Friday, February 14, 2020

When God is Silent


What do we do when God doesn't respond to our prayers?




When God is Silent


Scriptures:
  • Habakkuk 1:2
  • Job 23: 3-7
  • Luke 22: 36-38
  • Psalms 35:11-13
  • Matthew 11:18-19
  • Habakkuk 1:2-3
  • Habakkuk 1:13
  • Psalms 62:5-6
  • Habakkuk 3:17
  • Luke 18:1-8

Outline:
  • Introduction
  • What Not to Do
  1. Don’t Get Lost in the Reason
  2. Don’t Create Your Own Reasons
  3. Don’t Mistake Momentum For Instruction
  • What to Do When God is Silent
  1. Read / Memorize The Scriptures
  2. Worship
  3. Do the Last Thing You Heard
  4. Fast
  5. Pour out your unedited prayers...complaints
  6. Confess your doubts, disappointments, and struggles
  7. Trust that God is still at work
  8. Continue to Praise God
  9. Keep Asking
  10. Keep Serving
  • Conclusion: Don’t Let the Circumstance Distract You from God

Introduction

Who are some of the great Christians of recent times?
  • What about saints?
  • Who exemplified loving your neighbor?
Mother Teresa
  • the Nobel Peace Prize
  • She is (literally) a saint
Jesus has a very special love for you. [But] as for me--The silence and the emptiness is so great--that I look and do not see,--Listen and do not hear.
--MOTHER TERESA TO THE REV. MICHAEL VAN DER PEET, SEPTEMBER 1979
  • Yet she stopped hearing from God

Review

Habakkuk 1:2
2 How long, O LORD, will I call for help,
And You will not hear?
I cry out to You, “Violence!”
Yet You do not save.


God responds in 5 ways
  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Wait
  4. Direction / Clarity / Guidance
  5. Silence

When God is Silent (Previous)



What to do and what not to do when Go is silent

What Not to Do

Don’t Get Lost in the Reason

Job 23: 3-7
      3“Oh that I knew where I might find Him,
            That I might come to His seat!
      4“I would present my case before Him
            And fill my mouth with arguments.
      5“I would learn the words which He would answer,
            And perceive what He would say to me.
      6“Would He contend with me by the greatness of His power?
            No, surely He would pay attention to me.
      7“There the upright would reason with Him;
            And I would be delivered forever from my Judge.
  • Job dreamed of getting to ask God why...

Story: thrown off of Venice beach
  • Get yo hands off of my car
  • Never got a reason why

Job Didn’t Get an Answer

Job never got an explanation of his calamity
Job’s most excruciating pain was not knowing why
  • If we know the reason we can accept it
“In asking ‘why’ Job loses his way”


Kindergarten Theology

Job’s friends had a kindergarten Theology
  • Good deeds are always rewarded and bad deeds are always punished
Always make wise decisions in the light It will stand you in good stead when you are in the dark.  
--Ravi Zacharias

When you are in the dark you always examine yourself.  Is this because I did so and so is this because I didn’t do so-and-so. But if you know you have done good you will only ask yourself what is God trying to teach me.


You Need to Know “Who” not “Why”

Story: I can’t be lost grandpa cause I’m with you
It’s not “why” that you need to know but you need to know “who”
  • Remember who is with you

Don’t Create Your Own Reasons

Has anyone ever done something and then you came up with a whole story in your head asked why happened or how it played out and then when you found out the facts it was completely different than what you had imagine. Even though you had become very angry or emotional about the scenario that you came up with in your head.
Story: planned to go to brunch
  • Wouldn’t answer phone
  • “So did you have fun?”
  • Was my sister’s bday
  • Was with your sis and mom
The worst thing to happen isn’t the actual events but how you interpret them.
We do the same thing when God doesn’t get us out of a scenario.
  • We had a plan
  • Did I do the wrong thing?
  • Does God not like me?
We made all, these plans in our head without involving God

Pain makes us ______ things that aren’t true
  • Think
  • Believe
  • Say


Don’t Mistake Momentum For Instruction

Example: Disneyland 


Luke 22: 36-38
36“Now, however,” He told them, “the one with a purse should take it, and likewise a bag; and the one without a sword should sell his cloak and buy one. 37For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about Me is reaching its fulfillment.”
38So they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That is enough,” He answered.

Example: Peter cut off the Roman soldier’s ear

Don’t mistake God's silence for instructions to do what you want to do



What to Do When God is Silent


Read / Memorize The Scriptures

Story: Chinese evangelist Wang Ming Dao In prison
  • Sang hymns every day
Memorize the scriptures
  • That will be all you have with you at some times
Memorize when you’re in the light so that when you’re in the darkness and the valley that’s what you’ll feed on as you go through

Read Proverbs and Psalms

Worship


Do the Last Thing You Heard

  • Stay with last clear word
 Go back to what He already said
  • Sometimes God withholds because he wants us to apply truths He’s given us
  • He may have given you a passage of scripture that addresses it

Example: leaving your church when the Pastor resigns

  • if God told you to join He needs to be the one to tell you to leave


Fast


Psalms 35:11-13
11 Malicious witnesses rise up;
They ask me of things that I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good,
To the bereavement of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled my soul with fasting,
And my prayer kept returning to my bosom.
  • Sackcloth shows humility of the body
  • Fasting = humbling your soul
  • It made your prayers more effective
Humble yourself and pray (in the bible) = fast and pray

Fasting is only abstaining from food

Hearing From God

  • Clarity
  • Hearing
Bring you closer

Spiritual Warfare

Matthew 11:18-19
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ 19“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’

John the Baptist was fasting - “he must have a demon”
  • Fasting was a way to get rid of demons
Especially for
  • Addictions
  • Temptations
  • Compulsions
  • Obedience

Pour out your unedited prayers...complaints

Habakkuk 1:2-3
2How long, O LORD, must I call for help
but You do not hear,
or cry out to You, “Violence!”
but You do not save?
3Why do You make me see iniquity?
Why do You tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me.
Strife is ongoing, and conflict abounds.

Habakkuk is not afraid to ask are the hard questions
Righteous prayers are unfiltered prayers directed to God


Confess your doubts, disappointments, and struggles

Habakkuk 1:13
13 Your eyes are too pure to approve evil,
And You can not look on wickedness with favor.
Why do You look with favor
On those who deal treacherously?
Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up
Those more righteous than they?

God told Habakkuk his plan
  • Habakkuk told God he did not like his plan
Story: God says he is going to raise up the Chaldeans (Babylonians) 

God will use all types of things to get his people on track when they refuse to listen
Tell God “It’s not fair”!
  • Even though it’s your will

It’s Okay to Doubt

Doubt doesn’t separate you from God
There can’t really be faith without doubt


Trust that God is still at work

Psalms 62:5-6
5 My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
You’re going to keep depending on God no matter
  • What the circumstances look like
  • What other people are saying
  • Your fears and doubts
  • The odds


Continue to Praise God

Habakkuk 3:17
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

But Even If Faith

By chapter 3 Habakkuk is praising God even though things aren’t going the way he wanted
He is still going to follow God


Keep Asking

Luke 18:1-8
1Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, 2saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. 3“There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ 4“For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, 5yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” 6And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; 7now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8“I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
You keep praying.
You don’t lose heart. Here’s why:
  • It may be that circumstances require changing before you can get the answer.
  • It may be that the answer depends on someone else responding to God.
It may be that the delay is to see how seriously you are willing to pray.

Examples
  • Canaanite Woman (dog)
  • Jacob wrestled with God
It doesn’t matter what you think you deserve. It doesn’t matter how you think God should act. Keep knocking.  


Keep Serving

Mother Teresa's letter to Michael Vander Pete

"Jesus has always had a special love for you but as for me the silence and the emptiness is so great"


Mother Theresa had asked that her letters be destroyed when she died but the church did not destroy them. It revealed that all the time she was doing her work she had doubts and she wrestled almost every day with the silence of God.  All the while she was healing and loving and professing this presence of God she was agonized by silence.


Conclusion: Don’t Let the Circumstance Distract You from God

Story: Jesus walking on the water
  • Matthew 14:22-33
When Jesus was walking on the water the disciples thought he was a ghost
  • What you fear may actually be Jesus
Peter knew Him by His voice
  • When you hear from God you’ll have courage
  • When you hear from God you’ll have faith
Peter got scared of the wind
  • Don’t focus on the problem
  • Focus on Jesus
Story: telegraph operator interview

There were clear instructions being given but they couldn’t hear it because they were complaining
Continue your quiet time even if the issue is that  you’re super busy

Don’t focus on the storm
  • Focus on Jesus
Don’t let your _____ keep you from hearing
  • Business
  • Pain
  • Loneliness
  • Fear
  • Success
  • Confusion
  • Guilt
Don't let your circumstances distract you from God



Instructor: Michael Leadon






References

When God Doesn’t Answer Why
— Sandy Adams

When God doesn’t respond to our prayers
Bethel church live

When God is silent – HCC podcast

When God is silent podcast
Steve DeNeff - Matthew 15:21-28

Why Does God Seem Silent When You Need Him The Most? | Q & A | Ravi Zacharias

Think Again

Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith

Thursday, January 30, 2020

God Is Changing You


God may be changing you instead of changing your situation.




Outline:
  • Introduction
  • What Happens When God Is Silent
    • Tests my priorities
    • Tests my identity
    • Tests my maturity
    • Tests my faith
  • We’re Praying to Remove the Symptoms
  • You Won't Change Until You Hit Rock Bottom
  • God is Disciplining You
  • We’re Like a Seed

Scriptures:
  • Philippians 2:12-13
  • James 1:2-4
  • Luke 14:26
  • Hebrews 5:8
  • Hebrews 12:7-11

Introduction


Hearing From God

“Don’t tell me God is silent when your bible is closed
I know that I’m far from perfect but I want to be close
Even on this broken road I know that God’s in control
I’m not where I wanna be I’m on the right road
  --Enough (Misfits Social Club)

...don’t tell me God is silent when your bible is closed

That’s a reminder that the bible is the primary way that God talks to us.

Review

God responds in 5 ways
  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Wait
  4. Confirmation / Direction / Clarity
  5. Silence
We’re continuing to examine the scenario when God is silent.

God is Changing You

You are in the wilderness 

Philippians 2:12-13
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure
  • God took Israel out of Egypt instantly, but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of Israel.
Teaches me something about myself

What Happens When God is Silent

James 1:2-4
2  Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

When God is silent it
  • Tests my priorities
  • Tests my identity
  • Tests my maturity
  • Tests my faith

Tests my priorities

What do I value?

Identifies My Idols?

Is this something you value more than God?

What do you value more than God?
  • Happiness
  • Other people’s opinion
  • Sex
  • Significance
  • money
  • Family
  • Spouse
  • Your children
Parent/Child
Many people lose faith when they have a death of a parent or a child

Luke 14:26
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

Hate: μισέω miséō, mis-eh'-o; to detest (especially to persecute); by extension, to love less


Example: American Me
  • Puppet choked his brother (Little Puppet)

Control

Is it that your mother died or is it that you couldn’t control God?
  • You couldn’t manipulate Him to get your way
  • You don’t want to be in a relationship where you’re not in control
The Prosperity Doctrine is popular among driven people because it proclaims to give you a method to control God
  • Through faith

Test your identity

Do you see yourself as a Christian first?
  • “Are you a rapper that’s a Christian or a Christian that’s a rapper?”
  • “Are you a programmer that’s a Christian or a Christian that’s a programmer”
  • Are you a Republican who is a Christian or Christian who is a Republican?
What do you want to be identified as?

What are you most proud of?

If you are in a social setting and you have to introduce yourself, what do you say?

Tests my maturity

Example: child throwing a tantrum because he wants his popsickle now
  • Instead of waiting to get home

The inability to wait is a sign of immaturity
  • Patience is a mark of maturity 

Are you going to throw a tantrum? Are you going to go and try to solve it by yourself?

Tests my faith

  • Muscles are strengthened by being tested
Do I really believe God?

Do I trust God?

Many people lose their faith when God is silent 

We’re Praying to Remove the Symptoms

When we want God to remove the pain God is often more concerned with the root (the cause)
If God removed the symptom you would never address the real issue

Finances

Get Out Of Debt

Example: lottery
  • Get me out of debt God
  • Nearly ⅓ of US lottery winners go bankrupt in a few years
  • Stop spending more money than you have
  • Stop coveting… The new phone the new car
The love of money is shown by you spending more money than you have
  • “The love of money” is really a love of the things that money buys
  • It is not talking about loving to save money
The core problem is that you buy things to feel worthy or valued

God wants to cure the root issue

  • What caused you to get into that problem
  • We want God to deal with the symptoms
  • God wants to deal with our character
  • God wants you healed
Are you willing to have God change you instead of changing the circumstance?

Mate Selection

90% of relationships success is due to mate selection
Praying for a husband

You See A Pattern

You keep attracting the wrong type of people
  • “All men are dogs”
  • “All women are demanding, entitled and unappreciative”
  • All my relationships have failed for the same reason.

You Are the Common Denominator

  • You’re attracted to the wrong type of person
  • You’re attracting the wrong type of person

Example:  Men Just Want Sex
  • You meet them in nightclubs dressed like a slut
  • You have sexy pictures on your dating profile
  • Or you’re on IG showing your body
  • What kind of bait are you fishing with
The core issue is where you are getting your validation from
  • You fulfill your need for attention and validation in an unhealthy way
  • Your self esteem and self worth are tied to men’s reaction to you


Example: Abusive Relationship
  • Girl breaks up with her abusive ex
  • Girl goes back to her abusive ex or another abuser
  • Girl finds a nice guy who she can cry on his shoulder and complain to
The core issue is that your idea of love is tied to being abused

You think this is what love looks like


Example: Fixer and Taker
  • The fixer blames himself for things that go wrong in a relationship. The taker is used to blaming others.  
  • Fixers gives without taking. Takers takes without giving.  
  • Fixers feel like they don’t have a right to say what they feel. Takers feel entitled to say whatever they feel like whenever they want.
  • Fixers have too much of a conscious and are always thinking of other people in a relationship. Takers have no conscious and are always thinking of themselves.
You don’t like you. You like the opposite of you.  

The fixers view of love is tied to trying to please someone who is hard to please

Repetition

If you don’t get healed you will continually have the same problem.  

You anchor your feelings of love to an abuse that happened to you.  

Repetition compulsion: what you don’t complete you will repeat
  • Core issues that you don’t resolve you will stay stuck in for the rest of your life
Until you fix your issue any relationship you get in will fail

You Won't Change Until You Hit Rock Bottom

We are often not open to the truth that the issue is within ourselves. We often have to go through a bad situation in order to start looking inward.

Sometimes you have to be in a low state in order to accept the truth
  • You can’t tell an alcoholic he’s an alcoholic when he’s on a high
Not getting a solution can drive you to deal with the real problem

You don’t have enough discipline motivation and drive to change
  • The pain of your current state does not outweigh the pleasure of your current state.  
  • When people hit rock bottom they are open to trying new ideas for thinking outside of the box.

Turning to God

This is when people decide to turn to God.
  • Therefore God needs to keep bringing you into this state.
Many people only seek God when they don’t have the answer 


Examples
  • Church
  • Bible study when laid off

Jesus Learned From Suffering

Hebrews 5:8
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

Some people have to suffer in order to grow

How to Avoid Hitting Rock Bottom

If you hear from God you can avoid the negative situation and start to turn your life because God told you to. 

You may not even know what God is working on until you notice the change.

God is Disciplining You

Hebrews 12:7-11
7It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
  • Discipline isn’t just punishment
  • Discipline is intended to modify your behavior
  • Correction
Discipline is an act of love

Example: Good Times
  • James whipped Michael’s friend
It is an act of love

The goal is that we turn to God completely

*That doesn’t mean that everything bad that happens is discipline from God

We’re Like a Seed

Sometimes we’re like a seed.  
  • We got put down into the darkness into the dirt.
  • We don’t know if the farmer forgot about us or not
  • We haven’t seen sunlight in days
  • Every now and then the dirt gets damp

Protected

  • Every seed is wrapped in a hard protective coating
  • Moses was in a basket when all the other Hebrew children were being killed
  • Jesus went to Egypt when the babies were being killed

Provision

The seed doesn’t have the roots to get the nutrients from the soil
  • The seed has its own food supply until the time that it is able to get nutrients from the soil
  • The seed has provision
  • The stuff that the seed needs is already in the seed

Potential

  • It’s just a matter of time before the potential is released

But one day we start to change start to feel different
  • We begin to transform into something else
God is changing you for a greater purpose!



Instructor: Michael Leadon




References

What to Do when is seems like God Doesn’t Respond - Stephen Furtick

God May be Changing You (Persistent Prayer)

Extra

Suffering

Hebrews 2:9-10
But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
We don’t deserve it more than Jesus and we don’t learn more quickly than Jesus.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
  • God takes us through to help others