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A Guy Just Like Us February 15, 2010

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.
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Matthew 6:25-34, Matthew 17:20, Mark 11:23-25, and John 14:8-15 convey some very interesting instructions. They say that God is in control, that God is faithful, and they also say that if a believer in Jesus asks for anything in Jesus’ name, with faith (even small faith), the request will be granted.

You may have prayed before, “in Jesus’ Name,” and not received what you asked. This causes you to question the faithfulness of God, the reality of God. You have been told that you didn’t get an answer because you didn’t have faith. Success preachers use this all the time. You know those guys- they’re the ones that tell you to send them a seed showing your faithfulness and trust in God. But God is faithful and doesn’t demand sacrifice to demonstrate faith.

God knows what we need, and He will provide – but here’s a little warning: sometimes you have to endure the desert to get to the Promised Land, sometimes you have to endure the famine and drought before the showers of blessings fall. These things happen, and God provides, in his own time. Not in our time. Sometimes the answer is “wait.”

There is nothing wrong with sending money because you feel God led you to send it. If your heart is in the right place and you give to honor God, then the burden falls upon the receiver of the gift, to either invest it in God’s Kingdom, or buy a new Rolex watch. It’s a corny example I know, but you get the idea. The same principle applies in giving money to a stranger- they claim to be homeless and hungry, or need a few bucks for gas to get home, or whatever. If you give it to them with your heart in the right place, it is up to them to decide whether to invest in food or gas, or in liquor, drugs or smokes.

As I said, there is nothing wrong with sending that money in, but to be responsible as a steward of money, I would question the motives of anyone who tells me to send them money so God will send me more. What does God want, if it isn’t our hopeful trust, and our money sent to some ministry to pay for a new suit for the preacher?

You may trust me on this: God weighs the motives of the heart in answering prayer. I Samuel 15:22 and James 1:27 and 4:1-6 say that what God wants is obedience. James 4 says we don’t get what we ask for “in Jesus’ Name,” unless our hearts are aligned with God. This means we’re asking for what He wants- “Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven (Matt. 6:10).” This gives a whole new interpretation (for some) to Psalm 37:4.

What does it mean? “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Most think it means “…seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you (Matt 6:33),” and I’d venture to say it does. But there’s a twist you may not have considered. I used to read Psalm 37:4 just like everyone else. But now I read it this way: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will [plant in your heart the desires He wants you to desire.]”

Maybe you think you have to be super-spiritual for this faith and prayer to “work.” After all, the disciples were following Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, himself. But they were ordinary guys – a tax collector, a few fishermen, people like you and me. Peter and John got answers when they prayed because they delighted in the Lord Jesus and they desired what He wanted.

In case you still have doubts that an ordinary guy who listens and obeys what God says can pray for big stuff, consider Elijah. Oh, yeah, Elijah. He should have written, “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.” (Thanks, James Taylor.) Because he saw it, in profound answers to his prayers. He flew around in Old-Testament-Land wearing a cape and a big E on his chest, right? He told the king it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t until he said it would; he prayed and a kid came back from the dead, he prayed and fire came from heaven, because he was super spiritual, right? No. James 5 says he was a guy just like us.

He listened and heard the voice of God. It’s a quiet voice, not a loud one. God doesn’t always show up in the circuses, the earthquakes, the fires, or the winds. More often He’ll be that quiet voice when we are quiet and prayerful. Elijah just listened and obeyed. He did and said what God said to do and say. So apparently, in spite of how average you and I may be, so can we.

I’ve seen enough circuses, earthquakes, fires and winds. None of that really entertains me, and it usually costs too much. I especially don’t want to call down fire frome heaven. Maybe I don’t know what I want, or more to the point, what God wants. So until I figure that out, I guess I can’t expect much from my prayers. For now I’m praying “please give my heart the desires of Your heart,” and, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.” Maybe that wil be miraculous enough.

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