3 Scriptures That Have Nothing to Do with Getting What You Want from God

You all know the telephone game. A bunch of people sit in a circle, whispering a sentence from one person to another, until the last person announces what he or she heard. The results are usually hilarious. This one needs to be shared.

This can happen to the Bible, with tragedy instead of hilarity. We run the risk of distorting Scripture if we are not cautious stewards.

Unlike players of the telephone game, we get to check with the original source. If we read with open eyes and honest hearts, there’s little risk of deception. But when we operate on memory, things get messy. Occasionally, those messes go viral and become embedded in our churches – churches that are quite happy to win your attendance by telling you that God will grant your requests. Our hearts are tricky. They want to listen to the “taglines” they’re hearing – common distortions of Scripture that seem to guarantee he’ll say yes.

God is good. Bring your requests to him.

But don’t quote these taglines at him if you don’t want spiritual egg on your face. This isn’t the way to go about things.

 

#1. God won’t give you more than you can handle.

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God Hears – Do I ?

A short but profound read.

BJ Rutledge

I love the Lord,for he heard my voice;  he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.  Psalm 116:1-2 NIV

I read Psalm 116 this morning and the first two verses really caught my attention.  I know God hears when I call to Him; when I pray.  The Psalmist also praises God because He is compassionate, gracious, righteous; He saves, satisfies and is our source of security.

I know all those things and have experienced them, and I’m so grateful that God “turns his ear to me” and hears my voice and my cry for help.  I’m grateful He bends down (like a father would with a child) to give me His full attention when I call to Him.

What I desire is that I learn to more consistently “turn my ear” to Him…

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Boasting in My Weaknesses???

wreckI hate my brokenness.

I want it to end.

It’s been a tough week at work. The kind that leaves you feeling like a rusting wreck in the desert. Ever found yourself dreading going to work and finding out what little mistake is coming back to bite you this day? You’re breathing, so yes.

I know my weaknesses well. We’re old acquaintances. Not friends, though. I want them out of my life.

Tonight, though, I have to deal with the fact that they’re not conquered yet, that tomorrow hasn’t come yet, that the next opportunity to win hasn’t come yet. I have to deal with the shame and inadequacy that swarm toward this vulnerable chump like flies toward a carcass.

I’m reminded of a familiar saying.

God does not call the qualified; he qualifies the called.

But…there’s a but in my heart.

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Not Excited Enough

catA few years ago, I and my friends DJ and Sarah, married for 2.25 years, took a road trip to Seattle. We were visiting our respective families, and as a bonus, DJ and I were going to catch a Seahawks game (during what turned out to be their Super Bowl season).

As we drove along a remote highway with the sun just dawning behind us, I remembered that I needed to check something on our online tickets. I’ve never bothered keeping up with the Joneses, so I had no smartphone. I asked DJ if I could borrow his, and I went to Google to type in my mailbox’s address. Well, as you know, when you use Google, it brings up the user’s Google “search history”. Here’s how DJ’s search history looked:

“what to eat while pregnant”
“how to exercise while pregnant”
“maternity clothes”

My mouth dropped open. I showed the screen to DJ with raised eyebrows and in his classic aw-shucks form, he grinned, “Oh. Yeah.”

They were gonna have a kid!

I was ecstatic. Two of my favorite people in the world and now there would be more of them??? Hot dog!!!! The world could only be improved by this development.

But the cool part was – I was actually the first person to find out besides DJ and Sarah themselves. Their real purpose for their trip (Seahawks, psh) was actually to announce the coming baby to her family; his family hadn’t heard yet. By accident, I, just a friend, intercepted a giant gobsmack of very privileged information. It was humbling, but also quite sneakily cool. Now, of course, that gobsmack is a delightful little girl of almost three, running around the church sanctuary with hands in the air and jumping up and down on the pews during worship.

And as I sat in church this last weekend behind that very family, hearing about the mystery of the Gospel, a question occurred to me.

Why was I more excited about that news than I ever am about my salvation?

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Another 5 Tips for Christian WordPress Bloggers

I decided to write another one of these. You can find the first here, though that was shorter than this one.

 

6. Use a great title

Believe it or not, a good title is probably 51% of your blogging work.

As I mentioned before, you’re not just writing – you’re competing. With hundreds of posts in everyone’s WordPress Reader. For those users, your title is their only introduction to your work. You have to ensure that it’ll actually tempt people to click.

Let’s sample some titles currently showing in my Reader:

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The “Foolish” Cross

I used to scratch my head wondering why the world would call the gospel of Christ “foolish”.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18)

I could see the world hating God for requiring something of them morally (even though his yoke is easy and his burden is light).

I could see the world hating God for people undergoing eternal punishmentcross (even though he offers a way out, paid with his Son’s blood).

I could see the world hating God for allowing or seemingly ignoring, in the Bible, things that don’t match up with my 21st century Western worldview (like war or slavery).

I could see all that. I wouldn’t agree with it – he is beyond our accounting – but then again, I hardly expect the world to understand (yet) things that are only revealed by the Spirit they reject. From their limited standpoint, their hatred of God makes sense. I pray for their eyes to be opened.

But why would they think of God, or anything from God, as foolish, as 1 Corinthians 1:18 says? Judgmental, callous, unfair in their eyes, maybe, but foolish?

Then I started thinking, “Well, what does the world want from God?”

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This Could Really Be the Last Day You Fail

Stop struggling with your sin and kill it!We all have something dogging us.

And we’ve had so many go-arounds with this particular enemy – some weakness, some vice, some habit seemingly iron-wrought or seemingly genetically hard-coded – that it’s turned the idea of victory into distant foolishness…even though you know that victory is God’s will, and that with his commands comes the power to obey.

Perhaps victory seems attainable during moments when we’re in the clear, when temptation is at bay. Or at church, or after the prayer of repentance, when you’re bowled over by God’s grace and power.

But once the bell rings again, and you’re standing in front of the refrigerator or the computer or that person at work who needs your patience rather than your anger, the optimism fades fast. A deeper layer of doubt is revealed in your heart. I can’t do it. If we succeed for a little while, it switches to, I can’t possibly keep this up forever. Or the urgency fades after a week and our treacherous minds convince us that one surrender won’t hurt and…it ends up being more than one surrender.

Don’t you sometimes just wake up and want to be free of all that? For good?

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