When God Says No

What do we do when we’re in crisis, asking for deliverance, and God says no, because He has a better plan? That’s one of the lessons learned from today’s passage in the message at the church, from Luke 22:39-46. The message audio is available for your listening here.

Miracle Prevention

And He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
–Matthew 13:58

          What a sad verse of scripture! Sadder still is the fact that it describes the prayer life of many Christians.  Oh, they see answers to prayer from time to time, and they give God the thanks He is due for them, but the daily experience of walking with God and taking every need, big and small, to Him and seeing Him answer–this is foreign to them.
          Not just individuals, but families and churches can be like that.  Rarely seeing a powerful move of God.  How sad it is when a church accomplishes little or nothing that couldn’t be accomplished through human strength.
          Matthew 13 tells us that this lack of seeing God move is not the result of any deficiency in God’s love, His character, His power, or His willingness to do things that will bring glory to His Name in our lives.  It is because of a simple lack of faith.  God does some miraculous things where faith is absent, but not as many as He would like to do.  There is no surer way to prevent miracles than to have no faith that God can or will do them.
          Individuals, families and churches that are great in faith, however, see God move greatly and often.  At the end of every day, a man or woman of strong faith will be able to go to God and say, “Father thank You for answering these prayers and meeting these needs today,” and then list quite a few.  Brothers, I am convinced that this is what the Christian walk is supposed to be–a life of faith so strong that the praises for God’s miraculous blessings continuously outnumber the cries to Him for help, because those who walk in strong faith and utter dependence on Him see Him act in their best interests again and again and again.  Each time He moves, His Name is given glory, and our faith increases all the more.
          The mature Christian is pleased when God moves; the immature Christian is surprised.  The mature Christian walks by faith; the immature by sight.  The mature Christian is quick to trust in God’s promises; the immature trusts the promises only after they are proved.  Which is your experience?  Do you see God working throughout your day, or just occasionally?  How many prayers do you see answered in a week?  Two or three?  More?  Less?  God does not do much for those whose prayer lives are characterized by “lack of faith.”
          Problem is, it’s very difficult to develop strong faith.  It’s difficult because we try to develop faith by conjuring it up out of our own willpower and strength.  Trying to create faith by our own efforts is a lost cause.  It is not the flesh that creates faith, but the Spirit and the Word.
          When we realize our faith is deficient, we must look to Jesus Himself to strengthen it.  Like the man who sought a miracle from Him and said, “I do believe.  Help me overcome my unbelief.” (See Mark 9)  This man understood that in his own heart, he had some faith, but was lacking great enough faith to believe in Christ’s power and trust in His willingness to meet a need that could only be met supernaturally.  So he confessed that lack of faith and asked for a greater measure of faith.
And Jesus gave him that.  Miraculously freeing his son from a demon, Jesus proved Himself in a way that could not help but strengthen the man’s faith.  You see, we are not the author and perfecter of our faith; Jesus is. (Heb. 12:2)  He is the one Who creates our faith, inspires our faith, grows our faith, develops our faith, and completes our faith.  Don’t just rely on the insufficient faith you can develop in your own strength; humbly turn to Him in prayer asking for stronger faith.  Ask Him to bring about whatever circumstances (even trials) that are necessary in your life for the building up of your faith.  Turn to God’s word, planting it in your heart continually, so that it will yield a crop of faith.  This is an essential of Christian growth, and an aspect of Christian maturity that many fail to attain for far too long.
Let the Lord make your faith grow; and learn to pray expectantly. Then your epitaph will not read, “Jesus did not do much in this person’s life, because of a lack of faith.”

Improving your prayer life

Today’s message from the church was from Matthew 6, on improving your prayer life. It is in English with Romanian translation. You can listen to the message here.

If you’d like to hear my recent teaching on the same passage in English only, recorded Nov. 1 at Calvary Chapel Garland, TX, you can hear that message here.

M-aude când Îl chem

That title of this post is a line from one of the Romanian songs we’ll worship with at tonight’s home fellowship, Lord-willing.  It means, “He hears me when I call Him.” We’ll be singing it only because it’s true.  You see, Lili leads our worship times with the guitar.  And as you probably know, if a guitarist’s finger is injured badly, as hers was in a freak accident on Monday evening, that person will not be able to play the instrument.  The fingers of the left hand have to apply significant pressure on the strings, or a chord cannot be played.

It looked yesterday like it would be at least days before she was healed enough to play.  We had our prayer circle pray, asking God to heal her finger so that we could have instrumental accompaniment for our worship at tonight’s and Sunday’s services.  And indeed, He did hear us all when we called on Him.  Lili and I were just marveling as we looked at the wound, or actually the lack of a bad wound, on her finger this afternoon.  “See? It’s healing so much faster than it should,” she said.

We just did a practice together of tonight’s three songs, and she was able to play the guitar for them, and to do so without the hindrance of pain.  Glory to God for this healing, and for how it will result in our ability to praise Him together in song tonight.  Thanks to all of you who prayed for this.  God still does miracles.  Do not make the mistake of pretending such things only happened in biblical times, and thus water down the faith of His people by your words.

A ministry blessing

Here’s a blessing in ministry—we get to take two of the young men we’ve been discipling in our church on a mission trip to Deva, Romania in two weeks, so that they can also share their testimonies and the gospel message with those who haven’t heard.  Please pray for the fruitfulness of this campaign, and stay tuned to this blog for updates on it.