Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How to Pray for Others

  If you are part of a Christian fellowship group, you probably receive many prayer requests. We all have many people to pray for--family, friends, neighbors, etc.. We all have many things to ask God for. And He wants us to come to Him with all our petitions, both large and small.
  But when we pray for others, the most important thing to pray for is the spiritual health of the person. God's Word says:  "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" (Matthew 16:26)  What good does it do if a man is healed of cancer but goes to hell when he dies. Or if he gets a job, but goes on living a life apart from God.
  In the Gospel of Matthew, some people brought a paralyzed man to Jesus. Jesus first said to him, "Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven."  Then, after the scribes protested that Jesus dared to forgive sins, Jesus told the paralyzed man, "Stand up! Roll up your mat and go home."  And the man stood up, totally healed. In this Jesus was showing that the spiritual state of a person is more important than the physical state--the health of the soul is more important than the health of the body.
  So when we pray for someone, or ask others to pray, let's pray about the spiritual state of the person first, then for their physical or temporal needs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Life is a series of "Hellos" and "Goodbyes"

  I did not write this, but it expresses the thoughts that often come to me.

    "Our life is a short time in expectation, a time in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment. There is a quality of sadness that pervades all the moments of our life. It seems that there is no such thing as clear-cut pure joy, but that even in the most happy moments of our existence we sense a tinge of sadness. In every satisfaction there is an awareness of its limitations. In every success, there is the fear of jealousy. Behind every smile, there is a tear. In every embrace, there is loneliness. In every friendship, distance. And in all forms of light, there is the knowledge of surrounding darkness.
  Joy and sadness are as close to each other as the splendid colored leaves of a New England Fall to the soberness of the barren trees. When you touch the hand of a returning friend, you already know that he will have to leave you again. When you are moved by the quiet vastness of a sun-covered ocean, you miss the friend who cannot see the same. Joy and sadness are born at the same time, both arising from such deep places in your heart that you can't find words to capture your complex emotions.
  But this intimate experience in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death can point us beyond the limits of our existence. It can do so by making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one shall take away from us."
Out of Solitude, Henri J.M. Nouwen

In a short time you will no longer see me, and then a short time later you will see me again....You are sad now, but...your hearts will be full of joy, and that joy no one shall take from you."  John 16:16-22

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Is Abortion the Solution?

If killing babies is the answer to problem pregnancies, poverty or unwanted children, then the natural progression is to kill all those people who are problems or a burden to society--the disabled, the infirm, the mentally incapacitated, the very sick elderly. Then we have decided that killing is the acceptable solution to a problem.