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#carmelprays – Acts 14:8-18

Opening Song: Find Me At The Feet Of Jesus

Read Scripture: Acts 14:8-18

Faith is Key to our Relationship with God

Paul saw that the man had faith and that opened the door to a miracle. In the Bible, there are many reasons given why prayers or our desires may not be answered by God. Lack of faith is one of them. Sin is another. I am aware that in God’s sovereignty, He may at times choose not to answer in our expected way and not reveal why. However, modern Christians can too quickly latch on to that and fail to put ourselves through the hard work of asking God to search us through the lens and balance of the Bible and reveal whether there are factors in our lives that limit Him from working more evidently, more personally, more powerfully and more readily. Reasons for unanswered prayers could be sin (Ps 66:18) or even a bad relationship with our wives (1 Pt 3:7) among others. Are we jumping too quickly into the comfort of our theological cage without allowing the Spirit to walk us through the hard yards? When we over-react to the excesses of the Pentecostal movement, we can end up stifling our own growth. The balance of Scripture is important to preserve in our lives if we are to walk rightly with Him.

Substitution is never of God

The people who witnessed the miracle moved swiftly to conclude that the gods had become Paul and Barnabas. We are swift to use what we know or are familiar with and impose it on God. The way forward is to walk in accordance to what He has revealed as He will always be consistent with that. Riding on that platform, we then allow for Him to operate in our lives in line with His revelation. The theological truths become a trampoline which we leap from by faith to know Him intimately and not a box to cage Him in comfortably. When we attempt to box God in, we will find He is not in the box and our lives lose spiritual vitality. If we are to grow in our walk, we must accept that there is a mystery about God. He cannot be boxed in by us. If He could be boxed in so easily, how can He be a wonderful God? He is a Living God, not a holy carcass with spiritual power.The goal of the Gospel is to save us from our sins, not to enhance our earthly comfort. There is a clear call to ‘turn away from worthless things’ (v15). Three things we need to do. Firstly, we need to identify what is worthy and what is worthless in our lives. Substitution leads us to become willing to settle for lesser things which are unimportant.  Secondly, having done so, we need to turn from them. Averting our gaze is critical. We worship what we gaze at. Thirdly, we are not turning to “nothingness”. We are turning to God.

Would you do these three things today?

Pray in Response

Write out your prayer today – take time to have an honest conversation with God.

Search me O Lord:

  1. Write down the worthless things that the Spirit is pointing out
  2. Cross them out on the sheet of paper as you prepare your heart, lean on Him for the strength to avert your gaze. Strength comes from Him but the decision to avert our gaze comes from us
  3. Prepare yourself for obedience in prayer. Prepare and quieten down to pay attention to Him and what He has to say as you read His Word.

Response Song: All I Once Held Dear

By Ps Ng Liang Wei

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