hard-drive of the Friday Study computer “crashed” this week. Much was
backed-up but email addresses were lost. If you'd like to receive
weekly emails from Friday Study Ministries Inc., contact:
you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” (Matthew
There’s something about a son or
daughter that draws us to GIVE. Two of my three children have kids of
their own and it’s a joy to watch them delight in their little ones.
It’s normal to want to give to
our children and it should be even more natural to pray for them. The
reverse is often true for many indulge when we should be more inclined
God always answers prayer. We
see this in such places as Matthew 21:22, where Jesus said, “all
things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
The statement is qualified in 1 John 5:14, where John the Apostle
provided additional information: “if we ask
anything according to His WILL, He hears us. And if we know that He
hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we
have asked of Him.”
To understand prayer, we need to
see Jesus’ role as “High Priest” (Hebrews
7:26) of all those who trust in Him. One function of the High Priest in
Israel was to offer a sacrifice for the sins of the people. Another work
involved prayer for them. As to the sacrifice, Jesus fulfilled this
utterly “once for all when He offered up Himself”
(Hebrews 7:27). Jesus, our High Priest, gave Himself for you and me.
His gift was completely accepted
by God the Father, because Jesus, our Representative, lived His life on
earth completely without sin (Hebrews 7:26). The sacrifice had to be
perfect and Jesus was the ideal sacrifice (substitute) for us all. The
Innocent died for the guilty and the Father has accepted Him – for you.
The High Priest in Israel prayed
for the sins of the people. Jesus Christ is continually praying
(interceding) for us and His method is to “fix” our prayers; to bring
them into line with God’s will for your life and mine. Our prayers are
answered but sometimes not as we would expect.
Hannah Whitall Smith (“Daily
Secrets of the Christian Life") made a wonderful observation about
prayer in relation to the life of Saint Augustine. She reported, “The
mother of Saint Augustine, in her longing for the conversion of her son
(to Christ), prayed that he might not go to Rome, because she feared its
dissipations. God answered her by sending him (Augustine) to Rome to be
Augustine’s mother cried out to
the Lord, “Don’t let my son go to Rome,” because she wanted GOOD for her
son. She wanted him to find faith in God through Jesus Christ and to
know the grace of God. She thought, “if only he would stay HERE, he
might come to the Lord!” If he went to Rome, he might be lost forever!
Jesus wanted the same thing as
she did - Augustine’s conversion. They each had the same goal, but
because the Lord’s perspective is infinitely better (He knows the
future), He altered her prayer in such a manner that the ultimate goal
(her son’s salvation) was achieved.
How she must have WEPT to learn
of her son’s impending journey from North Africa (present day Algeria)
to Rome. How sad it is when our job is lost or a medical report is
unfavorable. Our loved one might be lost, even though we prayed
constantly, and we have wondered, “Did God hear me?” Or, “Did I not
pray the right prayer?” “Is there something wrong with me that He did
What’s “wrong” is that we do not
really understand prayer.
I was fascinated by what just
happened to the hard drive of the Friday Study Ministries computer. A
few days ago, the computer did not shut down properly. The following
morning, it would not start up. It seemed confused, and then the
dreaded words appeared on the DOS screen: "Hard
Drive Failed!" We informed our Board and asked for prayer. We
were already in progress for a technical upgrade and the computer
expert, Thien, dropped over to see what he could do. After some time,
he stepped away from the computer, looking very much like a doctor with
bad news, and said, "There's nothing I can do."
The Friday Study ministry has
had two groups of people: Those who visit
www.fridaystudy.org and those
who receive the sermons and studies by email. The email addresses were
gone and we could not access the website. It turned out that much had
been backed up, but the people seemed – gone!
While Thien was working on the
computer, I prayed for it to be repaired - but it was the wrong prayer.
God has wonderful outcomes. The
computer was old and slow and needed to be replaced. And I must mention
that before the loss was completely “real”, a new computer was ordered
through a Board Member.
The database of email recipients
was gone but is being rebuilt, and if you know someone who should be
included, let us know. Is it hard work to restore that which was lost?
-Yes. Will the distribution be different than it was before? Possibly,
but the same Holy Spirit who put all this together before, is doing it
again. I thank God for those who sent in names, email addresses and
encouragement. Within 3-days, 1/3 of the email database was rebuilt. God
is good. He gave us Himself and He gives us one another.
Now, you may have a REAL
disaster in your life, whereas this one mostly involved stress and hard
work. We will certainly miss anyone who got “lost” when the hard drive
crashed. Hopefully they will write and ask why they no longer receive
the studies, for we love them. But as to anything written that needs to
be recreated, Don Araiza said, "Who cares?" And he is correct - God is
in control (not us) and He operates out of love for you and me.
From a HUMAN perspective,
Augustine's mother was right - he shouldn't have gone to sinful Rome.
It happened anyway, and off he sailed. But shortly after he arrived,
the Holy Spirit touched him through a man who told him the good news of
Christ and he was changed - forever! Had he heard the gospel before?
Yes he had. But somehow, he needed to be in Rome for Christ to at last
be personal and real to him. Sometimes, the "wrong" thing must happen
in our lives, to finally get us where we need to go
Obtaining information from the
damaged hard drive seems doubtful and the unavailable data may or may
not be gone for good. I do know that God is with us in our troubles.
Patiently, one step at a time, He leads us through areas we know little
about, and He will complete the good work in our lives. As Don Araiza
said; "so you miss a week or two, who cares?" The Holy Spirit cares
(actually, so does Don), and though the outcome may not be what we
expect, we will LIKE what is done, for He loves you and me. For now, we
are using another computer and a laptop, and soon all will be made new.
Yesterday evening, Ernie connected us once again with the website. God
None of this was loss and much
was gained. God sent human angels to us in the persons of Thien, Ernie,
and our Board Members, Genevieve, Don, and Don. We received emails of
encouragement, filled with names and addresses of many from the original
Before the “crash”, I was
getting tired and feeling “weight” from preparation of studies and
sermons. I needed a rest and (with some reluctance) got one. I see
anew that God is in this place and I'm reminded that He is in control.
Not me; not any one of us – God!
you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” (Matthew
7:9). Just as you want the best for your children, so God wants the
best for you and me. We do not know all the benefits that come from the
troubles in our lives, anymore than we truly understand why Augustine
had to go to Rome to be saved. I do know that God has an excellent plan
for our lives, and He will bring it to pass. He always does.
Father, we bring You our
troubles and sorrows. We give You tired minds and hearts and ask for
REST. Let us understand like we never did before, that when we ask for
“bread”, You will never give us a “stone”,
for You love each one of us. Thank You, Jesus, for dying for me. Thank
You for Your Spirit, who will see me through. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
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