When God Says No

“Call to Me and I will answer you . . .”   Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

One Of The Many Reasons God Says ‘No’:

  1. God says ‘no’ when he has a bigger perspective

“He knows about everyone everywhere. Everything about us is bare and wide open to the all-seeing eyes of our living God; nothing can be hidden from Him . . .” Hebrews 4:13 LB

“(God) guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.”  Proverbs. 2:8 NIV

  1. God says ‘no’ when he has a better plan

“This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are My thoughts the same as yours! For My ways are higher than yours.”  Isaiah 55:8-9 LB

“These were commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better. . .” Hebrews 11:39-40 NIV

  • God has all of eternity to fulfill His Promises

 

  1. God says ‘no’ when he has a greater purpose

“The purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is. Your faith is more precious than gold.” 1 Peter 1:7 GW

“These present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they will produce in us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!  So, we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT

“Just as you’ll never understand how the mystery of life forms in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does.” Ecclesiastes 11:5 MSG

 

 

What Should I Do When God Says ‘No’?

  1. Trust that god does everything out of his goodness and love

 “All the ways of the Lord are loving . . .”  Psalm 25:10 NIV

“In everything God works for the good of those who love Him.” Romans 8:28 ICB

  • I don’t have to understand God’s answer to know that it is motivated by love

 

  1. When in pain, pray what Jesus prayed facing the cross

“Abba! My Father! All things are possible for you! Please take this cup of suffering away from me! Yet I want your will, not mine, to be done!” Mark 14:35-36

The Right Way to Pray:

  • Affirm God’s power

“Father, I know you can do anything!”

  • Ask with passion

“Father, please give me what I ask!”

  • Accept God’s plan

“However, what I want most is your will!”

  1. Expect god to give his grace to handle his answer

“Three times I prayed to the Lord about this and asked him to take it away. But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” So, I gladly boast about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power can flow through me! . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong!”  2 Corinthians 12:8-10 

How to Pray When You’re in Pain

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” CS Lewis

“The Cross is the central event in time and eternity, and the answer to all the problems of both.” Oswald Chambers

“…Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV

  • Pain is a reality of life
  • Pain has a purpose
  • Pain can be denied, numbed, or embraced as a gift
  • Pain can teach us how to pray

“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matthew 26:36-46 NIV

 

How to Pray When You’re in Pain:

P Petition the prayers and help of others (Matthew 26:36-37)

“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:13 NIV

“…mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15 NIV

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way,  you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV 

 

A Allow yourself to feel what you feel (Matthew 26:38)

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”

 

I Imitate how Jesus prayed (Matthew 39, 42)

  • Jesus addressed God with His intimate & personal title “My Father” lit. “Abba”
  • Jesus pleaded to the power of a loving Father

“If it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.”

(If Jesus asked to change his circumstances so can we)

  • Jesus yielded to the plan of a sovereign Father

“My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

“The Father said “no” to the Son and that “no” brought about the greatest good in all history.” Vaneetha Riner

 

N Nourish your soul in God’s promises before, during, and after your season of pain

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

“God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.”

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV

Hungering for God

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 NIV

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 NIV

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6 NIV

 

How Do I Nurture My Hunger for God?

  • I need to acknowledge my hunger
  • I need to realize what I’m hungry for
  • I need to eliminate the things that suppress my hunger for God
  • I need to practice the things that increase my hunger for God

 

What is Spiritual Fasting?

  • Fasting is a voluntary abstinence of food (or other things), for spiritual power and growth.

“Fasting is not a no to the goodness of food or the generosity of God in providing it. Rather, it is a way of saying, from time to time, that having more of the Giver surpasses having the gift.” John Piper

  • Fasting is expected

 

“When you fast…” Matthew 6:16

 

  • Fasting helps us gain discipline, discipline leads to godliness

 

“…discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8-9 NASB

  • Fasting demonstrates humility and dependence on God

“I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.” Psalm 35:13 NIV

 

  • Fasting is a way of seeking God for a breakthrough

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6 NIV

 

  • Fasting is way of seeking God’s wisdom and direction

 

“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” Acts 13:2-3 NIV

 

  • Fasting is a way of strengthening our prayers

 

“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:21 NKJV

 

Four Types of Fasts:

Normal Fast: Abstaining from food, but not water (Matthew 4:2)

 

Partial Fast: Limiting the diet to certain foods or from certain foods, (Daniel 1:12, Matthew 3:4) or certain activities or pleasures.

 

Private Fast: Do not announce it, do not complain, do not neglect appearance (Matthew 6:16-18)

 

Congregational Fast: (Nehemiah 9:1)

 

When you fast… Drink a lot of water, Feed your spirit, and try and let it become a habit in your walk.

 

 

How to Receive an Answer From God

To Receive an Answer From God I Need To…

  • Surrender to His timing

 

Keep Praying Until One of Three Things Happens:

  1. You get an answer
  2. You get assurance
  3. God shows you it is not His will

 

  • Let Him answer His way

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

Two Problems We Often Bring to Prayer:

  1. We ask too little
  2. We want it too quick

 

“God always gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him.” Leonard Ravenhill

 

 

  • Remind yourself that the answer lies in His power and ability, not yours

 

  1. God often waits until something is humanly impossible to answer
  2. God gets the glory, we have our faith increased

 

  • Be willing to let God answer for His own purpose

 

  1. Elizabeth & Zacharias wanted a son, God wanted John the Baptist

 

  1. God’s plan is always bigger and better than ours’s

 

 

  • Believe that delays, detours, and dead ends are God’s opportunities for growth and platforms for His glory

 

“Obey and leave the consequences up to God.” Charles Stanley

The Model Prayer

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And 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.” Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV

 

  1. Give God your worship

“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name”

  

  1. Give God your will

“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

 

  1. Give God your worries

“Give us this day our daily bread”

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

 

  1. Give God your wrongs

“And forgive us our debts”

 

  1. Give God your wounds

“as we forgive our debtors”

 

  1. Give God your war

“And 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.”

 

  1. Remember to pray together

Our Father, Give Us, Our daily bread, forgive us, lead us…”

“I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19-20 NIV

When You Pray

  1. We are to pray

“…when you pray…” Matthew 6:5 NLT

 

 

  1. We are to pray in private

“…when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private…” Matthew 6:6a 

 

  1. We are to pray authentically

“When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” Matthew 6:7 NIV 

 

 

  • God is not about quantity, but quality
  • God is not about span, but sincerity

 

  1. We are to pray in faith

“…your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8 NIV

 

  • Prayer is an opportunity to express submission to God’s will even when His will is unclear
  • Prayer is an opportunity to express dependence on His provision

 

  1. We should practice different ways of prayer

 

  • Pray through the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)
  • Pray through the Psalms

“Psalms keeps me honest by furnishing words to prayers I would not pray apart from their prompting.” Philip Yancey

  • Pray through the prayers of others
  • Pray and personalize the prayers of Paul
    (Romans 15:5-6, Ephesians 1:16-22, Philippians 1:9-11, Colossians 1:19-14, 1 Thessalonians 3:10-13, 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)

The Starting Point of Prayer

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of the disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray…’”  Luke 11:1 NIV

4 Foundational Truths About Prayer:

  1. God wants me to talk with Him

“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who reverence him.” Psalm 103:13 NLT

“We can be confident in approaching God, knowing that he listens to us whenever we ask him for anything according to his will. And since we know that he hears us when we make our requests, then we can be sure that he will answer us.” 1 John 5:14-15 NIV

  • Prayer is a conversation not a ceremony
  • Prayer is a relationship not a ritual

“I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12 NCV

  1. God listens to prayers that are sincere and simple

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they’ve received their reward in full. Instead, when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep babbling on and on like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:5-8 NIV

“Let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith . . .” Hebrews 10:22 TEV

 

 

 

  1. God likes to show His grace by answering prayer

“Call to me and I will answer you. I will show you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” Jeremiah 33:3 MSG

“If you, being imperfect and sinful parents know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him?” Matthew 7:11 NLT

“You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4:2 NIV

  1. God longs to be close to me

“The Lord waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love and             compassion.” Isaiah 30:18 NLT

“I don’t want your sacrifices – I want your love! I don’t want your offerings, I want you to know me!” Hosea 6:6 (LB)

“Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.” James 4:8 NLT

New Year – New Song

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the Lord, the King. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.” Psalms 98:1-9 NIV

The Structure of a Song Can Help You Sing a New Song to the Lord

Intro –  The beginning
NEW SONG:  Start your day by giving thanks

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV

Verse – The story
NEW SONG: Study God’s word. Then memorize it and recite it often

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8 NIV

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16 NIV

Chorus/Hook – The memorable, recurring middle section
NEW SONG: Recount God’s faithfulness and his answered prayers

“Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.” 1 Kings 8:56 NIV

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 NIV

Crescendo – The build-up
NEW SONG: Increase in sharing and showing your faith

“Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15 NIV

Interlude/Solo – The musical break between verse and chorus
NEW SONG: Pray and listen for God to answer

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

The Greatness of Christmas

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV

  • Christmas demonstrates the Greatest love

“For God SO loved the world…”

“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.” Ephesians 1:4 MSG

“Nothing can separate from God’s love…” Romans 8:38 NLT

 

  • Christmas is about the Greatest sacrifice

“that he GAVE his one and only Son…”

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God…” Colossians 1:15 NLT

 

  • Christmas holds out the Greatest offer

“that WHOEVER believes in him shall not perish…”

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 NLT

 

  • Christmas provides the Greatest gift

“but have ETERNAL LIFE.”

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” 1 Peter 1:3-5 NLT

The Gospel According to Ruth – Part 3

  • The Problem Ruth 3:1

 

  • The Plan Ruth 3:2-9

 

  • The Pledge Ruth 3:10-18

 

  • The Purchase Ruth 4:1-12

 

  • The Promise Ruth 4:13-22

 

In The Gospel Of Jesus Christ We See These Five Things As Well:

  1. Our Problem

“But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin,” Galatians 3:22 NLT

 

  1. God’s Plan

‘…the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.’ Revelation 13:8 NIV 

 

  1. His Pledge

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,” Galatians 4:4 NIV

 

  1. Jesus’ Purchase

“to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” Galatians 4:5 NIV

 

 

  1. The Eternal Promise

“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:6-7 NIV