When God Says No

Anyone who has children knows that children have a hard time when the parents may say “No” to their request. Parents who love their children curb their children’s wishes to teach them to resist indulgence, to protect them, and to train them. No is not always a bad thing but can be a good thing. Hearing no as the answer to a request is not just hard for children but also for adults. God responds to our prayer requests at times with a no, why?

What about the real requests? I am not talking about those ridiculous prayer requests like wanting a mansion or a sports car, but why do we get a “no” from God still? What if our intentions are pure and good and we still get a no, why?

He Loves Us

The theme of God’s love is interwoven throughout the Bible. A defining characteristic of God is that He is love (1 John 4:8, 16). God is not only loving but is love. God’s love for His children, the Christian is special and unique. God who has this special and unique love for His child will answer “no” to our requests at times because He loves us.

In Matthew 7 Jesus gives this illustration of how an earthly father knows how to give good gifts so how much more your Father who is in heaven knows how to give good things to those who ask (Matt. 7:11). We can look at it almost the same way but with not getting what we ask, why because he who is in heaven, knows what we need or what we don’t need.

The overwhelming love of God is manifested through the Son (1 John 4:9). We know God loves us. So, when we receive a “no” from God with one of our requests remember it is because He loves us.

He Is Protecting Us

Another reason we receive a “no” which stems from His love for us may be because He is protecting us from something that we are unaware of that good be harmful or not good for us. I

In Matthew 7 we are encouraged by Jesus to approach God the Father like a child seeking their earthly father. We ask, seek, and knock with confidence that God hears us but also that He will answer us. Jesus gives the example of a child asking for a fish receives a poisonous snake instead or asking for bread receives rocks. God doesn’t do mean or spiteful responses. But what if what we are asking for is more like the rocks or the poisonous snakes? God knows those would be harmful to us and does not give them.

Just like a parent tells their toddler no when they may be doing something potentially dangerous out of their protective love for their child. The toddler may not know that putting their finger in the light socket is dangerous, the parents do and want to protect their children. The same way, God in His perfect love protects His children from things that may not be good for us.

He is Perfect in His Timing

We may receive a “no-not yet” response from God about our prayer request too. The Apostle Paul dealt with no from God. He wanted to share the Gospel in an area of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) but God said no (Acts 16:6-10). At first glance this may seem brash of God to respond with no. He was not telling Paul that the Gospel would not be shared there. He was telling him that he wasn’t going there to share the Gospel. If you continue to read the passage Paul was directed to another place where God wanted him to go, Macedonia (Acts 16:9-10).

God cared for those of that area so it wasn’t where God preferred a place or people above the other. It was based on God’s perfect timing and placing of Paul. Later that area that Paul would want to go to were mission fields for other disciples to go to and were fruitful places of ministry.

God will say no because we may have our eyes in the wrong place and it may not be the right time. Just like the promises of God to Abraham, Joseph, or David to be used in a great way took time.

When you receive a “no” from God on something you were asking of Him let me encourage you (and me) to respond humbly. Reflect and remember on what the Bible says, God loves you and is good. He protects and directs us. We want to be in His perfect will and that means even in His perfect timing!

How to Pray for Others

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Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

Many times I get this question, “Pastor, please pray for me.” Not only do I do my best to pray for them right then and there but I try to remember to pray for them throughout my week. I am often wondering how do I pray for others. I know it is lifting up their request but more so, how should my heart and mind be when I pray for them. I am so thankful for Scripture as we can see a model of what this looks like. Paul, the Apostle, would often pray for the different churches and mention that in his letters to them.
One of those particular prayers is found in the book of Philippians. In his pastoral prayer, we have a model of the heart behind praying for others.

1) Our prayers need to be thankful for others

Paul was thankful for the church in Philippi, he was thankful for them. He writes to them, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you (Philippians 1:3).” As a pastor I am reminded how I am thankful for the believers at my church. I am thankful for the unity that comes in Christ. Though there may be different in our interests, we have different backgrounds and upbringings, we have different likes and dislikes, different hobbies, different professions, different yet we have Christ who unites us. We go from unrelated to family. We go from strangers to a community. Christ who unites us is far greater than where we are diverse.
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Marks of Christian Unity: Rejoicing with One Another

 As a parent, there are certain things that I am less desirous of doing than others, such as going to Costco as a family. Don’t get me wrong; I love being with my family and I love spending time with them. But Costco is usually busy, and when you have three young children, it’s just not that easy. I always tell my wife, Alyssa, that it is like trying to herd cats.
There have been successful trips to Costco and that is when we are all moving together with the same goal. We get in, have fun, and get the items we came for. Plus, the kids get to eat all the free samples!
In the same way, the church is made up of more than individual Christians; we are a body of believers that is called a family. We can easily start going our own way and doing our own thing. That is why Paul urges the church to be unified. He writes to the Philippian church, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:1–2 esv).
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A Changed Life: Augustine (354-430)

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Augustine of Hippo, who stands as a church father of theology, was an intellectual giant whom I must confess I fall short in writing about. He wrote over 100 books, 500 sermons, and 200 letters. Many who read Augustine relate to him because of his rebellious life and the inward struggle with truth. The Bible reminds us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV). Augustine as a new creation was able to look at truth, which he passionately pursued, with new, clear lenses. With a clear look at truth, he saw that truth is found in Christ. He is a world changer—he impacted not just those in North Africa in the 4th century, but so many believers throughout history because his writings have been preserved.
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The Pursuit of God

img_3566A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)

Every generation seems to have that person who stands out more than the rest. For the early twentieth century, it would seem that person is A. W. Tozer. The Bible gives us a brief story about a man named Enoch. Not much is known about him other than a few verses in the Bible. His life is summed up this way: “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). Though Tozer did not leave this earth like Enoch, we can summarize his life the same way. Tozer walked with God, pursued after God, and then went home to be with God.
Tozer was a pastor, author, editor of The Alliance Witness Magazine, conference speaker, and one who walked with God and knew Him intimately.
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World Changer Wednesday: George Muller (1805-1898)

God’s Faithfulness on Display

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Drawn by Andy Gutierrez

I am always amazed at the type of people God uses to accomplish His will. He uses people you would not always choose. If you were picking people for a team to be used by God, George Muller would probably be the last one picked, yet God, who is sovereign, makes beautiful things out of the mud and knew that Muller would be the man that God would use to save upwards of 10,000 children abandoned in England.
George Muller was born in Prussia, modern-day Germany, in 1805. He was a student of divinity. Though he knew about God, he did not know the things of God. He may have known somewhat of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, but the gospel did not permeate his heart. He knew nothing of the ‪saving grace of God.
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The Room that Powers it All!

What room holds the power at church? Is it the room where decisions are made? Is it the office where things get done? Is it the sanctuary where the pulpit stands? No, the room that holds the power is the room where there is prayer for the church! When visitors would come to the nineteenth century pastor, C. H. Spurgeon’s church he would show them the room that has the power, it was the room where Christians would gather faithfully and pray for the church. He called it the “boiler room”
E. M. Bounds so prophetically in his book The Power Through Prayer,

“What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer.”

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