Friday, February 25, 2011

God Answers Me

God Answers Prayer, image courtesy of christiangiftplace.com

All month long, I’ve focused on two things:
  1. Me hearing God
  2. God hearing me
It’s been a wonderful opportunity to incorporate this study into my daily devotional. Scriptures which captured my attention included:
  1. I love God because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy. He listened so intently as I laid out my case before him.1
  2. When You said,Seek My face,my heart said to You,Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.2
  3. Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me.3
Thursday morning, this was the scripture which filled me with joy:

Hear my prayer, LORD; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.4

I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.5

God answers me!

What can be more reassuring than knowing that God is for me, and that He answers me?

So often, our lives face circumstances which appear ready to crush the very hope within us. I was reading a fellow blogger's recent post about his wife, and as often is the case, I was reminded how trivial my struggles are. It’s funny in a way, but when fear grips you; your life can seem so fragile and perilous. I felt that way last night, as doubt and fear crept upon me, telling me,

You’re all alone. No one will help you. You’ve got nowhere to go, and you have no options left.

As I pondered these thoughts (my mistake was to listen in the first place), I wondered what would I do with my back against the wall and what looks like total and imminent defeat before me.

I thought about Job and how he must have felt as the news reports came in; each subsequent one more damming and destructive than the previous one. Finally the moment arrived when Job’s wife offered a piece of advice,

His wife said to him,Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.’”6

I wondered, Does everyone faced with what appears to be dire circumstances, also face the option to give up? Does death appear a viable solution for some?

As I pondered these questions, I remembered that God lives. I reminded myself of how often over the past year, God has intervened on my behalf. I asked myself if God gets as excited about my cries for His help as I do over His answering my cries for help.
God will make a way, image courtesy of conniemissipi.wordpress.com
The marvelous thing is that, God isn’t obligated to answer me, but from the depths of His love and grace, God answers me. I was laid off from my job, and I must admit my career defined my life; it was my life. Everything I ever wanted to be was wrapped up in that neat package called my professional career. Pride and arrogance consumed me, and then I became a man with no tangible evidence to define my life. Something else I read yesterday really spoke to my spirit with deep resonation:

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?7

Perhaps it’s the mistaken notion that one’s life has no value that causes some to end theirs. But as I lay on my bed praying, I cried out to Jesus, who reminded me that:
  1. I was once a prisoner, kidnapped by sin.
  2. Christ paid my life’s ransom by dying for me.
  3. Christ rose from the grave so that I too will rise.
  4. Christ promised to never leave or forsake me.
I’m thankful that God reminds me that I’m never alone. I’m also thankful that God answers me. I cannot explain it, and I won’t try to put into words, what to me is so awesomely unexplainable:

Who is like you, LORD God Almighty? You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.8

Almighty God and Father,

Who is like You Lord? None as faithful, holy, loving and gracious as You. You anwser me without fail. Never are you silent to my words. I lift up the names of family members, friends, and silent ones who struggle with doubt and fear; those who feel so all alone. Those who've lost their job. Those who've lost their marriage. Those who've lost the security of their home. Those who face health issues. Everyone of these precious and valuable lives needs an answer from You oh God. Maybe they feel like giving up, but remind them Lord, that You're that same God who they called on before in times past. Fill them with joy as the memory of You answering a prayer is re-kindled. Touch their lives that they may be established and assured that, I'm not alone. Thank You Lord, for Your lovingkindness and grace, in Jesus name. Amen.


Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte and Ginger).
Footnotes:
  1. Psalm 116:1-2, The Message Bible
  2. Psalm 27:8, NASB
  3. Psalm 56:9, NIV
  4. Psalm 86:6-7, NIV
  5. Psalm 86:7, NASB
  6. Job 2:9, NLTB
  7. Matthew 16:26, NLTB
  8. Psalm 89:8, NIV
References:
  1. The Ryrie Study Bible, New American Standard Version, Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  2. The Message Bible, by Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress Publishing Group, Colorado Springs, CO, ISBN-13: 978-1600060250
  3. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
  4. The New Living Translation Bible, by Tyndale Charitable Trust, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, ISBN-13: 978-0842384896

26 comments:

Wanda said...

As I read your post, the words if it had not been for the Lord who was on my side came to mind and I would have fainted if I had not believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I think most people have faced at least one time when they really considered giving up. But I'm so thankful that it seems to be in those times that God will caused me to hear someone else's testimony or whisper a word of encouragement to me. It seems just enough sunlight to keep me going on the path another day. Thanks for the thoughtful prayer that you extended.

High Heeled Life said...

As I read your post I found my head nodding up and down in so much agreement with what you wrote. Especially when you wrote of being defined by your professional career. Gosh how I can relate, I'm at 4 1/2 year post accident and I am still trying to figure out each day what now defines me.

Sometimes yes, going "home" back to God just seems the best option, but then He and his army of Angels find a way to remind me my work is not yet complete here .. so I must try harder to keep going and help others to not give up by sharing my story.

Thank you for writing your post today .. it was just what I needed to start my day with a smile and a nudge to not give up!! xo HHL

Lloyd said...

MTJ - What a wonderful message of God's love. When we lift up our voice in prayer to the Father He will always be there to answer us. It may not always be what we want to hear, but only God knows what is best. God bless you my friend for you and your blog ministry. Lloyd

LivingSoAbundantly said...

Love those verses! God's Word is so powerful. :)

Whidbey Woman said...

I stand in agreement here. God answers prayer!

Charlotte/For Such A Time As This said...

It is a wonderful thing that God hears us...and longs for us to call upon Him. He says - "Call upon Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3 How fantastic is that!

He comes into our situation with all of who He is...His greatness...His mighty power, and transforms it.

I pray that He will answer your call with giving you your request, or something better.

Loren said...

What an amazing post! I can remember my husband going through a period learning that his job did not define him and his pride was revealed and brought into the light for the Lord to forever change and heal. Remembering the Lord loves us so much that HE won't leave us where we are when we come humbly before HIM! He hears the cry of our heart and changes us from glory to glory!

Blessings to you. May you have a wonderful weekend

sarah said...

another awesome post. Thanks for this...hope your weekend is the best.

Judy said...

Hello MTJ,

Wow! Love your post! Yes, God hears us; he listens to our cries for help; and he answers us. How awesome is that. I loved the scripture you mention at the beginning of the article. It really spoke to me. I'm sorry to hear you lost your job, but there's nothing wrong with being in a job or career that you love and have lots of passion for. God gives us gifts and abilities he wants us to use. I am passionate about writing and editing, design, and working with other writers in the publishing industry. I've been doing it for more than 25 years.

Because my company downsized, I was placed in a job where I am no longer doing what I love. In fact, the work I'm doing is awful. There's no creativity, no joy. Just pure drudgery! I struggle to do my job every day. It feels like a prison sentence. It's quite painful. I pray constantly for a new job as I send out resumes and make connections. I know God hears my cries, and I'm sure He'll answer in His timing.

Remember, God will never leave us nor forsake us; and he will supply all of your needs according to his riches and glory in Christ Jesus. Pray for provision during this time and for resourcefulness, and He will answer. This is an opportunity for you to get to know God in a different way.

There's a scripture that David wrote in the psalms: "Who is mankind that He [God} is mindful of us?" Well, our gracious, loving, God is mindful of us, and He delivers us from all our troubles.

BTW ... I wrote a part 2 to my prison article. I found a story of how Jesus permeated the hearts of prisoners and changed the entire climate of the prison. Please read when you get a moment. I will be praying for you.

Blessings,
Judy

Charlotte said...

God certainly does answer prayers. He has answered so many for me. I'm sure when it seems like he has not answered a prayer that the answer was no because He knows what I need better than I do. Thank you for sharing this encouraging post. When we feel like we are at the bottom, that's when we can look up and He will be there for us.
Blessings,
Charlotte

Karen said...

AMEN! We say to the enemy of our souls:
We are not losers. We are choosers. We choose not to believe your lies, but to listen to the voice of our loving Savior.

Joan said...

MTJ:

Thank you for another soul-stirring post. There have been so many times when I have wondered if God is hearing my prayers. I am currently facilitating a study on the book of Revelation. One of our Scriptures this past week is Revelation 5:8, "And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints."

Now I had read this scripture before - even went through a sermons series on Revelation two years ago at church. However, words can hardly describe the feeling I had at reading this verse. Our prayers are precious to Him and it is so comfortating to know that they are placed in golden bowls before His throne.

Thank you for the prayer. I am sorry for your job loss - as you know my husband has also gone through a job loss, but we know our true identity is not in our jobs, but in Christ.

Blessings,
Joan

Sherry said...

Your post is right in line with our Pastor's messages of this month. He has been talking of Seeking God's face. Earlier today I did a Bible Study on being still and listening to God. It is wonderful how God keeps us in tune with the things we need to hear. Thanks for the post.

Peggy (mazmagi) said...

Blessings MTJ... Wonderful study, prayer, thoughts and inspiration for us once again. I, too, am sorry about your job loss. Seems like many of us are facing one loss or another and need encouragement from God or God's Word...

I debated whether to go back to the posts I missed and need to catch up on or start with the most current, which is what I did... we all need the reassurance that we are hearing God or that He is hearing us, so I started here because I needed this.
Even before you asked or wrote about "the mistaken notion that one's life has no value..." or being laid off, with your career defining you... I was asking myself
if this is why so many give up and end their life. When we fail to hear God's answer(s)? When we believe the lies of the enemy or think God isn't listening? When life seems hopeless sometimes we can't hear and we believe God does not hear or care to hear... some don't even believe HE'S THERE! How hopeless their lives must be.

Yet you have shared good Biblical scriptures and Job (the hero of the hopeless, against all odds, imagine that?) and God's responses to inspire and remind you (glad you heard those)!!! I'm so very blessed my your inspirational thoughts but mostly as always your PRAYER, which so beautifully encompasses many from a heart of compassion that comes from being there and knowing, hearing the Father and knowing He hears you. Indeed, who is like unto Thee...O Lord among the heavens...

Can you hear me singing this?

"Who is like unto Thee
*
O Lord among the gods?
Who is like unto Thee
Glorious in holiness
Fearful in praises
Doing wonders
Who is like unto Thee?"
Mi Kamocha ba'elim Adonai
(Exodus 15:11)
[no, I don't know Hebrew-nor do I think you do/should necessarily] *and this is not a very good video of the song but there really wasn't any

...since you have been getting a tune up in hearing that we all need to be better at listening, hearing and not so much with being heard, something I've struggled with in my life... and still not heard by the one(s) who need(s) to know there's more to life after life and His name is Jesus... praying and believing for him and them and many more that still need to HEAR!

Thank you MTJ... so much here to stir one's thoughts and soul. I pray that God hears your cries continually and answers far beyond, dreams surpassed... because we have HOPE in the Lord that lasts...

AMEN to yours, Peace, Hope, prayers and JOY
Peggy

Virginia said...

Great post. Our God never leave us….We have a awesome God.
Be touched by peace….
Much Blessings,
Virginia

Sharon Kirby said...

What a wonderful truth. That the God of the Universe stoops down to listen to me! Who is like Him, indeed?!

I am like you - sometimes I make the mistake of listening to thoughts in the first place - and that's when I get derailed from the awesome comfort of a listening and caring God.

Joining you in praising the Lord, for His lovingkindness and grace...

GOD BLESS!

Pamela said...

I am teaching a senior adult class tomorrow on the subject of prayer. Preparing for it has been amazing as I focus once again on the communication we can have with God through Jesus. It seems like you have proven the importance of prayer.

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

The older I get the more aware I am when the Lord answers prayers for me.
Thank-you for this post today.
Blessings,
Ginger

Judy said...

Psalm 1:2 Instead you thrill to God's Word, you chew on Scripture day and night (The Message)
Thank you for your post - certainly plently to chew on!! shall have to come back a few times to read and take it all in. Judyx

MTJ said...

Wanda: Thank you for sharing those wonderful words of encouragement Sister. "If it had not been for the Lord..." Where would I be? "I would have fainted if I had not believed to see the goodness of the Lord..." He has shown me great and marvelous things! I'm thankful the prayer spoke to you.

HHL: I'm thankful to read this affirmation..."my work is not yet complete here...keep going and help others to not give up by sharing my story." I realize that the context of my post may sound ominous, but the truth is, like you, I just can't quit!

Lloyd: Thank you Brother Lloyd for sending me a word of blessing. I'm learning that It's not how God answers me, but that He answers. Through Christ, I am realizing that God loves me....

LivingSoAbundantly: Thank you for stopping by!

Whidbey Woman: Thank you my Sister.

Charlotte: "How fantastic is that! Indeed, it eludes my vocabulary. Thank you for the prayer and He has shown Himself faithful.

Loren: I read a recent post you'd written about your marriage and how God brought healing and life into it. I love how you say, "He hears the cry of our heart..." It's true! He Hears and changes us.

Sarah: Thank you for stopping by. I love seeing the pic of that pup.

MTJ said...

Judy: My lay off happened eighteen months ago. At the time it happened, it never occurred to me that I would be out of work for an extended time. I suppose that it may have helped to talk about it at that time rather than now, but up until now, I never felt the need to write about it. Last week I read about a fellow blogger's wife who had been laid off from her job and the difficulties she has been facing, What Dean Spencer wrote in My Wife Shelby, spoke to me in such a profound way, that I decided to write about being laid off. What he wrote made me see that, despite being laid off, God still loved me. Last August, God began to show me a business opportunity, and I went all in. It has not been an easy road, but it has nonetheless been one that brought me to true dependence on God. I can't say what I lost, because I didn't lose anything. I can say, "I no longer have that same career, or attitude." My marriage failed, but through every setback, God has shown me that He loves me, and that the journey isn't over.

God is creative, and I believe each of us has some aspect of creativity in us to do something unique and valuable. Working in a position where we lack the opportunity to have a creative flow, numbs our motivation and desire. I am discovering that nothing compares to having a joy about what I'm doing; whether it's running my own business, or cleaning my toilet.

Thank you for the 4-1-1 on Part 2 of your prison article. I'm dealing with my wife moving out and running my business, but I will read it over the coming weeks.

Charlotte: I find so much encouragement in the truth that God shows up. For me, the hardest lesson to learn is that it no longer matters How God answers me, what matters is that God answers me.

Karen: Unlike any other voice I've heard, is the loving voice of Almighty God.

Joan: Thank you for reminding me of this scripture Joan..."the prayers of the saints." Wow! Knowing that, "Our prayers are precious to Him..." I can't think of a better way to express that.

Please don't be sorry for me, or the job I use to do. I didn't lose it, but I see now that had I not been laid off, I would never have turned back to God; I would never have left that job on my own. Last August, the Lord opened my eyes to a path of dependence upon Him. Along the way, I've been able to start my own business. I'm not profitable yet, but I love what I'm doing, and I love the Lord for helping through each day with a joy that I cannot fully understand.

I don't believe we lose, people and things are taken from our lives. I believe this happens because the enemy of God seeks to rob, kill and destroy our life in such a way that we become discouraged and turn from God.

Yes, I pray for your husband Joan because of what you've shared about him. I give God thanks for both he and you. You are so right about our true identity being in Christ.

Sherry: Thank you for stopping by. Yes, it is so good to know that God keeps us in tune with what we need to hear.

MTJ said...

Peggy: As I've shared, "I don't look at it as a loss." Who I've discovered has become far more precious to me than any job, career, or position. In the past year, I've come to know that God loves me. What it has cost me to learn this was worth the price because a mere job pales in comparison to the glory and goodness of Almighty God.

As I remarked on an earlier comment, the lay off occurred eighteen months ago, so what I wrote in this post is in retrospect of that. Some are able to write as they go through a circumstance; that was not the case in this post, but in a real sense the journey continues.

I also realize how tempting it may be for some to end thier life. It is not something I've considered but suicide is something I've tried to understand. I know someone who took their life years ago, and it was something which I never understood. I realize that for some, life appears hopeless, useless, and pointless. Entertaining the thought, Why go on, has led some to the act of suicide. It is a tactic used by the enemy of God to destroy the life of someone God loves.

Thanks for sharing the music video Sister.

Virginia: Thank you for stopping by and sending the word of peace my way.

Sharon: Thank you Sister for joining me in praise to the God of the universe!

Pamela: It is God who demonstrates the importance of prayer. He proves Himself faithful. Thank you for stopping by.

Ginger: You are a blessing Sister.

Judy: Thank you for stopping by and be welcome to stop by again.

Clif said...

Another excellent post. I can tell from the many comments you received that others were blessed by what you shared. Thank you. (I want to suggest to you that if you want people to read what you say about their comments you almost need to go to their blog and leave a comment there. Few people return to the comment section of your blog after they leave a comment.)

Dena E's Blog said...

AWESOME...Praising Him...Sharing in Christ's Spirit~~~Hugs Dena

Vintagesouthernlife said...

Yes, God does answer prayer. Just last week he answered what many would think of as an insignificant request. The fact that he cared and he answered was more important to me than the actual answer.I was reminded of what I already knew and had obviously forgotten, no request is too great or to small.
Have a great week, Annette

Ken said...

Amen! God answers prayers