A Verse For You To Meditate On

“We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16)


Asking In Prayer According To His Will

Throughout the Scriptures, we are encouraged to pray. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells His disciples to keep asking, seeking, and knocking while trusting the heavenly Father to give what is good to His children (Matt. 7:7-11). And in Philippians 4:6, Paul urges us to respond to anxiety by praying about everything. Therefore, it’s obvious that God wants us to come to Him with all our needs and concerns.

1 John 5:14-15 assures us that the Lord hears and answers our prayers. However, this promise is accompanied by one very important stipulation: We must ask according to His will. But how can we know whether our request is what He desires? Much of God’s will is clearly revealed in Scripture, but what are we to do when an issue is not directly addressed in the Bible?

Though we’d like to feel confident that the Lord will hear and answer, at times our prayers seem like shots in the dark because we have no idea whether they align with His will. If we dare to admit it, there are also times when we just want God to do what we ask, without regard to what He desires.

If we want to pray effectively, our goal should not be to offer up quick, thoughtless, or self-willed prayers in hopes of receiving speedy answers. Instead, we must learn to pray wisely and wait patiently. Along with voicing our concerns and requests to God, we should also offer ourselves up in submission to our Father, as Jesus did in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39). When we are yielded and obedient to the Lord, His Spirit guides us and provides the wisdom we need in order to pray according to His will.

The Storms of Life

The state of Florida has just experienced the worst hurricane in it’s history. Georgia is about to experience high winds and heavy rain for the next 24 hours. The destruction that has occurred in many areas has been overwhelming.

OK. So what’s my point? None of your possessions, job title or money will get you into heaven. For those who’ve lost a lot or everything, if they’re Christian they know that what they’ve lost doesn’t even come close to comparing what awaits them in heaven.

If you are grieving right now because of the storms and your loss of worldly possessions, take heart. God knows who you are; where you are and what you need. He has not forgotten you. He’s there with you now and forever. He will see you through this difficult time if you will only lean on Him and nothing else.

God promises in His word that he will take care of you and because He loves you, it’s a promise he will keep. God is good all the time.

Calming Our Fears – Part 2

If you are like me you’ve probably been following the news and especially the weather. Hurricane Harvey basically destroyed the Houston area and now we are faced with the destructive forces of hurricane Irma. Oh, there is also another hurricane following Irma, named Jose. Additionally, there has been an 8.0 magnitude earth quake in Mexico, killing at least 58. Yikes, that’s a lot of bad news. But wait, there’s more.

Yesterday, for no particular reason a pipe in our yard was punctured by debris left behind by the house builder. The punctured pipe was the water pipe leading into our house. In the front yard the lawn was like a swamp and water was flowing on to the sidewalk. I noticed all of this as we started our day walking our dogs. Needless to say I wasn’t too happy with this situation because I knew it was going to cost a ton of money or so I thought.

In spite of all the tragedies mentioned and the personal challenge I faced I’ve been able to keep calm in light of all this. How? I believe it’s because of my trust in the Lord to handle things. Too often in the past I would freak out over stuff like this but now I have peace instead of fear. Knowing that God is in control of every aspect of my life, because I let him, I am able to live each day with the knowledge that God loves me, wants the very best for me and protects me from harm. God calms my fears.

By the way, the plumbers found the leak very quickly, fixed it and were gone in about 45 minutes. The best part was the repair only cost $400. I was expecting it to be over a $1,000 based on past experiences of owning a home.

God is good “ALL” of the time and my faith in Him has increased even more as a result of all this. Give God a chance and you will have peace all the time too.

Rejoice In The Lord

If anyone had a reason to be anxious it was the apostle Paul! Envision an old man as he gazes out the window of a Roman prison. Half-blind, squinting just to read. Awaiting trial before the Roman emperor. His future is as gloomy as his jail cell.

Yet to read his words, you’d think he’d just arrived at a Jamaican beach hotel. His letter to the Philippians bears not a word of fear or complaint. Not one! Instead, he lifts his thanks to God and calls on his readers to do the same. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

Paul’s challenge is a decision deeply rooted in the confidence that God exists, that he is in control, and that he is good. Rejoice in the Lord—always! You can’t run the world but you can entrust it to God!

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

In recent news with big headlines has been the story about how Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and the surrounding area. When I look at the damage to things and the impact it’s had on those peoples lives, it begs the question “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”

This is one of the most difficult questions in all of theology. God is eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Why should human beings (not eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent) expect to be able to fully understand God’s ways? The book of Job deals with this issue. God had allowed Satan to do everything he wanted to Job except kill him. What was Job’s reaction? “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21). Job did not understand why God had allowed the things He did, but he knew God was good and therefore continued to trust in Him. Ultimately, that should be our reaction as well.

Yes, sometimes bad things happen to people who seem undeserving of them. But God allows things to happen for His reasons, whether or not we understand them. Above all, however, we must remember that God is good, just, loving, and merciful. Often things happen to us that we simply cannot understand. However, instead of doubting God’s goodness, our reaction should be to trust Him. ”Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Prayer That Focuses on God’s Glory, Not Our Own

If you made a request of God and then time passed without results, it is understandable you might start wondering if He ever heard you at all. Do you remember thinking, What happened, Lord? You said that if I asked in faith, You would do it. Didn’t You hear me?

Stop to consider this question: Can you think of a time you brought a petition to the Lord and it apparently went unanswered? What was the situation? What did you pray about it? What did you say to others about it? What did you do about it?

I believe one of the most common reasons we experience a crisis of faith is that our words and our attitude get out of line with each other. We tell ourselves that we are praying to the heavenly Father, seeking His will, and requesting His intervention, but what we’re really doing is just complaining to Him.

We say, “Lord, I really messed this up” or “I don’t deserve this.” We might pray, “How did this happen?” Or perhaps we even cry, “How did You let this happen?” We moan about the situation, reveling in every ounce of anguish, and then petition God to fix it. Is this a prayer that honors God?

In Mark 11:24, Jesus explains that if we ask for something, we should believe in our hearts that it has already been granted. This level of faith is found not in our whines but in our praises. God absolutely wants us to cry out to Him and to lay our petitions at His feet (1 Pet. 5:7). But we must be careful to do so in a way that focuses on God’s glory—not our own.