Learning to Trust the Goodness of God
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17 NIV
25 All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:25-26 NIV
7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:7 NIV
HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT IS AT WORK IN MY LIFE
1. He teaches me.
26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things… John 14:26a
a. New things- Revelation
b. Old things- Remembrance
…and [He] will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26b
8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment. John 16:8 NIV
2. He guides me.
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13 NIV
3. He empowers me.
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. Acts 1:8 NASB
a. Power to speak up for Jesus.
…you shall be My witnesses
b. Power to live by faith not fear.
14 Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:14-15 NASB
4. He reminds me who I really am.
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Romans 8:16 NASB
5. He helps me pray.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26 NIV
How to pray for more of God
1. Invite him into your life and hold nothing back.
18b Keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18b NLT
2. Cooperate with his work from this day forward.
11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Romans 8:11 NIV
H e’s done it before.
O ur faith matters to God.
P rayer is powerful.
E veryone is eligible.
3 OCCASIONS OF IMPOSSIBLE HOPE
Hope for the infertile.
36 And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:36-37 NASB
Hope for those desiring a new life.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:23-26 NIV
Hope for those without a cure.
22b “But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" 23 And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes." 24 Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe; help my unbelief.” Mark 9:22b-24 NASB
HOW TO INVITE GOD INTO YOUR “IMPOSSIBLE”
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 I will forgive their sins, and I will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT
1. Humble yourself.
“IF my people who are called by my name will humble themselves…”
6 God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6 NLT
2. Ask God for help.
“If my people who are called by my name will … pray.”
13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. James 5:13-15 NIV
Seek God, not a miracle.
“If my people who are called by my name will …seek my face.”
33 Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 NIV
16b God rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6b NIV
4. Turn away from sin.
“If my people ….turn from their wicked ways.”
Wickedness is simply turning away from God.
19 Repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19 NIV
13 If you hide your sins, you will not succeed. But if you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy. Proverbs 28:13 ICB
God’s Promised Response to our proper invitation
“I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN and FORGIVE YOUR SINS
and HEAL YOUR LAND.”
31b If God is for us, who is against us? Romans 8:31b NIV
The Bible tells us to “pray continually.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV
1. A prayer of submission.
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 NIV
2. A prayer for my friends.
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Luke 22:31-34 NIV
3. A prayer for my food.
36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. Matthew 15:36 NIV
4. A prayer of forgiveness.
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:32-34a NIV
How should I pray when things look really bad?
1 After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. 2 Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” 3 Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. 4 So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help. 2 Chronicles 20:1-4 NLT
1. Get SERIOUS.
The purpose of fasting - Humility and power
5 Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the Lord. 6 He prayed, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you! 7 O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? 8 Your people settled here and built this Temple to honor your name. 9 They said, ‘Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us. 10 “And now see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them. 11 Now see how they reward us! For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us as an inheritance. 12 O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” 2 Chronicles 20:5-12 NLT
2. Get SPECIFIC.
13 As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children, 14 the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph. 2 Chronicles 20:13-14 NLT
Get my FAMILY PRAYING with me.
15 He [Jahaziel] said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 NLT
4. Get ready for GOD TO MOVE.
18 Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord. 19 Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout. 20 Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” 21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!” 22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. 23 The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. 24 So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped. 25 King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing, and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all! 26 On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today. 2 Chronicles 20:18-26 NLT
5. Get your PRAISE ON.
A.W. Tozer “What comes into your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you.”
Now Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day he gave Joseph a special gift—a beautiful robe. But his brothers hated Joseph because of their father's partiality. They couldn't say a kind word to him. Genesis 37:3-4 NLT
But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father gave it some thought and wondered what it all meant. Genesis 37:11 NLT
The LORD was with Joseph and blessed him greatly as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. Potiphar noticed this and realized that the LORD was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. So Joseph naturally became quite a favorite with him. Potiphar soon put Joseph in charge of his entire household and entrusted him with all his business dealings. 5 From the day Joseph was put in charge, the LORD began to bless Potiphar for Joseph's sake. All his household affairs began to run smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. Genesis 39:2-6a (NLT)
Joseph acted like someone who was absolutely confident that God was GOOD and that God was WITH HIM.
But the LORD was with Joseph there, too, and he granted Joseph favor with the chief jailer. Before long, the jailer put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The chief jailer had no more worries after that, because Joseph took care of everything. The LORD was with him, making everything run smoothly and successfully. Genesis 39:21-23
Key truth: God may be silent, but he is not absent.
“We both had dreams last night, but there is no one here to tell us what they mean." "Interpreting dreams is God's business," Joseph replied. "Tell me what you saw." Gen 40:8 (NLT)
Within three days Pharaoh will take you out of prison and return you to your position as his chief cup-bearer. And please have some pity on me when you are back in his favor. Mention me to Pharaoh, and ask him to let me out of here. For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I'm here in jail, but I did nothing to deserve it. Genesis 40:13-15 (NLT)
Then the king's cup-bearer spoke up. "Today I have been reminded of my failure," he said. Genesis 41:9 (NLT)
Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was brought hastily from the dungeon. After a quick shave and change of clothes, he went in and stood in Pharaoh's presence. "I had a dream last night," Pharaoh told him, "and none of these men can tell me what it means. But I have heard that you can interpret dreams, and that is why I have called for you." Genesis 41:14-15 NLT
"It is beyond my power to do this," Joseph replied. "But God will tell you what it means and will set you at ease." Genesis 41:16 NLT
"My suggestion is that you find the wisest man in Egypt and put him in charge of a nationwide program. Let Pharaoh appoint officials over the land, and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. Have them gather all the food and grain of these good years into the royal storehouses, and store it away so there will be food in the cities. That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come. Otherwise disaster will surely strike the land, and all the people will die." Genesis 41:33-36 NLT
Joseph's suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his advisers. As they discussed who should be appointed for the job, Pharaoh said, "Who could do it better than Joseph? For he is a man who is obviously filled with the spirit of God." Turning to Joseph, Pharaoh said, "Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, you are the wisest man in the land! I hereby appoint you to direct this project. You will manage my household and organize all my people. Only I will have a rank higher than yours." Genesis 41:37-40 NLT
But don't be angry with yourselves that you did this to me, for God did it. He sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. Genesis 45:5 NLT
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20b NLT
What would I do, today, if I were absolutely confident that God was GOOD and that he was WITH ME?
3 facts about prayer
1. We are wired by God for prayer!
2. We’re not very good at prayer.
26 We don't even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. Romans 8:26 NLT
1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of the disciples said "Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1 NLT
3. We don’t really understand prayer very well.
7 When you pray DO NOT use meaningless repetition thinking that you will be heard for your many words. Matthew 6:7 NASB
3 FOUNDATIONAL TRUTHS ABOUT GOD
1. GOD’S LOVE IS PERFECT.
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. 1 John 4:16 NIV
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV
13 Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones 14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” 15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:13-16 NIV
2. GOD’S CHARACTER IS 100% GOOD.
13 The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who reverence him. Psalms 103:13 NLT
14 We can be confident in approaching God, knowing that he listens to us whenever we ask him for anything according to his will. 15 And since we know that he hears us when we make our requests, then we can be sure that he will answer us. 1 John 5:14-15
11 I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. 12 Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:11-12 NCV
3. GOD’S POWER IS UNLIMITED.
-He knows everything, and he wants to share His wisdom.
3 Call to me and I will answer you. I will show you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. Jeremiah 33:3 MSG
-He owns everything, and he wants to share His wealth.
11 If you, being imperfect and sinful parents know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him? Matthew 7:11 NLT
-He can do anything, and he wants to share His power.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV
8 Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you! James 4:8a NLT
Four ways I GROW Spiritually
1. I grow when I feed on God’s word.
Jesus: “People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every Word of God.” Matthew 4:4 (NLT)
Paul: “. . . the Word of grace is able to build you up and give you all the blessings that God has for his people." Acts 20:32 NIV
Action Step: A DAILY TIME WITH GOD FOR 40 DAYS
2. I grow when I develop spiritual habits.
Now that you know these things, you’ll be blessed if you practice them! John 13:17 NIV
Solid food is for mature people, whose minds have been trained by practice to know the difference between good and evil. Hebrews 5:14 (GW)
All good athletes train hard and practice to get better. They do it to win a prize that won’t last. But we practice to win a prize that will last forever! 1 Corinthians 9:25
Guaranteed Growth Habits:
- Habit of weekly large group worship.
- Habit of life group fellowship.
- Habit of a daily time alone with God. (Bible & Prayer)
- Habit of memorizing God’s Word
3. I grow when I help others grow.
I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you. Romans 1:12 (GNT)
Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. Let us not give up the HABIT of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more. Hebrews 10:24-25 (TEV)
Action Step: JOIN A LIFE GROUP TODAY
4. I grow when I commit to grow.
God: “You’ll find me when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else.” Jeremiah 29:13 (Message)
Our greatest wish and prayer is that you will become mature Christians. 2 Corinthians 13:9b (TLB)
40 Days of Prayer
1.A Prayer for More of God
2.3 Occasions of Impossible Hope
3.The 4 Everyday Prayers
4.How To Pray When Things Look Really Bad
5.Learning to Trust the Goodness of God
6.The Basics of Prayer
7.Time To Grow Up