Four Months of Rain

“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed… nothing will be impossible for you.”

Jesus

In the movie, “Facing the Giants” a man gives a modern day parable: “Two farmers”, he said, “prayed for rain. One then went about his business while the other went out and prepared his field to receive the rain… Which man, do you think, was expecting rain? Which man are you?”

Now, I thought about that question a lot – both before May 21, 2014, and after May 21, 2014. What happened on that day? Well for one thing, I stopped just praying for rain – I went out and got a rain gauge to measure it. That very night the folks who were present at the Wednesday night prayer meeting, huddled together in the foyer of the church of Christ on Main Street in the dark. We were in the dark because of a really big lightning strike.

And it began to rain.

One of the men led a prayer, in the dark, in the foyer, and thanked God for those first few drops of moisture, while humbly beseeching Him for more if it was His will.

Last night in the foyer of the church of Christ on Main Street – four months to the day of the events mentioned above – we huddled together and watched the rain pouring down as folks ran to the building in a vain effort to keep from getting wet. A few minutes later we made it to the auditorium and started the worship, as one man put it, in a rain delay.

After receiving only 35” of rain in the 3 1/2 years prior to May 21st, 2014 - the worst 3 ½ year period of drought ever recorded in the Texas Panhandle - we have since received over 15” of rain. In just four months! Now I am not saying it is because I got a rain gauge because I was expecting rain, nor am I saying it was because we huddled and prayed for rain on the night it began (we got 0.35” that evening). What I am saying is that these are just two of literally thousands of prayers and “mustard seed” acts of faith that were occurring all over this region on the evening that God began to heal our land with rain.

If God can do a little thing like breaking an historic drought, just imagine what He can do with the really big problems in our lives… if we will only have faith as small as a grain of mustard seed and the presence of mind to ask for whatever we need in prayer!

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

James 5:16-17

God Is Good!

“Life’s simple pleasures are the best!”Old Proverb

This weekend, our Happy Cowboys basketball team advanced to the Regional Quarterfinals after a thrilling win at Area. This weekend, our dear friends’ daughter advanced to State – in powerlifting! And, this weekend, our youngest got to compete in three track events - at Nationals!

Now, we all know that these are just minor moments in the big picture, but isn’t it grand that God has seen fit to let us enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Aren’t we a blessed people! We get to serve God here on earth. We have the opportunity to be with Him for all eternity if we are faithful in that service. And, as if that isn’t enough, we get to enjoy a host of daily serendipities just because God loves us!

Isn’t God good! Why not pause and take a moment to thank Him for all that He has done for you?

Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4

Praying for Our Kids

About thirty folks from Happy gathered at the school this morning to pray for our kids. Last Wednesday night we had a special prayer for our school kids during our Bible class time.

I’m glad we do that, in Happy, Texas – and I’m glad that millions of other good folks are doing the same things in communities around America. It is encouraging to see people turning to God for help.

But, I want you to know, it’s not enough!

No, I don’t mean that God’s help is not enough, nor do I mean to suggest prayer is not powerful in its effects. What I mean is just this: We are praying for our kids not to get involved with drugs and alcohol and promiscuity and all of the other things that will plague their lives should they get involved with them.

But, are we training our kids to be righteous? Are we raising them to be servants of God, or are we raising them to be great athletes? Are we training them that God is first, or that their studies are more important? Are we more delighted at the prospect of their being popular, or at their presence in Bible classes and the worship each week?

You see, our children can be popular (to a degree). They can be fine students and tremendous athletes… but if they are not servants of God first, then they are nothing!

So, parents, what are you teaching your kids? Do you drink… or use bad language… or lie… or deceive… or bend the rules a bit? Does work come before worship? Do you miss more Bible classes in a year than you miss your kid’s ball games in a lifetime? Do you permit your kids to miss the worship and Bible studies for things that you would never dream of letting them miss school… or a football practice for?

If so, then welcome to the club, for we have all failed our children and our God in days gone by, but the question you have to answer now is, “What will you do from this point forward?” If you want your children to abstain from sin, then, guess what – you have to do the same. If you want them to put God first, then you have to lead by example.

A good child being trained to be a good adult does not come easy – it takes commitment! It takes time! It takes sacrifice! It takes loving God with all of your heart and soul and mind and strength! If you are willing to do these things, then I believe your prayers will be heard and answered with the full power of God to help you and them.

But if we ever think for a moment that we can live like we want and then ask God to clean up the mess, it just won’t work. I know… for I have tried that very thing in my life.

So, let us pray for our kids – by all means, let us pray for our kids. But let us also live a life that is consistent with the very prayers we offer! One last thing: Thank you, thank you, thank you, to those who see the need for prayer for our kids! It is a great beginning!

“Is any of you in trouble? He should pray.” James 5:13

 

It Rained!

“And I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.”

The words of God, Ezekiel 34:26

At 7:30 yesterday evening the folks were coming up the walk at the little church of Christ on Main Street - when it happened! A bolt of lightning lit up the sky, the clouds let forth a jarring thunder, and the electricity went off. Then the rains came!

Half of us ran for shelter, the other half just milled around like cattle,not quite sure what to do next. Then my good friend Luke pulls up in his chauffeur (I looked the spelling on this word up) driven car, escapes from his car seat and whips out his new umbrella. His mom said he had been practicing with it in the sprinkler all day. Luke knew what to do because he had been expecting rain!

As the folks continued to drive up and run in, we gathered in the foyer and watched the other folks driving up and running in. A brief conference was held in that early darkness created by the storm and lack of electricity, and it was decided that we should postpone our Bible study and let everyone get home before it got too bad to git.

Then we prayed…

Mark led us in the prayer, thanking God for the rain, humbly asking for more if it were to be God’s will, and asking for God’s continued help for those who so desperately needed His help.

Then Carolyn and I came home, pulled up a seat in the living room, opened up the glass on our screen door, and watched the storm. And, as we listened to the rain pouring off the roof and watched the lightning lighting up the sky, we talked about how blessed we have been in our lives.

I checked the rain gauge this morning… it was kind of slanted from the wind, but it registered 0.35 beautiful inches of rain. That works out to over 120 inches annually!

I think I’ll ask my good friend Luke if I can borrow his umbrella.

“You visit the earth and water it; You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water…

Psalms 65

Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, Continued

"To gather with God's people in united adoration of the Father is as necessary to the Christian life as prayer."

Martin Luther

 

It was 8 months ago, to the day, on May 21st of 2014, that a small band of Christians huddled in a dark foyer of a church building on a Wednesday night. Happy, along with the entire panhandle of Texas, had been in a multi-year drought that had just cost us our third wheat crop in a row. But the faithful few were gathered that evening for that old mid-week tradition of Wednesday night Bible study - a tradition that began as Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting extending as far back as anyone alive here can remember. We were gathered to study and pray, but a lightning blast had knocked out the power... so we prayed anyway... and we asked God that if it was His will that He would continue to bless us with rain... and He did... twenty inches and counting in seven months!

 

Our wheat crop was in great shape but we had not had any moisture to speak of in the Texas panhandle for about a month, and it was beginning to look a bit distressed. A bit distressed, that is, until tonight. As I mentioned earlier, it was 8 months ago that our drought was broken, starting on that very Wednesday night that the lights went out. So on this Wednesday evening, with most everyone home safe and sound, about 15 of us met again for Bible study and prayer... while the snow that we so desperately needed was falling outside.

 

Now, I'm not saying that God would not have blessed us with moisture had we not been there, praying... but it didn't hurt!

 

Isn't God good!

 

"but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Philippians 4:6