John Deere and the Power of Prayer

This actually sounds like a movie or something.  Like an archaeologist with a cool hat who goes looking for stuff only to get into trouble.  Too bad it’s not quite on that level.  On the other hand, it’s on a much higher level.  And there are no Nazis that I know of related to my blog post, which, if I made 3 original posts undoubtedly the best would be the 3rd and I’d have to go and ruin the legacy with a fourth post years later.  OK…enough of the silliness.

Last week, I had an interesting experience that showed (a teeny bit) my lawn-mowing machinery prowess and (much more so) the fact that prayers are answered…even the ones we sort of just throw out there.  Behold, my John Deere miracle:

After last year’s grass cutting season my riding lawnmower was shot.  I parked it in its spot a little weird, tried to restart it to get it in correctly, and it was dead.  I left it.  My initial thoughts were, “Oh well, I guess this gets me off the hook for the rest of 2011,” and “I’ll have plenty of time to look at it!”  Yeah, before I knew it this year, the grass was calf high.  I mean, upper calf, too… not just right above the ankle!

I tried to start my late 80s, Hydrostatic 185 green and yellow fellow (with rust!) and I got zip.  Nothing happened when I turned the key.  Dead.  I remember talking to the benefactor who gave me the mower about a loose battery connection possibility.  I knew where the battery was, since I’d replaced it in April of 2011.  No joke!  I lifted the hood and saw that nothing was loose as far as my trained eye could tell.  I’m trained in plenty of things- lawnmower repair not being one of them.  I slammed the hood down.  I tried it again and got a little click!

I then did what just about anyone with no knowledge of what they are doing would do… I did the exact same thing!  I got two clicks.  I then sent up a prayer that went something like this, “Lord, you know I don’t have any more time this week to get this done, and I don’t have the money to go replacing batteries on this thing.  Please, let this start for me so I can get this done and not be the failure living in between two retired guys that have nothing better to do than cut their grass and have manicured lawns.”  OK, I added the last bit just now.  The first part was true, because I literally had no time other than right then.  By the time I could get to it again it would be calf-high as in a baby cow would get lost in it!!  Also our funds were low- AAA batteries would be an expense for us, so a lawnmower battery was out of the question.

I then did what I can only assume was God leading me to lawnmower repair.  I lifted the hood and gave the battery a little shake.  No clicks this time, but whirring as if it was getting ready to start.  I then proceeded to shake the battery like a dirty dog, or like it owed me money… maybe like a dirty dog that owed me money!  After a few seconds of holding the ignition it was the sweet smell of success.  And of old gas and combustion, smoke, exhaust, and all that stuff.

I’m certainly not advocating the “get out of jail free card” approach to prayer.  I also don’t want to excuse my laziness in not looking at the problem earlier.  As is the case with God, there are things we just don’t understand about Him.  On the one hand, He certainly is not a Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy who just gives us stuff on a whim.  On the other hand, if we are to be in constant communication with Him like 1 Thessalonians 5:17 advocates, then we should be ashamed if we don’t take something like that to Him.  James 5:16 tells us that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  Prayer isn’t a means of only getting what we want.  Imagine if you had a friend that only called you when he needed something.  By the same token, I think that there are times when we are upholding a constant and daily prayer life , that this kind of scenario happens.  One this is for sure:  I feel quite certain that I had absolutely nothing to do with this incident other than deciding to cut the grass and not be a slacker, and more importantly pray- even a short one in desperation.

Until next time!


We’ve Got It Good, And That Ain’t Bad… Or Is It?

If nothing else,it seems like my aim is just to confound people with my off-center blog post titles.  This is going to be a tough one to write, though.  I don’t think that much of my topic fits into my humorous nature.  I’m talking about the subject of the global persecution of Christians.  Some of you probably started guffawing as you read that.  That’s fine.  As 1 Corinthians 1:18 states, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those that are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (NIV)  So, as opposers of the one, true God tend to do- let me have what you think are the “facts”.  Here’s what I know…

As I started doing some research, finding some videos, etc. for our youth group lesson I was more astonished than I had ever been.  The physical, brutal torture of professing Christians in much of the world today is of epic proportions.  I saw one video that showed three Christians being beaten, kicked, spat upon, and otherwise left for dead in India by Hindus.  In another, Iraqi Christians had to meet in an armed compound for fear of open violence against them.  In another account, a boy was forced by Muslims to gather the firewood that would fuel the fire he was to be thrown into.  I knew things were bad, I just didn’t realize how bad it was.  The one verse that got me was in 1 Corinthians 12:26 where it says, “If one part [of the body of Christ] suffers, every part suffers with it…” (NIV)  This was a huge reality check for me in that I never have truly been aware of the atrocities which are being perpetrated on Christians.  I had, I suppose, a “head” knowledge of them, but they sank down to my heart this time.

Ladies and gentlemen, America is not like these places.  In many parts of the world, there is no religious freedom.  You are either a Muslim, Hindu, or whatever the case may be- or you are, at best, ostracized.  That’s the best case scenario.  In the United States, and other countries with religious freedom, it is different.  There are no, or very few, physical atrocities such as these.  We have it good in that sense.  All we have to encounter may be some snickering and jeering now and then.  We may have to endure the occasional belligerent non- Christian attitude once in a while.  Someone may even talk about us behind our backs!  The bad thing, and I want to be careful here, is that we have no clue what true faith under fire is.  Of course, we all have trials and problems- each person’s are unique to them.  They need to be seen in light of James 1 and Romans 5:3-4.  These things need to be undergone so that perseverance and spiritual maturity can abound.  My only concern is: are we in danger of losing sight of what’s really going on in our world?  Has American Christianity become too lax in its approach to understanding the suffering of the global body of Christ?

Again, not my normal blog post… and at 520+ words, not the normal length for me either.  I hope this has given us some things to think about.  I hope, more importantly, this has given us some things to pray about.

Until next time!