God walked with Adam in prayer
God saved Noah in prayer
God Promised Isaac in prayer
God spared Lot because someone was praying
Nineveh was saved because of prayer
Moses saw Gods glory in prayer
Angels Protected Daniel in prayer
God walked in the fire with 3 Hebrew children praying
God gave Samuel because of prayer
God cleansed David in prayer
Gave the Prophets the message in prayer
The Lord took Amos in prayer
Jesus overcame temptation in prayer
And overcame his fleshly will in prayer
The Holy Ghost was given in prayer
Peter was delivered from prison in prayer
Paul and Silas where set free in prayer
John saw heaven in prayer
God called to me in prayer
I was forgiven in prayer
I was set free in prayer
I was filled with the Spirit in prayer
God healed me in prayer
God delivered me in prayer
I received my calling in prayer
I received direction in prayer
God changed my attitude in prayer
God changed my spirit in prayer
God revealed himself to me in prayer
God put my family back together in prayer
I got victory over the enemy in prayer
God will forgive us if we pray
God will heal our land if we pray
Revival fires will burn if we pray
Healing and deliverance will come if we pray
Our cities will be saved if we pray
Our world will be turned upside down if we pray
He will come if we pray
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4,5 NIV
The Bible has a lot to say about God, about His Nature and His personality. He is described as a holy God who is perfect, an all powerful God who can do anything, an ever present unchanging God who always has been and always will be, a God of wisdom and unlimited knowledge. Yet none of these defining characteristics moves the heart and stirs the soul any more than the fact that God is merciful. In fact some of the other qualities of God are kind of intimidating.
King David of the Bible who wrote a song describing God in all His many wonders said above all the things that are so great about God nothing compares to His mercy.
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endures for ever. Psalms 118:1 KJV
David had made some big mistakes in his life and had needed mercy. Maybe you feel the same way. I want you to know the God who showed mercy to King David will show mercy to you.
If there is anything you need to know about God it is this; no matter who you are or what you have done or not done in your life, He loves you and He will always have mercy on you.
Mercy for your past and the mistakes you and I have made.
Mercy for your present condition and what you are facing right now. Mercy for the unseen road ahead in your life.
Take a chance, what do you have to lose, let God show you just how much he loves you and how deep His mercy runs.
What should I do?
Thats the question your heart may be asking. So here is what you can do to experience Gods mercy in your life TODAY!
Be open and honest with Him. Speak to Him like you would speak to your dearest friend. Share with Him your deepest fears and darkest secrets and ask Him for His mercy and forgiveness. The Bible says if you do that He will immediately and without reservation show you mercy.
If we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.
1 John 1:9 MSG
Do it today! God is waiting on you longing to give you MERCY!
OBJECTS OF HIS AFFECTIONRead Now
I believe most of us live with a paradigm about God. Consciously or sub-consciously we believe God has an agenda, a motive behind His relationship with us. I hope this helps to clear the air.
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.
Why did God make us? I have heard and preached sermons declaring that He made us for worship. I have also heard and preached that He made us so that we would love Him. The angels couldn’t do this because they didn’t really have a choice. Let’s hold that question for a moment.
I know that God loves me. However, I have always put His love in the context of love as opposed to judgment. We were lost in our sins so Christ died for us so that we could/would love Him and do His work in the earth. So because of great mercy, He loves us in spite of ourselves.
He created us to give Him glory, right? I say, “no”!
Why does a parent adopt or have a child? Is it because they want a little human that will love them? Not primarily. Its because a parent has love to give! A child is the recipient of love that is in the heart of the parent. That is how we love our children even before we ever see them.
We are not a choir created to sing praise. We are the created objects of God’s affection.
It seems that I often worship to earn God. I worship to conjure up God’s anointing. I worship because of the fact that I am so rotten without His mercy. I sing and pray with the thought of Calvary ever before me. Living life with a debt that I cannot ever repay . If it weren’t for Grace we would be lost. Yes, that is true, but is that where God wants us to dwell. I wonder if the Prodigal’s father reminded him of how much he owed every time he turned around. Did he spend the rest of this life thanking his father, “dad I’m such a loser, thanks for letting me come back”?
I submit that the ultimate goal is a “no-black-book” love relationship. Calvary is not the object. Calvary was simply a way of allowing us to get back to Eden a place where God could show His love toward man. We were not created to praise, worship, give glory, or even to love. These are all worthwhile endeavors but I believe that our primary created purpose is to BE Loved by God.
I’m not talking about a “name it and claim it” religion of God as our slave. I am not talking about being spoiled children with our dirty little hand expectantly extended from morning to night. I am talking about allowing God to love us. He said it is better to give than to receive. Is that only for us? No! He would rather give love than to receive it. Yet we are so bound in guilt, shame, and sin that we are stuck in a perpetual Prodigal mode. We don’t feel worthy to be sons. We don’t feel worthy to be loved. No, God, I don’t want anything I just want to worship you. No, God. I don’t need anything I just want to give you some penance praise so I can ease my aching conscience.
That is not what God wants. How would you feel if you could only receive hugs from your kids but you couldn’t ever give one? What if you could only get gifts but could never see their eyes light up as they open the gift you’ve given them. I hate the statement about God being worthy even if He never does another thing for me. Is it true? Yes. But what father goes around with that attitude? God isn’t walking around saying, “Praise Me”. He is saying, “I love you”.
God always gives more than He asks of us. He asks us to be holy and He is perfect. He asks us to be honest and He has never lied. In the Old Testament He asked for Turtle Doves, and He gave His own life. So, what is the greatest commandment? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. I propose to you that the greatest commandment is a revelation of the premise for which God made us. LOVE.
Satan’s first lie to man was to distort the motive of God. To make his love tainted by a hidden agenda.
“He doesn’t want you to eat because if you do you will be like him.”
The truth be known man was as much like God as any creation could ever be. Yet he believed the lie and instead of being more like God he became like the devil. Full of himself, self-serving, self-indulged, plain old selfish.
From that time on man has been looking over his shoulder trusting little because of his own way of thinking. Surly everyone is after something right?
I have always had a twisted understanding of Love. It seems I loved who loved me, who was kind to me, who befriended me. I always loved to be loved or to gain something in return. Until I had a son. Zion changed everything. I now know the love of a father. I do not love that little guy because he loves me. I just love him. I do not take care of him, feed him, clothe him, change his dirty diapers & protect him because someday he will feed, clothe, protect and change my diapers. There are no strings attached. I do it because I love him.
The reason Leah and I had a child is because we had love to give.
Zion has become the object of our affection.
Phil, a student in my next step discipleship class asked a great question. We had been talking about the fact that God is all knowing, that He knows the end from the beginning and that God knew man would fall out of covenant with him, Phil asked “why did God make man the way that he did.” Why did He create something He would have to save?
I started to go into my spiel about choice and how we were made in a way so we could choose Him and love Him when all of a sudden I realized something I had never realized before.
God made man the way He did with a choice knowing well man would choose to disobey and He also created the rule that sin would be punishable by death and death alone and that the one who died to pay the price for the sin would have to be spotless.
He created a scenario were He himself would be the only one who could pay the price for sin because of His own regulations about sin and the sacrifice that could pay for it.
Why would He do that?
Jesus said there is no greater love than this, than when a man lays down his life for a friend. The greatest expression of true love. The mountaintop of love is dying for someone else.
This God we serve so desired to show His limitless love for us that He created before the foundations of the world a plan so selfless that it will take eternity to truly comprehend. As He hung on mount Calvary He would be fulfilling the perfect love as He died for you and for me. He could have it no other way. It is the clearest picture of His divine nature and His emotions toward us.
Love to spend. We were the objects of His affection.
I want you to understand this. God has no agenda other than your well-being.
Everything He has ever done has always been motivated by love.
This is the greatest mystery of the ages, this is the peak of divine revelation, God loves you. God cares about you.
To every spouse in a marriage that seams to be sinking I want you to know God cares
To every person who’s marriage fell apart
To those who have tried but cannot have children
To the single moms and dads who have to be a mom and dad to their kids
To every person who has to go home to an empty house I want you to know God cares
To those suffering with the lose of a loved one
To the ones who cant seem to make enough to pay the bills
To those who haven’t found their place in the world
To those who have a hard time making friends
To those who were done wrong by your friends
To those who trusted and your trust was broken
To those who suffer from depression
For those who were orphaned
To those who look in the mirror and do not like what you see
To those who have it hard or unfair and you don’t understand why
To those who’s kids no longer serve god
To those who have never known true love
To those who don’t get paid as much as they are worth
To those with cancer, sugar diabetes, heart conditions, and any other sickness or disease
To those who live in daily pain
To those who have done more than your share of sinning
To those who have regrets that keep you up at night
For those of you still struggling with addiction
For us who still make the same mistakes
For those who worry about tomorrow
For those who are still frightened by your past
For the ones the devil is attacking
God loves you, God cares about you
You may have had to buy a spouses love but you don’t have to buy His
You may have had to earn a fathers love but you do not have to earn His
He loves you and always has, yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever
If you turn away from him
If you fail him
If you love others more than him
If you stop loving him
If you blame him
If you disrespect him
If you choose the devil over him
If you hurt him
If you nail him to a cross again if you pluck his beard again if you spit on him again
He will never stop loving you
You are the object of His affection
For someone who grew up in the midst of Hair Rock pandemonium free tickets to a Poison concert was a promise of a really good time. But for a 30 something pastor who grew up in a conservative (but loving) home in the midwest, uncomfortable would be the best word to describe how I felt.
Should I go? Was this a compromise? What business does any believer have at a rock concert?
CC was a new convert in our church. A new convert with legendary hair! He was also a key member in one of the 80’s and even the 90’s most popular bands. Yet on Sundays he made the drive from the edge of Orange County up through the city to the San Fernando Valley to a little church in a modest building. My friend Jesse had baptized him in an apartment bathtub at the end of a men’s bible study meeting and now he was one of us, kinda…
He struggled on the road, as most of us would especially with a history like his but he was trying. He was giving his all to stay sober, to stay right with his maker, to be a responsible man.
He asked me to come and to bring my then pregnant wife to a local venue where they were to play. He wanted to have prayer before and to read some of the good book and talk about faith.
As we sat in his trailer before the show he shared his story, his struggles, his failures. He talked about being a father and what that meant to him and how he longed to finally be a proper example to his child. With tears in his eyes and a brokenness in his heavily accented east coast voice, he shared the inner secrets of his heart.
We met his band mates, who also were striving for a better life through sobriety with the help of each other and God. Then we were ushered to our seats for the show.
15,000 middle aged fans had come out that night. Many dressed in the same clothes they would have worn back in the day, with their hair teased out they were head banging and acting like they were having a good time. “Highway to Hell’ was blaring from the mammoth speakers and there was a sinking feeling in my gut, a feeling that I was way to far beyond the safe boarders of my sheltered existence. I did not belong. I was in enemy territory.
After some more modest bands opened the show it was time for the main event. Lights flashing, smoke bellowing, fans screaming and then singing perfectly every word to the hits of bygone days, past there prime rockers put on a show as I wilted further and further into my now very uncomfortable seat.
Then it happened… Without warning the lights dimmed and the crowd hushed as my friend took center stage and began to play a song that I finally did know and I began to hum along “…Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me…”
The devil took one on the chin at that moment. A rock and roll superstar with a history of bad behavior, addiction and selfishness, played on… The same guitar that had worshipped the spirits of darkness was now piercing that amphitheater with a melody of Gods redemption and grace. For a moment the breath went out of that building as God took the stage. How bold, how humbling.
At that moment I realized this was not just about a preacher being there for the new convert. God was using the new convert to teach me a thing or two about how BIG He was and how little I really knew. That he can use anybody and everybody anywhere. That relational evangelism (LOVE) is the way He has always intended to expand His kingdom and bring freedom, mercy, and salvation to the lost souls of this world.
That night I asked Him to forgive me of my pride and self-righteousness. I asked Him to teach me how to really change my world, I asked Him to give me the boldness to truly proclaim His love while I gave Him the freedom to use who He wants to use, whenever and wherever He wants to use them.
I asked Him to take my cultural blinders off so that I could see people as He sees people. Realizing you cannot truly know the heart of a person so put your energy into getting yours right.
If conviction and repentance begin the process of salvation from sin then I would say God saved this preacher (of all places) at a rock concert.
“I once was lost but now I’m found twas blind but now I see.”
Lead pastor of Chapel North Noblesville