How Do I Talk to God?

Whether you’re searching for God or a longtime believer, there’s a good chance you have questions about prayer. How exactly are you supposed to pray? And why should you do it? Here are some guidelines from Billy Graham.

How do I talk to God?

Billy Graham: Prayer is simply talking to God—and the most important thing I can say about this is that God wants you to talk to Him! He loves us and He has promised to hear us when we pray. How can you learn to pray? First, understand why prayer is possible.

Prayer is possible because Jesus Christ has removed the barrier between us and God—a barrier caused by our sins. You see, sin separates us from God, and because of that we have no right to come before Him. But by His death on the cross, Christ paid the penalty for our sins and removed the barrier. God then gives us the privilege of coming into His presence when we commit our lives to Christ.

The Bible says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). If you have never done so, ask Christ to come into your life today.

Then understand that God now welcomes you into His presence and promises to hear you—and He cannot lie. The Bible says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14). Trust His promises and learn to bring every concern to Him in prayer.

Does God only hear us when we pray out loud or does He hear silent prayers also? Please forgive me if this is a dumb question, but I didn’t grow up in a religious home and have just become a Christian.

Billy Graham: Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions when you don’t understand something about the Christian life; after all, God wants you to come to know Him more and more each day. Jesus’ disciples repeatedly asked for His help, and so should we. On one occasion they said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

Yes, God hears our prayers on all occasions, whether we’re praying out loud or praying silently in our hearts and minds. After all, He knows all about us and knows what is going on inside us—both good and bad. The Bible says that God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible also says, “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him” (Proverbs 15:26).

God even hears our prayers when we can’t even put them into words—times, for example, when our hearts are too burdened or confused even to speak. The Bible says, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26).

One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the privilege of prayer—a privilege that is possible because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Thank God for the privilege of prayer and learn daily to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Does God really answer prayers?

Billy Graham: Prayer is one of our greatest privileges as God’s children, and even if God doesn’t seem to answer your prayers at first, don’t stop praying. God loves you, and no prayer goes unanswered.

Jesus once told a story about a poor widow who repeatedly asked a corrupt judge to do what was right. (You can read it in Luke 18:1-8.) Repeatedly the judge refused—not because her request was wrong, but because he just didn’t care.

But because of her persistence, he eventually gave in and granted her what she deserved. In a far greater way, Jesus said, God (who is righteous and does care for us) hears the prayers of His people, and we must never give up.

But let me add two things. First, realize that sometimes God is actually answering our prayers when we don’t realize it—and the reason is because His answer may be “No” or “Wait.” Yes, we think we know what’s best for us—but God sees the whole picture, and sometimes He lovingly refuses to give us what we request, because He knows it isn’t according to His perfect plan.

Second, remember that we have the privilege of coming to God only because Jesus Christ died for our sins. Have you given your life to Him? If not, let your first prayer be one of confession and faith, asking Him to come into your life as your Lord and Savior.

Transportation for Treasured Trials Ministry

Greetings in Christ
It has been brought to our attention that Kerby and Kelli Campbell are in need of a vehicle. As you may know, their only source of income is what is raised through love offerings and donations. Myself, as well as several other people believing them to be true servants of God and true to their calling, have been burdened for their need. I was led to have our church sponsor a fundraiser to help them with this ministry need. This is made available to the public and to all concerned Christians, and other churches. We have taken $500.00 dollars from our mission’s account and started a “Transportation for Treasured Trials Ministry” fund. This is a social media outreach by YouCaring Compassionate Crowdfunding.
Here is some information to help you know more about Kerby Campbell and his ministry:
Evangelist Campbell was a successful pastor, serving the Northwest Baptist Church of Marysville, Washington. Then, on February 17, 2010, Evangelist Campbell went in for a routine knee surgery not knowing that when he came out his life would be forever changed.
After a failed spinal epidural, he would be diagnosed with a condition called arachnoiditis which equates to a lifetime of severe pain, every day, with no cure. Because of his new medical condition he was unable to continue as pastor, so he resigned from his church.
In 2013, due to the stress and trauma of his condition, he suffered a heart attack. However, he continued to trust God and a new ministry was born.
Out of the severe trials Kerby and Kelli went through and still are working through, God led them to start a ministry to help others who are going through similar things. The ministry is called, “Treasured Trials.”
2 Co 1:3-4 “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; (4) Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
Realizing that God makes no mistakes, Evangelist Campbell, and his family, want to bring you HOPE & HELP so that you can give God praise, honor and glory, through your trials, whether they be physical, emotional, financial, relational or mental, and to realize they are treasures from God. Everyone has them. How will you handle yours?
If you would, please pray that we can be a blessing to this dedicated family. If you are able to and would like, you may send a donation to Immanuel Baptist Church, 1505 Lewisville Clemmons Road, Clemmons, NC 27012. Designate your gift for the Kerby Transportation Fund.

Pastor Taylor
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40

Exporting Modesty To the Next Generation

 

Exporting the gospel to the world is one of the highest privileges for a Christian, which is why the issue of modesty has to be part of the ongoing dialogue in our homes.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and how we present ourselves to other people can be either biblically inviting or culturally stimulating. The best place in the world to begin building beautiful Christlike pictures of modesty in young lives is within the family unit.
Parents have a dozen or so years to teach their children how to connect the gospel to daily living. Wearing clothes are about as every day as it gets. From two to twelve years of age, your child will put on clothes approximately 4000 times.

If you can teach a new habit in twenty-one days, how your child thinks about clothes will be a deeply entrenched habituation long before he or she becomes a teen. Teaching modesty is your “always-recurring opportunity” to export the practical gospel to your child.

Learning modesty, like all your behaviors, begins in your heart, not in your clothes. What you wear on the outside reflects who you are on the inside (Luke 6:45; Matthew 7:16). You see this idea in Creator God.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. – Psalm 19:1

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. – Romans 1:20

The physical works of God give us insight into His person. This is called general revelation: learning non-specific things about God by observing His external works. It is impossible for God to do anything without leaving His mark on it (Genesis 1:27, 2:7). And you are like Him (James 3:9).

The things you do and the behavioral choices you make reveal the hidden person of your heart, which elevates gospel-centered heart shaping to the top of any parent’s to-do list. Though you can’t bring the internal transformation the child needs, you should cooperate with God through the process orienting your child to God (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

Some of the earliest heart motivations you want to teach your child are respect, honor, gratitude, wisdom, discretion, and humility. These character traits are foundational as you come alongside your child in the later years to help him think biblically about his external behaviors, including modesty.

If your child’s internal heart motivations are not modest, your instruction about external matters, like clothing choices, will prove to be futile. You can whitewash over a stain, but the stain will always reappear, and you can make your child wear the right clothes while she is under your mandates, but her heart will be defiant.

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion. – Proverbs 11:22

Beauty is external, but respect, honor, gratitude, wisdom, discretion, and humility are rooted in the heart. If you don’t begin in the right place, you may have a pig with a gold ring stuck her snout. Parenting goals are always higher than behavioral modification mandates.

The Real Starting Point

If your first thoughts about modesty for your child begins with your child’s clothes, the first adjustment to make is your starting point.
If your first thoughts about modesty for your child starts with her son’s heart, you still not at the right point of departure.
When it comes to parenting biblically, the first place to begin is always with the parent, not with the child. This non-negotiable first step starts with the teacher internalizing and practicing the teaching. Otherwise, it would be hypocritical to teach a child about modesty while not modeling and manifesting it yourself.

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.1 – Luke 6:40

When you talk to God, what are you learning about your modesty?
When you talk to your friends, what are they telling you about your modesty?
Children have ingrown baloney detectors. They can discern hypocritical parenting. Don’t be full of baloney. You can fake them out for a while, but there will come a time when they will objectively discern you. Let your example look like the authentic Christ (Ephesians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 11:1). Your life is the most powerful example of what will shape your child.

Are you modest?
Are you tempted to conform to your culture?
Who is your modesty mentor?
Appeal to Husbands

To do modesty well in the home means husbands and wives must be regularly and transparently talking about this culturally relevant issue. A husband and wife are not two people, but one flesh. Just like you reflect Christ, the husband is a reflection of his wife, and the wife reflects her husband.

It would be confusing to a child if the parents revealed two different messages. Split marriages, regardless of where the splits are, perpetuate confusion and insecurity in children. Kids are not mature enough to understand mixed marriage messages.

The way a couple becomes one voice in the child’s life is by doing the hard work of developing a unified message that is consistent with their hearts. Singlemindedness in marriage means both partners must have authentic conversations that delve into the core of their respective selves.

Husband, your wife needs to know the real you. She needs to know your victories and your struggles. She needs to understand the difference between the person you are and the person that everyone knows. You should not give her all the gory details of your true self, but she must be the kind of life partner that is permitted to enter into your more personal struggles.

You can’t expect to address your child’s heart when you are unwilling to reveal your heart to your wife. Your wife is your best ally–other than the Lord. It’s incumbent on you to leverage this incredible asset. She is a gift to you. Use this means of grace from the Lord by letting her into your heart.

Perhaps you have not led her well. Perhaps your marriage is not able to be this transparent at this time. If that is true, I appeal to you to make “one flesh unity” one of your most important priorities? Lead by example. Work at being as open and honest with your spouse as you want your child to be with you.

Appeal to Wives

For marriages to mature, both partners need always to be pressing into each other for the purpose of helping the marriage reflect Christ and His church. You want to make the gospel attractive.

Biblical attractiveness means the wife must know how her husband struggles with lust, how he is tempted to take God’s good gift of love and reverse it into a cursed shaped lust. No man’s view and practice of love are exactly like Jesus. Imperfection makes him an ordinary fallen man in a fallen world.

As you come alongside your husband make sure you are addressing the real problems, which means you must think theologically more than emotionally. Your husband is a product of Adam’s race. He’s not a helpless victim, but he is a depraved man nonetheless.

Rather than making his problems about your insecurities, make them about God’s ability to restore strugglers (Galatians 6:1-2). A good discipler will resist the temptation to become emotionally entangled in the problems while bringing restorative care that transforms the other person.

Love your man. Help him rather than pulling away at the marriage bond. Give your children a marriage and message that values and manifests transparency, honesty, hope, and humility.

If your husband does not cooperate with your “mission of modesty,” I appeal to you to talk to your pastor or another spiritual authority (Matthew 17:15-17). Do all that you can to close whatever gaps that exist between you and your husband.

Appeal to Everyone

Ladies – Ask yourself this question: What are you trying to accomplish by what you wear? Whether you eat, drink, or dress, are you seeking to do it to draw attention to yourself or God? (See 1 Corinthians 10:31)

Is your desire to make God’s name great by your clothing choices?
Do your clothes spread the fame of God to your family and community?
Do you have a trusted, godly, and courageous female friend who is willing to speak to you about your clothes?
Can you talk about the motivations of your heart?
Your clothing selections begin in your heart, not on the rack. What you wear reveals who you are. Are you pursuing humility through your clothing choices?
Recognize your tendencies toward self-deception, plus cultural pressures and temptations. The subtleties of self-deception tempt all of us. The first step in understanding this is to acknowledge that it can happen to you.

Let this awareness propel you to the safety of godly counsel (Proverbs 11:14). The humble person has nothing to hide, which is why she is willing to be lovingly exposed. Her goals are to learn, grow, change, and mature for the glory of God.

Gentlemen – Let’s be honest: lust tempts you. You are tempted toward ungodliness when it comes to the opposite sex. You may not yield to that temptation, but it does tempt you. Sexual selfishness is part of our Adamic DNA.

Can you talk about this universal problem that is every man’s battle? To pretend it does not exist is to be naive, or even worse, it could be deceptive. Humble transparency about Adamic proclivities is the first step toward exporting modesty to others.

Don’t let your internal private struggles stay secret. Find a godly, wise, and trusted friend. Tell him the truth about the real you. Be released from the fear that you are the only one who struggles this way. You’re not.

Stop condoning men’s meetings where every guy in the room is thinking the same thing, but no one is speaking truthfully about their struggles. Shoot the lust-elephant in the room. Tell the truth.

If you and your wife are willing to pursue modesty through the door of humble and contrite hearts, you’re well-positioned to export the message of modesty to your children.

Export the Message to Your Child

As they mature, you can incrementally increase their awareness of the dangers and pitfalls of modesty. I suspect many parents will read this and think,

We will never agree on this kind of “modesty worldview.” What divides us is too big. We can’t talk about the simplest things; there is no way we’re going to expose our true functional identities to each other.

Non-redemptive Christian marriages are more commonplace than redemptive ones. In these marriages, sin has done more damage than the sanctifying gospel has restored. The brokenness is too dark, which probably means a unified, one flesh marriage message will not happen for the children.

If this is your situation, you should not be hopeless. If you are, I want you to think about these two words: Hopeless Christian. Does that sound right to you? Hopeless and Christian do not belong in the same contiguous breath.

If you feel hopeless, the first thing you need to do is repent. Your problems are not greater than God’s ability to repair. Begin the hard work of transforming your thoughts back to the redemptive power of the gospel.

The Son of God died on a cross. He came out of the grave three days later. Let those gospel-saturated words course through your mind. Regardless of what your spouse does, you can have renewed thinking (Ephesians 4:23). Don’t be like Mary at the tomb, languishing in despair (John 20:11).

Christ did rise just like He said He would (Matthew 28:6). You know the message of hope. Preach it to yourself right now. You can do better than hopelessness.

Perhaps your spouse is not going to help you export modesty to your children. If that is so, think on this: all you need is God. The message of grace alone applies here too. If your child comes to a place of embracing modesty for the glory of God, it will be because of His grace, not because of your beautiful marriage (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The modesty message in this chapter is nearly exclusive to your personal, parental responsibility. Why? That is where you begin talking about modesty in any family. You have a role to play. Still yet, what you do is not greater than what God can do for you. There are two ditches here:

Not cooperating at all with God in exporting modesty to your children (Philippians 2:12-13).
Thinking your failures, whether personal or in your marriage, are greater than God’s power to transform your child’s heart.
The first problem is presuming on the grace of God (Psalm 19:13), while the second one is self-righteous legalism. Let sound theology govern your heart.

You do the best you can while always resting in the sweet assurance that God will take care of you. Believe in and practice the active goodness of God in your life. Let the gospel be your animating center.

Call to Action

When you think about modesty, do you begin with your heart first?
When you think about exporting modesty to others, do you begin with your heart first?
Do your clothes put God’s fame on display?
Is your marriage being unified at the heart level?
How are your children experiencing your unified marriage modesty message?
How can we serve you in the high privilege of exporting modesty to the next generation?

Easter Treasure Hunt

Join us April 15th from 1:00pm-3:00pm for our annual Easter Treasure Hunt.

Singspiration

Join us for a wonderful evening of music April 16th at 6:00 pm. Joel Everett will perform an Easter musical and our very own IBC singers will also be performing.

Sonrise Service

Join us April 16th at 6:30 am for a beautiful Sonrise service. Immediately following the service breakfast will be served in the Fellowship Hall.

Children’s Easter Program

Join us for the Children’s Easter Program Sunday, April 9th at 6:00pm.

Why we use the King James Version

One of the most often asked questions of our Church is, “What Bible do you use?”
We answer unapologetically, “the King James Version.” More and more individual Christians and unfortunately Bible-believing churches are forsaking the King James Version in favor of the more modern translations. In fact, there exists a huge controversy as to whether or not the King James Version of the Bible is the Bible to be used in worship and personal study. A desire exists to forsake the King James Version (KJV) for the more “modern” translations such as the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the New International Version (NIV), or even the New King James Version (NKJV). The argument is put forward that the more modern translations are easier to read because the translations update the language and leave out all those “thee’s” and “thou’s.” Another argument tries to say that the new translations are more accurate than the KJV. Immanuel Baptist Church Baptist whole-heartedly disagrees with these and any arguments that claim that these translations are more accurate than the KJV. It is the position of Immanuel Baptist Church to reject these arguments and these translations, and to confidently say that we use the King James Version of the Bible exclusively in all services, ministries, or activities associated with our ministry.

OUR POSITION
Immanuel Baptist Church believes the Bible is comprised of sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments and was given by inspiration of God. Immanuel Baptist Church believes, therefore, that it is inerrant and infallible. In addition, Immanuel Baptist Church believes that God has preserved His word as He promised, and that He has preserved it in the traditional texts. Immanuel Baptist Church also believes that the King James Version of the Bible is an accurate, faithful, and reliable translation of these manuscripts and that the English reader, therefore, can study it with utmost confidence and rely upon it. Immanuel Baptist Church can confidently say the King James Version is the inspired Word of God because the King James Bible was translated from the preserved texts.

Proverbs 22:28 says,

“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”

In the spirit of the fifth commandment, we are to honor the traditions given to us by the previous generations of our people. Of course, if such tradition contradicts Scripture, we are to reject it in favor of what the Bible says.

“Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?”
(Matthew 15:3)

We never elevate tradition to the same level of authority as Scripture. But we should give our forefathers “the benefit of the doubt.” We should also be careful to preserve all we can that is truly Christian about our culture.

The King James Version of the Bible has played an important and unique role in the development of American culture. It could be said that the foundation of our society was Holy Scripture. The theology of the Bible influenced the ideas behind our Constitution. The language of the King James Bible was scattered throughout our early literature. The revivals that formed and changed our culture resulted from the preaching of Bible texts. For many years, Americans knew a certain amount of Scripture by heart. Many or most could quote at least part of the Twenty-Third Psalm, and recognize the Beatitudes, the Ten Commandments, and parts of the Sermon on the Mount when quoted. But now the influence of the Bible has waned significantly. One reason for the decline of Biblical influence has been the loss of a standard version of the Bible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practical Ways to Love Others Like Jesus

One of the most popular forms of ministry today is the ministry that makes a big splash, garners a lot of attention, and possibly gets reported in the news.

And while good does come from “Go Big” forms of ministry, there are other ways to love others like Jesus. If we think the big splash ministry is the only way to minister, then we will ignore all the small, effective, practical ways of loving others that might actually make more tangible and lasting impact on the lives of others for the Kingdom of God. This is partly why Jesus spoke of giving a cup of cold water in His name (Matt 10:42) and liked the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed (Matt 13;31-32).

It is often the small, easy, affordable, insignificant, simple acts of love and kindness that do the most to help people experience the love of Jesus through your life.

What sort of things? Below are practical ways to love others like Jesus. There are hundreds  of such ways to show love. They are not things you necessarily have to do, but are simply offered as examples.

If we want to simply love others, then we can love others simply

Ways to Love Others Like Jesus

Love the person right in front of you. There is so much pain and loneliness in the world, you can be pretty sure the person next to on the bus or the checker at the grocery store could use a kind word, a smile, or a helping hand. Get off your cell phone and talk to them. Get to know them. Ask them how their day is going… and mean it. Remember their name.
Take food to your neighbors. Like what? Nothing fancy… a plate of cookies, a loaf of fresh-baked bread. When you give it to them, don’t drop it in their arms and run. Stand and talk for a bit if they seem to want that. Don’t invite yourself in and don’t invite them to church. Just be friendly.
Have neighbors over for dinner or dessert. Don’t make it formal or fancy. Just pizza and pop. Or BBQ and beer. Don’t try to turn it into a Bible study. Just laugh, tell stories, and listen.
Hand out homeless bags to people you see on the street. We carry 2-3 bags around in our car and hand out them out when we see people begging on street corners. The ones we hand out contain a tarp, a pair of socks, some non-perishable food, a bottle of water, a scarf, and whatever else we can find.
Watch the children of single mothers so they can go shopping alone. Or, men, offer watch all the kids so your wife and the other woman can go get some coffee and chat.
Take up gardening so you can talk to your neighbor who is all alone.
When you take your kids to activities, don’t retreat to your car and listen to the radio or text on your cell phone. Stick around and talk with any other parents who are there.
Help raise money to rescue girls in slavery. Sell candy or treats, not for a trip overseas, but to raise money to rescue girls from slavery or some other human need.
Help a missionary family overseas by doing things they cannot do where they are. Download podcasts and load hundreds of them on a CD and send it to them. Help them set up and run a blog. Send them clothes and crafts they cannot get overseas.
Volunteer to help feed the poor and homeless in your area. Bring crafts to do with the children.
Buy food for a homeless person on the street, and then sit and talk with them while they eat (If they don’t mind). Hug them!

The Three Trees

Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The fist little tree looked up at the stars and said: ” I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I’ll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!”

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it’s way to the ocean. ” I want to be traveling might waters and caring powerful kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world!

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. I don’t want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me they’ll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.

Years, passed. The rain came, the sun shone and the little trees grew tall. One day three wood cutters climbed the mountain. The first wood cutter looked at the first tree and said, “This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shinning ax, the first tree fell. “Now I shall make a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!” the first tree said.

The second wood cutter looked at the second tree and said, “This tree is strong. It’s perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shinning ax, the second tree fell. “Now I shall sail mighty waters!” thought the second tree. ” I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!”

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last wood cutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the wood cutter never even looked up. “Any kind of tree will do for me.” He muttered. With a swoop of his shinning ax, the third tree fell.

The fist tree rejoiced when the wood cutter brought her to a carpenter’s shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, or treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the wood cutter took her to a shipyard, but no might sailing ship was made that day. Instead the one strong tree was hammered and awed into a simple fishing boat.

She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river, instead she was taken to a little lake. The third tree was confused when the wood cutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. “What happened?” The once tall tree wondered. ” All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God…”

Many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. “I wish I cold make a cradle for him.” Her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. ” This manger is beautiful.” She said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and a thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She new she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and the rain. The tired man awoke. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, “Peace.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten wood pile. She flinched as she was carried through and angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hand to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

The next time you are disappointed because you didn’t get what you wanted, sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.