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A Sermon for Mother

Son with aging mother

 

Jim’s 88-year-old mother Esther always lived in her own home, but after a stroke, that was impossible. She was transferred from the hospital to a nearby nursing home.

“I had recently lost my job,” said Jim, “but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I was able to visit her every day.”

One Sunday morning when Jim went to see his mother, an announcement came over the intercom: “The morning worship service will start in the lounge in ten minutes.”

“Do you feel like going to the service?” asked Jim.

“Yes, I think I do,” she said, so he pushed her down the hallway in a wheelchair.

As they sat there waiting for the service to begin, a woman who worked at the nursing home approached Jim and asked, “You’re a minister, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” he responded. (Do pastors have a special look about them?)

“Our regular minister is on vacation,” she said, “and the substitute didn’t show up. Could you possibly preach for us today?”

“Give me five extra minutes to collect my thoughts,” said Jim, as he grabbed a Bible. He chose to preach on Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV

“I intended for the message to be a pep talk for my mom,” he said, “that all things, even in the difficult circumstances of living in a nursing home after a stroke, work together for the good of those who love Him.”

That was the last sermon Esther ever heard. She went home to be with the Lord the following Saturday.

Jim said, “It was a genuine privilege to minister to my mother in that way. God arranged for the substitute pastor to be a ‘no-show’ so I could give that final gift to my mother.”

The next morning Jim and his wife were doing their Bible study. The verse for that day was Romans 8:28! Jim’s wife said, “It was affirmation to us that Jim’s last sermon for his mother was the one the Lord wanted her to hear. It was God’s perfect timing.”

There is another lesson we can learn from Jim’s story. It’s about obedience. How would you respond if someone asked you to deliver a message with five minutes’ notice?

Jesus taught his disciples:

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21, NIV

And in the Gospel of John Jesus taught:

If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15, NIV

Jim had a choice about how he would respond. He could have turned down the invitation to preach, but he would have missed out on a wonderful blessing from God.

Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful gift you gave Jim through his obedience to You.

 

Streams in the Desert – May 9

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

Abraham stood yet before the Lord (Gen. 18:22).

The friend of God can plead with Him for others. Perhaps Abraham’s height of faith and friendship seems beyond our little possibilities. Do not be discouraged, Abraham grew; so may we. He went step by step, not by great leaps.

The man whose faith has been deeply tested and who has come off victorious, is the man to whom supreme tests must come. The finest jewels are most carefully cut and polished; the hottest fires try the most precious metal. Abraham would never have been called the Father of the Faithful if he had not been proved to the uttermost.

Read Genesis, twenty-second chapter: “Take thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest.” See him going with a chastened, wistful, yet humbly obedient heart up Moriah’s height, with the idol of his heart beside him about to be sacrificed at the command of God whom he had faithfully loved and served!

What a rebuke to our questionings of God’s dealings with us! Away with all doubting explanations of this stupendous scene! It was an object lesson for the ages. Angels were looking. Shall this man’s faith stand forever for the strength and help of all God’s people? Shall it be known through him that unfaltering faith will always prove the faithfulness of God?

Yes; and when faith has borne victoriously its uttermost test, the angel of the Lord–who? The Lord Jesus, Jehovah, He in whom “all the promises of God are yea and amen”–spoke to him, saying, “Now I know that thou fearest God.” Thou hast trusted me to the uttermost. I will also trust thee; thou shalt ever be My friend, and I will bless thee, and make thee a blessing.

It is always so, and always will be. “They that are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”
–Selected

It is no small thing to be on terms of friendship with God.

The world turned upside down

“These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” Acts 17:6

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 5:1-12

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” The merciful are not much respected in this world—at least if they are imprudently merciful; the man who forgives too much, or who is too generous, is not considered to be wise. But Christ declares that he who has been merciful—merciful to supply the wants of the poor, merciful to forgive his enemies and to pass by offences, shall obtain mercy. Here, again, is the world turned upside down. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” The world says, “Blessed is the man who indulges in a carefree life.” If you ask the common run of mankind who is the happy man, they will tell you, “The happy man is he who has abundance of money, and spends it freely, and is freed from restraint—who leads a merry dance of life, who drinks deep of the cup of intoxication—who revels riotously, who, like the wild horse of the prairie, is not restrained by reason, but who dashes across the broad plains of sin, unharnessed, unguided, unrestrained.” This is the man whom the world calls happy: the proud man, the mighty man, the Nimrod, the man who can do just as he wishes, and who spurns to keep the narrow way of holiness. Now, the Scripture says, not so, for “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”

“Blest is the man who shuns the place Where sinners love to meet;
Who fears to tread their wicked ways, And hates the scoffer’s seat….”

The man who cannot touch one thing because that would be lascivious, nor another because that would spoil his communion with his Master; a man who cannot frequent this place of amusement, because he could not pray there, and cannot go to another, because he could not hope to have his Master’s sanction upon an hour so spent—that man is blessed!

For meditation: The world was turned upside down through men who had been turned upside down (Mark 9:34,3510:42-44). Do we need to know a lot more of that in our churches and individual lives?

A Godly Influence

by Inspiration Ministries

“You shall repeat them diligently to your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down, and when you get up.” – Deuteronomy 6:7 NASB

The youngest of twenty-five children, Susannah Annesley was raised in a Christian home. Born in London, England, in 1669, she was taught the importance of faith and knowing the Bible. She developed a passion for evangelism and every day prayed that God would make her life count.

In 1689, she married Samuel Wesley, with whom she had nineteen children (although only ten survived to adulthood). She came to realize that she could serve God best by raising and educating these children. Susannah believed in discipline and based their home life on a systematic regime that included regular prayer and Bible study. A longtime student of history, she made it a central part of their education.

She saw the fruit of her labors as two of her sons, John and Charles, founded the Methodism Movement, which later became the Methodist denomination and changed lives around the world. As adults, they continued to call on Susannah for advice.

Even to the end of her life, she sought to serve God and be a good example. On her death bed with her children gathered around her, she made this last request: “As soon as I am released, sing a psalm of praise to God.” Susannah demonstrated how one woman could influence millions of people by being faithful, teaching others godly principles, and providing a good example.

Seek to make your life count for God. Let Him influence others for Christ through you.

 

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