God has not changed; the devil has not changed; man has not changed. God changes not. He still calls, He still leads. He still demands availability, symbolized by the tent. He still demands sacrifice and death to what I want, symbolized by the altar; but He is still a God of promise.
The devil has not changed: he will still try to break us down. And man hasn’t changed: we’ll still have our failures as well as our successes.
But wherever you are on your journey now, God’s Word claims the promise in Christ for you: “Lift up now thine eyes.” From where? Wherever you are.
Where art thou? In your sin? Let’s address that one first. There are sinners gathered together here in church on Sunday morning. We are all sinners saved by grace, but there are those who are forever kept away from God by some warped idea that when they come to God, they must be able to live a perfect life. Or when they finally decide to come to God, they think that they are going to straighten themselves out sufficiently that He will get a little better performance from them than what they think they are worth right now. “From the place where thou art, lift up now thine eyes.” The promise of the Lord is “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Now for some years there has been the suggestion creeping into the church world that when you get in darkness with no light you must have done something wrong. The suggestion is that if you are in this kind of circumstance, it must mean that you are out of God’s will. It seems like there is a parade of testimonials from people who are forever telling us that when they gave their heart and life to God, everything turned rosy; that when they got into the center of God’s will and quit resisting God, everything turned bright. I am one preacher who says there is a little too much illusionary Christianity being propagated today. This parade creates a momentum: when one says it, another one wants to say it; and that sends out a rosy glow, making people who have not yet moved into the stream of Christianity think that the minute they make that walk down an aisle and give their life to God everything is automatically right thereafter. Not so!
I find Christians all over the world forever being intimidated by that “accuser of the brethren” who says that when things go wrong, “You are out of God’s will.” They are wrong and bad enough in themselves, but he just adds on more weight: “It is happening to you because you did something wrong.” Not so! This kind of circumstance is not happening to you because you did something wrong. To those Christians who have said to me that the sign of being out of God’s will is things going wrong circumstantially in your life, I have oft responded: then all the saints in God’s book were out of God’s will most of the time! The Christian journey is warfare.
Pastor Melissa Scott Teaches on The Worship of Prayer
Nobody is guiltless. So since you are guilty, along with this
preacher, how are you going to get over it?
Don’t beat yourself to death because you are anxiously caring
about that one little thing. Put something in its place:
displacement. “But in every thing...” that is: that one little
thing, or those many little things you have been anxiously worrying
about. For every single one of the things you have been worrying
about, when the worrying pressure comes, you put something
else in its place, like a legal cancellation instrument, or like
the turning of a valve...on what? “In every thing by prayer,”
circle the words, “and supplication.” Circle the word
“with thanksgiving.” Circle the word “let your requests be
made known unto God.” Those are four separate Greek words.
Pastor Scott continues explaining that prayer has to do with worship.
It is that word where we express adoration and praise to God.
In the midst of my anxious care, I am told what to do when
that thought intrudes.
Got a pain? “Oh Lord, it’s cancer!”
A little indigestion? “Lord, I’m having a heart attack!”
Have you ever done that? The minute it comes, instead of running
to someone else to spread that refuse of fear, stop! You can’t take
the fear away, but you can turn the spigot on something else.
And God’s Word says “sacrifice praise.” It is pretty hard to keep
worrying if you just turn these lips loose and start praising God.