If you missed Lucy's nature report (Classic Peanuts) in the Sunday Comics, here it is again.Standing in front of the class with her best academic expression, she reads proudly:
"For my nature report today, I am bringing you an exclusive!ROCK SNAKES!!What, you may ask, is a rock snake?That is a good question!A rock snake is a snake that sneaks up behind you, and throws a rock at you."
"Now, here is my exclusive... it used to be thought that rock snakes were dangerous, but my authority says this is not so..."
"A rock snake cannot throw very high, you see, so therefore, all he can do is hit you on the back of the leg... so says my authority!"
Responding to a question from her teacher (who obviously is curious about "the authority,"), Lucy says...
"Linus Van Pelt... yes ma'am."
The final frame shows Lucy eating lunch with Linus on the playground.
"She said she remembers you from when you were in her class!"
One day while Jesus was preaching and teaching the gospel, the local religious leaders came up to Him."Tell us by what authority you are doing these things...who gave you this authority?" (Luke 20:2 NIV)
For almost three years, Jesus had been healing the sick of disease, opening the eyes of the blind, and bringing peace to the hearts of men and women who had been cast down, stepped on and all but destroyed by religion.During that time, our Messiah literally rocked the world of the Jewish leaders.By now, they were ready to kill Him!
They saw Jesus as arrogant.No teacher was allowed to present a lesson in the synagogue without quoting from one of the Rabbi's as their authority.That's the way it had been done for centuries until Jesus came along.But those Hebrew teachings did little to relieve the masses of their burdens... the Jews were living examples of hopelessness and despair, overburdened with rules they could not keep.And they were tired of being put down by the Sanhedrin and intimidated by thousands of laws which no one could remember.The joy had been snuffed right out of their souls and they were ready for a fresh authority upon which to build a new life.
Where do you stand today?Is life about to get you down with deadlines to meet and people to please?Are you working for a boss who manages by intimidation?Do you feel like a football on the bottom of a pile of 22 huge NFL players?
Unless you build your foundation on the authority of Jesus Christ, you will never reclaim your happiness.Jesus was teaching His disciples and He said to them,"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."(Matt 7:24-25)
Beloved, Jesus is the only sure way to find real joy.Why not give Him the opportunity to be your authority in life.There is no other philosophy, religion, teaching or sect which can give you the stability in life that He can.Life begins with Jesus!
Alan spoke of his fear of being alone in quiet, tearful tones.Surrounded by people all day, nevertheless, the separation he felt had become overwhelming.He needed to know about the One who will never leave you alone!It was a heaven-sent opportunity to share my rich faith with him, and describe a life without fear and loneliness.It's a life shared with Jesus as an ever-present Companion, and one in which you cherish those moments apart from the crowd so that you can have one-on-One time with your Creator.
I was searching for the source of a beautiful poem I heard on a Chevrolet commercial entitled "Nobody Knows It But Me."Arguably, it was written by a professional commercial writer, Patrick O'Leary.However, Mark Weise said that 24 years ago on his 30th day alone on the Appalachian Trail, he hadn't seen a soul for three days."I was in awe of the beauty, but feeling pretty lonely, so I wrote these words in my journal":
There's a place that I go to
When I want to roam,
And nobody knows it but me.
There's no trail that leads there
And I go there alone
And nobody knows it but me.
It's far, far away
At the edge of nowhere
It's far past the moon and the sea.
And whenever I get there
I know that I'm home
And nobody knows it but me.
(Mark said he turned the poem in as an assignment for a freshman comprehension class and it got published in the school newspaper.)
Beloved, There is nothing like being alone... WITH GOD!A marvelous perk of the Christian life is that we are never truly alone at all.Wherever we are, we are at home with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.The lyrics of Rogers and Hammerstein are more descriptive of my walk with Christ.
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone.
GospeLines Prayer:Awesome God, whether I travel the highways of the city, the streets of suburbia, or the byways of the desert places... YOU ARE WITH ME!I am directed and protected by Your rod and your staff; therefore, "I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me."
Why does God make me knock before He will open the door?He is all power and all knowledge.God needs no help from anyone to open doors for His children, and every circumstance of tomorrow He has known since before the foundation of the world.Why, then, does He require me to ask Him for what He knows I already need?Why is it necessary for me to pray before God acts?
Watchman Nee says that this is the great mystery, "that God's people must pray before God Himself will rise up and work:His will is only to be realized through the prayers of those who belong to Him."
No, we do not force God to do anything He hasn't already planned to do, and prayer doesn't change the will of God.But it does put His will into action.Only when we have prayed in the will of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, does He open the gates of heaven and pour out blessings abundantly!"Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 18:18)
It is the plan of God to affect the work of God when His children pray in the will of God.
Beloved, doors are shut and opened on earth and in heaven through the power of prayer.Seek the heart of your Father when you pray.And pray in the sympathy of His will, and the showers of blessings through answered prayer will flow down upon you.
GospeLines Prayer:"Give me grace, Father, to throw open all the doors of my life that you may cease knocking and enter into every crevice of my soul.I forever unlock the hidden places and surrender the keys to You.
Give me listening ears, O God, that I may hear Your voice calling me to higher endeavors.
Give me an open mind, O God, one that is ready to receive and welcome new ideas and knowledge as it is Your will to reveal.
Give me open eyes, O God, eyes that are quick to discover how You indwell Your creation.May all things fill me with gladness and rejoicing over Your everlasting handiwork.
Give me open hands, O God, hands ready to share all You are and all You have given me.Let my possessions be Yours to use as You wish."
One of my daughters asked, “Why didn’t God answer my prayer?”I asked her if she really truly believed that God would answer her prayer and she said with some concern, “I think so.”
Jesus said,“I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt… If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”(Matthew 21:21-23)Mark recorded it this way: “I tell you the truth, if anyone… does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” (Mark )
When I told this to my daughter, she said, “But Daddy, I believe.So why doesn’t God answer my prayers?”I told her that God has a few more conditions we must remember when we want Him to act on our prayers.
Paul told us to let our gentleness be evident to all and that we should not be anxious about anything, but “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God.” (Philippians 4:5-6)He also told us to “be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances… “ (1st Thessalonians 5:16-18)So now we know that we must be gentle, have no doubt and no anxiety; and, that we should pray joyfully and with thanksgiving.
We also know that we can pray with confidence if we are asking according to His will. (1st John 5:13-15)“Prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.If he has sinned, he will be forgiven…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:14-16)
At this point, my daughter said, “Daddy, if I do all these things, will God answer my prayers?”I could only answer that if she was gentle, had no doubt and no anxiety; prayed joyfully, with thanksgiving and according to God’s Word: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark )
She looked up at me with those beautiful dark brown eyes and in a voice that can only be spoken by a young child and said, “Ok Daddy!”
After she went to bed, I lay in the dark, looked up to heaven and said, “Ok Daddy!”
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but byMe.”
My grandmother would tell me often, "Tommy, be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it."My child-like mind didn't comprehend the wisdom of those words then.Prayer at that age was much like asking God for stuff, the way I would ask my dad for pocket change to ride my bike to the corner store for a cold soft drink.
"Dear God, I need a new bicycle tire… I want a puppy… I need some new shoes… I saw this fire truck at the store, and I sure could use one of those!"
Maybe God heard a few of those prayers, but I wonder how much they did for Him?Even today, our prayers have tones of self-interests beyond the realm of seeking His perfect will for our lives.What is God's perfect plan/will for us?Has the heavenly Father created us so that we may always approach Him with our hand out, looking for a quick fix to our perceived needs?
Indeed, God has a plan for His creation and the human race is at the top of the order.He has placed us in a position of authority over the earth and all that is therein.We are in partnership with Him to perfect the work that He began in the Garden of Eden, which means, at times, we must set aside our needs, desires, and wishes, and seek the mind of God to learn what He thinks and wants.He sees the big picture while we tend to stumble over that which is right in front of us for the moment.
The Children of Israel were in the wilderness to learn how to become God's chosen people.Jehovah provided food for them every day, and gave them strict guidelines for gathering it.But the "rabble" began to complain to Moses that they wanted meat to eat.Prayer was offered to God in order to change the menu, and God sent quail into the camp.Jehovah heard their prayer and answered it."But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague." (Numbers 11:33)
"So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them."(Psalm 106:15)
Beloved, our mission in prayer should be first to listen!Hear the voice of God; ask Him what He wants for us.Knowing His perfect will for our lives removes the need for self-centered requests.When my heart and God's heart are as one, the stuff will be provided in His perfect time.I would rather live my life in poverty than to pray for riches and miss the vast wealth that comes from knowing the mind of God in all things.
I leave you with this thought:Authentic prayer is the spiritual manifestation of man's perfect union with the heart, mind and soul of God.
Be careful what you pray for… you just might get it!