Archive | March 2013

New Life, New Hope, New Joy

I like to begin each of the blogs at Sundays with Cindy with some event that has occurred in my life or the life of one of my loved ones, or sometimes even a matter of national significance that has happened during the week.  Most often it is some little thing, but today I have an announcement of momentous proportions: Bob and I are going to be grandparents for the twelfth time!

We got a phone call on Monday night from our granddaughter Melissa.  “Grandma, would you like to Skype with us?”  Sure!  Who wouldn’t want to see the precious faces and hear the laughter of one’s grandchildren 3500 miles away on another continent?  To my surprise, when the picture came up they were in the living room, rather than gathered around the computer in the office.  Fernando had connected his laptop to the television.

I called Bob up from his office downstairs and we watched with amusement Matthew’s antics in front of the camera.  We chatted with Laurie for a few minutes while Fernando fiddled with the computer and TV and Sara, Gabi and Katie looked on.  Finally I said, “Where are Melissa and Mandy?  I can’t see them.”  Melissa and the baby-just-turned-two came out into the middle of the room and in front of the camera.  Mandy danced around a bit, twirling and jumping as little ones do.  She was saying something about shirt!  Shirt!  Someone asked, “Can you see her shirt?”

Melissa picked up Mandy and brought her up to the webcam.  “I’m the BIG Sister!” I read on her t-shirt.  “BIG sister?  Laurie!!!” My jaw dropped and for a full minute I was actually speechless.  Another baby?  Their seventh, and our twelfth grandchild!  Big surprise!  HUGE surprise!!!  But what a happy surprise! The news had clearly stunned them as much as it had us, but we rejoiced together in this new blessing, this precious new life that is on his or her way into our family.

I could feel it in the air yesterday—spring has finally arrived.  I was out shopping and it seemed that everyone else was also. People were filled with a new vigor, a bounce in their steps and smiles on their faces.  We still have yet to see the trees budding or flowers blooming, but it is gradually warming up and I’m hearing the birds sing.  Why, just the other day I heard a woodpecker a few yards from my door!  Springtime—a season of new life, new hope and new joy!

And today is Resurrection Sunday—the day we celebrate the greatest reason of all for the New Life, New Hope and New Joy that is within us!  Jesus Christ shed His blood and died on the cross for the remission of our sins and then went on to conquer sin and death once and for all by rising alive from the grave!  The work he had begun in Bethlehem in coming to earth and humbling Himself as a man and a servant, obedient unto death on the cross, had reached its glorious conclusion in His resurrection!  Joy to the world—Christ the Lord is risen today!  Alleluia!!!

New Life—When we trust in Christ as our Savior, the Bible tells us that He gives us a new life and we are made new creations in Him.  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  (II Corinthians 5:17)   His resurrection makes this possible.  Romans 6:4 says, Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  This new life enables us, despite still living in our old carnal bodies, to have victory over sin and live differently.  Romans 6 goes on to say in verses 11-14, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”  C.S. Lewis said, God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man.  New creatures with a new life.

New Hope—Our new life here on earth has been changed because of His resurrection.  He has given us a new hope, as well, for all eternity.   I Peter 1:3 says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  Because Jesus rose from the dead, we are assured that we, too, when we trust in Him, will be resurrected as well.  He was the “firstfruits,” the first to be resurrected eternally from death.  “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (I Corinthians 15:20)  Jesus, while He walked on earth, raised others from the dead (ie. Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter) but they eventually died again.  Jesus rose, never to die again, and so shall we be resurrected unto everlasting life—our great hope.  “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; “ (Titus 2:13)  And at that glorious appearing—“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:51-57)

New Joy—With this new life and new hope, thanks to His resurrection, we have also a new joy.  I Thessalonians 2:19 says, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?”  The women who came to the tomb at dawn to anoint the body of Jesus found that He had been raised from the dead.  They hurried to tell the disciples, who also rushed to the tomb to find that He was indeed gone.  Can you imagine the joy they experienced when at last they saw the risen Christ with their own eyes?  There is great joy in the announcement of a new little life coming into the world.  There is joy when the cold dreariness of winter dies away and the newness of life springs forth all around us.  There is the greatest joy of all when we trust in the shed blood and death, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation, and the great hope and joy that awaits us for all eternity!

May Resurrection Sunday bring you joy and hope as you rejoice in new life in Him!

Peace, Be Still

I went to bed last night feeling heavy-hearted and wondering how I would ever fall asleep.  Bob and I had stayed up until after two discussing a matter that was a burden and a cause for deep concern.  When my husband is upset, it really unsettles me because he is not a worrier at all.  We prayed about it and went to bed, and to my surprise, I fell asleep after all.

I usually tell all on this blog.  Today I will not go into specifics about this storm we are going through, but I will hasten to add that this morning God answered prayer and lifted the burden.  Bob was making coffee first thing when the Lord put His arm around his shoulder and whispered in his ear His plan.  Bob felt immediate peace, and so did I when he told me about it.  Peace, be still, the Lord had whispered.

Jesus slept soundly in the bottom of the boat.  He had preached to the multitudes all day and He was tired.  And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.   And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.  And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?  And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:35-41)

Their small boat and the other little ships that were with them were in trouble.  The wind was strong enough to capsize them and the waves spilled over them, filling the boats.  Many of the disciples were experienced fishermen.  They had been out in storms before, but this one was different.  They feared for their lives.   And there lay Jesus, peacefully sleeping.

A little thing like a “great storm” did not hinder His sleep.  It was not until the disciples cried out for His help that He even took notice of the storm, and for their sakes, calmed the wind and waves.  “Peace, be still!” He commanded the storm and suddenly it stopped.  So suddenly that the disciples knew it was not a coincidence that the storm had ended; but that it was Jesus Himself who had brought it to an abrupt halt.  There was calm—out on the water and in their hearts.

The Bible is full of examples of how God brought His people to the end of themselves and then miraculously stepped in and provided a way of escape; victory over enemies; calm after the storm.  The Israelites were caught between a pursuing army and the Red Sea when God parted the waters and provided a path to freedom.  (Exodus 14)  When King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah were faced with a great army marching forth to destroy them, the Lord told them, “…Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (II Chronicles 20:15)  It is when we are at our most helpless that He comes in with His mighty power and grace to save and rescues us—and to Him be the glory!

There is no storm, no enemy, no problem that is too big for God.  There is nothing worth losing sleep over, when we trust in Him.  He has it all in His control.  The answer may not always come as quickly as it did for Bob and me this morning, but we can rest in the fact that He is faithful and able to calm every storm.

A song that has touched my heart is “Sometimes He Calms the Storm.”  The chorus goes:

Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered “Peace, be still.”
He can settle any sea
But it doesn’t mean He will.
Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild.
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child.

 Whether He calms the storm you are passing through, or He calms your heart, get a good night’s sleep.  He is whispering, “Peace, be still.”

Spring Cleaning

Spring—at least on the calendar—is just a few days away.  I don’t think we will actually see spring arrive this week in this area, however.  It is supposed to be in the thirties, down into the teens at night.  I, for one, am ready to actually feel and see spring make her appearance!  It is always a thrill to be able to leave the doors and windows open for the first time of the year and feel the sunshine and soft breezes come wafting through.

Along with spring comes the motivation to do some spring cleaning.  Goodness knows, the house could use it!  I’ve been meaning to clean the bathroom for days now, but just doing that one small regular chore has been pushed back day after day with better, more urgent (at least in my mind) things to do.  Despite all my good intentions, how this procrastinator will ever actually get to a real spring cleaning remains in the balance.  Hmm, clean closets…work on a new book?  Wash windows…read a book?  Discipline, Cynthia!  Discipline!

I have started some spring cleaning—of a sort—this week, actually.  The kind a good couch potato/computer nerd doesn’t mind working on.  I’ve been going through my computer files, trying to collect in one place and organize all my books and book covers (forty-two of them, to be exact), as well as other writing projects I have done over the years.  That is more difficult than it sounds.  I have been careful to back everything up, but spread over fifteen years and three computers, those things have been shuffled around and, in some cases, lost in the dozens of CDs and thumb drives in which I have saved them.  Looking back, I wish I had more carefully labeled everything, rather than just scrawling in black Sharpie, “My Documents” or “Saved from Desktop Computer” across a CD.  Duh.  No wonder it all needs to be organized!  Nothing is lost for good, thank goodness, but at least now it will be more accessible.

I’m never too thrilled about scrubbing floors or cleaning bathrooms, but I do like to organize.  I’m a habitual list-maker, to start.  There are some list-makers who carefully jot down every detail they can think of, but never get down to actually accomplishing everything on their lists.  That is not me.  It gives me great pleasure to cross off, one by one, the things on my lists.  They may not be finished as quickly as I would like, but eventually they do get finished.

There is a feeling of pride and satisfaction, as well, in re-organizing something that has fallen into disarray.  My sister likes to clean out drawers when she is feeling stressed.  She may not be in control over whatever is going on in her life just then, but she is in control over that drawer!  For me, I just like to see things neat and tidy and where they should be.  The other week I went through all our CDs and DVDs and sorted them in specific order into the CD cases in which they belonged—Christmas CDs in one; Robbie’s in another; music, sorted by genre, and then movies in another; software, data CDs, etc. in yet another.  Hey—the rest of the house may fall down around our ears, but at least our CDs and DVDs are in order!  My bookshelves and kitchen drawers and cupboards stay organized, as well, because I like to see them neat and with everything in its place.

Have you ever considered that God is a God of organization?  When you study His creation, you can see that His original creation was done systematically and in order.  The first chapter of Genesis tells us, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day…  (Genesis 1:1-31)  The Lord was very specific when He gave Noah His instructions for building and loading the ark. (Genesis 6-8) He gave Moses His very specific directions, down to the smallest detail, for making the tabernacle and everything that should go in it, right down to the garments the priests would wear and the offerings He desired of them.  (Exodus 25-31)

The Lord commends others in the Bible for their organization.  Look at the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.  Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.  She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.  She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.   She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.   She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.  She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.  She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.  She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.   She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.  She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.  Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.  She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.  Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.  She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.  She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.  Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.   Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”  She is a wonderful—although difficult—example to follow.  The only thing that gives me hope that I can follow in her footsteps is that I believe she accomplishes all these things over the seasons of her life and not all at once, and yet we know even then, she must have had a great head for keeping things organized.

God instructs us to be organized.  Jesus gave an example in Luke 14 28-30.  He was actually talking about counting the cost of following Him, but He said, For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?   Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.”   He tells pastors to “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,which he obtained with his own blood.”  (Acts 20:28) and He goes on to tell us when it comes to our worship together, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace… all things should be done decently and in order.”  (I Corinthians 14:33, 40)

What hinders us from being organized?  A lack of discipline, procrastination, laziness…  One of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-25)  Whether it comes to being organized in our homes or in our lives, we ought to exercise the strength of mind, and will, and character to do what we know we ought to do.  Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”(James 4:17)

Hmm, I guess that comes to spring cleaning this house, too…

Heavenly-Minded–No Earthly Good?

I love to watch Robbie’s face when I talk about Heaven with him.  His face lights up with such joy when I speak of the new body and mind that he will have in Heaven.  A mind that enables him to speak and sing; a body that will walk and run, dance and leap for joy!  There are stars in his eyes and a smile from ear to ear when I tell him that he will hug Jesus and hold his nail-scarred hands, and that he will see Grandpa again, as well.  Robbie’s mind now is that of a one or two year old, and yet somehow he seems to understand about Heaven and the great hope we have in Jesus.  Jesus Himself used the faith and humility of little ones as an example to us of how we must come to Him. “And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” (Luke 18:15-17)  The faith and humbling of oneself as a little child to accept the gift of salvation brings us to the Great Hope and reality of Heaven.

I’ve had Heaven on my mind all week.  That is because I’ve been reading the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  If you want to know something more about what awaits us after this life on earth, I highly recommend this book.  It is enlightening, thought-provoking and potentially life-changing if one takes seriously the view of our eternal life as presented by Alcorn.Heaven-by-Randy-Alcorn

We tend to think that there is not much we can know about Heaven yet—that it is a great mystery, revealed in only snippets in the Bible and very much unimaginable.  After all, I Corinthians 2:9 tells us, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”  That is true.  What God has not told us about Heaven cannot even be dreamed of in our finite minds.  What we fail to see, however, is that He has given us far more in His Word about Heaven than we may realize, and when we begin to search it out, comparing Scripture with Scripture, we begin to get a glimpse of what our eternal destiny will truly look like.

We frequently quote verse nine in I Corinthians 2, but how often do we connect the following verses with it?  When we go on to read it in context, God very clearly says we cannot begin to imagine the glories of Heaven, however He has revealed to us in His Word and through His Spirit some of the things which He has prepared for us!  “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual… For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.”  (I Corinthians 2:10-13, 16)

Alcorn very carefully and systematically uses all of Scripture, Old Testament and New, to reveal what Heaven looks like now, and what it will look like at the end of the Millennium when the Lord creates the New Heaven and New Earth that we will inhabit for all eternity.  “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth… I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven… And I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:1-3)  God’s dwelling place, Heaven, will be on the new, resurrected earth.

This book is not light reading.  It is lengthy, thorough, and full of Scripture and quotes.  The first half lays the groundwork for the answers to questions we all have about our future resurrected bodies and our future in Heaven.  How will we pass the time in an unending, everlasting life?  Will we do anything else beside worship?  What will our glorified bodies be like?  What will the New Earth and a resurrected creation look like?   How will we relate to one another?  Will there be animals in Heaven?  What is the New Jerusalem? And so on… In all, Alcorn covers more than 44 questions about Heaven and our eternal destiny, based on what God has revealed to us through Scripture. Do not be discouraged by its length.  It is well worth the read.

I came away from reading the book with much to think about and many questions answered.  At the end, however, there was one question left unanswered: How will I live the rest of my life on this old earth in light of my new, expanded view of Heaven?  I had a pastor who was fond of saying, “There are some people who are so heavenly-minded that they are no earthly good!”  Our future in Heaven is secure when we know Christ as Savior.  It is bright and glorious and something to be eagerly anticipated, to be sure.  That does not give us a license to merely sit back and wait for it, however.  There is much to be done in preparation for Heaven—not for entrance therein (our salvation through the blood of Christ has already provided for that) but for the crowns and rewards that Christ said we would earn by our work here on earth, and the greater responsibilities we will be given as we fulfill the work to which He has called us here.  I would say that to be heavenly-minded we would be better on earth.

When our minds are set on Heaven, the acts of kindness we do; sharing the Gospel or a testimony; caring for the orphaned or elderly or handicapped; speaking out against abortion and other ungodliness; the cup of cold water or warm hearty meal given in Jesus’ name; the time and talents and money we give to encourage and help for the glory of God—these are treasures laid up in Heaven and recorded in His book to be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  When we stand before Him, will we regret the time we wasted on television and computer games?  Will we wish we had used the money we spent so frivolously to help someone in need instead?  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Will a new view of Heaven change how we live in the here and now?  II Peter 3:11-14 says, “You ought to live holy and godly livesas you look forward to the day of God…But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.  So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”  An old familiar bit of poetry said, “Only one life—‘twill soon be past.  Only what’s done for Christ will last.”  We are made for Heaven.  When we live our lives in light of that, we will be better able to resist temptation and the wiles of Satan.

Our life’s journey is not yet over, but when at last we step through the door of death, it will be a new journey, a new beginning into eternal life.  Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  As an old chorus once put it:

With eternity’s values in view, Lord,
With eternity’s values in view;
May I do each day’s work for Jesus,
With eternity’s values in view.

May I Pray with You?

DSC_0433I woke up with a start.  Was that the answering machine I’d heard?  Yes—someone was leaving a message.  I grabbed the handset next to me and said hello quickly, hoping to catch whoever it was.  I was so glad I did.  It was my little Matthew!

“Hello, Grandma!  It’s Matthew!  I was just leaving you a message!” his five-year-old voice piped up.  He sounded excited.

“Why, hi, Matthew!” I answered.  “What’s up?”  I was always happy to hear one of my grandchildren on the other end of the line, but when it was one of the little ones it tickled me even more.  His baby sister had called a few days before just to tell me “I poopy!”  Ah, yes—they’re always good for a laugh!

Matthew wasted no time, but came straight to the point of the call.  “Grandma, can I play with you?”

It took me by surprise.  What kind of game could we play over the telephone?  “Well, sure, Matthew, I’ll play with you but what do you want to play?”

“No, Grandma!  Not play—pray!  Can I pray with you?”

Awww!  The little sweetheart!  My heart just melted.  “Of course, Matthew!  I would be so happy to pray with you!  Who should go first—you or me?”

“You go first, Grandma.”  I began to pray, mostly for Matthew—that he would be a good boy and obey his mommy and daddy; that he would help around the house and be kind to his sisters; that he would always love Jesus and grow up to serve Him, and so on.

As soon as I said amen, he jumped right in there.  “Dear Jesus,” he said clearly and with such fervency, “Thank you for this good day!  Help us to be healthy and help me to be good…”  He went on for a minute.  It was a sweet, simple little prayer as only a little one can pray, but it showed a tender heart and a love for Jesus.  I could not have been more thrilled that my five-year-old grandson wanted to pray with his grandma!  We are separated by 3500 miles, but closely knit together in love.

We chatted for a few more minutes and then he handed me over to his mommy.  I could hear the sweet pride in her voice for her little guy as we talked.  She told me Matthew had called Grammy, too (my mother, his great-grandma) to pray with her, and I knew she had to be as delighted as I was with that call.

We finally got off the phone and I decided to check the answering machine for the message he had left me.  Sure enough, there was a message.  “Hi, Grandma!  Love you!  Dear Jesus, thank you…” he jumped right into his prayer, determined to pray with Grandma even if she didn’t answer the phone!  You can bet I won’t be erasing that message for a long, long time!

When was the last time you called someone just to pray with them?  Matthew’s desire to pray with his grandmas, I learned, came about when he overheard Grammy praying on the phone with his mommy that morning.  She had woken with a strong feeling that she needed to call Laurie and pray with her, and when the Lord continued to impress it upon her, she had done just that.  Apparently Matthew thought that was a fine idea and decided he wanted to pray with his grandmas, too.

I agree with Matthew.  We spend a lot of time chit-chatting on the telephone over inconsequential things.  What would happen, I wonder, if we picked up the telephone to pray with someone every day?  Maybe there is someone who has specific needs.  The Bible says, Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:19, 20)  Multiply the power of prayer by two when you pray with somebody and not simply for him or her.

Perhaps someone just needs some encouragement.  We may uplift that one in prayer already, but can you imagine the blessing it would be to that person to actually hear that prayer as it is being offered to the Lord over the telephone?  Paul’s prayer for the Philippians was certainly encouraging.  “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy…  And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”  (Philippians 1:3-4, 9-11)

God has blessed us with modern technology so that communication with our friends and loved ones can be instantaneous.  Let us use that ability to bless others by praying not just for others, but with them.  It is the ultimate in three-way conference calls—you, your friend or loved one, and God!