Does God Answer Prayers Subtly or Obviously?

This is a very good question, which reflects a heart that desires to draw closer to God, or at least wants to know if God hears.

First the Bible tells us that we walk in faith and not by the things that we see, nor by emotions that we feel. We walk on faith, and we pray in faith. This is crucial and important for often we want more of experience and feelings than just relying on God and His Character as stated in the Bible. Our feelings falter and change every moment, but God’s Character does not.

Hebrews 11:1-2 (KJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Mark 11:24 (KJV) Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Secondly, God answers, surely, if there is no unconfessed sin in our lives. More specifically, if there is no “favorite sin” that we hold on to. Confession and true repentance are of utmost importance if we want our prayers to br heard.

Isaiah 59:1-2 (KJV) Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

1 John 1:8-10 (KJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Thirdly, God answers in three forms: Yes, No, or Wait.

If it is a Yes, then your prayers will be answered as you have asked, in His timing, and the waiting is little.

If it is a No, then God has other plans. Submit then and don’t be rebellious.

If it is Wait, then you have to endure waiting. This is the hardest answer to our prayers. Naturally, in our carnal state, we hate to wait, we are so impatient and hasty. But if we are filled with God’s Spirit, waiting becomes joyful and a wonderful experience because through it our character and desires are molded and perfected.

Does God answers our prayers subtly or obviously? The answer directly depends a person’s nearness to God. The more a saint is intimate with God, the more he discerns God’s answer. But if he is living a lukewarm faith, or worse as a backslider, he or she would hardly know it or even not get any answer to his or her prayers at all.

Intimacy and nearness to God is of utmost importance in all cases.

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Favorite Scriptures

There are quite many Scriptures I love. I will just give some.

Exodus 33:18 (KJV) And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

This was the prayer of Moses when he was interceding for the people of Israel. It was such a very noble prayer at the time when God’s Wrath was burning against Israel. Somehow God was touched to see Moses wanted to make God known among the heathen, he was desperate to see that God’s Name be vindicated as righteous and holy and supreme and this won God’s approval.

Psalms 27:4 (KJV) One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

This is like the above verse: desiring to see God’s Glory, but in a different context. This time, David was under persecution. And what was his solution? Worship and deep communion with God.

Psalms 51:17 (KJV) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

David was repentant, and he acknowledges thay sometimes God may reject a superficial offering. But a true repentant heart is something that God desires and would always delight in.

Isaiah 66:1-2 (KJV) Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

God is so much Majestic, His presence could not be contained. Yet, to our amazement, He desires to commune with the humble and obedient.

Proverbs 27:5-6 (KJV) Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

If we love truly our brethren or friends, rebuke is necessary.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (KJV) But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

We become what we behold and cherish in our hearts; and thus, we become Christlike when we cherish Him in our hearts, looking at His beauty.

John 17:24 (KJV) Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

Jesus’s prayer for the saints, which is maybe the grandest of all, that we may see in fullness His Glory.

Revelation 21:4 (KJV) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

The revelation of heaven, the things that are beyond what the saints could ever imagine, are waiting for us. Let us be faithful and vigilant for the Lord!

Returning to our First Love in the Lord

Revelation 2:4 (KJV) Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

This is one of the major problems of the Church today. Churches spend so much energy and time and resources, but their love for God (and for people) has been running dry.

This first love is actually an experience. It is this experience that characterizes a very hot Christian:

A Christian who is willing to give hours of quality time with God in prayer and Bible reading.

A Christian who is willing to deny himself of all the pleasures or dreams or comforts for the sake of drawing near to God and yielding to His will.

A Christian who is able to pray for others in heartfelt groaning and tears.

A Christian who is humble enough not to take credit for any good works he has done but rather give all the glory back to God.

A Christian who is willing to listen to what Jesus wants to say, taking aside all the worries of life (and the ministry).

The last one is what God has told us recently. Many Christians are acting like Martha, being busy for the Lord but not taking time to commune with Him in intimacy and listening. Thus, she ended up being bossy, being boastful, and being self-centered.

Luke 10:38-42 (KJV) Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Let us all return to God in our first love.

When Worship is NOT Worship

Worship is basically an act of giving honor and glory to God for who He is or what He has done, for all of His and Its worth. However, not all acts of worship is really worship. I myself have been guilty of false worship at times.

One, my guilt of being a hypocrite worshipper. It is the greatest punishment of all that I have experienced. Whenever I know that deep inside me I am rebellious against God or that I willingly sin, then my conscience will really go hard against me. Worse is the pain that the Holy Spirit gives me as He is grieved. But those pains, especially the one coming from the Holy Spirit is for my good working towards my repentance.

Matthew 15:8 (KJV) This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

Second, coming to worship knowing that someone has something against me. With my relationship with others destroyed, I really find it hard to worship God. In fact, it is impossible.

Matthew 5:23-24 (KJV) Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

God demands holiness in His children, especially during times of sacred worship, individually or as a Church. Worship is a blessed act of reverent adoration to the God whose Holiness is in a class of its own. Therefore, worshipping Him with unclean hearts and hands is not acceptable.

If God isn’t Real, will you still try to be Good?

The Bible tells me to be good and Holy. But what if I don’t believe in God, will I still try to be good?

If I don’t believe in God I can have several reasons to be a good person:

One, being good is good enough in itself. However, I know from experience and from observing many people from different cultures that being good is impossible. Don’t misunderstand me, a person can do good acts, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that such a person is good. For sure, that person will fall short soon in many areas of life. I am not aiming for perfection, but being good means being consistent in his good ways.

Two, being good is great even without its rewards. To be a good person selflessly is a very good thought. However, again this is false. Being good basically means embracing suffering and pain. If suffering and pain are the only things you will get from trying to be good, then why pursue it? No way, if there’s no reward! Looking for a reward is a source of hope in the times of sufferings!

Third, being good attracts good relationships. Love begets love, and this is great incentive. However, even the most satisfying human relationships will never satisfy a human heart. This has been proven again and again. Our hearts is designed for something bigger.

What then, now? Being good is good only if there’s God who is living, loving, and Himself quite Good, or Holy. And that Only God has a Name, His Name is Jehovah, or Yahweh, or Jesus.

Going back to the reasons above, only God can meet the challenges for us to be good:

One, only God can give a person a good heart. The human heart is so corrupt only God can change it.

Genesis 6:5 (KJV) And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Jeremiah 31:33 (KJV) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

So, without God, it is impossible for a person to be good. Very imposible

Two, God gives eternal rewards to those who try to be good. It is God’s Character to reward. And these rewards do not negate the virtue of good deeds, but rather validate their goodness before God, indicating that God values goodness highly.

Ruth 2:12 (KJV) The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

Psalms 18:20 (KJV) The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (KJV) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Third, only a relationship with God a man can be satisfied. Human relationships will never be enough, only in God there’s lasting happiness and peace.

Psalms 27:9-10 (KJV) Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

Psalms 16:11 (KJV) Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

I affirm therefore with the Apostle Paul that if I do not hope in anything else in the after life for doing good and for being righteous, then I am to be pitied most among all else.

1 Corinthians 15:17-20 (KJV) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

So, I try to live a pleasing life to God because I have this hope of being resurrected and being totally one in Christ Jesus. Amen, Lord Jesus, come quickly!

Don’t be a Religious Hypocrite

I have been a religious hypocrite before. I tell what is wrong with others without first taking efforts to clean myself.

Matthew 7:3-5 (KJV) And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

However, promoting religion or faith while pointing out the wrongdoing of others isn’t necessarily being hypocritical. It depends on the motive, which sometimes cannot be readily seen.

There are certain examples in the Bible wherein being religious and pointing out the mistakes of others can be labeled as hypocrisy, and these usually involved the religious leaders of that time.

You are a hypocrite if you show your good deeds to others to be praised. One example is how some stood in long prayers to be seen, subtly telling others that they don’t pray enough.

Matthew 6:5 (KJV) And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

You are a hypocrite if by doing good you look upon yourself as more holy than others. In a parable, Jesus pointed this out clearly:

Luke 18:10-13 (KJV) Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

You are a hypocrite if you tell others religious instructions, yet you yourself don’t apply them in life. This is a popular hypocrisy among teachers and leaders. So be warned, if you are a teacher of God’s Word, for you will be measured with higher standard (James 1:3).

Matthew 23:2-4 (KJV) Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

Yet, if your motive for pointing out the wrongdoing of others is restoration and out of pure love, then it is not hypocrisy. It is rather being an accountable brother or sister in Christ.

Galatians 6:1-2 (KJV) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Speaking the truth can sometimes hurt, especially if it means telling others their sins. However, it must be done. But it must be done in Christlike love.

Ephesians 4:15 (KJV) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Proverbs 27:5-6 (KJV) Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

How to Raise up your Teenager

A teenage life is something to be handled with utmost care, for it is the stage of life where the emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual foundations are cemented for future paths leading to adulthood. The starting years of 0–7 are when foundations are laid, but during the teenage years are when foundations are established as permanent.

Let me first say that I am a born again Christian, so it may seem that my advice here will sound religious. However, far from it, but only being spiritual and honest and concern. I would like to give what I firmly believe is the best, and that includes God and His Word.

First, bring your teenage child to yourself. Make sure that you are best friends, or at least close friends. In the Philippines there is a trend that most teenagers are aloof to their parents. Before you can bring good influence to your teenager, you must first be close.

Ephesians 6:1-3 (KJV) Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)

That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Second, bring your teenage child to God, or to Jesus. This may sound irrelevant or corny or misplaced, but trust me, from my heart I am telling you that this is the best thing you can give to your children. This is greater than good education or great inheritance. Only God can direct the child’s life for good.

Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Psalms 119:9 (KJV) Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

This should not necessarily mean being religious at the first approach. Rather, it is about being happy in God and being happy with the people of God. To make this a lot easier, find a Christian youth group who can be friends with your teenager. This way, the transition will not be that hard for they are all teenagers.

Proverbs 18:24 (KJV) A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Third, let your teenager enjoy the youthful years. Don’t be so strict. As long as what the child wants is not bad or evil, you may give it in moderation. Also, do not be so loose. Everything must be used or gained in moderation. Too much of any good thing could turn up bad.

Fourth, expose your teenager to the path of adulthood. Time flies fast. The best way to tell your teenager about the responsibilities be or she will soon take is now. You should balance though the previous one and this fourth advice.

Fifth, give your teenager some good books to read. This may include a Youth Bible or any Christian Literature geared towards the youth.

Not to disappoint you but rather to be honest, I am a single man. I don’t have a child. But based from many years of handling youth in the Church, counseling youth from different sectors, and hearing from parents about their teenagers, these five points are among the top ways that I would give to anyone who desires to have his or her teenage child grow up good.