Sunday 26th April 2020
By shaunefc, Apr 26 2020 10:20AM
Anecdote: Asking in faith
When Hudson Taylor was sailing to China to begin his missionary work, his ship was in great danger. The wind had died, and the current was carrying them toward sunken reefs which were close to islands inhabited by cannibals—so close they could see them building fires on the shore.
Everything they tried was to no avail.
In his journal Taylor recorded what happened next: The Captain said to me, “Well, we have done everything that can be done.” A thought occurred to me, and I replied, “No, there is one thing we have not done yet.” “What is that?” he queried. “Four of us on board are Christians. Let us each retire to his own cabin, and in agreed prayer ask the Lord to give us immediately a breeze.”
Taylor prayed briefly and then, certain that the answer was coming, went up on the deck and asked the first officer to let down the sails. “What would be the good of that?” he answered roughly. I told him we had been asking a wind from God; that it was coming immediately. Within minutes the wind did began to blow, and it carried them safely past the reefs. Taylor wrote: Thus God encouraged me ere landing on China’s shores to bring every variety of need to Him in prayer, and to expect that He would honour the name of the Lord Jesus and give the help each emergency required.
Knowing that our prayers touch the heart of our loving Father in Heaven and that He can meet any need, we should be confident that He will hear and answer when we cry out to Him.
Source: The Works of J. Hudson Taylor, Hudson Taylor
“What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use—men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.”
Bible Study by Rev Peter Michell of the Independent Gospel Cause:
Is anything too hard for the Lord?
This text for 2020 AD, taken from Genesis 18:14 - Is anything too hard for the LORD? It challenges the littleness of our faith today. Perhaps it is the Old Testament version of the words of Jesus to His disciples: “O ye of little faith!”
The words were spoken by one of the trinity of visitors at Abraham’s tent. Abraham gave lavish hospitality to the unidentified men who appeared. He had been given a three-fold promise in Genesis 12:1-3 of (i) a land that would belong to him and his descendants, (ii) descendants who would be so numerous that they would be a great nation, and (iii) blessing to all the nations through his descendants.
Abraham and Sarah were getting old and had had no son. As we tend to do, they tried to re-interpret the promise, God’s word. That was not good enough. They must take the word at face value. One of the visitors announced that he would return and Sarah would have a baby boy. Sarah could hardly believe it.
Let us examine the text under these heads.
I. The Affront
Sarah had heard the talk of her having a son. Abraham was about one hundred, and she was about ninety. Within herself, she laughed with disbelief. At their age, it was unrealistic for anything of the sort to be. The visitor knew what she thought and her inward reaction and challenged it. It was an affront. She did not believe what he was saying. It was in response to her disbelief that the Lord said, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” There is a certain edge to that rhetorical question. He said, “Wherefore did Sarah Laugh ...?” and “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” It is a rebuke.
We may well be equally doubting. There is talk of revival and Christians shrug it off as foolishly unrealistic. We are supposed to believe that the Lord will come again, but it is hardly taken seriously. Such unbelief is an affront. It is an insult to the Almighty. The Lord challenges it.
II. The Answer
The text is a rhetorical question. The hearer is not being asked for an opinion. There is a correct answer that should be obvious. The Lord is the Creator and Sustainer, and He holds the world in His hand like a ping-pong ball. He can do whatever He wants with it. He can keep it turning on its axis, crush it in His grip or toss it out as worthless. In fact, He chooses to sustain it. He can do anything He wants to do.
Centuries later, the angel told Mary that she would have a child and call Him Jesus. Mary did not understand how that could happen when she had not had intimacy with any man. The angel said something that echoes the words of Abraham’s visitor: “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:27)
III. The Application
How it applies is evident in the text in Genesis. It is about these things:
(1) The Prophecies concerning Christ. The word of God to Abraham in Genesis 12 was about Christ. All the prophecies of the Old Testament refer Him. God could do it.
(2) The Promises of the Gospel. Abraham was promised blessing of the nations. That would mean salvation, forgiveness, heaven, and the work of the Holy Spirit. God could do this too.
(3). The Prayers of the Saints. No doubt, Abraham prayed for years and decades for a son and the fulfilment of the word of God to him. Yes, God could do it. And God can answer your prayers and your longings. Do not doubt it.
Peter Michell 11/01/2020