HOW BIG AND HOW EFFECTIVE ARE YOUR PRAYERS?

 A STUDY in Psalm 20:1-9; Psalm 13

Before getting started in this Song of David, I hope you will take the time to listen and read the verses contained in Psalm 20.  

Oh, what an awesome God You are!

Does God Answer Prayer?

As good Christians, we are expected to answer that question…”Of course, He does!”  After all, He promises to answer prayer in His Word and God keeps His Word.

Yes, God does answer prayer!  And yet, I’ll ask the same question again – “Does God answer our prayers?”

Think for a moment and consider some of the prayers and petitions you’ve presented to God in the past.  Do you feel God has answered each of your prayers?  Has He provided healing when asked?  Has He saved those for whom you have asked salvation?  Has He sent the rain to earth in the midst of a hot and dry and thirsty season?

To be honest with you, each of us at times struggles somewhat with the question:  “Does God answer prayer?”

He does BUT…

So, what does it mean to answer prayer?  Does it mean “Ask and you should receive?”  Can we say that God ONLY answers us by giving what we ask for?  Can we come to God like a child with (what was a penny) a quarter, which he places in the candy machine and is guaranteed to receive a candy bar?  It comes out automatically and immediately.  We know that it doesn’t always work that way.  We know that God gives us those things for His sake and it has to be according to His will, not ours.

But still, we may wonder why then ask God?  If He’s going to do what He has already determined is His will and what’s best for us.

Perhaps the problem lies in how we expect God to answer.  We see PRAYER as something in which we ASK and in which God GIVES.

“Whole Prayer”

Walter Wangerin, in his book “Whole Prayer” says that PRAYER is communication.  That it’s NOT speaking to God but with God.

So let’s divide our prayers into four activities:

  1. First, we speak.
  2. Second, God listens.
  3. Third, God speaks.
  4. Fourth, we listen!

I wonder in my own prayer life how much time is spent speaking to God and little time listening to Him.  It becomes a one-sided communication.  And when we do this, we then wonder WHY He hasn’t answered us.  Perhaps He has, but we didn’t hear Him.

Psalm 20 is a PRAYER of the people, probably as they gathered before their king David as his army was about to go into battle.

They begin and end the PRAYER with a call for God to ANSWER not just this prayer, but future calls for help as well.

The Hebrew word for ANSWER is “anah”.  It means “to eye or to heed”, i.e. pay attention; to respond; to begin to speak; to sing, shout, testify, announce: -give account, afflict, bring low, cry, hear, lift up, say, speak, testify, (bear) witness. [See footnote [i].]

To ANSWER is to pay attention, to respond with words and/or with action.

The ultimate request was that the Lord protect them and give them victory.  That their plans will succeed.  That is the ANSWER they’re looking for.  That He will give them the DESIRE of David’s heart!  That ALL their requests be granted!

But they, we, have deeper needs.  Even deeper than the need for victory or the desires of our heart.

It’s the need to know that God has heard us; that we come to know God and His perfect will for our lives.

We need to hear Him and to know Him.

It’s in that way that He is not a candy dispenser or need dispenser, but rather one whom we come to know and trust.  To TRUST His answer even more than we do our own requests.

We need to hear His voice!

To hear Him comfort us, console us, and teach us.

And so we consider not just the ANSWER, but how God speaks in return to our requests and petitions.  To let us know He has heard us.

As parents, we don’t want our children to just ask for things then leave and expect us to give in time what they ask.  We want to communicate our LOVE by showing why their request(s) may be wrong and bad for them.

We want to talk about their desires on what they’re based.

So God wants to speak to us.

Even in this Psalm, we see two ways by which God speaks to us.

In VERSE 2, people say “May He send you help from the sanctuary…”

This could mean send help from heaven.  Or, it could refer to God Himself, since He is found in the SANCTUARY, His house.

In the Psalms, the SANCTUARY is always a picture of the place where we meet with God.  It’s where people worshipped and where God spoke to His people.  In Israel, it was the Temple, the place where the Israelites came to get his thoughts straightened out, get his thinking correct.  There they met with God, heard the Word of God, the mind and thoughts of God.

For us, the SANCTUARY can be the church (the “building”) or the Scriptures.  It’s there that God speaks to us.  Our minds are enlightened, that we begin to see the world around us from God’s eyes, not the way it appears, but to tell you the way things really are.

When we need help, we need to LISTEN to God.  And yet, do we really LISTEN to His Word?

God speaks to us through His Word and many of the answers to prayer are already given to us.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

[16] All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

[17] so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

That’s ‘inhaling God’s exhaling’ [God breathed–The Breath of God Almighty].

The people also pray that God would grant them support from Zion.

Psalm 20:2 (b) – “…and give you support from Zion!”

ZION represents God’s Rule.

God’s Rule comes from a heavenly Zion or Jerusalem and the earthly Jerusalem is sometimes referred to as Zion.

Sometimes God answers prayer when He speaks to us by ministering to us in different ways.  He sent His ministering angels to the prophet Elijah at Mt. Carmel and to Jesus in Gethsemane.  In each case, they prayed to God for help in their distress.

Although God didn’t answer by changing their circumstances, He did speak to them so they could see His plan and His will for their lives.

So God can speak to us through angels and through the Holy Spirit, by enabling us to see things from His perspective.

In fact, when we pray, if we listen, we’ll see God’s COMFORT and PRESENCE.

In reading through the Psalms, many begin with cries for help, with anger directed to God even with despair. eg. PSALM 13

But God, as the psalmist listens, draws him to end the psalm or prayer with hope and peace and victory!

Psalm 13:1 (AMP) – HOW LONG will You forget me, O Lord? Forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?

Psalm 13:6 (AMP) – I will sing to the Lord because He has dealt bountifully with me.

There are ways God answers us and speaks to us that are not in this psalm.

God speaks to us through our experiences.  God is SOVEREIGN.  He can open and close doors for us.

We may want, desire something so much and yet we don’t know if it’s God’s will in our lives.

TRY AND SEE!  It was The WORD Detective ministry for me.

God also spoke through the counsel of other believers.

Not from Oprah, or the gang at work, but from those who know the Lord and who care.

For the director of music.

 A Psalm of David.

[1]  How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?

[2]  How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?  How long will my enemy triumph over me?

[3]  Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.  Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;  [4] my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

[5]  But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 

[6]  I will sing to the LORD. for he has been good to me.

Or Nathan giving counsel to David after David had sinned.

God provides ANSWERS for ALL our prayers!

Do we listen?

Do we hear?

Do we pray?

Tony Evans – Spend 30 seconds praying and 3 hours worrying–better the other way around.

But as we pray, LISTEN TO GOD!

Take time to list!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS

Sermon notes:  Psalm 20:1-9 by Glen Branham, May 9, 2005.

Footnote [i] :  Abarim Pub. Anah meaning in Biblical Hebrew.

Bible translations:  New International Version (NIV), except where noted in the text.

Photos/Images:  Google Image Search.

Video:  Youtube – Psalm 20

 

 

 

You Better Turn Your Radio On!

stock-photo-transportation-and-vehicle-concept-man-using-car-audio-stereo-system-200342450

I’m old enough to remember the “Good old days,” when the radio at our house was always on.  From listening to radio serials every night at specific times: Tom Mix, Captain Midnight, Gabriel Heatter and the News (my parents’ choice), just to mention a few.  And of course, there was the music.  I grew up listening to my parents love of music: Guy Lombardo on New Year’s Eve, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, the Big Band sounds.

In my teenage years, the radio continued to influence my taste.  Although the styles had changed, my desire to listen had not: Rock & Roll, Folk music, Surfer music, Motown.  Whatever was popular in the music world, I had turned the radio on to listen where ever I was–in the car, at home, or at the beach.

And remembering how the RADIO effected my life growing up, coincidentally, I was watching a documentary on TV recently, regarding air traffic over our country today.  It pointed out in detail, that if there wasn’t an Emergency FREQUENCY (also known as GUARD) available to pilots and air traffic controllers, it would be a disaster waiting to happen.  By turning on the TRANSPONDER to 7700–locator frequency, the device automatically receives the radio signal.

GUARD is a frequency used on the aircraft band that is reserved for EMERGENCY communications for aircraft in distress or an emergency, and in addition used by air traffic control to warn aircraft flying into restricted or prohibited airspace.  The frequency is 121.5 MHz for civilian aircraft  [*See Footnote [i] ].

As Christians, we have access to the emergency frequency that responds to our concerns in PRAYER.  Being not tuned in may lead you into an unplanned nosedive in your circumstance–a crash landing, so to speak.

Turn Your RADIO on!

The prophet Jeremiah shows us that God gives incredible directions when we call upon Him.

call-unto-me-and-i-will-answer

JEREMIAH 33:1-3 (Amplified Bible):

[1]  MOREOVER, THE word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard, saying,

[2]  Thus says the Lord Who made [the earth], the Lord Who formed it to establish it–the Lord is His name:

[3]  Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand).

Jeremiah wrote these words as a prisoner (v. 1).  So much wickedness in the land existed among the people and God said, destruction was on the horizon!

Neither Jeremiah nor the kingdom of Judah could stop the Babylonian army.  Yet God says to call Him, and He will answer and do incredible things.  It was His PROMISE in the middle of their trouble and despair.

The Bible is full with PROMISES of prayer:

Psalm 50:15 – “And call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall honor and glorify Me.”

Matthew 21:22 – “And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive.”

John 16:24 – “Up to this time you have not asked a [single] thing in My Name [as representing all that I AM]; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete.”

So why have so many given up on asking in PRAYING?

“Oh, I haven’t really given up on prayer. I just don’t pray unless someone ask me to pray for them or somebody else.  You know, like at church.”

Just maybe, we need a better understanding on how we can use the emergency FREQUENCY on our radios before we give up on PRAYER.

If you don’t know how to dial in the FREQUENCY, nothing will happen!

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If you don’t push the POWER button on your car radio, nothing will happen!

Jeremiah 33:3 provides us with a KNEEBOARD (pilot’s accessory) synopsis of PRAYER:

Pilot's KNEEBOARD
Pilot’s KNEEBOARD
  • CALL to Him.
  • He will answer
  • He will tell us of things we do not know.

“CALL” to the Lord sounds easy enough.

The Hebrew root word for “CALL” means to call out after you encounter someone.  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words says,  “Calling” in this sense constitutes a PRAYER prompted by recognize need and directed to One who is able and willing to respond (Psalm 145:18; Isaiah 55:6).”

When using 121.5 MHz on the radio,the pilot is expected to state the nature of the problem.  The pilot will also be asked if he wants to declare an emergency.  The declaration ranges from stating you have a “problem”, not to serious, to “mayday-mayday-mayday”, life threatening.

The Lord wants us to CALL, regardless of how serious the need.

  • When lacking something–CALL on Jehovah-Jireh; the LORD provides (Gen. 22:13).
  • When hurting–CALL on Jehovah-Rapha; the LORD our healer (Exodus 15:26).
  • When in the valley of the shadow of death–CALL on Jehovah-Rohi; the LORD is our Shepherd (Psalm 23:1).
  • When troubled or distressed–CALL on Jehovah-Shalom; the LORD is peace (Judges 6:24).

Did you know, Jesus’ disciples never asked Him to teach them to SING, to PREACH, or how to WITNESS.  Rather, they asked Him:  “Lord, teach us to PRAY” (Luke 11:1).

When we CALL, we must be sincere in our requests–not as hypocrites.  We can’t pray “Hallowed be Thy Name”–then cuss at our neighbor.

Nor can we say piously, “Thy will be done”–then continue to live as we please.

“Give us daily bread”–cannot be followed by hoarding & selfish gain.

“Forgive our sins”–will not work if we then carry grudges to bed at night.

The hypocrite prays “Lead us not into temptation”–but not until the party is over.

Don’t CALL on God’s EMERGENCY frequency on your radio UNLESS…you EXPECT an answer!

Let me give you an ILLUSTRATION:

A tavern owner was being built in a previously dry town (No alcohol here!).  Christians began an all-night prayer vigil, asking God to intervene.  A bolt of lightning suddenly struck the tavern, burning it to the ground.  The owner of the Bar sued the local church for destruction of his establishment.  So, the church lawyered up and claimed they were not responsible.  The judge said, “It appears the tavern owner believes in prayer & Christians do not.”

Praying with EXPECTATION–God does indeed “ANSWER” Prayer.

Could it possibly be, that when we think that God doesn’t answer OUR prayers, we aren’t praying with EXPECTATION?

How often I’ve heard when people pray, “If it be your will. God.”  Do we sometimes need an escape clause when we our praying, especially in group prayer, perhaps covering our EXPECTATION that God probably won’t answer?  At least, with an answer that meets our expectation.

psalm-4-11

Yet, what we ask for is often not as reasonable as we think.

A young school boy was saying his nightly prayer:  “Please make Lynden (where I reside) the capital of Washington State.”

His mother asked,  “Why did you ask for that?”

The boy replied,  “Because that’s what I put down on my test today at school.”

When we ask & then don’t receive, perhaps we’ve asked with the wrong motives.  Proverbs 15:29 (AMP):

“The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the [consistently] righteous (the upright, in right standing with Him).”

There is faulty logic to conclude when the Lord hears our prayers that it means He will answer to OUR EXPECTATIONS!  We don’t make request, petitions, because we are righteous. but because of the Lord’s MERCY!!

daniel-9-18

We can be assured that GOD answers EVERY PRAYER in a merciful manner.

ANSWERS can come in 4-Ways:  No, Slow, Grow, Go.

Say your daughter asks you if she can have some CANDY.  You might say “No” because there’s a reason for not giving her the candy.

I have two daughters that contracted Type I, Diabetes when they were quite young. Many times when other children were receiving candy, they would ask my wife and I for just one piece, not knowing the consequences of their requests.

A “Slow” may be the response if you say, just “one piece.”  A “Grow” answer is allowing a piece of candy AFTER she cleans her bedroom.  The “Go” reply means help yourself, you’re READY to eat the candy!

Greedy girl with pile of sweets laying on the table and with troubled expression on the face
Greedy girl with pile of sweets laying on the table and with troubled expression on the face

In the Gospel of John, Jesus’ tells us,  “Ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your JOY (gladness, delight) may be full and complete”  

JOY then, can come when we see God’s hand in the ANSWER; when we realize how breathtaking His ANSWER really is!

And not only will God “ANSWER” us, He will answer us of the things we do not know or can imagine (Jeremiah 33:3).

Philip, a disciple, asked Jesus if 8 months wages (about $40) would feed 5000 folks (Mark 6:37).  The only answer the disciples saw was 3 barley loaves and 2 small fish.  Then Jesus showed them a great and unsearchable thing:  5,000 were fed!

In 1973, a young couple accepted Christ as their Savior a year earlier when they were confronted with a dilemma presented by their pastor’s message one Sunday morning:  “To Tithe or Not to Tithe”.  With three children, a car payment, a mortgage, and barely getting by financially, there was no way they could take 10% out of the budget and give it to the Lord.  “PRAY about it,” they were told.  “How do we do that?” the husband asked.  “Just simply ask the LORD for help in making the decision, then trust Him in His answer.”  Well, the decision was made, or so they thought.  “We just can do this right now.”  But several months later, a “spiritual light bulb” came on.  “We can do this!”  And with their faithfulness and trust, they’ve been BLESSED ever since with “things they did not know or could imagine.”  

That young family was my family, over 43 years ago, and God is still answering our PRAYERS!

The Lord can answer in bigger and better ways than you can pray.  But, you need to turn your radio to the EMERGENCY frequency in times of spiritual failure.

If you need direction and purpose in your life–He will answer you.  After all, Jesus says “I came that they [you] may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance to the full, till it overflows”  (John 10:10 AMP).

If you’re feeling more burdens than you can bear–let Him tell you the answer.  Our awesome, omnipotent, loving God will ANSWER Prayers, if you CALL!

 


Credit & Sources –

Footnote [1]:  Wikipedia – Aircraft emergency frequency.

Commentary:  Sermon Notes on Jeremiah 33:3 by Tom Doubt. Baptist/Minister.

Photo Credits:  Photo Pin/Shutterstock; Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP); King James Bible (KJV).

Living With A “Wishy-Washy” Prayer Life

Blog’s Scripture:  James 1:5-8

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ILLUSTRATION:

A young business man went to an executive and asked for his wisdom.

“What is the secret of business wisdom?”

The man answered,  “Wise decisions.”

“How do you make ‘wise decisions’?

“Experience,” the executive answered.

“How do I get experience?”

“Dumb decisions!”

How do we make decisions, in our jobs, in our families, and even choosing a candidate in an upcoming election?

How do we make up our minds?  Do you use common sense?  Experience?

Or, do you see how it lines up with God’s Word in your bible?

We Are Only Human…

We have a great possibility to make mistakes or bad choices in life, and Lord knows, I have made plenty over the years!

We have said the wrong things at times, paid too much for something we desired, been deceived by someone, and let our emotions dictate our decisions–“GUILTY!”

JAMES, Jesus’ half-brother, talks about DECISION MAKING in verses 5-8 –

He tells us if we lack WISDOM, to ask God–God who is no respecter of person and will give to each one of us…IF WE WILL ASK!

WAVERING in our prayers –  (verse 6):

“WAVERING” or “DOUBTING” comes from the Greek word, diakrino.  This verb suggests, not a weakness of faith, but a “lack of faith.”  I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want someone praying for me in a given situation who is “wavering”–“doubting” in their thinking.  James addresses this later in Chapter 5.

James says that “IF” we are going to ask God, we should BELIEVE that He will give us the right answer, not DOUBT, not “waver”; and as the King James Version of the bible reads, we shouldn’t be “double-minded” and unstable in our asking.

The Amplified Bible reads,  [8]  [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides.

“TWO MINDS” – “DOUBLE-MINDED” Definition is two-souled–pulled apart in two directions, divided loyalties, divided priorities.

boys-walking-fence-washington-indiana-date-1941-july-g3adfy

I remember when I was a young boy living in Federal Housing projects during the post world War II era, most backyards were enclosed by picket fences.  People wanted what little privacy they could have while living in court-style living arrangements.

The unwritten PROJECT RULES, given to each kid, was stay out of neighbor’s backyards, unless invited!  Well, to a 8-10 year old boy, that was like a sign on a front porch that read:  Don’t touch!  Wet Paint!!  You just had to do it!!

Now how were my friends and I going to skirt the rules and not get caught by our folks or neighbors, or even God?

And, the thought process of never falling from walking the fence line, especially into a neighbor’s backyard!!

The problem with walking on a fence is, you cannot do it very long and a lot of times you fall off on the wrong side if you are indecisive–doubting in taking the right steps along the way.

Being “double-minded” in prayer will have the same results.

‘Wishy-washy’ doesn’t make a person strong.

We have all been to the fork in the road and had to decide which direction we will go.  That is why it is so important to hear from God to make the right choice.

In the GOD’S WORD Translation of James 1:8, it says “A person who has doubts is thinking about two different things at the same time and can’t make up his mind about anything.”

 ABP Strong, a variation of Strong’s Concordance with an interlinear Greek translation reads:  [man he is a double-minded], confused in all his ways.

  • CONFUSED in relationship
  • CONFUSED because of fear of the unknown
  • CONFUSED because it will involve change.

It becomes like the DRUNK who is staggering around telling his friends that he is capable of making WISE DECISIONS and able to drive.  He/she may think so, but medically proven, our senses are numbed by alcohol and we cannot function properly and make good decisions.

HERE IT IS–

THE PROBLEM:

Indecision, unstable, double-mindedness.

THE CURE:

Asking God for WISDOM!

We will pick up the phone and call someone and ask for an opinion on what to do in a given situation,

BUT…we won’t ask God for His help until everything else is tried.

HANG UP THE PHONE and go to the THRONE!

JAMES, A servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, gives us suggestions concerning DECISION MAKING and DEVELOPING FAITH THAT WORKS –

answers

Remember, the PROBLEM is indecision and bad choices.

The CURE is Asking God–Admit your need:  

[5]  If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.  (Amplified Bible)

WE ALL LACK WISDOM–we need God’s help –

WISDOM is different from KNOWLEDGE –

  • Wisdom is knowledge put into practice.
  • Wisdom is seeing life from God’s point of view and not our own.
  • Wisdom is making Godly decisions.

The world is impressed with KNOWLEDGE but God is impressed by WISDOM.

When was the last time you said that you were wrong?  Thought so.

Admit to God you don’t have all the answers:  “I don’t know God”  “What would You like me to do?”

Admit your need!

  • ASK – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask…
  1.  PRAY to God.
  2.  TALK to Him.
  3.  ASK God.

Proverbs 2:6 (NIV Bible)

[6]  “For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

“Out of the mouth of babes” expression.

It come from the simple TRUTH, that sometimes, it takes a child to reveal lasting WISDOM.

For EXAMPLE:

Patrick, age 10, said,  “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”

Michael, 14, said,  “When your dad is mad and asks you, “Do I look stupid?” don’t answer him.”

Naomi, 15 said, “If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse.”

James 4:2 (AMP):

[2 b]  “You do not have, because you do not ask.”

20 times in the New Testament it says “Ask, and it shall be given.”

  • EXPECT IT – James 1:5-6 (The MESSAGE Bible):

{5-6]  If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.  He loves to help. james-1-6You’ll get his help and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.  Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.  People who “worry their prayers [“Wishy-Washy” in prayer – added to text] are like wind-whipped waves.  Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

Anticipate and expect and BELIEVE that God wants to GIVE the answer you need!

If God asked you right now, where you are sitting, what do you want most in life, would it be WISDOM?

If you had to make an important decision, maybe moving to a different area of the country to take a new job, would God be the first one you talk to?

We do make decisions that affect our lives and we need God’s help.  

FIRST!

God, tell me what to do!

God tell me what to say!

God, show me your wisdom!  Teach me LORD your principles that will apply to this situation!

Bring to remembrance a scripture that will help!

Give me the peace that is found in Your Word and in our relationship!

NO MORE “WISHY-WASHY” PRAYING FOR ME!

 


CREDITS:

Commentary:  7 Characteristics of a Double-Minded Believer by Dan Delzell – CP Opinion & James 1:6 Bible Hub Commentary.

Photos:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations used:  Amplified Bible, except where noted.

 

Waiting With Expectancy

A Study in the Book of Job 1:13-22; 42:12:

THE “DIFFICULTIES” THAT CAN ARISE IN THE WAITING ROOM–

The WAITING Room
The WAITING Room

A few years back, my wife was given the news after her yearly scheduled mammogram, that there was a lump found in her breast.  Her doctor explained that it had to be removed BUT with the diagnosis…he wouldn’t know for sure if a mastectomy or lumpectomy would be performed until the actual surgery.

It is hard to wait!

The ‘not knowing’ can definitely play tricks on ones’ mind.  You can pretend to be “spiritual” in times like these, but PRETENSE doesn’t last for long.

My wife and I began listing numerous Scriptures on pieces of paper, then placed in our bibles and even on the refrigerator–constantly reminding us of God’s promises of healing.

However, the difficulties of waiting for the results; the process of upcoming Radiation Treatments after surgery tends to erode the concept of being “spiritual” through it all.

Job found himself in God’s waiting room…

The most famous man on earth; extremely wealthy; the best of the best.  But Job lost it all.  Not only did he lose everything, surrounded by carnal, judgemental friends…even his wife urged him to curse God and die!  Job found himself in the waiting room.

Some of you reading this POST can identify with Job.  I certainly did as I read, studied and mediated everyday.  You’re waiting to hear from God…you can’t see what’s going on in your difficulties whether it is personal or someone who is close to you.  But you find yourself in the WAITING ROOM.

FAITH is believing God is at work in a GIVEN situation, even when we can’t see His hand (Psalm 46:1-2):

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,” 

Not understanding all that is going on is frustrating.  I remember sitting in an enormous hospital waiting room the day of my wife’s surgery, looking at an electronic display on the wall with her name listed and the time of the surgery, updates were posted regularly, but the results were absent.  I trusted God’s hand guiding the surgeon’s hands, but it was still frustrating.

God chose not to explain the “whys” while Job was in the waiting room– 

The “waiting” is a place of delay as I found out while I fidgeted in the hospital waiting room.  My two daughters were waiting as well, as my oldest daughter kept patting me on the shoulder to comfort me.  “It will be okay dad.  Mom is in good hands.”

God is never late! 

As I discovered and as Job realized later on, God’s greatest work in and through you may be “soon” and the worry and anxiety that may arise during the anticipation of the results won’t change a thing. “WORRY” is convinced that God doesn’t care and not

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TRUSTING THE ONE WHO IS IN CHARGE–Directions posted while waiting…

Job 13:15,  “Though the Lord slay me, still will I trust Him”

Job 42:2,  “I know that You can do all things…”

Job 41:33,  “Upon earth there is none like Him”

Psalm 46:1,  “God is our refuge…”  Able,” …a very present help in trouble…”Available!” “The Patience of Job” while pacing in the waiting room–

IMPATIENCE…

I’ve always wondered about that old cliché, “The Patience of Job.”  For the more I read and study the book of Job, the more I see how impatient he really was.

—  He couldn’t understand what was going on.

—  He didn’t like how his life was going.

Aren’t our lives at times so very similar to Job’s?

One day we are secure in a profession–friends and family surround us–a “roof over our heads”–“good health”–and then all of a sudden… everything is snatched like a rug under our feet.  And yet Job still had the sense to WORSHIP God in the midst of the pain and agony.

Staying Close in waiting… Job 42:5,  “I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye sees You.”

Don’t desert the WAITING ROOM. That is where you are the most likely to hear from God.  [Illus. Elijah at Cherith].

PRAY… In the midst of our long-suffering, we are misguided in our thinking by the enemy…“God isn’t going to act here”, and we stop PRAYING for answers  (Job 42:1-5 a).

God doesn’t do His deepest work in the shallowest parts of our lives. Get alone with God in a time of reflection, evaluation, correction, and dedication.  Remove yourself from all the distractions.

All the while my wife was going through surgery two floors above the waiting room, I forced myself to walk outside for a few minutes to refocus on Dianne and not on myself by having a conversation with Abba Father.  Afterwards, I returned to the waiting room refreshed and with a new direction of anticipation.

Be still…and wait!

This is really hard.  All the WAITING…the “where, when, and why’s”…

WHERE ARE THE RESULTS OF THE TESTS?  WHEN CAN I SEE MY WIFE IN RECOVERY?  WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO OUR FAMILY?

Psalm 46:10,  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Literally, “Let your hands hang down.”  We want to always do something;while God may need to do something in you before He does something special for you or through you.

ANTICIPATE GOD’S RESPONSE…

“Anticipate” means to expect, hope, bargain for, foresee (EXPECTATION, FORESIGHT); predict, augur...[i]

When waiting and praying, do you EXPECT…FORESEE…even EXPECT a response from God?

Job 42:10.  “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job…”

Psalm 46:10,  “I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted (lifted up!) in the earth.”

God never left Job alone in the waiting room, nor will He ever leave you alone in the “waiting”.

DISCOVERIES FOUND IN “THE WAITING”: A New Perspective…

“And it was so that after the Lord had spoken these words to Job…”  (Job 42:7)  [NOTE:  Romans 5:3-5; 8:18].

God gave Job a new perspective, one he would never have had if he had abandoned the waiting room.

Sometimes, when we find ourselves lying our backs, we are forced to look up and have a dialogue with Jesus:  “Lord, I feel so helpless in this moment. I need your help and comfort as I lay here in bed.”

A New Provision found in waiting… Job 42:10,  “And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before…”

In GOD’S WAITING ROOM, the Apostle Paul found…

JOY…  “In every prayer of mine I always make my entreaty and petition for you all with JOY (delight)”  (Phil. 1:4).

PURPOSE…  “I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward”  (Phil. 3:14 AMP).

PEACE…  “Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me…and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you”  (Phil. 4:9).

POWER…  “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]”  (Phil. 4:13 AMP).

That particular verse in Philippians (Phil. 4:13), [ I wrote it down on the top of my special list of Bible verses claimed], gave me special encouragement while my wife went through her surgery and through the six weeks of radiation.  She told me afterwards, this same verse gave her peace and expectancy as she was prepared for the operation.

Dianne and I were “empowered” by Christ towards the outcome, while at the same time, I waited with expectancy.  God was about to do a mighty work!

And PLENTY…  “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”  (Phil. 4:19).

As a WAITING HUSBAND on that one day, I spent many hours in the waiting room of the hospital; not knowing all that was going on during Dianne’s surgery; not understanding it all, not being able to control the situation as I normally try to do in everyday life while pacing the floor… until it seemed I had worn the color off the tiled floors…trying to conceal my worry and anxiety from our adult children.

I trusted in the doctor’s hands, stayed close to the nurses station for expected good news, prayed, and waited… anticipating the results, knowing God had this.

When the doctor met with us all in a side room while my wife was in recovery, the good news came as expected.  The cancer had been totally removed–and a lumpectomy had been performed in lieu of a mastectomy.  The surgery had gone even better than what was expected by the physicians.  But the JOY I had received eclipsed all the difficulties of the WAITING!

Finding yourself in God’s Waiting Room…

TRUST HIM, STAY CLOSE, BE STILL… and with ANTICIPATION, with EXPECTANCY…and get ready for some wonderful DISCOVERIES!

 

Footnote:  [1] The New Roget’s Thesaurus In Dictionary Form

Researched Source: Commentary– http://www.jackiekay.org.  *An outline published November 1997 “In God’s Waiting Room”.

Scripture: Amplified Bible; NIV Bible.

 

Wishin’ and Hopin’ in the New Year!

“Wishing” We Didn’t Have to Say “Goodnight”–

In 1964, my lovely bride and I were married!  On our romantic dates, leading up to September 26, 1964, I would drop her off at her house, walk her to the front door where we would often stand on the porch (depending on the time on the clock), singing the songs that were currently popular and playing on the radio.

“Hoping” to Meet Curfew!

Although Dianne was 20 years old at the time, a 2-AM Curfew was to be strictly enforced or…TROUBLE!  Dianne’s mother would often raise her voice from behind the closed front door,  “Dianne, be quiet. Your dad is asleep!”  That was my future mother-in-law’s way of telling us…it’s late and there will be no ‘hanky-panky’ out there.  What will all the neighbors think while peeking out between their curtains?  One neighbor came out one night to water her garden–at 1:30 AM!

It was a small neighborhood and everyone knew everyone’s business.  I wished we could have stayed outside singing until the sun would rise–but hoping– ‘restriction in dating’ wouldn’t be necessary– as long as…we were obedient to her mom and dad’s rules.

One of my favorite singers back in the olden’ days was Dusty Springfield.  There was one particular song she recorded in 1964, “Wishin’ and Hopin’ “.  For you older readers, do you remember some of the words?

Just wishing and hoping and thinking and praying

planning and dreaming…

The song by the way, wasn’t a ‘religious’ number emphasizing the practice of how to pray in life.  It was a secular song about finding LOVE in your life from someone else.  And if you are wondering where I’m taking all this, let me direct you to grab your Bible and turn with me to the Book of  1 John 2:28-3:1-3 AMP:

What Does HOPE Have to Do With It?

THE BLESSED HOPE REVEALED!
THE BLESSED HOPE REVEALED!

1 John, Chapter 2:

[28]  And now, little children, abide (live, remain permanently) in Him, so that when He is made visible, we may have and enjoy perfect confidence (boldness, assurance) and not be ashamed and shrink from Him at His coming.  [29]  If you know (perceive and are sure) that He [Christ] is absolutely righteous (conforming to the Father’s will in purpose, thought and action), you may also know (be sure) that every one who does righteously [and is therefore in like manner conformed to the divine will] is born (begotten) of Him [God]. 

1 John, Chapter 3:

[1]  SEE WHAT [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God!  And so we are!  The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him.  [2]  Beloved, we are [even here and] now God’s children, it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is.  [3]  And every one who has this hope [resting] on Him cleanses (purifies) himself just as He is pure–chaste, undefiled, guiltless.”

“HOPE” and “WISHES”–the Differences:

I read an article by Tonya Sheridan in preparation for our study that mentioned the differences between “hoping and wishing”:

A WISH is something that you desire to come true but no basis in reality.  It’s passive, can lead to frustration, even depression.  HOPING is having a DESIRE with REAL EXPECTATION.  To HOPE is believing the things you hope for can happen because you’ve invested time, energy, and passion toward making them happen.

An example of WISHING might sound something like this:  Lord, I’ve been unemployed now for too long!  I WISH you would give me a new job. 

The the Lord would answer by responding to your WISH:  I wish you had a job too! 

HOPING for a job would be praying that God would open the doors of opportunity today, and in HOPING…you actually start looking in confidence.  HOPE is a DESIRE coupled with DISCIPLINE.  God will do His part–you need to do your part.  You have to walk through the open door of opportunity.

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary says, HOPE in the New Testament is a ‘favorable and confident expectation’–I like to add a few words to the definition:  With an outstretched neck!

Scripture Examples of “HOPE”:

Ephesians 4:4 – “[THERE IS] one body and one Spirit–just as there is also ONE HOPE [that belongs] to the calling you received–“

The “HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE”:  Titus 1:2, and 3:7

Titus 1:2:  “[Resting] in the hope of eternal life, [life] which the ever truthful God Who cannot deceive promised before the world or the ages of time began.”

Titus 3:7:  “…and that we might become heirs of eternal life according to [our] hope.”

(i.e., “the full manifestation and realization of that life which is already in the believer’s possession.)

The Subject of HOPE–

One of the great themes in the Bible is based on HOPE.  The word occurs over 50 times in the New Testament.

To a BELIEVER:  HOPE is our strength to live healthy, godly, productive lives.  We depend greatly on this element of HOPE that was placed in hearts at accepting Jesus Christ as savior.

Without HOPE, for the unbeliever and the Believer, there is really no reason to expand effort; a state of hopelessness is closely related to a state of death.  HOPE is essential to the human soul, as water or food is to our physical bodies.  And a life without hope is a ‘living hell’.  In fact, it’s one thing that will make hell unbearable!–the absolute absence of HOPE!

GUESS WHO’S HAVING A YARD SALE?

Devil's Yard Sale
Devil’s Yard Sale

The Devil was having a yard sale and all of his tools were marked the name and price.  They were tools like hatred, lust, jealousy, deceit, lying, and pride.  All were carrying a HIGH PRICE TAG!

The Oldest Tool!
A Well-Worn Tool

But set to one side, there was a tool more worn than any other tool.  It was the most costly of the tool inventory.  The tool was labeled, DISCOURAGEMENT.

When asked why this tool was priced so high, the Devil answered,  “It’s more useful to me than any other tool.  When I can’t bring my victims down with any of these other tools, I use DISCOURAGEMENT–sweep them away!  That’s because most of them don’t even realize it belongs to me.”  Have you ever had that tool used on you?  Have you ever lost your JOY because you lost your HOPE?

The apostle Paul wrote to the ROMAN Christians, “May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing  (bubbling over) with hope”  (Romans 15:13 AMP).

Have you ever been around a person overflowing in hope?  When I’ve been around a person like that, I want to get all the overflow of hope I can!

A Person Who Is Overflowing With HOPE–

Paul says that person–has the POWER of the Holy Spirit who is also full of joy and peace.  Those are the things that accompany HOPE.  It is amazing what a person full of HOPE can accomplish.

But the Devil also knows that godly hope is a powerful thing.  He will do everything he can to rob you of your confident expectation in God.

THE ISSUE OF FAITH AND HOPE–CAN’T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER!

If I were to ask you a question right now:  “What are you looking forward to in the New Year?”  How would you answer?  Then, if I were to strengthen that question, asking, “What are you living for?”  I would be touching on the issue of HOPE.

“For in [this] HOPE we were saved.  But HOPE [the object of] which is seen is not HOPE.  For how can one HOPE for what he already sees?  But if we HOPE for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure”  (Romans 8:24-25).

Having HOPE and having FAITH are two of God’s gifts–

1.  HOPE provides purpose and well-being in our belief.

2.  FAITH gives us the strength to keep hoping which in turn, makes us optimistic and loving.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is the one in Hebrews 11–the FAITH Chapter:

“NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title-deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality  [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]”  (Hebrews 11:1 AMP).

FAITH is enduring–

Isaiah 7 verse 9 says, “If your faith is not enduring, you will not endure.”  God’s promise to us if we continue to endure, continue to carry on–God will provide for ALL of our needs.

God asks simply for HOPE and FAITH–

Bringing your umbrella when you are faithful–it will rain.

Bring your Bible when you are faithful–you want to share the Word.

Bring your heart when you faithfully want to love someone.

Be HOPEFUL and Be FAITHFUL and God will show you what goodness can come by simply having HOPE and FAITH!

What I Uncovered This Detective Investigation of 1 John 3:1-3:

1 John 3:1:  WHAT WE ARE.

1 John 3:2:  WHAT WE SHALL BE.

1 John 3:3:  WHAT WE SHOULD BE.

First John 3:1:  TELL US what we are and First John 3:2:  TELLS US what we shall be.  The reference here, of course is to the time of Jesus’ coming back for His Bride, the Church.  And although today’s conservative churches confess they believe it, ESCHATOLOGY has become a dormant message from pulpit these last days.  Although, this message of Christ’s return was mentioned in 1 John 2:28 as an incentive of holy living, now it’s repeated once more in the Third Chapter of First John, verse 2.

God’s Love For Us–

God’s LOVE doesn’t stop at the new birth, it continues throughout our lives and takes us right up to the return of Jesus Christ.  When the Lord appears, all true believers will see Him and will become like Him (Phil. 3:20, 21).

This means, of course, we will have new, glorified bodies, suited for heaven [NOT Asbestos, fire-proofed clothing].  But the apostle doesn’t stop here!

He has told us what we are and what we shall be.  Now in 1 John 3:3, he tells us what we should be.

In the HOPE of Christ’s return, we are to keep our lives CLEAN (purified)–

God works through our circumstances:

“Such HOPE never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s LOVE has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy spirit Who has been given to us”  (Romans 5:5 AMP).

That’s why John says…all those who have this kind of hope–this certainty–and understands this process, PURIFIES THEMSELVES, even as Christ is PURE!  (1 John 3:3).

But you say,  “Purify myself?  That is the one thing I can’t do.”  And that IS true.  God knows that.  So what does God mean when He says, purify yourself?

You purify yourself when you use the means He’s provided.  You mothers know how this works.

Your little boy has been playing outside and comes to the supper table–covered in dirt.  You send him to the bathroom to purify himself.  And like ALL boys, he turns on the water, runs his hands through it–turns the water off, wipes his hands on the towel, then comes back to the family table.  I know this from personal experience (I was a young boy and I had a son).

And as my mom said to me as she looked me over,  “But you’re not clean.”

Mel:  “Well, I washed myself.”

Mel’s Mom:  “But look at the dirt on your hands and arms, on your face, behind your ears.  You’re not all clean.”

Then every wise mother (my mom was very wise) asks, “Did you use soap?”  Of course he hasn’t, so she sends him back TO USE SOAP.

What is SOAP?

— It is a purifying agent, a cleansing agent.

It will do the job if it is employed.

So when he comes back the second time, he has washed with SOAP;  the SOAP has cleansed him, purified him.  Now he says,

“Look Mom, I’ve cleaned myself up!”  It is true that he did it, but he did it by using his mother’s provision.

THE “PROVISION” FOR OUR CLEANSING:

1.  The WORD of God.

2.  The Spirit of God.

1 John 1:7:  “But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].”

1 John 1:9:  “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness…”.

This is significant for Believers, and we must begin to take seriously the break in fellowship with Christ Jesus; because of an impatient spirit, an ugly word, a lustful idea, or a thought we have dwelt on, for oh to long.

The stain of it–

It doesn’t disappear with passage of time.  It interferes with our fellowship with the Son of God–we must do something about it.  We can’t simply forget it.

We must PURIFY OURSELVES by using His provision so we might become clean!  That is our desire, our HOPE within us.

I HOPE now, you’ve made a distinction for the upcoming New Year–Wishin’ for things to come won’t bring the desired result.  Only your heartfelt expectation with an “outstretched neck”, will you see the desired results.