Upward and Outward

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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.

I Can See Clearly Now

even-smaller-bug-light123 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.

More Winnie, Less Eeyore

even-smaller-bug-light111 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings. 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. — 2 Cor. 13:11-14 NIV

​Rejoice!​  Isn’t it amazing that after all Paul has gone through and was still going through at this time, that he could say rejoice?  Through all the persecutions, beatings, attempts on his life and bearing the burden of wayward people in the churches he had established, Paul was still rejoicing and encouraging others to continue in faithfulness. ​One of our highest priorities as Christians should be to pray for and encourage others. Compared to what Paul went through and what our brothers and sisters in other countries are going through today, anything we have to suffer through is certainly “a light affliction”. Yet, some of us are so focused on our own problems that we walk around like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh thinking “Woe is me.”.  All of us need more encouragement and more reminding of who we are in Christ Jesus. We need to “zoom out” on our lives and look at the whole panorama that God has given us. The more time we spend focused on Jesus and others, the less time we will have to focus on our own issues. When we take time to fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we find that our spirits are lifted and we can truly rejoice.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.– Phil. 4:4-7

The World Is Mine

Post 10-08-2015