Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fantastic promises

“And Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be taken up and thrown into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours’ ” (Mark 11:22-24).

Some promises just seem too good to be true.
We’ve all heard or read advertisements for some product or some service and have exclaimed, “That’s sounds too good to be true.” Experience has taught us that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true.

However, what about the promises found in Scripture? The Bible contains some fantastic promises for God's people. One of the definitions of the word "fantastic" is, "seemingly impossible; incredible." Some of Scripture's promises do, quite frankly, sound too good to be true.

We have such a promise in Mark 11:22-24. Jesus said, “Whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.” As if that weren’t incredible enough, Jesus adds to His statement: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

What do we do with a promise like this? Usually, we qualify it. We know, from comparing this text with other Scripture texts, that whatever we ask God for must be according to His will. God does what He wants to do; we don’t tell God what to do. Prayer is for the accomplishment of His purposes, not ours:

“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3).

“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you” (John 15:16).

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3).

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

Additionally, we know that personal sin will hinder our prayers:

“If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18).

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).

Still, believers have here an awesome promise from the Lord Jesus Christ: Whatever we ask in prayer, that is according to God’s will, if we believe—if we “have faith in God”—God will give it to us. “It will be yours”, said Jesus.
Let’s not qualify Jesus’ promise down to the point that it becomes meaningless. Clearly, Jesus promised His followers answered prayer. Further, Jesus said that answered prayer brings glory to the Father: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

Are we willing to heartily embrace Jesus' promise? Yes, it sounds too good to be true, but it must be true for God’s word is true. God will back up His word. The question is, will we trust God? Remember, Jesus said, “Have faith in God.”
God wants His children to ask Him for the things they need to do His will. When we ask, we acknowledge our need. We acknowledge that God is our source and provider. When we ask, we admit our inability and express our confidence in God's ability. When we ask, we glorify God.

So, let us ask God for what we need in order to do His will, believing that He will fulfill His promises.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).
“You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2c).
“Ask, and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7a).
Ask Him.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this message Wyeth. It's a good reminder.

wwdunc said...

Thank you, sweetheart! (This happens to be my wife I'm writing to) Thank you for reading my blog!