Why does God not answer when we call?

Isaiah 58:3-14

3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. 4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD ? 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-

when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.12Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. 13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14 then you will find your joy in the LORD , and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

              When we pray and seek the Lord do we wonder why He doesn’t respond to us and answer us in our prayers, fasting and seeking Him?  God really brings it home to Israel and to us as spiritual Israel why He may not be answering us.  It is easy for all of us to want to deal with life and religion on a surface level, but God is always dealing with the issues of the heart.   For us to understand how God sees us and responds to us we must be able to honestly evaluate our own hearts.  We think it is our words, or even our actions that God responds too.  The real issue and what every motive, desire and deed stems from are the condition of our heart.  If our hearts aren’t right before the Lord then nothing else in our life will be either.  It doesn’t matter how much we go to church, sing and talk about God if our heart isn’t right before Him. 

              This passage brings out a number of issues where our hearts need to be in alignment with God’s heart if we are to see Him respond to us and hear our cry?  Are there any areas of unfogiveness, injustice or oppression in our hearts and relationships with others?  Are their areas where we are controlling, overbearing, manipulating?  Are there areas where we lack integrity, honesty and putting our own good before another’s, if so, we need to deal with it? 

              Where is our heart concerning the homeless, the hungry, the lonely, the imprisoned or the naked?  Do they have any type of priority in our lives?  Are we personally involved in their lives?

              What about our own family, do we neglect them, ignore them, turn them away, continually strive with them and fail to meet even their needs?

              Do we talk maliciously about others?  Are we critical, backbiting, gossips, or storytellers?  Do our tongues bring life or death in what we speak? 

              Do we truly fear and reverence Lord and His day?  Do we treat the Holy Day of the Lord as common?  We go to church, if we go to church, pay our respects and our dues and then we are off to do our own pleasures and delights. 

              Perhaps these are very good reasons that God has given us why we don’t hear from Him and why He doesn’t respond to our prayers and seeking Him.  It starts with the condition of our hearts.

A righteous heart that fears the Lord and honors Him in all its ways will gain the respect of God.   We have to truly be willing to examine our heart in the light of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word if we want true relationship with Him.  Our faithfulness and heartfelt obedience must be the order of each day.  Today is perhaps the day we need to take a true inventory of our heart.

Blessings,

#kent

Offenses

December 23, 2014

Proverbs 18:19
An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

Offenses

Did you ever wonder why the body of Christ is so often offended with one another. Think about what is at the heart of most of our division within the body. It is offenses. Out of these offenses we do exactly as Proverbs 18:19 says, we become more unyielding than a fortified city and we become close minded. What is at the heart of these issue if it is not our pride and our determination to be right.
Our pastor once shared something to the effect that religion is the need to be right, but true Christianity is the need to pursue righteousness. Why do you think many that heard Jesus, in particular the religious crowd, were offended with much of what Jesus had to say? Jesus trampled on their pride because He spoke the truth about what was in their heart. He revealed God in a way that didn’t fit within all of their traditional perimeters.
What we have to understand about offense is it usually reveals a heart condition in us. Peter swore up and down to Jesus that though everyone else might be offended in Him, he would never be offended. What resulted as Peter was confronted with being one of Jesus’ disciples was his denial. It was the testing that revealed his heart condition that he was blind too until that moment of testing came. There are many things in life we are going to want to be offended about and we may feel totally justified in doing so, but remember offenses are but a test to reveal what is really in our heart.
I love a statement our pastor recently ministered, “Offenses are simply opportunities turned inside out.” They test where our faith is, where our love is and where heart is for others and for God. When we can pass these tests of offenses then we can move on to the next level in our walk with Christ. Discipleship is not just calling yourself a Christian, it the learning of how to walk out your faith and not be offended. It is the love that can forgive your accusers, those that curse, malign, abuse, deceive and defraud you. It is walking as Jesus walked, without offense, even when He had every right to be offended.
When we can walk without offense. When can release and forgive our offenders, then we have moved past pride and the need to be right, to find true love, humility and righteousness of the God kind.

Blessings,
#kent

Meddling Hands

August 6, 2013

Meddling Hands

Proverbs 26:17
Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.

This is an interesting proverb like so many of them are. What happens when you seize a dog by its ears? There is pretty good chance you could get bit. Dogs are rather sensitive around their ears and so are people when others meddle where they have no business. We often get rather wise in our own eyes and think we have the insight and answer into another person’s problem. It may seem so obvious to us, so why shouldn’t we just go and set them straight? God wants us to learn a principle through this parable; not everyone else’s business is our business. There will be times He may use you to council and offer insight to someone that is seeking advice and help, but often we get a little premature with our opinions and our perceived wisdom. We are going to set someone straight rather they have asked us too or not. There are times we need to bite our tongue and just stay out of someone else’s affairs. We may end up causing more damage than good. Even if you have the right answers, there is wisdom in letting others learn from their own experience.
There have been times when my wife and I have been fussing with one another in the presence of our parents and we may have been hoping that mom or dad might jump in on our defense. There have been many times that I have seen my mom, especially, bite her tongue. I knew she had an opinion, but there was a wisdom that kept her from sharing it. She knows that the minute she sides with my wife or myself, she is going to alienate the other. She has no doubt learned from experience that it is better that we two work it out than that she interjects her opinion. She has learned not to grab the dog by the ears. Too many times we can end up causing more damage than we do good by getting involved in things that don’t directly concern us.
Take care in the advice and the opinions you give. Use wisdom and discretion when dealing with the affairs of others. The better council might be as Jesus offered the two brothers who came to him arguing of their inheritance in Luke 12:13-15, “And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Jesus didn’t meddle in who was wrong and who was right; He spoke to the spirit that was at work in both of their hearts, the spirit of covetousness. Rather than getting involved in the issues of others we may be wiser to reinforce the principles of God’s word. Usually our issues are with the heart and not with just surface agendas. Be careful where you meddle.

Blessings,
kent

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