Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you.” He did not say, “Ask and it will be given to you immediately.” He also did not say, “Ask and it will be given you exactly as you envision it.” When we ask and seem not to receive, it’s easy to fall into some kind of crisis of faith.
Ordinarily, Bible teachers deal with the questions of unanswered prayer by looking at the text in detail in order to point out conditions or the various ways we sabotage our own faith. Instead, let’s look at Joshua.
The 11th chapter of Joshua might not make the most fascinating reading, but it does summarize the accomplishments and answered prayers of one of the Old Testament’s most successful leaders.… Read the rest
Christians readily agree with the statement that God is all-powerful, all-loving, and all-sufficient. But when trouble turns up, how many of us really know how to respond as if we believe it? We turn to idols instead.
Our idols aren’t quite the same as those of the ancients, but they work the same way. We trust our own resources more than we trust God. Certainly God expects us to use our own resources much of the time, but we must not trust them. We must trust God. Otherwise, whatever we trust instead becomes, functionally, an idol, the god we truly worship.… Read the rest
Lewis Carroll wrote, “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” (Through the Looking Glass, 1871). Wouldn’t he be amazed at now much faster we have made the world in the nearly century and a half since he published his observation?
No one literally has to run any more. We have fast cars and superhighways. Communication must be instant. We have made computers that can multitask and expect that we can and should as well.… Read the rest
How do respond to a lingering crisis? Does quietness and trust make it to the top of your list? If it doesn’t, you’re not alone. Yet God says that’s where we get his strength. What comes of failure or even outright refusal to get quiet before God?
In Isaiah 30:15 God says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” Isaiah spent his career telling the people of Israel what it took to have God work for them and not against them, but hardly anyone paid attention. Israel’s constant bad response to a persistent problem can teach us a lot about why we see and experience so many problems today.… Read the rest
In traditional translations, Psalm 146:3 says not to trust in princes. We don’t have very many princes around any more. Even in traditionally Christian countries that still have kings and queens, they reign, but don’t rule. Perhaps we could update it to say not to put trust in politicians, but what’s the point? Everyone obeys that commandment, Bible or no Bible. But let’s look at how The Message renders the verse and read ahead a little more:
Don’t put your life in the hands of experts who know nothing of life, of salvation life. Mere humans don’t have what it takes; when they die, their projects die with them.
A simple, straightforward question in a workbook, but I was at an emotional low point. What does it mean to trust God? I know I ought to. I like to think I do. I’ve advocated trusting God in lots of blog posts. But as I say, the question caught me at an emotional low point. I didn’t have a quick answer.
After some thought, I figured it means not to second guess God, not to doubt, not to fall into unbelief. But that’s all negative. Trust is surely more than not doing certain things. It must have a positive value of its own.… Read the rest
“Trust and obey,” says the hymn, “for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.”
That’s easy, even fun to sing in church on Sunday or perhaps at home during personal devotions. It’s nothing but church talk if we don’t put legs on it, set our hands to work on it, and let it control our mouths and, yes, our thoughts once we close the hymnal.
Lots of people seem to get upset with preachers because they’re always talking about money. Those same people wouldn’t have liked Jesus’ ministry very much, either. Almost half of his parables (16 of 38) have to do with money.
And that’s not all he had to say about it, either. Here’s a portion of the Sermon on the Mount:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
Fear is one of Satan’s weapons to keep Christians from living in the freedom that Christ purchased for us. Fear keeps the lonely from reaching out to other people. Fear keeps us all from leaving our comfort zones to reach out for any goals at all.
We naturally experience fear when we experience adversity, obstacles, or failure. We shouldn’t give into it just because it’s natural. We have supernatural advantages, just as Jesus did in the Garden.