Saturday, March 3, 2012

Urgent Prayer

Please remember to keep all those involved from the deadly storms yesterday in your thoughts and prayers. There is now such a long road ahead for so many. The pics and stories coming out of those areas hit are so sad. We have much to be thankful for this morning.

When tragedy strikes, it may shatter our hopes for security and peace. We may need to reach out to others, or we may need someone to reach out to us. How can we find comfort in times of suffering and uncertainty? Scripture provides a hope-filled answer.
We all desire to have a secure, predictable and peaceful world. But when tragedy strikes, we awaken to new realities. As Scripture says: "Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:11). If you know someone who needs reassurance, give comfort. Let that person know you care. Give a hug or place a phone call. Provide help as you are able. When a loved one hurts, we suffer with that loved one. The Apostle Paul wrote that "there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).
If you personally need comfort, there is a greater power in Heaven to give you that comfort. The Creator God, our Father in Heaven, Himself gives spiritual comfort. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

God's very name is "the Father of mercies and God of all comfort." When we share our sorrow with our Father in Heaven, He gives comfort. Several of the Psalms express King David's sorrow as he shared his intimate feelings in prayer. You, too, can pray using the Psalms. David cried out in prayer to his God: "Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; do not be silent at my tears; for I am a stranger with You, a sojourner, as all my fathers were" (Psalm 39:12). God answers prayer. David begins the very next Psalm exclaiming, "I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry" (Psalm 40:1). God will hear your cry as well. Notice this encouraging promise: "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him" (Psalm 126:5-6).

Bible prophecy is moving ahead, and we need to know the timetable of future events that God has revealed, leading up to His glorious Kingdom. But many today do not have a clue as to the framework of prophecy. Prophecy explains what it all means! God can accomplish His purpose even through tragic events. We need to respond to that wake-up call, and claim God's awesome promises. We need to change our lives and follow the instructions of the Bible. Jesus admonished us: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:33-36).

God loves His children. He promises escape or protection for those who are watching and praying. We need to be more vigilant, more spiritually awake. We need to pray always, as Jesus said. Some of you may need help in learning to pray. Read the prayers expressed so emotionally in the Psalms. During your prayers, try reading Psalm 91�a wonderful psalm of protection:

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.' Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling" (Psalm 91:1-10).

In Matthew 24, Jesus' disciples asked Him what would be the sign of His coming and the end of the age. Jesus outlined the turmoil and tribulation that would precede His Second Coming. So we know that we will face more trials and troubles in the future. How will we cope with them? The Bible shows us how. First of all, we need to give comfort to others in time of tragedy. We should contribute to their physical, spiritual and emotional needs. We ought to pray for the victims and their families, because we know our prayers can make a difference. "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16).

Not only do we comfort others and pray for others, but we ourselves can find comfort and assurance from our Father in Heaven who is called "the Father of mercies and God of all comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:3).

When disasters affect us, we can be motivated to think more deeply about the world, the future, and the meaning of life. We can seriously consider changing our own way of living and heed the biblical admonition for a spiritual wake-up call. If we do, we can call on God our Creator in prayer. Scripture exhorts us: "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7).

Paul reminds us that we can take comfort in Scripture, and that we should give this comfort to others. The truth of the Bible can bring comfort in times of tragedy. We all need this inspiring, hope-filled truth.

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