Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | November 20, 2015

November 20, 2015 “This Saint Stuff”

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Good Morning My Wonderful Friends!

My calendar, the weather, the television commercials, the music in the stores, and the ads for all the upcoming sales all serve to remind me that the Thanksgiving/Christmas season is upon us.  I have always loved this time of year…especially the music, both spiritual and secular. One of my favorite songs as a child was “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas”. Of course, I knew the song was about Santa Claus, but what about this “Saint stuff”? Where did that come from. I wasn’t sure what a saint was, but I figured it must be a good thing, because Santa was a good thing! Some time after childhood, I learned that a saint is one who endeavors to follow Christ, to emulate Christ, to represent Christ in his or her life. Unlike our Catholic brothers and sisters who have a special category for being merited the honor of “Sainthood”, the Protestant belief is that you and I who are believers and emulate  Christ in our lives are also “saints.” In the Book of Hebrews, the author (likely Paul), reminds us that as we dwell on this earth, we are literally surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses” who have gone before us and who have witnessed to the Lordship of Christ in their lives. They have done so through their testimonies, their good deeds, their sacrifice, and their prayers. Prayers are so powerful that the effect of them outlives the prayer itself. E.M. Bounds wrote,

“God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. They outlive the lives of those who uttered them.”

Many of us enjoy the blessings of those who have stood in the gap before the Throne of Grace on our behalf. I still reap the benefit, for example, of prayers uttered on my behalf by my grandmother and my father, both of whom shed this mortal coil many years ago. But even though they have died, the power of their prayers lives on, just as surely as they live on through the power of Christ’s resurrection. Prayer has such transforming, lasting power that its effects , though evident, are truly immeasurable. Knowing this, take heart and continue to run the race God has laid out for you. People are praying for you. I am praying for you. Long after I have ceased praying and enter into God’s glorious presence for eternity, the power of those prayers will live on in my children, my grandchildren, and in the lives of countless others for whom I have prayed. It will be the same with your prayers. They are deathless, powerful and effective. It’s part and parcel of your “sainthood.” Let’s pray!

O Lord; Clarify in our hearts and minds the power of prayer. It fills the heavenly places with a sweet aroma and it changes lives here on earth. It lives on long after you have called us into your glorious presence. Teach us to pray, Lord. In Jesus’ name we do pray. Amen!

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