Experiencing God, Week 6

Experiencing God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:07:46
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What Happens When You Pray

To know what happens when you pray, we first have to know the purpose of prayer, correct? Prayer is the way we communicate and praise God!
Prayer is not: bargaining with God, making demands of God, only asking God for things, bother God and taking up His time, a way to control God, or a way to show off one’s spirituality to others.
Prayer is a form of WORSHIP. Warren Wiersbe sums up the purpose of prayer well: “The immediate purpose of prayer is the accomplishing of God’s will on earth; the ultimate purpose of prayer is the eternal glory of God”
Here is the thing we fail to remember sometimes, we cannot imagine what God wants to give us!
1 Corinthians 2:10–12 ESV
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
One thing the book points out is that “when we pray, we usually don’t relate our prayers to anything that subsequently happens. After you pray, practice spiritual concentration.” When we focus on God’s answered prayer, then our faith increases because we see how He responded.
QUESTION: Do we focus on the RESULT of prayer as much as we do what we WANT through our prayer?

The Silences of God

Does God immediately answer every prayer? I think we all go through times of silence during our lives. How many of us have ever had the thought “God, are you even listening to me”? If we search scripture, a good example of a person who went through a period of silence from God is Job. But one thing is for sure, God listened to Job, even in His silence. God did not owe any explanation to Job, even though Job continued to question Him.
What happens when we reach spiritual silence from God? Sometimes we have to take comfort in knowing He will speak when we need to hear.
“God will let you know what He is doing in your life when and if you need to know”.

God Speaks Through Circumstances

Sometimes we need to listen to God in other ways. Sometimes He speaks through circumstances in our lives. If God poke through circumstances to Jesus on what He should do, then He can also speak to us through circumstances on what WE should do.
The book makes this statement “Jesus always looked for where the Father was at work; then He joined Him”.
Sometimes we do not need God to bless what we are doing, but we should be looking for what God is doing…and join in. We should be looking for what God wants to do through us, in our lives, and in His plan.

God’s Perspective is Vital

“Jesus did not have to guess what to do. Jesus did not have to dream up what He could accomplish for the Father”.
Jesus was always looking for God’s direction and will, and so should we. Job struggled to understand why God allowed him to go through the hardships he experienced. But, look at his friends, each of them “thought” for God. They thought they had God’s perspective and could speak truth to Job. Oh, how far from the truth. Why? They did not understand the circumstances behind Job’s trials. God was allowing a period of testing for Job. It was not anything he had done, but what he was allowed to experience.
The problem is, often we do not understand why we are going through certain circumstances in life, and like Job, we may question God’s motives. We may wonder if God is listening or if He cares. Our faith must grow to the point that we put our faith and trust in God’s wisdom - through the good times AND the bad.

The Truth of Your Circumstance

The blunt truth is, we will never know why we are going through circumstances in our lives UNTIL God reveals it to us. Think back to the example used in the book of the Israelites in Egyptian bondage. Did they know why they had been taken from a time of excess to a time of enslavement? Did they understand why conditions continued to deteriorate for them? Did they understand why God was not delivering them from their situation? No. But, God had a plan.
Did Moses understand why the Israelites were such cry-babies when they were delivered? Did he understand why they were so resistant of God’s plan when He was faithful to release them from bondage? Did he understand why they did not trust God when He had performed miracle after miracle and answered request after request? No. But God had a plan.
Do we always understand why we are going through tough circumstances in our life? Money issues, relationship issues, work issues, friend issues, the list can go on and on. And, while we may not understand, we can take comfort in knowing God has a plan.

Hearing From Truth

When things are revealed to us, we should know the Holy Spirit will reveal truth.
John 14:6 ESV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Think back to the disciples on the boat when the storm arose:
Mark 4:35–40 ESV
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
How do WE respond during times of storms in our lives? In many cases, the same way as the disciples. Not only that, but God looks at us in the same way and says “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”.
What is God trying to see us through, in our lives, our families, our church, today? And is He shaking His head wondering where our faith went?

Spiritual Markers

Most of the teaching examples so far have revolved around bad situations, but that is not always the case. Sometimes there are decisions to be made. Sometimes it is milestones in our lives. Sometimes we need to just acknowledge that we have to follow God’s will for our lives and be faithful to follow through. Remember, it is God’s will that is to be done in our lives.
Matthew 6:10 (ESV)
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Physical Markers of Spiritual Encounters

Joshua 4:2–3 ESV
2 “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’ ”
What was the stones used for? They were a sign to the Israelites to come, their children. Often we see physical markers used as reminders to the Israelites (altars).
What physical markers are present in our lives today?

Seeing God’s Perspective

God works in ways to accomplish His divine purposes. Examples given were when God called Abraham, when He came to Isaac, To Jacob, Moses, in each of these instances we see God’s will being accomplished throughout the life of the Israelites and the leaders He had put in place.
God wants to involve us in His purpose, and His will continues throughout time. It is us to us to accomplish His purposes for our lives from birth to death.

A Spiritual Inventory

How many of us have taken time to identify spiritual markers in our lives? When we come up with unknown circumstances in our lives, it helps to look back at how God has moved in our lives. And, it makes it easier to sit back, patiently, and wait until He reveals those things to us.

God Speaks Through the Church

If the Holy Spirit speaks through God’s people, then does it not make sense to associate with a body of believers?

The Body of Christ

What is one of the issues the book addresses within the church/believers today? By identifying as individuals instead of the corporate body. While it is true Christians have direct access to God through Christ, the church acts as His redemptive agent in the world. He has a purpose for the corporate body, and places each member to accomplish His purpose through that congregation.
Ephesians 4:13 (ESV)
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
God works through the body of believers.
1 Corinthians 12:27 (ESV)
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
The local church IS the body of Christ. All churches worldwide are connected by God, and carry out His purpose.

Allow God to Speak Through the Church

The more we become involved within the body, the more we recognize others can help us grow. We are one part of the body, and the body works together in unison to accomplish His will.
Think of places in our church that need individuals to fill functional roles.
Pastor, Lay Pastors, Deacons, Teachers, Church Clerk, Treasurer, Choir Director, Food Pantry Workers, Women’s Ministry Leader, Men’s Ministry Leader, Youth Ministry Leader, Children’s Ministry Leader, Outreach Ministry Leader, Janitorial Staff, Grounds Keeper, and the list goes on and on.
To function as God intended, it requires ALL parts of the body to be functioning as He intends.
So, where is God calling you to WORK in the body so His will for this congregation can be complete?
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