Devotionals

When God says, ‘No


God always listens to and answers prayer. As unbelievable as that sounds, it’s true. There are some variables though that we should understand about how God answers prayer.


 

Firstly, it’s dependent on God’s will for us. His will is always perfect and geared to our benefit, desiring that we should all be saved and know of His truth (1 Timothy 2:4).

Secondly, answered prayer is largely for our needs but sometimes also for our wants; if that ‘want’ is for a life sanctified (Hebrews 11:6).

Sometimes God’s answer is “wait”, The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9).

 

When prayer is answered in one of these ways, we should always give thanks, glory and honour to God from whom all good things flow (James 1:17).


 

Sometimes though, God’s answer is ‘no’. This is the answer that can cause us confusion and hurt. We need to know that saying ‘no’ is not a sign of God’s lack of love for us…quite the opposite. God is love (1 John 4:10). It is His nature to love, His very character. We should understand it was always out of love God did not answer a prayer or intervene as we had hoped.


 

Why then does He sometimes say no, or apparently ignore our prayer?


 

God sees everything and knows everything, even our future and how things will turn out. He knows what we may do or what we may choose for ourselves and the consequences we may face because of those choices.


 

Yet, because of His love, He allows us to exercise our choice, even though it may lead us down some unfortunate paths. He allows us to go there anyway, if that was our desire. Why? Maybe, it’s only by going through an experience for ourselves that we learn about life, learn about ourselves and learn to make better choices based on the consequences of our actions?


 

In traumatic situations, God may have said no to something we prayed for, causing us to feel deserted. We should not mistake that as a lack of His care for us or His absence from our lives. We do need to understand that whatever we are going through, whether it’s a small matter, a pressing circumstance or even an inexplicable tragedy, God is still there. God did not say our lives would be easy, in fact, Jesus told us that we would have many troubles in this world, (John 16:33). However, He promised to be with us and never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), even to the ends of the age (Matthew 28:20).


 

God is with us whatever we are going through!


 

Through the trying experience, may we come to understand our need of God and call upon His name for deliverance (Zechariah 13:9). Then, we may experience His providence and peace in the storm we are in. All things endured will have worked for our good in building our character, growing our faith and gaining our eternal salvation (Romans 8:28).


 

Sometimes by saying no, He is answering prayer with the answer we needed most. By saying, ‘No,’ He is actually demonstrating great mercy and vision that we may only see after some time has passed.


 

May we remember that we are always near to the heart of God and within range of deliverance, even when He says no.


 

God bless you,


Pr Harvey


 

Divine Product Placement

Someone once asked, “Why didn’t God choose to send Jesus now, with the media we have today? Surely He would get His message out much better today than 2000 years ago?”

It seems like a good question. Maybe God has an appointed time for everything, and that was the time that suited His will. Whatever happens, whenever it happens, is by His perfect will.

Or, maybe God reveals Himself by degrees as our limited hearts and minds can accept.

I’m sure if we think of it, we can come up with other good reasons. I like the idea that God chose that time because of the lack of the type of media we have today. In those times, the Roman Empire had built up a good network of roads between cities, towns and countries and the written word could travel these easily. We are aware that various New Testament writers took advantage of that: the apostle Paul wrote 14 epistles or letters (if we credit him with Hebrews), John wrote 3, Peter 2 and James 1. These were widely circulated and come down to us today in our Bible.

But, in addition to sending the written word via these roads, God was using people to travel these roads! As they travelled, they met people and interacted with them. They talked, shared meals and encouraged folk. These early Christians built relationships and left lasting impressions on those they met.

Everyone could see the Holy Spirit in them as they exhibited the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – Galatians 5:22-23). By being themselves in Christ, they won friends and so won converts. Many of them probably couldn’t read anyway, nor could those they encountered. For such folk, the only Bible was the story of their lives and the power of the Living Word within them. Could it be that Jesus understood ‘product placement’ well before the marketers of today?

God knew what He was doing when He used people to share His message. That has great significance today in the information age in which incorrect information challenges truth. Our lives are the greatest example of God’s word that we can share with others. A life reformed, a wholesome life, a life of service, a life of loving kindness and a life that demonstrates God’s love visibly and sincerely speaks volumes today, as it has always done.

As you journey through this week, please let your life be the Bible that people read by how you interact with them. Please exercise the Fruit of the Spirit for all to be filled as you are by your Loving Father.

Be blessed!

Pr Harvey

Remember


The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria among other geo-political developments in the Balkans in 1914, plunged Europe into the Great War a.k.a. World War 1 which lasted from 1914-1918.


 

British Commonwealth nations sent troops in support of the British effort and this saw Australian and New Zealand troops (among others) land at Gallipoli in April with the mission to take the Dardanelles (Strait of Gallipoli) for the Allied Powers. Standing in their way were the Turks who were allies of Germany and the Central Powers. The attack began 24 April, 1915. The mission failed and over 140,000 men died in the campaign including 8500 Australians and 2779 New Zealanders.


 

The Kiwi men and boys who died were fathers, husbands, sons and brothers and their loss was felt by the whole nation. It seemed everyone knew someone who died. The ANZAC memorial was then formed to remember the sacrifice these men gave to restore freedom and peace to the region. Their heroism, bravery and self-sacrifice for a greater cause 106 years ago is still commemorated today. There is a generation alive today who are directly related to these brave men whose example is an inspiration to us all…it’s more than just a holiday.


 

Almost two thousand years ago, around this time of year, Jesus gave up His life that many could gain freedom from sin and its consequences (Romans 5:8 &19). The night before He died, He broke bread and drank grape juice with His disciples and asked them to keep doing that ‘in remembrance’ of Him. This is what we know as the Communion Ordinance.


 

The apostle Paul, in speaking of the Communion Ordinance, reveals that when we share this experience, we both remember Jesus in the ordinances and we also ‘proclaim His death until He comes’ (1 Corinthians 11:26). We proclaim His death to remember His sacrifice, His victory over death in the resurrection and the promise of our resurrection if we are found in Him. Remembering Him therefore is key to our spiritual life and existence. Not only does it give us hope but also a shining example of how we can live our lives in service to others.


 

For the Anzacs, there may have been no military victory, but there was victory of the spirit as New Zealand soldiers showed courage in the face of adversity and sacrifice (The Making of Anzac Day. https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/first-anzac-days).


 

Just like the New Zealand nation needs to remember the Anzacs, Christians are to remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus for our own example in this life and the promise of the life we will have when He returns. Remembering will help us to cope when days present special challenges – He died, He rose, He overcame, and we will too when we remember Him!


 

May it be that we remember Jesus – how He lived, His faith and His devotion to the Father and may we strive to live by His example and statutes.