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Thursday, March 28, 2013

The God Who Hears

(Part 3 of 3)

 “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears attentive to their prayers.”

                                                                                                1 Peter 3:12

In order for God to hear us, righteousness must permeate our prayer lives. Peter tells us that God’s ears are attentive to the righteous; meaning that God is heedful, mindful, thoughtful, and observant to the prayers of those who walk in right standing with Him. Throughout the Old and New Testament the passages regarding God hearing our prayers being coupled to righteousness are prevalent:

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

                                                                                                James 5:16

“The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous.”

                                                                                                Proverbs 15:29

And, in 1 Timothy 2:8, Paul declares:

“I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.”

Probably the most notable passage, however, is 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, who are called by my name, will 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.”

Notice what must happen before God declares that He will hear from heaven. Men must humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways. God cannot answer what He does not hear. He cannot hear what we have silenced by our own sinfulness. When we humble ourselves before God, seek His face and repent of our sins 1 John 1:9 states:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

When we repent God cleanses us from our unrighteousness. He hears, forgives and answers! Repentance paves the way to a powerful prayer life. As God’s people we must humble ourselves and pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. God is ready to answer!


Pastor Scott Burr


Friday, March 22, 2013

The God Who Hears

(Part 2 of 3)

 "Do not be afraid, Daniel, since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.”

                                                                                                  Daniel 10:12

The idea that we serve a God who hears was not isolated to Elijah. Here we read in Daniel 10 how the angel of the Lord told Daniel that his words were heard the first day he prayed them. In Acts 10:31 a man in shining clothes appeared to Cornelius and declared:

“Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.”

In fact, in John 11:41-42, Jesus said:

“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here that they may believe that you sent me.”

Elijah, Daniel, Cornelius and Jesus all prayed and believed that their words were being heard! They understood a valuable principle found in Isaiah 59:1:

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save nor his ear too dull to hear.”

It is God’s desire to hear us. He is supremely capable of hearing. There is nothing lacking in the prayer equation on God’s part. Yet, knowing this, many of our prayers seem to go unheard. The revelation of the problem is found in Isaiah 59:2:

But your iniquities have separated your from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear.”

According to this passage, it isn’t a lack of faith or doubt that hinders God from hearing us. It is sin! Sin silences our petitions. Before we begin to question why God may not have answered our prayers, we have to ask ourselves if there is anything in our life that would have caused Him not to hear us. We can sabotage our own prayer life by not dealing with sin. The key to God hearing us is tied to righteousness.

Pastor Scott Burr


Monday, March 18, 2013

The God Who Hears

(Part 1 of 2)

 “Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse and finally stopped breathing. She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing he son to die?” Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived.”

                                                                                                            1 Kings 17:17-22

When we get to 1 Kings 17, we read how God commanded Elijah to speak judgment over disobedient Israel. Israel had fallen into Baal worship, who they believed was responsible for the rain and abundant crops. So God sends a messenger by the name of Elijah to prophesy that there would be no rain for 3 ½ years except by his word. During this time God provided for Elijah during the drought. First, God feeds Elijah by ravens and then he is fed by the widow of Zarapath. Although it is the last of her oil and flour she obediently provides for God’s servant. As a result her cruse of oil and jar of flour did not run dry.  While Elijah is staying with them, the widow’s son dies. In the midst of the miracle of “oil and flour” this tragedy takes place. Elijah scoops us the boy and cries out to God: “O Lord, My God, Let this boy’s life return to him.”

And the scripture tells us, that the Lord “heard” Elijah’s cry. What made Elijah so special that God heard him when he prayed? James 5: 17- 18 tells us:

Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for 3 ½ years. Again he prayed and the heavens gave rain and the earth produced its crops.”

What made Elijah powerful in prayer was not his education or his pedigree. He was simply an ordinary man who believed a couple things about God. One thing he believed is that he served a God who hears! Prayer is nothing but an exercise in futility if we do not believe that God hears us when we pray. Repeatedly throughout the Psalms, King David cried out to God: “Be merciful and hear my prayers,” Psalm 4:1; “Give ear to my prayer,” Psalm 17:1; “Hear my prayer O Lord,” Psalm 86:6. The first key to fervent, effective prayer is to know that God hears us when we pray!

Pastor Scott Burr


Thursday, March 7, 2013

So Close, Yet So Far Away

(Part 2 of 2)

 “Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” “Which ones?” the man inquired. Jesus replied, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.” “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

                                                                                                            Matthew 19:16-20

As we study the story of the rich young ruler we make an alarming discovery. You can be 80% right and still be 100% wrong. The young man in this story did a lot of things right. First, he was asking the right question. He realized that there had to be more to his spiritual life than a bunch of do’s and don’ts.  Second, he approached the right person with his question. If anyone would be able to answer the question of eternal life, it would be Jesus. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End! He, obviously, led a very moral life. The fact he could claim to have never murdered, committed adultery, stolen, or lied coupled with his commitment to honor his father, mother and neighbors placed this man on a high moral plain. This adherence to the Law also indicates that he was a religious man familiar with God, the Word of God and the people of God. Overall, most of us would have been pleased to have this man live next door to us. Surely, this man was “in the kingdom?”

What happened next, however, goes to show just how easy it is to be near the kingdom of God, yet not be in it:

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

                                                                                                            Matthew 19:21-22

The young man was unwilling to give up everything to follow Jesus. He had his hand on the threshold of the entrance of God’s Kingdom, but never entered it. He had something in his life he loved more than God. How about you? Are you “in God’s Kingdom?” Have you repented of your sins and received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? Moral goodness, good deeds, church attendance, and serving others will bring you near, but you must be willing to give up everything to follow Christ in order to enter in.


Pastor Scott Burr