IS GOD OBLIGATED? IF MY PEOPLE…WILL TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS…

  This was published two years ago on 3/9/18, it is being re-posted again here now, two years later, because the need for the knowledge of its content still seems to exist

Is God Obligated to Answer ALL of Our Prayers?

                                                                                                 —   Mary A. LaClair

God

2 Chron 7:14-15

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  RSV          (emphasis mine)

praying hands lady
praying hands man

Because our land needs healing, let’s unpack this often quoted verse to its fullest.  This verse is often heard with emphasis on the words “pray”.  But that is not all this verse is saying. Not to be overlooked or diminished, which I think is happening, is the equally important phrase, “and turn from their wicked ways”.

How many times have we heard that part emphasized recently?  The emphasis has been mostly on the word “pray”.

What happens if we do in fact pray, but do not in fact turn from our wicked ways?

Is God obligated to fulfill His part of the bargain …….if we do not meet or fulfill the ‘and’ words?

pray …AND seek… AND turn ….They are verbs – action words, if you will.

Who needs to take these actions? We need to know to whom this is addressed.  Is it addressed to all people in general? Is it to God’s people?  Who are God’s people?  It tells us who they are. The ones ‘called by His Name’. The ones claiming to be ‘Christian’.

Can you see that we are the ones who carry the power to get our land healed?  Wow!  What power with God!

Why, then, is our land not being healed faster than it is?

We can pray, but unconfessed sin is a hindrance to our being heard. Three translations put the same verse this way:

Ps 66:18   “If I had ignored my sins,  the Lord would not have listened to me.” TEV

Ps 66:18-19He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it! ” TLB

Ps 66:18   :…the Lord would not have listened; if I cherished sin in my heart.” NIV

 This seems to deal with thoughts.

Ps 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”   NIV

 Jer 23:24 “Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? says the Lord. ”   AMP

Do church leaders need to strain at gnats and swallow camels ?

gnat 2                       camel 1

No. I believe there are large camels of sin in our churches.  Where does one start?  Well, because of all the sexual harassment claims, let’s start with lust. It is big in the world today and has even crossed lines into the churches. Several high profile pastors have admitted they have been delivered from pornography, many more probably have not; and it is not limited to pastors. Anyone who wants answers to prayers needs to consider themselves. Getting pornography removed from the internet would go a long way to curbing these sins in the Nation and in the church. In view of much sexual misconduct in Congress ; and in view of disrespect for human life via numerous mass murders, whether by vehicle, bombs, guns, or infanticide (abortion at birth),  now would be a good time to express the need to respect life. I suggest this may be done by re-criminalizing BOTH porn AND abortion.  We did not have these problems when those laws were in effect.

Now may be the time to cite some causes for these national problems and correct them:  lack of respect for women and for human life . These are problems for which this Nation should find solutions, and as Christians we should be able to offer them those solutions, but not just for benefit of the church, for the benefit of our government and our country. In solving their problems we might just also be solving our own.

Teaching proper respect for ourselves and for the opposite sex would go a long way, but the Lord says the action itself needs to start with us.

God can’t clean up the world until He first cleans up His church. There are secret sins and not-so-secret-sins hidden within the church.

clean world
cleaning house

According to the opening Scripture, which holds a promise: We need to get rid of these sins in God’s people if our prayers are to be answered. Will it start with you and me?  If it does, maybe then God can clean up the world a little faster. And God knows we need it.  Our prayers won’t get ready answers until we first clean up the church. We can’t expect the world to be cleaner than the church.

1 Peter 3:7  “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. ” NIV

 

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WORK ON THE SOLUTION !   ……..

 Ps 19:12-14

Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord , my Rock and my Redeemer. NIV

Pastors:

Encourage your flock to ask God to reveal to each individual any unconfessed and unknown sins which may be hindering their prayers. We should encourage repentance of sins while avoiding condemnation or even public confession. Blanket forgiveness of active sins without repentance is not God’s way. Jesus preached repentance. God can identify sin in those who ask, without producing excessive guilt.  Repentance still needs to be preached today. Jesus is able to identify sin and convict individuals without condemnation.  Let Him do it —  but do encourage God’s lambs and sheep to seek God’s help in identifying their sin. Then, when you have cleansed yourself, pray for others to find the same courage of self examination and repentance.

praying outdoors                          cleaning self

Rom 8:13-14

Blessings upon all!

“…but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  NIV

One final word:

Phil 2:13  “For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.” TLB

Is God in you?  Pray the sinners prayer, admit sin, ask for His help, ask Jesus into your heart then seek His Holy Spirit more fully.

“Lord Jesus, I admit I’m a sinner, I need your forgiveness, please include my sins with those sins for which you died. Come into my life, help me to be all that you want me to be, come into my heart and let my spirit be born again into Your Holy Spirit, put my feet on the straight path and always guide me in thought word and deed. Thank you Jesus.”

If you prayed that prayer with sincerity, you may now claim the Scripture:

Phil 2:13 For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.” TLB

What do you say Pastors:  will you preach self-examination and repentance to our church families?

Individuals:  are we ready to seek God’s help in this?

God’s blessings be upon us as we work through things with Jesus!

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Think of others as better than ourselves? Not always!

Think of others as better than ourselves?  Don’t Be So Easily Fooled!

2,000 words                                    God watches us           –  by Mary A. LaClair

Are believers in Christ to be lower than commoners or as Scriptures tell us, are we to be kings and priests?

Phil 2:3Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves.” RSV

1 Peter 2:9-10   But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

           King crown                                            priest

If we, the people of God, are a royal priesthood and a holy nation, then we are not lesser than others!  HOW does one reconcile these two verses? If you know, please pass it on!  Are we lower than commoners or are we kings and priests?

God calls His chosen, those who answer His call, to be priests and kings.  How, then, or why, are we to think of others as better than ourselves?  Thinking of others as just as good as us is one thing. But, better than ourselves. This is a hard saying.   I believe that when God has elevated His repentant and forgiven ones to priests and kings, and we bow to others – thinking them better than us, we can actually nullify God’s wishes and nullify the authority which He gives us. By doing this we hinder His work.  Luke 10:1-18

I struggled for many years with the Scripture which says ‘think of others as better than yourselves’, because there were times when God asked me to do something and I felt there were others who were  better suited, so I avoided the task.  Wrong ! Just what the devil wanted me to do.  So, I went checking many translations of Scripture hoping to find a version which clarified this. I was disappointed. Commentaries skipped it. I asked a Pastor, but did not get a satisfactory answer there either. I struggled with it to the point where I was finally telling God that I thought someone had made a mistake. He did not answer for quite awhile. But, I actually felt He was smiling while I waited for His answer.  It is God’s privilege to conceal and His privilege to reveal. This is how Scripture can last us a life time.    

Prov 25:2   It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;  to search out a matter is the glory of kings. ”   ‘NIV

investigator                        Bible search

At Bible Study, when the ‘others better than yourself’ came up, a recovering alcoholic with self-esteem problems was in attendance.  She was immediately downcast.  I knew well that some of the older ladies there were not living this way. This special lady had taken one step forward and now two steps back.

I challenged the teachers by telling her that it simply meant that we were not to think less of ourselves, but to think of ourselves just as good as others, and others just as good as us. She smiled when I told her it was not meant to demean us but that Jesus has made us priests and kings. Think of yourself that way first and foremost. When she went home I hope she did not drown low esteem in a bottle. That lady thanked me. The teachers did not.  If I was clever, I could have said,  “These ladies are thinking of you as being better than themselves” but it did not occur to me at the time, and it may not have been true.

A pastor curtly told me that it meant that we were to treat others the same way Jesus treated us. That may be good advice but it did not simplify this particular Scripture. Maybe it does for you.   I believed then, and still believe now, we need to act like priests and kings (1 Peter 2:9-10), especially if we are told that is what we are. And we are told. 

prophet                 humble confidentMisapplications of  Scripture, I believe, are the cause for many societal ills. Treating illegal aliens better than US citizens is one example. NY Bail Reform is another prime example; Burglaries were up 33% in just the first month when it went into effect in New York.  People getting fleeced because they think the best of others, etc.are other examples. I can’t stand it when lawyers call criminals ‘gentlemen’ when they couldn’t be further from it.  Thinking of others as better than ourselves just does not work out.

Ryan Dobson says in his book: “It’s OK To Be Intolerant: Because some things are just stupid” :

“OUR GENERATION IS BEING DESTROYED BY RAMPANT TOLERANCE.
Somebody’s cheating at school?
“Well, that’s his business.”
Your roommate wants an abortion?
“I wouldn’t do it, but hey, it’s her life.”
Accepting everything means you believe in nothing. When it comes to right and wrong, sitting on the fence won’t get you–or the people you love–anywhere. Passiveness is not love. Love is getting in people’s face and telling them the truth.”
Finally, someone has the courage to point out that some ideas are simply stupid. Honest and unflinching, Ryan Dobson will show you how to back up your beliefs and be intolerant–in love.

https://www.christianbook.com/intolerant-because-some-things-just-stupid/ryan-dobson/9781414317526/product-reviews/317526

Eph 5:15  “Be careful therefore how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.”

Matt. 16:6  “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Matt: 10:16  “Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, therefore be wise as    serpents and harmless as doves.”

My husband is often heard saying:  “There are only two people I trust, you and me, and I’m not so sure about you!”  Good advice.

We, who are full of Christ, should not let ourselves be over-ruled by the un-godly, thinking the un-godly better than ourselves. This is happening. It is not working. This is the danger of mis-interpreting this particular Scripture. God gives us wisdom, we need to be glad of it. We should use it, not hide it under a bushel. The secret is in realizing Wisdom comes from Him. 

God watches us                          happy

What now about that troubling Bible verse?  Did God ever answer?  Yes, yes, He did.  When I least expected it He dropped the answer in my lap. DayStar TV’s  REFLECTIONS: Scripture overwritten on beautiful scenery, with soft music was the channel . One day, that particular verse  ‘just happened’ to come up the moment  I turned TV on. And instantly , it seems, the lights came on. It was an “A-Ha” moment.       

Phil 2:3 “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves.” RSV

To whom is this verse addressed?  This verse is addressing the selfish and the conceited.  It is not addressing anyone else!   

It might as well say:

Attention you who are selfish and proud, listen up! Do nothing from greed or pride, instead consider others better than yourself.    

It is addressed to the ‘selfish and proud’. It is not addressed to all believers in general.

If the first half of that verse doesn’t apply to you, don’t worry about the second half.

We should know who we are in Christ –  as the redeemed, we are the head and not the tail. Never give in or agree with those who would try to re-interpret our Christianity for us because of our lack of knowledge.

Hos 4:“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”  NIV

Notice to whom this is addressed:   “My people…”     Hmmm…

 Neither are we to relinquish our wisdom in the name of ‘tolerance’. Being a people pleaser can make us guilty of making people our god. Our job is to please God.      

I would like to recommend two books:

1. Ryan Dobson:   BE INTOLERANT – because some things are just stupid

2. O.S.Hawkins:    THE DANIEL CODE – living out truth in a culture losing its way

  1. O.S. Hawkins – 2016

“If we don’t speak up, people won’t know biblical truth. How is a Christian to respond? Inspired by the story of Daniel in the Old Testament, bestselling author O.S. Hawkins shows how we can engage our broken culture with integrity.”  

https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Daniel_Code/VonUDAAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=The+Daniel+Code&printsec=frontcover

These may be found at Barnes and Noble, on line at http://www.Bookfinder.com or at http://www.ChristianBook.com

The devil will twist Scripture and try to get us to mis-interpret God’s Word. He did it to Jesus in the dessert, he does it to us.  We, as priests and kings, can be bold and courageous when we know God is with us.  Deut 31:6; Joshuah1:9.

What we are talking about is not giving away our position of priests and kings –  not relinquishing our  knowledge and wisdom. The devil wants us to think all others are better than we are (the accuser of the brethren) and he will often use this Scripture, mis-representing it, as he mis-represented Scripture to Jesus in the dessert.  Case in point:  when they say ‘you must be tolerant’ we must remember that we are to be salt and light,  not bending to the immoral ills of society.    

Google the word ‘tolerant’  or ‘tolerate’ in Scripture. You will find it in Rev chapter three.  God has this against one of the churches:   “I have this against you, you tolerate those who…”

Phil 2:3 “When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves.” NCV New Contemporary Version                                                        

The word instead denotes a prior condition.  Instead means instead:  If you are not doing A, you don’t need to do B instead.

The first half did not apply to our friend, so the second half did not apply. At that time, I just didn’t know how to explain it to her in this way

We, as Priests and Kings, abdicate our authority and power in Christ when we think of others as better than ourselves when they are not. It can also lead to anarchy. To do so, negates our necessity to bring others to repentance, as Jesus did, and as He instructs us to do.

The New English Translation puts it this way  :

Phil 2:3-4 Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.”  (from The NET Bible®, Copyright © 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C., Dallas, Texas, http://www.bible.org. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

 To whom is this being addressed?  The words ‘being motivated’ denote an ongoing process.

 Can we see from this that when reading Scripture, it is always good to read the verse and ask “To whom is this being addressed?”

If it talks about a ‘believer’ or a ‘whomsoever’, one may put their own name in, because then it’s often addressed to us as individuals.

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.”  ASV

Be a ‘whosoever’ today, but don’t be a selfish, prideful whosoever.  (<:

Can’t get this Josh Turner song out of my mind regarding this writing:

“ I treated that bad woman good; Lord, I need a good woman, bad.”

The proof is in; it doesn’t always pay to treat bad people good.  Isaiah 26:10 also comes to mind:

“Though mercy is shown to the unrepentant, …”  :

Isa 26:10 “Even though you are kind to wicked men, they never learn to do what is right. Even here in a land of righteous people they still do wrong; they refuse to recognize your greatness.” TEV

Isa 26:10  “Though the wicked is shown favor, He does not learn righteousness; He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, And does not perceive the majesty of the Lord.“NASU

1 Peter 2:9-10  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  NIV

Rev 5:9-10 “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”  NIV                              

priest inssssssignia    king and queen

Rev 1:5-6  “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father — to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. ” NIV

Obadiah 21  “Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the Lord ‘s.”   NIV

  • End –

 

IS GOD OBLIGATED?

    Is God Obligated to Answer ALL of Our Prayers?

                                                                                                 —   Mary A. LaClair

God

2 Chron 7:14-15

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  RSV          (emphasis mine)

praying hands lady
praying hands man

Because our land needs healing, let’s unpack this often quoted verse to its fullest.  This verse is often heard with emphasis on the words “pray”.  But that is not all this verse is saying. Not to be overlooked or diminished, which I think is happening, is the equally important phrase, “and turn from their wicked ways”.

How many times have we heard that part emphasized recently?  The emphasis has been mostly on the word “pray”.

What happens if we do in fact pray, but do not in fact turn from our wicked ways?

Is God obligated to fulfill His part of the bargain …….if we do not meet or fulfill the ‘and’ words?

pray …AND seek… AND turn ….They are verbs – action words, if you will.

Who needs to take these actions? We need to know to whom this is addressed.  Is it addressed to all people in general? Is it to God’s people?  Who are God’s people?  It tells us who they are. The ones ‘called by His Name’. The ones claiming to be ‘Christian’.

Can you see that we are the ones who carry the power to get our land healed?  Wow!  What power with God!

Why, then, is our land not being healed faster than it is?

We can pray, but unconfessed sin is a hindrance to our being heard. Three translations put the same verse this way:

Ps 66:18   “If I had ignored my sins,  the Lord would not have listened to me.” TEV

   

Ps 66:18-19He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it! ” TLB

Ps 66:18   :…the Lord would not have listened; if I cherished sin in my heart.” NIV

 This seems to deal with thoughts.

Ps 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”   NIV

 Jer 23:24 “Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? says the Lord. ”   AMP

Do church leaders need to strain at gnats and swallow camels ?

gnat 2                       camel 1

No. I believe there are large camels of sin in our churches.  Where does one start?  Well, because of all the sexual harassment claims, let’s start with lust. It is big in the world today and has even crossed lines into the churches. Several high profile pastors have admitted they have been delivered from pornography, many more probably have not; and it is not limited to pastors. Anyone who wants answers to prayers needs to consider themselves. Getting pornography removed from the internet would go a long way to curbing these sins in the Nation and in the church. In view of much sexual misconduct in Congress ; and in view of disrespect for human life via numerous mass murders, whether by vehicle, bombs, guns, or infanticide (abortion at birth),  now would be a good time to express the need to respect life. I suggest this may be done by re-criminalizing BOTH porn AND abortion.  We did not have these problems when those laws were in effect.

Now may be the time to cite some causes for these national problems and correct them:  lack of respect for women and for human life . These are problems for which this Nation should find solutions, and as Christians we should be able to offer them those solutions, but not just for benefit of the church, for the benefit of our government and our country. In solving their problems we might just also be solving our own.

Teaching proper respect for ourselves and for the opposite sex would go a long way, but the Lord says the action itself needs to start with us.

God can’t clean up the world until He first cleans up His church. There are secret sins and not-so-secret-sins hidden within the church.

clean world
cleaning house

According to the opening Scripture, which holds a promise: We need to get rid of these sins in God’s people if our prayers are to be answered. Will it start with you and me?  If it does, maybe then God can clean up the world a little faster. And God knows we need it.  Our prayers won’t get ready answers until we first clean up the church. We can’t expect the world to be cleaner than the church.

1 Peter 3:7  “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. ” NIV

 

———————————————————————

WORK ON THE SOLUTION !   ……..

 Ps 19:12-14

Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord , my Rock and my Redeemer. NIV

Pastors:

Encourage your flock to ask God to reveal to each individual any unconfessed and unknown sins which may be hindering their prayers. We should encourage repentance of sins while avoiding condemnation or even public confession. Blanket forgiveness of active sins without repentance is not God’s way. Jesus preached repentance. God can identify sin in those who ask, without producing excessive guilt.  Repentance still needs to be preached today. Jesus is able to identify sin and convict individuals without condemnation.  Let Him do it —  but do encourage God’s lambs and sheep to seek God’s help in identifying their sin. Then, when you have cleansed yourself, pray for others to find the same courage of self examination and repentance.

praying outdoors                          cleaning self

Rom 8:13-14

Blessings upon all!

“…but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  NIV

One final word:

Phil 2:13  “For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.” TLB

Is God in you?  Pray the sinners prayer, admit sin, ask for His help, ask Jesus into your heart then seek His Holy Spirit more fully.

“Lord Jesus, I admit I’m a sinner, I need your forgiveness, please include my sins with those sins for which you died. Come into my life, help me to be all that you want me to be, come into my heart and let my spirit be born again into Your Holy Spirit, put my feet on the straight path and always guide me in thought word and deed. Thank you Jesus.”

If you prayed that prayer with sincerity, you may now claim the Scripture:

Phil 2:13 For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.” TLB

What do you say Pastors:  will you preach self-examination and repentance to our church families?

Individuals:  are we ready to seek God’s help in this?

God’s blessings be upon us as we work through things with Jesus!

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