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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

He Said, "No!"

A bunch of years ago I delivered a sermon on answered prayer.  This was at a medium-sized local church down in Metarie Louisiana, and I guess that they hadn't had a guest speaker for quite some time.  After the service was over, the pastor and I were standing in the foyer talking with some of the church members when this fellow came up  and told me that he just wasn't so sure about God answering prayer. Everyone standing there got real quite, and were listening when I asked the guy  what he meant.  He said that he'd prayed for a new truck to pull his boat with, and God never answered his prayer.  I asked what made his say  that God hadn't answered, and he said that  he'd never got  the new truck.  That's when I told  him that God had answered his prayer. He asked what  I meant, and I told him that God obviously said, "No!"  

This is a true story, and to me it illustrates mans mindset when it comes to prayer.  A lot of us are real  quick to claim Scripture when it comes to asking God for something.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and  you  will find;  knock, and it will be opened to you."  (Matthew 7:7    NKJV)

What we do, particularly when we're on  the subject of petitioning God for  'wants'  is that we have what I think of as 'selective  recall.'  We  don't recall other Scripture that is very relevant to the issue of God answering prayers.

"Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;   whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”  (James 4:13-15    NKJV)

The point I'm working towards here is that while, yes, we do have the authority to ask of the Father whatever we would, along with that authority comes the responsibility to ensure that before we do the asking, we've already done the praying necessary to make sure that what we're asking for or to be done is in accordance with His Will.  Does this mean that He will only respond positively to our absolute basic needs?  No, not by any means, in fact Scripture is very clear about that.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God;"  (Philippians 4:6    NKJV)

In wrapping up, I want to revisit the main points again.  First, New Testament Believer's have Scriptural authority to go to  our Lord God for  both our   wants and our needs.  Second, with that authority  comes a responsibility to do our very best to make sure that what we're asking of God is in line with His Will.  Third, and last, God does say, "No" sometimes.

Be Blessed my brothers and sisters, as  we're celebrating the birth of the Son.  Keep  in mind that when we celebrate Christmas, it's not just the birth of Jesus that we're heralding. December 25th, as the day set aside for this celebration, should be held dear as a celebration of life for every  person who has ever  and will ever accept the Christ as their personal Savior.

God be with you all,

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