***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, some people think God chose who he was going to be saved even before they were born. I tend to think He just knew who was going to follow him and who wasn’t. What is your opinion?
ANSWER: It is the age old debate about “election.” God in His omniscience knew before the foundations of the earth was formed who would accept Him and who would reject Him. Having said that, despite His knowledge, man has the free will to accept or reject Christ and God DOES NOT interfere with that free will choice, meaning each person is responsible for what they do with Jesus. Otherwise, there would be no need for preaching the Gospel, there would be no point in evangelizing, and all of the commandments regarding telling others (Romans 10) would be meaningless.
One of the greatest tests of our faith is when we pray about an issue and NOTHING happens. We pray some more, and still nothing happens. We pray until we simply can’t pray any longer. Let me say up front, there are some schools of thought that praying for something more than once shows a lack of faith. I disagree with that conclusion, since we have passages like today’s scripture that show us persistent prayer is encouraged. There is no RIGHT formula for prayer. It is not magic or some sort of mystical formula.
GOD IS NOT OUR PERSONAL GENIE IN A BOTTLE WHO IS SIMPLY WAITING TO RESPOND TO OUR WISHES!!!
The fact is, prayer is simply a conversation we have with our heavenly Father. It is like talking to our best friend, which He is. When we have a close relationship with someone, we may ask them to do something for us and it is done. We might only ask once, and it gets done.
There are some things, especially when it comes to husbands and wives, or children, that we have to ask 5, 10, 20, even 100 times to get it done. We have all been there I am sure. So it is with our relationship with God. We may share a need with God, and almost immediately it is taken care of. However, there may be some issues we pray about over, and over, and over for a long period of time before it is taken care of.
But, there are also some issues that we pray about for long periods of time that are NEVER resolved. It is at these times that we must allow our faith to become real and trust God. While the Bible clearly tells us to ask God for the desires of our heart, and we SHOULD do that, we must always pray with the heart. Jesus did. He said, “YET not my will, but thy will be done.”
Jesus understood that His life was totally surrendered to God. It was God’s life to use as He saw fit. God’s plans may not always be our plans. It is at those times we MUST set aside our desires for His. As we grow spiritually, we actually come to the place Jesus was, when we understand each day that our life belongs totally to God and our desires must be His desires. Hear this one more time.
OUR DESIRES MUST BECOME HIS DESIRES!
I love you and care about you so much. I will be praying for you today, praying that when you have to, you are like the widow and are not afraid to remind God over and over of the great needs that you have in your life. There is nothing wrong with reminding God.
I will also pray that you come to the place in your walk with the Lord where you can say, “Lord, not my will, but Thy will be done,” that place where we trust God enough to not worry when He s “silent”, but have a peace that what God wants is what we want. After all, God’s plans are ALWAYS better than our plans. While our plans don’t always work out the way we expect, God’s plans ALWAYS work out perfectly.
The fact is, God is NEVER silent and NEVER ignoring our prayers. He is simply waiting for His perfect timing to show you the right plan to meet your needs.
***AUGUST FINANCIAL UPDATE: With just 8 days left this month, we are still $9,000 short of covering our shortfall from July. This has never happened in the 13 years of Liveprayer. I am seeking the Lord today that everyone in the Liveprayer family who is able, will send the most generous gift they can so that by the end of today we can cover July’s shortfall and begin working on the $40,000 we need for our August operations as we celebrate 13 yrs of Liveprayer. That $9,000 shortfall is several weeks past due, and $12,000 of our August operations are now weeks past due. I am asking for 7 people who can make a special one-time gift of $3,000 to help me today so we can get our past due obligations caught up.
Each month for 155 months now, God has used the faithfulness of those in the Liveprayer family to help us cover what we need to operate for one more month. Each sacrificing what they are led and able to give to help us meet our needs. MOST EVERYONE CAN SEND SOMETHING. LET ME CHALLENGE YOU TO GIVE A GIFT OF $13, $130, $1300, OR FOR SOME, $13,000. THAT IS $1, $10, $100, OR $1,000 FOR EACH YEAR OF SERVICE. GOD WILL MULTIPLY YOUR GIFT EXPONENTIALLY IN THE LIVES AND SOULS OF THOSE WE REACH WITH HIS TRUTH AND THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST!
TO GIVE A GIFT TO LIVEPRAYER, you can use your major credit card on our secure server at: http://www.liveprayer.com under the “Donation” link, you can give using your PayPal account using my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org,or you can mail your gift to: Liveprayer, 6660 46th Ave. North, St.Petersburg, FL 33709. All gifts to Liveprayer are 100% tax deductible.
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
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