More Things I Think About and Wonder About - Edition 4
1. When the doctors tell you there is nothing medically they can do, what do you pray for? First, I believe God wants to be thanked for what He has done for us. He likes to be praised. Even though the doctors can’t heal, God can. Pray that somehow He will make healing happen. Pray for a breakthrough in medicine or a miracle even. Never doubt God’s power and ability! To not pray for complete healing in a time of bad health seems to discount God’s ability, a lack of faith. It’s almost like we have made His mind up for Him. Sometimes we have to accept the situation that death is near, or the patient is not going to make progress, for example an Alzheimer’s patient. Pray for their peace and comfort. Ask God to give them a good day! What does it mean to ask for them to have a good day? One lady takes care of her husband with dementia. He doesn’t or can’t control his bowels and his bladder. She doesn’t know which it is. He can’t remember who she is at times. He asks why they are living in this place and asks to go to their real home. There is much more she deals with in their daily life. It seems a good day would be to lighten their load. Romans 12:12, NIV: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
2. When I pray, must I be specific, or can I be general? I like to be specific but sometimes you can’t be specific because of the circumstances. A local man was involved in a very bad car wreck where his friend was killed. From time to time the 82 Market will post requests for prayers for him and his family. I do not know his exact needs, but God does so I ask Him to supply those needs.
Sometimes you hear public prayers that say, “We pray for all those that it’s our duty to pray for”. That’s a catchall that does not work for me in my prayers. It doesn’t mean that using that phrase is wrong, but I believe being specific is a more fervent prayer.
Max Lucado’s Daily Devotional:
“God calls us to pray about everything! We tell God exactly what we want. We pray the particulars. When the wedding ran low on wine, Mary wasn’t content to say, “Help us, Jesus.” She was specific: “They have no more wine” (John 2:3). A specific prayer is a serious prayer. If I say to you, “Do you mind if I come by your house sometime?” you may not take me seriously. But if I say, “Can I come over this Friday night? I really need your advice.” Then you know my petition is sincere. When we offer specific requests, God knows the same!”
“God loves the sound of your voice—always! God never places you on hold or tells you to call again later. He doesn’t hide when you call. He hears your prayers. For that reason “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). With this verse the apostle calls us to act against anxiety. We tell God exactly what we want. We pray the particulars of our problems.”
“What Jesus said to the blind man, he says to us. “What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41 NIV). One would think the answer would be obvious. When a sightless man requests Jesus’ help, isn’t it apparent what he needs? Yet Jesus wanted to hear the man articulate his specific requests. He wants the same from us. “Let your requests be made known to God!”
3. The following are just a few of the Bible verses directing us to perform good works. Titus 3:1 – “To obey, to be ready for every good work.”. Titus 3:8 - “That those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.” Titus 3:14. “And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.”
Galatians 6:10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” James 4:17 “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them.”
How many good works are enough to satisfy God? If God ranked us on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest score on our service, where would I rank? How about you? I do not believe God’s attitude towards our service is score keeping on the big board. “Well, he’s done three services for today so, he’s had a good day!” God knows the opportunities he has given us and measures our service by our responses to those opportunities. God does not NEED our service, but He wants and expects it.
Some might say, “I haven’t had opportunities.” WRONG! You are not looking for the opportunities. Some might say that they “just don’t know how or they do not have that talent”! WRONG! II Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” God will not ask you to serve Him without equipping you! Still others say, “Well I’m so busy with ….. so I really don’t have time”. If that is your rationale, then think on Revelation 3:16 “So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” God expects to be our priority in life.
What does “lukewarm” mean? These people in Laodicea knew who Jesus was but were indifferent and spiritually apathetic. For the most part the commentators agree about what Christ meant about lukewarm.
The next question is what does “Spit you out of my mouth” mean? It seems that many preachers and teachers do not want to take on Revelation in sermon or class. The limited number of sermons and discussions I’ve heard define this phrase as a reference to judgement day. Jesus will deny us before God. The commentators are all across the board on this. Some ignore it. Others do not believe it refers to judgement day. They reference verse 19 where He talks about discipling those He loves. Some believe Christ used the phrase just to inspire the church. Others believe it is a direct statement to judgement day! Either way you choose to believe it’s not a comforting feeling to have our Savior spew us out of his mouth.
Thoughts on our service to God by Allen Jackson:
- “There is no greater investment of a human life than serving God.”
- “Our highest purpose, whether we are a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker, is to serve the Lord with our lives in the midst of these callings.”
- “God has given every one of us strengths and gifts and abilities. It’s wonderful to see God’s people acknowledge and use what He has gifted us with, and it’s sad to see God’s people deny their gifts and abilities or to let them sit unused. Sometimes people even deny t their gifts out of fear they’ll be asked to use them! God has given us these things in order that we might have a place of service in His Kingdom. Using our gifts and abilities wisely is not only a great responsibility; it’s a great honor.”
- “When God equips us to do what we feel unqualified for, it is an opportunity to show that He lives in us and works through us.”
- “Don’t be a spectator. Show your gratitude to the Lord by serving His people.”
“Do you aspire to do great things? Excel in the small things. Don’t complain. Let others grumble, not you. When you’re given a task, take it. When you see a hurt, address it. Compassion matters to God. This is the time for service, not self-centeredness. Cancel the pity party. Love the people God brings to you. He will work in you what is pleasing to Him. You will get through this.” Max Lucado Daily Devotional
Too many times we measure our work by expecting great outcomes! Sometimes, although the service we perform may seem small and insignificant to us or others, God loves it! That kind word you speak or kind action you take may have made someone’s day! I’ve been assured by others that shut-ins love cards and notes even an email. Tell someone who is going through a difficult time that you will pray for them. Think about it! The person can see Christ in you!
When you get up tomorrow morning, first thank God for being alive then ask him to lead you to some service for Him. Let Him have your heart!
4. I realize I’m referencing former bosses a lot, but I was fortunate to have a number of good ones along with the awful ones. One boss told me he could live with and forgive honest mistakes people made but he had no tolerance for bad attitudes! If you think about it, most of us feel the same way. Wonder if God feels the same way?
You realize you have sinned and begrudgingly confess asking for forgiveness. You really do so feeling like you had good reason for your attitude. He/she was so hateful to me that he/she needed to be told off. Here’s our rationalization and justification again. Not the attitude God wants. God wants to forgive us when we sincerely confess and ask for forgiveness.
Many years ago a coworker and I were discussing our childhoods. I made a comment about something I had done, and Nita responded that she bet my mother spanked my butt. The next day she was in my office to apologize. When asked what she was apologizing for, she was sorry for using the word butt. Even though I assured her no offense was taken, she believed God had convicted her for using that word. I’m not convinced she sinned, but that’s the right heart.
I’ve heard it from the pulpit and read it by authors that God does not need anything from us. I understand the meaning behind that statement but at the same time, God does not want attitude from us! He can get that from your teenager!
Standing Firm by Allen Jackson, Intend Publishing – 2018 – Used with permission
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