Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thanks For The Prayers

     If you watched the news last weekend you would have heard about the great winter storm of 2016 that hit the East Coast of the United States. North Carolina does have a winter season, but it usually surmises of cold rains and an occasional snow storm. This storm, however, brought ice to many parts of our area. There was almost an inch of ice covering the trees and power lines. This meant that trees fell from the weight of the ice and the power went with it.     Thousands upon thousands were without power from mid Friday afternoon until Monday. Some of us were lucky and got our power back in a few hours, but some of us had to go the whole weekend without being able to take a shower, make coffee or have any heat at all.
My Front Yard, After the Storm
The outpouring of love, support and help was overwhelming. There were posts on Facebook offering others to come to their house- they had a generator, or heat, or hot food. Pictures being posted on social media sites of neighbors huddled up in one home because they happened to be the only house on the block with a generator. All these people helping each other out just hours after the power went out was a very encouraging sight to see. Churches were opening their doors and people were helping people everywhere. I can honestly say that I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and faith that was seen throughout our great state of North Carolina. But then there were some, who just offered their prayers.
"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith, by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:14-17 ESV
     During the storm there was a sister in the Lord whose husband was out of town at the time the storm hit. Since the state pretty much shut down he could not make it home. She was alone, without power with a small baby. Her power went off Friday afternoon and did not return until late afternoon on Sunday. She had a gas burning fireplace so she had heat, but that was all she had. Within minutes of her letting people know she was alone, without heat, with a small baby, people told her they were praying for her. Many of them were people she went to church with every week. I am sure that they were praying for her. But out of all the people that went to the same church with her week after week, none of them offered to come pick her and her baby up and bring them to a safe and warm house. (The roads were drivable) It was someone who didn’t go to her church who was the one who actually offered any help whatsoever. So let me ask you, what profit was their prayers?
     James tells us that if we say we have faith in Jesus, if we say that we are Christians, than that faith should spur us into action. Our power went out and I had offers from my church family and from my friend's churches to go to their homes, to bring us food, and also that they were praying for us. Their prayers meant more to me because they were willing to put action behind them. I know, you are saying right now that we can't help them all, and you are right, but we should be willing to at least help some.
     James asks us all the simple question of what good is our prayers if we are not willing to do something about it?  "If a brother or sister is lacking" (vs.15) James is not talking about the homeless shelter or the stranger that needs assistance, he is referring to that sister, that brother you go to church with every single week. The one you worship with, fellowship with, and hug them when they come into service, telling them you love them; that is the brother or sister that James is referring to. What good did all that fellowship and love do this sister in the Lord when she was without power? What good did all that do when she needed it the most?
Picture of my tree as the ice started to melt on Sunday 
Praying is important, it is powerful and it changes things. I believe we should be a praying people. But prayer is not all we as Christians should be doing. Go back and read through the gospel accounts. Jesus did something when He saw a need. He prayed but then He worked. His faith was followed by His works. Jesus didn't put His hand on the shoulder of His brother in need and say, "Well, I am praying for you." No, He did something about it.
     Christian, please wake up! Your prayers, your love on a Sunday has got to translate into works on a Monday! Your prayers, although good and appreciated should spur you to want to do something. We can't help everyone, but we should at least help some.
     If you say you are a Christian, than that belief should translate to your feet and there should be actions to follow. What you believe will directly affect what you do, or do not do. What good is an apple tree if it never produces any apples? It is no longer an apple tree, it is just a tree and at that point, of no use to anyone. My sister in the Lord made it through, she survived. We all survived. We made it through not just because of prayers, we made it through because Christians, sincere Christians put faith to their feet and helped one another. All the other ones, were just dead faith followed by dead prayers.

Father God, I pray that You would make us see that You want us to put faith to our feet and do something about what we believe. You encourage us and want us to pray, but You want those prayers to turn into actions. Father, let us become a body that prays into action and sees the needs of our brothers and sisters. We might not be able to do much, but sometimes a simple thermos of coffee brought to a sister without power can lift her spirits and bring her back to You. Father, put faith to my feet today. In Jesus Name, Amen.