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Dear Partner,

One of my favorite verses describing the character of our heavenly Father is this one from the prophet Isaiah:

Isa 65:24   And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

He answers before we call. Sue and I were with some friends recently on a trip through northwestern Arkansas. We visited a lovely chapel that is located high up in the Ozark Mountains. As we entered the chapel there was a nice lady with a friendly smile who gave us a brochure containing historical information about how the chapel was originally constructed. There was soft worship music playing in the background and we all just sat there for awhile basking in the presence and peace of God. When we left the chapel and were walking down the long sidewalk to our vehicle Sue stopped and whispered in my ear, "I need to go back and give that lady twenty dollars." She then turned and went back into the chapel for a few minutes.

When she came back out I could tell by the look on her face that something wonderful had happened. I couldn't wait to hear the story so I asked her what happened. She said she placed the twenty dollars in the lady's hand and whispered, "The Lord says this is for you personally." Sue said the lady instantly began crying as she said, "Every day when I finish here at the chapel I then drive to my brother's house to take care of him. This morning in prayer I said, Lord, I don't have enough gas in the car to make the round trip. Please give me twenty dollars for gasoline today." Sue said that event was the high point of the whole trip for her. There is nothing like being the hand of the Lord outstretched to answer prayer that will fill you so full of joy.

I have been thinking about that simple event for days now. Our Father is the God who answers before we call. He lives outside of time, yet He relates to us in the time frame of this present age. He knew ahead of time that this young lady in Arkansas would be asking for twenty dollars on that date. We had been planning our trip to Arkansas for several months, communicating with the other couple to work out all of the details about when we would be going, what days we would be in various cities, and so forth. As I look back on our planning it "seemed to us" that we were doing all of the planning ourselves. But looking back now there is no doubt in my mind that He was helping us all the time so that on the same morning the lady made her request in prayer, He would have us arrive just a short time later knowing that Sue would be able to hear His instruction, and that she also has a heart to obey Him. Let me say it another way He began answering that lady's prayer months before she even knew she would need the twenty dollars. He answers before we call!

Sue and I have been grandparents for a long time. Three of our grandchildren are virtually grown now but we still have two little ones, ages 2 and 6 years old. We try to be the grandparents who "answer before they call." Even though they have excellent parents who supply all of their needs, we are always thinking about what extra things they are going to need (or want) in the future. Sometimes Sue will find clothes or shoes on sale that are too big for them now, but in the near future they are going to need the larger size so she goes ahead and buys them now before they even realize they need them. Even on this trip to the Ozarks both of our minds were thinking often of them, wondering what special toys and treats we might bring back for them when the trip was over. Doesn't that remind you of another verse about our heavenly Father?

Mat 7:11   If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Notice the last part of that verse? It says, " to them that ask him?" I learned a long time ago that most of the times when I have been in lack it was because I did not simply humble myself to "ask Him." I wonder how many times in my life I have not received what my heavenly Father already had laid up for me because it never occurred to me to simply ask Him. Let us come often to the throne of grace to make request of our loving, heavenly Father. Let us also be constantly aware that we are His body, His hands in the earth, to deliver answers to prayers others have prayed. It is wonderful to see our prayers answered. I think it is even more wonderful to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to answer the prayers of others.

Acts 20:35   I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you.   We thank God for your generous and giving heart.   God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter


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