God Always Answers Prayer – Part 2 of 5

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Yesterday we saw that God always answers prayer and that God is sovereign. God is God and we are not.

Because God always answers prayer, and because God is sovereign, one of the ways God answers our prayer is with a “no”.

God answers our prayer with a “no” when our prayers are wrong. God answers some prayers with a “no” because God is a good God. There are times we ask God for things that are contrary to God’s will, and there are times we ask for things that will actually harm us or harm others. In such times, God must answer “no”.

We are told in Psalm 145:17, “The LORD is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.”

Because God is just in all his ways, when our requests are wrong, he must reply in the negative.

Because God is kind in all his doings, when our requests will actually bring harm to ourselves or others, God must reply in the negative.

For God to answer requests that are wrong would be cruel and unjust.

We may not like it when God denies our prayers, but we must acknowledge that “no” is a legitimate answer. And, because God is God and we are not, we must be willing to accept God’s “no”. When our prayers and requests are wrong, God’s “no” is God’s kindness to us.

When our prayers and requests are wrong, God’s “no” is the most kind answer God can give us.

God, thank you for answering our prayers with a “no” when our requests are wrong. We trust and accept your “no” as an expression of your kindness and justice.

Jesus Knew…And He Washed Feet

I came across a tweet today that rocked me.

Jesus knew. Jesus knew that he had one day left with his disciples before he would die for the sins of the world. And he washed feet!

“Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him…After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord – and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:3-5, 12-15).

Love God = Love People

“‘Teacher, which commandment is the law is the greatest?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'” (Matthew 22:36-39)

If your theology doesn’t change your behavior, what you know about God doesn’t matter.

Fred Craddock says, “It’s possible to get an “A” in bible and still flunk Christianity.” And, he’s absolutely right.

Growing in the knowledge of God changes us to resemble God in our actions and how we treat God’s children.

The point of the teachings of Jesus was never to make us smarter sinners. The point of the teachings of Jesus is to change us, to make us more like him.

Whenever God reveals Godself through his scriptures, it is always for the purpose of transformation. When you love God, you love what God loves. When you love God, you love the people for whom Christ died for. These are inseparable.

This past Sunday Katie Davis and Jo Ethel Smith preached a fantastic sermon on the Christian response to the racial division that is wreaking havoc in our world. When it comes to pursuing racial reconciliation, the church and her saints ought to lead the way in bringing about peace and shalom to our communities.

As many of you know, I have had multiple surgeries on my heart and have needed blood transfusions. Not once did I ever wonder about the color of the person who donated the blood that kept me alive. I was only grateful that someone went out of their way to donate their blood so that I might live.

I thank God that we have a church who sees all of God’s people for who they are: we are all sinners in need of forgiveness that only Christ offers. We are all God’s children in need of a Savior.

Church, let us lead the way in bringing peace to God’s world.