Dear Fellow Children of God,
This weekend I am leading a marriage retreat in Big Lake. As the couples attending the retreat seek to strengthen their marriages through their Christian faith, we will be considering the gift and the blessing of prayer. We will study about how prayer can and does bless our marriages and our families. And . . . we will pray!
I would love to share with you some of the recent prayers that have been answered in my life, in our church, and in the lives of others, but that might reveal something others might not want me to share. However, as I prepared for this retreat I came across a story about Josh McDowell.
Please know that Josh McDowell is a well known Christian apologist (defender of the faith) and author. I have had his books on my shelves for decades. In fact, he will be speaking in Wasilla at the banquet for the Heartreach Crisis Pregnancy Center this coming October. With that introduction, let me share Josh’s story as related in the Our Daily Bread devotional magazine.
While Josh McDowell was attending seminary in California, his father went Home to be with the Lord. His mother had died years earlier, but Josh was not sure of her salvation. He became depressed, thinking that she might be lost. Was she a Christian or not? The thought obsessed him. "Lord," he prayed, "somehow give me the answer so I can get back to normal. I've just got to know." It seemed like an impossible request.
Two days later, Josh drove out to the ocean. He walked to the end of a pier to be alone. There sat an old woman in a lawn chair, fishing. "Where's your home originally?" she asked. "Michigan -- Union City," Josh replied. "Nobody's heard of it. I tell people it's a suburb of --" "Battle Creek," interrupted the woman. "I had a cousin from there. Did you know the McDowell family?" Stunned, Josh responded, "Yes, I'm Josh McDowell!"
"I can't believe it," said the woman. "I'm a cousin to your mother."
"Do you remember anything at all about my mother's spiritual life?" asked Josh. "Why sure -- your mom and I were just girls -- teenagers -- when a tent revival came to town. It was the fourth night -- we both went forward to accept Christ."
"Praise God!" shouted Josh, startling the surrounding fishermen. Our Daily Bread.
In Matthew 6 Jesus tells His disciples, 7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! God hears our prayers and answers them by giving us the “good things” He knows we need in His wisdom and love. I have personally seen the love of God for a sinner like myself in His answers to my prayers for my children, for God’s church, and for myself.
May God bless you to see His love in your life as He answers your prayers in His wisdom and power and love.
A Child of God, Thankful for God’s answers to prayer,
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am always adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message. . . Or, if you know someone who would like to receive one of these e-mails, please send me their e-mail address.