Archive for November, 2022

Several years ago, I received a book in the mail from a North Carolina radio station that advertised itself as a “Christian radio station.” The book declared that God wants every Christian to be rich. It had pictures of priceless jewels, luxury cars and boats, and other expensive items that only those who are wealthy can afford. It claimed that God was going to take all of these things away from unbelievers and give them to Christians. All Christians would have to do is to ask God for them – in other words, just “name them” and “claim them.”

Such a belief is called “the prosperity gospel.” It is definitely not what God’s Word teaches about prayer – and it is utter nonsense! It makes prayer the vehicle for the expression of our greed. To believe that the sovereign God is primarily obligated to do our bidding would make Him little more than our private genie. Prayer is much more than asking God to run errands for us.

But, you may ask, does not the Bible say, “If two or three of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them” (Matthew 18:19)? Yes, it does, but it also says many other important things about prayer prosperity gospel adherents overlook – but shouldn’t. For example, “If we ask anything according to His will He hears us” (1 John 5:14). And, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

There are, according to the Bible, three factors that determine whether a prayer we pray will be answered in the way we want: (1) whether or not it is in accordance with God’s will, (2) whether or not it is God’s time, (3) whether the person praying is living in such a relationship with God that it would be appropriate for God to answer the prayer. We do not always know what is best for us – but God does!

We can thank God that many of our prayers are not answered precisely in the way we ask. We are encouraged to pray at all times, “Not my will but thine be done.” Sometimes our prayers are attempts to persuade God to do what we want, to bless or bring to pass our plans, not His plans. Nothing is outside the reach of prayer except that which is outside the will of God.

There is the matter of timing as well. Consider, for example, Hannah’s prayer for a son. It was years before the Lord gave her the son for whom she had prayed. At last Samuel was conceived and brought into the world. It must have seemed a long and inexplicable wait for his parents-to-be; but Samuel had to live for a certain time in order to accomplish a particular mission in Israel. God knew that; Hannah didn’t.

Consider also Nehemiah’s prayer for the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The Bible says he “wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4) for the restoration of Jerusalem. The answer to his prayer came in God’s time, and how important that timing was! It had to occur on a specific day foreordained by God. From that date, 69 weeks of years (483 years) would be counted to determine the very day that Jesus would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey and be hailed as the Messiah (Daniel 9:25). Nehemiah possibly never suspected the importance of God’s timing.

Finally, affirmative answer to prayer, when it comes, is at least in part a blessing from God which indicates that the petitioner is living according to His will (1 John 3:22). Prayer is not a one-way street on which we get everything we want, and God gets nothing. The goal of prayer is to attune us to God’s will. For God to answer the prayers of those who are not willing to take the time to know His will and are careless about obeying Him in their daily lives, would only encourage them to continue to live in disobedience.


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Jimmy Durante was well-known and fondly appreciated for his enormous nose, yet it was the source of great agony during his childhood. People stared at or called attention to it. Even when he was on stage making a fortune because of his big beak, he was never happy about it.

Then one day he received a letter from a boy that said: “I also have a big nose. But then I saw you in a movie. And when you kept laughing about your nose, it made me feel good all over. Now when other fellows call me ”Schnozz,” I’m very proud. Durante sat silently at the breakfast table for a while after reading that letter, then called out happily to his housekeeper, Maggie Arnold, “A big load has just fallen off of me.”

Do you ever question your worth? Low self-esteem is based on what you believe about yourself. You may have received negative messages from your parents, your friends, or your spouse – which may have caused you to feel worthless. Whatever the cause for your low self-esteem, God does not make junk. You are special to Him. In fact, He sent His Son to die for your sins because He wants you to be part of His family.

If you are a Christian here is what God says about you:

  • To those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).
  • I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
  • In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

These verses tell you that you are a child of the God of the universe because you have trusted Jesus Christ, His Son, as your Savior and Lord, that Christ lives in you, that He will hear your prayers and answer them, that the Father and the Son love you, and that you have eternal life. What more validation could any person want than to have the approval, love, forgiveness, and inheritance of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Give these thoughts preeminence in your life, for Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. What He says is true, no matter what anyone else says or does. When you grow in this understanding of who you are in Christ, you can let go of the thoughts that cause you to lack a sense of self-worth. You can rise above the “blues” of depression and say with the Psalmist, “Why are you so downcast O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him – my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5).

When you believe that you are valuable in God’s sight, you will start acting like it. You will assert yourself and set boundaries so that people will treat you with the dignity that someone made in God’s image deserves. You are one of the King of King’s kids (John 1:12). You are a new creation in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17). You are on your way to heaven (John 3:36). The Holy Spirit dwells within you (John 14:16). You have a new and very special purpose in life – to live for Christ and to know Christ and share His love with others (Philippians 1:21, Philippians 3:13-14).

The surest way to have a healthy sense of self-worth is to realize that you were created by God, and that He has a special purpose for your life. He made no one else in the entire world exactly like you. That makes you unique and special. You will never stay down in the dumps very long when you know who and whose you are and where you are going in life. So, hold your head up high and head on down the road.

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When God created our unbelievably huge and complex universe, He declared that what His hands had wrought was good. It hasn’t changed. It still is good. Only God, the Creator, could create out of chaos a cosmos; out of nothing, something; out of disharmony, harmony.

Everything that God has made was created “in tune” – the voice of man, the whisper of the wind, the laughter of little brooks, and the thunderous throb of the mighty oceans. Everything in nature is full of melody and is alive with divine rhythm, from the harmonious growth of the budding leaves in the spring, to the growth and beauty and production of growing things of summer, and to the scattering of the seeds of another season on the blustery winds of November.

There is precision and harmony in the path of the great planets in our galaxy as they move with unchangeable accuracy around their lord, the sun….and there is also precision and harmony in the countless galaxies beyond the one where we live and move and have our being, each with its own individual uniqueness. Even so, all of them are bound together in one majestic musical composition.

Longfellow was right when he said that “music is the universal language of mankind.” That is because he was aware that music is the language of our Creator. He has woven a marvelous sense of timing and rhythm into the very fabric of our lives and into the entire universe about us.

Forget for even one hour the secular influences that literally clamor for your attention, for they will draw your interest away from the harmony and music that Our Creator has designed to be at the heart of what is important in life. Turn off your inane and intellectually stupefying television set long enough to go somewhere where the din of man’s noises cannot be heard. Breathe deeply into your lungs a breath of invigorating air and drink in the beauty of God’s green productive earth as it puts on clothes in the decorative colors of autumn.

May God give us the wisdom to shut out the noises around us that clamor for our attention and for our loyalty. They will install us on a sidetrack that leads in the opposite direction from the kind of life He designs for us to travel. Let us breathe deeply into our lungs a breath of invigorating air during the days of autumn as the beauty of God’s green productive earth as it puts on clothes in the decorative colors of autumn. Let us anticipate that beyond the turning of a few pages of life the trumpet sounds of spring will once again pierce the air.

God’s music has always been “in tune.” It still is – and it always will be.I hope you are listening!

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