Modern Miracles

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

She had just come from the doctors office. Cancer had invaded her body and according to the doctor, she was terminal. The words hit me so hard it shook my very soul. It wasn't the extent of the cancer that scared me. It was the defeat I saw in the eyes of the strongest person I had ever met. My mother was my rock and we had just began repairing our relationship after my rebellious teen years. I could not lose her. I refused to lose her, but I knew there was nothing I could do but pray. The community joined me along with hundreds of complete strangers. After much persuasion my mother went for a second opinion to a well known Oncologist in Iowa City. It was then God worked one of his miracles on my mother in November of 2006.
The MRI from the first doctor had shown the cancer had metastasized throughout her glands and abdominal cavity. After the surgery the doctor reported that he was able to remove a large mass from her kidney, and the other masses in her body were benig n. Where had the rest of the cancer gone? Some could say it was simply a doctoral error. We believe that God was showing us that miracles continue to happen in modern times. We withstood the trial God presented to us and he revealed to us what prayer can do.


Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunities that you present, and the lessons that we can learn from them. Amen

By B. McDowell, Iowa

God Has an S.O.S. Pad

But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. James 2:9 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit is in the business of scouring out racial prejudice in Christian believers. I know. I was one scoured. Always my teacher, the Lord let me experience being a minority when I taught English in China. After returning home, God showed me where I held prejudice against an ethnic group here, the Black people. In earlier years I had written to a Black prisoner through a Christian ministry. After I sent this man a picture of myself that he had requested, he developed strong romantic feelings for me which I resented. Only God can clearly show us our sin, and at the same time, replace that failure with His love. While the Holy Spirit shone His spotlight of conviction on this dark, discriminating place in my heart, He began to give me a deep caring and compassion for the African people groups. Their pain of rejection and lack of acceptance in our society became my pain. Shortly after this life-changing time with the Lord, there was a front page picture of a large refu gee family from Haiti in our local newspaper. They had recently arrived in America, poor, confused and needing much help. "I want you to work with these people." The Lord whispered these words to me as I stared at their picture. Sixteen years later I am still working with these dear Haitians. Sometimes I see the condescending looks of others toward them. I have heard painful words smarting with prejudice that they must endure. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit took a scouring pad to my soul, for now I know fully that there is only one race and that is the human race.

Lord, prejudice is toxic to ourselves and to everyone around us. Free us from discriminating thoughts. Give us a humble, loving heart to appreciate and celebrate the unique identity of every living creature.

By Merilee (Washington, USA)

CONDITIONS OF PREVAILING PRAYER PART 3

SERMON BY CHARLES FINNEY

"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss that ye may consume it upon your lusts." James 4:3

 

In a former discourse on this text, I mentioned, among other conditions of prevailing prayer, that confession should be made to those whom our sins have injured, and also to God. It is most plain that all sins should be confessed to God, that we may obtain forgiveness and be reconciled to him; else how can we have communion of soul with him? And who can for a moment doubt that our confessions should not omit those of our fellow beings whom we have injured?

In the next place I remark that restitution should be made to God and to man.

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TRUE SUBMISSION

SERMON BY CHARLES FINNEY

TEXT.--"Submit yourselves therefore to God."--James iv, 7.

 

THE subject of this lecture is, "WHAT CONSTITUTES TRUE SUBMISSION?"

Before I enter on the discussion of this subject, I wish to make two remarks, introductory to the main question.

1. The first remark is this: If any of you are deceived in regard to your hopes, and have built on a false foundation, the fundamental error in your case was your embracing what you thought was the gospel plan of salvation from selfish motives. Your selfish hearts were unbroken. This is the source of your delusion, if you are deceived. If your selfishness was subdued, you are not deceived in your hope. If it was not, all your religion is vain, and your hope is vain.

2. The other remark I wish to make is, that if any of you are deceived, and have a false hope, you are in the utmost danger of reviving your old hope, whenever you are awakened to consider your condition. It is a very common thing for such professors, after a season of anxiety and self-examination, to settle down again on the old foundation. The reason is, their habits of mind have become fixed in that channel, and therefore, by the laws of mind it is difficult to break into a new course. It is indispensable, therefore, if you ever mean to get right, that you should see clearly that you have hitherto been wholly wrong, so that you need not multiply any more the kind of efforts that have deceived you heretofore.

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I Still Have Joy

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials. James 1:2 (NKJV)

On 10th January 2002, I found myself singing a song most part of the day and I wondered what that meant. It was a short song:

I still have joy (2ce)
After all I’ve been through
I still have joy

Initially, I did not understand until later that night. My aunt called me and informed me that my mother was admitted unconscious. I was shaken and at the same time, I found it strange. My mother was such an agile woman although she had mild hypertension. I remembered the song and felt that God was preparing me to receive the news. I did not remember my mother being admitted before. The more I thought of it, the more uneasy I felt. I resolved to travel the next day. I saw my mother the day after and I was torn within; a once agile woman, suddenly helpless.

Two days after, there were signs of improvement and this gave us hope. My father, my brother and I sat down and planned on how to ensure she rested once she was discharged. We thought of ways to reduce her workload and we agreed she would go for a holiday.

Some days later, we noticed she was deteriorating. On the 19th, I saw her and I was worried, but her friend who came visiting at the hospital encouraged me to walk by faith and not by sight. So I went to bed that night believing that all would be well. My mother passed on that night, 19th January 2002.

When I heard it, I found myself crying and at the same time praising God. I remembered the song I sang the day she was admitted and thought to myself, “God was actually preparing me for her death.”

It has been a rough journey without her but God has been with us. Indeed I still have joy.

Father, I thank you that despite what we face in life, you are still faithful. You do not abandon us; rather you are in it with us. Amen.

Jump-Started with Pansies

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 (NIV)

Walking down the long entryway, I trudged toward my workplace once again. Because of my ten-hour work days, gridlocked commutes, and overloaded work schedule, I had become irritable, weary, and unhappy. Seeking a pick-me-up, I scanned my surroundings. However, I was unaware of how soon my weekday trek would change.

Approaching the building, I spotted endless rows of beautiful lavender and purple pansies. Like a marching legion, they stood in uniformity. What a privilege to be ushered into the building by an army clothed in my favorite color. I looked at them in awe and thanked God. Immediately, I claimed this splendor as God’s special blessing for me.

Consequently, the first few minutes of my workday became easier to bear. I found myself responding to perfunctory greetings with newfound vigor. During the day, I watched my attitude improve as my thoughts revisited that valiant army clad in royal hues. Although insignificant to many, purple pansies were the jolt of energy I needed to jump-start my day.

At one time or another, we each have received small, personal gifts from God that uplift and bless us or bring moments of happiness to our unique circumstances. Whether we see something peculiar that brings a smile to our face, smell a pleasing aroma that calms our senses, or gaze in awe at God’s creation, we have experienced our sovereign God in distinct ways. Our heavenly Father cares about us, wants us to be happy, and sends the perfect gift, just when we need it most.

Dear Lord, you are indeed awesome. Thank you for showing me your love and care through unexpected blessings that cater to my specific situation. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Today and Tomorrow

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.…Instead you ought to say, If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that. James 4:14a,15b (NIV)

A tornado hit Reigelwood, North Carolina, at 6:30 in the morning. The pictures on TV showed the devastation of the community: SUVs flipped over like matchbox cars, homes reduced to unrecognizable piles of rubble, trees snapped like match sticks, power lines tangled on the ground, eight people killed and twenty hospitalized. Three young children were in critical condition. School buses turned around to take children home, only to find they had no home.
 
As I viewed the tragedy and listened to the comments of survivors, It reminded me of the brevity of life and the fact that we only have today to accomplish whatever God wants us to do. I asked myself, "What would I do if I knew today was my last on earth?" I bowed my head and asked Him to show me what He wants me to do for Him today. My list is long. I will surely have enough to do today and tomorrow…if He grants me tomorrow.  
 
Thought for today: Today is God's gift to us; what we do today is our gift to God.  
 
Father in Heaven, teach us your ways. Please help us to fill this day with gifts of love and service for you that will bring glory to your name. Amen.