“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) The Small Things (Kent Heaton)
2) Take It To the Lord in Prayer (Terry Ryan)
The Small Things
In April of 1990, the $1.6 billion Hubble Space telescope was launched into orbit with great anticipation. It was discovered that something was very wrong. The problem was a few 25-cent washers that technicians used to fill in a gap in an optical testing device had shaken loose. The cost of the rescue mission to fix Hubble was $86 million. It is hard to believe how something so small can cause such damage and bring about such costly repairs. Small things matter.
James reminds us of the small fire kindled by a loose tongue. “Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things” (James 3:3-5). The tongue is a little member but how much damage can be done when not used properly. Careless words can be few but start a conflagration of hurt and destruction.
It must also be remembered that a few words can encourage and lift up the spirits of the downtrodden. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Paul wrote the brethren at Thessalonica to “encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing… encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:11-14). This type of encouragement does not take many words. Words fitly spoken for those who need to be uplifted can be of such value to the work of the Lord.
Small things take on the importance of sharing the gospel of Christ. Jesus set the pattern in John 4 when He spoke to the woman at the well. From this discussion with one woman, “From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all the things that I have done.’ So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world’” (John 4:39-42). How many people can tell the story of their conversion from the small beginning of a tract, a radio program, a bulletin article, a caring heart who helped them find the truth?
Elijah became discouraged with the work of the Lord in 1 Kings 19 and desired the Lord to take his life. As he sat in his despair, Jehovah comes to him “and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12). The problem with Elijah was he thought the will of Jehovah had to be accomplished with great things (see 1 Kings 17 & 18 for examples of great deeds); he was reminded that the will of the Lord can be accomplished with one man if the Lord so desires.
Small things matter to God: a cup of water (Matthew 25:31-46); little children (Matthew 18:1-6); one soul (Luke 9:25); one sheep, one coin, one boy (Luke 15). You (John 3:16).
— Via the Taylorsville church of Christ, Louisville, Kentucky, April 11, 2018
Take It To the Lord In Prayer
Romans 8:26 (ESV): “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Have you ever felt like this? So overwhelmed or sad or depressed, that you don’t even know where to begin your prayer? The Spirit of our Lord knows our hearts and can understand our despair, without us even uttering a word. But sometimes we can neglect to go to the Lord like we should. He desires for us to come to him in prayer. What a comfort and what a privilege!
So why don’t we go to him? Understanding God and his love is essential in maturing as a Christian. Getting to know him throughout our lifetime should bring us great joy! God’s majesty is endless, and his love is beyond comprehension. To study and learn about him, and try to grasp an understanding of the depth of his love, can only help us in our prayer life. We are not strangers to him, but sometimes he can be a stranger to us. Not that we don’t know who God is, but we don’t know his attributes. You are not going to confide your innermost fears or your greatest joys with someone you don’t trust. So, we need to really get to know God on a deeper level and understand his character.
John 15:7 (NIV): “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
Psalm 34:17 (ESV): “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”
Will God help us when we are in trouble? God loves us, and one way he shows us is that he does answer prayers. Sometimes he does not answer them right away. But he does in his time, and he will tell us yes, or no, or not yet. We need to understand and trust his way. Prayer is a very important part of our relationship with God. Reading and studying his word, then praying, is how we commune with him. Prayer is how we connect to him, and in a very special way, demonstrate our love for him.
Philippians 4:6 (ESV): “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
1 Peter 5:7 (ESV): “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
We are to separate ourselves from this world, live in it but don’t love it. That is a difficult thing to do, because most of our time, other than sleeping, is spent in the world, and we are surrounded by worldly things and people. God is our last bastion. He is our only defender, and we must pray to him for help, as we strive to be his people.
Psalm 34:4 (ESV): “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”
God is not going to come down and literally stand in front of evil and protect us while we are in this flesh. But spiritually, we can count on him to protect us daily. Every time we pray, he hears us, and his protective hand is upon us.
Psalm 91:14 (ESV): “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.”
Psalm 91:1-5 (ESV): “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day.”
Psalm 138:7 (ESV): “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.”
Do we call on his name? Or do we neglect him and try to do it on our own? How does that usually turn out for us? Someday, when Jesus comes to gather us to him, nothing in this world will matter. But until that day, the avenue of prayer is our link to him.
I love this song:
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
— Via Cedar Park church of Christ, April 19, 2019
“Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6, NASB).
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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (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)