22140.036 God’s Will for Us

“In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered.” Jesus said to them, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, if someone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. For this reason I tell you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your sins.” —Mark 11:20-25

In these verses, we see Jesus giving His disciples a lesson on prayer. I don’t know about you, but for me, prayer is one of the most difficult spiritual disciplines–perhaps because Satan despises it so. You can be sure that anytime you desire to be in God’s Word or spend time with Him in prayer, Satan is going to be trying to distract you. His distractions, coupled with our own flawed self, call for a firm resolve to accomplish effectively this precious gift of prayer. Scripture tells us:

“The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness.” —James 5:16

So what did Jesus teach His disciples about prayer? He begins by telling them to have faith in God. What does He mean by that? It boils down to an unwavering trust in God’s power and unfailing goodness. We can have faith in God because, quite simply, He is worthy of our faith. He can be trusted. Has He ever really let you down? Has He walked with you through every valley? Has He always been faithful in the past? Are not His mercies new every morning? Yes, He can be trusted! Our difficulties arise when we desire what is not His desire for us. James says it so succinctly:

“You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask; you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions.” —James 4:2-3

God is not Santa Claus, the Good Fairy, or some other sort of magic genie that is sitting around waiting for us to express our wishes. Neither does He fulfill the Burger King slogan of “Have it your way.” He is far too loving for that. He who formed our inmost being, who knit us together in our mother’s womb, knows what is best for us. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. He enjoys bestowing bounty on His children. He loves to say “Yes” … but when the answer is “No” or “Wait” we can be sure a greater good is being accomplished in our lives. Remember, Jesus at one time received a “No” from His Father:

“Going a little farther, he threw himself to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour would pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” —Mark 14:35-36

In our verses for today then, what mountain is Jesus describing that we can be assured of moving if only we believe that we have received it? It begins by having an understanding of God’s heart which comes from knowing God’s Word. When Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer, He told them to pray:

“May your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” —Matthew 6:10

God desires earth as it was before the Fall – the beauty (no death), the purity (no sin), the unstrained relationship with man (no selfish flesh) – heaven, so to speak, on earth. He desires for us to be conformed to the image of His Son – whatever it takes – so that we can point others to Him. God desires for none to perish, but for all to come to repentance. He does not delight in death, even of the wicked. I have found that by simply praying God’s Word back to Him, my desires come in line with His. You see, it is not about us, it is all about Him. God alone is to be glorified.

Take It to Heart

“Your kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD supports all who fall, and lifts up all who are bent over. Everything looks to you in anticipation, and you provide them with food on a regular basis. You open your hand, and fill every living thing with the food they desire. The LORD is just in all his actions, and exhibits love in all he does. The LORD is near all who cry out to him, all who cry out to him sincerely. He satisfies the desire of his loyal followers; he hears their cry for help and delivers them. The LORD protects all those who love him, but he destroys all the wicked.” —Psalm 145:13-20

“Acceptance of God’s will brings peace.” —Amy Carmichael

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