Presentation on theme: "Father in Heaven, we praise You for being the God You are, and we thank You for Your mercy and Your many blessings, spiritual and material. We pray Your."— Presentation transcript:
Father in Heaven, we praise You for being the God You are, and we thank You for Your mercy and Your many blessings, spiritual and material. We pray Your blessings on the sick and anyone who is struggling. Please forgive us of our sins and help us to be more forgiving of others. We ask for Your guidance, wisdom, and strength that we might not fall to temptation. Most of all Father we thank You for Your Son, in Whom we have our salvation, and in Whose name we pray. Amen.
God, why have You given me this life. Others prosper while I fail so miserably. God, must I remind You of Your nature, merciful and full of loving kindness? Why then, do those who call on Your name continue to suffer and hurt while those who oppose you thrive? Even trusting little children, whom You claim to hold so dear, often suffer the most. I try to do right, but am unable to follow through. You have made me this way, but I do not have the strength I need. How long must I wait to see Your promises become real in my life? Show me something so that I ’ ll know You really even care.
Heroes of Faith from Hebrews 11 – Gideon – Abraham – Moses – David – Jacob
Gideon and the Battle of the Midianites by Nicolas Poussin, classical French painter of the 1600’s
Judges 6: The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.” 13 Then Gideon said to him, “O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’…….
Judges 6:12-17 (Cont’d) ……But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” 15 He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel?......
Judges 6:12-17 (Cont’d) …..Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” 16 But the L ORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.” 17 So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speakest with me.”
Genesis 15:1-8 1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.” 2 Abram said, “O Lord God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” Engraving from the Bowyer Bible, 1795, Bolton Museum, England
Genesis 15:1-8 (Cont’d) 4 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.” 5 And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
Genesis 15:1-8 (Cont’d) 6 Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. 7 And He said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.” 8 He said, “O Lord God, how may I know that I will possess it?”
Genesis 18: The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18 since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? Abraham and the Three Angels, Italian painter Giovanni Andrea de Ferrari, 1660, Saint Louis Art Museum
Genesis 18: Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the Lord. 23 Abraham 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?
Genesis 18:22-25 (Cont’d) 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?”
Moses Viewing the Promised Land, by Frederic Edwin Church, American Landscape painter, 1846 Exodus 33: Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend……
Exodus 33:11-15 (Cont’d) 12 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ 13 Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight,…..
Exodus 33:11-15 (Cont’d) 13 …….let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.” 14 And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.”
Psalms 13:1-4 1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? By French engraver Gustave Doré from Doré's English Bible, 1866
Psalms 13:1-4 (Cont’d) 3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, 4 And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.
Genesis 28: Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21 and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God. 22 This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” Jacob’s Dream by Spanish Painter: Bartolome Esteban Murillo, 1660
Job and His Friends by Ilya Repin, 1869, The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
Job 10:1-3 1 “I loathe my own life; I will give full vent to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2 “I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me; Let me know why You contend with me. 3 ‘Is it right for You indeed to oppress, to reject the labor of Your hands, and to look favorably on the schemes of the wicked?
You might say……. Well, I’m not Abraham, Moses, David, Jacob, or Job. God was patient and wise, taking the long view, confident they would rise to the challenge. They were on a faith journey, and these conversations with God were early in that journey. It doesn’t necessarily follow that He was pleased with their responses.
I would also offer that… God knows full well that He is working with feet of clay. God may enjoy the challenge of partnering with man. It opens the door for Him to challenge us right back. He can do something with a faith that is strong enough to question or negotiate with Him. Honest conversation about doubt is an important, perhaps indispensible, first step toward greater faith.
Some prayer language we may not use often enough “Why, When, How, ……? “I know…..but…… “Surely God, You…… “If You will……then I promise I will…… “Consider…….. “Show me……. “Nevertheless, not my will but Thine………
Mark 9:20-24 (Also Matt 17 and Luke 9) 20 They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. “I believe, help my unbelief” Transfiguration, Italian Renaissance painter Raphael, 1520, Vatican Museum
Mark 9: ” ……..if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” 23 And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
Times of despair, frustration, or anger
“ God, I hated you after the rape! How could you let this happen to me? And I hated the people in this church who tried to comfort me. I didn’t want comfort, I wanted revenge. I wanted to hurt back. I thank you, God, that you didn’t give up on me, and neither did some of these people. You kept after me, and I come back to you now and ask that you heal the scars in my soul. ” One true-to-life example of a truly honest conversation with God……. from Prayer, Does it Make any Difference, by Phillip Yancey