Where Are You?!

Psalm 79: 9 – 10          TPT

Our hero, come and rescue us! O God of the breakthrough, for the glory of your name, come and help us! Forgive and restore us; heal us and cover us in your love. Why should all the nations sneer at us, saying, “Where is this God of yours?” Now is the time, Lord.

Asaph mourned the diminished standing of Israel. Where it once was a formidable and glorious nation, the foreign nations no longer held it in awe, no longer did they fear the prowess of the Israelites or their God.

Under David, the nations came to know the God of Israel. They learned that Israel had a defender, a mighty and powerful God who would proactively fight for Israel. Under Solomon, all the world marveled at the wealth and beauty of Israel, as well as its king’s wisdom. Israel was feared and admired. During the time of Asaph, Israel had lost its luster. Foreign nations had begun to invade the nation with increasing frequency and confidence. They taunted Israel as the would later taunt Jesus, “Where is this God of yours?”

Perhaps the most grievous aspect of this verse and its haunting question which plagued the nation of Israel throughout history, is that it is as fresh a stinging refrain today as during any other time in history. The barbs of this enigmatic taunt prick the very soul of the modern day believer, “Where is your God? Show us this Almighty, powerful God of yours!”

Does your heart seize in reflection of this question come taunt? Do you feel, as did Asaph, the ridicule of our faith and our God? Where is this all knowing, all powerful deity who is supposed to be more than a God to us; He who proclaims to be, foremost, a Father to the faithful? Where is your God? Show me!

What was it that caused the God of David and Solomon to recede into the heavens? Was God angry? Is He now? I don’t truly believe in an angry God. Yes, He has emotions and anger is one of them but He also taught us not to let the sun go down on our anger which was His way of saying, “Get over it! Deal with your anger and put it to bed.” Therefore, I do not think He has withdrawn any part of Himself because of anger? What then? Does He love us any less? Maybe David and Solomon were just special people or the nation of Israel under them showed a better class of faithfulness than do we.

David and Solomon were both flawed. Their lust for women crippled their faith so they were no more perfect than we. The people of those days struggled with faith and sin just as painfully as do we. No, I don’t believe the answer is in an angry God or a more righteous people. Then what was it?

This is a question best pondered in your heart for the question is more important than me having an answer for you. We are not perfect, but we have been called to righteousness. Jesus, though, is our righteousness so we do not even have to be our own righteousness. Therefore, the fact that we are not perfect is not the stumbling block. In fact, Jesus called himself the stumbling block. What could he have meant by that?

The question to which I really do want an answer is, “How do we show the nations of the world the glory, power and beauty of our God?” What is our answer to the question, “Where is this God of yours?” It does taunt me so even as I ask you to consider this query, I seek our beloved and His answer? Where are you, O God of my faith? Where is your glory in this generation? Have you fallen asleep? Have I failed you? At the end of all things, Father, at the end of all inquiry, I know that you are the loving God of Israel and Ivey. I know that you are alert and present. You love all the people that I represent with this Word of the Day and your compassion for them is deeper than the deepest ocean. Your love for them is ever expanding as with the universe. And knowing this Father, I ask and require of you to speak to your people. Give us hearts of understanding. Bring alive your spiritual gifts within us so that we might hear and learn. Lead us, as you have promised, in the way we should go. Bless our coming in and going out and teach us to praise you with a jubilance that would make David jealous. Shine down upon us glorious Lord as we turn our minds and hearts towards the celebration of Jesus’ birth. I pray, Father, that this year you will activate, within each of us, a new and special affection for You and Your son. Touch our spirits, Lord, and bring us into a new space with you which will forever bind us closer and closer with you. Let this be the Christmas season that changes our lives forever. I love you Lord!

Believer Receiver

Mark 11: 24

Therefore, I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.

If you want to receive, then you must believe. I was imagining a football wide receiver running down the field anticipating a reception. You know, those guys want to catch the football, they want the quarterback to throw it to them. They are eager and they believe that if the ball is thrown to them, they will receive. I imagine, though, that if they ran down the field not expecting the ball, not believing the quarterback will pass to them, that it would be quite difficult, if not impossible, to receive. There is a direct connection between believing and receiving. Jesus certainly makes that point in today’s passage.

There are three words in this verse that stand out to me. They are pray, believe and receive. That is basically the formula. There is, however, another word which is perhaps the most important in the verse. That word is “have”. Jesus said that as we pray we should believe that we HAVE received. In other words, we should believe that we have already received that for which we petition him. If we want our petitions granted then we must believe that we have received. 

This is a very radical way of thinking. It certainly is not the way we were taught as we grew up. We were taught, at least most of us, that seeing is believing. What you see is true. It is reality. Unfortunately, that logic does not hold in the Kingdom of heaven. If you wait to see it in order to believe it, you will be waiting a long time.

A pastor friend of mine was accosted this weekend by a “believer” (complete misnomer) who was perplexed about a prayer of his. He had prayed for someone to be healed and that person was still exhibiting symptoms. He questioned why his prayer had not been answered. There are two faith answers to his question. First, who says it hasn’t been answered. If you prayed, believing then Jesus said your petition will be granted. Secondly, I want to ask, “Where is your believing?” Is he praying believing or praying hoping? He looked at the evidence from the world and concluded that his prayer had not been answered. Well, he is going to have a hard time because clearly he is not in belief. That is big time doubt. Jesus didn’t say to look to the evidence of the world for ratification. As a matter of fact, that is the absolute worst thing you can do. Where, do you suppose, that information comes from? Well, from the world at best, so it is carnal not of faith and certainly not of the Kingdom. Worst case scenario, it is the evidence that the devil is presenting. Why do want to believe that? No, you can’t believe what your eyes see, you must believe what the Word says. You have to let that Word from God issue from your heart and overwhelm your believer. Then if the worldly evidence does not agree you get to choose who to believe. If you stick with Jesus then he will grant your petition. If you choose to side with the world’s view of circumstances then that is the result you have selected.

The one thing that seems to trip up people the most is the duration of belief. We stand in prayer and during that time we confess our belief. We screw up our faith and commit our hopes and prayers to Jesus. Then here comes the problem – after we pray, we run out to the world to “see” if our prayer has come true. So, we are letting the evidence of the world validate the Word of God. Instead, your belief needs to survive beyond the duration of the prayer. If you believed, then keep on believing. So when you see that friend still sick your response is, “No, I have believed he is healed so I receive that healing and will not be talked out of it.”

Christians are often called believers. I think we need to make that a true declaration of how we interact with the world and with the Kingdom of God. Believing really is not some big “faith” thing, it is a obstinance thing, a decision really. Just refuse to be dissuaded. You have all the faith you need. Now, do you have all the resolve you need? Believe and keep on believing. Pray, expect and receive. It is time for you to look back up field for the ball coming towards you. Open your eyes, open your heart and receive.

A Faithful God

Psalm 86: 7

In the day of my trouble I shall call upon you, for you will answer me.

David had experience with God. We can learn a lot from David because he and God were so close that they were actually friends. David reveals to us the nature of God in this passage. David knew from experience that when a faithful person calls upon God, God answers. He answers every time. He answers every person.  

Part of that receiving is in the faith. David became very good at receiving from God because he had absolute faith in God’s faithfulness. David believed whole heartedly that God would answer his every prayer. God is moved by that kind of faith. He wants people to call on him and depend on him. The more we expect God to move on our behalf, the easier it is for us to receive all that God has bestowed upon us. When you call, expect an answer and I promise you will not be disappointed.