Triumphal Procession

The apostle Paul worked tirelessly for the sake of the Good News Gospel. He endured hardship that most of us will never comprehend – all because of His love for Jesus Christ. But Paul was still human, and even someone of his caliber makes mistakes.

Paul reveals one of his mistakes in Chapter 2 of Second Corinthians. He says, “Now when I went to Troas to preach the Gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind…so I said good-bye to them and went on to Macedonia.”

Paul admits that the Lord opened a door for Him to share the Good News in Troas, but he didnt do it. Instead, he left. Paul disobeyed the Holy Spirits leading.

And yet, the great thing about this passage is what Paul writes next. “But thanks be to God,” he says, “who always leads us in triumphal procession and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”

God is so much bigger than the mistakes we make! Paul realized that, and its an important reminder for you and me as well. If you have disobeyed the Holy Spirit, simply confess it to the Lord. Ask for another opportunity, and for the boldness to do what Hes called you to do. God will use you again, in tremendous ways!

“Yes, and here’s more”

Australian David Smallbone felt Gods call on his life to promote Christian concerts. He started in his home country, then moved to the United States, where his career went from bad to worse. Soon he had no job at all. He and his wife prayed to God for help.

Then, interesting things began to happen. God provided bags of groceries, a minivan, and odd jobs. But the biggest surprise? A recording contract for Davids oldest daughter, Rebecca, when she was just fifteen years old. She recorded her first album using an old family name, St. James. Rebecca St. James quickly became one of the hottest Christian artists in America. And David began promoting his own daughters sold-out concerts!

All along, God knew what He was doing. Sometimes God will answer our requests with, “Yes, and heres MORE!” In the Bible, the Lord says, “For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and … to give you hope and a future.”

Get ready for Gods answer to your prayers when you pray that your friends will come to know Him. He loves to draw people to His side and just may do MORE than we dare ask for. So, dont give up. Keep praying and keep sharing the love of Christ!

“Yes, but you’ll have to wait”

Phil Callaway didnt know what to say when his children asked if Mommy was going to die. His wife, Ramona, suffered horrible seizures. Hundreds of friends and relatives prayed. Medical specialists tried everything. But Ramonas weight eventually slipped to ninety pounds. And soon the seizures occurred daily, sometimes hourly.

One evening, when things looked utterly hopeless, Phil fell to his knees. “God!” he cried out. “I cant take it anymore. Please do something!” As he stood, a doctors name came to mind. Phil called the doctor, who saw Ramona the next morning and diagnosed a rare chemical deficiency. Within a week, Ramonas seizures ended. She was a different person. The miracle was so incredible that Phil says, “God gave me back my wife.”

Immediate answers to prayer. You want them. I want them. But God simply does not always work that way. And to receive His best, we must be patient. The Bible says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

When praying for our loved ones who do not know Jesus, we must persist. Because sometimes God will answer with, “Yes, but youll have to wait.” So, dont give up. Keep praying that your loved one will come to the Lord.

Hope for Change

Paul was a young guy I met in Maine a few years ago. He told me that he was really into drugs and drinking, and needed help. But, Paul said his biggest problem was that he didnt have any hope. “My family just keeps telling me Ill never amount to anything,” he said. Unfortunately, Paul believed them.

I asked Paul if he had heard of the Lord Jesus, the forgiveness of sins through the cross of Christ, and the new beginning He offers all of us. Paul said hed never opened a Bible, and didnt know much about the Lord. I was so glad to have the opportunity to share the Good News with him!

I quoted 2nd Corinthians 5:17: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come!” I told Paul, “When you give your life to Christ, you become a totally new person. Jesus forgives every sin youve ever committed. He helps you start over.” To my delight, Paul decided to surrender his life to Jesus! I knew God would change him dramatically!

There are people all around us, like Paul, with empty hearts — wondering if there is hope, and a way to start over. Its our privilege, and calling, to tell them about the hope and forgiveness thats only found in Jesus Christ.

Forgiveness through Jesus

LuAnn was a 20-year-old student at a local college. She told my wife and me her story. “I was recently in a relationship,” LuAnn said, “but that ended because I got pregnant. Now Im three months along, and Im considering an abortion.”

LuAnns situation broke our hearts. Obviously, the worst option for her would be to have an abortion. But, I knew that before LuAnn could make any decision about her baby, she needed to make a decision about Jesus Christ.

“LuAnn,” I said, “God, the Father, loves you with an everlasting love. God will not ever leave you, He will never forsake you, as Hebrews 13:5 says. He forgives and forgets, wipes clean, and then does new things in our lives.” After talking a bit more, LuAnn was ready to commit her life to Jesus. She also decided to keep her baby!

You know, the ability to start fresh, knowing that Jesus has forgiven all your sins, is so freeing! And, like LuAnn, there are many people today who are desperate for this kind of clean start. Yet often, they dont know where to look. Thats why God is calling you and me to be his Good News messenger.

Are you willing to share the hope that Jesus offers with a friend – perhaps this week?