“Ponderings from the Pulpit”
(Each month I like to provide the members of First Church something to think about and, hopefully, cause their faith to grow. I call them “Pulpit Ponderings”. I hope that they do just that for each of you as they do me. BW)
Well…..here we are after 37 years – back home! Though not form Gatesville or Central Texas area, we feel very fortunate to have “arrived” here. A friend asked me recently if we had any trouble transitioning back. I thought he was kidding me – he wasn’t. I told him that we felt like we had never left Texas. This caused me to wonder why this is so. I now know it is because of the tremendous outpouring of grace, welcome, and acceptance from the members of First Church. Wow! I must admit that there has been one thing that is going to take some getting used to – wearing shorts in December! That is unbelievable – we weren’t able to do that when we lived so long ago in the Texas Panhandle. Gayle, Mom, and I just love it here in the “Spur Capital” of Texas. We are so blessed.
When we began our search to come back home, we did not pray to God to get us here – rather, we prayed that He would be a part of the plan. And He was. Everything fell into place and when we sell our home in Pennsylvania that plan will be compete.
As for prayer – trust me – it works! And for those who have often thought that their prayers were wasted, consider what the Holy Scriptures tells us about what happens to them once they are received in Heaven.
“And when He had taken it, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelations 5:8.
“Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer with the prayers of the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand. The angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth, and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightening and an earthquake!!”(Revelation 8:3-6).
Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Incense, fire and thunder!!! Did you ever think that your prayers caused that kind of action? Just like us, you may think of your prayers as words floating heavenward, from your mouth to God’s ear!!! Well, my dear friends, think again. Your image of prayers is about to change forever!! I encourage you to read Psalm 18:7-19 and see what David’s spirit saw when he prayed. It sounds a lot like this description in Revelation.
In Revelation 8:3 the “censer” is a container for burning incense. This passage and also a passage in Psalm 141:1-2 (“Lord we cry to you; hasten to us. Hear out voices when we cry to you. Let our prayer be set before you like incense and the lifting up of our hands like the evening sacrifice.”) links prayer with burning incense. This image of prayer as incense appears before both the seals and the trumpets in Revelation emphasizing the power of prayer to being God’s intervention. Dudley Hall says this in his book, “Incense and Thunder”. This is the picture of what prayer looks like in heaven. Every time we lift our hearts toward God in Jesus name, an angel of God takes incense in his hand (our prayers), mixes it with fire from the altar of God, flings it back to earth and it enters earth’s atmosphere as spiritual thunder, lightening, and earthquakes.
If you have previously thought of prayer as a passive action or if you have said, as we have so many times, “All we can do now is pray,” and do you see the error of our ways? How wrong we are!!!
Your prayers are actually golden bowls of incense, tended by the angels, causing all kinds of havoc within the spiritual realms of the earth. Think of your prayers as lightning bolts chasing after Satan and his demons, hurling evil to the ground in peels of thunder and lightning and earthquakes. Now that is powerful stuff, my friends. If this doesn’t excite you about prayer, nothing will. Don’t miss out on the thunder of your prayers. And do no ever forget: prayer is not a substitute for action – prayer is an action for which there is no substitute!!!
This is just something for your contemplation – just think about. Regardless, I pray that God continues to make His presence known to all His creation. Have a victorious month in the Lord!
His Peace and Blessings to all of you, as you continue to believe, have hope, and do the work of the Lord.
As Always – In His Grip …
Shalom Aleichem (Peace Be Unto You)
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” – Isaiah 52:7