Lord or Gumball Machine?

Anonymous said: I am really struggling with something and I really need guidance right now. I just…how and why does prayer work? If God has a plan for us, why do we think that He’ll change the way things are because we prayed for it?


I said:


“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
 - Genesis 1:1

I want you to take a breath and think about that. The story of this universe does not start with us. It starts with God. Whatever God decrees comes to pass. He spoke the world into existence, and He will have the final word at the end of the ages. 

Here is what you need to know about prayer:

This same God is not the gumball machine that we make him out to be.

The truth is that society has come to understand prayer in the wrong way. When we discuss prayer, it usually communicates a desire for materialistic or circumstantial gain. That is not prayer. God is not obligated to give us what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. God is able to say no.

Having said that, God’s plan is a lot bigger than us. God does not exist for us, but rather we exist for God. That means that our plans are not His plans.By His grace, He has included us in His plan for redemption and restoration. Yes, God has a plan for you, but that does not mean that your life is going to be perfect. In fact, because of God’s plan, your life is going to be harder. Just read through the book of John and see what Jesus promised about following Him.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Jesus promised trouble, but He also promised peace. There can be contentment in the midst of chaos. How? Because at the end of it all, we will be united with Christ, and there will be no more tears and no more pain. Prayer, then, is not about getting what you can in this life. Prayer is about communicating and having community with the Lord who did not spare His own life. Prayer is about refocusing on what really matters: eternity.

I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.” – C.S. Lewis

Prayer is the expression of your love, pain, sorrow, passion, burdens, joy, accomplishments, sin, concerns, anxieties, and your everything to the God of the universe. It is not to get what you want. No matter how hard you pray, the trouble and pain of this fallen world will still be there. But you will change. You will have peace knowing that the God who gives you ultimate love is sustaining you. No matter what happens in this life, in the end, He will have victory and you will as well if you confess Jesus Christ as Lord and abide with Him on the road of obedience.

Whatever you are struggling with, know that Christ is Lord over all, and He has the power to change every situation under His will. He sees the big picture, and He knows what you are going through. Pray for every desire you have, but learn to trust Jesus. Whatever suffering we encounter in this life, we know that we are living for a God who weeps with those who weep and rejoices with those who rejoice. He is the God that suffers, and the God that suffers with us. Find your peace with Him.

Life is more than just right now! There is eternity. See past the mountain before you.

God Bless and Much Love,

Samuel Assaf

"God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him — in the midst of loss, not prosperity."

— John Piper

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

Romans 8:28

We keep our confessions long, but when we pray we keep it short.

Faith.

When we say: “God, I trust that you are going to give me the hopes and expectations that I have in this life-time.” Is that really trusting God? 

We trust God when we say “God, do as You will. I wither as the grass and I know only what I see. I lay all at Your feet. What You take from me, I freely give to You. What You give to me, I will graciously receive. My whole life is Yours. Whatever cross You give me, I will bear. Whichever path You lead me on, I will follow. All I need is you.”

That is faith. Not expecting God to operate in a man-made system, but instead trusting that He will do what is right and good, no matter how much that disappoints us. No matter how much we lose, sacrifice, change, or suffer, God is enough. He satisfies. 

Jesus: You can’t smoke, swallow, or shoot him.

Anonymous asked: I tried for the longest time to be one with the church. I tried so hard to feel the way everyone else felt. Praise and worship I saw faces of pure joy, everyone looked so breath taken by the feeling that they had been given to them in that very point in time. But here I am, not feeling a thing but the sadness I walked in with. When I called on a paster to be he scolded me which made me turn my back from even the thought of Church….I just need something to cure my pain. Is church for me?

I answered:

If what you say is true, then it is no wonder that you turned away from even the thought of church! That isn’t church at all. Church isn’t about how we feel and what we feel, it’s about the gathering of people who love Jesus to read Scripture and worship God. But to answer your question specifically: Church won’t cure your pain; Jesus will. Now for my lengthy footnote…

This doesn’t mean that you will be happy all of the time. Jesus isn’t some magic drug that you take twice a day to keep the tears away. Worship isn’t some happy time either. Did you know that God gets sad? Did you know that He weeps, and His heart can be broken? This is why we experience sadness, anger, happiness, etc.

You may have been told that there are good and bad emotions. I want you to know that idea is a lie. Emotions are neutral; it just depends on what you do with them. A couple of examples: If you are angry, you don’t need to yell or hit somebody. If you are sad, you don’t need to harm yourself. It is not the emotions that are evil, it is just our responses to them sometimes. There are so many Scripture verses of God being sad or angry, and there are so many Scripture verses of Godly men being sad or angry. So don’t think that Christians are supposed to be happy all of the time, because we’re not. We go through pain. We are human beings, and this world is full of pain and suffering.

Now listen to me very carefully: Jesus knows the pain you are going through, and He wants to help you. From the language that you’ve used, it sounds like you’ve been hurt by a church, but you have not mentioned God at all. So let me ask you this: Could you just try talking to Jesus instead? And telling Him how you feel and everything that you’re going through? I’m not saying you’ll be happy, but He wants to help you!

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:28

These are the words of Jesus. He died for you so that you can have a friendship with Him. He was nailed to a cross, suffered there, and died for you. He loves you. He understands pain. He understands what you’re going through. He’s seen you and I do horrible things, even though all He did was love us. He watched us turn our backs on Him and blame Him for things that He didn’t do. And yet He has not moved; He stands in front of you with arms wide open. I’m not asking you to go to church and try to get those happy go-lucky feelings that you may have seen. I’m just asking you to give Jesus a true, sincere chance.

There is a sarcastic video I want to show you. It’s comedic and funny, but just understand the message: It is stupid to believe that Jesus makes you happy all the time and that you will never, ever be sad.

Messy Mondays: IF YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY ALL THE TIME

www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdUkLWnkmEM

I promise you, you and I both struggle emotionally. Everyone does. Some people just hide it behind a fake smile. I’ll tell you this though: Jesus brings true joy to my life. Let me explain. There is fulfillment in accepting the love of God. There is comfort in trusting that He will always take care of you. There is hope in knowing that the suffering in this world won’t last forever. It sure doesn’t make the suffering in this world go away, but you know what? Jesus will change your life forever.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’m praying for you.

God bless and much love!

Samuel Assaf

If I am at the height of success, or in the depths of misery,
In my prime of health, or suffering with sickness,
Having many dear friends, or losing them all,
Abounding in riches, or barely eating in poverty,
And in all of the places between these extremes,

I will serve the Lord my God, and turn no other way.

"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." - Joshua 24:15

This is how I would put my opinion on God’s will:God’s will is so much holier, so much wiser. If you will submit to God in all of your ways and never give up, you will see Him use you to impact people’s lives and do exactly what He wanted you to do.This isn’t Heaven, this is war. We are supposed to be fighting like Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses, David, John, and every other Godly character in the Bible. We are not called to live lives that are greater than we can imagine. That’s what Heaven is for. We are called to go out and fight for the lost souls of this world: "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel." - Mark 16:15. We will suffer. We will be persecuted. You see, the will of God is not about you. It is about the Gospel. This quote is just pleasing to the self. It is calling you to honor God so that you can get what you want. You see, God’s plan for you might be to live as a poor, travelling preacher. He might want you to be a missionary where you will eventually be killed. He might want you to suffer great trials for the sake of Christ. But if you are passionate about God and about tearing souls from the jaws of Hell, then you will do whatever He asks you to do. Trust in the Lord with all your heart    and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,    and he will make your paths straight. - Proverbs 3:5-6

This is how I would put my opinion on God’s will:

God’s will is so much holier, so much wiser. If you will submit to God in all of your ways and never give up, you will see Him use you to impact people’s lives and do exactly what He wanted you to do.

This isn’t Heaven, this is war. We are supposed to be fighting like Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses, David, John, and every other Godly character in the Bible. We are not called to live lives that are greater than we can imagine. That’s what Heaven is for. We are called to go out and fight for the lost souls of this world: "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel." - Mark 16:15. We will suffer. We will be persecuted. 

You see, the will of God is not about you. It is about the Gospel. This quote is just pleasing to the self. It is calling you to honor God so that you can get what you want. You see, God’s plan for you might be to live as a poor, travelling preacher. He might want you to be a missionary where you will eventually be killed. He might want you to suffer great trials for the sake of Christ. But if you are passionate about God and about tearing souls from the jaws of Hell, then you will do whatever He asks you to do. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.Proverbs 3:5-6


(Source: godrite, via mountaintom)

Too many Christians are always preaching about how Jesus saves, but they never preach how Jesus saves us from Hell.

Let’s bring back the Gospel, the whole Gospel, and nothing but the Gospel.

"I’ll tell you what makes Jesus look beautiful. It’s when you smash your car, and your little girl goes flying through the windshield and lands dead on the street. And you say, through the deepest, possible pain, ‘God is enough. He is good. He will take care of us. He will satisfy us. He will get us through this… You are the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.’ That makes God look glorious."

— John Piper

"God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him in the midst of loss, not prosperity."

— John Piper

Three Scripture passages you MUST remember when suffering:


  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. - James 1:2-4


 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
 - Hebrews 12:7-11

 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.- Philippians 4:6-7 


Every single thing happens for a reason! Whether it is sickness, death, loss of a job or friend, or any other kind of suffering, We need to remember these Scripture verses! 

"As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more."

— Psalm 103:15-16

This world is full of the most disgusting, vile, and evil atrocities. But take heart, for Jesus Christ will come. With the sword of His mouth, He will slaughter the wicked. He will justify.