Thoughts From Genesis 4:3-5

“When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD. [4] Abel also brought a gift-the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift, [5] but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.”
Genesis 4:3-5

Most of us know the story of Cain and Abel. Shortly after this, Cain says to his brother, “Let’s go out to the field.” When they get there, Cain attacks and kills Abel. When God asks Cain where Abel is, Cain lies and says he does not know.

Sin can have a snowball effect if we let it. And Cain’s devastating snowball began with emotions……anger and jealousy. On their own, anger and jealousy are only emotions, but emotions can lead us to sinful actions if we let them. And then sin can lead to more sin, which leads to more anger and hurt.

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Thoughts From Psalm 40:13

“Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me!”
Psalm 40:13

God loves to answer the prayers of His people. Many times in the Bible, He tells us to pray to Him, to ask Him for things and to call out to Him. He even tells us that there are some things that we do not have simply because we have not asked Him for them.

Folks, God wants us to pray to Him because He enjoys helping us. He cares for us deeply and knows that our lives are full of hard things. We get sad or hurt or sick or just plain confused about what to do next. Praying for help is good for us because it causes us to slow down and pay attention to God.

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Thoughts From 2 Chronicles 7:14

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT

In this verse from 2 Chronicles, God offers Israel forgiveness and healing. But first, He asks for four things from the Israelites: that they be humble, that they pray, that they seek Him and that they turn from their wicked ways.

Notice that the first step is humility. Folks, before we can accomplish anything for God, we must be humble. We must recognize that we are servants of God and that we are put on this earth to glorify God, not ourselves.

The second step is to pray. God hears the prayers of the humble. When we are humble, we pray the way we were designed to pray. When we are humble, we approach God as if He really is the God of all creation. We ask God to meet our needs so that He may be glorified. We pray to God that His will may be done. And folks these are requests that He happily grants.

Thoughts From James 4:3

“And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong-you want only what will give you pleasure.”
James 4:3 NLT

Sometimes God does not give us what we ask for. According to this verse this may happen because we are not asking for the right reasons. Have you ever stopped to think about why you want what you want? God is interested in the “whys” behind our requests.

When our motives are purely selfish, meaning that we only want something for our own pleasure, God may not give us what we want. He wants us to be concerned with things bigger than our own desires, such as how what we are asking for might affect other people, or whether it is something that will help us love God more, or if it might come between God and ourselves.

Folks, the next time you ask God for something think about why you want it. And if necessary, ask God to change your motives so that they honor Him.

Thoughts From James 1:6

“But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.”
James 1:6 NLT

This verse was written by Jesus’ brother James. Can you imagine how much James knew about Jesus?

James tells us that when we ask God for what He has promised to give us, we should not doubt that He can do so. This makes sense. Doubting God’s promises is a lot like calling Him a liar.

In the preceding verse, James wrote that if any of us lacks wisdom, all we have to do is ask for it, and God will give it to us. God has promised many things in Scripture. He has promised that He will give us everything we need, that everything will work out for our good, and that we will make it to heaven. And so much more!

Folks, when you pray, believe that God is true to His word. Believe that He is going to do what He says He will do.