Saturday, October 11, 2008

Does God Change His Mind?

We are told in the Bible to pray on all things. We are also told to be anxious for nothing, but to offer prayers and petitions to God. Well I have been asked before and even asked this question myself. If and when we pray, does that or will that change God's mind?

In the beginning, the first book of the Bible, Genesis, Abraham the forefather of the Israelites, is asking that the Lord not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He pleads as we will see in the verses below to save the cities if they have any righteous in them.

23Abraham came near and said, "Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
24"Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it?
25"Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?"
26So the LORD said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account."
27And Abraham replied, "Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes.
28"Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the whole city because of five?" And He said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there."
29He spoke to Him yet again and said, "Suppose forty are found there?" And He said, "I will not do it on account of the forty."
30Then he said, "Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?" And He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."
31And he said, "Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the twenty."
32Then he said, "Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the ten."
33As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the LORD departed, and Abraham returned to his place.

First of all, as we asked in our Wednesday prayer class when looking at the passage, why did Abraham stop at ten? Did he feel like he was pushing the Lord too much? Did he in pleading with the Lord get a revelation or sense as to what God was going to do anyway? He was pleading for Lot, that's why he didn't want the cities destroyed...Lot lived there. Well even though Abraham was a great bargainer, the Lord in the next chapter sends to angels to Sodom and Gomorrah to destroy them. Abraham's prayer was still heard though in that Lot and a handful of his family was brought out of the cities before they were destroyed. Unfortunately his wife disobeyed the Lord and looked back as they were leaving and turned into a pillar of salt. That's a subject for another time, but I do want to note, don't do anything God tells you not to do.

To stay on topic, Abraham asked God to not destroy Sodom and Gemorrah, even pleaded with him, but it was God's will to do it. So it had to be done. God did know of Abraham's wish to have Lot spared and God being merciful and gracious granted him that. God did answer Abraham's prayer just not in the way Abraham had wanted or asked. Remember that...God knows what's best in the end for us and that is how he will answer all our prayers. Not for our will, but for His.

7Then the LORD spoke to Moses, "Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.
8"They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!'"
9The LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people.
10"Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation."
Moses' Entreaty 11Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, "O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
12"Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth'? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people.
13"Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'"
14So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.

This is the story of the golden calf and the plea from Moses to God to spare the people from God's wrath. God had planned to pour out His wrath on them and make a great nation out of Moses. After Moses' plea, verse 14 says "so the Lord changed his mind about the harm which he said he would do to his people." (NASB) The King James version says God repented and other versions say God relented. What it boils down to is God did not destroy the Israelites like He was going to and make a great nation for Moses. So does God change His mind? In the end, God's will is always carried out. God may change the means to which the end comes about but it is always according to His will since He is sovereign. His mind may change, but His will does not. For His will to change would mean God is not perfect, which is absolutely not true. God is true perfection.

My prayer for all is that we bring our troubles and thanks and prayers to God no matter how big or small they may seem. That we may open our eyes to glimpse the way of which God's hand is working in all our prayers.That we see the beauty and glory of His perfect will.

With Love and prayers always.


Saturday, October 4, 2008


I wanted to do this blog on Jesus' teachings on love and compassion to all His creation, and all the analogies He uses referring us and Him many times as animals of one kind or another. Well that is still in the works so I'm gonna do this one on the storms that come along in our lives. We all face trials and temptations in life, and in times like that I find great comfort in the teachings Jesus gives us on the storms others have faced in His day and the way God uses it to show Himself and His power to us. I am pretty sure I have done a blog before on problems we face and go through in life. The Bible teaches that such times will come, for not even Jesus was spared trials and temptations. We will not be spared hard times, but instead we will be made and conformed into that of which God wants us to be through them.

James 1:2-4 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

Matthew 8:23-27 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Now this is a literal storm that the disciples went through here, and imagine the fear that must have gripped them, for they thought they were gonna die. Now I gotta ask, how is it Jesus was sleeping during a raging storm like this? Do you sometimes feel that God is sleeping when you are in the middle of a raging storm that is trying to consume your life? Do you feel like He is not hearing your cries and waking up to calm the storm like He did for the disciples here? Well, the storms will and are coming, and rest assured that Jesus knows that they are and He knows the best way to calm them.

I have no doubt that Jesus knew this storm was coming before He even got in the boat. He slept and was in the boat during the storm with them (as in life He is with us) and He wanted to show them what faith really was, and to in times of trouble cry out and call upon Him. Many times in the gospels things like this happened so that Jesus could teach the disciples (and us) to rely, depend, and trust in Him completely. This story shows a touching picture of Christs humanity that He fell asleep and was so weary that not even the violent rocking of the boat woke Him. This story also shows us of His power as the Son of God that He awoke and rebuked the sea and winds and they obeyed Him. In the storms and the good times of life, that's the type of Saviour I choose to serve and obey!

The next set of scriptures I am gonna comment on is the story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus found in John 11:1-44. (Bear with me for I know this is alot of scriptures.)
1Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
2It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.
3So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick."
4But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it."
5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
6So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.
7Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."
8The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?"
9Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.
10"But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."
11This He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep."
12The disciples then said to Him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover."
13Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep.
14So Jesus then said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead,
15and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him."
16Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, so that we may die with Him."
17So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.
18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off;
19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother.
20Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house.
21Martha then said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
22"Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You."
23Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
24Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."
25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,
26and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
27She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world."
28When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you."
29And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him.
30Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him.
31Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
32Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."
33When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled,
34and said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see."
35Jesus wept.
36So the Jews were saying, "See how He loved him!"
37But some of them said, "Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?"
38So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it.
39Jesus said, "Remove the stone." Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days."
40Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"
41So they removed the stone Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
42"I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me."
43When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth."
44The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."

This is the story of Lazarus. Lazarus was a close friend of Jesus as we see in verse 5. His sisters sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. When Jesus received this news He waited two days until He decided to go back to see him. Now He tells His disciples that they are going back to see Lazarus because he has fallen asleep (verse 11). The disciples are worried about the Jews in that area wanting to kill Jesus and say if he has fallen asleep he will awaken, and this is the part to really ponder, Jesus says "Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe." It goes on to show how distressed Mary and Martha were over the death of their brother and the power of Christ to come back and raise Him from the dead on the forth day of Lazarus' death.

Jesus knew the storm was coming and as we see He had the power to calm it. He said that Lazarus' sickness would not end in death. You say he did die? Yes he did but in the end he was alive and I bet more alive than he had ever been. Lazarus died and lived again to bring glory to God. Never forget that God is Huge! So huge that our biggest storms in life, including death, are nothing to Him. No one can begin to even ponder the greatness and awesomeness of God. The human mind literally does not have that capacity. So please, in the storms of your life call and lean on Him. He may not answer your prayers and requests how you make ask or like, but He is sovereign and does have your best interests in mind in all that He does. He let Lazarus die, and was glad, because it showed many who He was and the power He has.

My prayer for all is that we do indeed try to see things in the holy and awesome way that God does. That we see the beauty that lies just beyond the storms in our lives, and the power and glory in the hand whom calms the storms. With love and prayers always.