The other day I came across an inspiring anecdote which illustrated the workings of prayer in a refreshing way. Once, a man woke up in the middle of the night and was overwhelmed by a deep sense of dread and danger. However, the feeling had nothing to do with the man himself but concerned his friend, a missionary who was working in the heart of Africa. Although it was dark, his bed warm and the man tired, he forced himself out of bed and made intercession for his friend. The foreboding feeling of danger did not leave immediately, but this prayer warrior did not yield to the temptation to give up and he fought in prayer like Jacob wrestled with the angel. Finally, as it was already getting light, a great sense of peace flooded into the man’s heart and he went back to bed. A month later he received news from his missionary friend and learned what had happened the night of his prayer. The missionary wrote: “On oneContinue reading »

The Norwegian pastor and author Ole Hallesby wrote in his delightful book, “Prayer,” the following: “Listen, my friend! Your helplessness is your best prayer. It calls from your heart to the heart of God with greater effect than all your uttered pleas. He hears it from the very moment that you are seized with helplessness, and He becomes actively engaged at once in hearing and answering the prayer of your helplessness.” Helplessness is an emotion we do not readily accept as a good emotion. When we are confronted with problems the first thing we usually do is to feverishly consider the options and we will strive to find a solution. That is our human, carnal nature. As humans, we seem to pride ourselves in solving our own problems and this forces us to lean to our own understanding. And we keep doing it until we realize our own understanding is not enough. Then we sigh in desperation, and finally, we feel utterly helpless. Like the Psalmist in Psalm 107; weContinue reading »

In Part One of this, I expressed about pastors who were drug addicted. Those struggles can take tolls not only on the addicted but on their family members, as well. Drugs involved aren’t always illegal ones. Scores of folks are hooked on prescription drugs, some of which are sold on the black market. I recall learning about Christian parents with adult children who are/were addicted to drugs. The accounts are steeped in sorrow. There are parents who do the best that they know how while being faithful to gospel truths. Treatment centers certainly do help. Often, though, years of yo-yo actions occur with numerous relapses. Many prayers and works go into measures of help. It’s wonderful news to know that addictions are conquered. Families are elated to overcome the enormous hurdles in addictive circumstances. Of course, we know that addictive behaviors aren’t limited to drugs and alcohol. There’s a reality based cable program dedicated to situations relative to hoarders. Extreme cases boggle the minds of some folks. I’ve seen onlyContinue reading »

Once upon a time an Indian and a rich businessman were both listening to a moving sermon. The Spirit was knocking on their hearts and both felt the desire to open their hearts to Jesus. The Indian did so at once, but the rich man couldn’t quite take the step. In fact, it took him months before he finally surrendered. Later the man asked the Indian rather puzzled,”Tell me Wanakatou, how come you were able to give your heart to Jesus so easily, while it took me months before I could make that decision?” “That very simple,” the Indian answered. “Imagine there is a prince who wants to give us beautiful new clothes. I only had a pair of ripped pants and smudgy blanket to wrap around body to keep warm. You not like me. You already think you have fine clothes. I hated my dirty blanket but not you. You like your clothes. I had nothing to be proud of, but you did. So, I very happy to hearContinue reading »

“Once,” the preacher said, “I was invited to speak in an institution for people with mental problems. While there I met a man whose main problem was that he was constantly afraid he wouldn’t get his next meal. Every time, after he finished a meal; be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, fear set in that the caretakers would not give him his next meal. Whatever the nurses would tell him, it was to no avail. He worried and worried some more. But this man was locked up in an institution. However,” the pastor concluded, “shouldn’t we, as children of the King, be more sensible?” Even though we have found faith in God and we know the Savior, still it seems we can all do better in the area of fear and worry. Worry is the enemy that we should not underestimate, but that we all encounter at one time or another. If we truly believe, though, that God will take care of us and really is watching over us, thenContinue reading »

Once upon a time, a mother was walking down the street with her little boy. Not anything unusual, except that the little boy had had polio and could hardly walk and was struggling along with his iron braces. A pitiful sight, but not to the mother; she was full of radiant joy and encouraged her son to keep going. “Good boy…It’s going so well,” she exclaimed jubilantly. Then the boy looked up and said, “Maybe, I can still learn to run after all! Would it be all right if I try?” A difficult question; of course that boy couldn’t run. Anybody could see that. He would fall and hurt himself. But the mother was confident and encouraged her son. “Come on son… give it a try. You can do more than you know.” The boy sighed and then took a few steps forward. He didn’t in any way resemble a seasoned runner, participating in a trial, but the boy did move, and for a few steps, it went well. ButContinue reading »

My heart is wounded to know of the folks who battle with addictive behaviors. There are gambling addicts, shopping addicts, food addicts, drug addicts, alcohol addicts, social media addicts, and addicts in other addictive categories. A percentage of Christians are in those numbers, as are their loved ones. In August of 2011, a well-known pastor was found deceased in a New York City hotel. Despite his mother’s efforts to keep the cause of death from public disclosure, a court ruling allowed the results to be publicly released in 2013. The subject pastor had shared about his past struggles with drug addiction. Many folks didn’t know that those struggles for him weren’t in the past. I can only imagine how he wrestled with his destructive habit. Likely, he was torn about the double life he was living. Was he ashamed to seek professional help? Perhaps he did . . . . Was he seized with fear relative to being exposed, and thus, kept suffering “in the closet”? My guess is thatContinue reading »

Sorrow came to visit, and grief sought to consume him – It was challenging to escape the inner turmoil – Remedy? He helped his neighbor – Reaching out to help eased his sorrow Widowed and lonely What did she do? She wallowed awhile then unselfishly, she “kissed” her self-pity goodbye – In she went to soothe neglected elderly folks who welcomed her in earnest – She adds the Lord’s light whenever she visits the assisted living home – Truly, helping others helps her Retired and bored – Bingo and golf aren’t enough to fulfill – Seeking, seeking more to complete his mundane life – Ah ha! He found more to satisfy – How so? He’s now a volunteer for the church bus ministry Yes, giving transpo drives folks and fuels his inner “engine” Yes, indeed, helping others gives plenty joyous gains. Certainly, helping others helps us.

There is an inspiring anecdote about two men who were boating on a foaming river. The two, however, were not very experienced and somehow they did not steer their boat properly. At one point, they took a few wrong turns and landed on a tributary and lost complete control. They were now being swept to a roaring waterfall and were in danger of losing their lives. But, there was hope. A man on the shore saw their desperate plight and got out a rope and threw it to the struggling friends. The first one grabbed the rope and was pulled to safety. But, just as the second man was about to grab the rope, a tree trunk floated by and that seemed to provide more security than the rope that was attached to the shore. The man made his decision. He jumped to the tree trunk, but he had made a deadly mistake. Only minutes later the screaming man disappeared with his tree trunk over the edge of the waterfallContinue reading »

In the Bible, we read of how Jesus went about helping others. He healed, ministered, fed, encouraged, and taught. He exhibited love, patience, and wisdom throughout his engagement with all sorts of folks. Even when Jesus wasn’t shown love, respect and appreciation, he remained loyal to God and gospel truths. We marvel at how the Lord solidly stood strong in the midst of various sentiments, expressions and spiritual postures. The Bible shares that Jesus helped by raising the dead, healing the sick, lifting spirits, and rebuking unwise choices. He cast out demons, as well as restored sight and hearing. He multiplied and fed fish and bread to thousands of folks, and at a wedding, Jesus turned water into wine. Yes, he abundantly helped. The Bible also shares that Jesus gave his life for folks to live lives more abundantly — John 10:10 – KJV — The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they mightContinue reading »

I am an Angel; one of many. I have been sitting here for hundreds of years. Rarely called upon, for some odd reason. So, I simply watch and watch…and watch. I’ve seen so many things. I have so many stories to tell. Would you like to hear? Would anyone listen? Perhaps. These stories aren’t stories. No. They are the lives of people I’ve seen, heard…and cried over. They all seem to look this way and ask: “Why didn’t You save me?” One particular occasion: The Throne Room was filled with angels. A chill in the air. Silent, as the man walked down the Great Hall, enormous columns seemed to envelop him. He knelt at the Throne, rather composed, yet his fists were clinched. I flew forward, resting on the edge of a balcony to listen closely as he spoke: “What happened?” The man began to rock back and forth. “What did I do to deserve this? Did I not do everything You asked? Did I not obey to the lastContinue reading »