“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) When Joy Follows Weeping (R.J. Evans)
2) Does God Hear All Prayers? (Roger D. Campbell)
3) Simplifying Cubit Conversions to Yards or Feet (Tom Edwards)
When Joy Follows Weeping
“Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning” (Psa. 30:5).
Even the most faithful of God’s people experience affliction and sorrow. The Psalmist stated, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psa. 34:19). Paul and Barnabas told the new disciples in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch that “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). While this might be somewhat disturbing and alarming, it may look different when we realize that joy often follows periods of sorrow. And it is most certainly encouraging to realize that the ultimate eternal joy of heaven will follow whatever afflictions, persecutions or sufferings we may have to endure while here on earth. Our text is not the only Scripture which says that joy follows weeping. In this article, let us notice a few examples of this principle.
Just a few verses below our text, we find the Psalmist saying, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (Psa. 30:11). Job spent many long nights of weeping, but finally joy came in the morning (Job 42). In the days of Esther, wicked Haman sought to destroy the Jews. They, no doubt, had many long nights of weeping. But they were delivered through the efforts of Esther, resulting in Haman being hanged instead of Mordecai. The Bible referred to this as “the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday” (Esther 9:22). Looking toward the cross and the empty tomb, Jesus said to His disciples, “you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy” (Jn. 16:20).
Surely no one ever experiences joy following weeping more than the sinner who comes to Jesus in gospel obedience and is forgiven of all his sins (Matt. 11:28). We may never, in this life, fully understand why Christians often experience joy after weeping. One reason, however, may be found in Ecclesiastes 7:3 — “Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.” Perhaps weeping helps get our heart in a condition for a blessing. Weeping has a way of releasing us from our sorrows. Also, I feel confident that joy so often follows weeping because our Lord is touched by our tears and responds to our needs. We close with this wonderful assurance: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16).
— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana (January 4, 2015)
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the “greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13, NASB).
Does God Hear All Prayers?
Roger D. Campbell
God communicates the thoughts and desires of His mind (that is, His will) to you and me through His word, the Bible. The way that we, as humans, communicate or speak the message of our mind to God is through what the Bible calls prayer. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, we often read about prayer. The truth is, it is only through the teaching of the Bible that we can know the Lord’s will concerning prayer. Thus, for any question about prayer, we must turn to the word of God and see what it says. Doesn’t that make sense to you?
Does the God of heaven hear the prayers of humans? If you mean, “Does God know when people are praying to Him?” then the answer is “yes.” God knows all that is taking place on the earth at all times. He knows our every thought, every action, and every word spoken, including our prayers. How can we be sure about this? Because the Bible says, “God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (1 John 3:20). All the affairs of mankind are “naked and open unto the eyes” of the Lord (Hebrews 4:13). So, yes, God knows when humans are praying.
Does the God of heaven hear prayers that are offered to Him in different languages of the world at the same time? Because He is the “Almighty God” (Genesis 17:1), there is nothing that is too hard for Him (Genesis 18:14). He understands all languages of men. And, yes, He can handle all the prayers that might be coming His way all at the same time, regardless of the language!
Should we conclude, though, that every prayer is acceptable to the Lord? To say that He can hear and understand when people speak to Him is one thing. To say that every prayer is acceptable to Him, well, that is another matter entirely. In Proverb 28:9 it is written, “He who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” This verse makes it clear that if a person refuses to heed or obey the message of God’s law, then he should not expect the Lord to receive his prayer. Why? Because God counts it as an abomination when men refuse to obey Him, and all the praying in the world cannot change that. Prayer cannot take the place of obedience. The Lord rejects the prayer or cry of a disobedient person.
What does the New Testament say? In 1 Peter 3:12 we read, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ear is open to their prayers….” According to this verse, which prayers does the Lord receive? The prayers of “the righteous.” A righteous person is one who does righteousness (1 John 3:7). Since all of God’s commands are righteousness (Psalm 119:172), then a righteous person is one who keeps the commandments of the Lord. The Lord promises to receive the prayers of such a person, but not the prayers of the unrighteous.
One final consideration. What about praying for salvation? Never in the Bible do we read that the Lord or any of His inspired spokesmen told a person that had never been saved something like this: “To be saved from your past sins, you need to pray to God, and He will forgive you.” The so-called “sinner’s prayer” is not to be found in the Bible at all. It is true that there are New Testament passages in which we read that people were told to pray in order to receive forgiveness, but when we closely examine the contexts of those verses, what do we find? They were addressed or spoken to those who were already Christians and had committed sin after being saved. Thus, as Christians or children of God, in order to get back into the right relationship with God, what they needed to do was pray. Simon, who had already believed and been baptized (saved — Acts 2:38-41, 47), was told to pray for forgiveness (Acts 8:13, 21-23). We also read “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Again, however, this was not spoken to non-Christians, but to those who were already God’s children (compare 1 John 2:12).
Does God want men to pray? The Bible says He does. But does He accept all prayers? Not according to the Bible. Let us all search the Scriptures and accept the instruction that we find therein concerning prayer.
— via Seek The Old Paths, January 2015)
“and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22, NASB).
Pray “…on behalf of all men” (1 Timothy 2:1, NASB).
“pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17, NASB).
Simplifying Cubit Conversions to Yards or Feet
This is very simple, but maybe something often overlooked and not used: As pointed out back in April, we don’t have to convert Hebrew cubits to yards by multiplying the number of cubits by 18 (the length of a Hebrew cubit in inches) and then dividing by 36. Rather, we can simplify that by dividing the number of cubits by 2 (just by glancing at it). So 50 cubits equals 25 yards.
Of course, we could then also easily multiply the 25 yards by 3 to convert it to feet; but here, too, is another way, which wasn’t mentioned last time: Simply add to the number of cubits 1/2 of that number. So you can think of 50 cubits, for example, as “50 cubits + 25 cubits = 75 feet.”
This was helpful in a recent daily Bible reading that ended with Esther 5:14. In that passage, Haman, who was filled with much anger toward Mordecai for never bowing down to him and giving homage, was advised by his wife and friends to “Have a gallows fifty cubits high made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it….” If you’re like me, then you find it much easier to visualize seventy-five feet rather than 50 cubits; and of which it appears (by that extraordinary height for a gallows) that Haman wanted to make sure that this display would be observable from anywhere in the city! Of course, little did Haman know at the time that it would actually be him — and not Mordecai — that would end up on the gallows! (Esther 7:10).
The word “cubit” comes from the Latin “cubitum,” the “elbow.” The length of a cubit is the distance between the elbow and the tip of the middle finger, which is usually about 18 inches (or 45.72 cm).
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)