Do you ever feel stressed because you just can't seem to get everything done that's on your plate? Every day more and more things pile up that you really intend to do; but, you just can't find the time.
You start working late to finish all your tasks (and take time away from your family and friends); you sleep less because you're still working when you get home and you get up earlier to "get a head start."
What's really frustrating is that many of the things on your plate are tasks you've accepted for God (At least, that's what you tell yourself). You're working as a Sunday school teacher, a Small Group Leader and you're in the choir. You're on your church's Finance committee and you're studying for the ministry.
I recently found myself in a similar situation (No, the things above aren’t a description of what's on my plate... they're just an example). When I took my frustrations to God, I asked Him to help me keep up, to show me the way to do everything He called me to do.
Can you imagine my surprise when he answered, "Why are you coming to me? I didn't tell you to do all those things."
Oh boy! "If you didn't, who did?" I asked. Silence... I think sometimes God declines to say the obvious so we won't be totally embarrassed.
He reminded me that He will equip us to do everything He asks us to do (Hebrews 13:20-21). He will not burden us with more than we can bear (Matthew 11:29-31) and His commands are not burdensome (1st John 5:3).
"So", I asked, "if you didn't ask me to do all these things, where did I do wrong?"
"You didn't ask Me," He said. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Luke 11:9). I know My sheep and My sheep know Me" (John 10:14).
His answer was so simple that it never occurred to me. Before you accept any task, seek His will for you. If it's His call, He will not only clearly tell you that it's His call; but, He will fully equip you to accomplish the task.
The interesting thing is that sometimes, because the task seems good (to us) we say "Yes" without first seeking the will of our Lord and Friend, Jesus.
"...seek first His kingdom and His righteousness..." (Matthew 6:33).
So easy; yet, we so often forget to simply ask Him first. God is able to make all grace abound in us, so that in all things at all times, having all that we need, we can abound in every good work that He has called us to do.
If it's not His will; if it's not supported in His Word; if you haven't clearly heard His voice... simply say "No!"
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 2:5
Why does God make me knock before He will open the door? He is all power and all knowledge. God needs no help from anyone to open doors for His children, and every circumstance of tomorrow He has known since before the foundation of the world. Why, then, does He require me to ask Him for what He knows I already need? Why is it necessary for me to pray before God acts?
Watchman Nee says that this is the great mystery, "that God's people must pray before God himself will rise up and work: His will is only to be realized through the prayers of those who belong to Him."
No, we do not force God to do anything He hasn't already planned to do, and prayer doesn't change the will of God. But it does put His will into action. Only when we have prayed in the will of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, does He open the gates of heaven and pour out blessings abundantly! "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matt. 18:18.
It is the plan of God to effect the work of God when His children pray in the will of God.
Beloved, doors are shut and opened on earth and in heaven through the power of prayer. Seek the heart of your Father when you pray. And pray in the sympathy of His will, and the showers of blessings through answered prayer will flow down upon you.
GospeLines Prayer: "Give me grace, Father, to throw open all the doors of my life that you may cease knocking and enter into every crevice of my soul. I forever unlock the hidden places and surrender the keys to You.
Give me listening ears, O God, that I may hear Your voice calling me to higher endeavors.
Give me an open mind, O God, one that is ready to receive and welcome new ideas and knowledge as it is Your will to reveal.
Give me open eyes, O God, eyes that are quick to discover how You indwell Your creation. May all things fill me with gladness and rejoicing over Your everlasting handiwork.
Give me open hands, O God, hands ready to share all You are and all You have given me. Let my possessions be Yours to use as You wish." Amen and amen. Tommy Harrison, D. Min. firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday: February 15, 2006
"Be Careful What You Pray For"
My grandmother would tell me often, "Tommy, be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it." My child-like mind didn't comprehend the wisdom of those words then. Prayer at that age was much like asking God for stuff, the way I would ask my dad for pocket change to ride my bike to the corner store for a cold soft drink.
"Dear God, I need a new bicycle tire… I want a puppy… I need some new shoes… I saw this fire truck at the store, and I sure could use one of those!"
Maybe God heard a few of those prayers, but I wonder how much they did for Him? Even today, our prayers have tones of self-interests beyond the realm of seeking His perfect will for our lives. What is God's perfect plan/will for us? Has the heavenly Father created us so that we may always approach Him with our hand out, looking for a quick fix to our perceived needs?
Indeed, God has a plan for His creation and the human race is at the top of the order. He has placed us in a position of authority over the earth and all that is therein. We are in partnership with Him to perfect the work that He began in the Garden of Eden, which means, at times, we must set aside our needs, desires, and wishes, and seek the mind of God to learn what He thinks and wants. He sees the big picture while we tend to stumble over that which is right in front of us for the moment.
The Children of Israel were in the wilderness to learn how to become God's chosen people. Jehovah provided food for them every day, and gave them strict guidelines for gathering it. But the "rabble" began to complain to Moses that they wanted meat to eat. Prayer was offered to God in order to change the menu, and God sent quail into the camp. Jehovah heard their prayer and answered it. "But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague." (Numbers 11:33)
"So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them." (Psalm 106:15)
Beloved, our mission in prayer should be first to listen! Hear the voice of God; ask Him what He wants for us. Knowing His perfect will for our lives removes the need for self-centered requests. When my heart and God's heart are as one, the stuff will be provided in His perfect time. I would rather live my life in poverty than to pray for riches and miss the vast wealth that comes from knowing the mind of God in all things.
I leave you with this thought: Authentic prayer is the spiritual manifestation of man's perfect union with the heart, mind and soul of God.
Be careful what you pray for… you just might get it!