Extravaganza City

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It was an average day, like any other, until a pastor nearby me got an idea. “Let’s make a building that we can live in, eat in, drink in, and be self sufficient in.” Eventually, many people got onboard for it, and we decided to enter the building.

The strange thing about this building, however, was that it was so small that we had to be shrunk to fit into it. Once we got into it, everyone was very excited, and very thankful for it. It was like a city contained inside of a building.

Things started getting difficult in the city, so the pastor asked a friend of mine to start working with the project, but she declined, seeing that it was headed in a wrong direction.

The building had a food supply that was a red liquid drink. Everyone thrived on this drink until one day, someone spilled it and it then destroyed the city, spreading like wildfire. Now, it didn’t destroy it entirely, but it was much harder to live in because of that.

We thought about trying to leave the city, but we realized that since we had been shrunk, we were no longer fit for the world outside of the building we were in.

At one point, another pastor came in who would be able to bring us out of the building. Since he accessed the city via USB stick drive, he was able to bring people out. However, no one accepted his invitation.

Eventually, there were only about 3 people getting food/water for the people within the city because the other hundreds of people had lost motivation to get the drink themselves. All they had to do is get out of bed, and put out the bucket each morning to gather the drink that rained down, but so far it was me and two others that did this for everyone in the whole city. 

By this point, the whole city was dark and it was always night. Upon the spilling of the red drink, all had lost motivation to gather food but the 3 of us, and I then woke up.

There are many churches in the US today who are trying to build a self sufficient city of sorts. Many programs, meals often, everyone serving, these are all good things. However, this isn’t the application the dream here.

The red drink, Christ’s sufficient grace through His blood, is dealt with in different ways. Our spiritual food and water is gained and dispersed in a variety of ways and avenues through the church today. As it is written, “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27). If this verse speaks about the physical act of communion, much more will judgment come upon us if we eat and drink of the spiritual grace of God, our spiritual food and drink, through Christ’s blood, in an unworthy manner.

Thus is where it starts. The larger church especially is not able to keep track of everyone in the church, and sin eats it up from the inside out. Paul sends many exhortations to keep track of people in the church. Regarding someone living in sexual immorality he says, “I have decided to hand over such a person to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, in order that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”

Eventually, the church gets caught up in numbers above hearts, and it becomes a business, not that it is not a business, but I am speaking regarding the focus of it. Inevitably, there arises sin in the church that cannot be kept track of, being there aren’t enough people keeping others accountable, and it slowly, or quickly, eats away at the church.

Unfortunately, the sad state of many mega churches today is that of this dream I had. It starts out good, with everyone serving, but then people aren’t equipped to go out into the world to live out their faith, neither are they kept track of or held accountably for living by the spirit and not by the flesh. Thus, were they to go out, they would soon be crushed by the outside world.

People are convinced that it is the pastors and those on staff who need to read Scripture, pray, and seek the Lord. They think all they have to do is show up and get fed spiritually, which works to an extent. Christ’s grace and spiritual food/water to us is certainly able to come to us through the church, but not through people feeding it to us. At anytime, Christ’s judgment, through His blood, will also come to various people in the church, may eventually destroy the church. Then no one has anywhere else to go.

In many mega churches, sadly, this is what ends up happening: A bunch of people come to get their spiritual water that the staff has been gathering for them all week, and then don’t do anything with it-they just continue to “lay in bed” spiritually.

People of God, Jesus is calling us to live out our faith and to gather our own spiritual food water. Is it not written in Exodus 16:18, “And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.”

So, if those of the Old Covenant were to gather their own physical food, much more should we be expected, as those who are empowered with a desire for the Lord, by His Holy Spirit, to gather our own spiritual food and water “by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:26), by communion with God through prayer and worship (John 4:13-14, 23-24), and by doing The Father’s will. As said, “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34).

Thus, our duty as spiritual food and drink gatherers is this: Read God’s Word, serve Him, pray  to and worship Him.

Upon writing this blog, I can tell the Holy Spirit is leading me into a literal interpretation as well. There are well known churches in the US that people reading this blog know about well, so I would rather not reveal these here. This may be somewhat of a prophesy against and for these churches, but I suppose only time can tell these things. In the dream however, the pastor of the mega church is one I know about, and the pastor who came to save us out of that city is another.

In the same way that the Lord’s judgment on Nineveh was spared upon repentance, so will His judgment be spared today if people repent. So I suppose that “Now that all has been heard, here is the final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

The Trinity as a Baseball Scrimmage

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As I sat in the meeting room with Pastor John and Jess, we entered into prayer. I don’t know about you, but whenever I get deep into prayer, after a certain amount of time goes by and my heart is in the right place (that is, a humble one), I seem to empathize with Apostle John when he says, “Immediately I was in the Spirit” (Revelation 4:2, HCSB).

I began getting a vision about a baseball game being played. The Lord brought the word “Trinity” to mind and it seems that my mind naturally put the two together through the Holy Spirit’s aid. Now, no analogy is perfect concerning the Trinity, but when used together, many of them help us come to an understanding of how God works and who He is.

For sake of the analogy, all of the players are on the same team, “God’s Kingdom”. They are playing a scrimmage, so they are all supportive of one another’s work and skills on the team. Without all of the players, the game couldn’t happen.

God the Father: The pitcher

Jesus, the Son of God: The catcher

The Holy Spirit: The outfielders

People: The ball hitters and runners

The baseball: Works

The game starts out and The Pitcher throws the pitch. He starts out throwing hard pitches, striking everyone out. The ball is just too hard to hit, it’s going too fast to keep up with. Nevertheless, the Catcher gets every ball that is thrown, not missing a single one.

After the players have a respect for the Pitcher and his skills, they are thankful. After all, he’s going to be pitching for them for the rest of the season! How good it feels for the team to have a solid Pitcher. Also, the Catcher is catching the fastest and curviest of baseballs thrown at him. What a Guy!

The Pitcher then backs off a bit on the pitches. The Outfielders get to work in catching the hits from the ball hitters. Soon, though, the ball hitters realize that the Outfielders can get them out every time before they get to first base. So the Outfielders let them run around, and the ball hitters realize, “Golly gee whiz, I’ve got a great team behind me!”

How does this story illustrate the Trinity? I hope you’ll try and make sense of it through The Lord before looking at my explanation so take a Selah (likely means “pause” in the Psalms) and think about it first.

In the Old Testament, the Father started serving up some “pitches” or “works” to us. Really, these works were obvious because they were and are in His Word. Same with baseball, you just hit the ball, right? Actually, hitting them is a whole other ball game, especially when the pitcher is a real pro. In a similar way, being obedient to The Lord and all His commands isn’t exactly easy either.

But thanks be to God that there’s a Catcher, Jesus, who came to fulfill the Law: the requirements to be made right with God. He was born to catch the balls from the Pitcher.

The balls that we couldn’t hit, see the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, Jesus fulfilled every second of His life. Even the very first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me” is a ball we can miss hitting every day. When I wake up and give into going into my daily routine before Scripture or prayer, in a sense, I’m making that thing more important than God, thus making it a god that is before God! What I’m doing in that moment is serving the god of my to do list.

Because Jesus was able to “catch” the fast balls and curve balls thrown to us at first, The Father has given us the opportunity to play the ball game. Great, take me out to the ball game!

But how does The Father let us play the ball game? Through the guidance of the Outfielders, that is, the Holy Spirit at work through us and other believers. See, now, for we who have received Christ, God dwells in us. We can only play the game through the power of God in our lives: the Holy Spirit Himself.

Titus 3:3-7: “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient,deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Here’s the scene: the Father serves up a nice ball to hit: sharing the Gospel. Since we are now heirs through Christ’s ultimate catch, we hit the ball in the conversation with a friend about Jesus and His saving power.

Sometimes, the Holy Spirit will have us stop at first base in that conversation and simply share the Gospel. That person may not reach saving faith in Christ in that moment. Thus, the Holy Spirit will use someone else to then talk with them about Christ or answer questions, letting the runner reach second or third base. Then, He may let another person run all the way to home plate and bring them, through the Lord’s help, to saving faith in Christ!

Ultimately, the Outfielders, the Holy Spirit, is the One who guides us into the steps we need to take. Sometimes, we can ignore His guidance and try to run to home plate when we may miss the opportunity altogether. In some situations, we are only meant to reach first base, but this can only be achieved through being aware of where the ball is hit and strategically going a base at a time with whatever “work” the Lord has given us.

For example, think about Paul’s journey. He was prevented by the Holy Spirit by going certain ways in order to go to others. In Acts 16:

“6 They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

The ball we hit could be many different opportunities the Lord has for us: being a housewife who serves her family as to the Lord, being a child who obeys his parents, helping a friend in a time of need, giving food to the poor through a means to share the gospel, giving flowers to a loved one. The list goes on in God’s Word.

The key is that as we read through Scripture, we learn about all the baseballs we get to hit. All of these things are opportunities to serve on Christ’s team!

Let’s not get too carried away though, it’s not solely up to us, nor was it ever. The Holy Spirit is the One who ultimately brings regeneration.

As Paul said through God’s Spirit: What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:5-9, NASB).

Note verse 8: “each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” It is important to note that the works that The Father pitches to us, if we hit them, and how far we choose to run, will affect how we are rewarded in the Christian judgment, not of condemnation but of reward (Read further on in 1 Corinthians 3:10-14).

Christ can catch any baseball we can’t hit and He caught the ultimate one: fulfilling the Old Testament Law perfectly. It was only through this ultimate catch that we can have the opportunity to serve Christ and to enter into eternal life!

Here is 1 Corinthians 3:10-14 (NASB):

10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

People as Cars

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60-55-50-40-30-20-10-0. My poor Subaru came to a dead halt on Jess and my 2nd anniversary date. People as cars? But people are not cars! I can see how they are after this past week.

Just as my car went down from 60-0mph in a minute, so God has had to do with me at various times throughout the week. I’ll be going 60mph down my “life as a highway” mindset and be trying to get done as much as possible, when God slowly takes me down to 0mph.

Why would a gracious, loving God do this you ask? Well, out of gracious love! He knows the truth of His Word, that we must live out “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). Jesus did this often, withdrawing to pray to the Father despite all the hectic-ness of life being a professional healer and having people constantly following Him (Mark 1:35). He knew the importance of taking time out of His busy schedule for His Heavenly Father.

Unfortunately, most of us get going on our 60mph highway and don’t take time to acknowledge The Lord and be reminded, through prayer and The Word, of who He is and what His attributes are, such as the Creator of everything!

As I came across in our (Jess and my) Proverbs reading yesterday, Solomon speaks through inspiration of the Spirit as such: “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”(Proverbs 3:6, NASB)

Now the Hebrew word for “acknowledge” is יָדָע (yadah) and means “know Him”. It includes mental awareness of who God is and the consequential submission to His lordship. So to know Him is to obey Him. Think about it, if you really know the Lord, who He is, what He is like, and acknowledge those truths about Him in all you do, then you will want to be submissive to His ways!

Sadly, at various points in my week, I don’t “know Him” in all I do. If I knew Him in everything I did, then I would always acknowledge His θελεματος (Thelematos: will, desire, and pleasure) for my life above my own selfish one that I think will work out better.

So I took my car into the shop. “Your Subaru will be fixed in a couple hours. It just needs a complete re-learning program installed for how to shift gears.” Strange, I thought it was just transmission fluid. Next thing I know, they called me saying, “That didn’t entirely fix it, but we found a corroded part on the ignition, however, the parts department is closed, so we’ll do it on Tuesday and you’ll be good to go.” Corroded ignition? Sure enough, that didn’t fix it either, though it sure was a good thing to get fixed!

Next up they said, “Well, we washed it and drove it around a bit more, and now it’s doing the same thing as before. It might be something electrical, so we’ll get back to you at the end of the day and maybe have it done by tomorrow, go ahead and keep your spare car for another day.” Wow, they sure are fixing a lot of stuff wrong with my car; but they sure wouldn’t have known about them if they knew the solution by the beginning!

So how are we like cars? Just like my Subaru, the Holy Spirit guides me into a truth of my imperfection and I bring it to the Lord. Not only does He forgive me, He does much more than I expect. It’s like how I went to the ‘Subaru fixers’ and said, “My transmission is going bad!” and they guided me into the truth that it was something entirely different that was having an effect on the transmission. They guided me, and are continuing to, into the truth of the matter and have fixed a lot of other things along the way. They’ve let me know what it was that was wrong, but fixed it for me without charging me any extra.

Really, it’s similar to going to God, in that Jesus cleanses us spiritually through the forgiveness He offers through His death and resurrection. All we need to do is say, “Jesus, I’m a sinner, I’ve messed up. Please heal me and help me to walk in Your ways.” This is another way to say Psalm 139:24, “see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (NASB).

Then, through prayer and His Word, He guides us into what our imperfections are and personally works through our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit to heal us.The Spirit starts a work of bringing God’s Word to our remembrance (John 14:26) and ministers to us in the steps He wants us to take to live for Him as revealed in His glorious Word.

In a way, just as I gave my Subaru over to the ‘Subaru fixers’, we give our lives over to Christ as the first step. Then, we are led into truths (John 16:13) of how to maintain our spiritual lives: Revering God and keeping His commandments. “For this is man’s all.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Keeping God in reverence in our lives, that is, through The Fear of the Lord, which is a gift from the Spirit of God (Isaiah 11:2), is how we will acknowledge Him, and He will in turn, make our paths straight.

Soon, my Subaru’s gadgets will be made straight because I humbly gave it over to the people who knew how to fix it instead of trying to do it on my own. Give your life over to Christ, who knows how to fix you spiritually, He’s the only One who can and the only One who will. Remember the truth of James 4:6: “But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

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Beyond the Ballot

     It was off to the ballots! I headed out at 6:35 and made it to the ballot place at 6:56. 7pm cutoff time. I wasn’t expecting much to go on there beyond filling out a ballot and leaving, but God had more in mind for me beyond the ballot.

Divine appointments and opportunities:
      When I arrived, the first person I noticed was an old friend from high school of mine. I hadn’t seen him for over 4 years and called out to him from the back of the line. This led into a great conversation in which we concluded we should have a sort of reunion with our high school group of guys. This would provide a great opportunity to share my faith in the future.

      The next man I met was a local in Boulder by the name of Bruce. I shared my faith with him and wasn’t surprised when he said he was a believer who went to church nearby. I knew after the fact that he shared to me he was housing some people at his house. In my mind, before I told him about my faith, I was thinking ‘that’s a very Jesus like thing to do.’ We had good conversations about spreading the Gospel and about the Lord’s hand at work.
      During this conversation, a man came up to me asking if he could interview me. “Of course!” I said. I was given the opportunity to share my views and about Jesus through this interview that could possibly be on NPR. Please pray for it to be!
      Directly afterwards, I got the opportunity to start up a conversation with a lady in front of me named Casey. After overhearing the interview, she knew I believed in Jesus, so I got the awesome opportunity to be used by God as a potential small stepping stone in her life to Christ.

      I got to the ballot and, after having registered that morning, discovered my county had changed (oh the joys of moving very often as a college student). I was the last to vote in line, and didn’t get to after about two hours of waiting. I told the lady that I had been given many opportunities while I was there and wasn’t discouraged.

      I left the small mennonite church in Boulder to walk by a bus stop on the way to my car. There was a man named Derek sitting by the bus stop. He looked as a spitting image of a man that I met in the summer not far from there named Richard. A half black man with dreads and a hat on with a backpack-looking like he’s going on a journey. He asked how I was doing and I told him “well, I just got denied to vote”. We got into a deeper conversation and I asked what he believed spiritually. He said he believed many different things, a type of pick and choose religion. He then asked what my beliefs were and I told him (paraphrase) “I believe the only real Truths out there are Jesus and The Bible. When I sold out to Jesus and didn’t just ‘try Him out’ is when I realized that He was Truth and entered into a real relationship with Him beyond religious duties.”(John 14:6, 17:17)
      I then had the opportunity to share the story of how I met Richard not even a block away from there. How while I was on a prayer walk, Jesus told me, through His guiding Spirit, to turn down the narrow, dark path when I could have gone down the sidewalk that had lights all along it. That’s where I ran into Richard and was able to speak Truth into his life during his journey. (John 14:17)
      Please join me in prayer for all these people, that God would draw them to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Application:
      There’s a lot more to voting then pen to paper, or dropping off the ballot. The voting ballot is very much a place that people are forced into patience and open to conversation. There aren’t many places like that anymore. At the grocery store, you run around, get your stuff, often check it out on your own in self checkout, and leave. There isn’t a lot of social opportunity these days as an adult. Many jobs are ones you can work at independently. You don’t have to wait in line inside a fast food restaurant-you can just go through the drive thru. Even in church, people can be independently there and choose to not talk to anyone-just come right when the service starts and leave.
      This night inspired me: God is a relational God. There’s a lot more beyond the ballot for us to be aware of. God can do more with a conversation than a piece of multiple choice paper. However, don’t get me wrong, I still believe strongly that everyone should vote as if there vote is the one that’s going to shift the majority. Your vote is a gift from God to fulfill Exodus 18:21: “But you should select from all the people able men, God-fearing, trustworthy, and hating bribes.” How much more must we fulfill this today, in our broken nation, in comparison to Israel? We must, people of God, we must.

One way God works through the Super Bowl

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If you asked a team’s fans who has never won the super bowl what would be the most fulfilling thing, what would they likely say? “For my team to win the super bowl!”

Well, we believers in Jesus, and we whose team has won a super bowl know that it does not bring a sense of fulfillment upon us after the initial high of winning and seeing them with the trophy. Life goes on, the same as it was before. You aren’t a better person because your team won, you’re the same, maybe worse because you realize you put your heart and soul into screaming your lungs out for a team who didn’t do a single thing for you.

I’m sure most of my audience is Broncos fans, so it would probably hurt to hear this, but I really believe God works through games to glorify Himself. I think of the same experience King Solomon went through in Ecclesiastes 2 when he realized nothing would fulfill him from this earth:

“Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” (Ecc 2:11 ESV)

For many of us, only when we get to the end of our pursuit of fulfillment will we realize that it is striving after wind and that we won’t be fulfilled by it because fulfillment only comes in the pursuit of things.

God knew that we would only be fulfilled in the pursuit of something so He sent His Son to be that fulfillment. We have the blessing of not having to search anymore for things to fulfill us other than God alone: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

He’s the one we were wired to pursue, and now there are more distractions to pursue than there ever was before; endless supplies of Fiction books, TV shows, and video games to give us something to pursue instead of the One who is fulfillment Himself.

It’s so sad. I long for the day when our pursuits of pointlessness will end and people will see Jesus Christ descend upon the earth and realize: no other pursuit matters other than knowing God and making Him known among this broken world.

Therefore, be exceedingly glad that Seahawk fans came to that realization yesterday-one more unfulfilling thing to check off the ‘bucket list’.

Pray with me that these fans would turn to Christ, realizing and experiencing that only He can bring the fulfillment we need.

Just ask Him! (Life as a vapor)

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There’s a lot of controversy between if following Jesus is something we do or something the Father does. Well, which is it!? We have to recognize that countless times in Scripture, when God wants to give us something, all He wants us to do is ask!

Asking is a humble thing to do, it’s realizing we are inadequate on our own and need God desperately. That’s what it takes to ask God for something, because if we aren’t humble, that is, realize that we are, in fact, a vapor compared to God, we probably won’t ask Him for something wholeheartedly. Jesus knocks at our door and when we accept Him into our lives, He then lets us knock on His Father’s door through Him and the Spirit (Revelation 3:20-21, Romans 8:26-27). Let’s consider all the ways God wants us to ask for something.

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1. Ask in line with God’s will

(Matthew 6:9-13):

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.Your kingdom come.Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

This is how Jesus taught the disciples to pray, so it could be said that asking in line with God’s will is top priority (see also 1 John 5:14). But how do we figure out what God’s will is? Read through the 4 Gospels and the Book of Acts to get an excellent idea of how to ask in line with God’s will. It is interesting and important to note that Jesus doesn’t tell us to spend all our time figuring out God’s will, just ask for it to be done. Some of the first churches certainly knew how to do this and saw God work in pretty amazing ways (see Acts 12:3-11).

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       2. Ask humbly

(James 4:13-15):

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.”

Realizing what we’re like in comparison to God is important lest we take up the philosophy “ignorance is bliss”. If we think we are more than a vapor, all we’re doing is fooling ourselves into pride, when actually, we are more significant when we put on Christ. The only way to clothe ourselves with Christ is to realize we need Him (Romans 13:14). We are so vapor-like that we don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow, when God sees the whole scheme of things for eternity. Therefore, we should ask in line with God’s will since He knows all.

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3. Ask persistently

(Luke 11:5-12):

“And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?”

There can be differing viewpoints on this passage, but if you pray for something consistently that is apart from God’s will, will His will not be done? Of course it will be done! It’s that we get the privilege of being a part of God’s will when we ask in line with it. It’s not like we are predestined to do everything God wants us to do (although He certainly knows what we’re going to choose to do); but wouldn’t you rather do what God wants you to do than what you want to do?

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4. Ask in secret

(Matthew 6:1-8):

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

Asking in secret is all about the heart. If someone goes to church and prays in the sanctuary with many people around before or after service, usually it is so that they can convince the other people around that they are a ‘good Christian’; though the Christians following Christ realize they are bad and realize they are even more bad throughout their lifetime because they discover more sin in their life. This is an advantage! In Luke 7, we learn that he who is forgiven much loves much, so the more sin we learn that Jesus has taken for us, the more we’ll love Him. Although our Father knows the things we have need of before we ask Him, often times, He chooses to wait for us to ask Him, so prayer really does make a difference! In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah conceives a son when she prays. God’s will still could have been done if she didn’t pray, but He chose to act when she prayed. We see this in Matthew 13 when Jesus chooses not to do many mighty works in His hometown because of their unbelief. Of course He could have healed if they didn’t believe, but He chose not to. We see that many times, it’s the same with prayer, because God will do everything He can to use our efforts for His glory.

Beware the saying: “Once this is over, my life will be better”

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Where’s the light at the end of the tunnel? Unfortunately, there is none, in this life at least. Good luck finding it, because it’s not there. It’s like seeing a mirage in a desert but when you get there, there’s no water.

       The deceiving lights vs the fulfilling Light

As we learn in reading the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon, the richest, wisest man with over 700 wives, was never satisfied, although he thought he would be once he was done with making his palace big and getting knowledge, wisdom, the ladies, and money. In fact, we learn that his pursuits increased his sorrow:

(Ecc 1:17-18): “And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for wind. For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.”

Think about summer break as a kid. For all of us, it wasn’t as good as we thought it was going to be when we got there. Have you ever had a situation that was better than you thought when you got there? I certainly haven’t-and if I have, it faded in the blink of an eye and I was suddenly grasping for wind again (Ecc 2:11).

In John 1:7-9, we learn that Jesus is, in fact, the Light, and there is no other. Our light at the end of the tunnel hope is to be applied to Him only, not the situations of the world that always let us down. He is our Light at the end of the tunnel, and when we reach Him, we actually will be fulfilled!

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      Why are we kept unfulfilled?

Would you really keep coming back to drink of Living Water if you were always fulfilled? It’s our sin holding us back. If you constantly have a water bottle with you, you don’t even miss water or remember what it’s like without it; but if you go without it for a day, you realize how much you need it.

So it is with God when He sees us taking Him for granted. We see it countless times in the Psalms where the pray-ers say things like “Lord why have you drawn away from me?” It’s because we have taken Him for granted in our sinful, selfish, prideful state and He wants us to turn back to Him.

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       Fog for a reason

So when you feel unfulfilled, be careful to not have any light at the end of the tunnel situations in this world or assume tunnel at the end of the light situations, for you do not know God’s plan. He has placed us in a fog for a reason so that we can take our next step well.

(Ecclesiastes 3:11) “…He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no on can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

For you do not even know if God wills for you to live tomorrow and you can be confident that the things of this world will not fulfill because they never have in the past.

James 4:13-16

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.