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“I tried praying once but nothing happened.”

“I prayed really hard that mom would be healed and she died. What’s the use?”

“I really needed that job but he wouldn’t give it to me. I doubt he really exists anyway.”

You can add yours to the list. We are a hurting people and when you are hurting, and God seems silent, well…that’s about the worst feeling a person can get.

Unanswered prayers are one of the most difficult of all topics because the pain is real. It’s hard to understand a God that seemingly builds your hopes up and then smashes them to the ground.

Oh, sometimes we can look back and see the reasons. Sometimes we come to a point of understanding. But not always.

There are tons of unanswered prayers in the Bible by some pretty Godly men. Joseph, Moses, Abraham, David…to name a few. My favorite is Job. That guy really got nailed and God never did explain it to him!

So what made them go on? What pushed them through the silence and darkness? I think it was the realization that a bad day with God was better than the best day without him. I haven’t gained all understanding on this yet, but it seems God is more concerned about our faith in him than he is our earthly comfort. That’s not to say he is against earthly comfort of course. He offers plenty. But his main focus is on trusting him and seeing the world through his eyes. The closer we get to God, the more his desires become our own and the wiser our prayers become.

Prayers that match his desires are more likely to be answered.


I remember it vividly. I’d had my eye on a certain truck at the local car dealership for some time. I couldn’t afford it, but had all sorts of good ‘ministry’ reasons to buy it. Finally I went in to talk to the dealer. He gave me a deal I chose not to resist. A deal that was right out of my budget range. You don’t get deals like that everyday! I signed the papers and drove it off the lot, completely ignoring the knot in my stomach. God never yells. God’s soft voice is often drowned out by the voice of desire.

Fast forward…i remember watching the repossession guy hooking my truck up to his truck and watching my dream truck being pulled away down the street.

Today is the first day of 2019! Many will be making resolutions to lose weight, eat better, spend more wisely and the list goes on. Goals are good. Plans are good. But the missing ingredient in many of our planning sessions is the ultimate question of ‘Where is God in my plans?

Each week we say the ‘Lords Prayer’ at our church. Each week we say “thy will be done” but in reality, our hearts are saying ‘my will be done.’ When our hearts are in tune with God’s heart our plans will naturally gravitate towards his desires and not our own.

Make 2019 the year that God shows himself mightily to you because you are close to his heart. Draw close to him and he’ll draw close to you.


Your passions drive your actions. When your actions revolve around yourself, (your own comfort; your own desires; your own strengths) your passions are focused inward and your joy is dependent on fulfilling those passions. When you are passionate about Jesus Christ your joy is not based on yourself but on the realization that Jesus is passionate about you. Your actions are based on Your mutual love for each other. Jesus is passionate about you and he wants you to be passionate about him. That’s why he said if you love me, if you’re passionate about me, If your desire is for me, then you will naturally to have the things that I have promised you.


He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:3  

What does it take to be prosperous? The politician will tell you it’s more government programs or less government programs. The religionist will tell you it’s more piety and stricter adherence to rules and dogmas. Prosperity is almost always measured by what you do or what you have accomplished.

The Psalmist gives us a different picture. The psalmist tells us that true prosperity doesn’t come from listening to the ‘experts’ of the day. Rather, prosperity comes from a relationship with the heavenly Father.

A person who prospers in God’s kingdom may not have the fanciest toys; the biggest house; the most accolades tacked to the end of their names. Prosperity in God’s kingdom isn’t the corner office, the star student-athlete, the one who carries signs to bring about social change.

The Psalmist gives us a word picture of what the person of prosperity looks like. In theMiddle East, water was not always easy to find. The Egyptians and other groups learned that if they diverted the river into channels they could irrigate crops and orchards. This was a great asset during times of drought and allowed them to expand productive crop land beyond the limited borders of the streams and rivers.

In Psalm 1 the prosperous person is, first of all, planted. There is a picture of intentionality here. We aren’t just randomly placed trees along the banks of some river. We are planted. Placed where we are and when we are for a divine purpose for the glory of the Father. Trees planted near each other benefit one another.

Secondly we are planted by streams of water. The diversion of water for the trees caused a constant supply and a steady flow of life giving water that was unhindered by drought. Usually these trees were located in a valley that protected from storms. Their roots were able to grow deep, making the tree healthy and strong.

Lastly the prosperous person bears fruit in season. An apple tree is always an apple tree. From the time it sprouts from the seed until it grows to produce beautiful fruit it is an apple tree. It’s an apple tree when it’s full of leaves and blossoms, when it’s laden with apples; when it’s enduring the fall and winter cold.

Prosperity doesn’t mean we always bear fruit, it means we are always what God intends for us to be. A tree that would bear fruit constantly would grow tired, and its leaves wither. We also grow tired when we constantly try to produce the life we think God wants for us. Prosperity comes through maturity. Strength comes through rest. Fruit comes as we learn to balance the two of them.

Take a lesson from the tree planted by the streams of water. You were placed where you are at this time to glorify God. Prosperity won’t come from a bunch of activity. Rather it comes from growing in relationship with your Heavenly Father. Fruit may not come as often as you’d like, but if you are digging your roots deep into the soil of his word, it will come in season.

PRAYER: Lord, I want to prosper. Too often my view of prosperity comes from listening and walking with those whose prosperity isn’t the eternal kind you can give. Help me to dig deep in your word so that I can prosper according to your Kingdom. Amen.


The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. Psalm 23:1 (NCV)

First of all, we need to get rid of the romanticism behind being a shepherd. We’ve seen the pictures. Soft little lambs playing in an open meadow while adult sheep lay enjoying the sun. In the background a shepherd sits against a rock looking out over a peaceful valley. Blue skies. Green grass. Gorgeous scenery. Life is good.

Without a doubt there were days like that but have you ever really thought of what life as a shepherd was like? Occasionally (as in the night Jesus was born) you may be lucky enough to spend some time with other shepherds and other flocks. But much of their time is spent alone.

Shepherds didn’t go home at night. Their home was with the sheep. Smelly, stubborn, stupid boring sheep 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They endured hot days and cold nights. They endured storms and winds and were under constant threat of enemy attack, especially in the dark. And the picture of peaceful sheep following a shepherd? Forget that too. Sheep are stubborn. They don’t know where to eat. They won’t go find good grass on their own. They don’t know enough to stay out of rushing water. If they tried to cross a stream that was too deep their wool would turn them into an effective anchor! They certainly aren’t fighters. Bears, lions and other predators see sheep as fair and easy game and an easy, instant meal.

Sheep rebel constantly, lack motivation, vision, passion, desire and wisdom. Even so, Jesus gives us a glimpse of what a shepherd was like. David, of course, was a shepherd. Shepherds were the first ones told of the birth of the Christ-child. 

Jesus calls himself the good shepherd. Here’s what he says about a good shepherd. A good shepherd knows your name. He may have hundreds of sheep in the flock, but he knows you. personally. That doesn’t mean he knows your name alone. He knows your likes and dislikes. He knows the intricate things about your personality. To me all sheep look the same. To Jesus every sheep is unique and exciting. That’s you. Unique. Exciting. 

The good shepherd protects. He lies down at the gate so no predators can get through. The only way to get to you is if they get through the shepherd first. Not much chance of anyone getting past Jesus. He’s passionate about protecting you.

Good shepherds know what is best for you. He prepares the day’s journey. He’s walked the path many times. He knows the best and safest route to take. We aren’t cookie-cutter sheep. Jesus knows that. Since we aren’t cookie-cutter sheep we don’t have one-size-fits-all needs. He won’t try to force you into some mold for life; rather he molds life events around you to make you the best you can be.

Jesus calls us sheep. We are described as sheep without a shepherd wandering aimlessly, getting into danger, struggling with survival, defenseless against the enemies in our life. So why would Jesus spend so much time with you, a silly sheep? Jesus knows that will all the faults you have, you are worth the fight. He’ll fight to the death to protect you. He’s willing to endure all of your negative qualities, your weaknesses and your rebelliousness. Why? Jesus loves you and you are worth the risk!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus. Thank you for a love that goes so deep. Thank you for understanding my weakness. Thank you for loving me enough to fight for me, cry with me and walk with me through the night. Most of all, thank you for forgiving my sin. Amen.

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