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I learned she was in the final stages of cancer and wanted me to call. Her daughter answered the phone and I said I’d like to pray for her. She said she would call me back after she talked to the doctor. A few days went by and not hearing anything, I called again.
This time her doctor made it clear under NO circumstances would he let me speak to her. What did he expect? I would snatch this poor woman from the jaws of death? Give her false hope? Who knows.
I was disheartened. At no time in my life has anyone called me a healer, but prayer I know something about. I was simply going to pray a blessing. In fact, I doubt she expected me to raise her up off her sick bed and walk out of hospice on her own. I had no idea what she expected, but her being so ill, prayer seemed the only response.
No one likes to be misjudged, rejected, or refused without at least a small explanation. So I prayed for her; I asked God to bless her with whatever she needed at that point in her life. I did not expect God to speak to me – how often does He do that? Not that much, but He did.
“Don’t worry,” He said. “I’ll visit her Myself.”
I was elated. Little Miss NoBody in Texas couldn’t get through but the Big Boss did!
What did He say to her when He showed up. Would He say, “Your college friend could not come, Lucia, but I came.”
Up until that time I always knew that there were no restraints on the power of God. But here I saw it in full force. No determination of men or angels can keep the Great God of the Universe away from His people or their needs. We need, I need to remember that when I pray. No matter where you are, your prayers get through.
Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities nor powers, neither things present nor things to come, 39 neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I would not have titled this as such if I did not believe it is so. For several years now I’ve spent my time with people of relatively similar backgrounds and interests, except for the Koreans, and I find they seem to have little or no connection with real life. They quote statistics that I know are false, they repeat the ex cathedra utterances of Hollywood stars as though they were gospel, and brush off any suggestion that life might be more than Hand and Foot games. What is more arrogant than ignorance!
My acquaintances seem to have a warm fuzzy feeling about life. I wonder where they get this. After spending a lifetime looking at the human race on several continents I find very little either warm or fuzzy. I’m an optimist only because I have read the end of the book (the Bible) and we win!
“My religion just suits me fine.” or “There are many roads to God.” or “I don’t know what the future will bring but I am sure it will be heaven.” Really? Don’t you think something as crucial as life after death deserve more than a wink and a nod?
First, religion saves no one. Religion is a vehicle to bring information and revelation to the world. But religion is not necessarily truth because not all revelation and information is true. We could not have learned any truth without groups such as churches or missionaries to preserve those words for us.
The deception of religion is that it masquerades as an end in itself, and we become stupefied, like half asleep people looking at a blank TV screen. As one woman said, “I went to church to get my ticket punched.” God does not have tickets and you don’t need them punched.
Second, if there are many roads to God He would have told us so. There are many roads people travel before they get to God, and He is there along the way ready to step in when you are. All human beings are God’s creation, individual and sent with a specific plan for their lives. Surely the most important task you have is finding that plan.
Some people are reared in Christian homes, others in depravity. Some have means, others are in poverty. Environments create personalities, but they do not define God. God prefers to define Himself. He created a Bible, watched over it for centuries, and allows us to look for Him in it, most often through great loss or need. I wonder if my present friends who seem satisfied with card games have ever been in want, or had a need which drove them to their knees long enough to look beyond religion for the one True God. Has the American free enterprise system robbed them of the pain and suffering to produce in them the desire for unqualified change?
Today the world is in turmoil everywhere you go. Surely this is a time for each of us to “examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith.” During Jesus’ worst time in His life, the hours prior to the crucifixion, His disciples slept.
He spoke to Peter, “Couldn’t you three keep awake with me for a single hour? Watch and pray, all of you, that you may not have to face temptation. Your spirit is willing, but human nature is weak.” Then he went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to pass from me without my drinking it, then your will must be done.” And he came and found them asleep again, for they could not keep their eyes open. So he left them and went away again and prayed for the third time using the same words as before. Then he came back to his disciples and spoke to them, “Are you still going to sleep and take your ease? In a moment you will see the Son of Man betrayed into the hands of evil men. Wake up, let us be going! Look, here comes my betrayer!”
Thursday, today, is the National Day of Prayer. Let’s wake up. America has been asleep too long.
Every book contains a reference to its author. This book, made up of 66 individual books, 27 of which are the New Testament, recognizes the author as God Himself, that is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Since God can only use human beings for language He writes His book in the language of the scribe writing, Greek for most of the New Testament and Hebrew for most of the old, and as a result some of the personality of these scribes shines through.
2 Peter 3: 16 says
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
More importantly God stands behind every word. It won’t go away, and even in spite of delays in timing, it will all eventually be accomplished.
Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
Job Number One for the devil is changing, questioning or altering the Word of God in some way. (more…)
As a young girl in a small country in a little town, Mary would probably have had no sophisticated contacts, no formal education, and only a peripheral view of the Temple or synagogue life. Like her parents she would have gone to the required festivals under the Torah, and stayed in the open court of the women away from the action enjoyed only by men. Yet one day an angel shows up in the kitchen or the garden, where most teens would be helping out and she hears astonishing news.
Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
Why did she react the way she did? Here is some great foreign, frightening being telling her she is going to have a baby? All the other people in the Old Testament were afraid when an angel showed up.
The angel never says this baby is going to be the Messiah. What did she think? All young women wanted to be the mother of the Messiah in that generation, but certainly not someone in a humble home of no reputation. The Messiah’s coming would be announced in the Temple at Jerusalem by the High Priest, most suredly. Perhaps she believed that this baby was a new type of miracle? She did not have as we do 2000 years of history where all these events are explained. Her faith is being tested here.
Did she wonder to herself, Who is the figure? Is this another Rosemary’s baby? Maybe this apparition is from the nether world (what King James people called hell or pre-hell where the dead waited to be released into heaven.)
But she accepted this being and his message. She did not say something I might have said, “But, people will think I am a loose woman. That I’ve had sex outside of marriage. That will make my baby a bastard. What am I going to tell my parents? I will be shunned. What if my fiance Joseph dumps me? He has every right to do this? How can you ask me, a virgin, to accept this without knowing what will happen:? How can I expect to raise this child by myself, without income, without skills? I’ll never get a decent husband this way. I am ruined. The angel said I had favor with God. If this is favor, who needs it?”
But she didn’t say any of that. She said
“I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true.” And then the angel disappeared. Luke 1:38 Living Bible
Now that takes faith. She did not say that she had faith in God’s word, although she believed it was God’s word to her, but in fact, her faith was in the angel’s word. She was willing to believe the one who brought the word to her. And as a lesson to us two thousand years later, we too must be ready to believe the words of faith and responsibility. We too should learn to say, “Let it be done according to the Word of God.” That is true submission and it is also why Mary, as well as we, can be called Blessed.
And Mary did pay a price for saying yes. She was considered a fallen woman in her home town; she had to watch her son die as an enemy of the Jewish religion; she continued to live in a society where her son’s preminence was not known or believed. She did not know the end from the beginning. But still she said yes.
God asks all of us to say yes at some point in our lives. Like Mary we are not told the future; that is the crux of living by faith. There are those who never say yes – they die before their time, unfulfilled, in self-pity and blame. The yes-men have an inheritance in heaven; the no-men have little or nothing to show for their lives.
Christmas is about something new, even radical, coming into the world. This generation has fallen into despondency; the American church is self-indulgent and lazy. It needs the new, the Godly, the blessings that faith brings. The only requirement is a people submitted to God and willing to be servants, obedient to the next call, the next command from the throne. The future, your future, demands this. Are you ready to say yes?