by: Robert A. Schuller
My wife and
I flew into Los Angeles just a few days ago. It was actually
early Wednesday morning. It was still dark out when we
flew over Southern California. The fires were burning
totally out of control, in fact we heard about them all
the way over in Jerusalem. It was international news of
what was going on in Southern California and the devastating
fires. And when we flew over those fires I saw this line
of fire that must have been five miles long, it was enormous.
And it wasn’t just one line of fire but I could
seem them in different places because it being night time
and being up in the air you could see the glows of these
fires. And this thought came into my mind: the thought
was this is beyond human intervention, that this requires
divine intervention. And Donna and I immediately started
to pray and I didn’t even know what to pray for
except please God help. And that’s all we could
pray for at that time. By the time we got home and I climbed
into bed it was in the wee hours of the morning, still
dark and as I laid in bed and thought, this thought came
into my mind pray for rain. Pray for rain. I said now
that’s a good idea, that’s what it takes,
I’m going to pray for rain. So I got up in the morning
as soon as the sun came up and I turned the television
on to see what the forecast was and it was very, very,
very bleak. They said there was no precipitation in the
coming future, that the Santa Ana winds would continue
for the next seven to ten days and that was the forecast.
And the fires are out of control and are devastating homes
and firefighters and the like.
So that afternoon
I drove to San Bernardino to give an invocation, a two
minute invocation for a friend of mine and he was dedicating
his new corporate warehouse and his distribution center
for Stater Bros. Jack Brown is a former member of our
board in the Crystal Cathedral ministries, and a dear
friend and he asked me to do this and even though I had
arrived into the states only a few hours before I said
yes I’ll do that and I made a commitment and so
I did. The challenge, the most challenging part of the
whole thing was getting there. I don’t know if you
know what I’m talking about with jet lag and all,
but my body said it was two am but my clock said it was
two pm. And so I’m driving down the freeway going
like this the whole way; keep awake, you can do this,
don’t fall asleep. You ever done that? That startling
thing will keep you awake until you get to your destination,
one way or another. It’s really hard to fall asleep
when you’re sitting there slapping yourself in the
face, but when you get there everyone says, “Boy
you look good, you got such rosy cheeks!”
And so I got
there and saw Jack and he said, boy you look good Robert.
I said thank you. You got such great color! I said yeah
I know. And so he had this great reception for his new
center there. He had a fifty piece band, he had the color
guard, he had the Mayor, the city council of San Bernardino.
All in all there must have been five hundred people at
this event. There was twenty of us just on the platform.
And when I went to give the invocation we could still
smell the smoke and the ashes falling and it was not a
pretty picture as far the atmospheric situation was concerned.
So I said we need to pray. The bible tells us that “If
My people will humble themselves and pray then I will
heal their land.” I gave them the condensed version.
We only have two minutes after all, for this invocation.
And then I went on and I said we’re going to pray
for rain and when I said that people snickered. They kind
of chuckled. I could hear them under their breath turn
to the person next to them, yeah-fat chance you know.
They knew what the weather forecast was, but we prayed
for rain. I’m sure I wasn’t the first person
to pray for rain and I know I wasn’t the only person
praying for rain. What I do know is that we prayed for
rain at four o’clock on Wednesday afternoon and
sixty hours later, two and a half days later, Saturday
morning I get a call from Jack Brown. He’s so excited
he can’t even stand it he says, ‘Robert you
told us to pray for rain and it’s raining here in
San Bernardino today! Praise God! Praise God!’ And
that was the turning point. That was it. From then on
the firefighters continued to fight these fires with the
help of God.
You know we
face incredible odds and struggles and challenges in life.
What we have to realize is that with the power of God
we can do all things. Solomon, you know that verse that
I shared with you earlier, “If My people will humble
themselves and pray,” actually comes from II Chronicles
7:14. It says this, “If My people who are called
by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My
face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear
from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal
their land.” Now this message comes from God who
was speaking to Solomon at the dedication of the temple.
Solomon built the temple, had just completed it and that’s
the setting with which we receive these words. Now if
we go back and look at the life of Solomon you have to
look at II Chronicles number one and in there we have
the account of where God comes to Solomon and He says
Solomon ask for anything you want, anything and I’ll
give it to you. And Solomon prayed for wisdom and for
knowledge. And having prayed and asked for wisdom and
knowledge this is the way God responded to Solomon’s
request for wisdom and knowledge. He said “Since
this is your hearts desire and you have not asked for
wealth or riches or honor, nor for death of your enemies
and since you have not asked for a long life, but for
wisdom and knowledge to govern My people over whom I’ve
made you king. Therefore wisdom and knowledge will be
given you and by the way I will also give you wealth,
riches and honor such as no king who was before you ever
had and none after you will ever have.” I think
he made the right decision. What do you think? He could
have asked for anything, but he asked for wisdom and knowledge
this might be a clue for us as we look at prayer and as
we look at what to pray for and what to ask God for. Do
we want to ask for wealth or do we want to ask for wisdom
and knowledge? Do we want to ask for all of our enemies
to be destroyed? Or do we want to ask for wisdom and knowledge?
The bible says, “Ask and ye shall receive, seek
and ye shall find, knock and the door will be opened.
For he who asks receives, he who knocks the doors are
Art Fry, do
you know that name? You should know that name; you need
to remember it and tell you why. He was a 3M employee
and he was in the choir, church choir. He loved his hymns
and he loved his music. And he wanted a way to be able
to mark his hymnal. He didn’t know how to do it.
As an employee of 3M he knew of something that wasn’t
working. They weren’t marketing it so he got a hold
of it, put it on pieces of paper and it worked absolutely
perfect because it didn’t stick forever. He could
post it there and take it off and today you all use his
product. What is it? Post its! Post-it notes. Thanks to
him I have got Post-its all over my computer, I have them
all over my book. Look at in my bible right there! Post-it
note! If that is not enough how about this: Post-it notes.
You know what, if that’s not enough how about this
side, more post-it notes. I’ve got post it notes
everywhere. I’m going to leave my jacket on. We’ve
got post-it notes everywhere thanks to non other than
Arthur Fry the choir man who wanted to know where his
How about George
de Mestral? A guy in Switzerland, the year is 1948; he’s
out walking his dog. Comes back from walking his dog on
a summer day and he’s got burrs all in his hair
and he’s trying to get the burrs out of his dogs
hair. He’s got burrs all over his pants and he’s
ripping these things off of his pants. The burrs were
absolutely horrible that year, drove him absolutely nuts.
But he was also a scientist so he thought this is kind
of fascinating. How do these burrs stick to my pants?
So he put them under a microscope and he saw that every
single one of these branches off of the burr had a microscopic
hook on it, never seen anything like it. So he made something
like that out of plastic and on the other side of the
plastic he made a bunch of loops and today we know it
as Velcro and it sticks and it un-sticks thanks to tiny
little hooks and loops.
Check this one out, how about Dr. Harry Coover. You all
use his product, it’s called Cyanoacrylate. Cyanoacrylate.
In fact my wife used it yesterday. She had a broken nail
and she used Cyanoacrylate. He was just looking for a
piece of plastic, clear plastic. He’s working for
Kodak and he got in real trouble because he ruined a few
really good lenses at the Kodak Corporation. And then
he discovered that hey this stuff is really, really good.
And we know it as superglue. We run into problems and
so often we sit here and we curse God instead of realizing
that God is in the process of blessing us! We get the
burrs stuck to our legs and all we can think about is
how miserable it is having these burrs in our legs. But
anyhow, we sit here and look at the problems we face never
realizing that it’s the greatest opportunities that
stand before us.
The biggest struggle that God has with every single one
of His children is the right ear and left ear. What’s
in-between; that four inches that doesn’t have enough
faith to believe. So we need to walk by faith and not
by sight. Jesus Christ is the very center of the universe.
He is the very center of everything that ever has been
or ever will be. Jesus Himself claims to be the alpha
and the omega. What does that mean? The beginning and
the end. That means before God even thought about creating
the heavens and the earth, Jesus was. And when there is
nothing, now I don’t know how that is going to develop,
but if there is an implosion which science talks about
happening in a billion years from now where the whole
universe implodes upon itself. He is there. He is the
beginning and the end. He is the center of history. From
the beginning of time to the end of time.
One of the
ways to kind of begin to realize how Christ is the very
center of the universe is to understand that the Roman
Empire had a system which developed Rome as the very center
of the universe. That’s what they consider themselves.
You’ve all heard the expression, all roads lead
to Rome. You’ve heard that expression right? It
comes from the Roman Empire. They had established a milestone
in the very heart of the city not far from the temple
of Saturn. It was called the Aerarium, the Golden Milestone.
And then throughout the civilization of Rome, they would
establish these milestones. They were huge columns and
they were dug several feet down in the ground, twenty/thirty
feet into the ground. They weighed several thousand tons
so that they were basically impossible to move. You could
strap a team of horses to those things and you couldn’t
budge them. And then engraved on there would be a number
and that number was the number of miles away from the
golden milestone, the heart and the center of Rome. So
if you were on the British Isles and you were on one of
the major roads that led to Rome, you would find one of
these milestones and you would know where you are. And
the same was true as if you were in the Holy Land or in
Egypt or in Turkey or in Morocco. No matter where you
were in the Roman world, you knew how far away you were
from the center, from the heartbeat.
And Jesus Christ
is our golden milestone. The word Christian means to be
like Christ. To walk and to move and to be in the presence
and the reality of who He is. And so we have to realize
that our success in life is a journey, it’s not
a destination, it is the journey. It is walking. It’s
not arriving. It is in the process, not in the accomplishment.
So that everything we do as we walk closer and closer
to Christ, we examine where we are and we realize He is
the center. We put Him in the center of our heart and
He brings healing and hope and goodness. God asked Solomon
what do you want? Anything you want and it’s yours.
And Solomon said wisdom and knowledge. And Jesus Christ
asks you what do you want? Anything you want is yours.
Ask and you’ll receive, seek and you’ll find,
knock and the doors will be opened. What do you want?
I think we should follow the wisdom of Solomon. Ask for
a knowledge of Jesus Christ that we can be more like Him
and as we move towards Him, discovering His character
and His beauty, we’ll discover the success in life,
the joy, the happiness, the beauty that comes between
our right ear and our left ear. The choir sang it this
morning we walk by faith and not by sight. We trust in
God and not in might. For in our darkness He is light.
We walk by faith and not by sight.