Wednesday, April 27, 2005
The Gallon of Milk
The Gallon of Milk
A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible Study.The Pastor had shared about listening to God. The young man couldn't help but wonder, "Does God still speak to people?"
After service he went out with some friends for coffee and pie, and they discussed the idea. Several different people talked about how God had led them to do things in different ways.
It was about ten o'clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, "God... If you still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to serve your wishes."
As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought, to stop and buy a gallon of milk.
He shook his head and said out loud, "God is that you?" He didn't get a reply and started on toward home.
But again, the thought was there, "Buy a gallon of milk."
The young man thought about how he'd heard that not all those spoken to recognized God's quiet voice inside of one's mind. Then he said, "Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk."
It didn't seem like too hard a request to fulfil. He could always use the milk himself if nothing else. So he stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started off toward home. As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge,"Turn down that street."
"This is crazy," he thought and drove on pass and passed the intersection.
Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street. At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh.
Half jokingly, he said out loud,"Okay, God, I will."
He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi-commercial area of town. It wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were already in bed. Again, he sensed something: "Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street."
The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat.
"God, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid."
Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk.
Finally, he opened the car door. "Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to do as you wish. I guess that will count for something, but if they don't answer right away, I am out of here."
He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man's voice yelled out, "Who is it? What do you want?"
Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he'd just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face, and he didn't seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep. "What is it?"
The young man thrust out the gallon of milk. "Here, I brought this to you," he said nervously.
The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking and half-crying, "We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn't have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk."
His wife in the kitchen yelled out, "I ask Him to send an angel with some milk. Are you an angel?"
In response to hearing this, the young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put it in the man's hand. He turned and walked back toward his car as the tears were streaming down his face. He knew that God still answers prayers and that God still speaks to people.
"The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because he loves us." C. S. Lewis
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
It's Just a Quarter . . .
Several years ago a preacher moved to Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, "You better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it."
Then he thought, "Oh, forget it, it's only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount?Besides, the bus company already gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from Godand keep quiet."
When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, "Here, you gave me too much change."
The driver with a smile, replied, "Aren't you the new preacher in town? I have been thinking lately about going to worship somewhere. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change."
When my friend stepped off the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, and held on, and said,"Oh, God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter." Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Car Accident Voice Mail
An operations manager for Jack in the Box was late for a meeting and called his boss to tell him he was running late. As he was leaving the voice mail message, he witnessed an accident and went on to provide "play by play" of the incident. This is the actual voice mail message.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
The Old Man and the Hairbrush
The Old Man and The Hair Brush
Beth Moore Apr 20, 2005
Knoxville Airport - waiting to board the plane: I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord.
I say that because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you.
You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least of which is your ego...
I tried to keep from staring but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy grey hair hung well over his shoulders and down partof his back. His fingernails were long. Clean, but strangely out of place on an old man.
I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting.
Then, I remembered reading somewhere that he was dead. So this man in the airport... an impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere?....
There I sat trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.
I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing. I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind.
"Oh no, God please no." I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, "Don't make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please,Lord!"...
There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, "Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane."
Then I heard it..."I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair."
The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No brainer. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, "God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm your girl! You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am on him. I am going to witness to this man."
Again as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. "That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair."
I looked up at God and quipped, "I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane, How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?"...
God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: "I will thoroughly finish you unto all good works." (2 Tim 3:7) I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies.
I knelt down in front of the man, and asked as demurely as possible, "Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"
He looked back at me and said, "What did you say?"
"May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair? To which he responded in volume ten, "Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you're going to have to talk louder than that. At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, "SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?"
At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Longlocks.
Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, "If you really want to."
Are you kidding? OF course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, "Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush."
"I have one in my bag," he responded. I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but I must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls.
Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull. A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair.
I know this sounds so strange but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes -felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's.
His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's. I slipped the brush back in the bag, went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees, and said, "Sir, do you know my Jesus?"
He said, "Yes, I do." Well, that figures. Heexplained, "I've known Him since I married my bride."
"She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior." He said, "You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself. What a mess I must be for my bride."
Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it. Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.
I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said,"That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?"
I said, "Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!" And we got to share. I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted because you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!
I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way... all because I didn't want people to think I was strange. God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.
John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace andtruth."
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Can you remember these?
IF YOU WERE A LITTLE GIRL IN THE 70'S...
You wore a rainbow shirt that was half-sleeves, and the rainbow went up one sleeve, across your chest, and down the other.
You made baby chocolate cakes in your Easy Bake Oven and washed them down with snow cones from your Snoopy Snow Cone Machine.
You had that Fisher Price Doctor's Kit with a stethoscope that actually worked.
You owned a bicycle with a banana seat and a plastic basket with flowers on it.
You learned to skate with actual skates (not roller blades) that had metal wheels.
You thought Gopher from Love Boat was cute (admit it!)
You had nightmares after watching Fantasy Island.
You had rubber boots for rainy days and Moon boots for snowy days.
You had either a "bowl cut" or "pixie," not to mention the "Dorothy Hamill" because your Mom was sick of braiding your hair. People sometimes thought you were a boy.
Your Holly Hobbie sleeping bag was your most prized possession.
You wore a poncho, gauchos, and knickers. (And the funny thing is, my kids wouldn't know what these are!)
You begged for the electronic game, Simon. (Ah, yes. Remember Simon??)
You had the Donnie and Marie dolls with those pink and purple satiny shredded outfits.
You spent hours in your backyard on your metal swing set with the trapeze. The swing set tipped over at least once.
You had homemade ribbon barrettes in every imaginable color. (Oh! Remember those???)
You had a pair of Doctor Scholl's sandals (the ones with hard sole & thebuckle). (Did you ever accidentally kick your other ankle with one of those? YEOW!!) You also had a pair of salt-water sandals.
You wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder really bad; you wore that Little House on the Prairie-inspired plaid, ruffle shirt with the high neck inat least one school picture; and you despised Nellie Olson!
You wanted your first kiss to be at a roller rink.
Your hairstyle was described as having "wings" or "feathers" and you kept it "pretty" with the comb you kept in your back pocket.
You know who Strawberry Shortcake is, as well as her friends, BlueberryMuffin and Huckleberry Pie.
You carried a Muppets lunch box to school and it was metal, not plastic.
You and your girlfriends would fight over which of the Dukes of Hazzard was your boyfriend. (Always Bo!)
Every now and then "It's a Hard Knock Life" from the movie, "Annie" will pop into your brain and you can't stop singing it the whole day.
YOU had Star Wars action figures, too!
It was a big event in your household each year when the "Wizard of Oz"would come on TV. Your mom would break out the popcorn and sleepingbags! (LOL--not me. It always came on Sunday night--church night.)
You often asked your Magic-8 ball the question: "Who will I marry: ShaunCassidy, Leif Garrett, or Rick Springfield?"
You completely wore out your Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Fame soundtrack record album.
You tried to do lots of arts and crafts, like yarn and Popsicle-stick eyes, decoupage, or those weird potholders made on a plastic loom. Potholders - I believe they were called "loom loopers"
You made Shrinky-Dinks and put iron-on kittens on your t-shirts!
You used to record songs off the radio by holding your portable tape player up to the speaker.
You couldn't wait to get the free animal poster that came when you ordered books from the Weekly Reader book club. Double score if it was a teddy bear dressed in clothing.
You learned everything you needed to know about girl issues from Judy Blume books.
You thought Olivia Newton John's song "Physical" was about aerobics.
You wore friendship pins on your tennis shoes, or shoelaces with heart or rainbow designs. (Now they have Skecher ones with charms--LOL)
You wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer.
You had a Big Wheel with a brake on the side, and a Sit-n-Spin. (Now the kids have a sit-n-spin that plays music!)
You had subscriptions to Dynamite and Tiger Beat.
You spent all your allowance on stickers for your sticker album!
PASS THIS ON TO ALL OF THE OTHER 30-SOMETHING (or not quite yet 30)GIRLS YOU KNOW! IT WILL MAKE THEM SMILE TOO!!!!
Thanks for walking with me down Memory Lane. : )
(Red comments are my own)
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
He Has The Words
by Tom Norvell
Lord, a family from our church buried their son last week.
I want to comfort them.
I want to tell them I care.
I want to help them get through this time of suffering and pain.
I want to, but I don't have the words.
Lord, a member of our congregation has been called up for active duty.
He has shipped out to another land to represent our nation in a possible war.
I want to ask for protection.
I want to say something to his family that will reassure them that he will be safe.
I want to, but I don't know what to say.
Lord, I just found out that another couple from our church has decided to give up on their marriage.
They have filed for a divorce.
I am shocked.
I am stunned.
They both are hurting and I want to help them.
I want to say something that will fix their marriage.
I want to say something to make the hurt go away.
I want to, but I don't know what to say.
Lord, I know a guy who has been struggling to stay sober, but he told me last week that he blew it again.
He's afraid he is headed for trouble, again.
I want to fix his problem.
I want to tell him he'll be okay.
I want to say something that will give him strength--make it one more day.
I want to, but I don't know what to say.
Lord, I met a lady who has just found out that her husband has been having an affair, and that he wants out of their marriage.
She is devastated.
She is broken.
He is indifferent and doesn't want to talk.
I want to comfort her.
I want to promise her that all will be well in a little while.
I want to, but I can't.
Lord, there are a lot of people who are hurting.
There are families in pain and misery.
I want to say something to make it all better.
I want to, but I can't.
I don't know what to say.
So I sit here praying for these parents who lost their son, the family of the soldier and the soldier, the couple getting a divorce, the man with the addiction, the lady with the broken heart. But even as I pray I don't know the words to say.
My soul is aching.
My heart is hurting.
I don't have the words.
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for, but theSpirit himself intercedes for us with groans thatwords cannot express.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. (Romans 8:16-17, NIV)
He has the words...
Monday, April 11, 2005
1. I'm not sick today.
2. I have a job to support my family.
3. I have a home to live in.
4. We have electricity to light our home.
5. We have gas to heat our water.
6. We have food to eat.
7. I have a husband who loves me.
8. I have 3 beautiful children.
9. I have a comfortable bed.
10. I have a reliable car.
11. My car has A/C!!
12. My car has a radio.
13. I have Harry Potter books to escape in.
14. I like my job.
15. I like the people I work with.
16. I like the church I attend.
17. I like my Wednesday night Bible class (thanks Donna & Terri)
18. My kids are not dangerously ill.
19. My husband is not dangerously ill.
20. My kids love me.
21. I have good kids.
22. I have clean clothes to wear.
23. I have clean water to drink.
24. My bathroom is clean.
25. Jesus died for me.
26. I get to go to Heaven when I die.
27. I have a Heavenly Father Who loves me and wants what is best for me.
28. He hears my prayers.
29. I have comfortable shoes to wear.
That's all the time I have for now. I feel a little better. : )
Monday, April 04, 2005
WEAR YOUR SCARS PROUDLY
Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went.
He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.
His father working in the yard saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could.
Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.
Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved.
The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too! I have them because my Dad wouldn't let go."
You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you.
The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That's when the tug-of-war begins and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.
Please pass this on to those you love. God has blessed you, so that you can be a blessing to others. You just never know where a person is in his/her life and what they are going through.
Never judge another persons scars, because you don't know how they got them. Also, it is so important that we are not selfish to receive the blessings of these messages without forwarding them to someone else.
Right now, someone needs to know that God loves them, and you love them too. Enough to not let them go.
Good stuff, no?
God recently allowed me to see Jesus through the eyes of someone seeing Him for the first time. Having the advantage of knowing how the story ends, we can easily forget the cost of our redemption and the love of our Savior.
Every year we attend a local church pageant at Christmas time, which tells the story of Jesus from His birth through His resurrection. It is a spectacular event, with live animals and hundreds of cast members in realistic costumes. The magi enter the huge auditorium on llamas from the rear, descendingthe steps in pomp and majesty. Roman soldiers look huge and menacing in their costumes and makeup.
Of all the years we have attended, one stands out indelibly in my heart. It was the year we took our then three-year-old granddaughter, Bailey, who loves Jesus. She was mesmerized throughout the entire play,not just watching, but involved as if she were a player. She watches as Joseph and Mary travel to the Inn and is thrilled when she sees the baby Jesus in His mother's arms.
When Jesus, on a young donkey, descends the steps from the back of the auditorium, depicting His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Bailey was ecstatic. As he neared our aisle, Bailey began jumping up and down, screaming, "Jesus, Jesus! There's Jesus!" Not just saying the words but exclaiming them with every fiber of her being. She alternated between screaming his name and hugging us. "It's Jesus. Look!"
I thought she might actually pass out. Tears filled my eyes as I looked at Jesus through the eyes of a child in love with Him, seeing Him for the first time. How like the blind beggar screaming out in reckless abandon, "Jesus, Jesus!", afraid he might miss Him, not caring what others thought. (Mark 10:46-52)
This was so much fun.
Then came the arrest scene. On stage, the soldiers shoved and slapped Jesus as they moved Him from the Garden of Gesthemane to Pilate. Bailey responded as if she were in the crowd of women, with terror and anger."Stop it!" she screamed. "Bad soldiers, stop it!" As I watched her reaction, I wished we had talked to her before the play. "Bailey it's OK. They are just pretending."
"They are hurting Jesus! Stop it!"
She stood in her seat reacting to each and every move. People around us at first smiled at her reaction, thinking "How cute!". Then they quit smiling and began watching her watch Him. In a most powerful scene, the soldiers lead Jesus carrying the cross down the steps of the auditorium from the back They were yelling, whipping, and cursing at Jesus, who was bloodied and beaten.
Bailey was now hysterical. "Stop it! Soldiers! Stop it," she screamed. She must have been wondering why all these people did nothing. She then began to cry instead of scream. "Jesus, Oh, Jesus!" People all around us began to weep as we all watched this devoted little disciple see her Jesus beaten and killed as those first century disciples had.
Going back and forth between her mother's lap and mine for comfort, she was distraught. I kept saying, "Bailey, it's OK. Jesus is going to be OK. These are just people pretending to be soldiers. She looked at me like I was crazy. In my lap, we talked through the cross and burial. "Watch, Bailey, watch for Jesus!"
The tomb began to tremble and lightning flashed as the stone rolled away. A Super Bowl touchdown cheer couldn't come close to matching this little one's reaction to the resurrection. "Jesus! He's OK. Mommy, it's Jesus!" I prayed that she wasn't going to be traumatized by this event, but that she would remember it. I shall never forget it. I shall never forget seeing Jesus's suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection through the eyes of an innocent child.
Following the pageant the actors all assembled in the foyer to be greeted by the audience. As we passed by some of the soldiers Bailey screamed out, "Bad soldier, don't you hurt Jesus." The actor who portrayed Jesus was some distance away surrounded by well-wishers and friends. Bailey broke away from us and ran toward him, wrapping herself around his legs, holding on for dear life. He hugged her and said, "Jesus loves you." He patted her to go away.
She wouldn't let go. She kept clinging to Him, laughing and calling His name. She wasn't about to let go of her Jesus. I think God in heaven stopped what ever was going on that day and made all the angels watch Bailey. "Now, look there! You see what I meant when I said, 'Of such is the kingdom of heaven?'"
Bailey's reaction should be our reaction every day. When we think of Him, who He is, what He did for us, and what He offers us, we have to say, how can we do anything less than worship Him?
Friday, April 01, 2005
How God Answers Prayer
by Russ Lawton
One of the very real problems in our world today is that we really don't understand how God answers prayer. I have to admit that most of the time I have no clue either, but every now and again I do get a glimmer of understanding.
I heard a great story that kind of gives us some insight into the answering of prayer. It seems an atheist professor was lecturing in a college class and made the statement: If there is a God, let him knock me off of this platform right now. The Christians in the class were speechless; they just didn't know what to say other than to offer a few quick prayers that God would handle the situation.
About that time a football player was walking by the door and heard the professor make the statement again. He rushed into the room and pushed the professor off of the platform. The professor was outraged and screamed, "What do you think you are doing?" To which the football player responded, "God was busy at the moment, so he sent me!"
Could that be one way in which God answers prayer, through the intervention of other people? Could it be that the answer doesn't have to be a lightening-bolt from heaven? I believe it just could be!
Another big problem we have is dealing with the timing of the answer. We live in an instant society and almost expect God to answer every request immediately. I don't believe that God works that way either.
I heard another story, which illustrates how we often confuse God's timing with ours. "A country newspaperhad been running a series of articles on the value of church attendance. One day, a letter to the editor was received in the newspaper office. It read, "Print this if you dare. I have been trying an experiment. I have a field of corn, which I plowed on Sunday. I planted it on Sunday. I did all the cultivating on Sunday. I gathered the harvest on Sunday and hauled it to my barn on Sunday. I find that my harvest this October is just as great as any of my neighbors' who went to church on Sunday. So where was God all this time?"
The editor printed the letter, but added his reply at the bottom. "Your mistake was in thinking that God always settles his accounts in October."
God's timetable is not the same as ours is it? His reasons for answering differently than we think he should are so far above our understanding, that we for the most part, will never be able to understand the 'why'. In Romans 11:33 the apostle Paul writes, "Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for usto understand his decisions and his methods!"
So, "how does God answer prayer?" I don't know! I just believe that he does! In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus tells a story with a point. It reads in verse one, "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." OK, what's the point? The point I am trying to make is simply, keep on praying even if you don't get the answer you want when you want! Just because you can't see the answer or it comes out differently than you think it should, doesn't mean that God is not still there listening. Keep on praying and don't give up!