‘Mayday!-Mayday!-Mayday!’ [v218]

APRIL 2017

The international DISTRESS signal “Mayday” is always repeated three times in a row—to prevent it from being mistaken, under noisy conditions, for some similar-sounding phrase, and to show clear intent as an extreme ‘LIFE-THREATENING’ emergency.

The word “Mayday” was created in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford, a senior radio officer at London’s Croydon Airport. That now-closed facility once had many flights to and from the Le Bourget Airport in Paris. He coined the phrase “Mayday” from the French word “m’aidez,” which is a shortened version of “venez m’aider” (meaning “come and help me”).

Although “Mayday” was originated for aviation, it seems that most people associate the term with watercraft—primarily large ships at sea. The following is a list of the top 10 most famous shipwrecks in history:

– RMS Titanic: Sank April 15, 1912 after a collision with an iceberg
– MV Dona Paz: Sank due to a collision with the oil tanker MT Vector on December 20, 1987
– Britannic: Sank November 21, 1916 due to an underwater mine explosion
– SS Edmund Fitzgerald: Sank in a storm on Lake Superior November 10, 1975
– SS Andrea Doria: Sank July 25, 1956 after a collision with MS Stockholm
– RMS Lusitania: Sank May 7, 1915 after being torpedoed by a German U-boat
– U.S.S. Arizona: Sank December 7, 1941 after being bombed in Pearl Harbor by the Japanese
– MV Wilhelm Gustloff: A German military transport ship which was sunk on January 30, 1945 by Soviet S-13 submarine in the Baltic Sea while evacuating German civilians
– Bismarck: Sank July 1, 1936 after being bombed by Fairey Swordfish bi-plane torpedo bombers
– Costa Concordia: Sank January 13, 2012 due to striking a rock while deviating from planned course

 

One of the most popular documentaries about shipwrecks was aired by “The Learning Channel” in the late 90’s called “Mayday.” It investigated many of the most disastrous shipwrecks and the reasons behind why the ships sank:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFFLdzZbJso

[ Note: A few years later (2002), the “Discovery Channel” aired a TV series called “Mayday” that focused on investigating air crashes, near-crashes, hijackings, and bombings. It was also known as “Air Emergency” and “Air Disasters.” More info about the series and a link to the first episode is below in the “Articles” section ].

 

I’m pretty sure that you’ve seen a commercial on TV with an older person on the floor saying, “Help, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” It was a commercial for a medical alarm and protection company called “LifeCall” (in 1989), which is now called “Life Alert.” It was sort of a “mayday” service, mostly for senior citizens and disabled people.

The subscriber received a ‘pendant’ which, when activated, would allow the user to talk directly with a dispatch service, without the need to reach a telephone. It appealed particularly to seniors who lived alone and who might experience a medical emergency, such as a fall, which would leave them alert but immobile, but could escalate into a dangerous situation, perhaps with dire consequences.

Granted, this service was much more popular before the advent of pocket-sized cell phones, but how did people ‘CALL’ FOR HELP in desperate situations before the telephone, radio, fax machines, or even the telegraph, and what could one expect for a ‘RESPONSE’ time?

 

Well, depending on how far back in history you go, there were flares, searchlights, guns, fireworks, flags, drums, and smoke signals. Before these, the most used method was a ‘messenger’—either on a horse or on foot (which is actually the how the “marathon” started, when the Greek soldier, Pheidippides, ran to Athens to report the army’s victory over the Persians).

In Biblical times, there is an account that has the sister of Lazarus (Martha) making a “Mayday” call to Jesus, by sending a messenger, to have Him come to heal her sick brother, who was near death—and this was a very close friend of Jesus that He “loved.”

Now, even though the message got to Jesus in plenty of time for Him to respond from where He was within a day or so, He delayed two days before leaving—and didn’t show up until four days after Lazarus had died.

When Jesus arrives outside Bethany, Martha goes out to meet Jesus on the way. Martha said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” [ John 11:21 ].

Martha knew that Jesus had the power to heal her brother, since she had seen Him do it multiple times for others. Yet, why did Jesus not come sooner?

Well, His strategy was—and still is—to give them something better. Rather than solving the ‘problem’ in her life, He revealed to her that He was the ‘Author’ of life.

Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” [ John 11:25-26 ].

Martha’s affirmation shows that she does indeed believe saying, “Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” But, she was heartbroken since she knew that no one had ever died in Jesus’ presence, and that if He had come when He received the message, her brother would not have died. However, Jesus had ‘planned’ this to happen this way, telling His disciples just before they all left for Bethany: “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

 

Well, upon entering the village, Jesus is met by Martha’s sister Mary and all the ‘mourners’ with her. Upon seeing her and their grief, Jesus is deeply moved and “wept.”

Jesus’ weeping shows the sincerity of His compassion, the reality of His anguish, and the genuineness of His sorrow. This is bona fide grief, and the fact of His sovereignty does not diminish the reality of His grief one bit.

So what was He weeping over? He is grieving over the effects of sin on people He loves. He is sorrowing over the ravages of evil. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin” [ Hebrews 4:15 ]. He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows. He is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and here He feels the full weight of anguish over the human condition in sin—and He was deeply and sincerely moved by it.

After that, Jesus goes to the tomb. He asks for the stone of the grave to be removed, but Mary interjects that there will be a smell. To which Jesus responds, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” [ The Jews believed that the spirit of the departed hovered abound the tombs for four days, seeking entrance again into the body of the departed one—but after four days they left, because the body would have been so decayed that they could no longer recognize it ].

So they took away the stone. Jesus then called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” [ One of the Puritans wrote that if Jesus had not specifically named Lazarus, there was enough power in His words to have emptied the whole cemetery! ].

Lazarus came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus then said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” The crowd fell back, awestruck. Were their sense playing ‘tricks’ on them? They has seen a corpse carried into that tomb four days earlier. It couldn’t be true that Lazarus was alive again!

Well, it turned out to be true—and Jesus proved that He was the ‘Author’ of life. Many of the Jews became believers right then.

Can you picture what it must have been like to go instantly from the deepest level of grief and despair, to the joy of having a dead loved one restored to life before your very eyes? I can’t even imagine!

This has got to be THE MOST ‘IMPRESSIVE’ “MAYDAY” ‘RESPONSE’ EVER! It just didn’t help someone out of a desperate situation, it totally ‘eradicated’ the entire situation—kind of like ‘rising from the ashes’.

There’s a very old story out of Greek mythology about a long-lived bird called the “phoenix,” that obtains new life by rising from the ashes of its predecessor—and was even more splendid that the one that had died.

This speaks to something deep within each of us, the longing that out of the destructive tragedies of life, something better, something more magnificent might come. The thing is, what these storytellers could only imagine, contains a ‘truth’ of which Jesus IS the reality! Just as the more glorious phoenix can only rise from the ashes of its dead self and ruined nest, so GREAT FAITH rises only from our dashed hopes and ruined dreams.

 

All of us, at some point in our lives, have sent out a “Mayday” about some devastating situation—a death of a loved one; a incurable illness or physical handicap; a divorce; a natural disaster; loss of your job; or other extreme problem.

It just so happens that before the voice call “Mayday,” there was the International Morse code distress signal equivalent called “S.O.S.”—consisting of three ‘dots’, three ‘dashes’, and three more ‘dots’, which represented the letters “S.O.S.” In popular usage, S.O.S. became associated with such phrases as “Save Our Ship” or “Send Out Succour” (“assistance”) or “Save our Soul.”

[ Note: S.O.S. is very specific—it’s the only nine ‘element’ signal in Morse code, making it unique, since no other symbol uses more than eight elements ].

 

Spiritually speaking, God is constantly ‘looking’ for a desperate “S.O.S.” from each and every one of us, pleading for Him to “save our soul.” You may ask, “Save it from what?”

Well, here’s a question to ask yourself: “Do you think people who commit moral crimes should be punished?” Most people have sense—a deep intuition—that people that do wrong things should not get away with them. (I’ve got to believe you would say, “Yes,” and I would agree with you). Okay, second question: “Have you ever done any wrong things?” Of course, we all know we’ve done something wrong in our lives—me, too! That, to me, is what I would call, “bad news.”

Now, if we were in the courtroom, in front of the judge, and we were totally honest, we would confess that we were guilty and deserved to be punished. But, what if the judge paused and asked us if either one of us was interested in a pardon. I’m thinking that and both of us would say, “Absolutely!”

Then, something very ‘strange’ happens. The judge takes off his robe, comes down from his bench, stands between us and states that he will be taking the punishment for us, and says we are free to go. Wow! Now that’s really good news!

This kind of illustrates what Jesus (the ‘judge’) has done for us. The Bible calls our moral wrongdoing “sin,” and God says that “Nothing evil will be allowed to enter [Heaven], nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty [ Revelation 21:27a ]. VERY BAD NEWS!

The great thing is, there is REALLY “GOOD NEWS.” God has already provided the ‘RESPONSE’ to our desperate plea—that’s what Jesus’ death on the cross did for us. It was the ‘propitiation’ for all of our sins—the removal of the judgment (as the judge did for us in the illustration I made above).

BUT, in addition to that, THERE’S EVEN BETTER ‘NEWS’! Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, guarantees—for those who ‘submit’ their lives to following Him—that they will also be ‘resurrected’ after they die to a place called “Heaven,” forever! WOO-HOO!

 

Jesus confers His life on those who trust in Him, so that we can share His triumph over death (1 John 5:11–12). We who believe in Jesus Christ will personally experience resurrection because, having the life Jesus gives, we have also OVERCOME DEATH! It is impossible for death to ‘win’ (1 Corinthians 15:53–57).

Jesus promises, “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). As believers, we enjoy ‘fellowship’ with our Savior now, and we look forward to an eternity with Him where there will be no more tears, pain, sickness, or death!

 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ proves who Jesus is. It demonstrated that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, and showed that God has the power to raise us from the dead. It guarantees that the bodies of those who believe in Christ will not remain dead, but WILL BE RESURRECTED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE!

[ For more details on Jesus’ resurrection, see last month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/greatest-comeback-ever/ ].

 

Because of what Christ did for us, we do not have to suffer eternal punishment in Hell. Instead, we can have eternal life in Heaven ‘through’ Him. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23), and “for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

The Apostle Paul laid out God’s design for all repentant sinners who trust in the Lord, when he said, “For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out His anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when He returns, we can live with Him forever” [ 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 ].

Wow! Life and salvation, hope and joy for sinful people who don’t deserve it! Grace and mercy for those who are broken, because God took it upon Himself to pay the penalty for our sin and rebellion and to offer His gift of eternal ‘life’ to all who would believe in what Jesus did for us!

 

Today, with our Internet-connected cell phones, we can send out a ‘S.O.S.’ when our situations turn dark and hopeless to anyone ‘’linked’ to us in the world (and some phones actually have a “SOS” messaging feature). But, we have something better! We can have an continuous, 24×7 ‘link’ to God, Who is constantly ‘scanning’ for our ‘message’. For the believer, our confidence, our hope, and our joy is that we have God’s promise of salvation, ‘earned’ by Jesus on the cross and guaranteed by His resurrection!

 

Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are God’s answer to our greatest, deepest S.O.S. needs. And when He declares, I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26), He’s offering a real, eternal comfort for all of us, all of us in DESPERATE DISTRESS!

When Jesus ascended in Heaven, He entered triumphantly and took His ‘place’ of universal exaltation. He ‘lives’ to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25). We who have placed our trust in Him, have been reconciled to God the Father, and are SAVED FROM a ‘LIFE-THREATENING’ ETERNITY IN HELL, and guaranteed full and ultimate salvation “through His life.” (Romans 5:10).

 

I don’t know what you’re up against today, dear friend, but I know this, when we shout out our ‘Mayday’, God amidst the darkness of our sin, we receive God’s “S.O.S.” answer—His shower of salvation, His Savior of our souls, His sure overpowering symphony of rescue in the Person and work of Jesus our Savior.

 

[ Excerpts from: Dr. Gregory Seltz; Wikipedia; Ervin Lutzer; Got Questions; Dean Meadow; David McCasland; Alice Mathews; Martin R. De Haan II; Greg Koukl ]

 

PRAYER OF REPENTANCE
In the Bible, there is a parable that Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying the the Temple. He notes that the tax collector didn’t even dare to lift his eyes toward Heaven as he prayed. Instead he “beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner’”—and Jesus said that the tax collector “went home justified,” he had been “born again” and ‘reconciled’ by God. (Luke 18:9-14).

If you are ‘sensing’ something like that right now, let me strongly encourage you to HUMBLE YOURSELF, CRY OUT to God, and PLEAD for Him to mercifully ‘SAVE’ YOU! None of us have a ‘claim’ on our salvation, nor do we have any ‘works’ that would cause us to deserve it or earn it—it is purely a gift of Divine grace—and all any of us can do is ask. So, CONFESS YOUR SINS and acknowledge to God that you have no hope for Heaven apart from what He provides through Jesus.

There is no ‘formula’ or certain words for this. So just talk to God, in your own words—He knows your ‘heart’. If you are genuinely sincere, and God does respond to your plea, one will usually have a sense of joy and peace.

Jesus said, “He that comes to Me, I will not cast out” [ John 6:37 ].

[ NOTE: If you have ‘tasted the kindness of the Lord’, please e-mail me—I would love to CELEBRATE with you, and help you get started on your ‘journey’ with Jesus! ].

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RESOURCES:

Mayday!: Shipwrecks, Tragedies & Tales from Long Island’s Eastern Shore
By: Van Field

From valiant rescues to sorrowful disasters, the eastern shore of Long Island is home to a riveting collection of maritime lore.

Since the mid-1600s, eastern Long Island’s shoals, sandbars and assorted submerged hazards have caused many an unlucky vessel to become shipwrecked. The frequency of wrecks rose to a grim crescendo during the mid-nineteenth century as New York and New England peaked as shipping centers. Then came the dawn of the twentieth century and the arrival of advanced navigational aids. Although the number of wrecks declined, the high drama persisted as rumrunners and German submarines kept the coast humming with rumors and anticipation. In MAYDAY!, author Van R. Field painstakingly assembles a compendium of Long Island’s most harrowing, amazing and notorious shipwrecks and ocean-going incidents.

https://www.amazon.com/Mayday-Shipwrecks-Tragedies-Islands-Eastern/dp/1596292474/

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Mayday!: Asking for Help in Times of Need
By: M. Nora Klaver

You don’t have to do it alone. In this engaging guide to understanding and conquering the personal and professional fears that keep us from turning to others in times of need, coach Nora Klaver offers readers compelling insights on why we don’t ask for help, why we should, and how to do it.

https://www.amazon.com/Mayday-Asking-Help-Times-Need/dp/1576754510

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Mayday USA
By: Tom Rattray

Phil Shepard, a high school history teacher from Kokomo, Indiana, his son Dave, and five fellow seminary students expect the vacation of their lifetime. They are going to sail overnight from Miami to the Bahamas for spring break. They don’t make it. Their boat hits a floating container in the dark and sinks. Dave and friends set off in a rubber dinghy, hoping the Coast Guard will find them. Meanwhile Paul, in his one man life raft, investigates the sound of a nearby engine that he hopes will rescue them. Instead he encounters natural and human threats, international intrigue, unexpected romance, and miraculous answers to life-saving prayers. The Coast Guard is frustrated, the Navy baffled, and ultimately, the President grateful in this page turner.

https://www.amazon.com/Mayday-USA-Tom-Rattray/dp/1523923733/

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Mayday! Mayday! A Coast Guard Rescue
By: Chris L. Demarest

A thirty-foot yacht, adrift well out to sea, sends, “MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Please respond to our plea!” Hearing this call for help, the United States Coast Guard leaps into action. A team of four highly trained rescue specialists head out in an H-60 Jayhawk helicopter. Battling fierce conditions, the Coast Guard team finally locates the disabled boat, rescues the crew, treats injured passengers, and carries them back to safety.

Complemented by dramatic, striking illustrations, Chris L. Demarest’s text brings into vivid focus one of the many important jobs performed by the U.S. Coast Guard. A detailed author’s note provides additional information about the search-and-rescue process, making this a terrific book for any school or home library.

http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Mayday!-Mayday!/Chris-L-Demarest/9780689851612

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God, Help Me Overcome My Circumstances: Learning to Depend More Fully on Him
By: Michael Youssef

We all go through seasons of struggle and testing. Regardless of our faith and our faithfulness to the Lord, adversity comes to us all.

In God, Help Me Overcome My Circumstances, Michael Youssef draws principles from the book of Judges that help us understand how our difficult seasons of life lead to spiritual growth and maturity. We may fear and dislike the circumstances we are in, but they are temporary and serve a positive purpose. They are meant to

unmask our pride in our own abilities
break down our self-sufficiency
reinforce our utter dependence on God
Dr. Youssef reminds us that when setbacks come, it’s not time to fear or question why. It’s time to recommit ourselves in faith to God and learn to depend more fully on Him.

https://www.amazon.com/God-Help-Me-Overcome-Circumstances/dp/0736955038/

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Help from Heaven: Opening the Windows
By: Randal A. Wiedemann

The theme in this book is that heaven is for those now alive. Instead of self-help, we need God-help. When Jesus prayed, “on earth as it is in heaven,” He was giving us a solution to earthly problems. In heaven, there are no burdens as we know them. There are no personality disorders, no interrelationship problems or feuds, no disease, no sense of tragic sadness. In fact, heaven is the blueprint for perfection in every aspect of life on earth.

Without spoiling the punch line, this book is about receiving help from heaven in a way that will remove obstacles in your path so that you do not have to continually face the same problems over and over again. Only God can change our hearts and help us fix our problems at the deepest level. This change is quickened as we spend time in His presence and believe that God is able to overcome our problems. The challenge we have is waiting in His presence and believing.

This book will give you tips on how to access help from heaven that is available for you right now. Your help from heaven can be instantaneous or it can take years. The time required for you to receive your help depends on you. Heaven is ready right now and Christ has done all that is required to set you free from your trouble. However, your problem may have taken years to develop. Getting out of it so that it doesn’t return to foil you the same way again may take some time too. What does that say? It says that we must never quit and never give up.

In preparing to read this book, you may want to pray something like this: Lord God, I desire to enter Your presence. Please open the eyes of my heart and let Your love and truth penetrate my mind, body, soul, and spirit. May Your hand guide me and Your Spirit resonate within me as I read this book. Give me Your message and Your words. Thank You for interceding in my life with help from heaven.

https://www.amazon.com/Help-Heaven-Opening-Randal-Wiedemann/dp/1512726915/

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Mayday, I’m Fallen: Survival Strategies for Christians
By: Ross Chadwick

Because of the Fall and Original Sin, Christians inevitably face all kinds of spiritual trouble, similar to the life-threatening tragedies that firefighters daily battle. Author and Fire Chief Ross Chadwick names Christianity as extremely hazardous and dangerous, where Christians daily face risky situations that threaten their very spiritual survival and thus begs the question, ‘When we get into trouble, how will we survive the raging fires?’ Mayday, I’m Fallen offers ten practical tips for spiritual survival modeled after common firefighting safety tactics. Not only do these tips aid the Christian in survival, but they also offer vital information on being a true disciple of Christ. Stop scraping by on your own. When life gets tough yell out, ‘Mayday, I’m Fallen,’ to your loving Savior, waiting to bring you back to safe standing.

https://www.amazon.com/Mayday-Im-Fallen-Strategies-Christians/dp/1602478414/

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The Hand of God: Finding His Care in All Circumstances
By: Alistair Begg

Are we hapless victims of life’s whims? Are we driven along by some blind and impersonal force? Are we battered by circumstances beyond all control?

A thousand times, “No!” says pastor and author Alistair Begg. Instead, Begg says we are the objects of God’s providential care. We reside under His guiding and protecting hand.

In this richly textured study of Joseph’s life, readers will see God at work shaping Joseph’s circumstances so that he can ultimately redeem and reconcile his family. And they’ll see the hand of God in their own lives, lovingly guiding them through their disappointments and struggles to a place of peace.

It’s an amazing and comforting fact: God rules and overrules in the circumstances of life.

God’s authority is neither capricious nor vindictive—quite the contrary—God works through the circumstances of life to bring about something miraculous, something abundantly good, even out of what we perceive to be our darkest moments. We can entrust the baggage of our past, the fears of our present, and the prospects of our future to the God who cares.

https://www.amazon.com/Hand-God-Finding-Care-Circumstances/dp/0802417043/

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God, Help Me!
By: Janice Anderson

In 1986, Janice Anderson suffered one of the most devastating losses imaginable when a car accident caused by a drunk driver took the lives of her beloved husband and two children. Trapped in the wreckage alongside them on that hot July afternoon, she cried out to God before losing consciousness. This is the remarkable story of how Janice learned to let God guide her through the hours, days, and years that followed.

Janice knows firsthand about anger, grief, fear, and disappointment. But because of her unwavering faith, she also knows about forgiveness, healing, courage, hope, and even joy. Is God responsible for terrible things happening to people? Is suffering what makes us strong? How can we learn to acknowledge our past yet live in the present? Janice’s experience has led her to examine these universal questions and others, and her search both comforts and inspires.

Perhaps you have gone through tragedy of your own. Perhaps you need help releasing anger and pain and focusing on the positive. Whatever your circumstances, you may find yourself in Janice’s story, a testimony to God’s patience, love, and awesome power.

https://www.amazon.com/God-Help-Me-Janice-Anderson/dp/1490887067/

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Help From Above: The Travails and Triumph of a Child of God
By: Kingsley O. Ologe

This book gives an account of how the author was unjustifiable sacked at the University of Abuja in 1994 and subjected to all manner of harassment before he won his case in court in 1998, and was reinstated in 1999. It includes testimonies of how God took him and his family through the trial by protecting them, supplying their needs and, finally, vindicating him. Finally, it contains spiritual insights that he received from the Scriptures about the Christian pilgrimage through life.
The book has been written with three objectives in mind:

– To provide a permanent record of what actually happened as a body of evidence arguing against military dictatorship in Nigeria, the enthronement of mediocrity in positions of authority and the culture of impunity in our national life;
– To demonstrate the power and faithfulness of God in the life of whoever commits himself or herself to Him; and
– To enlighten, comfort, encourage and strengthen Christians who may be passing through some form of trial.

In the Forward to the book, the Anglican Bishop of Owerri, the Rt. Rev. Cyril C. Okorocha, writes: “Help from above may seem delayed, but it is never denied to a faithful child of a loving, Heavenly Father, Who is also the Lord God Almighty! This is the message of this book.”

https://www.amazon.com/Help-Above-Travails-Triumph-Child-ebook/dp/B005G7WQ5O/

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AMERICAN RED CROSS

We respond to an emergency every 8 minutes.

No one else does this: not the government, not other charities. From small house fires to multi-state natural disasters, the American Red Cross goes wherever we’re needed, so people can have clean water, safe shelter and hot meals when they need them most.

Each day, thousands of people—people just like you—provide compassionate care to those in need. Our network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world.

We roll up our sleeves and donate time, money and blood. We learn or teach life-saving skills so our communities can be better prepared when the need arises. We do this every day because the Red Cross is needed—every day.

http://www.redcross.org/about-us/our-work/disaster-relief

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SAMARITANS PURSE

U.S. Disaster Relief:
Samaritan’s Purse mobilizes staff and equipment and enlists thousands of volunteers to provide emergency aid to victims of tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters in the United States. We often stay behind after our initial response to rebuild or restore houses for needy families.

After sharing the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus said “Go and do likewise.” That is the mission of Samaritan’s Purse—to follow the example of Christ by helping those in need and proclaiming the hope of the Gospel.

https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/us-disaster-relief/

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WORLD VISION

More than 90 percent of natural disaster-related deaths occur in developing countries, where poverty and lack of resources exacerbate the suffering. We work in many of these countries, preparing for disasters before they happen, and responding quickly when they do.

Together, we work to help communities develop the perfect recipe for sustainable success.

– Health
– U.S. Work
– Economic Development
– Clean Water
– Education
– Our Faith
– Disaster Response
– Food & Agriculture
– Child Protection
– Gender Equality
– Disability Inclusion
– Refugees & Displaced People

https://www.worldvision.org/our-work/disaster-response

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DETROIT RESCUE MISSION MINISTRIES

Founded in 1909, The Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries has embarked upon its 107th year of continued service providing food, shelter and services to intervene where homelessness and substance addiction occur. DRMM is a faith-based, non-profit organization, recognized by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and has devoted a wealth of resources to meet the basic needs of humanity while motivating individuals to rebuild their lives, one life at a time. The Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries is one of the largest providers in the fight against homelessness and substance abuse in the country.

DRMM fulfills its mission statement by providing hope to the hopeless, disadvantaged, and homeless men, women, and children of our community by ministering to the total person – body, soul and spirit – with services and programs designed to address spiritual, physical, emotional, and social needs to those seeking assistance in hopes of them becoming faithful Christians discipled into a local church, rehabilitated and employed, and living productive and restored lives.

http://drmm.org/

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GRACE CENTERS OF HOPE

Grace Centers of Hope was established in 1942. It has since grown and evolved into the largest and oldest faith-based outreach to homeless and disadvantaged individuals and families. Grace Centers of Hope (GCH) provides a full recovery and rehabilitation campus for homeless men, women, and children who have been abused or addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.

Change begins when we, as a community, extend helping hands. We do not believe homelessness and substance abuse addictions can be solved simply by throwing dollars at the problem. We believe that change occurs from the inside out. Consequently, our faith-based organization is dedicated to recovery through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and supported through our challenging life skills programs.

http://gracecentersofhope.org/

 

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FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDESWEB SITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/FruitsOfTheBeatitudes/

[ Mark Besh ]

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[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about the evidence of the empty tomb, visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q2_d3_1of10.html

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ARTICLES:

RMS TITANIC ‘S.O.S.’

The final radiotelegraph transmissions from the Titanic. This recording is in all likelihood a simulation, but its exact origin is not known. It is notable for the authentic-sounding rotary spark gap tone and also for the code speed—rather quick for a hand key!

[ David Ring – N1EA ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snkwsU98QlQ

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Titanic: The final messages from a stricken ship

On the night the Titanic struck an iceberg, a network of wireless operators on ships and land stations frantically communicated with each other across the expanses of the North Atlantic in an effort to mount a rescue mission. The surviving messages form a real-time record of the events of that night… [more…].

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17631595

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MAYDAY (TV Series)

Mayday, also known as Air Crash Investigation in Australia, South Africa, United Kingdom, Asia and some European countries, and Air Emergency and Air Disasters in the United States, is a Canadian documentary television program investigating air crashes, near-crashes, hijackings, bombings and other disasters. Mayday uses re-enactments and computer-generated imagery to reconstruct for its audiences the sequence of events leading up to each disaster. In addition, aviation experts, retired pilots and crash investigators are interviewed explaining how these emergencies came about, how they were investigated and how they could have been prevented.

Statistically, traveling by airplane is safer than driving and other forms of transportation, but when something goes wrong during a flight, it can be catastrophic with potentially hundreds of lives at stake. This series examines some of the world’s worst air disasters, using official reports, transcripts and interviews with people involved to tell the stories of midair mishaps and discover what went wrong in each case. Episodes include a discussion of how the weather affects flights — including stories of aviation disasters and near-misses — and a New Year’s Eve flight that fell from the sky into the Florida Everglades.

http://www.discovery.ca/Shows/Mayday

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TRUE STORIES: MAYDAY! MAYDAY!
Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, two men struggle to stay alive.

[ Lisa Grainger ]

http://www.readersdigest.ca/features/heart/true-stories-mayday-mayday/

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BREATHE

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

And I I’m desperate for you
And I I’m lost without you

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

And I I’m desperate for you
And I I’m lost without you

And I I’m lost without you
And I I’m desperate for you

And I I’m lost without you
I’m lost without you
I’m lost without you

I’m desperate for you
I’m desperate for you
I’m desperate for you

I’m lost without you
I’m desperate for you
I’m desperate for you
I’m lost without you
I’m lost without you
I’m lost without you
I’m lost without you
I’m desperate for you

[ Michael W. Smith – Written by Liam Howe, Tahliah Barnett, Timmaz Zolleyn ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oad8ov10AjY

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Anne Graham Lotz issues ‘Mayday’ distress call to prayer

A nine-day prayer initiative issued by the evangelist Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz will begin Friday as thousands of Christians join to pray.

Lotz’s “Mayday Call to Prayer” May 15-23, 2015 is intended as an “international distress call that signals a life threatening emergency,” she writes.

“I believe it’s time to not just pray. It’s time to cry out to God on behalf of our nation and our world,” Lotz states in a message on her website.

In her message, Lotz refers to “The Rapture,” a time when “Jesus is soon to return to take all of His follower to Heaven with Him.”

“God may allow His people today to go through a time of distress and trouble before The Rapture takes place,” she warns. “I believe we are in that time now.”
– Anne Graham Lotz

“While this will be deliverance for His people, can you imagine the impact on our nation, let alone the world, when suddenly every single authentic Christian disappears?” she asks.

“God may allow His people today to go through a time of distress and trouble before The Rapture takes place,” she warns. “I believe we are in that time now.”

The timing is important she says. Nine days represent the days between the Day of the Ascension of Jesus and the Day of Pentecost — days that have traditionally and biblically been ones of prayer and fasting for an outpouring of God’s Spirit.

The purpose of “MayDay! MayDay!” Lotz said is:

* To claim God our Father’s promise of an outpouring of His Spirit in these days following three blood moons and a total solar eclipse: …I will pour out my Spirit in those days …The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Joel 2:29, 31

* To implore God the Holy Spirit to compel the church to repent of sin and our nation to return to faith in the living God, that times of refreshing may come… Acts 3:19

* To entreat God our Savior for an abundant harvest of souls for His Kingdom in the remaining days. Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? ¹ I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35

* To delay or soften God’s judgment that is coming on America and on our world. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing. Joel 2:13-14

Rev. Pierre Bynum of the Washington based Family Research Council encourages participation in the prayer, asking Christians to “take Anne’s call to heart” because she “hears from the Lord and obeys.”

In preparation for the Mayday prayer day, participants can choose to receive a prayer written by Lotz or follow specific prayer points. She will post videos and other helps at her site for those who sign up.

During the nine days of prayer, participants are asked to pray for an hour per day. Critical occurrences surrounding these days of prayer include the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on the future of marriage in America.

http://www.christianexaminer.com/article/anne-graham-lotz-issues-mayday-distress-call-to-prayer/48923.htm

http://www.annegrahamlotz.org/events/prayer-initiatives/mayday/

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HELP!

Help, I need somebody
Help, not just anybody
Help, you know I need someone, help

When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me, get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways
My independence seems to vanish in the haze
But every now and then I feel so insecure
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me, get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me

When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self-assured
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me, get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me, help me, help me, oh

[ The Beatles – “Help!” album ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWP6Qki8mWc

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GOD HELP ME!

Getting Rid of Fear and Anger
Each one of us has a particular level at which our emotions overflow and we cry out, “God help me!” We may have just received disappointing results to a medical test or some devastating news from a family member. Our emotions are a mess! We don’t know if we’re angry, panicked, scared, fearful of the future…we do know that we can’t continue on our own strength.

Sometimes these emotions are too much for us to handle and they spill onto others. When first diagnosed with cancer, I was fearful of going blind. I vented anger at my caretakers. Did you ever notice that fear and anger are siblings? Harsh words are exchanged between individuals, fearing betrayal in their relationships. Fear concerning a medical test generates anger when cancer is confirmed. It doesn’’t even matter if the anger/fear is clearly justified…it still continues to ferment.

Destructive fear (worry, panic, suspicion) is generated from anticipation of the unknown. We all like to be in control of our circumstances. (And doesn’t it just make you angrier when you can’t be in control?) But when I compared my minimal human capabilities to that of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present God, I surrendered my control. Suddenly my fears (and anger) diminished (Psalm 131:1-2).

God Help Me – Finding a Life That’s Worth Living
When you cry out, “God help me,” do you believe that there is a more fulfilling life ahead? A relationship with a dedicated and loving Heavenly Father changes your worldview from a temporary to an eternal perspective (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). The relationship that you develop through knowing God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Savior renews you mentally and physically.

You can’’t change the world around you until you change your world. We can choose to live in disobedience to God’s plans — living in sin (Romans 3:23). Or we can ask for forgiveness and thank Jesus Christ for sacrificing His life as payment for our sins.

“This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault” (Colossians 1:21-22).

By accepting Jesus as Lord of our lives we are born again — members of God’s family — with the guarantee of eternal life in heaven. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

God Help Me – Making the Right Choice
God is eager to help you (Romans 5:6-11). He loves you so much and doesn’’t want you to go through this trial alone.

[ All About God ]

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HELP FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT

What is meant by “We do not know what we should pray for?” (Romans 8:26). For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, because we don’t know what, specifically, is ‘best’ for us or someone. But the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

[ John MacArthur ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfRwNe92u-w

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HOW TO ASK GOD FOR HELP

I. Introduction – the Benefits of Reading Psalms

One of the benefits of reading the Psalms is that they present us with pictures of what godly people in the past have experienced and how they got through them. And when we read those stories it gives us encouragement to keep on living for God even if we are experiencing troubles and difficulties.

Psalm 40 is one of the clearest psalms that tell us a pattern of how a person with faith in God goes through life when he encounters troubles.

You’ve already heard the first 11 verses read. As we concentrate on the first 3 verses this morning, we see a pattern of life that emerges that looks like this:

In vs. 2 it describes King David admitting that He is in a pit. That’s the first stage of the pattern. Then we see he cries out to God for help at the end of vs. 1. The third stage is patiently waiting for God to deliver him. Then we see God rescues him by drawing him out of the pit in vs. 2. The fifth stage is God gives David a new song to sing in vs. 3. And finally we see many others come to trust in God because of his testimony. Let’s look at each of these stages.

II. Six Stages

1. He Is in a Pit
The first thing that we read is that David is in a pit. But this may not mean a literal pit; David may be describing a situation in which he feels as if he was in a pit.

Although we are not sure the exact situation that he is facing, we can get a sense of what David felt when he uses the imagery of a slimy pit.

I have not been in a pit, or trapped inside it, but I have seen deep pits in cemeteries where the workmen have dug holes for burial. Suppose a dry pit like that is not covered and it rains some. Pretty soon the pit will turn muddy and slimy. That is what mire means in vs. 2. Mire is deep mud and slush. It is tough enough to be in a deep pit that is dry, imagine if you are stuck in it when it is muddy. As hard as you try to get out, you keep on slipping and falling back into the pit.

Maybe this is what Joseph in the Bible experienced when he was thrown into a cistern by his brothers. The word translated “cistern” in Joseph’s experience is the same word as “pit” here. And the prophet Jeremiah was also thrown into a cistern, a pit, by King Zedekiah, where it says “there was no water in the cistern, but only mire and Jeremiah sank in the mire” (Jer. 38:6).

I hope we have not fallen into a physical pit like that ourselves. But what could it represent in our life?

I think when there is a sense of hopelessness and desperation, like you are stuck for a long time in a bind and you can’t get out, no matter how hard you try, and no one is coming to help you, that is what being in a pit feels like. In people’s lives today, it could be the breaking point for someone who is overworked at their place of employment, where they work 10 or 12 hours per day and it just goes on and on.

Or it could be the limit of a mother with small children at home, it could be the impossible expectations of too many classes in school, it could be the physical and recurring pain of someone who suffers an illness, or the constant strains of not having enough money. These are the pits we might face.

You scratch and claw to try to get out and get some air and relief, but you keep falling back into the pit and there seems to be no hope of improvement. A sense of desperation and futility settles in.

David felt like that.

What does he do next?

2. He Cries Out to God for Help
He cries out to God for help.

David cries out to ask God for help, and he is most likely crying tears of pain because the suffering is so great.

David cried tears at other times too. In Ps. 6:6 David says, “I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.” In the NASB translation of Ps. 56:8, David writes, “Put my tears in Thy bottle, Are they not in Thy book?”

David was an emotional man. In other words, David lived a real life. He did not hide his tears when it hurt. Jesus said to his disciples, “Blessed are those who mourn.” It is very manly, very human, to be able to mourn.

When a broken man cries out to God, it is a beautiful thing. It shows a realization that he cannot do it on his own, he needs help; he needs God’s help.

This is another thing we see. David cries out to God, he did not cry out to other people for help. Some people are willing to say they need help, but they will seek it anywhere else but from God.

But not David. He knew from his experiences that human help couldn’t save him in many situations. There are times that are so desperate that only God can help us.

A good example of this is King Asa. God punished him for relying on Syria as an ally instead of on God. But Asa refused to learn his lesson and at the end of his life, it says in 1 Chron. 16:12, “In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians.”

The point here is not that we should avoid seeing doctors when we need to, but that it is a mistake to make a doctor your God, to think that with him alone is healing. And this is true for whoever else we put our hopes on. It could be your husband, your wife, your boss, your parents, or even your pastor. They are not able to help us just by themselves. We also need God.

A fine summary of this principle is in Ps. 146:3-5, “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God…”

Is your hope in the Lord your God rather than man?

And when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances, make sure we go on to stage 3.

3. He Patiently Waits for God to Deliver Him
Stage 3 is to wait patiently for the Lord to deliver him.

Having cried out to God for help, we then need to wait. And wait patiently. The first reaction when we are in a pit may be to try harder, to get ourselves out, but that may just be tiring us out even more. The new pattern of life calls us to wait patiently.

But the funny thing is that most of us when we call out to God for help don’t wait long enough for God to act. After a short while, we start to do things on our own again instead of continuing to ask God and wait for him to act.

David waited patiently for God to act and God in his time, acted. He lifted David out of the pit and set him on a rock.

Joseph in the book of Genesis waited patiently for God to act. And soon enough he was lifted out of the pit and brought into Egypt for what would be an incredible turnaround in his life.

Jeremiah waited patiently for the Lord to act. In Jeremiah’s case, God used an official to plead Jeremiah’s case to the king and the king told the official to take thirty men to lift Jeremiah out of the pit. Jeremiah didn’t even ask for help, but God brought it to him.

Jesus was in the greatest pit of all. He was crucified on the cross and then buried in the cave. And all he could do was wait for God his Father to act to save him.

Whatever you might be facing in terms of a pit you may be in, continue to wait for God to act.

A man who was baptized two weeks in our church gave a moving testimony about the life he lived before he became a Christian. He got into all kinds of troubles, including gambling and getting involved with other women, and it tore his family apart. Yet his wife kept on praying and waiting for God to act. And God changed this man. Through the pain he experienced, God brought him to repentance and he gave up his old ways and turned to God. And in the baptism service, he shared this with everyone, and his whole family was standing with him on the stage and they all started to cry, including his kids and his wife.

God acted. But his wife and family had to wait patiently.

What does it mean to waiting patiently for the Lord?

What it does not mean is just saying, “OK, Lord, I’m just going to sit here and wait for something to happen.”

Waiting patiently for the Lord means actively seeking him. In fact, some versions of the Bible translate the word “patiently” as “intently,” – “waiting intently for the Lord.”

It means continuous praying to God for help. It means continual obedience to God even as we wait for him to solve our problems. It means considering and reflecting on God’s words that he has spoken to us in the Bible. It means to focus all of our energy on him. That’s waiting intently and patiently. It is not neglecting God and denying the problem, but it is actively waiting and hoping in God.

And how long will it take for God to answer our prayers? We don’t know for sure. It could be years. It’s been that way for us waiting for our new church building. It was years for that wife waiting for her husband to change. There were times when King David had to wait for years for his prayers to be answered.

It doesn’t matter how long. We don’t know how long it will take for our situation to be changed, but our responsibility and our comfort is to wait patiently for God to act. Because he will.

4. God Rescues David by Drawing Him Out of the Pit
The fourth stage is that in God’s time, he rescued David by drawing him out of the pit.

God may have healed him of some illness. Or perhaps God restored his name in the face of his enemies who were putting him to shame and disgracing him. Or perhaps it was his own sin. In vs. 13, David admits he had sinned and that was part of the contributing factor to his being in the pit. Sometimes we also share in some part in the pit we are in.

Whatever it was, God rescued him from the pit and gave him a rock to stand upon.

What is the rock?

Vs. 17 tells us that “You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.”

God is the rock. He is the solid ground for David.

5. God Gives David a New Song to Sing
And as a result of his rescue by God, God gives David a new song to sing.

This new song means new words of praise to God that he did not possess before. Due to this rescue of his life, David has experienced the help of God in a way that he did not before, and this results in new words. Perhaps psalm 40 is the new song that David wrote after his rescue.

Each time you go through a new experience with God and are rescued by God, you will have a new appreciation and new words to say and sing about God.

Some songwriters can write hundreds of songs. How do they do it? By having gone through different experiences they come up with different songs.

God is in the business of giving us new experiences with him, experiences that we did not have with him before. We might think God is very routine but actually God wants to give us fresh and new experiences with him all the time. When I think about the experiences that God has given me, I am amazed how different they are. I don’t have two experiences with God that is the same. What I learned this week is different than what I learned last week and so forth, but God is constantly teaching me new lessons.

My new song this week is being overwhelmed at first at the many things that I felt we needed to do for our cell groups. I was so overwhelmed that for a day and a half I didn’t know where to start. But after our prayer meeting on Wednesday night, on Thursday morning became clearer to me the few things I should concentrate on. God showed me that he is with me and will not leave me.

And each time we go through a new experience with God, we have a new story to tell about what he has done. Some people are gifted so that when they reflect more on their experiences with God they can actually write it in the form of a new song. David could do that.

6. Many Others Come to Trust in God
And there is another reason God gives us a new song in our life. Not only so it benefits us, but it is also that other people can come to trust in God more.

In vs. 3, it says that “Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

This is one the results of us receiving help from God. We now have a concrete testimony and story to share with others. We know that many people came to know Jesus Christ or become curious about him because of Christians’ testimonies about what God has done for them.

People do listen. And it makes them think. It makes them think that since God helped you perhaps God can also help them in their troubles. And they begin to seek God.

So don’t keep your testimonies all to yourself. That’s why I didn’t keep my testimony just to myself, but shared it with you. Yes, it felt a little awkward at first, but I know now it’s the right thing to do. Why should I hide what God is doing in my life from you? I shouldn’t.

God wants us to share our stories and testimonies with others. That is one way to draw others into a search for God. You can write for the Rock newsletters, you can share your stories in prayer meetings or in your cell groups or with friends. This is also personal evangelism in its most natural way. And all of us can do this. Your personal story of how God saved you and helped you is a powerful tool to share God with others. This isn’t complicated. You can do it.

And when we share our testimonies and stories of God acting in our life with others we must remember one thing.

We must remember that we can influence people through our words and actions, but we cannot control people. We don’t know what they will do with what they hear from us, but at least we have influenced them.

I was reminded of this in an article I read this week in Focus on the Family magazine.

In an article by a pastor about times in his ministry when he felt his effort was wasted and just not getting the result he was hoping for, he wrote this:

“Spiritual work has limits. Consider the difference between the work of a farmer and that of a cabinetmaker. With tools like saws and routers, a cabinetmaker directly and immediately molds his products to conform to his vision. A farmer, on the other hand, works in partnership with a host of forces beyond his control: soil, sun, seed, weather, pests, fertilizer and ultimately, God. Because he deals with living things, a farmer cannot directly shape his corps. He must wait patiently for the process to be completed” (“Faith for the Low-Yield Years,” Craig Brian Larson, Focus on the Family, Jan. 2002, p. 14).

III. Conclusion

Did you catch that? “Wait patiently for the process to be completed.” That is what we have to do when we are working with people and working for God.

This is what David is writing about in Ps. 40.

I have to remember this too. My work is not measured in how quickly something happens, but my work is measured by how faithful I do my work and how patiently I look to God to act.

My job and your job may be to plant seeds in people. Maybe we will harvest the crops later on. I hope so, but when that happens is beyond my control and your control. But that doesn’t excuse us from not doing our part, which is to sing of what God has done for us and what God can do for others too. That is what God has called us to do. The rest is to patiently wait for him. Let us pray.

[ John Tung ]

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WHAT DO I PRAY IN MY DEPEST PAIN?
(The Answer is Easter)

– Affirm God’s power
– Express your desire
– Offer your trust

[ Rick Warren ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkHOAORrb1Y

Full Sermon:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLv0NUnkCyU

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MAY DAY ‘MAYDAY’

The winter of 1780 and 1781 had looked bleak indeed for the American cause. If the English control of the seas continued; if the French did not move more decisively to help; if the supply arsenals could not be stocked and if the men did not keep their courage, all would be lost. Even General Washington feared the worst and confided in his diary that not only was he losing military engagements, he was losing the heart of the people. On the first of May in 1781, Washington wrote, “Instead of having everything in readiness to take the field, we have nothing; and instead of having the prospect of a glorious offensive campaign before us, we have a bewildered and gloomy defensive one. (All that we need), he wrote, is too contingent to build upon.”

Now that was May 1, mind you, just as today is May 1, and the commander in chief of American forces was weary, tired, worn out from apparently fruitless endeavors. Now some things were soon to happen – too numerous and too complicated for me to elaborate on here. The arrival of the French fleet, some important strategic decision, some British mistakes. And by the middle of October, less than six months later, Lord Cornwallis and the British army had surrendered at Yorktown in Virginia. The image I have always cherished of that surrender is the picture of the British troops filing by to lay down their arms and their standards while the American military band played a tune popular in those days, a tune called “The World Turned Upside Down.” The revolution had been won.

From defeat to victory in six months; from the depths of despair to ecstatic joy in so little time; from the first of May, May Day, to the world turned upside down. Wouldn’t it be great if you could always count on that? Wouldn’t it be grand to know the secret of that?

Today, as I’ve said, is May Day, the first of May. It is two hundred and seven years since Washington’s May Day, for him a day of despair and hopelessness. And it is less than a hundred years since labor leaders and others around the world began celebrating the first of May May Day, as a day that would lift up the idea of revolution, of change, of struggle for the rights of the working man. Today on the streets of Moscow and in a dozen other capital cities around the world there will be May Day parades with a focus on revolution, change, a world in the making, in short, a world turned upside down. And if you and I find it hard to think that a Socialist state would really be a people’s paradise; if you and I strongly suspect that what May Day really means to many around the world is more oppression rather than more freedom, more despair, rather than more hope, well, that may be, but that does not dim the fact that this day, the first of May, has long-standing connotations of revolution and change, a world turned upside down.

Now in the 17th chapter of the book of Acts we learn something about the revolutionary spirit that wants to turn the world upside down. And we learn too what the world thinks about being stood on its ear. Maybe as we read this story on May Day we can learn something about the drive to turn the world upside down.

The traveling missionaries are Paul, Silas, and Timothy; they are on their way through the cities of Macedonia in the northern part of Greece. They had just spent a night or rather half a night in the pokey at Philippi, and now they are on their way to the city of Thessalonica. Listen to what Paul and Silas did and how they were received there in Thessalonica:

Acts 17:1-9 These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and they say that there is another king, Jesus.

I tell you, the world generally reacts to revolutionaries this way. Who do they think they are to upset what we have gotten so used to? Who do they imagine they are to suggest a new and different loyalty? Most of us are not very comfortable with visionaries and revolutionaries; and most of us have so domesticated the Christian faith that the farthest thing from our minds would be this business of being tabbed as those who have turned the world upside down. No, we would rather think of ourselves as those who set it right side up!

But Paul and Silas, preaching to the Thessalonians, claimed that their loyalties were misguided and that their allegiance to Caesar was off base, that there is another king, Jesus. And for that Paul and Silas were hounded out of town.

On this May Day, symbol of change and revolution, symbol of the quest for justice and peace, I have to wonder whether you and I are Thessalonians too. I have to wonder whether we have truly understood that there is a new king, Jesus. I have to ask whether we have received .the news that the world is to be turned upside down.

On this May Day, there is another King, Jesus, and he stands over against the gods of war and of militarism. He stands over against the conventional wisdom that nation should rise up against nation and fight and slaughter. There is a new king, Jesus, and he would turn the world of violence upside down.

On this May Day, there is another king, Jesus, and he stands over against the empire of getting and spending and possessing and ambition. He stands over against our need to acquire and to hold and to keep for ourselves, and he turns upside down the world of our values. There is a new king, Jesus.

On this May Day, you and I have built little private kingdoms, in which we have found it so easy to build a little comfortable nest, in which we have found it so pleasant to insulate ourselves from the troubles of the world; in which I for one have found it so comforting to work behind the stained glass windows and to dabble in things spiritual while hundreds destroy themselves with drugs and crime and all the rest; in which I have found it more pleasant to condemn than to be an agent of change … into this private kingdom a new king, Jesus, has come, and I don’t like it. Do you? We don’t like having our happy settled routines altered, and so like the men and women of Thessalonica we would like to run the radicals out of town. They are turning the world upside down.

But the haunting words of the Bible: “there is a new king, Jesus.” And if I follow him, I need to have a hand in this May Day, revolutionary business, of turning the world upside down. If Jesus is the king in my life, then I need to have a hand in the monumental task of changing this world into his kingdom. It’s not good enough just to accept things as they are, it’s not good enough just to escape and feel myself to be safe and secure from all alarms, it’s not good enough to trim candles in the temple while the world is on fire … not when there is a new king, Jesus. Not when on this May Day he summons me to turn the world upside down.

But, you know, Paul and Silas were heard in Thessalonica. Some folks heard them and responded. Look back at it: a church began there. The new king, Jesus, gained a following in the city of Thessalonica. And it wasn’t long before Paul was writing these believers to counsel them and to encourage them in their May Day faith, because already, apparently, some had lost it. Some had lost the urgency with which they had begun. They had responded to a new king, Jesus, they had adopted a revolutionary, world turned upside down commitment, but in a short time, something had happened. Listen to what Paul has to say to them:

II Thessalonians 3:10-13

If anyone will not work, let him not eat: the only verse of scripture quoted in the Communist Manifesto, by the way. And I do wonder whether the authors of that revolutionary document knew they were quoting this revolutionary document. But the key point, the punch line: “Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.” Do not be weary in well-doing.

You see, if I change my little image of May Day and I say it as one word, Mayday, the meaning changes, doesn’t it? You’ve seen all those war pictures, and after the Nazis have shot at the plane the pilot is screaming into his radio, “Mayday, Mayday.” It means, “I’m in danger.” It means, “Help me.” It means, “I’m caught in a life and death situation. Mayday, mayday, come to my rescue.” The time comes even if you are committed to a new king, Jesus, and to a world turned upside down, that it just gets scary. It just gets frightening out there. Our commitment wanes and our energy dissipates, and they shoot at us. I mean, if you are on the front lines of this world every day, and if you are trying in the name of Christ to turn it upside down and claim it for the king, they are going to snipe at you and you are going to get desperate. May Day is going to become Mayday; belonging to the revolution is going to become battle weariness.

Some of you remember the peace movements and the civil rights struggles of the 60’s. A lot of folks in those years thought they were doing the May Day thing, that they were working for a whole new world. But by the 70’s a weariness set in, a despair set in, and quite a few folks just burned out on the whole thing. They got weary in well-doing.

But the apostle Paul says to you and to me, “Your May Day faith is always in danger of turning into Mayday. Your commitment to a world turned upside down is always in danger of becoming despair and weariness, giving up. But brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.” Do not be weary in well-doing. Do not give up, because the struggle is long and the rewards often seem few, but there is a new day coming. There’s a new world emerging, and He’s got this new world in His hands.

You see, once there was a May Day summons for a young man; for this young man there was a call to come out of obscurity and to change the world. In the space of three years he was to challenge the old ways and offer new ones, he was to plumb deep into the hearts and minds of men and women and to persuade them of a whole new way of thinking and living. It was May Day for this young man; he heard the call to turn the world upside down.

But at the end of that three years, had you listened closely, you might have imagined that May Day had become Mayday, that the summons to revolution had become a cry of despair and of fear. Had you heard him on one fateful night you might have believed that he had indeed become weary, exceedingly weary in well-doing, and that the world had succeeded in conspiring to put him to silence and to keep itself right side up.

Weariness … the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. And yet he did not yield to the easy way, the comfortable way, yet he did not give in to his weariness … and when the tomb was emptied three days later it was not Mayday, Mayday, danger, weariness; it was May Day, revolution day, world turned upside down day.

Come to this table where we celebrate him. Come bring your reluctance to change this world and turn it upside down, and see him, hear him call you to May Day. Come bring your weariness, come bring your wounded hearts, come bring your Mayday mentality, your weariness mentality, and take heart. Do not be weary in well-doing. There is a new king, Jesus, and the world you are to turn upside down he holds in the hollow of his nail-scarred hand.

[ Joseph Smith ]

*****************************
MAYDAY

Awakened from my slumber by the thunder, lightning clappin’___
Rainin’ on my window pane and praying I make something happen
A preacher’s prophecies never bothered me when I was younger
Sittin’ on my grandma’s lap, and she cried, I often wondered
“What was her tears for? Could it be for my grandfather?”
Or maybe she felt for me cuz I’d see more of those cold tomorrows
Than she’d see. The world would up and turn on me
Cuz the morals that she often spoke were meant for 1923
I fall asleep off in her arms, a psalm was spoken
“The Lord is surely my shepherd” and “lead me to the water”
A thought that often stuck with me, amongst the wolves that run the streets
Out here payin’ dues then lose, I pray your ways would comfort me
A non-believer I never have and never could be
Lord, give me time to peep the signs I should see
Sippin’ got me feelin’ like a player
Ridin’ clean, bendin’ corners, hopin’ I might find my savior
On the curb, I rarely go to church
False prophets rockin’ Prada so I rarely feel the Word
Jezebel’s lurkin’ in the pews on the first
Preacher’s weaker than the deacon cuz it’s hard to fight the urge
It’s hard to live and serve when you on the Devil’s turf
Sell your soul for the loan with no sense of what it’s worth
Don’t get it twisted, I ain’t no saint, I ain’t no pastor
But prayin’ ain’t just for cloudy days and natural disasters
Aware of what comes after, bet you ain’t fo’ sho’
I was warned that heaven ain’t the only place to go
I’m doin’ what I can cuz there really ain’t much time
I leave ‘dis in the Lord’ hands, I’m tired of cryin’

Hook:
Man down!
Hopin’, prayin’, sayin’ I can’t turn
Back now!
He will find you, this world’ll blind you, don’t you be another
Man down!
Hopin’, prayin’, sayin’ you can’t turn
Back now!
Help is just one prayer away
Don’t be afraid to say,
“Mayday!”

Father forgive us for we know not what we do
In my bias, I’ve been pious with my nose up in the pews
Like Paul, I bear good news; they think I’m pall-bearin’
My message sounds like death to these hearers as they perish
Scary to think we on the brink of death
But no one stops look for answers on what happens next
Got a couple scriptures from our grandma, sayings from a preacher
But can’t live out these standards that we heard it takes to reach ’em
But when I look at Jesus, He lived the life I couldn’t
Suffered for my crimes so I wouldn’t
I used to have to sneak into the movies ’cause I couldn’t ‘ford to pay
So ‘splain to me how some one paid my way
When hear Krit confessin’ I respect him
‘Cause most of us be lying like our lives don’t need perfectin’
Nothin’ that we muster, Nothin’ that we can change
Admitting that we’re imperfect, offendin’ God with our games
Look, I’m just being honest so don’t take for me for no lame
I seen it fo’ myself; I’m a product of this thang
Now I found true religion, and it’s not inside of denim
And them overpriced shades has never given us vision

[ LeCrae – “Gravity” album ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9CupHdgpzs

*****************************
SPIRITUAL MAYDAY

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phl 4:6)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6) (NIV)

There is no situation more anxious for a firefighter, than for problems to occur inside a fire building (burning structure). Potential problems that may occur include falls, collapse, becoming lost, trapped, or disoriented, becoming stuck, and loss of air, or malfunction of breathing apparatus.

When these situations occur, we are trained to call a Mayday!

The word “mayday” is French in origin. The original being, “m’aide”, which means “help me”. The root of this word being similar to our word “aid”, is “aider” meaning “to help”.

As a fire department, it is of utmost importance that we train for the mayday situation. One of the ways we do this is by constructing a training course made of props that simulate mayday situations. The ‘blacked out’ (blindfolded) firefighter starts at the beginning, following a hose line on his hands and knees. The first situation he comes to is to simulate a fall through the roof or floor (this is accomplished by using a ledge/lever arrangement that tips the firefighter into a safe area). After following the proper mayday procedures the firefighter then advances through the training course. Back on the hoseline the next situation is a building collapse (two personnel pin down the firefighter with pallets or a section of fence). The firefighter calls the mayday, then advances. An entanglement prop is the next hurdle to overcome. As the firefighter follows the hoseline, crawling through the maze his air pack/bottle becomes entangled on wire or rope. After trying to, unsuccessfully, free himself, the mayday is called. The final prop is to simulate being lost or disoriented. As the firefighter makes his way to the dead-end of the maze a door is closed behind him. Now, when he turns to go back the way he came, there is no opening he is boxed in. His only option is to call the mayday.

Through out the obstacle course the firefighter has encountered (and properly responded to) the four mayday parameters:

Fall – no matter what through
Collapse – having something collapse on the firefighter
Lost/Trapped – becoming disoriented, not knowing where to go
Stuck – becoming entangled

There is a proper way to call the mayday. This method is used over and over and over again throughout the training process, so that it becomes second nature. If the need arrises to call the mayday, the process can be accomplished more smoothly as a learned habit.

After the firefighter realizes that he is in a mayday situation, he must conduct the proper actions to ensure that his mayday is realized. The first step is to press the EIB button on his radio. The “emergency identifier button” sends out an emergency signal. When this button is pressed it cuts off all radio communications except for the downed firefighters. This gives radio silence on the fire scene allowing the endangered firefighter only, to transmit his message. After the EIB has been activated, the firefighter must broadcast his message, starting with , “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!”. After the initial “mayday” call the firefighter must then provide information for his rescuers. The information needed is in the form of the acrostic LUNAR.

L – location (where you currently are in relation to where you started)
U – unit (truck/company/station that you are part of)
N – name (identification)
A – assignment (the task you were performing at the time of the incident)
R – resources needed (items/tools that may be necessary for your survival)

There are often times, in the life of a Christian, that we need to call a spiritual mayday. Throughout our lives we experience many anxious things, things that cause us to wring our hands in worry, and fret. We experience trials, tribulations, sadness, disappointments, death, embarrasments, dangers, economic losses, uncertainty of the future, our spiritual conditions may waver and wane. In all this, God’s Word says, “do not worry about anything”.

Fall – as Christians there will be times that we will stumble and fall. We will make mistakes.
Collapse – there will be times of burden in our Christian lives.
Lost/Trapped – we may become disoriented. We may lose our way, or lose track of the vision that God has for our lives.
Stuck – situations of life may entangle us, and drag us down.

It is in the midst of these situations that the spiritual mayday must be called! “…In everything through prayer and petition (supplication) with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

For the firefighter in the mayday situation to become anxious could mean certain death or destruction. If the firefighter was just to begin ringing his hands and “freaking” out; or to just begin running crazy, or to do nothing, he would have no chance of survival.

There are so many situations of life that can make us anxious, or worry. If we lose our heads, or continue down the road of letting this anxiety build, we will ultimately be destroyed. We see people, friends, family, neighbors, who experience this. They do not have the hope of God in their life. The worry and fret, but get nowhere. We see lives ruined, because in their anxiety, they try to do things in their own power, not “through prayer and petition”.

The first step in initiating the mayday call is to activate the EIB (emergency identifier button), which essentially closes the lines of communication to all but the endangered firefighter. The firefighter calling the mayday has an open line of communication. His call will not go unnoticed.

I am glad we have an open line of communication with our Father. When we are in these life situations we have a God, who loves and cares about us, who is always listening, who wants to come, be near us, and meet our deepest needs.

HEB. 13:5
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

ROM. 8: 35-39
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The LUNAR considerations for firefighters calling a mayday, can serve as a kind of guide, for our times of petition/supplication.

L – location, telling God where you are, what is going on.
U – unit
N – name, identifying ourselves, who we are in Christ
A – assignment, telling God why you’re where you are
R – resources needed, petitioning God, telling God our needs (as we see them)

Our rescue comes.

Fall – I COR. 10: 11-13
“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

– RIT/RIC teams

Collapse – 1 PE. 5:7
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Lost/Trapped – PR. 29:18, JER 1:5
“Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.” Pr. 29: 18

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jer. 1: 5

Stuck – HEB. 12:1-2
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

In studying the firefighter response to mayday situations, it was discovered that there are ten reasons that firefighters delay or neglect calling the mayday:

– Temporal distortion (time seems to speed up or slow down).
– Reluctance to relinquish control of ones situation.
– Channeled attention (continuing with a previously selected course of action because other more significant information is not perceived).
– Loss of situational awareness.
– Fear of the unknown.
– Fear of retribution (teasing, cost of equipment, etc.).
– Lack of procedural knowledge.
– Attempting to fix the problem.
– Pride (ego).
– Denial (this is not happening to me).

These ten principles for denial also apply to the spiritual mayday. For much of the same reasons, people refuse to give in to Christ; people continually hold on to their anxieties, troubles, and worries. People lose out on this hope we have on Christ, they deny the eternal salvation of God via these same thought patterns.

In conclusion, let us bring our concerns, worries, and anxieties, to the throne of God. He wants them. If you are not aware of this hope that we can have in Christ, accept him now.

– Temporal distortion (time seems to speed up or slow down) – not now, later; plenty of time
– Reluctance to relinquish control of ones situation – I’m in charge of me
– Channeled attention (continuing with a previously selected course of action because other more significant information is not perceived) -we know best
– Loss of situational awareness – no knowledge of current spiritual state
– Fear of the unknown – no hope
– Fear of retribution (teasing, cost of equipment, etc.) – what will it cost me
– Lack of procedural knowledge – how to…prayer, supplication, thanksgiving
– Attempting to fix the problem – I can fix it myself
– Pride (ego)
– Denial (this is not happening to me) – don’t need it, not necessary, not for me

Whatever your anxiety is this morning, lets bring it to Jesus. Perhaps you’re a victim of the economic downturn, maybe your carrying a burden, maybe you have personal issues in your life…stop worrying, give it to Christ.

Perhaps this morning, you don’t know Christ. You don’t know of this relationship with Him. You’ve been carrying all your worries, and anxieties on your own shoulders, trying to handle things yourself. You don’t have to. God wants to take that.

[ Aaron Johnson ]

*****************************
LORD, HEAR ME IN DISTRESS

Lord, hear me in distress,
Regard my suppliant cry,
And in Thy faithfulness
And righteousness reply.
In judgment do not cause
Thy servant to be tried;
Before Thy holy laws
No man is justified.

The enemy has sought
My soul in dust to tread;
To darkness I am brought,
Forgotten as the dead.
My spirit, crushed with grief,
Is sad and overborne;
My heart finds no relief,
But desolate I mourn.

Recalling former days
And all Thy wondrous deeds,
The mem’ry of Thy ways
To hope and comfort leads.
to Thee I stretch my hands,
Let me not plead in vain;
I wait as weary lands
Wait for refreshing rain.

My failing spirit see,
O Lord, to me make haste;
Hide not Thy face from me,
Lest bitter death I taste,
O let the morn return,
Let mercy light my day;
For Thee in faith I yearn,
O guide me in the way.

Lord, save me from my foe,
To Thee for help I flee;
Teach me Thy way to know,
I have no God but Thee.
By Thy good Spirit lead
From trouble and distress,
My erring feet shall tread
The path of uprightness.

O Lord, for Thy Name’s sake
Revive my fainting heart;
My soul from trouble take,
For just and true Thou art.
Remove my enemy,
My cruel foe reward;
In mercy rescue me
Who am Thy servant, Lord.

[ Christian Hymns II ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ug74uqFIWoQ

*****************************
May the LORD Answer You When You Are in Distress

The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble;
the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;

Send thee help from the sanctuary,
and strengthen thee out of Zion;

Remember all thy offerings,
and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.

Grant thee according to thine own heart,
and fulfil all thy counsel.

We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God
we will set up our banners:
the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed;
he will hear him from his holy heaven
with the saving strength of his right hand.

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses:
but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

They are brought down and fallen:
but we are risen, and stand upright.

Save, LORD: let the king
hear us when we call.

[ John Calvin – On Psalm 20 ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMOtvtiq2yc

*****************************
MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

“Late that day Jesus said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”

Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?”

They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!” Mark 4: 35 – 41, The Message, by Eugene H. Peterson

Thankfully, for most of us landlubbers, it only happens in nightmares. We’re in a boat. A storm comes up, the waves surge, the boat is swamped, and begins to sink. We wake up in a panic to find ourselves – again thankfully – not in a boat but in our bed.

For some, it’s not a nightmare, but reality. After all, we do live on Lake Michigan.

Four years ago, on May 24th, 2008, Ferdinand Soco invited me to go on a fishing trip on Lake Michigan. It was great fun, and we caught so much salmon we ate it for days. In fact, I ate so much salmon that weekend I’ve hardly wanted to eat any since.

Just six days later, on May 30, 2008, another fishing boat piloted by Capt. Jason Lee took five men and two women out of Waukegan harbor on an almost identical trip. Except, the difference being, instead of catching fish, their boat sank and they almost drowned.

Their morning started out as nice as ours six days earlier, but they got caught in a freak storm the National Weather Service called a “wake effect low pressure,” essentially a mini-tornado packing winds of 65 mph. One foot waves surged to ten foot waves, which took out the windshield and swamped the boat. Just before they went into the water, the Captain grabbed the radio and called the Coast Guard: “Mayday! Mayday! We are in need of rescue, seven people in the water!” providing the boat’s exact coordinates. After floating in the 48 degree water for 30 minutes, just as they were about to succumb to hypothermia, say goodbye and go under, they heard one of the sweetest sounds in their life, the sound of an approaching Coast Guard helicopter. Thanks to the Coast Guard, all seven survived. (Seven Nearly Lost on Lake Michigan, by Jamie Sotonoff, the Daily Herald, June 9, 2008). When Ferdinand and I read that story, we weren’t sure we ever wanted to go fishing again!

For those to whom it does happen, such a life-threatening event can also be life shaping. As United Methodists, we may not know that our own lives and faith have been shaped by such a life-threatening experience at sea.

In 1736, when the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, sailed from England to America as a missionary, it was fear in the midst of such a storm at sea that brought his faith under examination. On Sunday, January 25th, 1736, as Wesley was worshiping with a group of German Moravian Brethren who were on the same ship, he recorded in his Journal what happened:

“In the midst of the psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the mainsail in pieces, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sang on. I asked one of them afterward, “Were you not afraid?” He answered, “I thank God, no.” I asked, “But were not your women and children afraid?” He replied, mildly, “No: our women and children are not afraid to die.”

Two years later, returning to England, with his mission to America a failure, following a similar storm at sea, Wesley reflected in his Journal:

“I went to America, to convert the Indians; but oh! who shall convert me? Who, what is he that will deliver me from this evil heart of mischief? I have a fair summer religion. I can talk well; nay, and believe myself, while no danger is near; but let death look me in the face, and my spirit is troubled.”

“Let death look me in the face, and my spirit is troubled,” is the English understatement of saying, “I was scared to death.” Or is that scared to faith? Because that’s also what happened to Jesus’ disciples that day on the Sea of Galilee.

Can you imagine yourself in that boat with them? Evidently, the Sea of Galilee is as meteorologically unstable as Lake Michigan. Without warning, a storm blew up, and despite the frantic efforts of experienced fishermen, the boat was about to be swamped. And not just that boat, but the small flotilla of boats, filled with the followers of Jesus, that accompanied them. Meanwhile, Jesus – worn out by tending to the needs of others – was passed out in the stern, asleep. Can you imagine Jesus, asleep? All I can say is, for being the Son of God, he was a sound sleeper.

It wasn’t like they could get on the radio and call “Mayday” to the Galilean Coast Guard, but they could wake up Jesus. Whether or not they hoped for a miracle, at the very least he could help them bail. Which if he had, might give a new meaning to the phrase, “Jesus saves.”

Whether or not we’ve ever experienced such a situation in a boat in a storm – and I’m pretty sure most of us would just as soon not, if we have the choice – I’m equally sure that in one way or another we have experienced cold, visceral, fear. Some of us may even have come here in it’s grip today.

That’s why the cry of Jesus’ terrified disciples in their frail storm-tossed boat has resonated throughout the centuries, in the lives of Christians, and in congregations and communities. We are afraid of the wind and waves that assail our fragile boats. We fear disapproval, rejection, failure, meaninglessness, illness, and of course we fear death – our own death, the death of those we love, and the potential demise of the communities we cherish. Because of this, the sea, the storm, and the fragile boat that carry Jesus and his followers across the Sea of Galilee offers evocative images of life’s journey: the peril of passage, the vulnerability of the boat, and our longing for the One who calms both us and the storm. As someone once wrote, “O Lord, the sea is so vast, and my boat is so small.”

So, don’t you love what the disciples say? Not, “Jesus, will you please wake up and see what’s going on? Not, “Look, we know you’re the Lord and everything, but can we give you a quick course in boats and water, LIKE HOW THEY SINK?” No, what they said was, “Jesus, we’re going down here; don’t you care?” Which is exactly how we feel, in our worst moments, about God: “God, don’t you care?”

Part of the problem might be that most of us were raised to believe in rescue religion: the belief, that, when we get in a bind we can’t get out of, God will get us out of it. Sometimes it might be that test we didn’t study for, those finances we didn’t manage, our health that we didn’t take care of, or maybe those six beers we probably shouldn’t have drunk before we wrecked the car. And so we pray, “Dear God, save me!”

Then there are those times where – through no fault of our own – life unravels and overwhelms us, and we find ourselves going under. It is then we feel that unless God smells the coffee and wakes up soon, we might not make it. What then?

It’s been my pastoral experience, that if we expect God to show up, in the form of a miracle, most of the time we‘ll be disappointed. Having said that, every one of us might be able to tell of a time when our jobs or our fortunes or our lives were saved, in ways that seemed inexplicable, even miraculous. Of course, the people who cried out for rescue and didn’t get saved, are not here to testify.

Sometimes God does try to save us, through means we may not recognize. Remember the story about the guy in the flood, who climbed onto his roof and prayed to God to save him? As it began to rain, a rescuer came in a pick-up truck, which the man turned down, because he was waiting for God to save him. As the waters rose, rescuers came in a boat, but again the man turned them down. Finally, as the waters reached the roof, a helicopter came, but again he turned them down. He drowned. He stood before God in heaven and said, “God I was waiting for you to save me, how come you let me drown?” God says, “Well, I sent a truck, a boat, and a helicopter, but you refused them. What could I do?” In other words, God’s answer to our prayer might be right in front of our face, in ways we don’t recognize. Take help wherever you can get it, in whatever shape or form it comes!

In this story, it is notable, however, that the disciples’ fear is not comforted by a sudden burst of courage or resolve on their part. In the course of the storm, they never pull themselves together. They do not discover inner resources they did not know they had. Rather, it is Jesus, the Holy One, who calms both them and the storm with the power of his presence, which was even more scary to them than what they had just survived.

Even then, Jesus never says: “There is nothing to be afraid of.” What he said – which may have been even more biting than the rain in their face – was, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

The hard truth is, there are fearsome things in this world to be afraid of. As we grow in wisdom and discover such things are real, may we also grow in faith to learn that they do not have the last word, nor the ultimate power over us. Because reigning over this world, is a God mightier than they. Not because there are no fearsome things on the sea of our days, but rather, because even in these things, God is with us.

Reynolds Price has a book, with the intriguing title, Letter to a Man in a Fire, in which he tells of an 87-year-old woman who wrote to him about one of those moments when the clouds scattered, the darkness lifted, and she learned this lesson. She was facing her own time of difficulty as she was going through exhausting medical tests in preparation for surgery. One day she had a kind of vision. “I went out along the Galilee hills and came to a crowd gathered around a man, and I stood on the outskirts intending to listen. But he looked over the crowd at me and then said, ‘What do you want?’ And I said, ‘Could you send someone to come with me and help me stand up after the tests because I can’t manage alone?” He [Jesus] thought for a moment and then said, ‘How would it be if I came?” (Letter to a Man in a Fire, 30 – 31)

“How would it be if I came?” This is what God has done in Jesus Christ. God has come to us in our suffering and pain, in our struggle to be human, in our fear and anxiety, in our doubt and uncertainty. Jesus put off deity and put on humanity, becoming one of us – one with us – one for us. (Quoted in a sermon on Day1.org by the Rev. Dr. Lewis Galloway, Does Jesus Care? June 24, 2012)

Even the story of how this happened – the Gospel of Jesus Christ – is framed by these words: “Do not be afraid.” What were the words the angels spoke to the shepherds in the beginning, at Jesus’ birth? “DO NOT BE AFRAID.” What were the words the angels spoke to the women at the end, upon their discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb? “DO NOT BE AFRAID.”

When the life of faith is harder than we thought, may we discover what Jesus’ disciples discovered in that boat (without having to go through that experience), that God is also greater than we think, and will not abandon us. Jesus comes, stilling wind and wave, calming fearful hearts, telling us that we are God’s beloved children, calling us to faith.

The English novelist Emily Bronte lived and wrote in a rectory set in the bleak moors of Yorkshire. She lived a grim tragedy with a half-demented father and an
alcoholic brother. In spite of this, she was able to write words like these:

“No coward soul is mine, no trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere. I see Heaven’s glories shine, and faith shines equal, arming me from fear.”
(Emily Bronte, “No Coward Soul is Mine,” January 2, 1846)

Oh, and the Captain of that boat that went down in 2008, Capt. Lee? Though his life was saved, he lost his business, his home, and all his worldly possessions. But he took that experience as a sign from God, re-evaluated his life, and now serves as an energetic, passionate, and award-winning residential manager and activity director at Tanglewood Village in Decatur, IL. He also does missionary work in the Philippines, with his wife Joy, a special education teacher.

In the article he didn’t explicitly say God saved him (after all it was the Coast Guard), but let me put it this way. In the picture accompanying the article, he’s standing in front of a sign saying, “Jesus never fails.”

I understand there’s a photo of Jesus’ disciples, in front of a similar sign. Maybe we can get in the picture.

[ David L. Haley ]

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S.O.S

Help
I don’t know what to do, and I’m depending on you, to see me through
Help
When trouble comes my way and I don’t know what to say, Lord have your way

Chorus
Help Me
Help me
Help me
Help me

Help
When I don’t understand whats in your master plan, and I need you direction
Help
when I am all alone, and I need someone to call on, to love me and care for me

Chorus
Help me
Help me
Help me
Help me

Verse
Lord I need your help
Just cant make it, no without your help
OOOHHHH. Lord
Lord I need you help
Just can’t make it no, without your help

Bridge
I need your help
Just can’t make it with out your help

Vamp
I have tried over and over again
But i just can’t make it
With out you help

End/Chours
Help me
Help me
Help me
Help me

[ Vashawn Mitchell ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsXFi7FMM3s

*****************************
MAYDAY! MAYDAY! I’M SINKING

“Mayday! Mayday! I’m sinking…”
This was the opening line of an email I received. My heart went out to this gentleman as I read his story.

“I am what some have said to be a doubting Thomas. I know the only way to be saved is through faith in Christ, but faith is hard for me. I always have a “I hope” or “I think maybe” in the back of my mind. I’ve asked Christ to come into my life many times, but have never experienced the power of the Spirit you talk about on your program.

I no longer have the strength to continue the fight for God’s invitation to the party you all enjoy. I’m just tired of the struggle. I’d settle for a seat at the gates of heaven if there was a chance Christ might walk by once in a while.”

I’ve been where this gentleman is. I doubted y salvation and prayed numerous times to receive Christ in my life. Faith was hard to me, too. This may be your story as well. If so, you know the frustration, the fear, the doubt and the deep longing for rest and peace.

The solution is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and particularly, the good news that Jesus is alive! The resurrection is the sticking point for critics and skeptics. They laugh and jeer at us for believing such “nonsense”. But it did happen – Christ was raised from the dead. We believers stake everything on this one historical fact. Without the resurrection, we might as well eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. But with it, everything changes.
The cross is where our stale, empty lives end. It is at the empty tomb where new life begins. This is the story of Christianity.

Here is the good news. The power that released Jesus’ body from death and clothed it with immortality is the same power that is available to you here and now. Living in this power will change you and enable you to experience a quality of life you’ve never known before.

[ Bob Christopher ]

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HOSANNA

I see the King of glory
Coming on the clouds of fire
The whole earth shakes, the whole earth shakes
I see His love and mercy
Washing over all our sin
The people sing, the people sing

Hosanna, Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna, Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest

I see a generation
Rising up to take the place
With selfless faith, with selfless faith
I see a near revival
Staring as we pray and seek
We’re on our knees, we’re on our knees

Hosanna, Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna, Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest

Hosanna, Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna, Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

Hosanna in the highest
In the highest
In the highest
Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest

Hosanna in the highest
In the highest
In the highest
Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest

[ Hillsong United ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoM0AT8fBvs

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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF HOSANNA?

The Hebrew root words are found in Psalm 118:25, which says, “Save us, we pray, O LORD!” (ESV). The Hebrew words yasha (“deliver, save”) and anna (“beg, beseech”) combine to form the word that, in English, is “hosanna.” Literally, hosanna means “I beg you to save!” or “please deliver us!”

So, as Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem, the crowds were perfectly right to shout “Hosanna!” They were acknowledging Jesus as their Messiah, as shown in their address “Son of David.” Theirs was a cry for salvation and a recognition that Jesus is able to save.

Later that day, Jesus was in the temple, and the children present were again shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:15). The chief priests and the teachers of the Law were displeased: “‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise”’?” (Matthew 21:16). In saying, “Hosanna!” the people were crying out for salvation, and that’s exactly why Jesus had come. Within a week Jesus would be hanging on a cross.

[ Got Questions? ]

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GIMME HELPER
(Parody of “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones)

Ooooh Ooooh Ooooh (REPEAT 3X)

Ooh, well, the Lord has said that Christ will abide in me
If I don’t get the Helper
Today, I’m gonna wait and pray

Lord Jesus, please send Him right away
Please send Him right away
Lord Jesus, please send Him right away
Please send Him right away – yeahh

Ooh, see the fire appearing
Now over people’s heads
Heard mighty wind blow across me My Lord brought a friend

Lord Jesus, He sends Him out today
He sends Him out today
Lord Jesus, He sends Him out today
He sends Him out today – yeahhh

Pray, brothers!
He’s just a shout away, He’s just a shout away
Pray, brothers! Yeahh
He’s just a shout away, He’s just a shout away
Pray, brothers!
He’s just a shout away, He’s just a shout away
Hey, yeah yeah

Mmmm – well, the Lord is sending
Christ’s Spirit right to me
Gives me, gives me a Helper
So, I’m gonna pave the way

Lord Jesus, He’s just a shout away
He’s just a shout away
He’s just a shout away
He’s just a shout away
He’s just a shout away

I said, the Father, listens
He hears His kids who pray
He gives His gift today
He gives us gifts today
He gives us gifts today
He gives us gifts today, gifts today, gifts today, hey

[ ApologetiX – “Singles Group” album ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rog_TXESC9E

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ASKING GOD FOR HELP

A farmer and his son were working together out in the field. The father told the boy to throw all the large stones he could find into a nearby ditch so they would not interfere with plowing. After working a long time, the son called out, “Dad, there’s one rock here I can’t move even though I’ve tried my hardest.”

“No, son,” replied the father, “you haven’t tried your hardest until you’ve called out to me for help. I can give you the strength you need.”

The father then came alongside the boy and added his strength. Together, they moved the stubborn rock with ease.

Too often we try our hardest to carry some heavy burden or work out a difficult problem, but with no success. After having done our best, we wonder why we have met with nothing but failure. Lovingly and patiently our heavenly Father reminds us that we must learn to depend on Him, and that we haven’t tried our hardest until we’ve called on Him for help.

Let’s stop struggling to remove the stones of trouble and difficulty from our lives that far exceed our own strength. Like the Israelites of old, let’s call on the Lord to save us out of all our distresses (Ps. 107:19).

Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen, and keep you;
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through.
[ Palmer ]

God’s ability is not limited by our inability.

They cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses—Psalm 107:19

Read: Psalm 107:1-19 | Bible in a Year: Job 14-16; Acts 9:22-43

[ Henry G. Bosch – Our Daily Bread ]

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I HAVE TO DIE FIRST
(Parody of “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor)

“I’m risin’ up,” that’s what He said
“It’s My time — let’s commence this
In three days I will be back from the dead
There’s a plan to fulfill in My life”
So many times, He’d talked in the past
About His passion and glory
“Just like the grain used for wheat has to die
I must die, so the wheat can arise”
He said, “I have to die first to fulfill all the signs
Risin’ up through the power of My Father
And at last when the hour has come you’ll know I was right
And I warned you before this that I had to die first”
Facin’ death, in Gethsemane
Sweatin’ blood, feelin’ lonely
He prayed to God, “You can take this from Me
If You will,” but He still had to die
He said, “I have to die first in this terrible fight
Risin’ up through the power of My Father
And my last lonely hour I’ll be prayin’ tonight
But I want you to know this — that I Have to die first”
Risin’ up, hate filled the mob
Took the Lord up to Calvary
Read the sentence, He was nailed to the cross
But the Man that they killed is alive
He said, “I have to die first — it’s a strange way to fight
Risin’ up through the power of My Father
And at last I’ll arise and put the devil to flight
And I warned you before this that I have to die first
That I have to die first”

[ Apologetix – “Jesus Christ Morningstar” album ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UzWWUmf2wI

*****************************
HELL
(Parody of “Help” by The Beatles)

Hell!
Hell! I read about it
Hell! Lots of people doubt it
Hell! They’d better read some more
Hell!
When I was younger so much dumber than today
I never even read the Bible – Hell seemed far away
But I found the way to God and it’s got a narrow door
But many find the way that’s wide
And drop right through the floor
Hell is in the Bible many times
And I do not think it’s just a state of mind
Hell will catch most people by surprise
Don’t you see? Hell’s real!
And now my life has changed and only by His grace
My sin dependence would have banished me to Hades
But every fire and brimstone preacher you ignore
Is only tryin’ to save your life
From everlasting scorn
Tell me if you can why Jesus died
If it’s true that we’re all basically all right
Tell me why you feel that guilt inside
Don’t you see? Hell’s real!
When I was younger so much dumber than today
I didn’t need no busybodies tellin’ me I needed saved
But I found my way was wrong now I’m knockin’ on your door So while there’s time you’ll change your mind
And call upon the Lord
Hell is in the Bible many times
It’s Luke 16 and Matthew 25
John verse 3:19 will tell you why
Don’t you see? Hell’s real!
Hell’s real, Hell’s real!

[ ApologetiX – “Chosen Ones” album ]

http://www.spiritedesign.com/Hell(ApologetiX).mp3

*****************************
BACK INTACT
(Parody of “Back in Black” by AC/DC)

Back intact, yes, it’s a fact
And not a bone was fractured or cracked
Yes, sir, spread the news, it’s Gospel truth
Nail-scarred feet, hands are the proof
And a spear went in My side, come and check with your eyes
I kept the scars, now I’ll never die, I got Sonrised, baptized
Keepin’ every bone like David prophesied
‘Cause I’m back, yes, I’m back, well, I’m back, yes, I’m back
Well, I’m ba-a-a-ack, ba-a-a-ack
Well, I’m back intact, yes, I’m back intact
Oh, back as a man, I’m alive again
Not a ghost, I can prove I’m not a charlatan
Yes, I’m in the flesh, here’s a test
You guys can watch Me eat a couple of fish
‘Cause I’m back off the rack, where I was beaten and smacked
Nobody’s gonna get me now I’m over that
Take a look at the Psalms; they predicted my fate
Psalm 34, verse 20, said I’ll never break
‘Cause I’m back, yes, I’m back, well, I’m back, yes, I’m back
Well, I’m ba-a-a-ack, ba-a-a-ack
Well, I’m back intact, yes, I’m back intact
Out of the black!

[ Apologetix – “New & Used Hits” album ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-4-aC8tX_k

*****************************
*****************************

DEEP THOUGHTS:

“Whenever you do not understand what’s happening in your life, just close your eyes, take a deep breath and say, “God, I know it is Your plan. Just help me through it.”
[ Alberto Casing ]

“I got to that desperate place where nobody could help me but God.”
[ Cheryl James ]

“God assumes full responsibility for our needs when we obey Him.”
[ Charles Stanley ]

“Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all.”
[ D. L . Moody ]

“If God wants you to trust Him, He puts you in a place of difficulty. If He wants you to trust Him greatly, He puts you in a place of impossibility.”
[ Donald Grey Barnhouse ]

“God takes our sins—the past, present, and future, and dumps them in the sea and puts up a sign that says, “NO FISHING ALLOWED.”
[ Corrie ten Boom ]

“I know no words of prayer – God help me because I can not help myself.”
[ Harold E. Hughes ]

“Dear God, Help me to stop worrying about the future and the things I can not control…I always allow myself to become overwhelmed and I miss out on enjoying this amazing and wonderful life that I have been given…I miss out as I worry about what might be…Help me to see more of You God and less of me…Please show me the way and direct my steps.”
[ Karen Kostyla ]

“God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.”
[ Reinhold Niebuhr ]

“God help us to be grateful for our blessings, never to be guilty of the sin of ingratitude, and to instill this same gratitude into the lives of our children.”
[ Ezra Taft Benson ]

“Dear God, Help me to put aside the things that are breaking my heart, to pray about the things that breaks yours.”
[ Author unknown ]

“God, help me to see others not as enemies or as ungodly but rather as thirsty people. And give me the courage and compassion to offer your Living Water, which alone quenches deep thirst.”
[ Henri Nouwen ]

“The true follower of Christ will not ask, “If I embrace this truth, what will it cost me?” Rather he will say, “This is truth. God help me to walk in it, let come what may!”
[ A.W. Tozer ]

“I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him to do His work through me.”
[ Hudson Taylor ]

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.”
[ Martin Luther ]

“We can no more assist the Holy Spirit in the quickening of our souls to spiritual life than Lazarus could help Jesus raise him from the dead.”
[ R.C. Sproul ]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

A Prayer for Help

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.
May he send you help from his sanctuary
and strengthen you from Jerusalem.
May he remember all your sacrifices
and look favorably on your burnt offerings. [Selah]

May he grant your heart’s desires
and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory
and raise a victory banner in the name of our God.
May the Lord answer all your prayers.

Now I know that the Lord rescues his anointed king.
He will answer him from his holy heaven
and rescue him by his great power.
Some nations boast of their chariots and horses,
but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.
Those nations will fall down and collapse,
but we will rise up and stand firm.

Give victory to our king, O Lord!
Answer our cry for help.

[ Psalm 86 ]

Mark

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If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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