Praying through a Crisis

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Whether you see it coming from far away or it just hits you out of nowhere, finding yourself face-to-face with a crisis is the kind of unwelcome experience nobody wants to be in. But in the midst of the financial, medical or mental chaos, Dr. Evans is here to remind you to ask yourself a very important question: “How can my crisis bring God glory?” In this lesson, be reminded of God’s power and ability to turn even the darkest of circumstances into that which will bring Him praise like you never could have imagined.

 

 

faith must always precede site. Once you put site in front of faith, you’ve negated faith, faith is based on what you do not see if you got to see it first, you won’t see it. Mhm. The euphemism of walking in the bible means to live according to because you’re moving with the mind of christ, you’re not just doing that on sunday morning when it’s church time because he wants to know that you want him. So if you’re in distress, don’t let that drive you away, draw you near closer so that you like Jacob and say, I’m not gonna let you go until you answer me when you get close and want to live for him. Want to please him. Want to honor him. Want to exalt him. Want to draw near to him. Then heaven opens up and he lets you find, he lets you find welcome to the fire. A crisis is when you are overwhelmed by negative events or situations or circumstances causing you to feel helpless or hopeless. It is where the events that are overwhelming, you are beating at your well being, whether it’s a health crisis, family crisis, monetary crisis, mental crisis, it’s beating you down and there isn’t a solution clearly in sight. But where do you go when your life is in a crisis? In other words, none of the places you look to to resolve it can help you. That’s our situation in the john 11. Now let’s set the stage, Lazarus is sick and we know from the story, he’s sick unto death because it would only be a few days later, he would die. So he’s not just sick. He’s seriously sick. And whatever medical help there was was insufficient to resolve the problem of his medical crisis. So what Martha and mary did the sisters of Lazarus is they went to Jesus, they sent word to Jesus, you and I would call that today. They prayed, they sent word to Jesus. Jesus. Our family member has a crisis. There’s a life and death crisis and we’re crying to you to resolve the crisis. Now, I want you to observe something. We’re told in verse three, Some of their Prayer requests the one whom you love is sick. We’re told in verse five. Now, Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So evidently spiritual people get sick. They had a love relationship. Jesus loved them and they loved Jesus. Yet he still got sick. So don’t ever let anybody tell you just because you have trouble means God is far away or you’re not in fellowship with God there in fellowship with God, but he got sick. So they prayed, they sent word to jesus, The one whom you love, it’s sick and it’s serious, Jesus sends back word This sickness verse four is not to end in death, but for the glory of God. So that the Son of God may be glorified, that’s pregnant with theology, He says, First of all, I’ve got good news for you, bad as it is. This sickness is not unto death. But God wants to get something out of it. So let me give you and me and us theology and whatever the sicknesses, you’re facing the scenario of the crisis that you will face, God will allow things in our lives that are not preferential to us, but are glorifying to him. This sickness is not unto death, but it is for the glory of God. So one of the questions you must ask and answer in prayer when you’re in, When I’m in, when we’re in a crisis is you must answer the question, God what glory do you want from my crisis, But I got a problem. My problem is verse six when he heard he was sick, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Come on, jesus, I just told you my brother is sick and you even know it’s not unto death because you told me he’s not gonna die and you’re not gonna hurry up. Has God ever delayed on you? Were you in a crisis? You need him right now and he’s hanging back For two more days. He’s not moving like you needed to move. Want him to move. Feeling he should move. Cry for him to move. He’s not moving. He stays two days, but it gets worse Where Jesus was and where Martha and Mary were two miles apart. So not only does he delay he delays any clothes. Now, I can understand if you cross town and he sent you the son of God, I probably won’t even understand that. But but at least in your humanity, if you’re on the other side of town, you gotta take a donkey, I got you. It’s gonna take a minute to get. But you’re down the street, jesus If you don’t want to walk and get a ride, but you can you can you can get a horse or donkey carriage or get your 12 disciples to carry you. You two miles away you close and you don’t come And you delay two days after I prayed because they’ve already talked to jesus, they’ve already put up their prayer requests. The story gets more interesting. After two days, jesus tells his disciples. Let’s go to judea, let’s let’s go guys. Then he says something else. A new term for Christians verse 11 he said to him our friend because remember Lazarus is close to jesus, our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep but I go so that I may awake him out of his sleep. Verse 13. Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but he doesn’t say he died. He said he’s sleeping. This is a different terminology, this is new, the word sleep is only used of christians in the bible, it’s not used as general public, only used of christians. So christians sleep, whether God brings you back in this life or it takes you to the next life. You’re only transferring consciousness, you’re not losing existence and you’re transferring that consciousness in the will of God. This new terminology, but here’s what messes me up. Can I tell you what messes me up? One thing messed me up two days. Come on, Jesus, hurry up. Second thing messed me up is two miles your clothes. But the next thing that messes me up in verse 15 is, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there. Come on, now, how are you gonna be happy about it? There are two sisters, Martha and mary and both sisters have the same question, but they approach the question differently, Martha raises the question in verse 21 Martha said to jesus, Lord, If you had been here, my brother would not have died, Verse 32. Therefore, when Mary came, where Jesus was, she saw him, she fell at his feet saying, Lord, if you would have been here, my brother would not have died. Those are the exact same words both sisters, which means they have discussed, Jesus, wait a minute. Let me make sure I’m being relevant, anybody here ever been felt. God has let you down. Got it. Where were you? God? Don’t you care. How could you be this close Stay two days longer and be glad. It doesn’t make sense. She lets her emotions appropriately respectfully, but clearly be enunciated in her prayer because she’s talking to jesus, just like you and I she hasn’t physically, we have him spiritually, but it’s a conversation with jesus in the midst of a crisis but she does something else and I don’t want you to miss this. Remember I’m trying to walk you through this passage theologically because after she expresses her disappointment She goes on to say in verse 22. Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, god will give to you whoa, I don’t want you to miss this, Jesus verse 21 I’m hurting because I needed you and you didn’t come. But however in spite of my pain, I know my beliefs and if you call on the father now, as bad as this situation is, he will still honor your request. So she marries watch this, she marries her emotions with her theology, Jesus says to her, your brother will rise again, she says to jesus. Yeah, yeah, I know I learned theology went to eschatology class on the last day he gonna rise, I know I know about that, then Jesus hits her with another theology. Can I talk some theology here because I want to ground you, I want to root you. He says I am the resurrection and the life he who believes in me will live even if he dies doctrine is critical, but doctrine is always to lead to a person. If all you get is doctrine, you may be heavy in the head with information but light on the experience, You may know about the resurrection but never experienced one because he says the resurrection, that’s doctrinal is tied to a person. So here at this point, the written word must always lead you to the living word. You need the doctrine to know what to believe. You need the person to make it experiential in your belief. I am the resurrection. He says at the end of verse 26 do you believe this? This is gonna be critical, this is gonna be, this will change your life. Do you believe this? She says, yes, I believe you are the christ, the son of God who comes into the world. Now it’s mary’s turn mary not coming to jesus, she’s too disappointed. And let’s tell the truth. Sometimes you’re so disappointed with jesus, you don’t want to talk to it. If anybody raise your hand and tell you don’t wanna play no more. Okay, because he’s not moving. He came too late, should have been here yesterday, okay, that kind of thing. So she wants, so Jesus calls her, he says mary, come on, come on, come talk to me now, he bids us come, she gets up quickly because he invited her And then she tells him verse 32. If you would have been here, my brother would not have died Now in verse 33, everybody’s crying, we’ve got a weeping time because when you’re in pain you’re going to cry if it hurts bad enough. So now jesus raises the question where have you laid him? Where is he buried? So they come to take jesus the way he was buried and he stirred up verse 38 says he’s deeply moved within. He’s moved at the sin and the pain that the world offers that creates sickness in the first place without sin. There would be no sickness without not not personal sin necessarily, but atmospheric. Since the germs the viruses, the bacterias that infiltrate our body, the toxins all of that is the environmental repercussions of sin. And he was stirred up at what what the crisis that they were in and the reasons for it. And so he says, stay with me here, verse 39 Jesus looks at Martha and says, Martha, move the stone. Martha’s response, Martha said to him, Lord, By this time there will be a stench for he has been dead. four days. Remember that delay. By this time he stinks, Jesus said, move the stone. She says, let me give you a lesson in mortuary science. He’d been dead four days, rigor mortis has set in, which means the cells have collapsed. When rigor mortis sets in and the cells collapse, it releases a green substance when this green substance is released because rigor mortis had set in because the cells has collapsed. That produces a stench because of the decay. He says to her did not I say to you? He said, remove the stone and what, what did he tell her? He said did not I say to you, if you believe you would see the glory of God. In other words here it is. Faith must always precede site. Once you put site in front of faith because you were from Missouri. Once you put site in front of faith, you’ve negated faith. Faith is based on what you do not see. If you got to see it first, you won’t see it. No. And how would she demonstrate faith? Not by a feeling, but by removing the stones because faith is not a feeling, it’s an action as you’ve heard me say many times, faith is acting like God is telling the truth, it is acting like it is. So even when it’s not so in order that it might be so simply because God said so, so you move in faith. Even when you don’t feel it, sometimes you’re gonna feel faith fish. Got faith all over you, you just feel it. Sometimes you won’t ever feel faith fish, but you can know you’re operating in faith because you’re moving the stone. So some of us have situations that have not changed because we still haven’t conversations and have not touched the stone. The thing that God told us to do that we refuse to do, which keeps the stone there, which means there’s no faith, no matter how much church you have then jesus raised his eyes and said, father, I thank you that you have heard me. Oh that’s theology there. You’re praying through a crisis, you’re talking to God. But here’s what you want. You want, jesus talking to God for you see, you got to talk to him first, but what you want is Jesus to ditto the request then, not until there was an act of faith, Jesus says to his father, I thank you that you have heard me, He didn’t say, I thank you that you hear me, I thank you. That you heard me. Which means we’ve already discussed this crisis that Lazarus is in When they prayed the first time at the beginning of Chapter 11, you and my father had a conversation, oh Martha and mary, they have a sick brother, they want us to do something, Daddy Martha and mary just came to me and they had a conversation, they want to do something about their brother Lazarus. So, so let’s talk about how we’re gonna handle this. Well son, you know what, we can actually use this crisis as an opportunity for me to have greater glory. So some uh son. So here’s what we’re gonna do as soon as they demonstrate faith and we’re gonna we’re gonna we’re gonna let this thing roll out because they have did did you know when you first talked to God a year ago about that problem. He and the Sun have already discussed that they’ve already discussed that. But the Sun is not praying for the implementation until faith has been demonstrated, until faith has been demonstrated. So now jesus praise, I think you’ve heard me, I know that you always hear me, but because of the people standing around, I said it so that they might believe that you sent me. Ah now we got a clue, Jesus hold off on answering the prayer because he wants to use the crisis to bring a lot of people to salvation. Oh, so now there is a spiritual reason for a crisis delay in spite of a prayer being prayed because there’s a bigger kingdom purpose at work than just the healing of Lazarus. If you’re in a crisis and God is not moved and you’re operating by faith, all that means is the delay is tied to a bigger point that God wants to accomplish for his glory, the the amplification of the name of his son and the advancement of his kingdom. So you keep praying to a crisis if you’ve not heard no and you keep praying so so jesus prays, it’s called intersession Hebrews 7 24 and 25 where Jesus intercedes as our counselor, he goes before us and he delivers us out of a stinky situation Because guess what he says, verse 43, Lazarus come forth. So Lazarus walks out of the two kinda kind of, here’s my final point as he’s exiting the tomb, the man who had died came forth bound hand and foot with wrappings his face was wrapped around with a cloth, jesus said to them unbind him and let him go, hmm. We met Lazarus has life. But what he doesn’t have is freedom because he’s bound, his hands were bound, his feet was bound. He’s wrapped like a mummy. You wrap a mummy, he’s wrapped from head all the way to the toe so he has life, but no liberty. Everybody here who’s a christian, that means you have life, but not everybody who is a christian has liberty. You may be bound by an addiction, bound by an emotional struggle, bound by a health situation. Something maybe holding you hostage even though you have life. Now watch this, jesus gave him life. But jesus did not directly give him liberty, he said, he told them two unloosed him and let him go. Let me explain something. God jesus christ wants to give every sinful person eternal life. He offers life through his blood, but he sets folk free through his people. He still does it. But he does it through his people. That’s why God wants every christian to be an active part of a local church so that you can be unwrapped if you’re trapped or so you can unwrap somebody else if you have been unwrapped yourself. God never meant for you to come once a week to hear somebody preach the bible alone. He wants you part of a family. So you can be in the unwrapping untying and deliverance business so that you can be helping somebody else as somebody helps you. That’s what the church is supposed to be. It’s not a weekly event. It is a family relationship where folks are being loose and set free. I know there are many crisis here, but I want you to pray through it even if it’s gotten worse and not better because I want to let you know right now that God can turn things around for his own purpose. Mm hmm. Oh, I’m sure that you would agree with me with the statement. Life hurts many times circumstances in our lives. Bring tears to our eyes. Hurt to our hearts, sadness to our emotions. In fact, sometimes you feel like God has missed it and he’s made a mistake by allowing the travail, the trials, the circumstances and the pain that life brings our way. But when life has thrown a curve ball at you, that’s not the time to run from the Lord. That’s the time to run to. That’s the time to ask him the questions without questioning him, but ask him Lord, why, why are you allowing me to hurt like this this long? This bad And the good news is that jesus our great high priest knows how to cry with us. He knows how to shed tears because he’s felt the weaknesses he’s felt the loneliness is he’s felt the hurt, the pain, the rejection and the crucifixion. That life brings our way. But he also knows how to join us in prayer to the father. He is an intercessor when we talked to the father, he joins us. He’s partners with us to intercede alongside of us to ask for help from heaven to the hurts of earth. I want you to know you don’t hurt alone. You have a savior who loves you, Who cares for you, Who cries with you, who walks with you and praise with you. When you remember that as tears roll down your eyes because life hurts. You. Just remember you’re never hurting alone. Go to God in prayer with your pain with your honesty. Just no, you’re not going to you when you’re in the spirit. But the bible calls the spirit a win a wind that blows my opinion. Nobody’s opinion. When it conflicts with God is to be considered as truth. The bible says, let God be true. And every man alive, mother nature doesn’t work without daddy. God. That’s because truth. They are the just because if it comes from God, it’s true because God has absolute standard by which reality is measured. Mhm, mm hmm. I’m standing here in Alaska, one of the most glorious places in God’s great creation. And I want to invite you to join me in our urban alternative family for the Alaskan cruise. We’re going to have a magnificent time in God’s word. And in God’s creation. We’re going to enjoy great fellowship. Great fun, great food. And I’m looking forward to meeting and greeting you on r t u a Alaskan Cruise Register to be there. Can’t wait to be with you.

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Tony Evans Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and...

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