Troubling God, is a Devilish Whisper

The puritan pastor Thomas Brooks tells the story “of a man who, being sick, and afraid of death, fell to his prayers; and, to move God to hear him, told him ‘that he was no common beggar, and that he had never troubled him with his prayers before; and if he would but hear him at that time, he would never trouble him again.”

That is a sad state and a prayer that God rejects. God doesn’t bargain. His graces are not to be bargained for or earned. Thomas Brooks’ comment on this beggar is, “This world is full of such profane, blasphemous, atheistical wretches.” Brooks doesn’t mince words, does he? He doesn’t mess around with diagnosing a self-righteous sinner.

Have you ever believed that you “trouble” God when you pray? I mean, is there a hesitancy to pray due to a whisper in your ear that says something like, “God doesn’t want to hear my measly prayer.” Perhaps it is more like, “God is too busy and He isn’t going to stop and give much attention to my prayers. I don’t even know how to pray, so why would He listen.” Perhaps the whisper is, “I’ve prayed and asked for many things and rarely do I see God’s answering my requests.” Then there is the common, “I haven’t been a good Christian, God doesn’t want to hear my prayers.”

Whispers that say you are troubling the Infinite, Eternal God, the One who loves you with an infinite, eternal love–not from your faith, they are from doubt. These whispers may be coming from a carnal mentality from the world’s anti God view, or they may be spiritual arrows from the enemy meant to deter you from prayer. One thing is for sure, they are meant to deter you from accessing the heavenly throne of Grace. Having access to God the Father is a privilege that Jesus Christ purchased for you and me by His eternal sacrifice on the Cross. Jesus, our High Priest and Mediator, tore the veil in two opening up the Holy of Holies, and these devilish whispers are discouraging you from responding to Jesus’ invitation into that glorious place before your God.

Remember, you also have an invitation from God the Father. Has He not invited you to a secret place, the proverbial closet, to get alone with Him and seek Him that you may know Him and ask requests of Him?  (Matthew 6:6; 9-13)

These devilish whispers are meant to deter you from giving thought to God and His loving invitation to commune with Him. They are intended to deter you from giving thanksgivings to Him and receiving grace that comes from drawing nigh unto Him.  Has He not promised that those who draw near to God that God will respond and draw near to the seeker? Indeed! (James 4:8)

Do you trouble God when you pray? NO! You do not! For it is written that God delights in the prayers of the righteous! They are His delight! (Proverbs 15:8)

Do not approach God with a bargaining chip in your hand. You have nothing to bargain with. Do not approach Him with the idea that you have been good enough, because you haven’t and never will be. We approach the living God solely on the merits of Jesus Christ. I am able to approach God and be accepted and heard only, only because of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ plus nothing. I am removed from the reason for God listening to my requests. He listens to my requests coming from the perfect High Priest.

Since God takes pleasure in our prayers it obvious that we do not trouble or bother Him. So then, PRAY! Pray Often! Pray More! Pray without ceasing, continually! Shouldn’t that be the response of our heart? If God is delighted when we talk to Him, then why wouldn’t we want to pray? In other words, if we know what gives God delight and joy, and we can give it, why wouldn’t we give it? When we think of the word “delight” we think of joy, smiles, and being pleased, right? Then pray! God is pleased and is delighted when we pray. Pray in the morning, in the middle of the day, in the evening, and at night. Now you know what delights God.

What happens as you enter into pray, which delights God:

  1. You will find yourself delighting in God, or enjoying God. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever, right? (Isaiah 58:2)
  2. You will find God rewarding you with spiritual graces in ways that you do not ask for or expect (Matthew 6:6).
  3. You will learn to see God and know Him as he reveals Himself to those who seek Him, delight in Him, and honor Him (Hebrews 11:6).

When the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, heard that Jesus was calling him to come, he cast off his beggar’s coat and went to Jesus. We need to cast off our doubts and those arrows of whispers from the enemy.  Your God delights in your delight to talk with Him, to bring requests to Him, and telling Him what’s troubling you. Remember, when you approach the Thone of Grace in the merits of Christ, you are accepted with delight.

 


A Guest Blogger has a Story to Tell

Today’s post is from a guest blogger, Kathi Miles. Kathi and her husband, Greg, have been long time friends of my wife and me. Her blog (gotta love the name) is, “Ramblings For The Weary Traveler.” I invite you to check her blog out and start following, at:  http://kjoymiles.blogspot.com/

Thank you, Kathi, for contributing to this blog.

The Story I Want to Tell

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about King David and the fact that God called him “A Man After My Own Heart.” Even though God knew all that he would do wrong, He also had no doubt that David would do what He wanted Him to.

I’ve read stories and articles pointing out the reasons why God referred to David that way, but no matter what I read, I can’t help but recall that David sinned and sinned big. He was a murderer, an adulterer, and a liar and yet this is his legacy. This is what God saw.

As I read through the Psalms of David, I feel as though I am honing in on something so personal and intimate that I shouldn’t be there and yet, I can’t leave. I covet every thought, every word and every feeling David felt. I want to identify with his heart, his trust and his passion for God. To experience the same sorrow over my sins and have the same desire to please God as he did.

And that is what God has been doing in my heart. He is bringing me to that place of deep sorrow and giving me a longing to please and obey Him even though my obedience isn’t necessary to maintain His love and I can never be more righteous before Him than I am right now.

Yes, David knew a love for God that most of us never will and never do. He understood the grace that I have only just begun to grasp but, like David, God is giving me a hunger for more, not just for more of His grace but for more of the One who bestows it.

It is Jesus that David desired. Not just His provisions, His gifts, His strength and His calling. It wasn’t His power, His protection, and His forgiveness he thirsted for. It was God himself. He ran after Him and enjoyed Him. He danced for Him and kissed His face in worship. David’s story is a love story. Jesus’ love for Him and his love for Jesus. That’s the story I want to tell.

Yes, God called David, “A Man After My Own Heart” because that’s what he was and that’s what I want to be too.

Reference Scriptures:
Psalm 63:1 “Oh God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Psalm 63:3 “Because Your love is better than life, my lips will praise You.”
Acts 13:22 “I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.”
John 15:14 “You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Check out Kathi’s blog at: http://kjoymiles.blogspot.com/


Where has God Taken You?

In the previous post we saw King David step away from everyone and get alone with God. He sat before the Lord in his private chamber and talked to His God. The substance of this conversation started earlier in the chapter with God speaking to David. This is how it is supposed to be–the Lord has spoken to us through His Word, either by preaching or the written Word and we respond. In fact, everyone responds in one direction or the other. But I digress.

In 2 Samuel 7:8-16 the Lord spoke through the prophet Nathan a very interesting message. The Lord walked David across the history of his life to remind him WHO was orchestrating his days. It was not fate. It was not chance. It was not other people. It was not economic or political influences of the day. And it wasn’t good or bad luck. The Lord says, “I took you…”  “I have …” “I will appoint …”I commanded …”  “I will …” You get the picture? All credit belongs to the Lord. God is reminding David WHO brought those events to pass in his life.

As the Lord reminded David how his life went through many seasons and many changes and that HE, God, was there orchestrating the events that brought him to the place he was at that time in his life, so it applies to us.  We need to stop and contemplate what the Lord God has done for us. I want to encourage you to stop and look over your shoulder and see what God has done in your life, in your heart, to His glory. His fingerprints are everywhere. His work is more evident than you might think.

Some readers of this post may say that their life has been one set back after another. You may be discouraged about the pain you’ve experienced; the heartbreak that has left wounds; or perhaps when you think of your past all you see is disappointment and failure. Is that all you see? If you’re reading this blog, you are probably a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. That means that the Spirit of God adopted you into the family of God. That means that you have been forgiven of all trespasses, guilt, and shame. That means that you are hidden in God in Christ. That means that God had chosen you beforehand to lavish His love, mercy, and grace on you. And He has done exactly that–lavished His love, mercy, and grace upon you.

Reflect on how the Gospel of Jesus Christ changed your heart, your mind, your affections, your directions, and so much more of your life. Recognize that it has been the Lord’s hand keeping you, holding you up, and sustaining you throughout the years. He was the One giving strength when you wanted to give up. He was there moving people in your life. He was the One that brought you through the turmoil and heartache. It may have seemed like other influences, but the Lord is the keeper and sustainer and the good God of our lives. He has been the One who has shined in your heart the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He did this; He did this, YES, HE DID THIS! AMEN!

From where has the Lord God taken me, and where does He have me now?  With Him all the social, occupational, economic, and materialistic standards of this world do not hold a candle to where He has placed me–SECURELY IN CHRIST. He has rescued me and you and now we belong to Him, eternally.  Amen!


Physical, Mental, and Heart Posture … before the Lord

In my morning prayer time, I’ve been reading and meditating on 2 Samuel 7.  The second half of this chapter we find King David praying in response to what happens in the first half of the chapter. I want to put the spotlight on verse 18, and specifically the first part of the verse.

“Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said …”

These words arrested my attention and my soul. I want them to do the same for you.

A busy king with much on his plate went into the proverbial closet, shut the door, and “sat before the Lord, and he said…”  This phrase speaks of David’s relationship with His God and the weight that he places on private, personal prayer with God. This phrase gives us a beautiful description of David’s actions, outwardly and inwardly.

He left the room where everyone was attending to him, entered his private chambers, and physically sat down. He may have sat down alone in a room, but he was anything but alone. He sat before the Lord. It is obvious that we can see more than the physical posture of David. Because we have learned the character and heart of David from the scriptures we can see more than his physical posture in that private room. We can see the posture of David’s heart. He “sat”- speaks of his heart being comfortable, welcomed, and loved. Then the words, “before the Lord” speaksof his faith and reverence. David knew that when he stepped into his private chambers he was going to go before his Lord and pray.  David didn’t hesitate or doubt that his Lord would be before him. David didn’t wonder if the Lord would be present to hear his prayers. David knew; it was a natural act, with no hesitation of faith or awareness of his Lord.

The lesson is obvious, isn’t it?

Do you see this wonderful picture of a man who knows his God and knows his acceptance before his God? This is a picture of David’s physical posture, heart posture, and mental posture in fellowship with the Lord God of the universe. Confidence, acceptance, loved, and reverence; all this in those few words of 2 Samuel 7:18.  This reminds me of his prayer recorded in Psalm 64:1. David begins with, “Oh God, You are my God.” David’s heart was reverent and he knew that he was accepted and loved.

Let this picture be branded into your imagination so that it calls you to step away to a private chamber and sit before the Lord. Let the Scripture paint a picture for you to live by.

2 Psalm 34:15 —  The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.

Matthew 6:6 – 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.

 


The Permeating Influence of Prayer

“… in everything by prayer and supplication …”

Those two words:  “in everything.”  Prayer is intended to permeate every aspect of life. This sounds extreme but not to the Apostle Paul who wrote it to the Christians in Philippi.

Philippians 4:6 (NKJV) — 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Prayer isn’t just for religious services, bedtime, mealtime, or for a crisis. Kind of like milk, it is for anytime and everywhere–“in everything.”  Our prayers can reach further than we can imagine. Yes, God hears them, yet their directional influence isn’t just heavenward.

Prayers from the soul  touch our heart’s affections; our heart’s direction; and our heart’s vision. They affect our virtues, priorities, habits, weaknesses, and strengths. They do this because they come from the soul, the very heart of our being, with heart-felt passion and hope.

A prayerful soul finds itself surrendering. The nature of prayer by definition surrenders to the Father’s will, the Savior’s Lordship, and the Spirit’s work–“not my will, but Thy will be done.” This day-to-day surrendering disturbs the lurking pride and self-righteousness that flatters us. The aroma of Jesus Christ conquers such foulness as the soul bows in delightful posture to the true King. A prayerful soul disturbs and undermines other similar characters (i.e., anxiety, fears, loneliness, doubt, regrets, shame, confusion) that have found hospitable quarters in our lives. Prayer from the soul to God permeates far and deep in the life of the one praying.

A prayerful soul will find the well, and within the well is the sweet waters of joy, peace, love, forgiveness, liberty, life, encouragement, inspiration, wisdom, and the abundance of our Father’s grace. This water is meant to feed into every aspect of the believer’s life. The Holy Spirit’s delight is to cause the well of living water to spring up from within each believer’s soul. Prayer taps the well and the soul drinks from its life.

Like the sun rising in the morning and creeping across the landscape, so the light of one’s dependence upon God “in everything” grows in the prayerful soul. Prayer helps the believer see his desperate dependence on God–dependence “in everything” at all times. Our relationships, occupations, education, economics, as with our growth in the knowledge of the Kingdom of God are affected by the bowing heart that is looking upward with hope. This active prayerful soul grows in the light that God is the center and source of all reality. All things are by Him and for Him, and to Him belongs all glory and honor for all that is honorable and good.

How does one’s prayers permeate every aspect of life? The simple answer is:  by doing it.  Recorded in Matthew 6:6, Jesus said get alone with God the Father. Be sincere; be surrendered; be simple. The easiest spiritual exercise is prayer. Grab your Bible and shut the door behind you and let your praying soul drink from the well and lay hold of the great and gracious God.