“This is what the Lord says, He who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is His name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
I love to think about what the Prophet Jeremiah received and shared … this incredible word from our Sovereign Creator. Yes, the Lord (YAH) is His Name! “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Cf. Romans 1:20) It is this Being … God the Father … who says to us: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” How wonderful is that word? I’m like: “Yes, I would like to know great and unsearchable things.” But then I continued to read the passage and its message of restoration … its confirmation of hope and salvation:
Jeremiah 33:14-16 (NIV)
14 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.15 “‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; He will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which He will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’
Well, I realize that God the Father has already fulfilled that great and unsearchable thing. His name is Jesus! Who among us can truly comprehend what God has done? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Cf. John 1:1-3; 14) Do we really understand what this means? Is this not the greatest mystery ever told? Indeed, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable. (Cf. Psalm 145:3) And so, I feel like Paul who concluded:
Romans 11:33-36 (NIV)
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His ways past finding out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?” (Quoting Isaiah 40:13) 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” (Quoting Job 41:11) 36 For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:8-11 (NKJV)
8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what isthe dispensation of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the Church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
Mysteries! Hidden in God since the beginning of creation! Yet, His glory and wisdom has been revealed to us in Christ Jesus our Lord! God has made known His passionate love for us! Yes, the unsurpassed love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord IS the great and unsearchable thing He has foretold. God has shown us … He has demonstrated to us … His will and purpose! God said, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Well, God wants you and I to know Him! He wants us to know His great love! So the Father sent us His Son … the Word made flesh:
Hebrews 1:1-3 (NIV)
1In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
If we want to know the Father … we need only to know the Son. Jesus declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” (Cf. John 14:6-7) Yes, to know Jesus … to have an intimate relationship with Him … is to have fellowship with the Father as well. He is the promise of the Father … fulfilled as declared through the Prophet Jeremiah. So now anyone can know the unsearchable riches found in Jesus Christ! He is the Lord Our Righteous Savior! He is the restoration of all things! And He is worthy of our reverence and adoration!
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him. ~ 1 John 5:14-15
We have been talking about being faithful in prayer; and this verse reviews some appropriate parameters of prayer….
First of all, we need to realize that asking God for anything must certainly be aligned with His will. For why would God grant anything that is contrary to His will and desire for us? Think about that for a moment. He allows or permits us to have thoughts and to conduct ourselves against His leading, guidance, and the precepts of His Word. But if we ask Him to do so in prayer, it is not something that He will grant us. No, John tells us that we must ask according to His will and He will hear us….
Therein lies the challenge for us. If we want to know if our prayers will be answered … if we want to have confidence when approaching God in prayer … the key will be to know His will! This means we need to have an understanding of what the will of God might be in order to have confidence that we will receive what we ask. So some thoughts arise here as I mediate on this verse. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, we learn that God is to be approached with reverence and to acknowledge His authority over heaven and earth:
Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
Luke 11:1-4 (NIV)
1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2 Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Our Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one’”
What is the difference between “your kingdom come” and “your will be done?” Is not His kingdom … His sovereign rule in accordance with His will? I sense that asking for His kingdom to come so that His will is done is the point … the application. The kingdom of God must first come to our hearts in order for our thoughts to be changed so that our behaviors (conduct) will change. We know Jesus as Savior but we know Jesus as Lord also. We must surrender all to Jesus if we are to ever to know His will and to ask according to it. So what John shared is consistent with what Jesus taught…. Paul weighs in on this point as well; explaining that the intercessory prayer of the Spirit is in accordance with the will of God.
Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
So what would be some examples of approaching God according to His will? Do we have anything explicit in the Word of God to guide us in prayer according to His will? Well, the Bible is filled with the will of God – expressed as His commandments, statutes, ordinances, and precepts. And we know that with the law comes the knowledge of sin (Cf. Romans 3:20) because sin is the transgression of God’s law by definition. (Cf. 1 John 3:4) Paul reasoned that whatever is not of faith is sin. (Cf. Romans 14:23) So when we sin, we are not acting in accordance with the will of God. Thus, God will not answer a prayer that leads to sin; rather, His desire is for our obedience … our holiness.
2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV)
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not willing that any should perish, but that everyone should come to repentance.
John 6:29 (NIV)
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.”
John 6:40 (NIV)
For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (NIV)
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the unbelievers, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you His Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (NIV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit.
1 Peter 2:15-16 (NRSV)
15 For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish.16 As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil.
So, I am confident that anyone who prays to be obedient … to repent and believe in His Son … to receive salvation through Jesus will receive answered prayer. I am sure that anyone who prays for sanctification will experience that process in their heart. I am certain that God receives our thanksgiving and praise in prayer. And I believe when you pray to do the right thing, God will hear you. But what about prayers and requests that are improper … even asking in opposition to the will of God? The Apostle James addressed this matter when he wrote:
James 4:1-4 (NASB)
1What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You desire (lust) and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
It is probable that if we ask anything according to our own will, God will not be inclined to hear. Unless our personal will conforms to the revealed will of God, John indicates that God will not hear that prayer. Silence is the response … the answer. Indeed, James indicates that prayers focused on ourselves or our worldly passions are in opposition to God and offensive to Him. He compares such prayers to infidelity and unfaithfulness. The Prophet Isaiah makes similar commentary:
Isaiah 59:1-3 (NIV)
1Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separatedyou from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you,so that He will not hear. 3 For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wickedness.
So what is the application here? Confidence in prayer stems from confidence in faith! Anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Cf. Hebrews 11:6) We cannot be double-minded or waiver when we approach God in prayer. James gives us this admonition: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”(Cf. James 1:5-8) Likewise, James instructed: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
As we can see, doubt or unbelief can be as great a hindrance to prayer as any other sin. So, trusting God at His Word … asking according to His Will … and believing you have what you ask are great steps to take when it comes to prayer. This is what Jesus taught as well: “So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Indeed, our prayers will be heard when we position ourselves within these parameters of prayer that God has revealed to us. And I hope this study will encourage you in your prayer time. Be bold and courageous … and believe!
So Now You Know….
Have a Blessed Day!
1 John 5
Faith in the Incarnate Son of God
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 6 This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.
18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. ~ Romans 12:12
Perhaps our verse is a timely word … as events continue to unfold that bring us ever closer to our day of full redemption … complete salvation. Paul urges us to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. I cannot think of any greater advice for believers in these days of disorder and darkness. For what we sense in our spirits is very real; and Paul explains these feelings in some detail … that we might understand and find comfort in the love of God who will work all things for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose:
Romans 8:18-28 (NIV)
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope. 21 For the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, with those who have been called according to His purpose.
While all three of these exhortations are important to practice, I especially want to encourage all of us to be faithful in prayer. Yes, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to pray for you when you are not sure what to pray or how to pray. For the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans … but God understands what is being said and what is in your heart so that your prayer will be in accordance with His will. And His will is to cause all things to work for our good. What has been meant for evil … God Himself will work for good in your life and mine. Yes, the Lord Jesus will bring us through this present darkness and fulfill His promise. He will come! He will return for us! At the right time … when all hope might seem lost … Jesus will appear and we will meet Him in the air. Those who have died will be resurrected … and those who are alive will be changed.
John 14:1-6 (NIV)
1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”
John 11:21-27 (NIV)
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NIV)
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Luke 21:25-36 (NIV)
25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
Yes, Jesus told us to ALWAYS be on the watch … and to pray two petitions:
1. That we may be able to escape all that is about to happen
2. That we may be able to stand before the Son of Man
Jesus also taught us to “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Cf. Matthew 26:41) And Paul urge believers to: “Devote yourselves to prayer – being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message … so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ….” Yes, we need to be faithful in prayer for those who preach the Gospel … for those who will be persecuted and imprisoned for preaching the truth in love … for those who will be sharing the light of God with others … that each will articulate and proclaim it clearly! And we should be wise in the way we act towards non-believers and make the most of every opportunity we have to share the love of God. Our conversation should always be full of grace and seasoned with salt so that we may know how to answer everyone. (Cf. Colossians 4:2-6)
Indeed, the day is approaching. It is a time for faith to triumph over fear. It is a time for us to be faithful in prayer for the prodigals … for the wayward and the lost. It is a time for harvest … for the Word of God to be preached … for the message of Christ to accomplish faith unto salvation. “For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (Cf. 1 Peter 4:17) So let us heed these words of Jesus:
Luke 12:35-40 (NIV)
35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when He comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for Him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when He comes. Truly I tell you, He will dress Himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if He comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”
So Now You Know….
Have a Blessed Day!
Living Sacrifices to God
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is yourreasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Serve God with Spiritual Gifts
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let usprophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Behave Like a Christian
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Lord. 20 Therefore, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
This is a very familiar verse for most of us! It is often quoted, and many of us have memorized … even memorialized these prophetic words. No doubt that any one of us want to have a positive outlook on life … a hopeful future … and a purpose directed by God. These things are central to our human experience and longing. But Jeremiah looks deeper into what hope and purpose entail. There are actions on our part that are fundamental to the realization of those plans God has promised to bring about in our lives. In Verses 12 and 13, he states, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I think we need to look closer at those words in the context:
You will call on Me
You will come and pray to Me AND I will listen to you
You will seek Me
You will find Me WHEN you seek Me with all your heart
I sense there are people who want to know God’s will for their lives. They want to know HIS plans for their lives … the future HE envisions … the prosperity and protection HE promises. Yet they do not pray … they do not sit still and listen … they do not seek God with their whole heart. They have their own ideas for happiness … their own conceptions of prosperity … and they simply want God to bless what they want to do … based on their own plans for their lives. This is not what the Word of God teaches us; and I urge anyone caught in this inner struggle and take a step back and examine themselves and their motivations…. We need to consider what the Prophet Isaiah wrote:
Isaiah 55:6-9 (NKJV)
6 Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the man of iniquity forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
This is why we need to come to God … to pray to Him … to listen to Him … to seek Him with our whole hearts … in order to know what HE has planned and ordained for our lives IN HIM. A few days ago, I mentioned this verse: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10) Here, Paul quoted Isaiah 64:4 which reads: “For since the beginning of the world people have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him.” Since the beginning people have not understood what God has planned and purposed for us; yet Paul indicates that God HAS revealed these things to us through His Spirit. Indeed, God has made known the riches of His wisdom. But you and I cannot find out the plans God has for us … the future and hope He has ordained for us … if we do not have an intimate relationship with Him. As Hebrews 11:6 asserts, “But without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligentlyseekHim.
Do you want to know the plans that God has for you? His desire to give you abundant life? (Cf. John 10:10) Eternal life? (Cf. John 3:15-16) Then you need to call upon God. You need to go to Him and pray. You need to listen. You need to seek Him with your whole heart. For we read in Jeremiah 29:14 where God has said, “I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. Do you see what the verse is telling us? “I will bring you back from your captivity.” Captivity? Yes, we have held ourselves hostage … imprisoned ourselves with our own thoughts and our own plans … our own visions of the future and not the plans God has designed and purposed for us. He allowed us to be held captive there … in those thoughts … so that we could see and experience the futility … the servitude … the enslavement … of man-made dreams! But God has something better … something greater … something more fulfilling and satisfying for our souls … if we would but seek an intimate relationship with Him who is our Creator … our Savior … our Lord.
Here are some exhortations that come to mind:
Psalm 33:10-11 (NKJV)
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. 11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.
Psalm 146:3-4 (NIV)
3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge (submit to) Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 14:22 (NIV)
22 Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.
Proverbs 14:22 (NKJV)
21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
Proverbs 23:17-18 (NIV)
17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. 18 There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 23:17-18 (NIV)
“Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin….
Matthew 6:24 (NIV)
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV)
24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV)
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
James 4:3-5 (NKJV)
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
So what is the application? God knows the plans that HE has for you! His thoughts toward you are thoughts of peace … not of harm. His thoughts are for you … not against you. The future He offers is the hope of eternal life … given to us through Christ Jesus our Lord. God is asking us to come to Him for answers … to call upon Him and pray to Him. God is asking us to seek Him with all of our heart … to trust Him in all things and not lean upon our understanding. Our understanding is limited. We only know in part. (Cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12) But what we do know is more than sufficient! For we know the love of God … His great love (Cf. Ephesians 2:4) … His lavish love … that we might be called His children. (Cf. 1 John 3:1). Yes, we can trust God for our future because we can trust God for His love. Amen.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
A few weeks ago, as I drove my granddaughter Kennedy to school, she asked me a question. The question was concerning whether her mother should ask a client if Kennedy might be able to volunteer in their nursing home this summer. Well, I thought that was the greatest idea … for an 8-year old to spend time with our elderly and to learn the deeper lessons of compassion. I was truly touched by her sincerity…. Anyway, she repeated the question. Would it be okay to ask for the administrator’s permission?
Well, I seized the moment and told her Jesus would like to give her some advice. And then I proceeded to quote her this passage: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Well, she thought that was pretty cool…. So I began to tell her this verse from Matthew 21:21-22: 21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (See also Mark 11:23-24) Well, now I had her attention. So I threw one more at her from 1 John 5:14-15 which reads:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.” By this time Kennedy had wised up and asked me if we could just go to Dunkin Donuts and get some Munchkins! LOL! And of course Granddaddy simply answered, “Ask and you shall receive.”
What a wonderful time for me … to share the Word of God with a sensitive young heart. And I think that moment we shared somehow planted another seed of faith within her. And I hope this little story planted a reminder in your own heart – to spend intimate time in prayer with the Father. Prayer is the most powerful conduit we have to access the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and spiritual resources of God. He is ever present … ever available to us! Like a small child – go to Him in prayer.
Luke 11:10-13 (NIV)
10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”