God gives us many wonderful promises in His Word, but we often don’t live by them. This leads us to think that God won’t answer our prayers, and we doubt His desire to work in our lives. We end up asking for things that are not in His will and have no foundation in Scripture. If we want answers to our prayers, we need to ask God for things that are rooted in His Word.
Dr. Stanley explains how God taught him to trust in His Word and shares the scriptural principles that will also allow us to do so. For example:
– God’s promises are stated clearly.
– God’s guidance comes with His promises.
– Times for personal meditation and worship strengthen our faith in God’s promises.
– Changing course from God’s pathway indicates we doubt God’s promises.
– God will renew His promises to us if we follow His will.
– Listening to ungodly or unwise counsel can cause us to ignore the promises of God and get out of His will.
– The fulfillment of God’s promise may seem impossible when we view it only from our eyes, and it may require an action on our part that seems to be in opposition to His promises.
– The fulfillment of God’s promises may require us to sacrifice something dear to us.
The foundation for our requests ought to be found in the promises of God. When we trust in His promises, our prayers will have strength, and we’ll find the answers we seek.
start your day off. Right with the free in touch devotional subscribe today. Oh, In touch with Dr. Charles Stanley celebrating 45 years of God’s faithfulness in sharing the gospel worldwide. Next on in touch the fulfillment of a promise. It’s one thing to know, a promise of the scripture. It’s something else to experience it. So when we talk about the promises of God, the Bible is full of them. And we talked about many people say there are 40,032,000 8000. As we said before, the important thing is not how many, but the fact that God has kept every promise he’s made and he’s never forgotten the single one. His promises come in two forms. They’re either conditional, which means he makes a promise condition upon something that must happen. It must not happen and he makes an unconditional promise, which means he promises something is going to happen and regardless of the circumstances it will happen and cannot change. He’s an awesome loving God who desires to give us promises by which we are to live. And if you think about it for a moment, many people wonder why God doesn’t answer their prayer. One of the primary reasons is the fact they asked for things are not the will of God. And secondly, they doubt and one of the primary reasons people doubt God answering their petition is because they don’t have any foundation for it that is they ask and it’s a matter of feeling and hoping and wishing, but no foundation. If you’re asking God to give you guidance in some area or if it’s something that you need in your life, you need listen to put a foundation to that so that you can get anchored in that you need to have a promise from God’s word and their many promises in God’s word. And there’s a promise for every single solitary thing that you and I need is here. So what I want to do in this message is this, I want to use one story one event in the old testament as a track to show you. How does God answer prayer? How does how does he deal with his promises? We said sometimes he has unconditional promises. They’re gonna be that way. Nothing’s gonna change it. So I want to take you along that track. Now. It’s not that you simply have never heard the events. What I want you to see is that I want you to see principal after principal in this scenario with abraham. So now let’s start with the very beginning. And I want you to turn to the 12th chapter of Genesis. We read this passage before, but I wanted to read this very clear promise that God gave to Abraham In these first few verses beginning in chapter 12 and verse one. Now the Lord said to Abram go forth from your country, from your relatives, from your father’s house to A land, which I will show you and I will make you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great. And so you shall be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you, I will curse. And you, he says, and you, all the families of the earth will be blessed. Here is a eight full unconditional promise by God to Abraham. Now, what I want you to see is I want you to watch what happens in this man’s life because a long period of time takes place before God fulfills all these promises. And one of the reasons we miss some of God’s best blessings in our life is because his time’s schedule doesn’t meet ours. And of course, we see here’s a perfect example of this passage of scripture That shows us between Chapter 12 and 22. What happens when people are not willing to wait for God’s promises when they take things in their own hands and what happens as a result? So let’s look at this and the first thing I want you to jot down and you know, this is simply this and that is that the promises of God has stated clearly, that is God would never say to you. Now, here’s what I’m thinking about, Oh, he wouldn’t say I want you to consider, oh, he wouldn’t say well, uh here’s what here’s what I’d like you to do. You figure it out. God’s promises are crystal clear there’s not a single hazy shady kind of uncertain promise in the word of God. So therefore he’s gonna make it very, very clear and there are many promises in the scripture and many of these promises apply to you and me just like they did to Abraham you say, well I haven’t been a christian very long. That’s got nothing to do with it. God doesn’t change his principles. Watch this carefully. He loves every single one of us unconditionally. That is he wants the best for every single one of us. His promises include every single aspect of our life because he has a purpose for your life. And sometimes people have the idea well, well who am I? And God doesn’t have any purpose in my life. Yes, he does. You’re not listening to him, He has a purpose and a plan for your life. He wants to accomplish something through you. So the first thing he does is he makes his promise very clear. But the second thing I want you to notice is this and that is with God’s listen, with his promises comes clear guidance. For example, if you’re seeking his mind and heart about something and God says, here’s what I want you to do. God is never gonna leave you to sort of figure it out for yourself. And in this sixth verse, the bible says that Abraham passed through the land as far as the site of sheikh um to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was in the land now, why is he saying this? Because he wanted him to follow a certain path. Now watch this carefully because this is what gets people in trouble. They don’t follow God’s direction. They start out following God’s direction then they figure I’ll take it from here. And so he said the canaanite was in the land. Remember the Canaanites, parasites, high bites sites, all the fights, they were all enemies of the people of God. And so he said to him here, he said I’m gonna be with you. So the important thing is that we recognize that God is going to guide us and whatever he tells us to do you think about all the decisions you have to make in life and think about decisions that pop up that you and I don’t even plan on things that we don’t even have any details about. But he says I will God that’s the promise that belongs to every single child of God that you can’t bring up any issue that he didn’t know all about it. You can’t bring up any question that he didn’t have an answer for and he’s not gonna say well maybe he’s not going to say well I’ll think about it. I forgot that God wants to be personally involved in every single area of your life because he knows you and I live in a world that’s wicked vile, corrupt you name it and satan is our enemy and therefore God wants to be involved in every aspect of our life, then there’s the third thing is important here and that’s this and that is, there should be many times in life when there’s a time of personal worship and meditation in our life seeking his guidance and direction and the more critical the decision. But the more time you and I should be spending and doing what just what we’re talking about here, meditating upon his word. What did he say? How does he operate? And that more than likely you and I will never come to a place in life where we think well I I’ve got that down and somebody is all that cocky about their understanding of everything. You better watch out because listen times change things change. God doesn’t change. But God listen, God may change our sense of direction, he may change what we’re doing and God may come to you tomorrow and say you know what, I don’t want you working here anymore. He said that couldn’t be of God because it’s so hard to get a job. If God said I want you to quit your job today, I have something else for you, you’d say well you know what, that’s not even reasonable, I’m not about. That couldn’t be God don’t underestimate God’s surprise interventions in your life because here’s one of the things God wants to do in every change of our life, what does he want to do, he does it in a way that only he can get credit for it. Number one and secondly, he wants us to learn to trust him. And in order to do that, you’ve got to stay in a right relationship with him. And so what we found in these passages here, beginning, for example, in the seventh verse. Now Abraham is already on the move. The Lord appeared to Abram and said to your descendants, I will give this land. So he built an altar there to the Lord who appeared to him. Then the scripture says in verse eight. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. So what do you find him doing? He moves in the direction God wants him to go. And then he takes the time. And when they built an altar it could have been all kind of altar, but usually for example a stone altar and that pile of stones represented. You just think about all the technology. We have their technology was real simple pile of stones here, a pile of stones there and pile of stones over here because he went back to the same pile of stones. The scripture will tell us in a moment he went back to the same palace stones because he wanted to be reminded of what God said to him. This is why I encourage you to keep a diary. This is why I encourage you to write down what God says to you because you listen, satan will steal it. He will take it right out of your mind. And I do believe that God oftentimes speaks to us the same requirement over and over and over again because he knows I think about how busy you are on any given day. He knows that our minds can be contaminated with all kinds of stuff. He wants us walking in the center of his will. Why? Because he wants the best for your life. And if there’s anything I can say to someone, God wants the best for your life, but you’ve got to cooperate with him, he’s gonna do his part. He’s gonna show you the way he’s gonna make a way he’s gonna provide the way he’s gonna do everything that a sovereign loving God can do to help you on your way in life. But if you violate that and you decide, you’re gonna do it yourself, you’re gonna get in trouble. It’s very, very simple. Very it’s very clear in the word of God, which leads me to this next point, that’s this that changing course from God’s pathway changing course from God’s guidance. What what does that do? Well, first of all indicates that we are doubting God’s promise. Now, Lord I know that I know this is what you said, but Lord, I must this can’t be true because this is totally unreasonable. So let’s see why did he think that? Well, if you look at this passage of scripture and look in this 10th verse, there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there for the famine was severe in the land. Here’s what you’ll find out. First time Egypt’s mentioned in the scriptures. Every time he headed to Egypt, he got in trouble. Think about what God told him all the specific things he told me. Then there’s a family. He said, I’d better head out somewhere else. Got him in trouble. Well, that’s not the only trouble he had. But that’s part of it because he stepped out of God’s plan out of God’s will. And this is why somebody says, well, I don’t know that. I know the will of God that much. That’s why meditation, Reading the word of God praying, reading your bible, focusing your life on God makes the difference. It’s just that simple that none of us are smart enough to do it on our own. And they let the word of God, which this is, this is how we get a direction in their life when you and I are looking for God’s direction and he knows we need when we need clarity and he needs, he knows what we need assurance. He knows who were afraid and he knows exactly what’s going on. Yeah. You’ve got to stay in the word of God. You think you can live without it. But you will get in trouble every single time, meditation upon the world. Listen, you know what this is. This is a divine, a divine compass that’s perfectly accurate and nothing can get it off of accuracy. And God has given it to us to guide us and the leaders in our christian life. And so when we try to fix things and do it our way, it just doesn’t work that way at all. Now then look what happens. And that is God will renew his promise because he wants us to follow her. He will renew his promise to us as we follow his will. In the 15th chapter, If you move on over there and he’s given some chapters because of things that are going on that are not necessarily did not apply this. So in the 15th chapter, verse one, after these things, the Word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying, do not fear Abram, I’m a shield to you. Your reward shall be very great. Abram said O Lord God, what will you give me? Since I’m childless And the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus is one of his servants. Abram said, since you have given no offspring to me, One born in my house is my heir. Then behold the word of the Lord came to him saying this man will not be your heir, but one who will come forth from your own body. He shall be your heir. And he took him outside and said, Now look toward the heavens, Count the stars. If you are able to count them. And he said to him, listen, so shall your descendants be Then He believed in the Lord and he recognized under him as righteousness. And he said to him, I am the Lord who brought you out of the earth localities to give you this land to possess it. Then of course he’s O Lord God. What about so and so what I want you to say is this in God’s awesome love for us wherever he leads us. And especially when the when the way gets difficult and hard and we can’t quite see our way. It’s in his wonderful grace that God will take the time and do whatever is necessary to reassure us that we are walking in his path. Though it may be difficult, may be hard. We’re walking in his path may be questionable. Others may think well why why are you doing that? He will. He reassured him. Here’s exactly what I want you to remember. Here’s what I’m doing. We’re gonna do it just exactly like I said it. And so the Lord kept blessing now which leads me to another issue here that is that sometimes listening to ungodly counsel or what may not necessarily be ungodly but unwise counsel can cause us to know the promises of God and get out of the will of God. And so the best example of that is in the 16th chapter. You know this story, what happens? Well, Sarah can’t have a child. And so uh some time goes by and so she says Abraham, here’s what I’d like to do is call him Abram in those days. Here’s what I like to do. Uh you get the maid and uh I’m gonna turn the made over to you and uh well I’ll have a child that way. Well this is a perfect example. You step out of God’s will, do it your way instead his way. You always have trouble. Did you hear the same men always have trouble. So now this good relationship that they see me in the head between Abraham’s wife and Hagar and himself. Now there’s immediate conflict in the family because the scripture says he went into Hagar and she conceived and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. Now here’s a man living with two women in the same household. They were all getting along fine until he listened to Sarah’s ill advice and did what she said instead of trusting God, he wasn’t trusting God God says God says, here’s what I’m gonna do it through the year, not through an Egyptian, but through you. And God made it crystal clear. And so listening to unwise counsel. We get you out of the will of God. And usually when that happens, other people suffer as a result. Then of course, sometimes the fulfillment of God’s promise may seem impossible when we view it from our eyes. And this is what in the 17th chapter. This is where we found the Lord speaking to Abraham and uh telling him what he’s going to do. I will bless her and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her. And she shall be a mother of nations. Kings of peoples will come from her. Now listen to this because it didn’t seem reasonable. Then Abraham fell on his face laughing and said in his heart, will a child be born to a man Who is 100 years old and will Sarah who is 90 years old, bear a child. And so you look at this passage and you you think, well, God, what what in the world with you up to in all this, it seemed impossible. Why why didn’t you just go ahead and let Sarah have a son? What’s what’s all this putting it off a quarter of a century. It didn’t make sense unless you know God. And when you see it from God’s perspective, then we see we say, oh, I see. So he laughed. When Sarah heard it, She laughed. They’re both laughing at God about God doing what he promised to do on his schedule in his timing and his way. But he followed them. He obeyed him as tough as it may have seemed to him at that particular time. So then that leads me into the next one that simply this that the fulfillment of God’s promise in life may require of us. Something that appears to be in opposition to what he’s promised. And he’s promised that through this child, Isaac, he is going to bless all of mankind. and then one day God says to him In the 22nd chapter came about after these things that God tested Abraham and said to him, Abraham, He said, Here I am. He said, take now your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac offer him there on mount Moriah as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will show you. And that didn’t make any sense at all. Because it looked like God was contradicting himself. He says, through this child, I’m going to bless the nations of the earth. And now you’re telling me to go kill him. I just put in a cold language, Kill him. That doesn’t make sense. That in the words that couldn’t be God, God would not never say that. Watch this. This is why we live by promise and we live by obedience. Not by feelings and not by reason because some things just will not seem to be reasonable. But what did he do? The scripture says very clearly. Abraham rose early the next morning and saddled his donkey and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son. He split wood for the burnt offering and rose and went to the place of which God had told him. Here’s a significant thing. On the 3rd day, Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Abraham said to his young man. Now watch this very significant verse in the bible. Abraham said to his young men. Stay here with the donkey and I and the lad will go over there and we will worship and return to you. What was Abraham saying God’s made me a promise and he’s taking me this far. He gave me a son. But I didn’t even think it was possible. He’s done all this. If God tells me to sacrifice my son, I’m gonna be obedient to him because I believe that God will have to raise him from the dead. But I’m gonna trust him to do. It wasn’t reasonable but he trusted him. Which leads me to the last point. That’s this. Sometimes the fulfillment of God’s promise may lead us to surrender something very dear to us of all the things that Abraham owned and he was a very, very wealthy man. The most important possession he had was Isaac his son. That’s why he called him. The one the only one he loved. Think about this Isaac was that link in the chain that kept the chain of the genealogy of jesus in perfect sequence. And so what did he do? He took him up to the mountain, he had him bound, laid him up on the altar and raised the dagger to take his life. It’s interesting you recall the scripture says on their way up there that Isaac said, well father, I see the wood and I see how we can build an altar and I see the fire. Where’s the lamb? Remember what Abraham said. God will provide the lamb. Watch this. Isaac was the most precious thing he owned. That was his son. But he was willing to lay him down for the purpose of obey God. So let me ask you a question. What is there in your life that you’re gripping you’re holding onto And somehow you just can’t surrender to God watch this carefully. Is it a relationship that you have that you can’t open your hands, sir? Is it something you possess that you can’t let out something you own. Is it some dream that you have some goal that you’ve said, some path that you have chosen to walk? But you know, I wouldn’t lay it down, let me simply say this. You will end up disappointed in pain in heartache and suffering because that’s the way disobedience leads every single time. But if you give it up and give it to him. Watch this carefully. You will never lose, you cannot lose giving yourself to Almighty God, there is son, jesus christ. You cannot lose. You cannot win holding to yourself what God intends for you to lay down. So where are you in your life? Have you ever trusted Jesus christ as your personal savior? Or have you just decided you’re gonna live your life the way you want to live it and somehow you’re gonna make it work. You can’t make it work, watch this, You cannot make work something that God will never allow to work and that’s disobedience as a believer. You and I may make decisions that are not right and God will forgive us and we’ll move on. But if you deny jesus christ, if you reject the Son of God, listen, Isaac was to Abraham, what what Jesus is to the father and the father gave jesus two down the cross so that you could be forgiven of your sins so that you could have a gift of eternal life. When you reject him, you reject God’s only avenue to a holy life and the life that’s eternal. So if you hold on to what is yours to your way of life and reject him? What do you have? You don’t have his guidance. You don’t have his presence. You don’t have anything. It’s a deception of the devil that somehow you’re gonna make it anyway. You cannot please listen to me. You cannot you will not, God will not allow it. The wisest thing you can do is to ask father to forgive you of your sins and tell him that you’re trusting jesus christ his sacrificed son at the cross who died to pay our sin debt in full. You’re trusting him as your personal savior. And from this point on it’s his life. Your life is his life. Whatever he wants to do, wisest decision you will ever make in your life and father, I pray, the Holy Spirit will sink these truths so deep, so strongly they cannot be forgotten, They cannot be ignored. They cannot be thwarted in any way. We love you for loving us. None of us would boast that we deserve it, but we know in our heart, we belong to you by creation. Mhm. And those of us who your Children, we belong to you also buy redemption and it’s our prayer that people everywhere would discover who you are and where’s your Children come to you? This moment to say Lord, whatever there is in our life that we’re holding onto that doesn’t fit your plan. God, we lay it down today in jesus name, Amen