Tag Archives: faith

Why no answer

man_praying_before_the_crossI have heard many times from others and even asked a few times why God does not seem to answer my prayers. Our belief is that God answers ALL prayers, we just may not be getting the answer we want or in the way we want. God will answer all prayers submitted properly with a humble heart. This I truly believe, but I did learn today that there are six barriers which could prevent God from hearing, or at least answering our prayers.

Selfishness: Are we asking for things purely for self interest? James 4:3 (NASB)  You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Ignoring the Law of God: Are we asking for something that is contradictory to the law of God? Are you truly trying to live your life within God’s law forsaking earthly desires? Proverbs 28:9 (NASB) He who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination.

Unforgiving Heart: Is there something or someone in our heart that we have not truly forgiven?  Mark 11:25 (NASB)25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.

Discord with family: Are we treating our wife/husband (family) with the kindness and honor they deserve? Have we done or said something that may still be weighing heavy on our or their mind? 1 Peter 3:7-9 (NASB) You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

Giving credit to personal sin: Are we living in sin yet making excuses for it creating a ideology that the sin is ok, or it is not that bad. Sin is sin in God’s eyes. Psalm 66:18 (NASB) 18 If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;

Doubting or lack of Faith: Be confident in our petition that God is God and has all ability to grant that which we seek. James 1:6-7 (NASB)But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,

Many times when you are having a conversation with a brother or sister in Christ, specifically about prayer, Mark 11:24 will inevitably be cited.

Mark 11:24 (NASB) 24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.

I, of course, would never disagree with it, but as with any biblical instruction, one must look for the corroborating scripture and ensure that all instruction is followed, not just a verse out of context. Mark 11:24 seems to allow for any prayer to be answered as we want it, but does not take into account the petitioners motive, law of God, unforgiving heart, discord, personal sin, or doubt. Without taking care of these 6 barriers before prayer, how can one be sure that God will even hear?

Eliminating these 6 barriers and petitioning with pure humility before God will better insure that ones prayers will be heard. God’s answer to prayer is another entire post, as yes I believe He answers EVERY prayer, maybe just not to our earthly satisfaction, but at least with better prayer we can insure that our prayers will be heard.

 

The Foul Weather Christian

As football season comes to a close, many teams, although not moving into good playoff position still have an ardent base of fans. These fans will never bet against their team, even when having a poor performance year. Others may say they are fans, but truly are only fans when the team is having a great year. These are traditionally called the fair-weather fans-true followers in the beginning, but feign true loyalty if the season turns south. Christianity has these fans as well, but they are called foul weather Christians.

What is a foul weather Christian? This is the believer who during great times, times of god-calms-childsuccess, times of lesser strife revel in their own accomplishment. Yet, as the tables turn and strife rises, failures multiply, and life turns bitter, these people turn to, or back to, God as their redeemer from hard times.

The newly born-again Christian has a great feeling of redemption. They know the feeling of forgiveness and understand the teaching from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ” Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Unfortunately, too many new converts think that one time of salvation will absolutely and permanently affix them to their daily, everlasting walk with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

As they move back into the world, their world of family, friends, work, and recreation, slowly they are pulled back into their secular life. They make excuses to themselves about not making it to church this Sunday or missing Bible study this week because they were too tired from the day. Whatever the excuse, without constant replenishment of the soul, they will find it easier to make excuses, further distancing themselves from their daily walk.

Maybe because of piling bills from this paycheck to weekend lifestyle (Yes, a lot of people can no longer say paycheck to paycheck, but only make enough to get through the pay weekend) they choose to work a lot of overtime. Maybe all that extra overtime allowed for a new car, or they were recognized for their extra work and promoted to a higher position with a huge salary increase. This salary increase gave them the opportunity to buy a new house, better toys for the kids, a big diamond for the wife, a new boat: life is good, they have achieved a great level of success in their own eyes.

They take credit for their hard work and perseverance which allowed them to achieve this new standard of lifestyle. They are excited with the changes and happy for the new life and what is to come next. By this time, they have forgotten about their commitment of their soul. They have thanked Him less and less each day for the great blessings, maybe not even acknowledging He had anything to do with their great fortune.

A new position and increased pay also come with an increase in responsibility. Maybe the new expectation will be a 50-60 hour week on salary versus the 40 hours of hourly pay. This new position could have them responsible for not only personal production but that of their employees or team members. The larger the charge, the many more challenges which will need to be addressed.

The challenges seem overwhelming as they move forward, mistakes are made and attitudes change. Some who may have once been friends turn away because somehow they were treated unfairly. Struggles cause friction, causing lower production, which ends this newly promoted person in the manager’s office having a discussion of poor work performance. They really cannot explain what happened, they did not see it coming, but probation with an improvement plan seems to be the best option.

Meanwhile at home, the family has settled in well to the new lifestyle. The new house, the new cars, the vacation home, all the newest, highest rated hi-tech kids games, phones, and computers. There are plans for a family vacation to Hawaii this year, what an awesome life!

Coming home from a disastrous day, only to sit at the desk looking over the bills and check book, once again, they need to find a way to stretch the paycheck beyond the weekend. It is this still time, sitting alone in front of the bills that they realize, “I have strayed from God, and this is my penance for falling away from my walk with Him”. So times have gotten tough, they need to survive the foul weather; gather the family back to church, back to Bible study, and daily prayer. He will see us this this storm. Foul weather Christians many times will repeat this cycle, never seeing the irony of their ways.

I guess one could equate this to the college student who only calls home when in trouble or needs more money. Parents want to hear from their student when things are going right too. They love to hear about the accomplishment. How many parents have the opportunity to hear a sincere “Thank you”.

Our Father wants to be in every part of our life-The great times and the strife. The only thing I can say is since I thank and praise Him daily, when the turmoil starts in my life, it is so much easier to deal with. It actually seems that the turmoil passes more quickly and the great times return more abundantly.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 ”17 Pray without ceasing  18 Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

The Lord is my Shepherd
The Pastor my sheepdog
The Shepherd chose me for His herd
And charged the sheepdog tend with ”The Word” 

Being imperfect, straying no guarantee
Going astray will mean a hobbling for me.
Hobbled in love at the Shepherd’s hand,
The sheepdog will care for and restore to the band.

 Learning through strife
Means growing this life
With the guidance of the sheepdog
Ever closer to the Shepherd. 

Copyright 2016

Stephen D Luckett

 

 

2016-Time to end!

I have not written anything in several weeks and I truly have missed being able to sit down even a few minutes and put together some of the happenings of our little suburban homestead. But I must say, I cannot wait for 2016 to be over. This has been an atrocious year from small hurdles to jump to major life tragedies.

The first 7 months of the year went by far to quickly with many small events that seem to creep up and throw off anyone’s calendar. Everything that happened which annoyed and commanded time from me through July pale in comparison to the way August of 2016 started out.

August 1st brought a new dawn into how we will live our family life. 10:30 pm; answering the phone to a call that every parent fears, but few have to realize: our 30 year old son had been involved in an accident at home. Doesn’t seem that bad, he was at home, not in a car, not working on the tractor, just home cleaning the bathroom.

One would expect that a fall in the bathroom would produce a head wound, or at worse a concussion. But being home alone during a fall, which caused unconsciousness and a brain hemorrhage proved to be fatal. The Medical personal on the scene could not revive him and he was pronounced dead.

Thirty years old with a wife, and 3 children, the youngest just celebrating her 1st birthday a little more than a month earlier. The trauma and pain to the family has been horrendous.

Getting all the brothers and sisters to town turned out to be an event in itself, but it was really good to see the entire family together, which has not occurred in several years. An event such as this truly changes the dynamic of the family and helps to reset priorities, as we have viewed them in the past.

The rest of August has been spending time with family and helping our daughter-in-law ready the house to be put on the market, which did finally happen today. Making all the small repairs, painting the entire house, cleaning up the lawn and garden beds, took far longer than I had hoped but I do not move as fast as I once did.

I might mention that coming home from the funeral as I pulled up in front of my house the transmission went out of my truck. Not that it even compares, but it just shows how I can’t get a breath between circumstances happening. I did put in the new transmission, but now I have to replace both catalytic converters.

Through it all I have kept peace within myself, knowing that my son was saved and a part of the body of Christ. He will live on through glory and we will re-unite in His Kingdom.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who  have been called according to his purpose.

For myself:

Joshua 1:9 (NIV) Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”               

Matthew 5:4 (NIV) Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Although I find comfort in my Faith and the loving arms of my Savior, I am very ready for this year to be done!