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Expect Great Things From God!
Psa. 81:7- 16; cf. James 5:16;  Jer. 33:3

(This article was recently written by my father, Dr. Edward Watke, and I want to share it with you. Please overlook some of the faulty grammar and the use of the KJV in the scriptures, which has old English construction. The challenge to expect God to do great things in our lives is so appropriate and timely for all of us!)

Introduction

Psalm 81:7-16 is a very unusual portion of Scripture. Not only did the Lord remind Israel of His commands (v, 8, 9, 11), but He also gave them a tremendous promise in verse 10.  He reminded them that He brought them out of bondage from Egypt, and then encouraged them to “open their mouths wide, and I will fill it.”  All His blessings were predicated on their trust in Him with simple faith.

Who is this One who makes such a promise? He is the loving God who wants to meet our needs. (Rom. 8:32) He was able and willing to subdue their enemies, to turn His hand against their adversaries. (Psa. 81:14) He looks for ways He can bless us as well as they. (II Chron. 16:9; Psa. 81:16) Never, never are we warned in the Word of God that we are asking too much! Not once does the Bible hint any such thing. (James 4:2;  Matt. 7:7,8;  John 15:7)

God Invites Us to Ask for Big Things!  Psa. 81:7a, 10

“Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee;. . . I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Here He gives His credentials, showing his ability and proof of power. He urged his people and He urges us, begs us, and encourages us to ask for great things. We are to open our mouths wide, and He will fill them. When we go to someone’s house for a meal we don’t just smell the food; we partake of it and appropriate it for our needs. So the Lord urges us to ask, to desire, to seek after, yes, to knock for the things we need.

“I am the Lord thy God that brought you out of the land of bondage.”  Here the Lord reminds Israel of all He had done for them. He reminded them of all the miracles that God did to bring them out by His strong arm. On that basis they were to open their mouths wide so He would fill them.  God delights to answer big prayers for big things.  We just need to be sure we are asking in His will.

Note the situation at the end of Psalms chapter 81, and God’s indictment toward them for their lack of asking.  In fact they looked to their own lusts, and walked in their own counsels. He would have fed them with the finest of wheat and with honey out of the rock He would have satisfied them. (v. 16) As you think of all that God did for Israel, think of what God has done for you and the need for you to truly trust Him for new and greater things that only He can do. Our God urges us to trust Him as He is jealous over His great name and power.  (Mal. 3:6;  Heb 13:8)

Asking God for great things is a day by day blessing and right for His promises are “yea and amen in Christ Jesus, to the glory of God by us.” (II Cor. 1:20) In Jeremiah 33:3 we are urged by God in the promise, “call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew things great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”  At this point and time, Israel was in great need, Nebuchadnezzar had surrounded the city of Jerusalem and they would be conquered.  (Look at: Jer. 32:17; Jer. 32:26-27)  God was going to allow Jerusalem to fall because of their unbelief. God desires to give, to answer great prayers, if only the child of God would give Him a chance to do great and mighty things by asking of Him. We limit God by our lack of asking and expecting in faith. What does God want to do for you? He pleads with us for He wants to show His mighty power.

As you read Mark 9:23 you will note Christ said to the grief-stricken father, “If thou canst believe. . .” The father had said, “If thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us! This is the wrong IF. . . it is not the if about Christ’s power or His compassion. The IF was — will the father believe, will you trust me. It is the same for us today. (consider:  Matt. 17:20;  21:21, 22;  Mk. 11:22-24; Eph. 3:20-21  “Now unto Him that is able to DO exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think.”

God Gives Illustrations of People Asking Great things!

A. Abraham –  Gen. 18:23-33
Note the faith,  the large asking, the continued asking and the bold requests.

B. Hezekiah — II Kg. 19:14-19  Israel was spared from total ruin because the king trusted God to intervene for them.  What a mighty act as the Lord’s deliverance was so swift and sure.

C. Elijah — I Kings chapter 18;   Cf James 5:16-18

For what do you need to trust God?  What is your immediate, specific need that you will bring to the Lord and then by faith watch and wait for him to answer and provide for that need?

God Also Intervenes When We Ask Great Things!

Little prayers are a sign of weak faith and little faith grieves God. I wonder if we truly believe that our lack of asking, seeking, knocking not only grieves God, but also limits what God wants to do. If you were to study Psalm 78, you would discover, among many other things, that Israel limited God by their unbelief.  We also can limit what God wants to do for those on the mission fields of the world, for our individual lives, and for local churches where we attend.

One of God’s promises is:  “he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”  I doubt that anyone would go forth with weeping, who would not also be asking God for great things. God intervenes in the lives of those around us, around the world, etc., when we ask for great things. Yes,…. God says, “open your mouth wide and I will fill it.”  (Psa. 81:7-16)

Asking for great things glorifies God.

God desires to do great things for YOU as He did for Gideon, for Samson, for Elijah, for Elisha, for Moses, for Joshua, for Hezekiah, for Daniel, for Peter, and for Paul, etc. Elijah had asked The Israelites how long they would halt between two opinions, between God (Elohim) and the gods of those people around them. Consider the results that took place on Mt. Carmel: The people said, “The Lord He is God, the Lord He is God.” After they saw the mighty hand of God burning up the sacrifice which was soaked with water, and the trenches were filled with water. Then they admitted that the LORD, He is God. Now who would they serve, who would they live for in order to glorify? The Lord desires to bring glory to Himself through His people as they trust Him for great things that only He can do.

Surely God yearns over men; He longs to show His power. But much unbelief abounds among the saved. And we ask so little of God. We must give God opportunity to show His mighty power.

Asking prospers God’s work.

The work of God languishes because of our small asking. Because of our lack of believing God in prayer mission fields close, churches dwindle and the work of God is in a terrible plight. Consider the prayers found in Acts 4:23-33 and Acts 12. May God help us to be people of prayer who know how to supplicate, to agonize, to travail, to wrestle in prayer. We should be reminded that Christ spent much time in prayer, in tears, supplication, and strong crying. (Heb. 5:5-9)  Can we do less?

What is it that God desires to do in your life? Maybe your burden should be, among other things, for your marriage, your children, grand-children, and even great grand-children.

It should be a joy to intercede for missionaries by name, receive their email prayer requests and reports weekly, or monthly, and then spend unhurried time to earnestly pray for a great work of God in their midst. I trust the Lord will encourage you with new fervency, new vision and a renewed love for what God loves.  Lord bless you!

Where the mist rises from the sea
Where the waves creep upon the shore
Where the wrack lifts upon the strand
I have seen the Lord.

Where the sun awakens the day
Where the road winds on its way
Where the fields are sweet with hay
I have seen the Lord.

Where the stars shine in the sky
Where the streets so peaceful lie
Where the darkness is so nigh
I have seen the Lord.

The Lord is here
The Lord is there
The Lord is everywhere.
The Lord is high
The Lord is low
The Lord is on the path I go.

Landscapes of Light: An illustrated Anthology of Prayers; David Adam

Psalm 84; The Message.

What a beautiful home, God of the Angel Armies!
I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,
Always dreamed of a room in your house,
where I could sing for joy to God-alive!

Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.
God of Angel Armies! King! God!
How blessed they are to live and sing there!

And how blessed all those in whom you live,
whose lives becomes roads you travel;
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
at the last turn–Zion! God in full view!

God of the Angel Armies, listen:
O God of Jacob, open your ears–I’m praying!
Look at our shields, glistening in the sun,
our faces, shining with your gracious anointing.

One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship,
beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches.
I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God,
than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin.
All sunshine and sovereign is God,
generous in gifts and glory.
He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions.
It’s smooth sailing all the way with God of the Angel Armies.

journey to the cross

We’re nearing the end of the Lenten Season, the end of our journey with the Lord as we prepare to once again “die to sin and live to Christ” through our experience of worship celebrating Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. In personal reflection, I’ve realize anew that I am on a daily journey with Christ, not only during this holy season, but every day of life.

Sunday is Palm or Passion Sunday in the Christian calendar. As I was preparing the liturgy for next Sunday morning worship at First UMC, Warrenton, GA, I realized that I was in a quandary. My heart said, “preach on watch and pray, on betrayal, on denial” but the church secretary reminded me that the children and youth will process in with rejoicing, with joy, with palms. So the Spirit took me in a different direction… toward joy, toward rejoicing, toward running with joy to the cross. In Mark 11 through 15 we encounter immense contrasts… shouting, dancing, praising people… drowsy, negligent, sleeping disciples. Such contrasts… the entire “pueblo” mobbing the streets for just a glimpse of Messiah on the back of a young donkey… a dark, angry select mob with swords and mallets surrounding Messiah in the blackest of night.

Palms or Swords? which do I choose each day? To lift up his name in praise or brandish my self-righteous sword at his people who he created in his image. Which do I choose? to journey to the cross with him, to die to my self image, my self will, my self aggrandizement? or to flee in shame, shock and fear?

It took the power of the Spirit to change the disciples from fear to courage. It took the power of the Spirit to sustain Messiah in that dreadful, dark journey. It takes the power of the Spirit to sustain me and you on our journey to the cross. May the Spirit of our Messiah lift us up so that we may truly love and praise Him.

This morning I find that I need a fresh wind, a fresh breath from the Spirit of God. My heart and soul have been stirred for weeks about creating Breathing | Space, and although I have a sense of how to do this, I realize again that only God can do the work, can give the vision, can create the plan and light the way for each step.

As I was reading “The Message” a contemporary translation of the New Testament, Psalm and Proverbs by Eugene Peterson, I realize once again that only God can do this work, and that to run ahead of God is foolhardy.

Let me share some of what I read in Psalm 19 this morning:

The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.
The life-maps of God are right, showing the way of joy.
The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.
God’s reputation is twenty-four carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree.

God’s Word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.

There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger
and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise, how will we find our way? Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.

The Message.

I love the visual pictures in this passage… hidden treasure, sun-washed, scrubbed clean, easy on the eyes, start the day fresh.

I choose to start this day fresh, scrubbed clean and sun-washed, believing and trusting God that He will do the work. I can’t take his work over. The work of sharing his love with others is what He calls me to do, but in reality, it is his work. How he will do it through me is his responsibility. I can only be a conduit, allowing the clean, fresh breath of the love of God to flow through me over and into the hearts and souls of others today.

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