18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. — Jude 18 NLT
If you have been keeping an eye on the Middle East, you can see that God’s clock is ticking down the minutes until Jesus returns. All over the world and especially here in our great country, we can see the signs of the “last times”. We hear people more and more saying that there is no God, scoffing at Biblical principles and the words spoken by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Atheists are becoming more outspoken and militant with their comments. When people say there is no God, what they are really saying is they don’t accept the truth of the God of the Bible. Their pride is saying “I will not accept any god that I have to be accountable to. Everyone has a “god”, someone or something that they are devoted to, even if it is their self. False prophets will rise up with such convincing truths that even the most devout Christian can be deceived unless we are “rooted and grounded” in the truths of the Bible. We must spend more time with our God. If you are having trouble finding answers, do not dig a wider hole or forsake your first Love, just dig deeper into the Holy Scriptures and meditate on them. The answer is there and God is waiting to reveal it to you.
7 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. — Matt. 6:7 NLT
Lots of us often have trouble putting into words what we want to say to God in our prayer times. It helps me to think of it as a conversation that a small child would have with their parents. I can tellGod anything that is on my heart in any respectful words that I choose and He will listen patiently. He desires that time of fellowship with us. He already knows what we want to ask and He already knows His answer. The purpose of the prayer is to let us know what He already knows. How does He do that, if we just put our list of “wants/needs” before Him and go our way? Remember prayer is not a speech, it is a conversation and God has something to say to you. He doesn’t need to think about it over night, He already has the answer.and understands it perfectly. Spend some time just marinating in His presence and God will reveal His answer in His own time. Lean on Jesus and know that He will never leave you nor forsake you.
13 And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! — 1 Kings 3:13 NLT
When we go before the Lord to pray, do we jump right into our lists of things that we “need” and/or want or do we first acknowledge who God is? Do we allow Him to influence our prayers in any way? Do we truly pray that His will be done in our lives or are we more concerned that God should answer our prayers the way we want them to be answered and when we want them to be answered? Do we ever consider what God might want us to ask Him to give us? Do we often pray prayers that actually grieve the Holy Spirit because we don’t allow Him to help us pray? It might be helpful right after we have prayed to think back through what we have just asked God to do for us. Do we pray prayers that have eternal consequences for all of God’s Kingdom or are our prayers just about us and our present situation? We should bring our specific requests before God at all times, but our prayers should not always be limited to “we four and no more”. God says no to our requests when we “ask amiss”. When we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in our prayer times, we can be sure that God will be pleased with our prayers as well. When He is pleased with our requests, He answers “Yes” to those requests and adds bonuses that we did not even consider or imagine. When we pray, our focus needs to be upward and outward as well as inward.
23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?” 24 The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.” 25 Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. — Mark 8:23-25 NLT
John tells us that if all the miracles that Jesus did were written down, all the books in the world would not be enough to hold them (John 21:25). What we read about is a sampling of the things He accomplished while He walked the earth as one of us. Those samples are given to show us not only His great love and mercy toward us but, also to show us that He uses all kinds of methods and people to demonstrate that love. Sometimes the healings were immediate, sometimes they were a process. Some required only a touch of the hem of His garment, others required a word and others a word and a touch from Him. He has the authority to answer our requests in any way or time frame He chooses. But know this, He always answers. Just because the answer wasn’t what we wanted to hear or did not come in the expected time does not mean that He didn’t hear and answer. Paul prayed three times for his “thorn in the flesh” to be removed. Paul could have said that God didn’t answer his prayer, but after the third time, Paul accepted “No” as the answer. God’s answers can be compared to a trafiic light, green is “go”, yellow is “go slow” and red is “no”. We always want the green light, but when we have the red light, it gives others the opportunity to move. We must wait our turn. When we see the yellow light, we know that there is danger in proceeding, so we must be careful and prepare to wait, but be prepared to go when God gives us the green light. (Isaiah 40:31) The old saying that hindsight is 20-20 is true. When we look back over our lives, we can see clearly that God’s answer was the correct answer. The times we refused that answer is the times we experienced our troubles and sorrows.
30 “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know anything about him! 31 Well, God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. 32 Never since the world began has anyone been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t do it.” 34 “You were born in sin!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue. 35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and said,”Do you believe in the Son of Man?”—John 9:30-35 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
This blind man that Jesus had healed had become very bold. He tells the Pharisees and the religious leaders that it is strange that they, of all people, would not know something about this man. After all, they were the teachers of the law, they were the shepherds that were supposed to lead and take care of the flock. How could they possibly not know anything about a man who could heal people? He also tells them that God is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will. No one has ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. Only a man sent from God could do that. This angered the leaders even more, to the extent that they cast him out of the synagogue, telling him that he had been born in sin. At least, they got that part right.
At this point, the former blind man might have been wondering why the leaders had so many questions and so few answers. He was probably feeling like he needed a friend. But, as always, when we need a friend, Jesus shows up. He is still showing up today. Jesus is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. And, yes, He is still asking us the same question He asked this man, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”