Thursday, February 26, 2015

Answered Prayer: It's in There Somewhere

Have you ever been at the grocery store and found that something you really needed was out of stock? You were already tired and didn't want to have to drive to another store. So, what did you do? You asked the stock boy if there was more in the back. You believed there was a chance that what you needed was in that store somewhere.

That's what the Syrophonecian woman did in today's scripture.

I LOVE the Syrophonecian woman! She had a very real need,  and she came to Jesus to get that need met. Jesus gave her a holy blowing off. He told her that her need was not on His agenda at that time. It wasn't that He didn't care, it was just that His energies had been reserved for others.

What would you have done in her shoes? Would you have sighed, hung your head and reasoned that the answer you wanted must not be God's will? Sometimes we use that as an excuse to give up. Persevering in prayer is hard, isn't it? Praying for rain without seeing a cloud in the sky feels like a waste of time.

Oh, but you don't know what God's got in the back!

Don't make the mistake of reading God's delay as if it was a no. Just as trials are designed to build character in you, so  silence from heaven is designed to get a rise out of you. Will that rise be a wailing whine, or will it be a holy boldness that says there's no way you're letting go until He blesses you?

Our Syrophonecian sister chose the latter. She agreed she was not on Jesus's original printout, but she knew He could still pencil her into the margin.  That's not arrogance, folks, that's faith!

 You don't let an empty grocery shelf be the final word. Don't let an unanswered prayer be the final answer either. Don't be so quick to give up. Keep searching, keep asking, keep praying. When God denies your request outright, He replaces it with something better. Either way, His "yes" is in there somewhere.

Talk to me: Your answer hasn't come yet. Now what  are you gonna do about it?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Live Intentionallly!

We live in a "leave me alone" culture. Nothing is anybody's business, and frankly, we kind of prefer that. That way, we feel justified in following our own pursuits and agendas.

The only problem is that this mentality is the polar opposite of the way God calls Christians to live. We are not our own, we have been bought at a precious price and, in that transaction, our personal rights were sold as well.

People are our business.

The Great Commission cannot ever be fulfilled if we excuse our way out of other people's business. Like a child who balks because her mama puts limits on her sugar intake, people don't know that a life without God  is not what's best for them. This is not to say we have no boundaries with those who are obnoxious in their resistance of the gospel, but most people haven't been given the chance to resist because we over-predict that they won't want to hear us out. What a cunning ploy of the enemy to deprive a blind soul of a chance to receive his sight!

What is a Christian to do?

Let us follow Apostle Paul as he followed Christ. He said to the Philippian believers,

 "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:9)

If someone is to learn, teaching has to happen.
Receiving must be preceded by giving.
Hearing means someone is speaking.
Seeing  something in someone means spending enough time together so it can be seen. Sounds like relationship!

Forget all the highly structured methods of reaching people. Maybe that armor isn't the right size for you. Minister to people by teaching, giving, having conversation,  and relating dressed as yourself.

No perfection required, but you must do it on purpose or it won't happen.

Be yourself.
Be faithful.
Find a  way to involve yourself in lost people's lives.
Be intentional.

How about you? Do you struggle to be intentional in this area like I do? What helps you with that?