Prayer Is Surrender

Now, this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14)

Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except that which lies outside of the will of God. God will only answer the request He inspires. You see, prayer is surrender—surrender to the will of God. It’s cooperation with His will.

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God’s Plan

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I am sure that most parents wonder what the future holds for their new child. As a Christ-follower, I believe God has a wonderful plan for every person born. That plan was established before we are born. “Before I shaped you in the womb, I [God] knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you:…” Jeremiah 1:5

In 1969 my wife and I stood at the church altar to dedicate our infant son to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For those who maybe unfamiliar with this ceremony; allow me to explain. A baby dedication is a ceremony in which believing parents make a commitment before the Lord to submit a child to God’s will and to raise that child according to God’s Word and God’s ways. (See Luke 2:22)

We watched as God took our  son and called him to be a pastor. This past Sunday I had the privilege to stand at the church altar and pray for my son as he prepares to go to Guatemala on a Work and Witness missions trip. We never imagined God giving our son the honor of taking the Gospel message to people in another part of the world!

My wife and I would appreciate you praying for our son and the team as they depart tomorrow. Below is a picture of our son [on the right] with a team member from his church.

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Are You Adopted?

“I have had the privilege of knowing several couples who have adopted children into their family. One couple had adopted several children from Russia. The children were brothers and sisters and the couple did not want them to be separated.

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When a couple goes through the adoption process, their desire is to become parents, to offer a home and a family to a child that has neither. When the adoption process is complete, that child legally becomes a son or daughter.

Think about the spiritual analogies. In adoption, there is a high cost to the parents and no cost to the child. [The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a U.S. government-funded adoption information service, estimates that the average U.S. adoption costs $8,000 to $40,000. ] As a Christ-follower, we are heirs to Christ’s Kingdom. We become legal, official children of God. Adoption comes at an enormous cost to the parents.

What does it cost the child? Nothing! It required the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Adoption came at a grace cost to the Father.We are adopted by God for the same reason that any parent adopts – out of seer love. In His great love, He plans adoption, pays the cost,  becomes our Father and unites us to a whole family of brothers and sisters.

Celestial Magnet

The world population was estimated to have reached 7.6 billion as of December 2017. In those billions of people; we find a myriad of differences: languages, political views, cultural differences, music and the list goes on.

But it might surprise you that every person on this planet has ONE thing in common. We are worshipers. Every day, all day long, everywhere you go, you worship. It’s what you do. It’s who you are.

I don’t know whether or not you consider yourself a “worshiping” kind of person, but you cannot help but worship—something. It’s what you were made to do. The native of the rainforest of South America and the stockbroker on Wall Street; are both worshipers. The object of their worship may be different but they are still worshipers.

I think it’s because we were designed that way. We were made for God. The Bible says it this way: All things were made by Him, and all things were made for Him. When I was a child, one of my favorite toys was a set of magnets in the shape of two Scottie dogs. Image result for magnetic toy scottie dogs

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As a child, I did not understand the dynamics of magnetic poles. It was intriguing that opposite poles attract! It might be a theological stretch but humanity has an initiate attraction to God. He is holy – we are not. He is loving – we are not. He possesses all knowledge – we do not. We may not know or understand that we have “something” within us that demands being fulfilled.

So, we endeavor to fill that “empty space” with pleasure, money, relationships, things; not realizing that only God Himself can fill that “God-shaped” vacuum that fills us all. A different spouse won’t meet that need. Changing jobs or geographical location, more money, bigger home, a more expensive car all are all vanity. All of our hungers point to the deeper hunger that only God can satisfy.

He keeps satisfying you with good things… Ps 103:5

We All Worship Something

Romans 1:25 is a really interesting verse. The New Living Translation says, “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself…”  

That’s an indication that they had worshiped God but decided to take something else [“they traded”]  to worship. The word “traded” suggests that they couldn’t have had both. {Matthew 6:24) They had to give up one for the other. We are either worshipping God or we are worshiping something else. We must trade one for the other. Because worship is how we respond to the thing we value the most. There can be nothing above that thing or equal to it.

The thing we spend we spend most of our time thinking about, doing, giving the most attention to, putting all our energy into? That’s what we worship!

What are you worshiping? What things are you putting before God?

Who Is In Control?

Surrender: to yield (something) to the possession or power of another
Control: to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command

Let’s be honest; most of us like to be in control. We stress out when things seem out of our control. Growing up with two brothers, control was a big issue, whether it was who would ride “shotgun” in the car or would we watch cartoons or American Bandstand. It feels nice to call the shots, drive the car, hold the mic, dominate the remote, and plan out a detour-free itinerary for our lives.

Control becomes a major issue when we refuse to surrender control of our lives to God.  I’m like, “Hey God, I know you created the world, and exist outside of time, and are unquestionably wiser than anyone could imagine, but I just want to give you a heads up. You’re going the wrong way!”

Jesus prayed, “Your will be done,” right before His crucifixion; and our hearts, words, and lives should continue His prayer.

We cannot micromanage God, but we can trust Him. We can yield to His guidance, knowing He only leads us in the right direction.

We all get to choose. The options are confidence in our own partial understanding or surrender to the one who holds the map.

Like It or Not…

The most often asked question that a pastor is asked is “How can I find God’s will for my life?”  I have found that the majority of people who say they want to know God’s will, want to know so they can decide if they will obey it or not. It is very unlikely that God will reveal His will to people who have that mind-set.

We sing this chorus in many of our churches:

‘ll say yes, Lord, yes
To your will and to your way
I’ll say yes, Lord, yes
I will trust you and obey
When your Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I’ll agree
And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes

It does not say, “If I agree with it, I’ll say yes.” To know God’s will, we must be willing to obey BEFORE His will is revealed to us.

“Whether we like it or not, we will obey all that the Lord our God says.”  Jeremiah 42:6