Heavenly Father, hear our prayers and accept our praises for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
What we see and hear this day is a wondrous thing. The fact that this school exists is wondrous. The fact that you are here is wondrous. The fact that there are teachers and staff is wondrous. Most wondrous of all is the fact that this school, its students, faculty, and staff have the Word of God with its gospel of salvation.
God made all this happen. Without God, there would be no Bible…no gospel message. Without God you and I would not have faith. Without God there would be no ILC. Without God we would not be at ILC.
Without God! What a frightening thought! As you sit in the classroom, do you realize that without God you would not be there? In fact, you would not even exist.
So, what are you going to do with this information? Let the Apostle Paul tell you. “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).
If in God we live and move and exist, doesn’t it just make sense that we should be in constant contact with Him? And the amazing thing is that it isn’t hard. – Try getting an appointment to talk with President Obama or Wisconsin Governor Walker or Eau Claire City Manager Van Gompel. It’s even easier to contact God than our ILC President Sippert. Moreover, it’s faster than the Internet. All you have to do is think…to direct your thoughts toward God.
Of course, it wasn’t always so easy. The line of communication was once blocked, and it was impossible for any human being to pierce through that impenetrable barrier. As God tells us, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). As long as our sins remained, the barrier remained. God dwells in a high and holy place. He will not allow sin-laden man to approach Him.
So, is there anything we can do? Well, with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible (cf. Matthew 19:26). From this side of the barrier, nothing can be done. But from the other side something can be and has been done. And—thanks to Him who did it—you know about it.
The God against whom we sinned…the God who poured out His love, only to have it kicked back at Him by ungrateful sinners…this God continued to love us with such a vast love that He sent His own Son to tear down the barrier.
However, the only way that this could be done was by walking the pathway of justice. Perfect, divine justice demanded payment for our wickedness, for our rebellion against Him. We had pushed Him away and the only thing left for us was to be eternally away from God. That is hell, eternal separation from God and thus from all that is good and happy and peaceful. Justice demanded the punishment of hell.
So, that is what the Son of God had to do to tear down the barrier. HE had to suffer that punishment. Upon the cross He endured the fullness of hell’s agony. When God suffers hell for mankind, justice is satisfied. The barrier created by our sins was torn down once and for all. Now, through Christ we have access by one Spirit to the Father. As Jesus said,
“I am the way…No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
So, you can see that it wasn’t easy to have contact with the Father. It was impossible for us, but Jesus made the impossible possible. And it wasn’t easy for Him. Through great suffering, death, and resurrection, Jesus opened the line of communication.
The way is open. Who would not take advantage of this wondrous blessing? So many millions in this world try to reach God by ways other than Jesus. But for them the barrier is still there. We, however, WE know Jesus. We believe in Jesus. There is no barrier for us.
So, why not pray? Why not send your thoughts heavenward in the classroom, in the dorm, in the gym, on the pathways, in the car, at home, abroad, morning, afternoon, night? Every phase of our existence is linked to the love and power of God. In Him we live; in Him we move; in Him we exist. Talk to Him; share with Him your sorrows and joys, your pains and pleasures. “Continue earnestly in prayer.”
And do it with thanksgiving. Express your thanks that the barrier is down and you CAN pray. Thank Him for all past blessings without which you would not be here today. Here in this gym; here on this campus; here with these Christian teachers and students; here with faith in your heart and the solid hope of everlasting life.
Oh…and while you are praying, pray for me, please, and for your teachers and your dorm parents and the rest of the staff and your fellow students.
We now offer our prayer with the words of the
hymn #24 (TLH).
Lord of my life, whose tender care
Hath led me on till now,
Here lowly, at the hour of prayer,
Before Thy throne I bow.
I bless Thy gracious hand and pray
Forgiveness for another day.
Oh, may I daily, hourly, strive
In heav’nly grace to grow,
To Thee and to Thy glory live,
Dead to all else below!
Tread in the path my Savior trod,
Tho’ thorny, yet the path of God.
With prayer my humble praise I bring
For mercies day by day.
Lord, teach my heart Thy love to sing;
Lord, teach me how to pray.
All that I have and am, to Thee
I offer thro’ eternity.