Devotions
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April 25, 2017, 5:00 AM

This is one of the greatest blessings of prayer God will tell us things about ourselves.



You ever met someone that just happened to know everything about everything?  Is that person you?  Well, I’m sorry (no I’m not) to tell you, but there are something that you don’t know.  And a lot of it is about you. “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”  Jeremiah 33:3 This is a promise of personal illumination.  That means that there are things that God is going to reveal to me that He’s not going to reveal to anyone else.  God is going to show me things in my life that are just between Him and me.  God revealed things to Daniel, Moses, Paul, and even John, that He never revealed to anyone else. See, that tells me that there are things He’s going to reveal to me and about me that He’s not going to reveal to anyone else.

 

“I will tell you hidden things”, that tells me there are things that I’m going to be in the dark about until God reveals them to me.  There are certain things that God’s dealing with me about today that He didn’t deal with me on when I first called upon Him as Lord.  Why?  There were things that I hadn’t even realized that I had hidden in my heart.  Attitudes that need to be changed, pride that needs to be broken, unforgiveness that needs to be given, and things that I haven’t been able to let go of or forgive.  Then there’s a whole other side to things that are being revealed to me through my answering His call on my life to be a pastor. 

 

I can tell you that we are never going to reach a place where we have nothing left to learn.    Think about Paul’s declaration, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ”.  Philippians 3:8  He counted all that he knew as rubbish and the only thing he desired was to know God on a deeper and more intimate level. 

 

Paul was the Pharisee of the Pharisees’.  He knew the tradition, the rituals, the law, and the ancient scriptures all of them.  I believe Paul was a man of great knowledge, wisdom, and understanding and he admitted that even with all he knew that he hadn’t attained anything.  Paul even prayed that the eyes of our understanding would be opened, and that God would reveal the full array of His love to us.  “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called--his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”  Ephesians 1:18  

 

It was Paul to whom God revealed the mystery of the true gospel to.  God revealed to Paul justification by faith, the ministry of reconciliation, and yet Paul felt that he could’ve known more.  Paul had a lot of things illuminated to him, but he also spent a lot of time in prayer.  He sought a word from God and the presence of God, and as a result he received so much revelation.  So there are many, many things that God is going to want to illuminate and reveal to us in our lives.  Let me say this, the majority of the time God is going to speak to you about you.  This is one of the greatest blessings of prayer God will tell us things about ourselves.  It’s an opportunity for you to get to know the real you, what you were created for, and what your future holds. Prayer is a conversation in which we should expect God to speak directly to us.   What’s God telling you about you? 

 

This is my Prayer: God I come to You today seeking a word from You.  Lord please illuminate my life with Your word.  Lord show me the things I need to change, the things I need to quit, and the things I need to go deeper in,  so that I may grow closer to You.   Jesus help me to focus on hearing You and to apply what I hear.  Lord flood my heart with Your light, so that I can understand the hope I have in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.




April 24, 2017, 5:00 AM

 I’m never going to understand God’s plan for my life if I never ask Him about it. 



‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 3:33.    God’s desire is for all of us to grow and mature.  He wants us to gain knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.  Don’t believe me?  Read through the Book of Proverbs.  Count how many times it talks about getting wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.   “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold, and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” Proverbs 16:16 “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” Proverbs 4:5 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7  Those are things that we should be constantly seeking for more of when we pray.  Just as we need to grow in faith, hope, and love, so too do we need to add more knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. 

 

Friends, that’s really what prayer is all about. Coming to Him in all situations and circumstances where we need wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and leaning not to lean upon our own but constantly seeking His.  That’s what Proverbs 3:5-6 is all about, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  It’s about getting ourselves out of His way, so He can lead and direct our paths.  Let’s think about Jeremiah here for a minute.  Jeremiah’s audience was heavily involved in idol worship. They were into deception and debauchery. God’s people were fully engaged in this blatant rejection of God. This is as clear as it gets: If something is going on in your life today and you’re wondering about God’s character, “If God really is ________, then why is _______happening?” The answer to that dilemma is prayer. God says, “Call to Me, (in that moment) and I will tell you great things you don’t know.”

 

When we’re in a moment were something is going on in our lives we have two choices.  We can either try to deal with it on our own, or we can bring it to God.  I can either use my own limited wisdom or I can seek God’s unlimited wisdom.  The answer to the situations and circumstances in our lives is prayer, why?  Because we’re relying upon God and not ourselves.  You see it doesn’t matter if you’re going through something in your family, your career, or whatever.  It the time to go to God and say, “I’m not seeing it, Lord. I’m not feeling it. Why would You allow me to go through this?”   God will provide an answer, but the insight you need to understand what’s happening and why its happening will only come from talking to Him!  And that called prayer!  I’m never going to understand God’s plan for my life if I never ask Him about it. 

 

This is my Prayer: God I thank You for the opportunity to come to You and gain wisdom and understanding.  Lord I need You to show me that I can trust You with the things that look impossible to understand or to endure. Jesus I need You to teach me that You will always be with me, even when I don’t understand.  Help me to have patience and persevere in the times when You ask me to wait, and to trust that You always have my best interests in mind.  Lord, show me Your glory and help me to see You at work in my life.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.




April 23, 2017, 5:00 AM

God's talking are you listening?



So we’ve been talking about prayer and looking at what prayer is.  I believe it’s simply, us being real and just simply seeking God from a place that’s real.  God says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3.  So in reality what God’s saying is that He already knows we need something from Him, that He wants us to seek what we need from Him, and assures us that not only can we come to Him, but that He will answer us when we do.

 

Do you know of any other god that not only offers that kind of invitation, but the assurance that they will hear their servants?   No.  There isn’t.  Our God is the only God who can invite us to talk to Him, assure us that He will hear us, and as a result of hearing us provide what we need. “Call to Me” is the invitation.  “I will answer” is the assurance that we’re not speaking to air, but to a living God who is very much interested in everything in our lives.  There isn’t one area of our lives that God isn’t interested in, and the fact that He provides both the invitation and the assurance is something that we can't ignore.

 

How do you think God will, “show you great and mighty things, which you do not know?”  Everything in our walk with God is initiated by Him.  He draws us to Him by His spirit, and it’s up to us to respond to His voice, but most of us have a difficult time hearing His voice because we crowd it out with so much of the world. The thing that produces faith is a word from God, the living word.  “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 But there’s a big difference between receiving information from the Bible and receiving something spoken to your heart personally from God.  I’ve said this before, and it bears repeating that I’ve read and heard many times that God loves me, but the day God Himself spoke to my heart that He loved me and that I was His, that changed my life.  When God speaks to you, that’s different because it’s no longer something you’ve read or heard from someone else, it’s something that you heard directly from God Himself.

 

That’s one of those things that happens in prayer.  So many of us think that prayer is us talking away, giving a laundry list of things we want, thanking Him for His many blessings, asking forgiveness for our sins, and asking Him to bless and watch over our loved ones.  That is part of prayer, but there’s a whole side of prayer that many of us miss, because we talk too much.  That’s rarely talked about, even in the part where we shut up and listen.  If we’re really going to talk with God or “have prayer”, then we need to get real, get honest, and have a two way conversation with God.   Really think about it, if faith comes by hearing, how can we hear from God if we are too busy running our mouths.   Jesus continually reminds us in Mark 4 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”. 

 

As the old saying goes, “There’s a reason for God creating us with two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”   That is especially true when we are communicating with Him.  God has much to say to us and because He is the all-wise and sovereign God, it is important us to listen carefully.  You see we are prone to be distracted and drawn away with other things, even with good things.  So when’s the last time you heard from God?  Has He been speaking to you, but you couldn’t Him over yourself?  What great and mighty things is trying to tell you about?

 

This is my Prayer:  God thank You for Your invitation to call on You, and thank You for the assurance that You will answer me.  Most of all Lord I am thankful that You speak to me and show me great and mighty things.  But Lord I need Your help to listen, please give me ears to hear.  Jesus want my prayer life to be a two way conversation, like Yours was.  Help me not to get distracted with my own things and to listen.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.




April 22, 2017, 5:00 AM

God always answers our prayers, but He retains the sovereign choice of timing.



I’m no different from anyone else.  I want what I want from God right now, but that’s not how God operates.   I’m not perfect, but I’m learning more and more to trust God with the results.   If I’m praying according to God’s will, entrusting my future in God’s hands, the only thing between me and “yes” is time.  God always answers our prayers, but He retains the sovereign choice of timing. So we pray unceasingly, and we wait patiently.  Yeah right, I know I sure have trouble with that, how about you?

 

This is the place where most of us struggle it’s hard to wait for an answer from God.  When God doesn’t meet our demands immediately we often think that means that His answer is “no”.  But that doesn’t mean He’s said no, it’s quite possible He’s said “yes”, but just not right now.  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.  Whatever God’s reason for wanting us to wait, it’s His reason, and He is going to make it happen when He wants it to. Usually that doesn’t stop me from arguing with God on His timing.  My momma always told me I would argue with a fence post.  I can get it in my head that I’m right and there is no changing it.  Listen, it’s an absolute waste of time for us to argue with God to change His timing and agree with us because we believe we’re right.  But that don’t stop us from it, does it?

 

Let me say this as clearly as possible.  There’s never a time when we’re going to know what’s best for us or our lives, because there’s never 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 minutes, 6 months, or 6 years later.  That is why when God says yes but wait, the Bible has some very interesting things to say.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” 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 sometimes 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, “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, 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 door to open.  I just believe that there’s going to be a better door open somewhere when God’s ready for me to move on from this one.  I understand that God has me exactly where He wants me at this point in my life and if He wanted me somewhere else I would be.

 

You see when I take my restrictions off of God, and allow Him to be God, and then I’m never really disappointed when things don’t happen when I think they should.  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!  How about you?

 

This is my Prayer:  God I know You hear my prayers, and that You always answer them.  Lord help me to remove any restrictions I have tried to place on You or Your answers.   Jesus I know see the full picture of my life and Your timing is always right.  Lord I trust Your answer is always better than I mine, even if Your answer is no.  You have my faith and my trust.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.




April 21, 2017, 5:00 AM

God is not obligated to do anything beyond what He’s already provided for us through the Cross. 



“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”  James 1:5-7

 

I believe that God answers every prayer. But it’s crucial for us to remember who we’re talking to in prayer. We are talking to God!  The very person responsible for giving and taking away the very breath we have. I think that we as a whole have forgotten who it is we’re seeking the face of.  We don’t have life without Him. We’re not giving Him orders and He’s not at all hesitant about the way He answers. 

 

Yet, many times we try to order God to do things in their lives the way we want it and have no desire to do anything God’s way.  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, God is 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?  You see there are only two answers God gives, yes or no, never maybe. 

 

Out of the two answers, “yes” is the most frequent answer you get to prayer. I have never asked for strength and not received it. I have never prayed for wisdom and not received it, but I have often not prayed for wisdom and then regretted the decisions that I made. When I’ve applied James 1:5 “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.”, and recognized my lack of wisdom and asked God to supply, He has delivered! 

 

Most of time, the reason we don’t receive “yes” is because the context of our 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.   God isn’t deaf to our sin, but He is deaf to our unbelief.  When we approach God without faith James says that we shouldn’t expect to receive anything.   The Bible says that God will not bless unbelief.  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 see 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.

 

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.”  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.  That’s no asking that’s telling.  As James says that we have not because we ask not.

 

The point is who do we think we are to demand anything from God?  Yes, we can approach His throne with boldness and confidence, but God’s under no obligation to do anything because we throw tantrums, issue Him ultimatums to meet our timelines, or ask for foolish things like a winning lottery ticket.  If I’m praying according to God’s will, entrusting my future in God’s hands, the only thing between me and “yes” is time.    

 

This my Prayer: God thank You for reminding me who I am talking to, that Your ways are right, and that Your plans are always best.  Lord teach me to come to You with humility and respect.   Teach me to seek Your wisdom in all areas of my life and my prayers.   Jesus I thank You for what You provided for me through the Cross.  I know that you keep Your promises.  Lord I’m resting in You as I wait to see Your answers to my prayers.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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