“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
I used to love to watch my Mamaw Mabrey talk on the phone when I was over at her house for a visit. She had a black phone mounted on the wall next to the door that opened onto her carport right off the kitchen. Papaw had replaced the original cord with one that was long and stretchy so Mamaw could walk over to the stove and prepare her meals while she talked on the phone. My favorite conversations involved one of Mamaw’s friends from her women’s group at church. I can’t remember her name, so I will refer to her as “Clara.” When Clara called, my grandmother knew it was going to be a lengthy conversation because Clara loved to talk and talk! However, Mamaw had developed a clever little maneuver for when the conversation had gone on too long in her opinion. She would proceed to walk over to the door, knock several times on the wall, and say, “Clara, someone’s at the door and I’m going to have to hang up” which worked every time!
Once, I asked Mamaw about her little maneuver she made on Clara, and she told me not to worry about it “for there was someone at the door, she just didn’t let Clara know it was her.” You see, Mamaw not only knew Clara’s phone number and Clara knew hers, but most importantly, Mamaw knew how to dial God for she was a woman of prayer and great love for God and others.
One has referred to Jeremiah 33:3 as “God’s phone Number.” His line is never busy. Your call to Him never goes to voice mail or drops the signal, and He always answers and in a way that far exceeds our most optimistic expectations; “great and mighty things which you do not know.” In Mark 11:17, Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” And the one question recorded in Scripture the disciples asked of Jesus was, “Lord, teach us to pray” Luke 11:1.
Speaking through the prophet, the Lord tells us “to call to Him” and He will answer us and talk to us! What is prayer? Prayer is a two-way conversation with God. We dial His number (Jeremiah 3:33) and He promises to answer, and the connection is made via of the Holy Spirit. Won’t you call Him today with Bible and heart open, ready to listen and to receive?
Sand Mountain Sermonette 15
The Lost Son
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
There used to be a Theme Park near Atlanta, Georgia in the Seventies called, “Kingdom’s Three” because it was three parks in one. One Summer my family and I accompanied my cousin Paula, her two small children, and my Mamaw Iris to the amusement ride/show section of the attraction. After enjoying a couple of rides, our group walked down a pathway towards another section to check out more rides, but as we walked along, my attention was drawn to a sign indicating a magic show that was to begin in a few minutes so I drifted left and off from the group and rounded a section of tall trees that blocked off a covered stage complete with benches for seating where the show would take place.
After the thirty-minute show was over, I walked out to the pathway from where I originally drifted off from our group earlier and began to wonder where my family had landed. After a little while, Cousin Paula and the rest of my family walked up to me with “relief” spelled on their foreheads. Then, Paula proceeded to share with me a couple of things regarding their search for me. She said after they had noticed I was missing, they began to look for me and couldn’t find me, and after a period of time my dad and mom started to get worried. Then, it wasn’t too long until my dad noticed a “Lost and Found” booth over to one side. He walked up to a man who was standing there, introduced himself, and then said, “I want to report a missing son” to which the man asked my father, “Mr. Mabrey, how old is your son?” Then, my dad said, “He’s twenty-one.” To which the man at the booth replied, “Well, Mr. Mabrey, don’t you think he can find his own way back?” And that ended that! Well, not long after that, Paula and her kids were riding the classic “Octopus” and as their little car went high into the air, she saw me sitting at the magic show and then, they were able to find me.
When Paul wrote to the Philippian Christians in the First Century, he was assuring them of the origin and the outcome of their salvation. He wanted them to know the joy of the Lord to be found in understanding their salvation! And the key? Realizing that God is the initiator of our salvation and that we are now and forever secure in Him! And if God can save us through the atoning work of Christ, He can surely keep us in the now, and the life to come! Paul says, “…that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Wow! God has promised to preserve your life in Christ now, and forever, Christian! Without Jesus, you and I would remain lost in the kingdom of sin and evil, but our heavenly Father was determined to seek, find, began a good work, keep, and have us presented “faultless” before His throne one day by the blood of Jesus! And when the “day of Christ Jesus” comes, when He returns to take His Bride, the church to be with Him, what a glorious day that will be! Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? When you do, the origin of your salvation will be in Him, and you can leave the outcome of the rest of your life in God’s capable hands and within the boundaries of His kingdom!
Sand Mountain Sermonette 16
Matthew 4:17; Matthew 3:2; Acts 2:38; and Romans 2:4
A Lesson on Repentance
“From that time Jesus began to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Matthew 4:17
When I was a little kid, my family and I lived for a short period of time in Chula Vista, California. My mom worked with my aunt in a jewelry store and my father worked with a friend in sales. I will never forget the day when a little girl about my age who lived a few apartments down the road, came over to my house to play. After a while, I invited her to accompany me across the road to a Safeway Supermarket. After we arrived, we looked around for a moment and then spotted a kid’s dream! Right before us stood one of those revolving racks that housed a plethora of bags of toys. I quickly chose the Native American pack that had a little headdress of feathers, a rubber tomahawk, and a rubber knife and sheath. I asked my little girlfriend if she wanted anything, but she shook her head “No.”
Well, after that, we walked back to my family’s apartment without having paid for the toy now in my possession. I had not removed my toy from its package when my father walked into the room and asked me where I had gotten it. After I told him, he kindly asked the little girl to go home and then he and I walked back to Safeway. Upon arrival, dad immediately took me to a cashier and told me to tell her what I had done. I then proceeded to tell her how I had slipped out of the store without paying for the toy and that I was sorry for having taken it. I remember the lady was kind and afterwards, invited me to place the toy back on the rack and all would be forgiven.
Now, I’m sure my dad had not planned on my receiving a lesson on repentance that day, but a lesson on repentance I did receive! Matthew tells us that Jesus began his public ministry by calling folks to repent of sin and turn to God in faith; accomplished by His grace through Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Repentance is woven throughout the tapestry of the entire Bible. It was the message of all the prophets in the Old Testament. John the Baptist preached in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Peter, on the Day of Pentecost preached, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Repentance comes from a Greek word meaning “to change one’s mind.” It is not simply remorse, regret, resolve, or reform. It is a change of mind that affects a change of will, and, in turn, a change of action.” When my father led me to the Safeway Supermarket that day, I had to change my mind about keeping he toy, then when I told the cashier honestly what I had done, that took an act of my will, and finally, when I placed the toy back on the rack, this indicated a change of action. (The same thing that began to occur when the Prodigal Son in Luke Fifteen “came to his senses” while in the pig pen (verse 17). Repentance and faith! It is by the grace and the goodness of God! Paul said in Romans 2:4, “The goodness of God leads you to repentance.” Won’t you be led by Him today?