Hope

Published on Jan 11th, 2017 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Hope

Hope Although it should not be this way, sometimes, not always, but sometimes when we speak often about the sovereignty of God, the providential care of God, the eternal plan of God, and how God is never out of control of anything in our lives...we may have a tendency to think that what we do does not matter. This can be especially true when it comes to prayer. If salvation is all of God then why does Paul pray for Israel to be saved in Romans 10? If God is in control of all that happens to me then why pray about anything? Isn’t God going to do what he wants anyway? When we get really snarky we wonder if God has the time of my death all ready planned out then why can’t I step in front of a moving truck? Those are difficult questions to answer. Part of their difficulty lies in the fact that they are not addressed directly in the Word of God. It does not seem to be the way that they thought about prayer and the sovereignty of God. It is not as if the Bible does not address difficult questions. When Paul spoke about how grace covers our sins people asked if they could keep on sinning so that they could receive more grace (our fleshly hearts cover all the angles). By the way, the answer was a definite “NO”! We could pull out the favorite, but spot on, parental response: “Because I said so!”. God told us to pray and that does cover it but there are other answers for those questions and I would encourage you to seek them out. We cannot conclude that God is out of control at any time so I would encourage you to dig deeply.

For now, let me just share with you one verse that helps me with this. James 4:2c, “You do not have, because you do not ask”. Found in the midst of a passage dealing with why we fight and quarrel, James gives us this little gem of truth that helps give me great hope. There are certain things that I do not have because I simply do not ask God for them. To be fair we need to keep reading, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” James 4:3. When James speaks of receiving things from God through prayer he is speaking of praying with a desire for God’s will and glory to be first and foremost. Verse 7 of this same passage gives us the attitude that we should have before we pray, “Submit yourselves therefore to God”. Our prayers should come from a submissive heart that desires, above all else, that all things in our life would glorify God. God uses those prayers to bring his blessings and fulfillment of his promises into our lives. We will be given peace that passes all understanding, we will be given wisdom and understanding, we will be given peace and hope, people will give their lives to Christ, and people will repent. God’s plan will be accomplished in our lives. Although God promises that “the righteous (are not) forsaken or his children begging for bread” (Ps 37:25b) he does not promise great wealth or even perfect health here on earth. We must be careful when we claim the promises of God.

But we also cannot miss how amazingly wonderful that little phrase is, “you do not have, because you do not ask”. Our prayers change things. There are things that I do not have in my life simply because I have not asked God for them. How foolish is it of me to not take advantage of this opportunity? Why would I not be more fervent in my prayer life? God has given me the privilege of being involved in shaping the path of the universe. Paul believed that his prayer for the salvation of Israel would be used by God as part of the process of giving people eternal life. God has ordained what will come in my life but he has also ordained the process by which that will happen. He is waiting for my prayers to ignite the plan of giving certain blessings in my life. There are blessings I do not have because I have not asked for them. I pray that I do not want them just because I want my life to be better but that I would want them in my life because they will bring God more glory. I am asking God that in 2017 I would not be so foolish to not be fervent in prayer for his blessing and work in my life. I do want to look back on this year and to not have whatever God has for me because I have not asked. I also pray that I will ask for what pleases him and brings him the most glory.

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