Bulletin – October 6, 2013

The Slingshot Principle

by Mary Loudermilk

 Life doesn’t always go as expected. Trouble comes to all of us, unexpectedly and sometimes intensely. Such times define our character and test our strength. It has been said that, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.

 Oliver Wendell Holmes stated, “If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round.  Trouble creates a capacity to handle it.  I don’t embrace trouble; that’s as bad as treating it as an enemy.  But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.”

 A minister friend has developed what he calls “The Slingshot Principle.” Like the stone in the pocket of a slingshot, we want to move forward in life but it seems that the more we strive, adversity pulls us back and back and back some more. Eventually, when we feel we can take no more, the pressure releases and we shoot forward beyond what we could even anticipate. It seems we must go back before we go forward, and this is not easy to understand, especially in the middle of a difficult situation.

 The Bible story of Joseph, found in Genesis 37-41, illustrates the Slingshot Principle. Joseph was the favored son of his father-and despised by his older brothers. This was more than a simple case of sibling rivalry. When the opportunity presented itself, the brothers placed Joseph in a pit and devised a plan to kill him. Then followed a better plan. Joseph was “in the slingshot”-sold to a passing caravan, taken to Egypt, sold as a slave, falsely accused, and put in prison. Years passed, and the backward pressure was intense.

 Joseph’s story does not end there. A series of events brought him before Pharaoh to interpret his dreams. Joseph revealed that a time of plenty followed by a great famine would come upon Egypt, and he told how they should prepare. The pressure of the slingshot released, propelling him from the pit and prison to the palace. Pharaoh asked, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God? … You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”

 A modern day story of triumph is that of Admiral Jim Stockdale, who for eight years endured torture as a prisoner of war in the “Hanoi Hilton.” When interviewed by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, Stockdale stated of this horrific period of his life, “I never doubted not only that I would get out but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which in retrospect, I would not trade.”

 All of us will face trouble in life and feel that backward stretch. We must remember that, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

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2013Oct6

What If She Hadn’t Been Faithful to a Prayer Meeting?

I know this title may seem a little long, maybe a little strange, but you do not understand how important it is to me. My salvation, my whole life as I have known it, probably depended on a simple saint who was faithfully committed to prayer meeting.

It was in the early ’30’s when walking was more common than driving. Port Arthur, Texas was the place. A young couple from central Texas had moved there to work in the oil refinery. They called a small apartment home for themselves and their three young children. Church attendance was not on their weekly agenda. In fact, it was not on their agenda at all. But a faithful prayer warrior changed that.

Every morning a little before nine o’clock, a little lady passed in front of their little apartment with her Bible under her arm. To the young mother inside the little apartment it soon became a part of her morning routine to watch for the little lady who always passed her door a little before nine o’clock.

Where is she going every day? Why does she always have a Bible under her arm? Who is she? What is this about?

Then one morning, some would say as fate would have it, she stopped and knocked on the door. (From my vantage point, I know it wasn’t fate, but unspoken faith from a fertile heart.) When the young mother stood face to face with the lady from the sidewalk, she received an invitation to an old-fashioned tent revival. Few words were spoken, but the simple invitation seemed to speak to the young mother all day from its resting place on the dresser. By five-thirty in the evening the children were bathed and dressed for going out and supper was on the table. A little bewildered, the hardworking young man looked at his lovely dressed-up wife, wondering.

“We are going to church tonight,” she explained.

Willingly, he agreed.

It was a strange experience–the tent, the people, the praying, the preaching. But at the close of the service the young father said to his wife, “You go and pray. I’ll stay with the children.”

Kneeling at an altar, she was totally transformed by the baptism of the Holy Ghost!

Among those gathering around was the little lady from the sidewalk with the Bible under her arm.

“Where do you go every morning?”

“We have nine o’clock prayer meeting every day.”

“Could we come?” asked the young couple.

“Well, we normally don’t have prayer meeting on Saturday morning,” the Pastor interjected, “but we will if you want to come.”

Saturday morning, nine o’clock prayer meeting found the young couple joining the faithful saints. Prayer was made. Baptism was explained. Both agreed to baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. Now, it was the young man’s turn for transformation as he broke the waters of baptism, speaking in tongues, filled with the Holy Ghost.

The young couple were my mother and father, E. W. and Johnnie Ruth Caughron. These events transpired before my birth. Consequently, I was born into a Spirit-filled home. My parents’ dedicated ministry carried them in soul-winning revivals and building of churches from Texas to Alaska. Dozens and dozens of preachers were called and hundreds and hundreds of saints were impacted by their ministry.

What if the little lady on the sidewalk with the Bible under her arm had not been faithful to prayer meeting? I shudder at the thought–I probably wouldn’t be writing this article. 

Thetus Tenney, Guest Writer

Alexandria, Louisiana