Does It Ever Stop Spinning?

Does It Ever Stop Spinning?

Life moves at a dizzy pace, doesn’t it? From the moment you wake up in the morning, to when you
finally lay your head down at night, life moves at an incredibly fast pace.
You get up in the morning and attack the day. Did everyone get breakfast? There are lunches to be
made (for those who brown bag it), the dog has to be fed and let out, and then you have to get the kids
off to school. After the kids are gone, you have to get to work (unless you’re working from home). Once
at work, it’s an endless circle of reports, meetings, and more reports. After a long day, you make it
home. Exhausted, you search for your second wind. There is dinner to help prepare, see that the kid’s
homework gets done, dishes to do, a load of laundry to run, and kids to get to bed. Finally, you get to sit
down and relax. You now have a whole fifteen minutes to yourself before it’s your bedtime. You look at
the clock. How did it get so late! You get into bed and turn off the lights. Just think. You get to wake
up and do the same thing all over again in the morning!
Does life ever slow down? Do the wheels ever stop spinning? Or, is life as you know it the way it’s
always going to be?
I asked some recent retirees how they were enjoying their new life. No jobs. No demands. No
deadlines. The retirement years must be days of well-earned leisure. Apparently not. Every single
retiree that I’ve spoken to tells me they are busier now than they’ve ever been! They remain on the go!
I ask again, does life ever slow down?
The last time I checked, there are still only twenty-four hours in a day. It’s been that way forever.
Maybe we feel so rushed because we’re trying to make the most of every available hour.
As busy as we are, have you ever noticed: we always manage to find time for the things we like to do. If
you’re a golfer, you find time for that. If your kids play sports, you make time for that. If you have a
cottage, you try to use it as much as possible. If you enjoy hunting or fishing, somehow, someway, you
find time to sneak that in. Amazing, isn’t it?
Have you managed to make time for God? He knows how busy you are. He’s not asking for much. Just
a few minutes during the day for a devotion or prayer. Just an hour on a Wednesday night or Sunday
morning. See if you won’t find that when you make time for Him, life really does slow down for just a
bit. The outside world stays away. You can relax, refresh, and rejoice.
As you continue to battle with hectic schedules, work demands, and figuring out how you’re going to get
the dog to the vet this week, make some time for God. See if life, in fact, doesn’t slow down just a bit.
Lord, thank you for my busy life. It means I have people in my life who need me. In turn, may I always
remember just how much I need you. I look forward to our quiet moments throughout the week, and
our special time together in your House. Amen.


Are You the One?

Matthew 11:2-11
Ted was getting nervous. He was given strict orders to pick up the client at the airport and get him to the meeting downtown by 3:00pm. No excuses.
He checked his watch for the umpteenth time. It was 2:35 pm. Even if he left right now, he wasn’t going to make it back to the office by 3:00 pm.
As the doors opened, passengers came off the plane. Ted held up his sign. He hoped this would work because he had no idea what the client looked like. All he had was a name: Mr. Thomas Smith. As Ted scanned the many faces rushing past him, one man stopped in front of him and put down his bag. Their eyes met. Nervously Ted asked, “Are you Mr. Thomas Smith?” “Yes, I am” the man answered. Ted breathed a sigh of relief. “I was sent to pick you up, sir. Right this way, I have a car waiting.”
I can empathize with Ted. It would be incredibly nerve-racking to wait for someone and have no idea who they are or what they look like. I’m sure John the Baptist would agree. He had been sent by God to prepare people for the coming Christ. He predicted dire consequences for those who were not. And then came Jesus. He was the One! But then, John began to doubt. Jesus wasn’t doing what he expected him to do. He wasn’t bringing great condemnation. He was healing the sick and preaching the gospel. So, John sent two of his own disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one?”
Have you ever wanted to ask Jesus that same question? All your life you have known Jesus to be the Savior of the world. But in a moment of pure honesty, there have been times when you’ve had your doubts. Maybe your life hasn’t gone exactly the way you wanted it to. Maybe your prayers have gone unanswered. As a result, you’ve harbored questions and maybe even a little bit of doubt. You want to ask Jesus, “Are you the one?”
Jesus answered John’s question by pointing him back to the pages of Scripture. He quoted from Isaiah 35:5,6. Jesus was doing exactly what the Scriptures said he would do. He gave sight to the blind, caused the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear. Jesus’ answer was YES. He is the One.
When you find yourself with questions or doubts as to whether Jesus knows who you are or what’s going on in your life, do what John the Baptist did. Go to Jesus and ask. And then, turn to the pages of Scripture to find his answers. Yes. He knows who you are and what you’re going through. He’s promised to hear your prayers. He’s promised to never leave you or forsake you. He’s promised you a home in heaven. Once you know that, doubts and fear begin to fade away. By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, there is no more doubt. Jesus is the One.


When God Gives a Blank Check

Grace, mercy and peace be yours from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

1 Kings 3:5-12

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart.  You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

 “Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David.  But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.  Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.  So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.  For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked.  I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.” 

Dear friends in Christ,

I hope everyone got one of these – a blank check. If you didn’t get one, don’t worry, you can pick one up when you leave.  If we should run out, don’t worry, I know where I can get a lot more. Kind of amazing, isn’t it?  It is a personal check from God himself.  All you have to do is fill in your name and write out your request.  I encourage you to do so.

Have you got an idea of what you’d like to ask for? Will it be money?  If so, how much do you want?  Will it be $1,000,000 or $10,000,000, or $100,000,000 or more? Imagine what you could buy with money like that! 

  • New House                               New Car
  • Cottage                                      Retire early
  • Upgrade your fishing boat    Winter somewhere warm

You could buy almost anything – whatever your heart desires.

Then again, maybe what your heart desires has nothing to do with money.  All the money in the world doesn’t mean anything without your health.  Maybe that’s what you want.  You want to be healthy.  Or maybe what you want more than anything is for your marriage to be in a better place, or your relationship with your children to be better than what it is.  Maybe what you’d really like to ask God is to bring your spouse back to you.  They’ve been gone for some time now and life just isn’t the same.  You’re lonely.

Well, here you go.  God is giving you a blank check.  You can ask him for anything.  Just one little piece of advice before you fill yours out and send it in, and here it is:

When God Gives a Blank Check

  1. Look back, within, and around
  2. Pray God gives you what you need

As we continue with our sermon series entitled: Prayer is Powerful, the prayer we focus on is one made by Solomon.  It is an amazing prayer.  It’s amazing, especially when you consider that God had just offered him a blank check.

Solomon had just inherited the throne from his father David.  Shortly after this, God appeared to Solomon in a dream and told him, Ask for whatever you want me to give you(1 Kings 3:5).

Think about that for just a second.  Solomon could ask for anything!  Imagine the possibilities!  Also imagine how Solomon could have gone off the rails.  A blank check?  He could ask for anything?  He could ask God to make him the richest person who ever lived.  He could ask that all his enemies be defeated.  He could ask for a long and successful life.  He could ask for anything!

Showing maturity beyond his years, Solomon gave the Lord’s offer great thought.  He began by looking back – back at his own life and family.  He prayed, You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart.  You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day(1 Kings 3:6).

Solomon acknowledged that it was God who had put his father David on the throne, and who allowed him to hold that seat now. God had established him as king – that was the role he was to fill.

Then Solomon looked within.  He took a look at himself.  He was twenty years old.  What did he know about being a king?  He prayed, Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in placed of my father David.  But I am only a child and do not know how to carry out my duties(1 Kings 3:7).

And finally, Solomon looked around.  He was expected to lead God’s people, which at this point in history, had become a great nation.  He was going to have to decide important court cases.  He would have to implement foreign and domestic policies.  His subjects would expect him to protect them and take care of them.  That’s a lot of responsibility!  The more he thought about it, the more he questioned himself. What if he let the people down? What if he failed to meet everyone’s expectations?  What if he failed to meet God’s expectations?

In a word, Solomon felt inadequate for the task at hand.  He was in over his head and he knew it.  So, he took the blank check he was given and began to spell out what he wanted more than anything.

I now encourage you to do what Solomon did. Before you begin to write out your blank check and send it in, look back at your own life, then take a good look within – at yourself, and then, finally, take a good look around.

Who created you?  Who provides for you?  Who is the One who has blessed you in so many ways?  You know who that is:  God. He brought you into this world and then made you his own at your baptism.  Your sins were washed away, you became a child of God and an heir of eternal life.  You’ve been led to know who Jesus is and what he’s done for you.  You know for a fact that one day heaven is going to be your home. You know it.  You believe it.  It is the truth.

You also know that it is God who has placed you here on this earth at this time, and at this location. This is where God wants you to be.  And he’s given you a role to play.  He made Solomon king.  He’s made you to be something else.  What is it? A husband or wife?  A parent or child?  An employer or employee?  A friend? Think about the role he has placed you in. 

And then, look around.  Being a husband or wife, a parent or child, an employer or employee, even a friend – such roles carry huge responsibilities.  Whether you like it or not, others depend on you. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, that’s when the feelings of inadequacy come in.  We don’t have all the answers.  We don’t do everything perfectly.  Yes, there are times when we are completely in over our heads.

If you are a parent, do you remember the first time you held your child?  There was such joy!  You were so happy!  But honestly, there was also a little fear, wasn’t there?  Thoughts began to fill your head, “I’m now responsible for this child. This child is dependent on me. What do I know about raising a child?”

Maybe your role is that of a spouse.  It is a role that requires unconditional love. Selfless love.  It is a role where you are to put the wants and needs of the other ahead of your own.  Unfortunately, you’re not perfect.  You make mistakes…again and again, leaving you feeling inadequate.

The same could be said of any role you find yourself in.  Look around. That role follows you wherever you go: at home, at work or school, at church, when you’re at play.  Everywhere.

Solomon looked back, within and around.  He didn’t ask for great wealth or the death of his enemies.  He prayed, “Lord, give me what you know I need.”  His exact words were, Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.  For who is able to govern this great people of yours(1 Kings 3:9).

God gave Solomon a blank check.  He told him he could ask for anything.  Instead of money, fame and fortune, Solomon asked for wisdom to lead God’s people.  We’re told that God was pleased with Solomon’s request.  He made Solomon the wisest man who has ever lived.  And then, because he had made a God-pleasing choice by asking for wisdom instead of money, fame and fortune, God gave him those blessings as well.

Now it’s your turn.  You have the blank check.  God says that you can ask him for anything – that is the power of prayer. So, go ahead.  Fill out your check.  Ask for anything you want.  However, I encourage you to follow the example of Solomon and first look back, within and around, and then pray that God gives you what you need.

Now in case you’re planning on filling out your check and placing it in the offering plate, let me explain how this works. Keep the check.  Take it home and put it on the refrigerator, if you want. The check is God’s reminder to you. You can ask him for anything. Just don’t expect a package to arrive at your front door.  Don’t go looking for something in the mail.  And whatever you do, don’t think that God is going to send a bolt of lightning and wahla!  Everything you ever wanted is going to appear before you.

So, how do we get what we want?  Go to God in prayer.  Prayer is powerful.  God is just waiting to hear from you.  He wants to hear your voice.  He wants you to share your life, your struggles, your hopes and dreams.  You can ask him for anything!  God has given you a blank check.  And he is just waiting to hand out his blessings!  You just have to ask!

I know, you might be thinking, really? I’ve asked God for things in the past and didn’t get them.  I asked him for money.  Didn’t get it.  I asked to find love.  Still hasn’t happened.  I asked him to heal my spouse.  Didn’t work. He/she died.  I’ve asked God for a lot of things through the years and never got them, so forgive me if I’m a little hesitant to try it again.

Believe me.  I understand your frustration.  There have been times when I’ve felt like that too.  I’ve asked for things I’ve wanted – or wanted for others.  Sometimes God answered those prayers, other times he did not, at least not the way I wanted.  So, back into Scripture we go to find our answers.

John wrote, This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him(1 John 5:14,15).

The key to prayer is remembering to ask according to his will, not ours, his.  Jesus taught us that, didn’t he, in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he prayed to his father, Not my will, but yours be done(Luke 22:42)?

Our reason for praying is not to impose our will on how God is running the world.  Who knows better than he does what his children need?  Instead try what Solomon did.  Pray that God gives you what he knows you need.

He’s placed you here on this earth at this time. He’s given you a role: husband/wife, parent/child, employer/employee, or friend.  Pray that God gives you what you need to be a better husband or wife, parent or child. Pray that he keeps you and those you love close to him.  And when you get tired of praying, pray some more.

This is God’s will.  These are the blessings he can’t wait to give.  He wants you to know that he loves you.  He wants you to know he sent his Son for you.  He wants you to know that he will continue to provide for you until he either comes again or calls you home.  Now that you know that, fill out the blank check he’s given you.  Put your name in there, and where it asks for your request, write it out:  Lord, give me what you know I need.

Will he?  Yes. Every single time.  Just don’t be afraid to ask.  Amen.