We are starting a new series called God’s Assistance at Flatland. Today’s sermon was on the resurrection of Lazurus as seen in John 11 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key ‘TEST’
. It is a story with a lot of twists in it, Jesus doing the unexpected at every turn. When asked to come heal, he ignores the request. When shown the grave of his friend, he weeps displaying his love for a friend that he surely could have healed. He asks the gravestone to be removed when it would certainly stink to go in since Lazurus had been dead for 4 days. And then, he tops it all by calling Lazurus back from the dead. God wants to assist us, but His assistance may come in ways we totally do not expect!
And now, my sermon notes as taken on my iPhone.
God’s assistance starts with a friendship. God wants to be our friend. God us nice. Friendship is not enduring another. Friendship is growing together.
We must come to God on His terms but we can come as we are. Expect to change. Surrender to God. Commit to the journey. Put God first and only God. When we pray God listens.
God’s assistance comes at God’s timing. We oft feel “Where in the world are you?”
God knows our needs better than we do. God will answer our prayers according to His will and not according to ours. We can not order a Whopper at McDonalds. Father knows best.
Pray for faith, patience, wisdom. Pray with questions more than telling God the answers and expect him to do it. And then listen.
Gods assistance is to accomplish God’s purpose. We should seek out His purpose.
It is a tragic mistake to think that God does not want to assist us. It is even more tragic to not ask God for assistance. And tragic most of all is asking for God’s assistance and not accepting it as He answers us instead of the way we want Him to answer.
We all fall in to all three camps at times. We find our selves in a situation that we don’t “bother” God with because it is too petty and God it too big to bother. As pastor Jeff pointed out in Sunday’s sermon, God is our friend and a nice friend at that. He cares about every thing in our lives. To not reach out to Him because it is of no importance is to place little importance on God’s love for us.
There are other times when we just fail to ask God for His assistance. This is just a bone headed move on our part, a “I should have had a V-8” time. We jump in, try to solve an issue on our own without first seeking God. It isn’t because we think it is too small for God to care about, it is because we think too highly of our own abilities. And sure, there are times when we can do things on our own. But God’s assistance could have made it so much easier, more enjoyable, and with greater success.
Finally, we make a real bone headed mistake by asking God for His assistance and then not taking it or accepting His answer as our own. We tell God what we want, expect Him to do it as if He was our servant, and then get mad, belligerent or sulky when we don’t get it the way we want it. This is tragedy in its highest form. God wants to assist us, He knows best how to assist us, and He offers us that assistance all the time. Yet we are a stubborn people, refusing that help, instead relying on our own abilities even when we go through the motions of asking God for help.
I feel like I often make stupid mistakes in the way I ask God for His assistance (or not ask when I should). I desire greatly to follow God’s will, to do as pastor Jeff said, to ask God more questions, demand a lot less, listen for His answer and accept it. I believe that God does want us to persist in our prayers and at times will delay — or what seems to be a delay — providing us an answer that our faith may be built up, that our will may become that which God desires, that our purpose is God’s purpose. As I submit to God, then He will bring forth life where there is now just a stinky black hole. May Your will be done in my life.
- Easter Is for Black Sheep
- God’s Assistance: Gideon