Divine Courage

SUBJECT      THE COURAGE OF A REVEALER 

READING I Samuel 3

INTRODUCTION

Prophet: A prophet is a person called by God to hear and know what God’s mind and will is and to communicate in words and in truth what is revealed. It required, on many occasions, outstanding audacity, nerve and courage because the things to be declared what was not always palatable and welcome to the recipients. Samuel was the first of the prophets to be divinely called by God to serve in this capacity after entrance into the land of Canaan. What a communicator he turned out to be in his day and generation! He demonstrated boldness in his ministry and sets a fine example to all who would be called by God to serve in this way.

Ministry: He exercised a ministry in very difficult times and at a period when there was the introduction of the monarchy. It was no easy task to fulfill and required an immense amount of courage. King and people had to face up the divine issues involved in instituting a government of this kind. But he was prepared to carry it through in faithfulness to God and the people. There was no shirking of his moral and spiritual duty in such a transition.

1/.       THIS WAS DEMONSTRATED WHILST YOUNG – 1 Samuel 3:13

 

He was called at a very early age and in that instance when God first spoke to him he seems to have been placed in a embarrassing situation because of what had been revealed. God made known to him the displeasure He had towards Eli’s household and that they would pay a severe price for their conduct. Eli knew that Jehovah had spoken to this sensitive boy and he wanted to know what had been spoken. It was sad that the priest had been by-passed and that the Lord had to use this channel to speak. The young person right from the start and showed fidelity God-ward, he had not only said: “speak Lord . . .;” he was ready to speak for the Lord. 

2/. THIS WAS MANIFESTED TO THE NATION IN CHALLENGE – 1 Samuel 7

Israel needed to be freed torn the terror and tyranny of the Philistines and so this man and messenger of God was prepared to face them up to their spiritual duty and obligation. In dealing with the matter of their pursuit of false gods,  he let them see what was the cause or their problems and so the issue was sorted out. He made it absolutely clear to them that they must get rid of this false and evil system of worship and make a true response to the Lord –vv3, 4. Before they could go any further and expect victory then this must be immediately attended to-v6. This prophet was accepted and so was his prayer of Israel’s behalf and so a major conquest was known and the Lord evidenced His power – v10. So the message was voiced – “Hitherto has the Lord helped us” –v12.

3/.THIS WAS EXPRESSED IN FACING SAUL THROUGHOUT WITH HIS PER­SONAL AND SPIRITUAL RESPONSIRILITY – 1 Samuel 9:27

Saul  was made to see at the outset through Samuel  that he must give credence and obedience to the Lord and His word. He must not fool around with he revealed will and ways of God. There is the sacred anointing and the prophetic word concerning the providential things that would occur in confirmations of his noble calling. Regrettably Saul did not hearken as he should have done and so paid and awful price in losing his right to rule God’s kingdom. When Saul fails to do what he should have done, Samuel courageously stands against Saul and reveals his folly and the divine judgment that was to follow -1 Samuel 15: 10, 11. Memorable and devastating words were spoken to Saul – vv17,22, 26-29.

4/. THIS WAS REVEALED IN THE ANOINTING OF DAVID – 1 Samuel 16

When he was called to anoint David there carne a a besetting fear -2. In spite of this, he rises and goes to carry out his prophetic duty and ministry. He has to show tremendous courage at the anointing because he has to put the oil on the youngest. The most unlikely candidate had been divinely appointed and it was his task to utterly fulfill the Lord’s directive. here may well have been some resentment by the other brothers, but Samuel is obedient to the Lord.

CONCLUSION

The total commitment and devotion of this man was consistent throughout. He could face up to the whole ration with courage because his lifestyle had been beyond reproach. The nation had to face the fact of the steadfast loyalty of this remarkable prophet – see 1 Samuel 11: 3-5 and the faithfulnss of God to His people – vv6-7.

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Just a Thought

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                      The late Rev. A. Linford

REVERENCE

 

“You shall reverence my sanctuary” – Leviticus 19: 30

While God does not dwell in temples made with hands as if to adorn men’s work, yet wherever His presence is manifested that place is holy.

Humble chapel or mighty cathedral, marble pile or mud- and-wattle hut is made sacred when He is there. And His presence calls for reverence and holy fear.

Rev Mackey, minister of a Boscombe church, wrote this verse and placed it at the entrance of a new Youth Chapel:-

“Enter this door

As if the floor

Within were gold.

And every wall

Of jewels, all

Of wealth untold.

As if a choir in robes of fire

Were singing there

No shout. no rush

But hush …..

For God is near”.

Indeed, in those precious places devoted to divine service, rush, racket and revelry are out of place. We do not worship bricks and mortar, but we do respect the place where God reveals Himself, whether it be the great outdoors or the glad indoors. We reverence His sanctuary because we revere Him.

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Messages by Rick Warren

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                                 Rev. Rick Warren

BEWARE OF SHORTCUTS
by Rick Warren 

“People with integrity have firm footing, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall” – Proverbs 10:9 NLT.

A few summers ago my family took a car vacation. We loaded up our van and headed out for an adventure. Our only goal was to see the western half of the United States. By the end of our two week trip, we’d put over 5,000 miles on the odometer.

For most of the trip we simply focused on enjoying the journey rather than rushing toward a destination. But in one of the states we travelled through (which will remain unnamed) we were so bored with the scenery that I got the bright idea of taking a shortcut to the next major town.

Looking at the map, the road for the shortcut appeared just fine—a straight shot to the next town. It could save us about an hour of travelling time. So we got off the beaten path and took the alternative route.

Big mistake! The road was fraught with difficulties:

• Construction work . . .
• A line of slow trucks that we couldn’t pass . . .
• Cattle (then sheep) in the middle of the road . . .
• Potholes the size of meteor craters, and . . .
• No gas station or restroom!

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Illustrious Men and Ministries

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                                   JOHN BUNYAN

MAN OF MANY ABILITIES  –  PART 1

 

THE renowned Dr. John Owen told Charles 11 : “I  would willingly exchange all my learning for the tinker’s power of touching men’s heart’s.” He was a personal friend and admirer, and never lost an opportunity of hearing him preach whenever Bunyan visited London. For almost three hundred years his immortal allegory Pilgrim’s Progress has been touching men’s hearts, and has secured him a fame reserved for only the very elite of English authors. The Dream-story has been translated into a hundred and twenty languages, more than any other book save the Bible 

Many have sought to imitate his style and his use of allegory but he remains unique. His education was scanty but the learning which he acquired in His Saviour’s School of Suffering gave him a depth of insight into. the human heart which few have equalled. Well might the poet Browning exclaim :

                                     “Tis my belief, GOD spoke

                                       No tinker has such power.”

TINKER

He was born in November 1628 in the little village of Elstow, near Bedford. His father was a poor tinker or brazier, working at the forge by his cottage or going from farm to farm in course of his trade, mending metal wares. In this trade John was destined to follow, but evidently he did not learn his religion from his father for he says, “poverty but not piety was the mark of our home.” He records his gratitude that his parents put him to school to learn to read and write, but it’s clear that his education was very limited as he confesses: “I did soon lose the bit I learnt . . . long before the Lord did His gracious work of conversion upon my soul.

Poverty compelled him to leave school and serve at the forge. His mother died when he was sixteen, his father soon remarried but it seems that John now fell into wild ways and became the ringleader of ungodly youths! The Civil War between the Cavaliers of Charles I and the Roundheads of Cromwell had broken out two years before in 1642. As sixteen was the regulation age for army service he was taken into the Parliamentary army.

SOLDIER

 

Hence the young tinker became a soldier. He says little about these army days but no doubt their influence comes to light in his writings. Marching with those Roundhead fighting-praying Captains he would, no doubt, find his models for such characters as Great-heart. Once he escaped death from a musket bullet through a comrade taking his place, and no doubt he heard many a sermon from Puritan chaplains, but when the army was disbanded in 1646 he was notorious for his cursing, swearing, lying and blaspheming, and on his own confession completely unconcerned about God. He married when he was 21 years of age and soon had a young family of four children, the first child Mary was blind and there was always a special bond between them. But he was then a gay, careless young man, revelling in the village gatherings, a keen dancer, and taken up with the various sports 

His wife had evidently had a godly father, and she began to exert some religious influence upon him, by reading aloud from two books left by her father, and by persuading him to attend the local church. Once indeed in the midst of his Sunday afternoon sports on the green he thought he heard a voice from heaven but he kept it to himself and continued on his foul-mouthed way in which every other word was an oath. Once he was rebuked for his language by a loose woman who said that she trembled to hear him and that he was spoiling the youth of the whole town. This unlikely shaft went home and he was secretly ashamed.

To the amazement of himself and of others he stopped his swearing, and now became very religious, he read his Bible-especially the historical parts, and was willing to talk religion with anyone. For a year he thought he pleased God as well as any man in England, his neighbours marvelled at the alteration but he soon discovered that although he had religion he had not yet experienced regeneration.

One day on his rounds in Bedford he came across a group of women from John Gifford’s recently formed Gospel Church; he was very eager to talk about religion but soon found himself out of his depth when they talked about the new birth. Their conversation awakened him and he returned time and again to talk with them. In due time they referred him to their pastor who gladly talked to the young tinker about salvation. lt was not easy for him to find the “wicket gate” he was so given to self-examination and self-condemnation that he fell into the Slough of Despond.

How he wallowed, how difficult it was for him to get out, the struggle lasted two years or so, but dawn came at last. The burden rolled from his back and he was filled with, song and sun- shine. He became a regular adherent of the little group of believers in Bedford and he benefited greatly from the rich ministry of Gifford. Even so he still experienced dark times, days of blackest doubting and despair; Bunyan was only too well acquainted with Doubting Castle and grim Giant Despair. He really joined the church in 1653 and was probably baptised in the River Ouse around that time. (Although even in those days of liberty under Cromwell it was probably at dead of night, public baptism by immersion was still a subject for scorn and persecution).

Eventually he became a deacon of the church and as he continued to study the Word of God it became apparent to the faithful believers that here was a convert on whom God had His hand in a special way.

1655 was a year of sorrow in his life, just he lost his wife Mary, and then his godly pastor passed away. It was also a time of beginning of great things. He was asked to preach, and though not a little abashed feeling his own inadequacy, he ventured and his efforts were attended with immediate and evident blessings. His influence grew and people came in to hear the Word by hundreds from all parts.

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Word Studies

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                                 Rev. K. W. Munday

WORD STUDIES

Word Studies is presented by Rev. K. W. Munday, retired minister and former General Secretary of Assemblies of God for many years. He has served the body of Christ with grace and distinction, is an excellent, quality preacher and speaker, broadcaster, writer of books and still active in Christian service. His contributions here on Word Studies should prove a great means of blessing, inspiration and instruction.

ANARCHY

According to the dictionary, the word anarchy can have various shades of meaning. One of them suggests that it indicates an ideal society where everyone manages to live in harmony and peace with no laws, although there seems to be no examples as to how this could be achieved.

Others believe, with some adjustment, that life could be lived without a government. Rules and regulations could all be dispensed with if everyone behaved responsibly, but knowing human nature this seems to be but a pipe dream.

Such a situation would echo a time in the history of Israel when they had no king, and everyone did what was right in his own eyes – Judges 21:25. That was anarchy in action, but it did not produce a harmonious society.

Coming nearer to our times, there was a period during world war 2 when the Germans invaded Paris. There was great confusion because for a temporary period there was no law in the city. So the rare times when the anarchy principle has had opportunity to demonstrate its value it has completely failed.

There is a third group who are interested in anarchy purely for their own sake. They despise all forms of authority and hate to be obedient to anybody. They say that they believe in freedom. But how would this work? Here are some suggestions. No speed limits on the roads. No punishments for shop-lifting from the supermarket. No one to stop child abuse etc. , and so we could go on. It’s almost too absurd to consider, much less to adopt.

There’s an interesting incident in one of Bernard Shaw’s plays where a group of modern young people discuss how they can jettison the old traditional values. Free love was on their agenda as marriage was becoming old hat. Why not swap partners if they wanted to? They did have the good sense to discuss some ground rules especially if children came along, so after quite a discussion they decided that if one man married one woman for life it would clear up a lot of problems! So anarchy failed again.

Objections to anarchy are pretty straight forward. First, it is against all logic. To run the simplest of organisations (ie the family) one must have some rules however simple. Secondly, the so-called advantage of freedom is a myth. It works against freedom. Would switching of all the traffic lights, particularly at the rush hour, be a gesture for freedom? Doing one’s own thing always promotes selfishness’, and thirdly, the  promoters of anarchy have underestimated the stubbornness of human nature, which has an almost intrinsic objection to keeping laws, and therefore needs them!

The Bible, with its ever common sense diagnosis of the human psyche recognises that we have turned every one into his own way – Isaiah 53, and while it backs the law to keep social order, it goes further in the Gospel of Jesus by giving a person the will to do right. We need a law to compel because of human weakness, but we can also have the grace of God which better still, impels us to do it.

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Dave’s Snippets

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                                       Dr. David Allen

VAN GOGH THE PREACHER?

Vincent Van Gogh, often hailed as the greatest painter of a period that abounded in artistic talent, had a Protestant background and was had a very serious nature.  As a young man, he worked for a time as an art dealer. Unfortunately his strong opinions – always forcibly expressed – put off the customers and he began paint and draw himself, his first efforts   when he was living in the Hague.

Without much success as an artist, he began to be drawn to preaching and, with this end, he studied theology for a time.  His theologically studies challenged him to begin to preach in the Borinage, a mining in area in Belgium, where men and women lived lives of poverty and wretchedness. In order to preach to the people there, he began to live as one of them, living in the poorest of lodgings and almost dying of starvation. His lifestyle came to the notice of   the superintendency. They were not pleased and told him desist wearing the clothes of the miners as being   not fitting for a minister. Their attitude appalled him and made him disillusion with the church. Persuaded by his brother, Theo, he embraced  what he felt was his true vocation: he would  be a painter, not a preacher.

Vincent’s earlier efforts were sombre paintings of peasants and miners. But in 1880 he left Belgium and settled for a time in Paris, then the Mecca of artists, sculptors and aspiring novelists and poets. His palette became brighter. But, after travelling south, and lodging for a time with   Paul Gauguin, Vincent’s   paintings exploded.  His art became his obsession and he admitted, in one of his last letters, that his devotion to painting had almost made him lose his reason. In fact, he was a voluntary patient in the asylum at St Rémy and sadly, he took his own life in 1890. Even more   tragic, he only became famous after his suicide and never   sold a picture in his lifetime, whereas nowadays they sell for millions and are displayed in galleries all over the world.

Perhaps, if he had not been disillusioned by his  superiors in the church, Vincent’s  passionate and utter devotion might have made him a firebrand for Jesus and we would  be studying  Vincent van Gogh the preacher, rather  than Van Gogh the wonderful painter. What is probably more to the point:  all preachers ought to bring to their preaching the same passionate and fervour that Van Gogh brought to his painting!                     

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A Daily Prophetic Word and Meditation

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                                   Rev. E. Anderson

It is good to know that God does seek to talk to us regularly on a daily

basis. Just as Adam and Eve knew what it was to hold a constant fellowship with Him and receive from Him counsel and guidance in their lives, so we, too, can enjoy relationship with Him and hear His word for today.

God chooses to speak to us through His written Word, the Bible. Every Christian should daily spend time reading through the Holy Scriptures and discover what God has said and still says to those who have ears to hear and a heart to receive.

He also seeks to speak into our minds and hearts through the Holy Spirit, giving us prophetic encouragement and enlightenment. Daily we seek by His help and inspiration to place a word of this nature on this site, to help those who are looking to God for inspiration and instruction. May you, as you turn to this page discover an apt word into your lives and situations on a regular basis.

Thursday – August 27th

One of the grave dangers in life is to be taking up with a lot of trivia, stuff that that is really non-essential and wastes a great deal of precious time and energy. You have to sort out each day what is important, relevant and worthy of your commitment and not be tempted to indulge in things and efforts that are unprofitable. Trivia may allure and tempt because it gives some temporary satisfaction but in the end has not lasting profit or value. In this matter, you do really need to seek the Lord for His wisdom and understanding so that you can perceive without difficulty the things that would rob of making something really of your life and service. He is at hand today to be called upon in truth and He will give you a sense of what your engagements should be. Don’t waste your life on that which is meaningless and worthless but be devoted to factors that will produce great rewards and will have no regrets.

August 27th

 

DON’T FUEL THE FIRE – Proverbs 26

 

The idle use of the tongue in gossip is a malicious practice that must not be countenanced. When things are being said falsely about others the grave danger is of contributing and adding to it thus heating things up like a fire. The wise saying affirms – “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down” – v20. The counsel that is being offered is simply: “Don’t fuel the fire!” In refraining from joining in with the rumours being spread the wicked thing is stayed from spreading further. There is a good restraint put upon the gossip and it could prove its death.

There is a great deal of hearsay that is passed out around about people that may appear innocent but in point of fact is of a scandalous nature and pollutes life. The best way is not to become involved in this negative and destructive procedure by feeding it and passing it on. The wisest course of action is to be a conveyor of good, sound, healthy conversation about others so that no tittle-tattle gets any access or opportunity to grow. Gossip of an evil character does not enhance or advance anyone, either the one spoken about or the gossiper.

The New Testament expresses its sentiment with regard to the use of the mind and mouth of the Christian saint. Paul refers to “sound speech that cannot be condemned” – Titus 1: 8. A watchman has to be set upon the thoughts and expressions that come from the lips so that all that is spoken are words of integrity, encouragement and blessing to and concerning others. The wise know that this is the finest way to employ the tongue to untold profit. Instead of harming and hurting others with gossiping words there is a ministry of life that through the lips that you can inspire and uplift countless others – c.f. Proverbs 12: 18.

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Sermon Starters

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                                Rev. E. Anderson

CHRIST IS EVERYTHING –

ALL YOU NEED

Rev. Ernest Anderson

Reading   Luke 24: 13-35

Text          v15

Introduction

THE PERSON: People need to have an encounter and experience with Jesus Christ and discover the wonder and wealth of His person. He is the Founder of the Christian faith and life, responsible for its dynamic birth and continual growth.

THE POSSESSION: When it is realized who is and what lies in His possession and ministry to people, He will be truly desired. Unfortunately and regrettably those who profess to mirror Christianity give a wrong image and impression. But the truth ought to be fully known and Christian preachers have a responsibility in performing this glorious duty.

1/. HE WILLS TO BECOME THE BEST FRIEND

This friendship is to be seen in a number of outstanding ways:

  • He came to be near us as a Companion
  • He came to cheer us as an Encourager
  • He came to steer us as our Guide and Counsellor
  • He came to aid us as our Helper

2/. HE WILLS TO BECOME THE WONDERFUL SAVIOUR

This saving capacity is seen in dealing with the most offensive thing that spoils and ruins man – sin.

  • He comes to save and remove the load of sins
  • He comes to save and remove the guilt of sin
  • He comes to save and remove the judgment of sin

3/. HE WILLS TO BECOME THE GLORIOUS LORD

 

What man requires is someone of love and worth to govern life in the best of interests. As the Sovereign Lord He comes to introduce a relationship and life that is altogether fantastic. 

  • There is the fact of divine sonship and birth into God’s family
  • There is the prospect of divine heir-ship of experiencing the blessings He enjoys being theirs
  • There is the delight of having the possession of the dynamic of the Holy Spirit
  • There is the joy having victory over evil
  • There is the pleasure of having a meaningful future now and eternally

 

CONCLUSION

One cannot afford to be without Him who wills to be everything to us and do everything for us.

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Wisdom’s Ways

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Rev. A. Linford, before his decease, was recognized as a good, great and interesting Bible teacher in the Assemblies of God Fellowship for many years. He was a well-loved Bible College lecturer and writer that bequeathed a tremendous amount of Biblical material in his generation. What a legacy he has left to be researched and brought forth to refresh our day! We shall be using such on this site: His writings from the book of Proverbs and also his Editorials that he wrote for the Redemption Tidings when he was its editor. I trust you will enjoy and appreciate

BUT TALK SENSE

“The lips of righteous feed many” – Proverbs 10: 20, 21

How blessed the tongue can be when it pours out words of worth! The secret behind such helpful expressions is righteousness.  If the heart is right the words will be right. Our speech is but a reflection of our true self; that is why by our words we shall be justified or condemned when Christ judges to works of men Matthew 12:37.

Good conversation enriches: “The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver” – silver refined and free of dross. So when good men speak they do so out of good intent and without guile. Not so to wicked. “The heart of the wicked is of little worth”, judged by true wisdom his inner life is base metal, and so his words add little that in of true value to us. Talking with him is often a waste of time. At best his conversation is absorbed in trivialities, at worst it is defiled with profanities. But the righteous man enriches us with pearls of wisdoms gems of discernment, nuggets of moral worth and silver of choice expressions – all drawn from the treasury of his own rich stores of wisdom and truth.

Good conversation edifies: “The lips of the righteous feed many” in two ways. First literally, in that persuasive speech can induce the “haves” to minister to the, 2have-nots”. Herein lies the basis of all propaganda. The art of persuasion by the adroit use of words can influence the actions of others, as many famine spells make clear. Secondly, figuratively, in that sensible: conversation can feed the mind. Be impartation of knowledge by wise instruction builds up the inner man. Jesus spoke of His own teaching as laying a solid and sure foundation for living. Even so the good words of a wise man add strength and beauty to receptive hearers. But the fool refuses the good sense of wholesome advice and despises the instruction of the godly. He not only despises the mental stimulation and moral sustenance of good conversation, he fails to feed himself and so “dies for want of understanding”, his mind withered and warped in its lack of moral truth. God’s wisdom adds quality to life, without it the mind merely vegetates in the arid soil of human folly.

PRAYER :

Make me wise unto salvation by Thy word, O Lord!

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Prayer Dynamics

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                                  Rev. E. Anderson

PRAYER – GEORGE MUELLER IN THE FOG

Charles Inglis, the well-known evangelist, tells the following story of George Muller, and it is worthy of a place under the heading of ‘Answered Prayers’.

When I first came to America, thirty-one years ago, I crossed the Atlantic with the Captain of a steamer who was one of the most devoted men I ever knew and when we were off the banks of Newfoundland he said to me:’ Mr. Inglis, the last time I crossed here five weeks ago, one of the most extraordinary things happened that has completely revolutionised the whole of my Christian life. Up to that time I was one of your ordinary Christians. We had a man of God on board, George Muller of Bristol. I had been on that bridge for twenty-two hours, and never left it.

I was startled by someone tapping me on thy shoulder. It was George Muller, “Captain” he said, “I have come to tell you that I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon.”(This was Wednesday). ‘It is impossible,’ I said.

‘Very well, if your ship can’t take me, but I have never broken an engagement in fifty years.’ ‘I would willingly help you. How can I? I am helpless,’ said the Captain.

‘Let us go down to the chart room and pray,’ said George Muller.

I looked at the man of God, and I thought to myself, what lunatic asylum could the man have come from? I never heard of such a thing.

‘Mr. Muller,’I said, ‘do you know how dense the fog is’.

‘No,’ he replied, my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God Who controls every circumstance of my life’. He got down on his knees and prayed one of the most simple prayers. I muttered to myself, ‘That would suit a children’s class where the children were not more than eight years old’.

The burden of his prayer was something like this: ‘O Lord, if it is consistent with your will, please remove this fog in five minutes, Thou knowest the engagement Thou didst make for me in Quebec for Saturday. I believe it is your will.

When he finished I was going to pray, but he put his hand on my shoulder and told me in not to pray. First, you do not believe He will; and second, I believe He has, and there is no in need to pray.’

 And, as George Muller said, the fog had lifted.

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