Monday, May 25, 2009

He Delights in Answering Prayer

Hello everyone, Tyson here. I just wanted to write something out of the overflow of the joy that is in my heart. I also wanted to hopefully encourage you by that overflow...

God is so good to us and it is so important for us to be reminded of His grace and mercy because it is so necessary in our pursuit of our joy in Him. If we are seeking to worship Him by being satisfied in Him as John Piper would say, then being reminded of His grace and mercy is a great place to start in finding our joy in Him. It blows me away enough that He would love us while we were still sinners and choose to reconcile us to Himself through Christ. Yet, it blows me away even more that He continues to bless us by answering our prayers.

For me personally, I was reminded of His grace and mercy tonight by answered prayer. I know that God works all things together for His glory and the good of those who fear Him and walk according to His ways, but it sometimes still "surprises" me whenever He comes through for me in prayer. Have you ever felt that way? I mean, you ask for God to work a situation out in His timing and in the best way that would glorify Him, and then when He chooses to do it, it still comes across as a surprise. Have you ever felt that? I have, and I am pretty sure that "surprise" is not the correct and appropriate response to His choosing to move in our lives.

He answered a prayer tonight that I have been praying for the last three years, and He showed off when He did it! It was an absolute perfect and beautiful display of His power, sovereignty, grace, love, forgiveness, vindication, timing, and skill. Over this long period there have been times when I questioned His timing, and there have been times when I rested in His sovereignty. However, there have also been times I forgot I had been praying about it. However, He never forgot. I mean, wow! Three years? What an encouragement for other unanswered prayers in my life!

I hope that you can be encouraged to pray to the Everlasting all the while trusting that He will work out the situations and circumstances in your life for His glory and your joy. Can you grasp this? God worked out a situation in my life tonight that I could have never have imagined! Appropriately, this made Him look a million times more mighty (His glory), and it also produced an overflow of joy in my heart to honor Him for it and to tell others of His steadfast love (My joy and my good). "His glory and our good" is not a simple, catchy phrase. It is the very story of redemption, it is the every day miracles that we never see, and it is the delight of the Almighty. We have a very happy God who loves His own glory and loves glorifying Himself in ways which produce joy in His children.

Our joy is completed in Him when He glorifies Himself in our every day lives when we are able to express that joy back to Him. In fact, the heart's expression of what His glory produces is what He is seeking (Jn. 4:23). He calls it worship. Whether it be joy (like right now for me) or brokenness (like 30 minutes ago), or silence, dancing, singing, etc., our response to His own glorification through His involvement in life (like answered prayer) and through the life of His Son illuminated in the Word is what brings Him honor. Beyond that, our expression completes our joy in Him by allowing us to delight in Him. You see, I am happy to be able to brag on my Father tonight, and I am overjoyed to admit my inability to pull off what He did for me! He is glorified, and I am happy.

So here are two thoughts I had tonight in response to the answered prayer:

A) I must have the correct attitude when God does answer our prayers. Worship is in vain if I am blown away at the Gifts and not the Giver. So many times (even tonight) it is so easy to be distracted by the obvious "effects" of God working and forget about the "Person" behind the work. It is He who answers prayers and it is He alone who is worthy to be praised. So, let me encourage you to express your heart to the person of God in light of the grace offered to us through His Son by the Holy Spirit when prayers are answered... not in answered prayer alone.

B) I also must be in His Word and must fight to be self controlled and sober-minded. Obedience does have an effect on answered prayer. 1 Peter 4:7 says: "The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers" (emphasis added). I know our salvation is found in no one else but Christ and nothing at all in and of ourselves, but our obedience to Christ does have an effect on our prayers being answered. So, let me also encourage you also to join me in putting off our old carnal flesh and seek the things that are above (Col. 3:1).

I hope this little blog has encouraged you to continue praying and to continue hoping. God will complete the work He has started in the lives of those who know His voice (Phil. 1:6). Be encouraged to pray without ceasing and then to express joy to God. Like Paul says in Philippians 4: "Rejoice (or be happy) in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Worshipping with you,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Passion 2010 Here I Come

To my delight, John Piper confirmed today that he will be a part of Passion 2010 taking place this coming January. Make plans now to attend what promises to be an incredible gathering of the body of Christ for His renown. Learn more at PASSION 2010