Posted: 8/13/2004 10:14:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/13/2004 10:15:21 AM EDT by M4_Aiming_at_U]
Not only a fair question, but a hard one to completely understand.
Jesus said, "whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
This says that we are to make requests of God in Jesus's name and God will grant our requests.
But, as with many other subjects in the Bible, God also places limits on this. We must ask for things that are in agreement with His will. For instance, He does not grant prayers to win the lottery.
Does He need us to pray to heal folks? No. But He invites us to pray and believe, so that we might share in his service.
It is not "payment" as He needs absolutely nothing that we can give Him, so we cannot "pay" Him for anything.
As a Kind and Loving Heavenly Father, He delights in answering the prayers of His children.
I think it's more that God has a plan for what will happen. However,there are different options or routes for Him to accomplish what He wants to occur. We pray and request that if something is compatible with His will that He would cause it to happen. It's our free will interacting with His plan for the future. It may or may not be in His will to heal someone. There may be some reason for them to be sick (perhaps it's the only way to draw them closer to a relationship with Him). We don't know, so the best we can do is ask. The thing to keep in mind is the concept that God's sole focus is on the afterlife. What happens here on Earth is just "practice".
Anyone who has Biblical source that conflicts with this,please correct me.
God is going to do exactly what He intends on doing, and our prayer or lack therof isn't going to change it.
That said, prayer could be compared to one part of a two way conversation with God (the second part being him talking back to you via his Word/Bible). God is referred to as our Father. In the same way a father is going to do exactly what he deems best for his children, God is going to do what is best for us regardless if we want to eat Coco Krispies for dinner (win the lottery when it's not right for us). Ofcourse, that doesn't mean there is no benefit in communication between a father and son/daughter. Indeed, communication is NECESSARY in such a relationship. Just as is prayer in the relationship of Man and God.
So, pray away. Ask for your hearts desires. God will say Yes, God will say No or God will say Wait.
Whenever I say a prayer its kinda therapeutic. Helps me relax and feel better.
I don't want to hijack the thread, but this is not exactly right.
If "God's sole focus is on the afterlife", as soon as I was saved, He would take me to heaven. But He doesn't. He leaves me here to do His work. And His work is to tell the world about the Gospel.
What we do here is not "practice" either. What we do here is to pass one simple test: "Will you accept Jesus as your Savior or not?"
What we do with Jesus determines our future in eternity.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled thread.
Wow. YOu've asked the $64 billion question.
First and foremost, prayer is our opportunity to ask God to do what He already has determined is His will to do, in a very generic sense.
Consider the Lords Prayer (Matthew 6) - Our Father, who is in Heaven, hallowed (be considered holy, reverenced) is your name. May your kingdom be advanced, may your will be done.
The Lord prayer is NOT a canned prayer to be repeated. It is a skeletal outline which we are to flesh out with prayer about our specific needs / praises of God, etc.
First, hallowed be thy name -
What we are REALLY asking is for God to use this circumstance to demonstrate his attributes to men. God's names, as given in Scripture are really His attributes - WHO He is. SO when we pray for a sick friend, we are asking God to be who He is - merciful, gracious, compassionate, the Great Physician, etc etc. - and demonstrate that thru healing our friend
Second, They Kingdom Come, thy will be done -
Often, our desires (even for the healing of a sick friend) don't always mesh with God's pre-Plan. God's ways are perfect, and not always understood by us. Sometimes, sickness and death is a way in which God works out his own perfect will, tho we can't see how that works.
First we ask God to BE WHO HE IS, and heal our friend. Stated another way, we are saying "God let people see how good you are by healing our friend.", Then we recognize that we don't see the big picture of how God wants to work out His plan, so we say "Heal my friend, but God, your will be done." If you read Christ's prayer to God the Father right before His crucifixion, this was PRECISELY Christs prayer to avoid the pain and death of the cross. But had Christ not died on the cross, we'd have NO WAY to come to God. BIG picture - sometimes sufferring and death is "good."
(Interestingly, I'm teaching a Sunday school class on prayer right now. SO the thoughts are fresh in my mind.)
Sorry so long, but HTH.
So popular people should be healthier than dweebs?
It's a way to give your concerns, fears, and worries to God.
I suppose I should have added the modifier that His sole focus on the afterlife means using us in His plan to spread the gospel so that others can be with Him in eternity. Brevity is less than usefull when discussing faith I guess.
Firstly God is sovereign. He has a sovereign will that will be accomplished no matter what.
But God has NOT placed everything within His sovereign will!
When God made Adam, He gave Adam dominion over the whole earth. When Adam gave in to the temptation of Satan, he essentially gave Satan power over all Adam had been given by God. This is how sin can enter the entire world by one man's actions.
God did not show up to stop the serpent from speaking, nor did He stop Adam from biting the apple. But if Adam had seen the trap for what it was and called out for God's help, He would have been there with bells on.
God does not violate His word. When He gives us authority over something, He respects that for the sake of His own word.
God gave us dominion over our own lives and affairs. He will never intrude upon our lives without our explicit request to do so, or without the prayers of others asking on our behalf. We essentially have control over ourselves. God gave us that control and He will not violate it, not even for our own good. The point of this is to create people who will seek after God instead of having people who will just sit back and let everything come to them.
"45 Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. 46And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. 47Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. 49And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; 50for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." 51Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled."
Mark Chapter 6
Jesus saw His disciples struggling for their very lives. Yet He would have passed them by had they not called out to Him. God wants to be wanted, thus He gave us free will. Had the disciples been to proud to call out for His help, they would have received none.
The same is true for us. Asking for help requires humility. Asking for help from God requires an acknowledgement that we are limited creatures in knowledge and power and that in the end our hope has to rest on something outside ourselves. This is the beginning of getting God into proper perspective. When He is in proper perspective, then we have access to Him.
Consider another example:
" In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: "Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live."'
2Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3"Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 5"Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. 6And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.""'
2nd Kings 20
God was ready to let Hezekiah die. But God's heart was touched by Hezekiah's prayer, and God changed His mind. When Abraham prayed for Sodom and Gamorrah, God changed His mind. Had Abraham bargained down to a single person, God would have honored Abraham's request, because Abraham respected and obeyed God. When God was ready to destroy Israel and raise up a nation through Moses, Moses told God to destroy him too. God was moved by Moses' love for the people and relented from His righteous fury.
Daniel prayed for an interpretation of his vision, and God dispatched the answer the minute Daniel prayed. But the answer was delayed by demonic power.
The Bible clearly paints the picture that Satan is a real entity with a real kingdom and real power, and that he does his very best to frustrate God's work and God's people. Thus God's people have to learn to fight spiritual battles. This is done in prayer.
Just as Satan attacked Job and Daniel, so too he can attack us. The curse of sin and death is on all of us.
I have seen people healed by the power of God. I have also seen dear loved ones die even after praying for them. God is bigger than my understanding and I accept on principle of faith that He answers prayer and that He answers them in the best way possible. Who am I to contend with Him?
This doesn't always mean I get the answer I want, but I do get answers, even if they are delayed.
The Bible says that the ferverent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Jesus told us to always pray:
"5 "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8"Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us this day our daily bread.
12And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
14"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Prayer is a complex idea that is simple in application. In practice it is nothing more than speaking frankly to God. (You can't lie to Him, so don't bother) In idea it ranges from mere communication with God to all out spiritual warfare, depending on what is being spoken.
I look at prayer as my way of inviting God's action and presence on my behalf.
This does not mean that if I do not pray that He shows me no mercy and gives me no help. Every heart beat, every breath, every new day we see is a gift from God. All life flows out of Him and He can end our existence whenever He wishes. Thus any good thing we have flows from Him.
Prayer inherently seeks after God. God wants to be sought. He wants us to look for Him and to search for Him because that acknowledges that we need Him. When we acknowledge that we need Him, we are beginning to get into the right frame of mind to be at peace with Him.
God hates, above all other things, a proud heart. Honest prayer is a way of being humble before Him.
... tagged in sincere interest
Tagged to reply later....'bout time to practice the subject anyway.
I am not sure where I've heard this; I think there is a line in the bible that says whenever three or more people call out to Christ for a common prayer he will make himself closest to whoever is being prayed for (sick or injured person). I am not sure what part of the bible this was said to be in.
Matthew, Chapter 18:
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Most important thing to remember about prayer...........
God is NOT Santa Clause.
Look for His will in His book, and talk to Him accordingly.
I guess the way I see it is that during my time with God at the end of the day, I ask for something extra for someone else. For something good to happen. I hope that when I tell some one that I will include them in my prayers, that they take hope that some one else is asking for help and support for them from God. It also gives people hope, hope to know that even when everything else sucks, God still loves them. Sorry, that's the best I can do.
You dont understand prayer like I dont understand vegans or vegitatians.
Thanks I wasn't sure where in the bible to find that.
Very true. Ask yourself if what you want is really what He'd like you to have. Be very careful what you ask for, too. Very careful!
<----has gotten some things he asked for, and been quite overwhelmed!
I am not sure why either. I guess it is to grant the prayers of as many as he can at one time. But, I do think he is with the sick wether one of five pray for them to get well.
Not really....God will certainly grant the wishes of an individual.
Further, man being the selfish, imperfect being he is, it's really not as common as you might think for two people to get together and totally agree on things to pray for. I would imagine (though I'm out of my league here) that it pleases God to see two people come together and pray for something.
If there was a god (whatever ""_faith_"" I Would'nt pray to him, look at the planet if those are his concerns,....../sigh/O'yea, free will
Questions on prayer in a weapons forum....
Don't you have any real-life friends that can help you with this?
"Thy will not mine be done" is added at the end of every single one of my prayers.
Kind of a reminder of who REALLY is in charge.
I thought God decided when "your time is up"? The gangbanger may have done the killing, but it was God's will. Right?
I got a clue, gonna go back to wiping down my AK.... Then I'll ask about prayer in a gun forum.
Dropping out of third-person for this post, because it's difficult to write in.
My opinion, which doesn't quite agree with Christianity:
Anyone who claims to fully understand God and His will...doesn't.
I believe there is a God, and that He has a will. My belief probably stems from the many times my refusal to believe in any kind of coincidence has crashed into real life and the tides of fortune. It's quite frankly easier to believe in an uncomprehendable supreme being guiding us puny men and our universe, rather than the complex laws and interactions governing every aspect of the universe being random, accidental, or coincidental. Given that, I'm not afraid to try prayer. Sometimes things work out, and the prayer is "answered". Sometimes things don't work out directly, but I've never been left worse off for a situation which I prayed on.
Why? Who knows. Despite my efforts, I'm not what one would consider a good person. No answers here. The one prayer that has not been answered is that God reveal His will so that I may pursue it.
I don't understand why or how prayer works. But I think it does. For some reason, God is on our side and wants to help us. He has given us certain basic rules to govern our lives via religion; not because He wants to force us to live a certain way, but because it is to our benefit to live in that way and He wants us to be happy and prosperous. I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth; I don't know why God has taken a benevolent interest in us, but I'm convinced that what he has given us works and I'm sticking with it as best I can.
Give prayer a try. At the least, it can't hurt.
Oh, to answer your question: I don't know. There are a lot of things I don't know.
You don't seem to get it, I don't care what you think. You can call me what you want, but I'll let you in on a secret. There's a life beyond a computer screen bud. If you want an opinion, go to one of your friends' houses, crack a beer and talk about it. Then you might actually think about it for more than a second. Hell, you might actually value your new outlook, it might become part of who you are. It could change your fucking life.
Instead, you're getting a screen and a handful of people that spout anonymous drivel at the tops of their lungs to really... nobody. You're pretty much telling each other what you think and it ends up so long-winded people skip to the last pages of the posts and then put in their two cents to raise a little number. It's someone else's anonymous opinion that you'll never pay that much attention to anyway. Hell, you've already dismissed me, just think of all those that you blew off that might have had something wise to say in the responses to your dictionary of commentary here. 10,000 posts? Jeeze, join a club or something where there's human interaction besides swapping electrons with a stranger.
I'll run along. At least I didn't waste my time on this place with 10, 000 pointless comments that nobody read.
Just pray for the Knowledge of God's will and the power to carry it out.
He know's what is best for us...so why should I bother telling HIM what to do?
Morning M4_Aiming_at_U. I took a little nap. But I have a couple of comments, if I may.
First, "that scripture is true", whetere we understand it or not.
But look carefully at what it is saying. It is encouraging Christians to pray together for things. Why? Maybe to be sure we are not "praying amiss" as the scripture says elsewhere. To be sure we are asking for the correct things.
It also encourages us to share things with other Chrisians that are on our heart.
And notice it doesn't say "if there aren't at least two of you, I won't listen". It only encourages group prayer.
And the key is the last part. Jesus says, "If you do this, I, Jesus, will be right there among you". Isn't that a great promise?
This is an important question. In fact, Jesus spoke directly to this issue. He was speaking to some scribes and Pharisees that were arguing with Jesus and saying that they were God's children. Look at what Jesus said:
John 8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Notice what Jesus is saying. Not all people are "God's children". In fact, if a person is not a Christian, i.e., they have accepted Jesus as their Savior, then their father is the devil.
God does not answer the prayers of those that are not His children. If a person is not a Christian, they are wasting their time praying unless they are praying for salvation. He is anxious to answer the prayer for salvation, but it is the only prayer an unsaved person will have answered.
The second question you asked was "Aren't all of our prayers equal"? Good question.
It seems to me that you weren't asking about the seriousness of one request in relation to others, but were asking about one Christians prayers as compared to anothers.
As you question implies, God loves all of His children and considers their prayers as important. He does not answer the prayers of some and ignore others. But some things that seem important to us, may not be as important to God.
For instance, I once begged God (I am ashamed to say) to answer a prayer for me. He said "No". It broke my heart that He would not do as I asked.
But months later, I saw that if He had done as I had asked, it would have been disasterous for me. He knew what was best and did His best for me. I cannot thank Him enough for saying "No".
See what I mean? God knows best. That's why, like Sgtar15, I end every prayer with, "But Lord, do as you know is best".
<-----BTDT.....so very glad He didn't answer that one.
This is not the "Weapons Forum". It is the "General Discussion" forum. That's what we do here. We discuss things of a general nature. Religion is one of those things.
I am really alive. I am his friend.
So I guess I don't understand your objection.
I wish I had more 'real-life' friends as well versed in the matter at hand as the 'internet friends' I have made here are.
I've asked before, and I'll ask again.....why such bitterness towards Christianity by the heathens, TWEETER?
Oh...it's a rhetorical question....no need to post an answer.
Your objection to this thread is duly noted.
ETA: I can't remember chapter/verse, but not to 'worry because God even gives birds food to eat' so how much more he will do for you if asked.
I just love trolls like this.
First, if you really don't care about his opinion there's a very simple solution. Don't read it.
Second, He may not have friends that are particularly religious and therefore do not have as much knowledge about the subject as some of the folks here. I'm in the same boat. None of my friends are very religious and believe basically as I do, so asking their opinion of such would be fairly futile. As for asking friends in general, that's what this is. It's a discussion forum. While not everyone here is considered to be friends, they are a much wider variety of people than one would meet in person. Thus the opinions and comments reflect a much more diverse knowledge base than my own circle of friends. Providing me with varying opinions and answers that may or may not agree with my pre-concieved notions. That's educational. Polling people of like minds will not educate anyone on anything they didn't already agree with in the first place. Maybe you should try hanging out at DU.
As for not wasting your time posting 10,000 responses, well, you're on your way. You just "wasted" your time posting two for no reason other than to argue with the original poster. I'm willing to bet if you really wanted an argument you could go to one of your friends houses, crack a beer, and argue all night. Instead, you've "wasted" your time reading pixles on a screen from anonymous people that you don't care anything about anyway.
Can you say hypocrit?
Jesus asked us why do we search for light in the darknes... why would you expect to find an enlightened answer from those who aren't enlightened?
There are many people who spend vasts amounts of time searching for the truth and for opportunities to share it selflessly. If you asked them via the internet, is it much different than asking them in person? Is it possible that they enjoy chatting with folks on these forums? Would the fact you heard it hear make it any less truthful?
I think most would find it easier to make a post on a site they trust, than to walk up to a pastor/preacher/father/bishop/decon etc... and ask these questions.
But I pray for you to seek and learn the truth. Jesus promises us that if we seek, we will find Matthew 7:7-12. And if we seek the kingdom of God first, then everything else will be added unto us. Matt 6:33
I pray for each one (even you) who reads this thread to find a genuine gospel preaching friend/pastor etc, learn with them and from them concerning the scriptures (bound together in what you know as the bible), and focus first on the kingdom of God and all His righteousness...
I personally am a member of an non denominational Evangelical Free Church, but there are a lot of other good ones out there.
Beware any one who tells you to earn your salvation... no one can. Matt 5:20 We all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory... (Pauls letter to the early church in Rome "Romans" Ch3:Vs 23) the only way is to accept that you are a sinner, God is perfect, loving and creator of a simple plan of Salvation: accept that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, that he rose from the dead (no one argues his tomb isn't empty), and walked the earth teaching and preaching, then ascended into heaven, and one day when all hell breaks loose on this earth (literally) he will return.
Have faith in this and when judgement day comes, all of our hearts motives and desires will be revealed, and we all will be found lacking. Jesus will stand up for those who truely know him as savior and say to God that he has paid our debt and welcome us to heaven... eternal perfection and goodness...
So all one has to do is believe... God did all the work. Why is that so scarry? Most would say becuase he gave us freedom of choice... there can not be Love without the choice not to Love. We all choose to accept or reject this. That choice has eternal consequences.
The_Neutral_Observer, I found your comments interesting and would like to address a couple of them.
That's fine, but a little bit disconcerting. Kind of like seeing the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain.
If you think that this "doesn't quite agree with Christianity", you are mistaken.
The Bible clearly teaches us that God is the Infinite Creator and we are the finite creatures. We are unable, and will always be unable, to fully understand God.
But that doesn't mean we shouldn't understand all about Him that we can. He says that He desires to show Himself to us. And He wants us to understand as much about Him as He can teach us.
I don't see anything that I would consider wrong about these statements.
This is one of the biggest problems that many have with understanding Christianity. They think that we need to be "good people" for God to love us and answer our prayers.
Christianity is not about being good. It is about a relationship with Jesus. If we trust Him as our Savior, we are saved and are God's children.
But we will still sin on a daily basis. Hopefully, we will be constantly trying to do better and better, but we also know that we will not be 100% successful.
Therefore, God tells us that we should simply ask forgivness, He will forgive us, and we go on about life.
This is one of the biggest probllems I faced in my life. I used to pray, "Lord, if you would just give me clear instructions about what you want me to do, I will follow them. Just give me a printed-up daily list, and I will follow your will."
Of course, God knows, and as I get more mature, I know, that I would fail to follow God's instructions, even if He printed up a daily list.
But more importantly, God, for some reason I do not understand, requires faith from us. He expects us to follow Him, even when we cannot see where He is leading.
He has, in fact, given me written instructions. They are contained in the Bible. But understanding them takes a lot of study and work and faith that He will speak to me from the scriptures.
He demands faith.
I would disagree with this statement, but only in this light.
I do not think that the "name it and claim it" televangelists are preaching the true Gospel. God's will for us may not be a bed of roses.
Many great people in God's family have died on the foreign mission fields doing His work. They were Joyful in His service, but not "prosperous". At least, not in this life.
God's will for me may lead down hard paths. But I know one thing for sure, Jesus will walk with me, holding my hand.
That makes two of us.
But I know Someone that knows all things.
Our biggest problem in relating with God is that we fail to grasp the magnificense of our Heavenly Father.
God the Father, God the Son/Christ, and God the Holy Spirit, the mysterious and ultimately unfathomable God in One Being seeks a relationship with us. It is through our search for that relationship, prayer being a great example, that we join our spirits with God.
God wants an individual relationship with each and every person. He also wants us to have relationships with others that reflect the glory of God.
When we seek God and open our hearts to His power, we are transformed in the spirit. The more we seek God, the more he reveals Himself to us. We are to take our transformed spirit and share with others. In other words, we are to love God above all others with our hearts, minds, and souls. And we are to love others as Jesus loves us.
Earlier this year, I was at rock bottom. I sought a relationship with God that was better than the one I have had with Him for decades. I didn't just drop down on my knees, say the magic words and have everything work out right. I stood before a group of strangers who also seek the will of God and confessed my brokeness. Through my confession of a broken spirit, through their prayers of intercession, I received grace in one of its most precious forms, forgiveness of myself and others.
As I experienced this healing I sought more of God and He responded as it was His will that I be at a better place spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Again I received more from God than I even now can fully comprehend. I received an annointing of the Spirit.
If this comes across as to confusing or too spiritual, don't feel bad. Though I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord in 1974, it was not until a full 30 years later that I was blessed with a transformation of my spirit that can come only from the One True God.
For more than six months and in spite of the pain of strife of abandonment (by my wife of nearly 30 years), divorce proceedings, and all the other struggles with jobs, health and family, I wake up each day knowing that God loves me, that he wants me to love others and to encourage them to be closer to God. I share my message of personal redemption with family, friends and yes, even business acquaintances. My family and friends say that I am almost unrecognizable from last year. I have a spirit of forgiveness, patience, love, and hope.
None of this was within my power to do. The changes in me are a result of God's power. I had to be willing to accept dramatic change because God does not force Himself on anyone.
I was past my 48th birthday when I received the healing of my spirit from God through his sevant and messanger, the Holy Spirit. I am spiritually and emotionally healthy for the first time in my life. I have no bitterness or regret that for whatever reasons it took so long. I am so thankful for the change that He has wrought in me. I live in God's peace. I live in God's grace.
Isn't He Wonderful?
The life of the redeemed man is indeed in the hand of God. But the life of the unredeemed is owned by Satan, who Adam gave dominion over all the earth and mankind to.
So if gang-bangers break into my house tonight, I am in the hands of Almighty God. They cannot take my life for I am protected by His great power. No weapon formed against me shall prosper, and since I have surrendered my life to His purpose, I am covered by His protection.
All things work together for the good of those that love Him and are the called according to His purpose.
And I have an AR15 ready to use to combat thugs who break into my house, but that is another discussion...
When someone has not placed their lives under the authority of Almighty God, they have no legitimate claim on divine protection. This is not to say that God will not protect, merely that the protection brought about by the blood of Christ does not apply to the unsaved.
God often uses the evils perpetrated against us as an opportunity to draw us close. He does not manufacture or send the evil per se, but knowing what will happen to us He does have the ability to work in us at a time where we are in greatest recognition of our helplessnes.
So God may indeed provide a miracle to protect even unsaved people from harm out of His great love, but He is not obligated to do anything for them. The children that genuinely belong to Him are protected by His mighty hand at all times.
There is truth to this.
God is much bigger than our ability to comprehend. If we could fully grasp God with the powers of reason, then God would be inferior to our reason.
When God does things (and I am talking about the times where God is genuinely the one doing the work, not the times we are attacked by humans or by the forces of darkness...) that don't make sense to us, then we simply have to have faith.
The hurricanes, for instance, are things that no moral evil caused. No moral failing of man directly caused these events. The winds and the waves assaulted everyone without regard for religion, race, creed, or sex. Many were killed. It would not suprise me to see that some of the people who were killed or who lost everything were Christians.
Why would God allow it?
I don't really know. I do have some firsthand knowledge of how good God has been to me, and I know that the intents of His heart to all of us are pure and loving. Thus in an instance where what I see would SEEM to contradict what I know about God, I must simply operate in faith.
I believe that God is a good God who has thoughts of love and gentleness to me. I believed this before I was saved, and before I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I saw Him in this fashion because of His word. After being saved and Spirit filled, I then heard God's own voice confirm these things to me.
But before I could experience God's love in a tangible way, I had to accept by faith that He loved me even though I felt condemned and distant from Him.
I have faith in God because of the revelation of His charachter in His word. My faith in God's charachter and His word are all that I have.
God Himself is unchanging. He is today what He was 10 million years ago and what He will be 50 billion years from now.
I cannot pray enough to lower His standards or to make Him anything other than God.
But God is not merely a force in nature. He is a person, with all the elements of personality including emotions. God's emotions never control Him, but He does have them and they are indeed more powerful than anything we experience.
Our prayers cannot change who God is, but on some matters we can change God's mind. When the Samaritan woman wanted Jesus to heal her daughter, Jesus told her that He would not give the children's food to the dogs. Jesus was essentially saying that His ministry was to the children of Israel first. He called her a dog, for crying out loud.
Yet she persisted, and eventually Jesus healed her daughter. This woman's dedication to her daughter and her faith that Jesus was indeed the only one that could help her so tugged at Jesus' heart that He couldn't help but meet the need.
Jesus gave us the parable of the woman and the unjust judge. The woman pestered the unjust judge for justice and eventually he got so tired of her that he granted her request to get her out of his hair.
We are not to try and pedantically pester God into giving us what we want. The point of that parable is that persitence with God pays off. It means that we can appeal to Him to change His mind. Moses did it, Hezekiah did it, Abraham did it, even Ahab did it! God declared judgement on Ahab for his wickedness, and when Ahab heard it he tore his robe and put on sackcloth and ashes. God was so moved by Ahab's humbling himself that God lessened the judgement on Ahab.
God's mind can be changed. God can extend mercy to someone he proclaimed judgement upon if someone will argue in their stead, or if that person will cast themselves at His mercy. Just like a judge in a court can do justice in his eyes, God can do what is just and can change His mind when appealed to from a pure heart.
David, who knew God's heart about as well as any human being on earth, pleaded with God to save the son of his adultery with Bathsheba. David would not have done this if he perceived God to be immovable. David's request was not granted, but it shows us that David knew God's mind was not fixed in every matter, and that appeals to His great mercy could indeed change the course of events.
That is a lesson for us.
Prayer done properly does change us. But just as we have many different facets of our personality, so too does God. He is Abba Father, the loving and gentle one who gave Himself for us. But the Bible shows that He is also a just judge, deciding matters of justice. He is shown as a man of war, and a great King. God manifests differently as He wills.
When God has manifested as Judge and King on a matter, we can still approach Him like Esther approaching her king, to find mercy in His sight. God at His heart is a father, and He will at least listen to the cries of His children. He is not cold and immovable.
He can even give us the desires of our heart, even when they are bad for us! Remember that God gave the children of Israel quail in the desert, but He judged them for eating it. Thus we must be very careful what we ask God for.