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

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

 

Influence

A teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops.

Henry Adams

I have coached hundreds of kids throughout the years, but one little girl still stands out in my memory. She was a third grader whom I will call "Mary". Mary did not have a Dad around and did not have a great deal of self-esteem. I never knew how important everyday kindness affected people until Mary had to move at the end of the season.

She had mentioned that she had a birthday coming up so we got her something small (I think it was maybe a card and a candy bar) but you would have thought we had given her a pony by the way she reacted. She was just so sweet and kept expressing her thanks, over and over.

A few weeks later she and her Mom stopped by the house. They were moving and Mary would not leave town until she got to say goodbye to her "coach". Needless to say that I was somewhat flabbergasted that this was so important to her. We saw Mary and her Mom some time later and she brought up again the time that we had remembered her birthday - it was clearly a really big deal to this precious little girl.

Though this took place over ten years ago, I still think about Mary. I have tried to put my finger on just what made such an impression on this eight year old. While I'm still not sure what it was - I guess I will never know exactly - I think maybe that a part of it was this: She had no father in her life, so any attention given was attention that she was literally starving for.

To you and me, encouraging others is just part of everyday courtesy but to Mary, it was a highlight. Further, for someone to remember her birthday was so out of the ordinary that a card and a candy bar were something remarkable to her. It took me a long time to understand this, but it gave me a renewed determination to never coach a child without some daily word of encouragement.

So how about you? Do you have a "Mary" in your life that is starving for a word of praise or small act of kindness? I'll bet that you do and you have the power to transform their life - even if for only a moment - if you will but take the time. We all touch someone's life, in some small way. How will you touch the lives of those you know today?

And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.

Matthew 10:42, NIV

 

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 

 

 

Everyone Loves Spring Break!

“He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”King David

Carolyn and I were walking past the school at 3:30 last Friday afternoon. It was the typical spring break scene, with a jubilant crowd gathered around just laughing and smiling. You could see the joy written all over their sweet, young faces, and I called out to them, “It must be Spring Break”. The happy group immediately let me know that I had that right.

And these were just the teachers…

you can only imagine how excited the kids were!

High on the list of the things I truly enjoy about this life of blessingare the occasional breaks God gives to renew our lives. From that “dream vacation” to the simple pleasures of the first day of the week that He set aside for remembering He and His Son, God has blessed our lives with many opportunities to regenerate both body and soul.

If you are enjoying Spring Break this week, might I make a suggestion that is sure to enhance your vacation even more? When you rise tomorrow morning (or afternoon), why not take a moment to thank God for the day? There is something very energizing about prayer, and thankfulness is an importantpart of that privileged conversation that God has gifted us with.

And then, before you even have a bite to eat, why not read a bit from God’s word? Whether you just open up your Bible at random, or go back to familiar and comforting passages, the word of God will renew your thoughts in such a way as to give you momentum for the entire day.

If you will do these small things – not just in your time off, but as a practice in your busy times as well, you will find a bit of “spring break” waiting for you at the beginning of each day.

And, you know how much you love Spring Break!

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10, KJV