Tag Archives: circumstance

06. Does God give words of knowledge? The Bible is full of them!

If it is a word from God, it will be based on God’s Word. Any promise God gives will generate peace, not turmoil. If you are struggling or fearful that it may not happen, re-evaluate.

Every promise in God’s Word is a word of knowledge.

God’s words of knowledge

People often ask me if I believe God gives personal promises or a word of knowledge to an individual. I believe he has given a Book full of personal promises to us. Every promise in his Word is a word of knowledge for me. But, yes, I do believe he makes those promises personal in a very real way sometimes. God does occasionally give a word of knowledge, but I think we need to be very careful with this.

I have worked with women, for example, whose husbands had left them. They clung to a “word of knowledge” that God had shown them that their marriage would be reunited. However they struggled continuously as they watched their estranged husband drift farther and farther away. They had no peace in their “word of knowledge.”

Greater than a word of knowledge

I have heard all the teaching of claiming certain things in prayer, being specific, having faith they will happen, etc. There are some things we can claim in prayer. God says he will never leave us and will be with us through every circumstance. We can claim that. God says where two or three of us gather in his name he is in our midst. We can claim that. But one thing is greater than a word of knowledge. That is faith that offers the following prayer:

Lord, I am not going to tell you how to answer this. You know I want my marriage restored. You know I want to be healed. You know I need a job. You know the things I need and want. I come to you with these needs. But I do not ask you to meet these needs in any specific way. I simply lay them at the foot of your cross and trust you to work according to your very best plan for me.

Your way is always best. The thing I fear most is being outside your will and your best plan for me. So I ask you to work, not as I would tell you, but according to the way you know is best.

I am relieved of the need to worry about this because I know the outcome will be far greater than I could ever imagine, though at present I cannot comprehend how it is possible that you could bring something better than saving my marriage, or healing, or financial help, or meeting other needs. I can’t see it but I know you, God, and I trust you for whatever answer you bring forth.

That is the prayer that is always answered exactly as it is prayed. That is the prayer that I have learned to pray and I have seen God truly give me more in every way than I could ever have if I dictated to God how to answer my prayer.

Getting our motives right

The prayer that tells God how to answer, no matter how noble our request, even saving our marriages, is (in my humble opinion) still a prayer with wrong motives. You see, we want our marriages saved for us ultimately. Our marriages fulfill a need that we have. Our motive should be serving God and living according to his plan. That is a higher motive even than saving our marriages. Definitely, God is interested saving our marriage. But his greatest concern is restoring the partners in that marriage. Here is what God says about asking with the wrong motive:

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).

This is heavy stuff, but Job learned this lesson. He said: “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance!” (Job 13:15-16).

God’s personal promise brings peace

God can and does sometimes reveal things to us, or give us a word of knowledge. But we must be very careful with assuming we have gotten a word from God if it is not based on a promise he has already given us in his Word. There is only one thing we can be absolutely sure of. That is the Word of God, the Book he has already given to us.

There have been times when I have just known that God was working in a certain way. I had peace and could feel his presence so real. It was not a doubtful, up and down experience, but rather a calm knowing. But even those times came because I have a practice of immersing myself in his Word. When those times have occurred, I have seen the thing I knew come to pass. But those times almost always stemmed, if not from a specific promise, from the knowledge of the principles of God’s Word.

But if your word of knowledge is not coupled with peace — if you are continually struggling to make it happen or fearful that it may not happen — then you need to re-evaluate. Any word from God will generate peace for you, not turmoil. It is easy to want something so badly that we believe that surely it must be his will for it to happen. We assume that since it is his will, it is a word from God. Yet God is not held in a box at the mercy of our own desires and ideas of what is in accordance with his will.

Delight in the Lord, not your desires

I speak from experience here. There have been times that I have trusted that something surely must be God’s will and it did not come to pass. I believe to the utmost in holding onto God’s promises of hope and peace and joy and abundance. I believe we can expect specific results in accordance with specific promises. But are we willing to trust God when it seems he is not accomplishing the things we just knew he would accomplish if we turned to him?

It is easy to follow him with the assurance that he will do thus-and-so. But when thus-and-so doesn’t happen over a period of time, we easily become discouraged. I find it much easier to follow him knowing that he is always at work to accomplish the very best with my present circumstances. I trust his judgment, not what I see as the best thing to do.

Some will say that is a cop-out, that it is easy to trust when you don’t have anything specific to trust in. But I have very specific things to trust in. For example I do not trust that God will force any individual to do what is right. But I do trust that God will give them every opportunity as I pray for the person and commit my heart to being what God says to be in the situation.

Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Lots of people have used this to say that we can have whatever we want if we “delight in the Lord.” They are not wrong. But the problem is they misinterpret what it means to delight in the Lord.

Delighting in the Lord means we delight in his will, not ours. We delight in him more than our husbands. Yes, we are to enjoy our husbands. But they are not to be our major fulfillment. God is. As long as we delight in God, we can lose everything else and still have the greatest desire of our heart, for our desire will be the treasures we receive from God – treasures of peace and joy and the knowledge that we have a God who can see us through anything.

Application

Should we give up hope for our marriage, then? No. God can do anything. Pray and trust God. Believe him. Base your life on the promises in God’s Word. We may fail our husbands and they may fail us, but God will never fail!

Financial problems? Faith and finances is next.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

05. Does faith ever doubt? Finding your mustard seed

Faith requires doubt in order to be faith. Apply the faith you have, and God will give you more. God doesn’t expect mountain-size faith. A mustard seed will do!

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV).

How can I believe what I cannot see?

“Sure” and “certain” in the above Scripture indicate lack of doubt. “Hope for” and “do not see” indicate doubt. How can these two opposites be compatible in the Biblical definition of “faith”? Can I believe and have unbelief at the same time? Can I be sure of something and hope for it at the same time. Can I be certain of something, having never seen it?

One of the most profound statements in God’s Word is, “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'” (Mark 9:24). We tend to think of faith as being 100% sure. But being 100% sure is having it in our hands. Faith requires doubt in order to be faith.

I don’t have faith that I have a computer. I know I do. I’m typing this on it right now. If I do not doubt that I have a computer, I cannot call my knowledge of my computer faith.

However, I do have faith that if the Lord doesn’t come back tonight I will be able to turn on my computer tomorrow. I don’t know with 100% knowledge that my computer will come on tomorrow. I’m 98% sure. But there is a margin of doubt, because I know things can happen to computers

Yet how many times have I told someone, “I’ll email that to you tomorrow”? I live as if my computer is going to come on tomorrow because I believe so strongly that it will.

I have good reason to believe my computer will come on tomorrow. It has come on every day for the past two years since I purchased it. The person I went through to purchase it said it should last me several years and that person is a trusted friend.

Applying this same example to God’s Word: I don’t have faith that I have a Bible. I know I do. I’m looking at it right now as I quote verses from it to you. However I do have faith that God will provide for me everything I need tomorrow. I don’t know with 100% knowledge that God will provide every need. I am 99.9% sure (A bit more sure of God’s provision than that my computer will come on!). But being human I cannot be totally 100% sure of something I have not yet seen. I have not seen tomorrow.

Yet how many times have I told someone, “God will take care of me tomorrow”? I live as if God is going to take care of me tomorrow because I believe so strongly that he will. I have good reason to believe he will take care of me. He has cared for me daily ever since I trusted him as Savior and Lord, and even before. He is the one who taught me I needed him before I ever knew him. His Word says he will never leave me nor forsake me and his Word has become a trusted friend.

Can opposites co-exist? They can if you have a mustard seed!

God does not expect his children to have 100% faith, or even 99.5% or 98% or 75%. He is not measuring how much faith we have.

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:19-20).

Jesus said they had little faith, but only needed as much as a mustard seed. Yet a mustard seed is tiny. What did Jesus mean?

Could it be that the disciples were looking at the impossibility of driving out the demon. It is impossible. Could you drive out a demon? They looked at the impossible and Jesus wanted them to look at the possible.

If they had just a tiny glimmer of hope inside them that they could drive out the demon in the power and authority of Jesus’ name that he had given them, and applied that glimmer of hope; if they trusted with all the little faith they had and surrendered to God, God would act on the little faith they had and drive out the demon.

Faith is not, yet faith is

  • Faith is not something we call up by positive self-talk.
  • Faith is not wishing for something badly enough we convince ourselves it will happen.
  • Faith is not saying with our intellect God will do something for us just because it is something we want him to do.
  • Faith is learned from God’s Word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)
  • Faith is knowing from God’s Word and from his working in our lives in the past that he has always been faithful to us and promises he always will be. It is placing our hopes in him that he will be true in the future to what we have experienced of him in the past, and what his Word promises will come to pass.
  • Faith is a process of growth. God does not expect us to be “there.” He only expects us to be on the way.

“Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

Application

Whatever amount of faith you have is enough. If you apply that faith, God will respond to it and he will give you more faith in the process. How do you apply faith? It is simple. You determine to keep your mind off of the problem and on the promises. You determine to keep your mind off of the past failures and off of the future worries, and on the present.

Is God sufficient for you just now? Are you fulfilling his will for you this minute? Does he have something to say to you in his Word this minute? Can you survive the present circumstances for just this moment? Can you trust God to be with you in the next moment as he is now? Great! That is faith.

Study questions

Read Mark 9:14-35 and Matthew 17:19-20 to answer these questions for extra study or discussion:

1) What were the teachers of the law were arguing about? (verse 14-16, 33).
2) Why do you think the father of the demon-possessed boy was so quick to answer?
3) Why did none of the teachers answer Jesus?
4) Why were the disciples unable to deliver the boy from the evil spirit?
5) What was Jesus’ attitude toward the disciples unbelief?
6) What do you think was Jesus’ attitude toward the father’s unbelief?
7) Was there a difference in Jesus’ attitude toward the unbelief in the disciples and the unbelief in the boy’s father?

Does God ever give a ‘word of knowledge’? That’s next.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

Wait in expectation, God’s answer is “Yes!”

God always says, “Yes,” but his “Yes” is more than we can comprehend. We see the moment, but God bids us wait in exptectation of his “Yes” that covers the whole of us.

“in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3).

God’s Answer is “Yes”

But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
–2 Corinthians 1:18-22

Jesus is “Yes.” He is not “No.” The confusion comes when we ask with wrong motives. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).

There can be wrong motive even in something so noble as wanting to put a marriage back together. Motives of personal fulfillment, companionship, or security can overshadow the motive of living for Christ in whatever circumstance we are in. Living by God’s principles is not a foolproof insurance policy for marriage. The ultimate goal is not even a wholesome marriage, but rather to be obedient to Christ. When we are obedient to Christ we can find peace no matter what happens.

Your home may be hurting. You may feel God has let you down. Set your heart to being the wife God has called you to be and leave the results with him. Jesus says, “Yes,” but his “Yes” encompasses a lot more than our minds can take in. We see only the moment, but his is an all encompassing, everlasting “Yes.”

“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). God has promised to give us what we ask of him in prayer. But God’s “Yes” is always in accordance with what is best for us. You may say, how can this be? In that case it may seem “No” to you.

An illustration I heard as a child has always stuck with me. A little boy had to climb a mountain to get to church each Sunday. It was a very difficult and somewhat dangerous trip. Yet he longed for the fellowship and teaching he found with God’s people and he faithfully made the trip each Sunday.

He learned that God says if you have enough faith you can ask him to remove a mountain and he will do it. In childlike faith he began to pray that the mountain be removed so he could easily attend the church.

A couple weeks later he came across some folks working on a building project at the foot of the mountain just before he would have to climb it to get to his church. He asked what they were building, and they said they were building a mission of the church across the mountain, so folks on this side could easily attend.

God did not remove the mountain. So I ask you, did he say “Yes” to the little boy’s prayer? Of course he did!

God’s “Yes” is not always in accordance with the exact thing we are asking. If we are not careful, we may not see his “Yes” when it comes. Begin to look for God’s “Yes!”

Wait in Expectation

Does God ever say, “Wait.”? How do we know when God says, “Wait.”? God always says “Wait.”

“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3).

Wait in expectation! Wait a few minutes or wait a few years. Wait on God to work it out in the best way possible. “Wait in expectation.” Two seemingly contradictory words. Yet God says it is the answer for us. Wait.

Wait is a peaceful word. It is not worrisome. It is not fretful. It is simply resting in God’s “Yes.” Expectation is not jumping at every flicker of light. It is calm assurance in God’s “Yes.” Yes, he will come through. His “Yes” will be what is good for you in every way. No where in the Bible will you find where his “Yes” promises to restore broken marriages. But you will find where he says, “My peace I leave with you.”

Are you at peace? His “Yes” is peace and hope and the two wonderful words, “wait” and “expectation,” two words that seem to contradict yet meet together in the calm assurance of resting in God’s promise of “Yes.”

Yes, God cares about your marriage! But he cares more about you. His “Yes” takes in all of you, not just your marriage. Jesus says to you: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1).

Wait in expectation for his “Yes.” God has given you rest.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted