simple truth


prayer-2

The whole idea of government sponsored interfaith prayer begs the question:

Does God answer the prayers of unbelievers?  John MacArthur answers this question with 15 reasons for unanswered prayer.

God is sovereign and can choose to answer any prayer He sees fit. But Scripture clearly indicates that God does not listen to or answer every prayer. In fact, Scripture gives at least fifteen reasons for unanswered prayer. God does not answer the prayer of those:
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures (James 4:3). 

#2. Who regard iniquity in their hearts.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear (Psalm 66:18).

#3. Who remain in sin.

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear (Isaiah 59:2).

Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him (John 9:31).

#4. Who offer unworthy service to God.

“You offer defiled food on My altar. But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the Lord is contemptible.’ And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts. “But now entreat God’s favor, That He may be gracious to us. While this is being done by your hands, Will He accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts (Malachi 1:7-9).

#5. Who forsake God.

Thus says the Lord to this people: “Thus they have loved to wander; They have not restrained their feet. Therefore the Lord does not accept them; He will remember their iniquity now, And punish their sins.” Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for this people, for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence (Jeremiah 14:10-12). #6. Who reject God’s call.

Because I [Wisdom] have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke…. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me (Proverbs 1:24-25, 28).

#7. Who will not heed God’s law.

One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination (Proverbs 28:9).

“But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen,” says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 7:11-13).

#8. Who turn a deaf ear to the cry of the poor.

Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, Will also cry himself and not be heard. (Proverbs 21:13).

#9. Who are violent.

When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood (Isaiah 1:15; see also 59:2-3).

#10. Who worship idols.

Therefore thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will surely bring calamity on them which they will not be able to escape; and though they cry out to Me, I will not listen to them. Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they offer incense, but they will not save them at all in the time of their trouble. For according to the number of your cities were your gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem you have set up altars to that shameful thing, altars to burn incense to Baal. So do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry out to Me because of their trouble.” (Jeremiah 11:11-14; see also Ezekiel 8:15-18).

#11. Who have no faith.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-7).

#12. Who are living in hypocrisy.

Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy (Luke 12:1).

#13. Who are proud of heart.

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).

#14. Who are self-righteous.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 18:11-14).

#15. Who mistreat God’s people.

You have also given me the necks of my enemies, So that I destroyed those who hated me. They cried out, but there was none to save; Even to the Lord, but He did not answer them (Psalm 18:40-41).

You who hate good and love evil; Who strip the skin from My people, And the flesh from their bones; Who also eat the flesh of My people, Flay their skin from them, Break their bones, And chop them in pieces, Like meat for the pot, Like flesh in the caldron. Then they will cry to the Lord, But He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, Because they have been evil in their deeds (Micah 3:2-4).

So, does God answer the prayers of unbelievers? A strict yes or no answer is difficult without qualifying the answer in various ways. However, it is noteworthy that the above mentioned principles represent some of the key characteristics of an unbeliever. Thus we can safely say that, in general, God does not answer the prayers of an unbeliever.

 

 

#1. Who have personal and selfish motives.

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gold-mine1

This morning while doing devotions, the author focused on Galatians 5:16

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Of course I thought, “Easier said than done, just how do I do that?” Glancing at the John MacArthur’s study notes; he references about 9 Scriptures.

The first one (#1) is Romans 8:13

for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

MacArthur’s study notes on this verse are excellent:

Paul’s first instructions concerning what his reader’s must do in the struggle with sin destroys several false views of how believers are made holy.

1. that in a crisis-moment we are immediately made perfect;
2. that we must “let God” take over while we remain idle; and
3. that some turning-point decision will propel us to a higher level of holiness.

I have certainly tried and believed each of those things! MacArthur continues:

Rather, the apostle says the Spirit provides us with the  energy and power to continually and gradually be killing our sins, a process never completed in this life.

The means the Spirit uses to accomplish this process is our faithful obedience to the simple commands of Scripture.

Digging, Digging, Digging and WOW hit a gold mine of Scripture — ‘simple commands of Scripture’ John MacArthur lists them, and I looked up every one and will share in the next few days. Writing these in a notebook — pulled out and tied together does provide a beautiful, simple list of  How-To’s

(#2) Today’s nugget (as if the above is not enough!)

Your word I have treasured in my heart that I may not sin against You.
Psalm 119:11

Keeping it simple: Placing God’s Word in/on your heart by emersion in the Scriptures provides the energy and power to not sin against God. (Keeping in mind, this is an on-going process for this side of eternity.)

 

 

Boston Marathon

“When the church and the world can jog comfortably along  together, you can be sure something is wrong. The world has not compromised – its spirit is exactly the same as it ever was. If Christians were equally as faithful to the Lord, separated from the world, and living so that their lives were a reproof to all ungodliness, the world would hate them as much as it ever did. It is the church that has compromised, not the world”. – Catherine Booth

HT: Thanks Vee! Living Journey

 

stone-heartThe pardoned sinner is a weeping sinner. Never did any man read his pardon with dry eyes! Look upon that weeping penitent, “she stood behind Christ weeping.” Tears were distilled out of her penitent heart! O, how precious were Mary’s tears–surely more costly in Christ’s esteem than her ointment! They dropped from her eyes–as so many diamonds!

Her amorous eyes, whose sparkles had so often set on fire all her lovers, she now seeks to be revenged on them–and washes Christ’s feet with her tears! Her embroidered hair, which had so often as a net, ensnared others–she now makes it towel to wipe Christ’s feet! Here was a pardoned penitent. A pardon will turn the stony heart into a spring of tears! O sinner, ask yourself the question–Is your heart dissolved into tears? Does it melt for sin? God seals His pardons only upon melting hearts.

Nothing can melt the stony heart of a sinner
–but the blood of Christ.

The pardoned sinner looks upon a bleeding Christ
with a bleeding heart.

Thomas Watson, 1620-1686
Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

Thank you to Of First Importancebutterfly

“Does Christ come merely to improve our existence in Adam or to end it, sweeping us into his new creation? Is Christianity all about spiritual and moral makeovers or about death and resurrection — radical judgment and radical grace? Is the Word of God a resource for what we have already decided we want and need, or is it God’s living and active criticism of our religion, morality, and pious experience? In other words, is the Bible God’s story, centering on Christ’s redeeming work, that rewrites our stories, or is it something we use to make our stories a little more exciting and interesting?”

– Michael Horton, Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Baker Books, 2008), 24.

We once worked for a Christian Camp and the secretary shared  her dad’s favorite shipwreckedsaying,

Christians are the only people who shoot their wounded.

How quick we are to judge (full of pride and self-righteousness) how other Christians, parent.

More to the point, is when the apparent “fruit” of Christian parenting does not resemble unblemished, perfect ‘fruit’.

Christians either forget or have never experienced the persistence and cleverness of Satan, the embodiment of evil. The quickest path to destruction is when Satan can get a foot-hold in a marriage and a family AND if that family is in full-time ministry it can also be wounded.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

It is no coincidence that the “PK” (preacher’s kid) phenomenon exists.

Who is the most vulnerable in a Christian family? Most likely it is the children . . .

and the debilitating pain of brokenness unleashes its destruction

in the child

in the mother

in the father

and even in the other siblings.

No one in the family is left unscathed.

Much like Job, well-meaning friends step in and offer their thoughts, but because they speak without wisdom (knowledge + experience) their efforts deepen the wound and twist the knife.

Unless you have walked with a child on the perilous journey through the teenage years and have experienced the heart-wrenching pain of that parent and child; please ask the family what you can do and always pray without ceasing for the ones we love.

The children of truly godly parents

(Edward Bickersteth)

Often, the children of truly godly parents,
are acquainted only with the theory of true
religion–but their hearts are far from being
influenced by it. When such leave home, and
family restraints are removed–they generally
yield to the corrupt inclinations of their hearts.
And if they even keep within the bounds of
decency
, (which is not always the case) they
gradually adopt the attitudes, manners and
habits of the world.

Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, . . . For, by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.(Eph 2:4-8)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

This morning,
there is nothing more important than this post/video.

 

Abandoned by God
by John MacArthur

 

Thanks to svdbygrace

 

 

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