(Part 3 of a 3-part Prayer Series: “3 Myths of Unanswered Prayer”)
(Myths: I: God isn’t listening. II: God doesn’t care. III: God can’t / isn’t willing to...)
Today’s sermon: “Part III of the Unanswered Prayer series: I AM Able.” God is the great I AM and HE wants you to know HE IS ABLE to handle whatever’s coming your way today…
He cares about you, He’s listening to you and He wants to take care of you…
How many know that when you take care of something or someone you care deeply about, you must often take precautions to protect them so they don’t get hurt?
“The Great Escape Story: Shamar & the Kennel” Here’s a picture of my dog Shamar.
Shamar is the great Houdini of the dog world. She can escape from anything…
? Why do parents take extra precautions when we leave the house? Why do we child safe our kitchen cabinets and power outlets? Because we believe in our pets and our children. We believe in their ability to accomplish just about anything they set their minds to, and it scares us…
Amazing how these precious little family members may appear perfectly harmless and innocent, but somewhere in there is a wild animal. It comes out when we’re away, having an enchanting evening with our spouse or a soothing vacation to a spectacular place, and it’s capable of just about anything.
Why do we bolt our doors shut and make it nearly impossible to get into our own kitchen cabinets? We do it because we know our child’s potential is greater than what it appears to be.
Did you know the Lord can relate? Sometimes He has to child safe things too…
Sometimes He restricts you and me from getting into things that He knows will end up hurting us.
And like a little child, most of us try to get in anyways…
I never appreciated God telling me whom I could and couldn’t date.
There was a period in my life when the Lord was specifically telling me not to date. So I dated everyone I had the nerve to ask out. I even remember going out to lunch with mom and asked the waitress out, right in front of mom! There’s just something wrong about getting your game on in front of mom… But when I was going through all that, there was never peace in my heart about it. I just wanted what I wanted. And you know what, it never worked out till I met Jennifer 3 years later because of God’s Grace in my life. Thank you Lord for protecting me!
Someone here today is asking God for something that seems good and right to you, but it’s not in line with God’s Will for your life. The Lord in His greater wisdom knows that what you’re asking for would be more of a hindrance than a help to you, so He’s saying no. That’s why you keep trying without success. That’s why you feel like your beating your head against a brick wall…
Matt 7:9-11, "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
If you don’t have peace about it, don’t pursue it. If you perceive God pointing you in a different direction than the one you have planned out, learn self-control. Trust God and obey His commands.
In Genesis chapter 11, God (the Father and Son) come down to take a look at the city of Babylon being constructed, and this tower the men were building in an effort to reach the Heavens. (It’s against God’s will, but they’re ignoring Him…)
Now, the Father and the Son both knew it was impossible to build a tower to reach Heaven, but they never expressed doubt that the men could achieve anything they set their hearts to.
Gen 11:6, “The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”
So He child proofed the kitchen…
Gen 11:7-8, “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.”
There’s a great message here for all of us Christians, and that message is that if you and I are united together in spirit, if we’re united together in purpose, in prayer and in our goals as a church body, then NOTHING WE PLAN TO DO TOGETHER WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR US if it’s according to God’s will.
If the secular men and women of Babylon, speaking the same language: unified could achieve the impossible, then how much more can we, united together in Christ and anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit of God accomplish all things through Jesus Christ?
Luke 1:37, “For nothing is impossible with God.”
(REPEAT WITH ME) I: GOD IS ABLE!
Matt 17:20, "…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ’Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Are you facing a mountain today? Praise God because your weakness is God’s opportunity to shine.
Nothing is impossible with God and with a tiny mustard seed of faith, nothing will be impossible for you… The Lord knows it.
He’s never doubted you. He’s never doubted your ability to accomplish all He’s planned for you to accomplish; even the impossible things. He’s never doubted your ability to become the mighty man or woman of God He’s called you to be…
Nowhere in the Bible will you find a passage that says God doubted anyone.
On the contrary, He knows your incredible potential to be all you can be in Christ!
Your lack of faith is the only thing that hinders your potential to achieve.
The sad part is, even though we are just humans, even though we appear weak and feeble in the eyes of God, even though He never loses faith in us, we almost always loose faith in Him.
Christians consistently doubt God’s ability to accomplish what concerns us today in the here and now. When life gets uncomfortable, when we feel like we’re loosing control, when things aren’t going our way, we begin to wonder…
? Why isn’t God giving me what I’m asking for?
Phase I: Maybe I’m not righteous enough.
Phase II: Maybe He doesn’t care about me.
Phase III: Maybe my situation is hopeless… It’s impossible now, even for God.
Those are the thoughts that crush our faith. Those are the lies that make us question what we believe. They make us double minded, and remember what James brother of Jesus says about double-minded men:
James 1:6-8, “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”
Did you know the virgin birth was impossible? But it still happened because nothing is impossible with God.
I WANT YOU TO SAY WITH ME:
“WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. BUT WITHOUT FAITH, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD.” Hebrews 11:6
How do I defeat the disease of double-mindedness in my life? I believe GOD IS ABLE!
I’m not putting faith in myself. I’m not putting faith in my faith either… I put my faith in God, and I know that even though I’m corruptible, still I can be righteous because of the blood of Jesus Christ.
I know that even though I’m occasionally uncaring and unfeeling, still God feels for me, He cares about me and the Son pleads to the Father on my behalf.
I know that even though my situation looks hopeless, even though everyone’s told me I’m doomed or it’s over, still MY GOD IS ABLE!
II: GOD IS ABLE, more than able to accomplish everything that concerns me today.
1238 years before Christ, the king of China imagined himself as a god. One evening the sunset lasted nearly 24 hours. Ancient Chinese records indicated, "King Wan was like the sun or the moon.
He lightened with his shining the four quarters, -- the western regions."”
“King Wan dreamt he was clothed in the sun and moon.. on the sixth day of the first month"
A long sunset and the moon stayed directly overhead.
Something was drastically different with the stars and in the sky that day.
King Wan assumed it was his splendor, which held the stars in their place. He was a fool.
Little did he know that four thousand miles away, a Jewish man named Joshua was leading his army in a battle against the Amorites. “On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: "O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon." So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!” Josh 10:12-14
King Wan assumed he was the reason the stars stopped in their place.
Reality however, that a man of God called out for God’s help. Joshua was asking God to do the impossible: to stop the sun, moon and stars on his behalf, and GOD IS ABLE.
If God’s capable of stopping the sun, moon and stars for Joshua, He is able to accomplish whatever concerns you today.
It’s impossible to stop the sun and the moon for a day. But GOD IS ABLE… More than able to accomplish what concerns me today.
Some of you are facing the impossible today… You’ve been praying for a breakthrough in an area of your life for years, and things just seem to be getting worse. You may not see any way humanly possible for things to work out for the good… BUT GOD IS ABLE!
Your finances are at a critical breaking point.
You’ve gone around and around with your spouse over the same things for years, and you’re not sure things will ever get better. You’re worried about your marriage, BUT GOD IS ABLE.
Your health is failing and it’s your own fault. You should have quit smoking or drinking. The drugs you did years ago are destroying your body today. You’re riddled with guilt and pleading for a miracle. REPENT and PRAY!
GOD IS ABLE TO HEAL THE BROKEN HEARTED. He’s the Lord of reconciliation and restoration. Yes, some of you are paying the price for your own foolishness and sin, but God is still a God of Grace and Mercy, He feels for you, He cares for you and HE IS ABLE to “meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Phil 4:19-20
III: He is able, more than able to make me everything He wants me to be.
I’m never going to change for the better. This habit is too hard to kick…
I’ll never be, I’ll never achieve, I’ll never accomplish…
One day when Jesus was in Judea, a young man came up and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” When Jesus explained the commandments, the young man replied, "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?" Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matt 19:20-26
Why did the young man walk away sad? Because he knew it was impossible to become what Jesus expected him to be. Even the disciples asked, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus said, “With God all things are possible…”
He is able, more than able to make me everything He wants me to be.
Have you heard about the naked dude that followed Jesus? At the Garden of Gethsemane when Judas betrayed Jesus…
Mark 14:51-52, “A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.”
Some scholars would argue that this young man was the same, rich young man from Matthew 19:20.
Some people believe that young man went home and thought long and hard about salvation. He sold everything he had, gave it to the poor and followed Jesus wearing his possessions: a linen garment.
Some people believe Jesus completed His work in the young man, because He is able…
And He’s able to change you too… He’s able to change you too…
Jer 18:1-6, “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
2 "Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message."
3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.
4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me:
6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
“I AM able (NAMES): to shape you, to mould you. Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.” I can make you everything I’ve planned for you to be. You’ve been trying long enough, now let me…
It’s up to you: are you going to be pliable or brittle? Are you able to be shaped or are you rigid?
Rigid vessels need to be broken, but a soft heart is always pliable.
Today, you may be suffering from the torment of the haunting reminder that you’ll never be what Jesus wants you to be, but “He is able, more than able, to make me what He wants me to be.”
Don’t believe the lies of Satan when he says, “God’s not listening to me. I’m not good enough.”
Because you’re righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Don’t listen to the lies of Satan, which say, “God doesn’t care about my situation. He doesn’t care about me. That’s a lie! He died on the cross for you. He took your place on the cross!
Don’t listen to the lies of Satan, which say, “God can’t handle my situation. It’s too much for me, it’s too much for God.”
GOD IS ABLE to accomplish anything that concerns you today.
Jeremiah 32:27, "I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”
Do you believe that today? I do. I believe the word of God to us today has the power to change our lives. I believe God is able to make me who He wants me to be. I may not be there today. I may try and fail in my flesh, but there’s always Jesus. There’s always Grace and there’s always the cross.
So I have newfound faith, strength, the ability to believe that God can accomplish the impossible in my life through Jesus Christ.
CONCLUDING SONG: He is able, more than able to accomplish what concerns me today. He is able, more than able, to handle anything that comes my way. He is able, more than able, to do much more than I could possibly dream. He is able, more than able, to make me what He wants me to be.