In God’s Hands

Psalm 31:14-15 Inspiration and Assurance

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.

It is better to be in God’s hands than out, because God’s hands are totally equipped.

 

 

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Haters will show up!

When you do what God tells you to do, haters will show up.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 

“When You Pray to God, What do You Expect to Happen?”

Matthew 11:9-13
“So I say: Ask and it will will be given unto you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

If you then, though you are evil, know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will you father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

When you pray to God, do you really expect a positive response?  Do you expect a response at all? If you are unsure how to answer this question, like many of us may be, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the kind of relationship you have with the heavenly Father.

When is the last time you really talked to God?  When was the last time you really listened to God?  Maybe your prayer-style has not been a conversation where active-listening was used at all.  Here’s an example, a family member comes to talk to you,  the person immediately starts to apologize for not coming sooner or more often.  The person talks about how badly they now need your help with a list of favors, immediately. They further explain their desperation and their need for help as they urge you to get busy answering their requests.  Is this example close to your/family member prayer style?

This would be the time to guide this family member through prayer, because it’s God’s guidance, through you that’s needed. It does little good, I feel, to say to someone who’s wings of faith are in their infancy, “just pray about it!”

Blackaby and King tells us in their book, Experiencing God If you do not have clear instructions from God in a matter,

-Pray and wait

-Learn patience

-Depend on God’s timing

-His timing is right and best.(pg. 75)

Now, we are not God, nor do we understand the mind of God or His Ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).  God is however, availing Himself to us, each day through prayer.

“Prayer is a Relationship to a Person.”

“Prayer is a two-way fellowship and communication–you speak to God and He speaks to you.  Prayer is not a one-way conversation in which you merely list everything you want God to do.  Your personal prayer life may have been primarily one-way communication–you talking to God–but we now learn that prayer is much more than that.

” Prayer includes listening.  In fact, what God says in prayer is far more important than what you say. God already knows what you are going to say.  You, however, do not know what God is thinking.

Prayer is a relationship, not just a religious activity.  Its purpose is to adjust you to God, not align God to your thinking.  God doesn’t need your prayers. but He does want you to pray because of what He wants to do in and through your life as you pray.  God speaks to His people by the Holy Spirit through prayer.” (1, pp 107-108)

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing each of us the privilege of communicating with you through the gift of prayer.  We don’t take this gift for granted, but use it to stay on-task with you as we constantly receive your guidance for our lives.  Enrich our prayer life, we pray.  In your name. Amen.

 

1. Blackaby, Henry & Richard, King,Claude, Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing The Will of God.  Lifeway Press 1990. Revised 2007.

2. Scripture from: The New International Version Study Bible, Zondervan, 1973.

 

Originally in Homewords News,July 2011

 

 

The Church at Philadelphia, They Got it Right!

Revelation 3:7-13

The church at Philadelphia, like the church at Smyrna was a church which received a passing grade from Jesus in His message to John.  The church passed simply because it kept God’s commands to endure hardships patiently (verse 10).  Here we may assume that keeping the faith, persevering, holding fast and staying in line for the love of God was not an easier task than it was in the other six churches.  However, this church continued to love the Lord and stay on task in spite of the problems inside and outside the church.

As I look at the church of Philadelphia, the lesson is simple.  This church did what God told them to do in spite of the surrounding influences.  They didn’t let false teachings creep in, they didn’t set their own rules, they didn’t let complacency be their guide, and they most certainly got back on track whenever they fell off. Did they fall off the track?  While the text doesn’t specifically say that they did, I believe that they did.  However, with practicing love and patient endurance, they understood that following God was the most important thing that they could do.

What can we gain from this lesson of the church of Philadelphia?  I encourage you to follow these conclusions:  First, follow God in all things.  No matter what the choices are, follow God’s choices and plan of action.  No matter what problems you are faced with, follow God’s guidelines.  No matter what others do, follow God’s orders.  So many times we get off track because we forget God’s directions and respond inaccurately to what someone else does or does not do.  Enduring hardship is especially difficult when it comes from another believer.  But, no matter what the hardship is we must follow God.  Others may not understand God’s instructions to you as you do.  This doesn’t mean we abandon the task, for it is only in wholly following God that we become what He wants us to be and achieve the perfections He has in store for you.  So always remember to follow God.

Secondly, in gaining lessons from the church of Philadelphia, we learn not to respond to the failure of other believers.  What God has in store for you and the hardships that you face have nothing to do with the faithfulness of other believers.  God’s instructions to you are your personal instructions from God.  He may not have given the one you feel should help you the same message, but, when it is a God-sent message, there is help for you.  Don’t get frustrated when the when the help doesn’t come in the expected manner.  So many times we makes our friends our earthly guides.  They can get in the way of what God is trying to accomplish through us.  We spend too much time complaining about what other in Christ don’t do.  We often make other believers the sacrificial lamb for our failures, not fully understanding that when God gives us a command, He is speaking to you and Satan will often confound the message to get you off-track.  Why shouldn’t we focus on others when they seem like stumbling blocks?  That’s simple,  they are not our stumbling block, but Satan is.  Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that we struggle not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world, against the spiritual forces  in the heavenly reals (NIV).  When we are opposed to doing what God has commanded remember the enemy is Satan and not the other Christian brother or sister.

Finally, that we must understand that the maturity levels in the faith are not the same.  Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:12-13 that we must work with all our fellow believers to  give them a chance to develop in the faith.  We must try to bring the most out of the believers in our surroundings so they will grow into mature Christians.  This is why it is important to understand the Spiritual Gifts of the believers around us.  If we don’t understand what those around us are sent from God to accomplish, we will never understand how they fit into the task God has individually given us.  Given the scriptual fact that the maturity level of all Christians is not the same (Ephesians 4:14), and knowing that the Spirit has given all believers a “manifestation for the common good” (I Corinthians 12:7),  we must remember that all the answers and ways of carrying out the efforts of the common good are not always going to be expressed and carried out in the same manner. Many will be opposite to the was we all feel the should be.  But there is a standard, and that is to follow God’s commands.

What do we do to be sure we follow God’s commands?  Test everything through God.  Test everything through Scripture, prayer and patience. Always be insistent to do God’s will and follow his path.  Be firm to follow. Resolute to do what is required. Vacate vacillation and withdraw from wavering.  Always remember the Church of Philadelphia got it right.