8 Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
Yesterday’s message was a marathon wasn’t it? I know it was long, but man I think we got some good stuff said to us. I’m well aware of the fact that I’ve had a lot of stuff to say that’s not all sweet and rosy, but how many of you know…some times what God has to say to us isn’t always sweet and rosy. We always have to remember what the Word of God says about itself: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Friends, the Word of God is profitable, but we have to be willing to take it all in. The stuff we like to hear, and the stuff that’s not quite so easy to hear. It’s easier to hear to that we’re the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, but it’s not so easy to hear that we’re treating God like we’re ashamed of Him…is it? But that’s the truth, friends…that’s exactly how we treat God.
So…the weekend is over and it’s time to get back into the business of writing these messages. So…without any further delay…here we go with the fifth message in this series.
Today’s Message: “God’s Insurance”
You know, can we stay on the point I was making in the introduction for a moment. I can’t seem to get away from this point that we’re treating God like we’re ashamed of Him. Listen, we all know what Jesus said about us being ashamed of Him before men…He’ll be ashamed of us before His Father. How many of you know that when He says ashamed of us before His Father…He’s talking about the day we stand before God at the Great White Throne. I don’t know about you…but I don’t want Jesus to have any reason at all to be ashamed of me on that day…Amen!?!
Well…let’s move on and get into today’s message.
I believe that God answers every prayer. But it’s crucial for us to remember who we’re talking to in prayer. We’re not giving God orders and He’s not at all hesitant about the way He answers.
I like the point James makes here in making sure that when we pray…we need to remember Who it is we’re talking to. We’re not talking to our boss, our parents, or even our spouse. We’re talking to the very person responsible for giving and taking away the very breath we have in our bodies. We don’t even have life without Him waking us every morning, and I think that we as Christian’s as a whole have forgotten Who it is we’re seeking the face of.
As a former United States Marine…I promise you that at no time do you find a private giving the Commandant of the Marine Corps an order. Yet, you find baby Christians basically trying to “order” God to do things in their lives the way they want it…and have no desire to do anything God’s way. I can tell you that if you don’t want to do things in the Marine Corps the way they expect it to be done…you won’t have a very long career in the Marines…and when it’s over you’ll have no one but yourself to blame.
It’s the same thing with God. We give Him this laundry list of things we expect Him to do for us on our terms, and when He doesn’t do them we blame Him for not honoring our shopping list. However, the point of what’s being said here is that God’s not obligated to do anything beyond what He’s already provided for us through the Cross. We are told to come to Him in faith. How many of us actually do that? Even I don’t always come to God in faith, and I have seen Him do things in my life. I’ve learned to stop asking if God can and will…because in all reality He has already done it.
The first answer is “Yes.” That’s the most frequent answer you get to prayer. I have never asked for strength and not received it. I have never, ever prayed for wisdom and not received it. But I have often not prayed for wisdom and regretted the decisions that I made. When I’ve applied James 1:5 and recognized my lack of wisdom and asked God to supply, He has delivered! Most biblical praying receives an immediate “Yes.”
The reason we don’t receive the immediate “yes” is because of what I was getting to just a moment ago with the context of my own prayer life. We need to get to a place where we’re no longer asking if God can or will, but thanking Him that He’s already done what we’re asking Him for. It applies to strength, wisdom, healing, deliverance, and certainly more…but that point is…I believe when James talks about asking “amiss” it’s not because God is deaf to our sin, but it’s because He is deaf to our unbelief. When we approach God without faith…James says that we shouldn’t expect to receive anything. So…while the religious will tell you the reason God doesn’t answer our prayers is because God’s deaf and cannot hear us over the sin in our lives…it’s the Bible that says that God will not bless unbelief. Let Him ask in FAITH…nothing wavering because those who waver are double-minded.
Friends, I’m convinced if we approached God more by thanking Him for what He’s already done, and that He’s already provided whatever it is we’re seeking from Him…we’d get more results from our prayers…because Faith is the substance of things hoped for…the evidence of things unseen. We’re asking for what we don’t see, but our faith gives us the substance to be able to take God at His Word…that whatsoever we should ask in the name of Jesus…He has already done.
God’s second answer to prayer is “No.” That’s why James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” But the only time you get a “no” is if you pray for stupid stuff or if you pray for good stuff with a timeline. I have found God very unresponsive to my ultimatums. God doesn’t respond to blustering, bluffing, or threats. If we’re praying foolishly, we’ll get a “no.”
James says that we have not…because we ask not. The other reason we don’t receive what we’re asking for is because we don’t ASK. We tell God that He needs to bless us with this, and give us that…on OUR terms. I am in full agreement here.
Listen…as a former Marine. I wouldn’t dare walk into the Commandant of the Marine Corps office, and demand anything from him…ever. Not that I’d ever be able to walk into his office anyways, but that’s not the point. The point is…who do we think we are to demand anything from God? Yes, we can approach His throne with boldness and confidence, and it’s also true that we have a right when it comes to certain things like healing (things that God’s provided through the Cross) and to pray in Jesus’ name…but God’s under no obligation to do anything because we throw tantrums, issue Him ultimatums, meet our timelines, or ask for foolish things like a winning lottery ticket.
And…I just finished saying it, but I feel it necessary to repeat that when the Bible talks about “asking amiss” it’s not because God’s deaf to us because of our sin. Listen, I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to repeat this point, but if God’s no longer counting our sins against us…then this talk in pulpits about God being deaf to us because of sin in our lives is just religious talk for we don’t really have faith to believe that God will provide what we ask for…so we hide our unbelief by sounding spiritual and holy…when in fact…the only thing we really sound like is a bunch of people who don’t really believe that God is willing and capable to answer our prayers. We have not because we ask not because we believe our sins are what’s keeping God from hearing it when the truth is the only thing that keeps God from hearing our cries is the fact that we don’t believe He will hear and answer us when we call.
It’s NOT sin that keeps God from being able to do things in our lives…it’s our unbelief…and until we get to a place where we have more faith that doubt…then we can dress it up in all the religious sounding stuff we can…the truth is…God cannot hear us because we don’t believe He’s listening…when the Bible tells us that God’s ears are attentive to our cries…but as long as you continue to hide your unbelief in religious mumbo jumbo about how unholy you are…and how much sin God’s holding against you…perhaps you ought to take some time to read 2 Corinthians 5:18-19…and then ask God to forgive you for harboring unbelief.
But if I’m praying according to God’s will, entrusting my future in God’s hands, He has a third option: “Wait.” The only thing between you and the delayed “yes” is time. How often do we forfeit our “delayed yes” through doubt? God has made promises about a lot of stuff, but He retains the sovereign choice of timing. So we pray unceasingly, and we wait patiently.
This is the place where many of us struggle. When God doesn’t meet our demands immediately. It may be that we have to believe God for something for some time, but that doesn’t mean He’s said no…it’s quite possible He’s said “wait”. It may be that what we’re asking for we’re not mature enough to handle yet or that He’s got something even better in mind. What ever God’s reason for wanting us to wait…it’s His reason…and there’s no praying until something happens (PUSH). Listen…I think it’s absolutely foolish and a waste of time for us to get God to change His mind or agree with us because we believe we’re right.
Let me say this as clearly as possible. There’s never…ever a time when we are or have more wisdom than God does. There’s never…ever a time when we’re going to know what’s best for us or our lives…because there’s never…ever a time where we’re going to be able to see a full picture of our lives. All we see is what’s in front of us at the moment. We have no idea how what we might be seeking God for is going to affect us 6 months later…or even 6 years later…or 6 minutes later. That is why when God says to “wait” the Bible has some very interesting things to say.
And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
The point here is that waiting for God’s answer is some times inevitable. I know that in this microwave culture we want what we want when we want it…and we want it now. However, God’s not obligated to operate on our time-table at all. He’s got all of eternity to make decisions, but He’s always going to make the decision that’s best for us…when it’s best for us…and never before.
I used to hate it when I’d hear people say the old cliché: “God’s never late, and He’s never early, but He’s always on time.”. I said I used to hate it…until I realized it’s the truth. God’s timing is always the right time…it’s always the perfect time…and therefore when it comes to waiting upon an answer from Him…I’ve learned that I need to just ask…and let it be. I don’t need to constantly remind Him that I asked Him for a better job…I just believe that there’s going to be a better door open some where when God’s ready for me to move on from this one. I also have to be able to understand that God has me exactly where He wants me at this point in my life…and if He wanted me some where else…I would be.
You see…when I take my restrictions off of God, and allow Him to be God…then I’m never really disappointed when things don’t happen when I think they should. I’ve learned to put complete trust and faith in Him that whatsoever I shall ask in Jesus’ name…it will be done for me. However, there are times when He’s not going to give me what I’m asking for because I either don’t really believe He will or He doesn’t believe what I’m asking Him for is going to benefit me…or help me to bring Him glory…which is always His ultimate goal for all of us. I also have to understand that sometimes whatsoever I ask in Jesus’ name it will be done right away. However, I’ve also come to understand that whatsoever I may ask in Jesus’ name will be done, but when God says it’s the right time for it to be done.
Either way…I’ve learned to believe and trust that whatsoever I ask in Jesus name not only can and will be done, but it already is. It’s not up to me to know God’s methods and timing…it’s up to me to have faith, trust, and believe that His decisions are always going to be in line with what He knows is best…even when it comes to waiting or not getting what I’ve asked for at all.
The important thing is to never stop asking…because in all reality James is right. The reason we don’t have is because we don’t ask…and I don’t know about you…but I have missed out on enough. So…I’m gonna ask from now on…and leave the results to Him…Amen!?!
I hope that this message has been a blessing to you, and maybe helped to encourage you. I know it’s hard to wait upon God. I believe the hardest answer God gives me is the “wait”. I can accept when God says “no” that’s it’s because what He’s saying “no” to is for my own good. Obviously, it’s good to get a “yes”. However, some of the greatest things I’ve received from God are those things that He’s given me the “wait” answer…and it’s also the answer I struggle with the most.
I’m no different from anyone else. I still want what I want from God right now, but that’s not how God operates. I told you that I still can come to God with the maybe’s, could you and would you…instead of thank You in advance for answered prayer. I’m not perfect, but I’m learning more and more to give more and more to God…and trust Him with the results…because in all reality…He’s always going to provide better results than I am…even if His answer is no.
What do you need from God? Ask Him. Maybe it’s something that will come right away. Maybe it’s something that He’ll say isn’t right for you. Maybe it’s something that He’ll say isn’t right for you right now…but whatever it is…just ask…and leave the results to Him…Amen!?!
Father, I don’t want to derail Your promises by my doubts and impatience. Thank You for reminding me that Your timing is perfect, that Your ways are right, and that Your plans are always best! Help me to keep returning to Your promises and resting in You as I wait to see Your answers to my prayers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.