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Faithlife

How To Pray About Your Problems

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Prayer Can Change Your Life  -  Part 3 of 4

Romans 10:17 Jn 14:8-14

Romans 10.  We're in a series called "Prayer Can Change Your Life".  The last two weeks we talked about the reasons for prayer or the four purposes of prayer.  Last week we talked about the five conditions for answered prayer.  There are five things God says you must do in order to have an answer to your prayer. 

One of the conditions that we had to answered prayer is you have to have faith.  You must believe.  Faith is the key that unlocks the door through prayer.  But sometimes the situation is so big and the problem is so overwhelming it's hard to have faith.  The question is how do you get faith in a faithless situation?

Romans 10:17 tells us where faith comes from.  "Consequently faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ."  The word there is rhema in Greek. It says we get faith by listening to the word of God.  If you want to build faith, it's simple.  Fill your life with the Bible. The more Bible knowledge you have, the more faith you're going to have.  The less you know about the Bible, the less faith you're going to have.  It's a specific kind of word of God.  It's the rhema

How do you pray about problems and difficult decisions?  The keys to prayer in the Bible are the promises of God.  There are over 7000 promises in the Bible.  They're like blank checks, gifts waiting to be received.  If you want to have a dynamic prayer life, you get a promise to claim onto, grab onto, and you can have your answer to prayer.  There is a verse for every need, for every problem, in the Bible.  The more promises you know, the more powerful your prayer will become.  The question then is, why don't the promises always work?  I was reading about a man who was a diabetic and he read the verse, "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."  John 14:14.  So he said, "God, I'm going to ask that You cure me of diabetes," and he threw away his insulin and three days later he died.  What happened?  God promised.  Why didn't it work?

There's a misconception people have about the promises of God.  It's this:  You cannot automatically claim a promise that's been given to somebody else in the Bible unless the Holy Spirit gives it to you. 

To understand what we're going to talk about today, you must understand that God speaks to people two different ways.

1.  Universally -- to everybody.


2.  Personally -- to individual people, specific messages for specific situations at specific times.

The New Testament was originally written in Greek.  In the Greek there were two terms used for the term "word".  "Logos" and "rhema".  Whenever you hear the phrase, "the word of God", sometimes it's the logos of God and sometimes it's the rhema of God.  The logos is the word of God to everybody.  That's the Bible -- everything from Genesis to Revelation, the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, the Twenty-Third Psalm. It is God's word to everybody.  It is the foundation for the second type of word of God which is the rhema.  The rhema is the word of God to you personally, a specific word, a promise, to a specific person in a specific period of time for that only.  We can only claim a promise when it is a rhema to us, when it's the specific word to us.  I'm going to share with you how you get that.

Sarah was Abraham's wife.  One day God came to Sarah and said, "Sarah, you're going to have a baby".  There's nothing unusual about that except she was ninety years old and her husband Abraham was ninety-nine years old.  That's incredible!  It was a specific word to her.  God didn't say, "The whole nation of Israel, every woman when she reaches ninety is going to have a baby."  It was a specific rhema, a word of God to her and not to anybody else.  Just to her.

Getting a personal promise of God like that is the key to miracles.  It's the key to answered prayer.  When God speaks to you personally, then you can act on it.  Not when He uses it for everyone and you say, "He used it for that person so I'm going to claim it for me."  That's why last week we look at John 15:7 that said, "If you continue to abide in My word, then you can ask for whatever you want and then it will be yours."  It says "If you continue in my rhema not logos... If you continue in My specific word to you, then you can have answered prayer.

Remember the story of Peter walking on water?  Peter's out in a boat with all of the disciples.  It's night.  Jesus comes walking across the water and Peter says, "Lord, Call me and I'll come!" Jesus gives Peter a rhema, a specific word for one man in a specific situation.  He says, "Peter, come on!"  Peter gets out of the boat and starts walking across the water.  Notice that no one else was anxious to get out of the boat besides Peter.  Why? Because it wasn't a word to everybody.  It was a word to Peter in a specific time.  It wasn't a universal word, either.  The next day, Peter didn't get up and say, "Let's go fishing, but we don't need a boat today.  Let's just walk on water and catch fish." No, it was a one time thing. 


You don't read the book of Mark and read about Peter walking on water one day and figure you can walk across your swimming pool. Don't work on a rhema given to somebody else.  We get into trouble when we try to force a general promise to everybody to work as a personal promise to us without the Holy Spirit telling us to do it. 

For instance, I talk to people who read a verse in the Bible on healing.  They'll say, "God healed them, therefore God must heal me."  So they pray and believe and have tremendous faith but even in spite of their faith nothing happens.  Then they get mad and say, "God!  Why didn't You heal me.  It's in the Bible.  You said so.  You have to do it."  And you argue.  No.  They didn't have a personal word for God for this particular thing.  It was a general word.

Satan tried to do this with Jesus one time.  Jesus was out in the desert and Satan came and said, "Jesus, why don't You jump off the temple because the Bible says God will take care of You." That wasn't faith.  That was presumption.  It was a general promise.  "God will take care of you."  That's like reading the verse, then going home, getting some arsenic and drinking it. God hasn't promised to take care of me if I drink arsenic!  That was a general promise. 

In order to understand how prayer works, you must understand that God speaks two ways.  He speaks generally, to everybody, the word of God to everyone -- logos.  He speaks personally, to individuals about a personal thing and that's rhema.  That's how you get answer to prayer.

How does God speak to me personally?

John 14.  The principle I'm trying to share with you today is such a powerful process, it is the key to miracles in life, it is the key to understanding God's will, it is the key to difficult decisions, it is the key to having faith in a hopeless situation. How does God speak to us personally?  The Bible says it's the Holy Spirit's duty to take the Bible and make it apply to us personally, make it come alive. 

John 14:26 "But the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."  The job description of the Holy Spirit is to teach us and to remind us. 

John 16:13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth."  So in these two verses, God, Jesus Christ says the Holy Spirit is to do three things in our life:  teach us, remind us, and guide us.  It is the Holy Spirit's job description to make the Scriptures apply to our lives personally in a dynamic way.  In other words, He takes the logos and turns it into rhema.  He changes it.  It's called illumination.  It's His job, His duty. 


There is nothing mystical about what I'm talking about.  This happens all the time.  It happens to you.  Have you ever been in a church service where the preacher, the pastor is speaking and all of a sudden you feel like he's speaking directly to you?  You feel like there's nobody else is in the room.  You wonder, "How does that guy know?  How does he know I've got this problem?  How does he know that's exactly what I needed at that time?"  The number one statement people say to me after church is, "How did you know that was exactly what I needed?"  My human nature would want to say, "It's just because of my superior knowledge of human behavior."  But I can't claim credit for it.  The fact is, I simply get up and deliver the logos to you and the Holy Spirit takes it and says "Bingo!  That's what it means to your life."  I say something to you here but sometimes it may relate to you in a totally different area.  God takes a general word that I say to everybody and makes it specifically apply to you.  He gave you a rhema.  The Holy Spirit illuminated it. 

Have you ever been counseling with somebody, talking with somebody about a personal problem -- a friend or a neighbor -- and you're thinking, "I wonder what I should say to this guy," and all of a sudden a Scripture verse pops into your mind?  Just at the right time.  Just exactly what you needed to say.  How did it happen?  God gave you a rhema.  The Holy Spirit gave you a specific word, for a specific time, in a specific situation. 

Have you ever been worrying about a major decision or a problem and struggling with an issue and all of a sudden you remember something that was said in a sermon three months ago.  It fits perfectly and it applies.  God gave you a rhema.  He spoke to you personally.

That's the way God works in our lives.  The Holy Spirit takes the general word of God and makes it come alive.

How do you know when it's God giving you those impressions? 

1.  It always will agree with the Bible.  God never contradicts what He's already said.  So if God gave you an impression with something that doesn't square with the Bible, you can be guaranteed it's not from God. 

I had a guy come to me one time and said, "I believe it's God's will for me to have an affair."  He was married and had four kids.  I said, "I can guarantee you that's not God telling you that."  It couldn't be because God never contradicts His word. It's a violation of a Scriptural principle.      

You know when it's God because it always squares up with the Bible.

2.  All of a sudden the Scripture becomes alive.  It takes on new meaning.  It becomes dynamic, exciting.


Illustration:  Let's say I were to say to you, "I love you," and that is true.  I love our church.  But that is a general word to a large group of people.  My wife's sitting over here in the front row and she's part of that group and when I say, "I love you," does that include my wife?  Yes.  But it didn't do anything for her.  Big deal!   It's a logos -- a general word to everybody.  However, if I were to walk over to my wife, lean down close and whisper, "I love you," all of a sudden I get a different reaction.  Her eyes light up, her heart starts pounding (I hope).  All of a sudden a logos became a rhema.  I didn't say anything different.  I said, "I love you".  Was she included in the first one?  Yes.  But all of a sudden, it got personal and took on new meaning.  This is a secret to answered prayer.  Get this.  It became a rhema -- a word to her specifically.

That's what happens when we're converted, when we become Christians.  How many times did you hear before you became a Christian that God loves you?  I must have heard it a hundred times.  "God loves you!" and it was like water on a duck's back, it just rolled off.  Then one day, all of a sudden, God burned that truth into my life and I realized, "God loved me!"  Wow! All of a sudden it hit me.  Bob Powers, with all of his hang ups and all of his faults and all of his habits that are bad and weaknesses, frailties, fears and problems, God loves me!  And it changed my life nd I was born again.  I was converted.  All of a sudden, God's word to everybody in general became very personal. I realized it.  I'd heard it many times but all of a sudden it came alive and made a difference in my life.

One of the results of getting a word of God, a personal promise of God, a personal rhema is that it builds tremendous faith in your life.  It always produces faith.  Faith comes by hearing the rhema of God, not the logos of God but the rhema of God.  Faith comes from hearing God speak to me personally.  All of a sudden I've got confidence. 

Have you ever had a quiet time, a devotional time, when you get alone with God, sit down and read the Bible and maybe you've read the verse a hundred times, but all of a sudden the verse just jumps out at you.  And you think, "I've never seen that before!" Or all of a sudden you see a new way to apply it.  And at the end of the day you find out it was exactly what you needed for that day.  That's a rhema.  God's Spirit took a general word to everybody and applied it to you in a personal and practical way.

Steps on How To Pray About A Problem, a difficult decision.  Six things.  What do you do when you're in a situation and you don't know?  How do you know the will of God?  You've got to get a rhema

1.  Confess any known sin in your life.


You say, "God, I don't want anything to be blocking our relationship.  Is there any bad attitude I've got?  Is there any thing I'm doing that You want me to stop doing?  Is there something You've been telling me to start doing that I haven't been?"  You stop and get your life all cleaned up, a kind of spiritual washing.  The Bible says in 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us."  Just confess it and make sure the channel is open to God. 

 

2.  Commit the decision to Christ.

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will bring it to pass."  You don't go out and try to figure it out all yourself.  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will bring it to pass."

Put yourself in neutral gear.  That may take some time.  You say, "God, about this problem I'm facing or this decision, whatever You want is what I want."  Put yourself in neutral gear and keep praying until you can get that way about the situation.  You say, "Lord, whatever You want is fine with me.  If You want it, I want it.  If You don't want it, I don't want it."  The attitude is the attitude that Christ had in the Garden of Gethsamane before He went to the cross and He said, "Not My will be done, but Thine be done."  You say, "I don't know.  This is a difficult problem I'm facing and I don't know what to do with it so whatever You want." Put yourself in neutral gear and commit it to the Lord. 

3.  Ask God to reveal His will by giving you a desire.

After you've got your desire out of the way and you can honestly say, "God, I'm willing to go either way," then the third thing you do is say, "God, help me to know what You want by giving me a desire one way or the other."  Some people don't want to do that because they think if they desire it, God must be against it. Some people think that -- if you desire it then God must not want it.  That's not true.  A lot of times God is in our desires.  He can direct us with Spirit-controlled desires -- Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."  If you're really trying to do what's right, your desires are going to be in line.  Mark 11;24 "Whenever you pray, whatever you desire, believe that you've received it and you shall have it." 


How do I know?  James 1:5 "If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask God and God will give it to him generously."  You say, "God, You give me the right kind of desire."  That's what you pray.  "Lord, give me the desire to do the right thing."  You're facing a difficult decision, a problem.  First, you confess your sins -- Get right with God, make sure everything's in harmony.  Then you commit the decision to the Lord and keep praying until you get in neutral about it -- God, I'm willing to go either way.  Three, ask God to reveal His will by giving you a desire -- "Lord, give me the desire to do the right thing."  Why?  Philippians 2:13 "It is God that works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure."  He can give you the desire.

How do you know if the desire is from God?  One good test of a desire is time.  One way if you can tell if a desire is from God is to sit on it for a while and say, "God, if this desire is from You, make it stronger.  If this desire is not from You, take it away."  Ask God to do that.  It's a legitimate request. 

4.  Compare your desires with scripture.

Now that you have a clear desire, start reading the Bible and see if it's in tune with what the Bible says.  God's Spirit never leads us contrary to the Bible.  He won't contradict this.  If my desire feels opposite to this book, I know it's not right.  It's been called scriptural screening.  It's like you make a grid of the Bible and then you pray and check it out to see if it squares with Bible teaching.  If you don't know the Bible, how are you going to do that?  That's why it's important to know the Scriptures.  If you don't know the Scriptures that well, just check it out with one of your pastors.  Say, "This is my desire. What does the Scripture have to say about this?"  Check it out. See if there are any conditions, any restrictions on it.

In James 3:17 we have eight tests that you can apply when you want to know if an idea is from God or not.  And this is just one of a number of tests you can apply.  "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive [to God's will] full of mercy, full of good fruit.  It is impartial and it's sincere."  These characteristics you can check out.  Is this idea right? 

Confess it to God.  Get yourself in neutral gear and ask God to reveal it through your desires.  Take those desires to the Bible and say, "God, does this square with the scripture?"  If you don't know the Scripture that well, get a godly person who does know the Bible and ask him, "Am I violating any principle?" 

5.  Listen for God to give you a personal promise, a rhema.


Listen for God to speak to you.  You don't just go to the Bible and pick out a promise at random.  You've heard me tell before of the guy who did that.  He said, "God, what's Your will today?" He opened the Bible and put his finger down and it said, "Judas went out and hung himself."  That couldn't be right, so he tried again and it said, "Go thou and do likewise."  But that couldn't be right, so he tried a third time.  "What thou doest, do quickly."  That's the kind of results you get when you dip and skip through the word and try to force a verse to apply to your situation.

Listen for God.  Prayerfully read the word of God and wait for God to speak to you. 

The rhema, the personal word that God gives you about your situation will come in a variety of circumstances or ways.

It might come just through Bible reading.  You're reading the Bible and all of a sudden a verse applies in a new way.

It may be in a Bible study group.  That's why you need to be involved in Bible study, because you get more of the word.  Your prayer life is never stronger than your understanding of Scripture. 

It may be on a tape.  It may be a radio program.  Or you turn on the tv and there it is.  I've had things happen to me... I've got rhemas off of records.  One time I was discouraged and praying, "I don't know if it's wrong to be discouraged or not.  Would You tell me if it's wrong to be discouraged or is it ok?  Should I just accept it?"  I was looking through some books in a pastor's library and pulled out a record labeled, "How to Double Your Sunday School attendance."  I thought that would be an interesting record to listen to.  When the pastor came in, he accidentally put it on the opposite side.  There was a sermon on "Discouragement" by Jerry Falwell.  One of the first things he said was "The Bible says `Don't be weary in well doing'".  It was like an arrow to my heart.  I sat there weeping.  Here's a record answering a question I just mentioned to God a few minutes earlier when I was really in despair.  It was a rhema

You never know where it's going to come in.  It may be a friend. A friend may say a word that they don't even realize.


Confess to God.  Get in neutral gear.  Then say, "God, reveal Your will to me through my desires.  Give me the desire to do the right thing."  Then check the desire out with the Bible and then you pray and wait and listen for God to give you a personal word. Ninety-five percent of Christians never hear God speak to them personally because they're too busy, in a hurry.  We want God to give us an answer in five seconds!  And God takes longer because He wants to prepare us.  He wants to change us, get us ready. God speaks to the person who is willing to take the time to listen.  If we're in a hurry, "I need to know whether to move or not and I need to know in the next thirty seconds!"  God says, "You've basically made the decision yourself."

Are you willing to wait, to listen?  Wait until God speaks to you.  Don't get impatient.  Listen for God to give you a personal word.

After you've got the verse and it will pop out at you, come to you somehow, someway, in due time and after you've got that assurance, then ...

6.  Claim the promise with confidence.

Claim it, believe it, know it's going to happen.  You can pray very specifically.  You can start thanking God in prayer because the promise is the answer.  Start thanking Him.

Remember during school, the math books that had the answers at the end of the book?  You could work out the equation, figure out the answer, then go back and check it in the back.  No.  What you'd did was go back and find the answer and knowing where you were supposed to end up, try to figure out how to do the equation.  You know where you're going to end up, so you try to figure out how to get there. 

That's the way prayer works.  God gives you a promise and says, "Yes, I'm going to answer."  So you know how it's going to end up and you go back and wait in the middle time while it's all being worked out. 

Let's say you were to go to Alaska next week and call your husband/wife back home and say, "It's really cold up here, even though it's burning up in Chicago.  I'm freezing to death. Would you please send me a coat like I wrote you in the letter?" She/he answers, "I got the letter and it's already on the way." You can thank them because you know it's on the way.  You don't have any doubt about it.  It's on the way.

That's how it is with prayer.  God gives you a promise to claim and you can say, "Thanks, Lord!  I haven't gotten it yet but I know it's on the way because You said it.  You've given me a rhema.  You've spoken to my heart and I know it's going to happen.  It's simply a matter of timing."

Often God will send little confirmations by circumstances during that waiting period.  After you've already made the commitment and you've already taken the step of faith, He gives you little confirmations. 


One thing, I'd wrote a letter to a man in charge of directing churches in these areas telling him I was going to come and he at the same time was writing me a letter asking me to come.  We didn't know about each other's letters.

We got here in January of 1980 and a man called me up one day, a total stranger.  He said "My name is Bill Grady.  I live in Fullerton.  We've never met before but I understand you're starting a new church.  I feel like God wants me to support your ministry for the first two months for $1000 a month."  What happened?  I got a confirmation of support for something I'd already stepped out and done. 

We got here and didn't know anybody.  The first person we met was Don Dale and he became our very first member.  That was a confirmation.  I hadn't been here three hours and I already had a member.  God said, "That's to let you know, I'm going to do some exciting things in this church." 

You claim the promise given to you. 

7.  You move into action when God says "Go." 

Not when you think so, but when God says "Go."  When God gives an idea, He gives it in three parts.  First He says what He's going to do, then He says how He's going to do it, then He gives you the timing -- when?  The biggest mistake that people make is we get the first part of the idea and forget the other two.  We get the idea and say, "God told me what He's going to do," and we go out and try to do it as if He doesn't care how it's done.  We try to do it in our way and we usually fall flat.  We don't know the timing so we try to rush things. 

How do you know God's timing?  Things start falling into place. It's obvious.  Wait for God's timing.

Three years before we started this church, I tried to start another one.  I was in Riverside and God had spoken to my heart that I would start a church.  I got the right idea but I had the wrong time and wrong place.  I went to Anaheim Hills and said we're going to start a church in a month.  I rented Canyon Hills High School and didn't know anybody.  I was getting ready.  About a month before I was going to start it, God said, "Right idea but it's the wrong place and wrong time.  Don't do it because I'm not in it."  So I canceled it.  I went back to Fort Worth and worked on a master's degree for three years.  Then God said, "Now, here's where you going," and He put me in the Saddleback Valley. Right idea, but the wrong time and wrong place.


God says wait on Him and when He says "Go", you move into action. At that point you have to take a step of faith.  It's like Peter walking on water.  It was a tremendous miracle.  If you want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat.  You've got to take the step, take the risk.

Prayer:

God wants to work in every one of our lives.  That's a logos.  He wants to work in your life with a rhema.  Does God still do miracles today?  You bet He does.  But He does them in His way, according to His conditions and His sovereign will.  Some of you are facing some difficult problems right now in your marriage, at work, business decision. 

Today God brought you here to hear this.  The starting point is confession.  Maybe you'd say, "God, is there anything in my life that's hindering You?  Is there a sin that You want me to admit to You?  an attitude to confess?  a habit to give up?  a difficult thing I've been doing that I need to stop doing?  or something You've been telling me to do and I've been putting it off?"  Ask for forgiveness.  Then would you ask God to put you in neutral gear about that situation. Say, "God help me to want what You want.  Thy will be done. If you want it, I want it.  If you don't, I don't.  I'm willing.  Thy will be done."  Maybe you need to get involved in a Bible study.  Your prayer life is never stronger than your knowledge of the word.  Rhemas come from the logos. Then would you say, "God, I just want to be quiet and listen to You, til You speak to my heart and give me an assurance about this decision.  Any way You want to give it."  Maybe some of you had an assurance listening to this message. Then you can claim that promise and when God says, "Go!" you move.  Today, God is saying to some of you, "God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind."  God wants to fill you with His love and power and give you mental and emotional and spiritual stability. 

Would you pray this prayer in your heart right now?  If you've never invited Jesus Christ into your heart, today is your day.  God is saying, "I love you."  Not the person next to you, but you!"  You're not here by accident.  God knew even 1000 years ago you'd be here.  Would you pray this in your heart, "Jesus Christ, I don't understand it all, but I realize something's happening in my life.  Jesus Christ, I want to become a believer in You.  I want You to be number one in my life.  Be the manager, the director.  Jesus Christ, I want to see miracles in my life.  I want to be the kind of person You want me to be.  Help me to understand it more.  Thank You for loving me.  As best I understand, I'm opening up my life to You today."  This is the decision of Christianity, the foundation point.  It's what the Bible called being born again.  It means beginning a new life style with God at the number one control in your life instead of self or anything else.  Today, maybe you've recommitted to your life.  Maybe it's the very first time you've made this decision. 


Father, thank You for Your word that it's practical and relevant.  I thank You even on a warm day like this, you brought us here for a purpose and that You had something in mind for us that we might learn how You might speak to us. Help us to become intimately acquainted with Your Spirit, that we become best friends, and are sensitive so we can know Your will with clarity and with ease.  Thank You.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.



How to Pray About Your Problems

Ro 10:17: Jn 14:8-14,

7-11-99 AM Chicago

Introduction: 

How Prayer Can Change Our Lives

Prayer is:

An Act of Dedication

An Act of Supplication

An Act of Communication

An Act of Cooperation

5 Conditions for Answered Prayer

An Honest Relationship with God

A Forgiving Attitude toward others

Must be willing to share the results

Must believe God will answer Ro 10:8, 17, 18

Must pray in Jesus Name

Today: How to pray about your problems

Must believe God will answer Ro 10:8, 17, 18

We ought to be a miracle people - we ought to see God answering our prayers and doing miracles

Romans 10:17 tells us where faith comes from.  "Consequently faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ."  The word there is rhema in Greek. It says we get faith by listening to the word of God.  If you want to build faith, it's simple.  Fill your life with the Bible. The more Bible knowledge you have, the more faith you're going to have.  The less you know about the Bible, the less faith you're going to have.  It's a specific kind of word of God.  It's the rhema.  How do you pray about problems and difficult decisions?  The keys to prayer in the Bible are the promises of God.  There are over 7000 promises in the Bible.  They're like blank checks, gifts waiting to be received.  If you want to have a dynamic prayer life, you get a promise to claim onto, grab onto, and you can have your answer to prayer.  There is a verse for every need, for every problem, in the Bible.  The more promises you know, the more powerful your prayer will become.  The question then is, why don't the promises always work?  I was reading about a man who was a diabetic and he read the verse, "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."  John 14:14.  So he said, "God, I'm going to ask that You cure me of diabetes," and he threw away his insulin and three days later he died.  What happened?  God promised.  Why didn't it work?

Woman who was in a car accident and while lying in the hospital she feared she would die.  She began to pray and while talking to God she heard God tell her she was going to live another 30-40  years.  So while she was in and knew she had a lot of years left she decided to really do herself up right.  She has a fascial, had a tummy tuck, lipo-suction all over her body, a new hair style, nails and all the other things a woman would want done to change the way she looks.  She was looking sharp.  She finally is released from the hospital and as she walks to the bus stop she gets hit by a car and is killed.  She gets to heaven and when she sees the Lord she said, “I thought you said I had fifteen years to go?  How come I was hit by that car and died?”  The Lord said well you had all that stuff done to you, I didn’t recognize you.” 

We need to be living lives of faith.  We need to be hearing the voice of God in our lives and claiming the promises He gives us.  When we are obeying the voice of God and God is working in us, even others will not recognize us. 

Have any of you heard how Al Gore lives a Christ centered life?  He gave a big speech this week about how his faith is so important to him.  Well the funny part is, he said his favorite Bible verse is John 16:3.  Of course the speech writer meant 3:16,  and Al Gore wasn't familiar enough to catch the error.  Well John 16:3 is " And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me."

ü  Sarah was Abraham's wife.  One day God came to Sarah and said, "Sarah, you're going to have a baby".  There's nothing unusual about that except she was ninety years old and her husband Abraham was ninety-nine years old.  That's incredible!

ü  Remember the story of Peter walking on water (Matt 14:22-29)?  Peter's out in a boat with all of the disciples.  It's night.  Jesus comes walking across the water and Peter says, "Lord, Call me and I'll come!" Jesus gives Peter a rhema, a specific word for one man in a specific situation.

ü   

4.        How do you know when it's God giving you those impressions?

1.       It always will agree with the Bible.

2.       All of a sudden the Scripture becomes alive.  It takes on new meaning.  It becomes dynamic, exciting.

5.        How do you get the impressions?

1.       Confess any known sin in your life. 

1.       1 Jn 1:9

2.       Commit the decision to Christ. 

1.       Pro 3:5-6

3.       Ask God to reveal His will by giving you a desire.

1.       Psalm 37:4

2.       Mark 11:24 "Whenever you pray, whatever you desire, believe that you've received it and you shall have it."

3.       James 1:5 "If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask God and God will give it to him generously."


4.       Philippians 2:13 "It is God that works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure."

4.       Compare your desires with scripture.

1.       James 3:17 we have eight tests that you can apply when you want to know if an idea is from God or not.  "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive [to God's will] full of mercy, full of good fruit.  It is impartial and it's sincere."

5.         Listen for God to give you a personal promise, a rhema.

1.       It might come just through Bible reading.

2.       It may be in a Bible study group. 

3.       It may be on a tape.

4.       It may be from a brother in Christ

5.       It may come from an inner prompting

6.       Claim the promise with confidence.

1.       Heb 11:6

7.       You move into action when God says "Go."

1.       God says wait on Him and when He says "Go", you move into action. At that point you have to take a step of faith.  It's like Peter walking on water.  It was a tremendous miracle.  If you want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat.

Conclusion: 

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