We embraced the international day of prayer for the persecuted church. We took in a Voice of the Martyrs video, which movingly showed us the painful personal cost that families are experiencing with violence against The Church in Northern Nigeria. Pamphlets with colored world maps of the persecuted church were given out and we were encouraged to follow up at VOM.
We worship God within song, including a passionate offertory by Michael Uhler. We prayed for those involved with the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. We were gratified to hear that Jim continues to be involved with teaching, and we rejoiced in the healthy birth of Caden to Kaylee Bergeron. Recognition and appreciation for the service of our military veterans were also expressed.
Cliff Johnson, our octogenarian elder who only recently gave up sailing and downhill skiing, brought out the unique story of Elisha and the mysteriously floating axhead from 2 Kings 6:1-7. Losing a very expensive borrowed item when you’re too poor to afford it…is a pretty real and frustrating scenario…that in this case ends with supernatural resolution.
The command to cast all our cares upon Him is often quoted. But we may be less familiar with the verse right before it ( 1 Peter 5:6) which directs us to humble ourselves before God. This actually refers to a passive ongoing allowing ourselves to be submitted to the humbling process of God…being dependent on Him…and honoring Him in His Sovereignty.
It was noted that being ‘fruitless’ is factor of the vine. God allows, and sometimes brings, troubles on us to draw us to Him. Despite our desire for quick resolution and ignorance to all that is going on, God is orchestrating all things to work together for good. We just need to be available, listening, and willing to yield.
It’s insightful to catch the way Elisha initially responded. He didn’t question or blame. He simply asked where it fell. We shouldn’t hesitate to come to God wondering what He might ask us. He already knows us.
A treasure of Cliff’s speaking is taking in his transparency and humility and hearing of his dependence on God as evidenced through his many personal stories. He has repeatedly found himself in difficult situations…and God has always been there…at times truly miraculously. God has used this humble servant to touch many people.
In many of his stories lost or broken items, such as a book or keys, get restored. What lost or broken things does God want you to bring Him: financial crises, your or a loved-one’s poor health, your relationships?
Between all the stories Cliff also brought out these points:
- God is real.
- Any time we stray we need to turn back to face God. Acts 3:19
- What is God calling you to pray for?
- Paul’s plea as he sits chained in prison is for prayer for words to boldy evangelize (while our prayers in trials tend to sound a lot more like…”Deliver me…and get me out of this mess.”)
- Never give up praying for lost people who are on your heart.
- May our desire be to see God working.