Prayer: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Complaining “God’s Ignoring Me!”

God's Ignoring Me!

Question: “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

In order for God to move and answer our petition prayers, a proper prayer foundation must be made. God isn’t simply a magic genie answering prayers upon command. No, He is a loving Father who takes our requests and graciously answers them in His timing and according to what is best for us. Often we think we know what is best for ourselves, even deceiving ourselves and others into thinking we know better than anyone else in the universe including the Creator. The following are eight questions every Believer should ask themselves, if they find themselves asking “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

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Prayer: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Complaining “God’s Ignoring Me!”

why_me_godQuestion: “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

In order for God to move and answer our petition prayers, a proper prayer foundation must be made. God isn’t simply a magic genie answering prayers upon command. No, He is a loving Father who takes our requests and graciously answers them in His timing and according to what is best for us. Often we think we know what is best for ourselves, even deceiving ourselves and others into thinking we know better than anyone else in the universe including the Creator. The following are eight questions every Believer should ask themselves, if they find themselves saying “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

• Do you believe and accept Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the only path to eternal life?
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” John 14:6
You may have heard the story of the world religions sharing a “belief” in Jesus with Christians. The Quran states Jesus was born of a virgin, was a revered prophet, was a miracle worker, who ascended to heaven, and will return to earth but is not the son of God. Hinduism states Jesus is a God, was a Holy Man, and was a Wise Teacher. Buddhism states Jesus was an enlightened man, was a wise teacher, was a Holy man, and was a moral teacher. Baha’i states Jesus came from God, was born of a virgin, spoke for God, had a divine and human nature, and was crucified for the atonement of humanity. Yet the difference between the world religions and the Christians is that the Believers in Christ Jesus firmly believe and rightly know that Jesus Christ of Nazareth, part of the triune God, is the only deity that leads to the eternal life. There are no other paths or gods that will lead to heaven.

• Are you born again?
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Peter 1:22-23
Jesus shared a prophetic vision in Matthew 25 of “Believers” in Christ meeting Him at the end of the age and being shockingly turned away from the Kingdom of God. Jesus clearly spelled out it was not belief alone that granted eternal life, it was the ongoing demonstration of His character to others in need. The man and woman turned away were the ones who did not feed the hungry, did not give drink to the thirsty, did not give clothes to the naked, did not care for the sick, and did not visit the imprisoned. Their apathy to the needy was also apathy towards God. Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

• Have you received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
“Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He (Holy Spirit) had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. They began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:14-17

Paul said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism”. Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him (Jesus) who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they (acknowledged) were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. Acts 19:2-6

And I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He used to say, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 11:16

“For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:5

Might you wonder why scripture references Baptisms in the plural and not singular (see Baptism of Repentance, Baptism of Water, Baptism of the Holy Spirit). There are many who have performed the act of the Baptism of Water but do not know Christ Jesus. They have performed the physical declaration of faith but have not followed through in the daily transformational process of sanctification. The Believer in Christ Jesus must have the Holy Spirit living within them. When the Holy Spirit lives inside of the Believer, you will see manifestations of God’s Fruit or Fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control). The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not complicated and only requires a simple prayer between two Believers in Christ Jesus such as “Leah, I declare in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that you receive the Baptism and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit work within her and transform her daily into being your daughter. Amen.

• Do you have any unconfessed/unrepented sin?
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 Johns 1:9

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16

• Do you hold any bitterness or unforgiveness towards anyone?
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:24-25

• Do you believe in God’s will for your perfect health (or other request)?
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” Luke 10:19

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

• Do you agree with your prayer partner for healing (or other request)?
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:24-25

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:19-20

• Are you praying for God’s will or your own?
There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD. Proverbs 21:30

Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand. Proverbs 19:21

The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:1

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23

The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. Psalm 33:10

Lord, thank you for the universal Body of Christ and your revelations. Help us to examine ourselves closely, show us personal roadblocks, and help us to move into your perfect will of obedience. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen

Resources: IAHR; The Name of Jesus; World Religions
Related Posts: Answered Prayers
Photo Credit: Bing

Discernment: Local v. Third World Missions

QuestionQuestion: Why is it so much easier finding Believers willing to serve the poor across the globe than finding Believers willing to serve the poor within 15-30 minute local driving distance?

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2

The above question was posed by a local missions’ coordinator trying to develop ways to encourage the congregation to passionately and equally serve the poor locally and abroad. Every year thousands of students and professional adults leave the shores of their Western homeland to serve in the third world. “I think the Lord wants me to serve the poor…in Mali. So help me raise $10K to get there.” We’ve all either personally had this experience or know someone dear that has had this experience. Many of these individuals have come to understand that there is more to this world than the status driven, materialistic society we live in and in turn devote their lives to serving others as God commands. It is praiseworthy to leave the safety of a Western community and serve often unreached third world communities stricken with illness, extreme poverty, and crime. On the other hand, don’t you ever wonder why just as many Believers in Christ Jesus do not seem to receive the same volume of life changing revelations to serve the poor communities locally? It takes not even a 1/4 of tank of gas and anywhere from one to twenty hours per month to reach a local inner city, rural, or reservation community. On the other hand, it takes several months pay and work leave to reach the third world communities across the pond. Yet even with all these factors, international missions seems to outpace local missions for volunteers in outreach of the poor. Body of Christ, maybe you were never aware of the needs locally or see yourself as a Nations evangelist. Here’s a challenge, let’s see if we can balance the scales in local and international missions. The world is becoming more global by the minute and opportunities already exists to serve the Nations in the Western world and third world. There are many poor communities in the Western nations that are driven around daily that could use some Jesus TLC. Cancel the “I’m afraid”, “I might get robbed”, “I can’t relate” or the many hosts of fear based excuses we use to justify ignoring the poor placed around us. Take a leap of faith, get out there, and serve the poor…locally.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

Holy Spirit come and reveal to us what hinders us from obeying your commands to serve without partiality. We ask all of this in the name and blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.

Photo Credit: Bing

Spiritual Warfare: Battling the Opposition – Nehemiah Rebuilds a City

The ArmorIn continuation of the Old Testament character series, Pastor David gave a phenomenal, prophetic message from Nehemiah Chapters 4-6. The background is Nehemiah was on the journey of rebuilding the walls of the city and was met with fierce opposition. In each trial, Nehemiah countered the opposition with Godly character.

The Opposition
• Ridicule (4:1-3): “…What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves?…”
The Response
• Cry (4:4-5): “Hear, O our God, how we (you God and we your people) are despised! Return their reproach on their own heads…”
The Opposition
• Threats (4:7-8): “Now when they heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance.”
The Response
• Cry & Bear Arms (4:9, 13): “But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night…then I stationed men in the lowest parts of space behind the wall,…I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows.”
The Opposition
• Discouragement (4:10-12): “…The strength of the burden bearers is failing…”
The Response
• Encouragement (4:14): “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, yours sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.”
The Opposition
• Financial (5:1-5): “…We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses…we have borrowed money…we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves…”
The Response
• Cry (5:19): “Remember me, O my God…”
The Opposition
• Trickery (6:1-4): “They sent a message to me, saying “Come let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono”. But they were planning to harm me. So I sent messengers to them saying “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” They sent messages to me four times in this manner, and I answered them in the same way.”
The Response
• Stayed on task (6:3)
The Opposition
• Slander (6:5-7): “It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports.”
The Response
• Call for courage (6:9): “For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done. But now, O God, STRENGTHEN MY HANDS.”
The Opposition
• Counterfeit counsel (6:10): “Let us meet together in the house of God…for they are coming to kill you, and they are coming to kill you at night.”
The Response
• Discernment & Cry (6:12-14): “Then I perceived that surely God had not sent him. He was hired for this reason, that I might become frightened and act accordingly and sin, so that they might have an evil report in order that they could reproach me. Remember, O my God, them according to these works of theirs, and also the (false) prophetess and the rest of the (false) prophets who were trying to frighten me.”

Summary:
Nehemiah was commissioned by God to do a particular work. He kept his mind on the task at hand in spite of repeated, mounting opposition. He was ridiculed, threatened, discouraged, financially bound, tricked, slandered, and given false counsel but still pressed on. He called upon God throughout the various trials and trusted in God’s ability to guard him and see the task finished. Nehemiah demonstrated enduring character and trust in God, inspiring us to also endure the various trials and trust in God’s ability to see the task he has given you completed. If God gave you the task to begin, God will give you the tools to finish it. Amen

• “So the wall was completed on the twenty fifth of the month Elul, in fifty two days. When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work has been accomplished with the help of our God.” Nehemiah 6:15-16

• There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD. Psalm 21:30

Resource Credit: Pastor David Smith

Service: Kids Community Spring Fair 2013

kidsfairhdMany are the plans of a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Wow! We serve an amazing God. We had an abundance of children/family participants and community partner volunteers. Everything we needed, God provided. Helmets, healthy food, education session, gym equipment, and most importantly LOVE was provided by volunteers and community partners. In fact we had one additional community partner volunteer join us that we did not anticipate. It was a huge Blessing as this Person of Peace filled a gap in both dentistry and connection to the Somali community. The community partners were from all segments of society: Faith, school, government, private business and non profit. What is even more amazing is that the school and government participants came to us, seeking to participate in our service project. When I was initially contacted about them joining us, I was a bit confused. I thought “Don’t they know this event is in a Church and hosted by Believers in Christ? Aren’t they scared by the scriptures I have posted on my email (as one colleague suggested and insisted I delete as to not potentially offend those who don’t Believe)?” I mean after all the world systems tell us schools, government, and other nations like the Somali community want nothing to do with people like us (Christians). Abba told me to rest and let Him do the work. Abba called me to do two things: love and serve.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35

I remember asking God these questions as a youth: why I was born with brown skin and of the African Diaspora, why I grew up in the inner city amongst all walks of life especially the poor when my parents did not financially have to. I felt and often received ostracism in my youth by peers my Midwestern community as it was “common knowledge” (lies of the enemy) brown skinned people were not as beautiful as fair skinned people and all blacks who live in the inner city are underclassed including me. I resented being of the African Diaspora, resented my parents not moving to the suburbs like many of my peers families did, and I resented being told by oppressionists that because I was of the African Diaspora and from the inner city I was less than they. Fast forward into my thirties and Abba revealed to me that it was those painful racial experiences in my youth and sacrifices made my parents to live Christ by associating and living amongst the poor in my hometown as Romans 12:16 calls that equipped me more than most to do this particular work for the Kingdom. God gave me the call two years ago to love the children and families in the communities much like the one I grew up in. Now I answer. Amen

Highlights from the Kids Community Fair

A kindergartner asking a teenager “How old are you?” The teenager responding “Seventeen”. The kindergartner responding “Wow, you’re old!” The teenager responding “She just called me old.” Me thinking to myself “Just wait until you turn thirty!”

An elderly Somali woman and daughter donating to the Clothing Closet, accepting a cup of coffee and coming in only to be pleasantly surprised by our Person of Peace Somali volunteer (middle aged gentleman) who engaged them in coffee conversation. Shortly after several more Somali friends appeared at the coffee table for conversation.

Healing: The Invisible Scar

man_walking_awayThis tale is about a lifelong scar shared by two middle aged siblings Mark and Andrew* and how they have come to cope with a tremendously devastating scar inflicted from childhood. Mark has been married thirty plus years to the college sweet heart and produced two children who now have families of their own. Mark pursued the simple life of settling down and raising a family. The life’s work was for the raising of the next generation and the mission was to create a fun life devoted to the needs of the children, a life that was vastly different than the childhood Mark had growing up.  Andrew on the other hand never married but was esteemed with a longstanding career in the corporate world until the downturn in the economy and had a Passport filled with world travels that many could only dream of. Both experienced the same invisible scar but the personal management of the scar varied drastically, leading them down separate roads that would impact them for many generations.

As children, Mark and Andrew, were devoted to their parents. They wanted to do all they could to make them happy but did not understand that nothing they could have done or not done as children could have changed the will of their parents.  It was the heart of the “romantic” Do Wop era and “endless love”. Their parents were married for a good decade before it was discovered their beloved dad was sharing his “love” with many others. Their parents separated and eventually divorced, breaking the hearts of Mark and Andrew. Their mom began to work full time to make ends meet. Mark the oldest would see their dad with these other “loves” and often confronted him but was left either embarrassed or not acknowledged in public by their own dad (see Counterfeit Love Safeguards-The Inner Scar ). Promises were never kept, meals were scant, and bills were just covered while their dad lived the life he wanted with these other “loves”. Mark developed an internal anger and bitterness that was carried for several decades. Anyone that crossed Mark was given a verbal lashing that would send even the strongest home to cry. Mark’s family knew not to get on the “bad side” as it would not be pretty for the recipient. Andrew on the other hand withdrew and vowed never to let anyone get close of enough to cause heartbreak again. Andrew was married to work, working endless amounts of overtime to pay for the annual trip to Europe. Outside of free time, Andrew spent free time immersed in extraordinary amounts of television watching and counterfeit love (i.e. adult media).

“Honor your father and mother” which is the first commandment with a promise. Ephesians 6:2

Their mom had long ago went home to be with the Lord but as recent as the last ten to fifteen years, their now aging “Rolling Stone” dad continued in his life of other “loves”. Naturally their dad had needs of the aged and needed to be cared for. Mark being a family person and Believer, went against his own flesh desire to let dad fend for himself. Mark understood God’s Word on honor of the parents (Ephesians 6:2) and forgiveness (Colossians 3:13). Mark understood that there was no sin too great including adultery to be forgiven. Andrew, who is not a Believer, on the other hand chose to hold on the past and when given opportunities to extend grace toward their dad, opted not to. Time after time opportunities would present themselves to Mark and Andrew to extend grace but each time Andrew chose to not forgive.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

The years passed on and Mark realized that there was no freedom in holding on to the invisible scars of adultery (1 Corinthians 6:9). Mark was misdirecting the childhood anger to others and not releasing the scar to the Lord to heal. So after many decades and prayers, Mark released the anger to the Lord for Healing and is actively on the journey of taking capture the memories of the past and letting go of the stronghold of angry tongue. Andrew is still on a journey to forgiveness. Despite the encouragement of Mark to forgive and release the past to God, Andrew has persisted in the inner vow of not letting anyone get close enough to cause heartbreak or to be forgiven. This internal bitterness or unforgiveness has now manifested into what we often see at the Healing Rooms, an onset of nearly life threatening medical conditions.

Maybe you or someone you know has been inflicted by an invisible scar. You have carried this scar for many years and have yet to release it to Abba for Him to heal. In releasing the scars of your past, some incredible things occur.

• Learned a primary tenant of our faith: forgiving also known as grace
• Canceled Satan’s authority over you including his mark (i.e. sickness, disease) by forgiving
• Allow yourself to be Healed emotionally, spiritually, and physically according to God’s Word

Father, Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and Holy Spirit we ask to fill us with your remarkable grace and healing. We bind up the Spirit of hardened hearts, unforgiveness, and sickness. We release your Spirit of love, joy, peace, faithfulness, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control upon us in the name and blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Father, Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and Holy Spirit we choose to forgive ourselves for any invisible scars we may have inflicted on others by our personal pursuits of the flesh. Cleanse us Lord from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes which often precedes flesh sins, and the pride of life. Cover us in your precious blood, guard our eyes, and hearts in Christ Jesus, Amen. – Blessings

Photo Credit: The Truth Won