Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When God Answers 'NO'

"And [Jesus] withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:41-42)

Have you ever stopped and really considered what's going on here in these verses? Jesus is praying and asking if there is a way in which He can be relieved of the suffering that He is about to endure. And what is the Father's answer? Well, we know what Jesus endures next and therefore we can conclude that the answer was 'no, this is my will and this is what must be done'. Jesus Christ - God in the flesh, He without sin - prays for possible deliverance from the wrath of God and the answer is 'no'.

So have you ever felt like you have prayed and requested something from God so earnestly and fervently only to have your request not granted? Well guess what, you're not alone. The real question is how do you respond when God answers 'no'? Do you respond much like Jesus who put the Father's will over His own and pressed forward to endure the suffering that laid before Him? Or do you respond a little differently?

You see, I can't tell you why God answers 'no' sometimes but what I can promise you is that God's will is perfect and holy and ours' is certainly not. God works with eternity in mind rather than we who most of the time get can't see past our short finite lives here on this earth. God went on as planned and violently poured His wrath out on Jesus, but He also raised Him on the third day and has exalted Him and has bestowed on Him the name that is above every name and at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow on heaven and on earth and every tongue will confess that He indeed is Lord. So be encouraged that suffering here is only temporary and God has great reasons for such suffering. For the apostle Paul considered that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. God knows what's best and there is great peace to be found in His provision and sovereignty.

Now some people might begin to wonder that if God is sovereign and does as He pleases then do my prayers really mean anything? The Bible would be quick to let you know that prayer is meaningful and actually changes things from time to time. For exactly how that works see someone with much more intelligence than myself. The Bible has plenty of examples of God answering 'yes', and God still answers 'yes' today. But I also think there is much more to prayer than getting a 'yes' or 'no' answer. Prayer is more about God's glory rather than about our own happiness and comfort. Prayer is an expression of our complete dependancy on God for everything. He does not have to give us everything that we ask for, but we do have to ask Him for everything. I am lovingly not going to give Asher (my son) everything that he asks for, but he knows that he has no shot of getting anything without first asking me. This clearly exhibits his complete dependancy on me. Prayer is a submissive act of becoming like a child and reaching out to God our Father. Prayer denies any authority of our own and acknowledges the sovereignty of God.

So be encouraged to let all of your requests be made to God but continue to ask with an eternal mindset ready to accept whatever answer He gives. Maybe God will say 'yes' or maybe He'll say 'no' but regardless, honor Him by asking.

- Terry

Sunday, July 10, 2011

When I Get Done

Some quotes from my past and present that always seem to resurface....

When I get done with Spanish 2 I'm gunna keep practicing so I don't forget all the stuff I learned. Yeahhh...I'm gunna be fluent.
When I get home from this season I'm gunna take some carpentry classes so I don't have to call a handyman to fix every little thing broken.
When I get done with baseball and have a lot of time on my hands I'm gunna dive into my Bible everyday and memorize all kinds of scripture.
When I get done with baseball I'm gunna get ripped so I can wear super tight shirts and show off all my new muscles.
When I get done with this season I'm gunna start keeping a spiritual journal of my walk with the Lord.
When I get done with baseball I'm gunna learn to play the guitar like my buddy Glenn who can play every song imaginable...Maybe even start a band?
When I get done with this season I'm gunna start a Bible study for me and some of my friends so we can grow together in our faith.

The fact is I could keep writing those all night. When I get done.... that's an often used phrase for me. Let me ask all y'all something? Why does everything have to be "when I get done" with whatever. It's pathetic. What if Jesus would have done that. What if Jesus was like "Dad, I know you want me to go down there and rescue humanity but I got this sick game of scrabble going with Gabriel. When I get done in a few thousand years I'll rescue those guys...probabaly." Praise God that He didn't do that! I'm a dreamer, there's no doubt. But, why can't I do cool, useful stuff right now. Why does everything have to be later. Especially when it involves my faith. Man, if you ask me, when I get done playing baseball I'll be the second coming of C.S. Lewis. Holding my own revivals like Billy Graham... inviting Jesus into everyones hearts. Yep, things will be great.... one day.

Here's some truth. I may not be any of those things now, but I want to be. And, I may want to do those things later, but if I don't watch out I'll find an excuse not to. Right now my excuse is baseball, but when I'm done it'll change to "After the kids go off to college." I can already see that one coming. Why is that? It drives me crazy! I'm going over what I wrote at the top, and if I would just get some motivation I could be a "bilingual, wood working, scripture spoutin', super jacked, spiritually growin', guitar rippin', Bible study leadin', HUNK OF A MAN! Well maybe not that last part, but you get my drift. So here's my challenge.... If you can relate to me at all in this, and you're putting stuff off... Make a list and do it. Don't wait til tomorrow to do something that needs to be done today. Let's realize that some things don't need to be put off.

Final thoughts. We can be great, and we can be great right now. Don't let this fallen world come in between you and Christ. Jesus was great for us... let's be great for Him.

-Adam W.
Acts 20:24