“To be grateful for an unanswered prayer, to give thanks in a state of interior desolation, to trust in the love of God in the face of the marvels, cruel circumstances, obscenities, and commonplaces of life is to whisper a doxology in darkness.” 1
1 Manning, Brennan. Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2002. Print. p. 37.
This week 1000’s of hearts have been drawn to God through tragedy and suffering. Olivia Mills’ life of commitment to Christ Jesus before her accident has given God a launching board to proclaim His glory. Over 36,000 are following Pray for Olivia Mills and 1000’s more will probably follow. Some things to think about.
1. God is drawing masses of people to Himself. (John 6:44)
2. If you are not a believer, God is drawing you to salvation that can only be found in Christ Jesus. (Luke 19:10).
3. If you are a believer that has drifted away, God is calling you back to Himself through Christ Jesus. (Rev 2:4-5)
4. If you are a believer walking in a love relationship with Christ Jesus, talk with those being drawn about their relationship with Christ Jesus. (Matt. 28:19-20)
Years ago, a friend ask me why no one put Psalm 22:1 on a T-shirt. I was unlearned as to what that verse said so I asked,
“What does it say?”
“My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?”
We live in a world and a Christian culture where those words are taboo. It is ungodly to ask such a question, isn’t it? Maybe not! Jesus said the same words on the Cross (Matt 27:46). The Psalmist felt like God had left him and turned deaf to his cries. He felt trouble and alone. Is there a more miserable place to be? He felt physical exhaustion and a melted heart. He was at the bottom but he continues that he will proclaim and praise God “in the midst of the congregation”. He knew God had “not hidden his face from him”. He knew God had “heard when he cried to him”. He knew he would “be satisfied”. He knew his kingship “belongs to the Lord”.
If you put Psalm 22:1 on a t-shirt you must put it on the front because that is the beginning of the song not the end. On the back you must put the last verse,
“His righteous acts will be told
to those not yet born.
They will hear about everything
he has done.”
It is not what we feel that matters the most. It is what we know.
I’m thankful for life, YOUR
Lord, Jesus Christ
My kids have jobs
Alabama is #2
The change of seasons
The colors of fall
The holiday season
Time with family
A warm fire
Sex (this is not in order of importance)
Food (again this is not in order of importance)
Hot water and city water
A flushing toilet
The stars on a clear night
Sunrises and sunsets
THINGS I MISS TODAY Momma
There is more, but I gotta start cooking
Sweet Potato Casserole
Mac & Cheese
I ask you to read this prayer and if you agree, pray this prayer.
“Holy Spirit we needYOU to invade our lives. Not buildings but in the lives of your children. Into the hearts of dads and moms, sons and daughters, grand moms and grand dads, employers and employees, singles and married. Into faith families across our land. We need YOU to draw us with YOUR strong strength. We need YOU to soften that which we have allowed to become hardened. We need hearts to be healed. Marriages to be strengthened. Bondages to be broken. We need YOU to teach us. We need YOU to help us remember whose we are. We need YOU to magnify Christ through every song we sing, every prayer we pray, ever word that is spoken, every opportunity to participate with you. We need freedom. We need YOUR Word to EXPLODE from the pages of our Bibles into the core of our being. We need to remove everything that hinders. We need YOU to break down every barrier that we have allowed to be raised between YOU and us. Break down those barriers that we have constructed and those we have allowed others to construct. We need honesty, transparency and healing. We do not desire to just do life, family or church. We desire YOUR life, godly families and obedient faith families. We desire to be YOUR church, YOUR body, bringing YOU glory, praise and honor. Please accept our weak offering and use it. Right now please begin to draw us with YOUR strong strength. May this time be YOURS. I come to YOU as YOUR child, not in ignorance but in simplicity. I love YOU. In Jesus name and under His blood. Amen.”
This question comes to my mind because I think you are usually diligent in the things you really think you need. If you are hungry, you diligently seek food. If you are thirsty, you diligently seek something to drink. If your health takes a sudden turn for the worse, you diligently seek medical care. I think most of us live as if we don’t need God on the everyday basis. He has become a part of our life instead of our life. We take care of the God stuff on Sunday. We might give Him a passing glance during the week. We might pick up our bibles or spend a moment in prayer. If God totally stepped out of your spiritual life right now, how long would it take for you to notice (other than you would die). How much thought have you given Him today? Really? We live as if we really don’t need God because deep within we feel like we can handle life. Most of the wrecks in our life are our own doing but somehow God is to blame. If someone came up to you and asked you this question what would your answer be?
I am troubled somewhat at how many people either do not believe God speaks today or they don’t hear God speak. This week I posted God Never Wonders About You in which I reflect on a time God spoke to me this week. I had a friend tell me about someone who said that if someone told them they heard God speak then he would call them a liar. I’m not sure you can even be Christian if you cannot hear God speak. Some may be talking about an audible voice and I have not heard God’s audible voice but He has spoken to me in many other ways. He has spoken to me through His Word. He has spoken to me through His Spirit. He has spoken to me through His Son. He has spoken to me through His church. He has spoken to me through circumstances. He has spoken to me through prayer. God has spoken to me through sunsets and sun rises. He has spoken to me through friends. He has spoken to me through family. God speaks.
I prepare sermons and lessons every week. I believe God has spoken through me (I know that is hard for some of you to believe). Just because it is not audible does not mean God does not speak. For the critic. Is sign language speaking. What about braille?
What about these verses?
Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (John 8:47, ESV)
In order to hear God, God has to speak.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
(John 16:13, ESV)
To whom or why is the Holy Spirit speaking if we cannot hear Him?
However, let me throw this in. I do not know of anywhere in the Bible that says God quits speaking, so if He wants to wake me in the morning with His audible voice. I welcome it.
Got to share a little more about God never wonders about you. I was never a great football player but I remember the power of the head fake. I remember watching Alabama play Ole Miss last year when Trent Richardson nearly broke a defender, Senquez Golson’s ankles with the head fake.You gotta watch this.
Have you ever pretended to pray? Pretended to read your Bible? Pretended to care? Pretended to love? Pretended to give? Was your effort to fool yourself? What it to fool others? Was it to fool God?
You can never fool God! He knows you! He will not take your fake. So, let us all quit faking it. You cannot break God’s ankles.
He has a word for when we fake it.
And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
“ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
Today I found myself going into the worship center to spend some time in prayer, but let me back up a minute. I do not spend a lot of time in the worship center during the week praying. I do go in there to pray when I think it is of a serious nature. Not sure why but that is how it works. So, today I was going in and the thought entered my mind, “I guess God wonders where I have been.” It was instantaneous that God spoke in my spirit, “I never wonder about you.” All I could say is WOW!
God never wonders where I have been, what I am doing, where I am going, what is motivating me, why I have not read His Word or prayed. He never wonders why I act the way I do, think the way I think, or go where I go.
God knows me and never wonders about me. He might long for me but never wonders about me. That is comforting and a little convicting. He knows why I do what I do, act the way I act, go where I go, think what I think, and more. He knows why I don’t pray or read His Word. He knows why I don’t love Him or others the way I should. I cannot trick Him. He does not take the head fake. He is not fooled by my superficiality nor yours.
O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.