Statement of faith

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

"The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with his Word.
- Warren

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: March 7, 2011
Sharing by:  Pam Crawford

                                              Isaiah 40:17
I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him.

Over this past year, I have often heard it said that I was going to have to “wait upon the Lord” in a circumstance that has oftentimes taken the wind out of my sails. I imagine that there is someone else out there today that is also waiting upon God in prayer. It is quite possible that you may very well be experiencing bouts of frustration, anxiety and anger because you are not seeing resolve in your situation. Unfortunately, because we are not privy to seeing the big picture, we can fall prey to doubt and fear if we’re not careful.

So much of what has happened over this past year has exasperated me at times. Satan has made a direct hit on my heart and it’s been a very painful process of learning the importance of this word “wait.”  Some of you have also taken direct hits on your heart. It may have come in the form of health issues, financial troubles, or relational disappointments. When these things happen, it hurts and there is no other way to describe it.

If you are a Christian then you understand that nothing happens in this life without God’s knowledge. My situation was no surprise to God and either is yours. Unfortunately, the unknown can cripple us if we don’t know the One who is in control of it all. If you need a reminder of God’s sovereignty just reread the story of Job found in the Old Testament.  Although God allowed Satan access to Job, He controlled his every move. God is always at work behind the scenes, but it will be important that we understand our responsibility as part of the restoration team.   

When we are told to wait on God, we often get the impression that we are to stop doing something. God insisted this year that I look at the word “wait” in the spiritual realm of my situation. I believe what I have learned might be helpful to someone else out there who has simply stepped aside and is now feeling hopeless in their situation.  It does not have to be this way.  It is true; God does sometimes ask us to step aside so that He can get through in order to begin His work.  However, it would be foolish for us to think that we are off the hook while he does all the work. On the contrary, God expects us to be an active team participant in His plan.  He could certainly fulfill His purpose without us, but that’s not usually how the God of the Bible works. It might be that He simply assigns you the task of learning how to become an effective prayer warrior.

Have ever tacked one of those 1000 piece puzzles?  If you have, then you know it takes a lot of time, patience and a spirit of endurance to finally see your work completed. It’s not until you get that last puzzle piece to fit, that you can breathe a sigh of relief. Puzzles are challenging projects. I have on occasion experienced an overwhelming frustration when I have gotten near to the end and there is a piece missing. Anyone? You just want to scream, but what good would it do? The puzzle would still remain unfinished and what a waste of all your effort.  Instead, you have to either look for the missing piece, which is usually on the floor or under the table covering, or you contact the puzzle creator to order the missing piece.  What I want you to hear through this example is that there is a way to see beauty arise from an unfinished puzzle. You don’t have to break it all apart and give up, and the same applies to the circumstance you may be in today.

A year later, the puzzle I have set before me still appears to resemble an unfinished mess. But, when I look at the situation through God’s lenses, I see that He has been quite busy behind the scenes, which therefore gives me a renewed sense of hope. I have no idea how long it will take, but I’m going to hang in there, I have to, someone needs me too. 

God might not give us all the pieces to the puzzle at once, but we can be sure that He has them all in His capable hands. Eventually, in God’s perfect timing, He will bring forth His desired masterpiece. One thing I can tell you for sure is that prayer activates the process. So, how do you pray? This is definitely something I have had to look at in my own life. Are you praying with confidence, or are you simply muttering words? One might also ask, is there anything standing in the way of receiving the blessing of answered prayer? The answer to this is, there just might be.  Sometimes we have unconfessed sin, a hardened heart, or a spirit of unforgiveness blocking the way of a blessing.  Please listen carefully to these words from the gospel of Mark.

Mark 11:23-25: “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Life’s Application Commentary:                                                                                                            It would seem impossible to move a mountain into the sea, so Jesus used that illustration to show that God can do the impossible. God will answer your prayers but not as a result of your positive mental attitude. Other conditions must be met: (1) You must be a believer; (2) you must not hold a grudge against another person; (3) you must not pray with selfish motives; (4) your request must be for the good of God’s Kingdom. To pray effectively, you need faith in God, not faith in the object of your request. If you focus daily on your request, you will be left with nothing if your request is refused. Our prayers are often motivated by our own interests and desires. We like to hear that we can have anything. But Jesus prayer with God’s interests in mind (Mark 14:36). When we pray we can express our desires, but we should want his will above ours.

Today’s prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for hearing our prayers. Help us to learn how to wait patiently as you not only work in our situation, but you work to correct things within us. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear the things you desire to reveal from our lives that might be hindering answered prayer? Forgive us our sins Lord and lead us to a place of true understanding. In Jesus’ precious name we lift up our prayers and we trust that your will be done.  Amen.

Additional Scripture Reading:  Psalm 66:18-19, Matthew 6:6-13, Jeremiah 33:2-3, Philippians 4:6, 1 Timothy 2:8, Hebrews 4:15-16, James 5:16, 1 John 5:14-15.

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