God Does Not Answer My Prayers

Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.”
Exodus 5:22‭-‬23

The Israelites suffered many years and years of unanswered prayers. Sure, God was answering in His time but the Israelites had to wake up each day and endure the cruel work of slavery. They would pray for deliverance and still have to live day after day in misery. They must have thought that God was not listening or worse, He didn’t care about their pain and struggles. Even when Moses came as the deliverer, it got much worse before it got better… so much, that Moses had words with God (Exodus 5:22-23).

For those who had suffered long, God did have a deliverance planned for many, many years later. But that is difficult to appreciate when you are the one praying and waiting… and the circumstances don’t change, except for the worse. One may begin to feel that it really doesn’t matter if he asks the Lord because He won’t answer his prayers. Sadly, that thinking can be the slippery slope of not talking to God at all onto not believing in God at all.

When this thinking bounces around in your thoughts then you must remind yourself of some truths…

MismatchGod’s ways are not ours.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord , that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:6‭-‬9 ESV

When you feel as though God doesn’t hear your prayers, or won’t answer them, or that He doesn’t care, then you need to remember your place. You get the great privilege to know God and talk to God, not the other way around. It is not “Oh lucky God that He gets to hear from me!” You may know what is good, but not what is best. You may know what is right, but not what God is working. You are finite and He is infinite. You are sinful and He is holy. You need Him, He doesn’t need you. Therefore, your place is listening to, waiting on, receiving from, and thanking God.

MeansGod uses pain and waiting to develop godly character in us.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Hebrews 11:39‭-‬40 ESV

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:7-11 ESV

When you feel stuck in life’s pain or frustration then you must remember: no pain, no gain! We realize this in diet and exercise, sports and skills, academia and achievement. There must be hard work, sacrifice, and discipline to lose weight, build muscle, learn an instrument, master a skill, and excel. It is also true in growing in godliness.

God uses pain, difficulty, frustration, waiting and suffering to grow us. It’s our gym and workout regiment. It’s our scales and practice sessions. It’s our homework and internship. Suffer, hurt, wait equals grow in godliness. Jesus even modeled this for our benefit:

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Hebrews 12:3‭-‬4 ESV

In the moments where you feel that you cannot endure anymore, remember Jesus. Remember that God is working His holiness in you and that takes enduring pain, frustration, and waiting.

MotivationWe can either live out of hatred, bitterness, fear, and anger OR love and gratitude.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
Hebrews 12:12‭-‬15 ESV

You may feel that root of bitterness growing in you as you see the wicked prosper or hear only the clank of your prayers hitting the brass heavens. Feelings fuel your thoughts that inflame your feelings that drive you deeper and deeper into depression and despair, anger and isolation. You must stop and consider what is driving you and where it is taking you.

You really don’t want to be bitter and miserable… and most likely, you don’t want to spread that venom to others. The question is, where do we find joy?

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4‭-‬7 ESV

Paul knew that rejoicing is a decision and not a feeling. We decide to live in joy and go to God. We pray, seeking God to change our hearts more than our circumstances. Situations may change but it is more important that God influence the way we view our situation. When we see things from God’s perspective then there is peace. God is in control, God has a plan, God has a purpose, and God will one day make things right.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
1 John 1:1‭-‬4 ESV

Jesus is our way to joy. John recounts the words and works of Jesus because He is our salvation and hope. The gospel message brings joy. We need to be reminded of our biggest problem to put all our others struggles in perspective. God has dealt with that in Jesus. The prayers have been heard and the waiting is over- sin, death and hell have been conquered.

Remember that we all deserve death and hell, right now! Jesus did something about that. You are alive and have the opportunity of eternal life in Jesus. Start there and build on that, the many blessings and provisions that God has given. After all, the Israelites did have blessings in Egypt:

Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
Numbers 11:4‭-‬6 ESV


Groundhog Day and the Winter of the Soul

This Groundhog Day I spent watching the movie “Groundhog Day” twelve times in a row… yes, the Groundhog Day movie marathon for 24 passes to the movies. As I watched the movie over and over and over again, I was reminded of the book of Ecclesiastes. Just like Phil Connors, Solomon was despairing of life “under the sun.” Phil Connors, an arrogant weatherman, gets stuck in Punxsutawney covering the Groundhog’s day celebration. Over and over he relives the same day, February 2, until he realizes that life is more than his myopic self centered ambitions and love is more than self seeking romance. Solomon, king of Israel, walks a similar journey as he ponders the meaning of life and the vanity of the pursuits of living.

Phil Connors:

“You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.”


Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
(Ecclesiastes 1:2 ESV)

The movie unfolds as several questions about life are asked:


1. If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you want to live?

The movie opens with Phil doing the weather forecast and asking this question. It begs the thoughts of: where do you want to be in life? Many times we do not stop to take the time to think about where we are and where we would like to be. We live in a hurried frenzy of activity tending to the tyranny of the urgent. We try to crowd out our feelings of unhappiness, discontent, and frustration with mass quantities of entertainment (like movie marathons), medications, alcohol, sports, and hobbies. We numb our existence and neglect the reality of why we are here. So ask yourself, Where would I like to be?

2. Why is this happening to me?/ What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was the same, and nothing you did mattered?” (Cynicism)

When Phil finds him in the G-hog Day loop, he asks, “I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters. *That* was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I get *that* day over, and over, and over… ” Basically, he is asking about why THIS is happening to him. Each day repeats itself and it is really not the day he would like to be living. The crust of cynicism covers his heart and he feels anger and frustration. Solomon experienced the same as he writes:

What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be
among those who come after.
(Ecclesiastes 1:3-11 ESV)

3. What if there is no tomorrow? (Hedonism)

The next stage of Phil’s descent is when he realizes that there are NO consequences to his actions. He can do whatever he pleases and still wake up the next morning unscathed. Yet, this leaves Phil wanting and unsatisfied. Solomon made the same pursuit and felt the disappointment as well:

I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man.
So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 ESV)

4. What if you had one day to live? What would you do with it? (Existentialism)

Phil seeks meaning in the midst of his confusion and disappointment. He tries to go after what he wants to gain some meaning and purpose. This happens to be Rita, his love interest. While he does get to spend time with her and enjoy a delightful evening, her love is elusive. His desires are never satisfied and he is left wanting. Solomon makes the same pursuits in wisdom, work, and right living but still feels the sting of failure. What good is being good if this is all there is?

I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 2:18-23 ESV)

5. What does it matter? (Nihilism/Despair- “End of me”)

Phil finally reaches the end of himself. Without Rita’s love there is no reason to live. He tries to kill himself in many different ways: driving off a cliff, toaster in the tub, jumping in front of truck, and jumping off a building. He wakes up the next morning to the bleak existence of life. Solomon reaches this rock bottom as well…

Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:1-4 ESV)

6. How do you know I’m not a god? (Mysticism)

Phil concludes, after surviving numerous suicide attempts, that he is a god. He seems indestructible.

Rita: I’m sorry? What was that again?
Phil: I’m a god.
Rita: You’re God.
Phil: I’m a god — I’m not the God, I don’t think.
Rita: Because you survived a car wreck?
Phil: I didn’t just survive a wreck; I wasn’t just blown up yesterday. I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted and burned.
Rita: Oh really?
Phil: Every morning I wake up without a scratch on me, not a dent in the fender: I am an immortal.
Doris: Special today is blueberry waffles…
Rita: Why are you telling me this?
Phil: Because I want you to believe in me.
Rita: You’re not a god. You can take my word for it; this is 12 years of Catholic school talkin’.
Phil: How do you know I’m not a god? How do you know?
Rita: Because it’s not possible!

Regardless of delusions of deity, if people are honest then they realize that all are created not the Creator, all are clueless not omniscient, and all are limited or finite not infinite. Somehow in the haze of uncertainty and depression, there can be a pursuit to deify oneself. Phil, like many religions, clouds the unknown with mystical inventions that miss the point of his predicament.

7. Is this what you do with eternity? (Awareness)

Phil begins to think he may be a god. He entreats Rita to investigate this with him by spending the day together. As she observes how he spends the day and learns how he has spent (wasted) the previous days she questions his use of time. We are all given the days of our lives to spend on the pursuits we choose. We may not like some of the parameters of our existence but we still have many opportunities to experience the joys of living. Solomon expresses this:

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
(Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 ESV)

What Phil begins to realize is that life is more than his self centered pursuits and that each new day, even though it is the same day, is a gift or opportunity. He begins trying to find ways to help others, learn about many subjects, and build relationships with those around him. He is even brought to the edge of his own capabilities as he tries to help a homeless man from dying. Although he can change many things for the good, he cannot do everything. What Phil sees is his own weakness, the kindness of Rita and the folks of Punxsutawney, and the opportunity to meet others needs. Life has meaning and consequences and we can change for the good.

Phil Connors: “I don’t deserve someone like you. But If I ever could, I swear I would love you for the rest of my life.”

Solomon sums it up like this:

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV)

8. Why are you still here? (Bought and Owned)

The movie takes an intimate turn where Phil and Rita finally come together. Rita buys Phil at a charity auction for $339.88. She owns him for the evening. As the spend the evening dancing and chatting with the people of Punxsutawney, they remark that it is the best night of their lives. Phil makes an ice sculpture of Rita’s face and she responds:

Rita: It’s beautiful. I don’t know what to say.

Phil: I do. Whatever happens tomorrow, or for the rest of my life, I’m happy now… because I love you.

Phil realizes that he can love. The next morning Phil wakes up to “tomorrow” or February 3 and pinches Rita to make sure it is real. He asks her why she is still there and she responds, “because I bought you, I own you.” This is a good picture of the relationship with have with our LORD. As He moves us through the frustrations and struggles of life, we see His kindness, grace, and mercy. We realize that He paid a great price for us… all He could give in His Son Jesus Christ. We awake from despair to the gospel message and that He bought us and owns us. As Paul states:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

9. Is there anything I can do for you today? (worship/service)

Phil then proceeds to ask Rita this question. This shows his gratitude and passion for her. When we understand the life that God has for us, we should respond in worship and service. You may feel trapped in the winter of despair and go through the different views of life. You may wonder what life is all about. Solomon marks the road for us and leads us to the front door of the gospel. He observes that life “under the sun” or from only an earthly perspective is meaningless or vanity. But God gives life meaning and purpose. There are consequences to our actions and an eternity to life for.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV)

What we must discover as Phil and Solomon did are these realities:

a. My plight

b. God’s kindness

c. Other’s needs

When we know our condition as sinners then we can turn to the Savior. When we turn to the Savior we realize His great love and mercy. As we experience His work in our lives then we can reach out to others to share the good news of salvation.

Ned Ryerson was the annoying insurance agent and former classmate of Phil’s that accosted him many times through the movie. Ned’s go to phrase was, “BING!” So we will use that as an acrostic to remember the points.

B- Be honest with your condition in life and Be open to what God is revealing to you through circumstances and people.

I- Investigate your faulty views of life, of yourself, of God, and of eternity.

N- Never forget WHO owns you. (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)

G- Get your focus on things above (Colossians 3:1-3). Life is out of focus when we see it on from “under the sun.”

! Live with zeal for God because He is good and is working things toward your good.


If we are honest, we don’t agree with how God does things. We don’t like or understand what He ordains or allows at times. We look at the pain, suffering, injustice, and frustrations and believe that there must be a better way than this. We think of the many times we have cried out to God with prayers and questions and have only received silence. We get swallowed up in feelings of anger and despair. The feelings of hurt, hopeless, and hate well up and seem to control our thoughts and even actions.

What do we do? Where do we go? How can we steer out if this fatal skid? The Psalmists in the Bible ran to God with all their messy questions, hurts, fears, and ferlings. Even though God seemed silent and aloof, they continued to bring their situations before Him.


They kept asking. When we stop wrestling, stop seeking, stop caring, stop hoping, that is when we miss out on what God is doing. God’s silence isn’t abandonment and in most situations, God is speaking and we aren’t listening. He has given us Jesus. That answers many of life’s question as we listen to the life and work of Jesus. He has given us His word, which speaks to many more if life’s questions. He has given us His presence. That may not answer our questions but it does give us peace, hope, and comfort.

We must ask for His wisdom and Spirit! As we do, then we must look to where our questions lead us.


Feelings and frustrations can be overwhelming! They can dominate us and lead us to many destructive behaviors. When we feel this way, we must stop and identify what is consuming us. Then we must ask for God to consume us. God’s fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. All of those are preferred to hate, anger, guilt, fear, bitterness, hurt, destruction, and isolation. Feelings can consume us and that is why need to stop and ask for the Holy Spirit to consume us.

We must ask what is consuming us? As we do, our feelings must be brought under right thinking and the right perspective… God’s perspective. It may seem more illusive than it really is.


Life’s questions can corner us into our own limited wisdom and understanding. We think that we know better than God… plan better than God… care more than God… see more than God. Since life doesn’t work the way we think it should and our prayers aren’t answered the way we think they should be then God needs to be replaced or helped out. But as Job was reminded, we are not God!

We must be confronted by our limits of understanding and perception. We must realize our finiteness. We must see that we don’t know the whole story or plan. Like a child challenging a parent or a student questioning a teacher, we think and act without really knowing all that is going on. God will reveal what He wants to reveal in His time. That is difficult to stomach but that’s the way it is.

We must ask for our wisdon and understanding to be expanded to God’s perspective. As we do, there may be a wrestling match between God’s ways and will and ours.


We may know what is right but we may not want to do it. We may acknowledge God’s ways but don’t want to walk in them. Simply put, we must let God be God. We may not like or unstand His ways but that is just the way it goes. We can resist and throw a fit but God is still in charge and we have just wasted time, energy, and resources. Usually, that waste is destructive and something we regret later. We can be the child throwing a tantrum, the child rebelling and facing the consequences, or be the obedient child. We all know which child that we would like to have, therefore it would be best for us to be that child for God.

We must ask God to help us surrender to His plans and purposes, His will and ways.

God created us to love Him and be loved by Him, to enjoy Him in the many blessings of life, and to bring glory to Him by being like Him. When we wrestle and resist then we miss the peace and enjoyment of life. Ecclesiastes says that life is a vapor, here and gone. Blessings and tragedies are that way too, here and gone. God is orchestrating all this and it will all end gloriously one day. Therefore, we should live life asking God, consumed by God, expanded by God, and surrendered to God. Then we can receive peace, comfort, and enjoyment.

Hebrews 12

How Are We Doing?

As I’ve watched my boys grow into men, I have lived the saying, “Time flies and your kids will be grown up before you know it!” There are many precious memories and many regrets… the biggest is that I wish I had spent more quality time with them. As many parents realize, the pressures of life, work, bills, etc. tend to take front seat while building the relationships we would like sits in the backbeat. How do we change this and make it right? How do we order our lives, time, finances, and activity to make room for what is best?

Two important ideas:
1. Good or bad habits start with and are solidified by little daily thoughts, words, and actions. Many repeated small steps take us far in one direction. Many bad habits form because they are not addressed moment by moment daily.

2. Silence is not addressing the problem. Once a cry is heard then comfort or correction can come. Many problems fester because they never are addressed. Also, waiting for the “right” time to address issues usually leads to too late because rarely does the “right” time come. We need to make time for what is important.

This leads us to some questions we can ask to help nudge us in the right direction:

How does our time, activity, and resources:

  • Reflect and encourage love for God?
  • Develop love and enjoyment for each other?
  • Express love for others?
  • Build each of us up individually to be and do what God created us for?

Pick and plan a time to sit down with the fam and discuss these questions. Create an atmosphere to be open, honest, and creative. Each of these questions deserves discussion and answers. In order to snap out of bad habits, unhealthy routines, and wasting precious moments, these questions must be addressed.

Here are some suggestions to help get the ideas flowing:

How can we better reflect and encourage love for God?

  • Bible time
  • Family prayer time
  • Weekly memory verses
  • Join small group at church
  • Fellowship with believers OVER sports

How can we better develop love and enjoyment for each other?

  • Family game nights
  • Walks in the park
  • Read a book together
  • Eat dinner at table together

How can we better express love for others?

  • Bring meals or help to those who have needs
  • Neighbor nights: get neighbors together for food and games
  • Visit nursing homes (good as small group activity)

How can we better build each of us up individually to be and do what God created us for?

  • Pray about and discuss what each person believes God has made them for.
  • Do my current activities and use of time develop in me what is best? (Sometimes something good can be the enemy of what is best)
  • Does time with sports and entertainment outweigh time developing better things in life?

God created us to live a life bringing glory to Him and enjoying Him. The very many things of life should draw our attention to Him and His ways. The real issue us that we miss this in most of our busyness and activity (or inactivity). We need to take time to do a heart check and an evaluation of how we spent our time, energy, and resources. Otherwise, life will slip by and we will miss out on God’s greater blessings. Like a vapor, life’s seasons are here and gone, will we be left with regret and frustrations or contentment and enjoyment?

How Is Your Walk With God? 

A few years ago, a friend remarked that he thought it was weird that a pastor asked him how his walk with God was going. I thought it was sad that he was weirded out by that question, for as brothers and sisters in Christ, we should all be asking and encouraging each other in this (Hebrews 10:24). As believers, we all have a walk with God, be it bumpy and bruised or close and constant. Each walk should entail our prayer life, our gospel infusion, and our Scripture interaction. As we lovingly and caringly ask our brothers and sisters about their walk with God, let us encourage or spur them on in these areas.

Prayer Life 

Do you talk with God?

Are you coming to God throughout your daily experiences?

Like the Psalms record prayers to God in both good times and bad, distress and rejoicing, we should be coming to God in all situations. For God, our Heavenly Father, knows and sees, loves and cares, hurts and rejoices. Our Heavenly Father is the first person we should turn to.  Sadly, we turn to others for gossip and slander to work our hurt and strife, or to worldly wisdom and advice to work through indecision and confusion, or addiction and entertainment to medicate our frustrations and loneliness. But there our Heavenly Father waits for us to come to Him.

Gospel Infusion 

How does your awareness of your sin and God’s grace affect how you view yourself and others?

Our understanding of the gospel is of greatest importance. If we misunderstand it, then we are buried in guilt and fear or untethered, floating in a vast and treacherous sea of sin and confusion. The gospel clearly states who we are, as condemned sinners who are forgiven and free by Jesus’ work. It clearly states who God is, as our holy, righteous, and just creator, who loves us enough to save us and restore us. This understanding invigorates us to live holy and God pleasing lives. It helps us view others as fellow beggars and strugglers. It helps us live lifes oozing and ooching mercy, love, grace, and righteousness (Romans 6-8). 

Scripture Interaction 

Do you read the Bible? 

As you do, do you sense God’s power? Conviction? Peace? Direcion? Hope?

The Bible is God’s word to us. The thoughts, desires, commands, plans, promises, and purposes of God were recorded by men in prayers, visions, stories, histories, wisdom, and poetry. God’s word is what we need to hear from God and learn of His heart and ways. If we are walking with God it is essential that we immerse ourselves in understanding and applying His word to our lives. We do this purposefully by planning times of reading, hearing, meditating, and memorizing. God’s word is living and active which means that it is what we need to keeping going and growing (Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Let it not be weird to ask each other about our walk with God! Day by day, step by step, let us keep growing closer to our Heavenly Father, expanding and overflowing in our understanding of grace, being assured, inspired, convicted, and challenged in wisdom and truth. As Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden, may we delight each day in the presence of our Creator and Savior! It’s not wierd but loving to ask and care about that. 

Heavenly Father

With thoughts of Father’s Day, it is good to remember and draw near to our Heavenly Father. Many are without fathers or good fathers, so it is comforting to know that we all can come to our Creator, Sustainer, Savior, or Heavenly Father. Both as an example to us as a father and as a relationship that we must develop, God is our Heavenly Father. He is a good father and many have walked in His ways by being good fathers by:

Listening and Caring
God desires to know us and be known by us. He has opened up the lines of communication by revealing Himself in creation, His words, and His Son, Jesus. Jesus told us to pray to Him as our Heavenly Father (Matthew 6:5-9). This is a relationship of love, care, listening, and enjoying. As our Heavenly Father, God delights in us as His children and wants us to come to Him at all times and situations (Think of the Psalms, where these men came to God and expressed their hearts of fear, anger, sadness, hurt, loss, frustration, and anxiety).

Providing and Protecting
God desires that we realize that He is our rock and salvation. He is where we should run for help, safety, and hope. God is all-wise and knows what is best for us. He is all-powerful and can do anything or provide anything that we need. As our Heavenly Father, he is with us, giving to us, keeping us, and wants us to run to Him and trust in Him. We should have great peace and less anxiety knowing that our Heavenly Father is providing for us and protecting us. (Matthew 6:11, 25-34)

Disciplining and Directing
God has a plan and purpose. We are a part of that. God is working His glory and our good. He is bringing His kingdom to our hearts. As our Heavenly Father, he disciplines us to make us more like Him or what we were created to be. His discipline is sometimes confusing or painful and we chafe under His loving guidance. We must remember that He knows what is best and is working what is best in us and ultimately in this world.

Like a good father disciplines his children, God does the same. He is working holiness and love in us. He is working eternal things and helping to have the right undestanding and appreciation of worldly things. We should surrender to His loving guidance and direction. (Hebrews 12:7-11; Matthew 6:10, 19-24)

So the challenge and encouragement is that:
1. We all have a Heavenly Father to run to, talk with, and trust in… He loves us more than we will ever know.
2. As fathers, we have an example to follow in listening and caring, providing and protecting, and disciplining and directing.
3. We should encourage the fathers who are walking in the ways of our Heavenly Father and let them know they are loved and appreciated.
4. We should train our young men to walk in the ways of our Heavenly Father so that we have loving, peaceful, nurturing, and godly families.

Defeating the Murmur Monster

Life is difficult and how we respond to that difficulty demonstrates our measure of trust and delight in God. Many times we are too self-centered or self-focused that we miss all the God is doing and working in us and in others. When we are self-focused, we complain, gripe, or murmur. The books of Exodus and Numbers show us what God thinks of murmuring and it should be a warning for us when we spot it in our thinking and attitudes. 

Murmuring is complaining about people or situations, which shows our lack of trust and gratefulness in God and spreads to infect others with this bitter spirit.

Hebrews 12:14-15 (Root of Bitterness- this is a heart condition)

Ways that we murmur:

Numbers 11-12

  • Disappointment– I’m not getting what I want! (11:4)

  • Nostalgia– The old days were better! (11:5) (Ecclesiastes 7:10)

  • Blame/Accusation– Why did God bring us here? (11:6) Why (God) are you doing this to me? (11:11)

  • Defeat– I can’t do this! (11:12-14)

  • Ultimatum– If You do this, God then I’ll be able to handle it. (11:15)

  • Doubt– This can’t work! (11:22-22)

  • Envy– Why them and not ME! (12:2)

God’s Response:

  • Anger (Numbers 11:1)

  • Help work through the situation (Numbers 11:16-17)

  • Hears the cries (Numbers 11:18)

  • Appropriate consequences (Numbers 11:19-20)

  • Anger/Plague (Numbers 11:33))

  • Puts people in their place (Numbers 12:5-9)

  • Anger/ Leaves (Numbers 12:9)

  • Sends Disease (Numbers 12:10-12)

Other passages: Exodus 16:7-8; Numbers 14:27-36; 16:11; 17:5

Fighting the Murmur Monster

Remember Hebrews 12:14-15 (Root of Bitterness)

Principles from Philippians

  1. What does this matter since Christ is proclaimed? (Philippians 1:18)

  2. Humility (Philippians 2:3-11)

  3. Pure and Blameless witness (Philippians 2:14-15)

  4. Eternal Values and Goals (Philippians 3:7-10)

  5. Philippians 4:4-9

    1. God is NEAR

    2. God will HEAR

    3. Seek His PEACE

    4. Set your mind on GODLY THINGS

    5. PRACTICE what you have received-the GOSPEL

When we sense murmuring inside our hearts then we must remind ourselves of:

Who God is (His loving-kindness)

What God is doing/working (His holiness and kingdom)

What should be most important to us (What God wants)