall view.
Be clean and pure without, within;
Let others see Jesus in you.

Your life’s a book before their eyes,
They’re reading it thro’ and thro’
Say, does it point them to the skies,
Do others see Jesus in you?”

At the end of this day, I want to ask myself one question — Can anybody look at me today and tell that I have been with Jesus?

 

It Truly Is a Serious Matter…

“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

I’m convinced that the most foolish thing a person ever does is to turn a deaf ear to the Gospel message. Rejection of Jesus Christ leads to an eternal Hell. In our verse today, Jesus told those who heard Him that unless they believed in Him, they would die in their sins. That really means you are lost forever.

In Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas were on their first missionary journey. After preaching to the Jews, the missionaries turned their attention to the Gentiles (v. 44). The Jews came to them and the Bible says they were jealous because Paul was preaching to the Gentiles. Acts 13:46 says, “Then Paul and Barnabas boldly said, ‘It was necessary that God’s message be spoken to you first. But since you reject it and consider yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.”

The people (the Jews) incited a riot and threw Paul and Barnabas out of the city. Funny how every time Paul went somewhere one of two things happened — a riot or a revival! In Acts 13:51, something interesting happened. It says, “But they shook the dust off their feet against them and went to Iconium.” As a sign that the response of the people was serious and dangerous, Paul and Barnabas “shook the dust off their feet.” In other words, when you reject Christ — it is truly a very serious matter.

More than any other time in my 30 years of preaching I am hearing people say something like this: “Well Pastor Keith, I know Jesus is the way to salvation. I’ve asked Him into my heart. But there are others who are equally sincere about their beliefs and I must respect their religion as being just as true as mine.”

Let me says TWO things about that statement…

1. All religions are NOT the same. Every religion that rejects Jesus as the ONLY Son of God is false — period. People may sincerely believe their way is right, but the Bible is clear. They are eternally lost and bound for a Christ-less eternity in Hell. ALL human philosophies and manmade religions lead to nothing but despair. When you say “no” to Christ, you are closing the door to Heaven.

2. If you believe that sincerity in one’s beliefs get you into Heaven, then I would encourage you to seriously re-evaluate your own relationship with Christ. Buddah may have articulated some truth and Mohammad may have articulated a bit of truth — but listen to me very carefully here — JESUS CHRIST IS THE TRUTH! Jesus didn’t just articulate truth — He is THE truth (John 14:6). Anything other than a belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and the only way to Heaven is just plain wrong — period.

Do we still respect another person’s religion? Absolutely. In America, people have the right to be wrong. But just because you believe something “sincerely” doesn’t make it truth. Truth is not defined by how you FEEL about it or how SINCERE you believe it. Jesus is THE truth. And we must boldly proclaim that message and those who reject it must know the consequences of that action.

Don’t be foolish. If you have never received the Good News of God’s amazing grace, I beg you to repent of your sins and receive the free gift of salvation offered through Jesus Christ. If you have questions about that — I’m available to talk with you about your personal relationship with Christ. Email, comment, call or come by and let me share with you the simple plan of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

This truly is a very serious matter…

A Happy Doorkeeper

“For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10 KJV)

When I was in seminary, I had a professor who quoted this verse every time he held the door open for us to come into class. I remember he would stand there waiting for us to enter his classroom and with great joy would say, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

This morning (Wednesday, November 20, 2013) I want you to stop and read that verse again. Do you understand what the psalmist is saying? One day in the presence of God is better than a thousand days anywhere else. He says the quality of life before God — even just one day — is better than quantity of life here on earth. For this reason, it is better to be at the edge of the temple (a doorkeeper) than to have a permanent, secure place among the wicked. 

Can you agree with that today? And if you can — do you know WHY?

Look at verse 11. It says, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” See it? Excuse me while I have a little shouting spell…

First there is God Himself — “a sun and shield.”

Second, you have the blessings of God – “grace and glory.”

Finally, you have what you and I are supposed to be doing because of this — “walk uprightly.”

In the Old Testament temple, the lowliest service was to be the keeper of the gate. Those who stood at the door had what appeared to be the most insignificant job — just take care of the doors of God’s house. And yet, the psalmist says — even THAT job — a doorkeeper — is better than being a “big-shot” among the wicked.

It’s Wednesday. I hope you are going to make your way to God’s house this evening for a mid-week Bible study. If your church doesn’t have Wednesday night services — come see me! Whether it is on Sunday or Wednesday, it is during those times of worship with God’s family that we see just how wonderful the presence of God is. We are supposed to have fellowship with God BUT He also wants us to have fellowship with other believers. There really are NO Lone Ranger Christians.

Write this down…

Everybody needs somebody and everybody is needed by somebody.

Coming to church to worship God, study His Word and fellowship with my family is a great experience. On Sunday, it gets me ready to meet the world head-on. On Wednesday, it gives me a tune-up and a renewed boost of energy to make it through the remainder of the week.

Go to church tonight. Hold the door open for someone as they come in and remind them that one day in God’s presence is better than a thousand outside. And as people enter the church building, smile and say — “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

I want to be one happy DOORKEEPER!

You’ve Got a GREAT Friend…

“When they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke with them and said, ‘Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'” (Mark 6:49-50)

Mark Twain said, “The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right.”

When you look for a living definition of a friend, you need look no further than Jesus Christ. He is the consummate friend. He is the perfect example of Proverbs 17:17 — “A friend loves at all times.” Jesus never stopped loving His disciples even when they failed to act in faith or when they were in the wrong. Remember when Peter cut off the ear of the Roman soldier on the night Jesus was arrested? The more I study the Scripture, the more I see how in the times when the disciples really needed a friend — Jesus was always there.

In Mark 6, Jesus performed one of the greatest miracles of His ministry — the feeding of the 5,000. The disciples had seen this miracle first-hand. You would think that any doubts they may have had would have been erased after seeing Jesus display such power. But once the picnic was over, the disciples got into a boat going across the Sea of Galilee and their perspective changed. Why? They entered a terrible storm.

Can I just be brutally honest with you? I know that in the times when I have found myself in the midst of a terrible life-storm, I haven’t reacted the way I should. I have often panicked! Instead of remembering how the Lord has been faithful throughout 30 years of ministry and marriage — I have, more times than I care to remember — taken my eyes off Jesus and looked at the storm instead of the Savior. That’s what the disciples did.

Looking out over the sea, they saw a figure coming toward them on the water. Knowing what I know about myself, I suppose it is understandable that they would react to something like this with fear. They thought it was a ghost! But keep reading. Mark goes on to tell us that every after Jesus revealed Himself to them and calmed the storm, they still didn’t get it. In fact, Mark 6:51 says, “They were completely astounded, because they had not understood about the loaves.”

Did Jesus turn His back on them say, “I’ve had it with you knuckleheads”? No — Jesus knew these disciples had much to learn. Jesus was a loving and faithful friend. He continued to teach, correct, and challenge them.

That’s some GOOD NEWS for me today! From time to time, I need a friend who will hang in there with me — even when I am wrong. I need friends who are willing to confront me with the truth to make sure I don’t STAY in the wrong. Pay attention to what I just said. There are plenty of people who believe they have the spiritual gift of telling me I am wrong. I try not to pay much attention to them. They don’t confront out of love, but out of a desire to embarrass and cause conflict. 

I’m thankful for friends who LOVE me and confront because they want me to be a better Christian. I hope you have some friends like that. I hope you ARE a friend like. Just remember this — the GREATEST friend we have is Jesus Christ. You can call on Him at any time — no mater the circumstance and He will be there. I’m so thankful today that Jesus is willing to call me His friend!

Aren’t you?

Chew On That…

“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)

If you are from the country, you will understand the little illustration I’m about to use. If you aren’t — hang tight — I think you will “get it” in just a minute.

I remember as a child riding around and seeing cows. I often wondered why they were constantly chewing something. I decided they must be the slowest eaters in the world! No matter when I saw a cow — she was chewing and chewing and chewing — never seeming to finish. In school I learned that a cow is a ruminating animal. That just means that cows digest their food by chewing and re-chewing so that it can be assimilated into their system. In the country, we called that “chewing their cud.”

“Pastor Keith — it’s Monday! Is there a point to this little animal science lesson?” Well of course there is a point! And here it is.

I actually think that is what the Psalmist is talking about in our verse for today. Look at the concentration of this verse — “Oh, how I love Your law!” The writer is concentrating on the Word of God. It is not just a casual pursuit for him. There are plenty of people today who brag about reading the Bible through a certain number of times. That’s very important to do. Most Christians have never actually read the entire Bible from cover to cover. But what about “concentrating” on it? What about meditating on what you have read? Are you doing that?

For the Psalmist, his daily Bible reading was not just a couple of verses he “got out of the way” so he could get on with more important things. He meditated on God’s Word. Are you doing that? Are you actually assimilating God’s Word into your system? Think about my “cow” friends — Are you chewing and re-chewing God’s Word every day? (See I told you there was a point.)

A Bible reading plan that focuses on meditation requires time and concentration. You can’t just pick up the bible and read a few quick verses and then claim that you had your “quiet time” for the day. Instead, we must take sufficient time for the words that we read to actually be absorbed into our lives. In I Timothy 4:15, Paul said to Timothy, “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” Not only must we read God’s Word — we must meditate on it “all the day.”

For example, in my devotional reading for today, I read Proverbs 18. There are some great verses in that chapter about foolish behavior and gossip. But today — mostly because it’s MONDAY — the Lord caused me to stop at verse 10. It says, “The name of Yahweh is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected.” That became my “verse for the day.” I am so thankful that God is my strong tower — no matter what happens to me today (or any day), I can RUN to Him and He will protect me. Already today there have been a few times when the Holy Spirit brought that verse to my mind so I could continue to meditate on it.

In the Jewish culture, the only animals considered “clean” are those who chew their cud. So I guess my advice for you and me today is simply this…

Read God’s Word and chew and re-chew on it all day. It will bless you!

Just SAY SO!

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary.” (Psalm 107:2)

I’ve been in a bit of a “personal reflection mood” over the last few days. In 1983, I was ordained into the Gospel ministry by the Rich Square Baptist Church in Rich Square, North Carolina. That means I am in my 30th year of full-time Christian service. For the vast majority of that time, it has been a wonderful experience. I know that the Lord has blessed me and my family beyond measure and I have met many brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I have wonderful fellowship.

As I have reflected upon those 30 years, I think the greatest frustration for me about ministry is the apparent lack of commitment on the part of so many Christians to actually carry the Gospel to lost people. One of my favorite books in one by Dr. Charles Stanley called Developing a Servant’s Heart. In that book, Dr. Stanley makes this statement, “God does not deal in hierarchies. He deals only in categories. A person is either saved or unsaved. A person is either following God in obedience or rebelling against God. A person is either a servant or not a servant.”

That statement reminded me again that according to some of the most recent figures I have seen, 7 out of 10 people in the United States and Canada claim to have NO personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In other words — they are LOST. Stop right now and just think about that.

By the most conservative estimates, I have preached at least 3200 sermons in my 30 years of ministry. If my average sermon lasts 30 minutes (there’s no need to write me and say — they are WAY longer than that!) — that means I have actually been speaking about 1600 hours. That doesn’t count the devotions I’ve written or the 5-10 minute devotions I’ve given at meetings.

Now — may I get personal with YOU for a minute? Please don’t take what I’m about to say as bragging. I don’t intend it that way.  But many of you have very graciously complimented me about my preaching and you have told me how the Lord has spoken to you through a particular message. If that is true, may I ask you one question?

Have you been blessed enough by my ministry and the ministry of so many other pastors and teachers to get out and tell somebody else about Jesus? To be more specific, has a single soul ever been brought to Christ through YOUR witness? 70% of the population of North America claims no personal relationship with Jesus Christ — they are LOST. These lost people are members of our families. Many of them attend church with us every week. They work at the local convenience store and at the bank. They sit beside you at school and wait on you at restaurants.

I sincerely believe that we are living in the last days. I fully expect the return of the Lord Jesus Christ at any time. Therefore, I believe it’s past time for the “redeemed of the Lord” to SAY SO. Today, speak up for Christ. 

Remember this…

Silence is not always golden — sometimes it’s just plain cowardice.

 

What Difference are YOU Making?

“They said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)

The events leading up to the conversion of the Philippian jailer and his family are quite interesting.

Earlier in Acts 16, Paul and Silas encountered a slave girl with a most unusual demonic spirit. This slave girl followed them around every day, speaking in a strange voice. The odd thing is this slave girl with the strange voices was telling the truth about Paul and Silas’ ministry. Now — don’t be surprised at that. The Bible clearly teaches that the demons and devil are NOT atheists. They recognize the truth — they just don’t accept it. 

In Luke 4:33-34, the Bible says, “In the synagogue there was a man with an unclean demonic spirit who cried out with a loud voice, ‘Leave us alone! What do You have to do with us, Jesus — Nazarene? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are — the Holy One of God.'” Clearly the demons recognize who Jesus is and they know His power — so don’t be surprised that this little demon-possessed slave girl would recognize the truth of Paul and Silas’ ministry.

Now I guess that the ranting and shouting of a demon-possessed girl attracted more attention than the Gospel itself. Paul must have thought that his audience would become too interested in her and not in the message, so he practiced a New Testament exorcism. This did not endear Paul to the owners of the slave girl. They got made because their source of income was gone. Eventually, Paul and Silas were jailed for perpetrating an illegal religion. 

Here is where the story really gets interesting!

Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into jail. It is in this setting that their lives and the purposes of God crossed paths with a man that the Bible simply refers to as “the jailer.” I suspect that the Roman authorities had convinced this jailer that these two men were dangerous criminals, so they were probably put down into the deepest, darkest part of the jail. I’ve often wondered if this jailer even knew who his prisoners were. Had he heard about the incident with the slave girl? The Bible doesn’t tell us.

To this jailer, they were just two more prisoners left in his charge. Acts 16:25-26 says, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose.” Things started rocking and rolling at the jailhouse! 

I remember Dr. Adrian Rogers used to illustrate the importance of our testimony — no matter where we were with this story about Paul, Silas and the jailer. Here is what he said,

“If Paul and Silas had not been filled with the Spirit, I wonder if the following might have happened.

Paul: “Silas, you awake?”
Silas: “Of course, I’m awake. How could anybody sleep in this filth?”

Paul: “Well, you don’t have to get huffy about it.”
Silas: “I have a headache.”

Paul: “So do I.”
Silas: “Well, Paul, you got us into this mess.”

Paul: “Wait a minute. I want you to know that I could have a position teaching the University of Tarsus. I sold the Damascus Tent and Awning Company for almost nothing to get into this preaching thing. What have you done?”
Silas: “I have been following you, and I think you are on elf the poorest leaders I have ever known.”

Jailer: “Just as I thought. These are a bunch of phonies. What they have is not real. It is not different from what I have.”

Praise the Lord — Paul and Silas didn’t react that way. They were singing and praising the Lord — even in jail! The doors of the prison flew open and I imagine that the jailer probably thought all the prisoners were gone and his goose was cooked! Imagine his surprise when he discovered that Paul and Silas and the other prisoners were exactly where he had left them.

Let’s at least give this guy credit for one thing. He recognized a miracle when he saw one. The earthquake shook him out of bed and drove him to his knees. This guy asked the right question to the right person. He said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The answer he received is one of the most succinct statements of the Gospel in all the Bible.

The thrilling part of this story for me is this — the man got saved and IMMEDIATELY started making a difference in his own home. He got the whole family together and invited Paul to preach the sermon — and they all got saved. When the Gospel takes root in your heart — there is no telling what you will accomplish for the Lord.

Two quick lessons. First, this jailer didn’t hide his new faith — he shared it with others. You and I are often guilty of hiding our light under the basket in hopes that no one will ask us. I pray the Lord will forgive us for not standing up for Him when we have an opportunity.

The second lesson is this. God used Paul’s imprisonment for good. I don’t know what kind of trouble you have in your life or family today, but I do know this — God has His eye on you! He is able to take your trials and troubles and use them for your good and His glory. You simply have to let God do His work. 

Who knows? God may want to open up someone’s heart to the Gospel today — through YOU! Be ready…

 

The Privilege of Prayer

“In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You, for You will answer me.” (Psalm 86:7)

Can I just remind you today that — GOD IS IN THE PRAYER ANSWERING BUSINESS!

There is no problem too large or too small for the Lord to solve. One of the great privileges of our Christian faith is the knowledge that the psalmist shares with us in our verse today. In essence he says, “I can call upon God and He answers.” That is a great comfort for me today — and I pray you know it as well.

There are plenty of stories of people who have had prayers dramatically answered. The stories they tell point to the fact that God is indeed an awesome God. But not all prayers are answered such dramatic fashion. In my own life, I have seen that God often employs the most insignificant things to bring an answer to my prayers.

For example, as I was writing this today, I received a message from a friend who was experiencing a problem. I didn’t have an answer for him. I didn’t know what to do and to tell you the truth, I was a bit frustrated because I knew I was no help at all. So…I prayed. I simply asked God to meet the need of my friend in some way that could be used to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. In about 30 minutes, I got a text from my friend and it said, “If you prayed…thanks.” PROBLEM SOLVED. I didn’t do a thing! I couldn’t receive any credit. All the glory went to God because HE solved the problem. Once again, I saw Him answer prayer.

When you ask, God will provide the opportunity for you to serve and minister to others — answered prayer. Whether it is a problem you face, a trouble in your heart or a prayer for a friend — God hears those prayers and He answers in a way that always bring glory to Himself.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “God answers sharp and sudden on some prayers, and thrusts the things we have prayed for in our face. A gauntlet with a gift in it.” I thank God for the privilege of prayer — in trouble, in joy, in sorrow, in ANYTHING! God always hears and He always answers according to His will.

Answered prayer — what a wonderful gift.