#177 (17/04/05)
Don’t Throw Away Tomorrow Part XI

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

I met a year ago in Germany, profoundly impressed with him. His name is Walter Heidenreich. He has a fantastic story. We like to share with people true stories of authentic experiences that human beings have had with God.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" Blessed be the Name "
" We Build a New Tomorrow "

" Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)"
BLUFFTON UNIVERSITY CHAMBER SINGERS - "My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord"

BRADLEY BAKER – “Were You There?”

The Message

My father and I have been sharing messages with you from his latest book, "Don't Throw Away Tomorrow." Today I will continue as we look at the chapter entitled, "Choose and Clear the Channels of Communication." There is a wonderful Bible verse in this chapter which says:

"Call upon Me and I will answer you. I will show you great and wonderful things you do not know, says the Lord."

(Jeremiah 33:3)

I love this verse. It is a call for us to come and open our channels of communication with God. It is a call for us to pray. When I break this Bible verse down, there are three basic phrases I want you to remember.

1. The Person we conceive.

2. The Promise we believe.

3. The Provisions we receive.

When we look at this verse, that is what it says. "Call upon Me, say the Lord." Our first point is: The person we conceive. Each of us has a picture in our mind or some kind of a thought process when the word God is mentioned. Every single one of us has a slightly different picture because God has chosen to reveal Himself to different people in different ways. What He has revealed to us is only a very small part of who He is. God is far too grand, far too glorious, far too incomprehensible for us to fully understand the totality of Him. In our finite ability, we do our very best to comprehend God in any way we can. We conceive of who He might be and what kind of power He might have, and how He can impact us. Part of this conception comes from the Bible which reveals different aspects of Him and gives us an understanding and realization of how He works, who He is and how things happen.

Regardless of your picture of Him, God says, "Call upon Me." Those are powerful words. He begs us, He commands us, He requests us, "Call upon Me, says the Lord." We have to realize that He will answer us and He will supply our every need.

Dr. John R. Rice was a 20th century preacher. He died about 25 years ago after writing two hundred books. He had a radio show entitled "The Voice of Revival." He was a wonderful communicator. He used to share a story that I found rather interesting regarding the provisions that God has for us. The story takes place right after the Civil War.  The emancipation act has been signed. Though the war is over, there is a man who has been freed, but he has nowhere to go. There is another man who is very sick and in very poor health. The man who has been freed was the sick man's slave for many, many, many years. The sick man, needing somebody to take care of him in his last remaining months or possible years, asked the free man if he would stay and take care of him. The free man, not knowing what to do or where to go or never knowing any other lifestyle, decided that was probably his best option. The freed man, also having a heart of compassion, chose to stay and so he cared for the sick man until he passed away. The free man did not know how to survive in a free world. He didn't know how to live, he didn't know where to get his food, etc. He managed to survive until one day someone saw him and said, "Don't you realize that the man who was your master for all those years, whom you cared for until his dying day has put $5,000 in a bank for you. Don't you realize this?" Being a humble man he hung his head and said, "Do you mean I can go to the bank and get 50 cents so I can buy some meal?" The man said, "There is $5,000 in the bank for you." $5,000 was a lot of money in those days; for example a good days wage would probably have been under a dollar. So the man walked into the bank. Never having been in a bank, he was very intimidated. He walked to the teller and said, "Sir, I was told if I came here, I could get 50 cents to buy some meal." The teller asked him "what's your name?" After looking up the account the teller said, "why sir, we can give you up to $5,000." The man replied, "you mean you'll give me 50 cents so I can buy a bag of meal?" The teller replied, "of course if that is what you would like; sign right here." He signed a piece of paper and the teller gave him 50 cents. The man grabbed the coin and walked across the street. He bought a bag of meal and went home never comprehending that there was still $4,999.50 left in his account.

As human beings we are finite creatures and we look at God in a finite way. Therefore, we never come to the full realization of the incredible power that God has to move things in our lives. So, we walk into God's presence asking for 50 cents when He will actually give us anything and everything we need. "Oh, ye of little faith," said Jesus Christ. In our scripture passage Jeremiah 33:3, God says, "Call upon Me." The way we perceive God will have a direct implication upon how we come into His presence and what we ask for when we are in His presence.

1.       The Person we conceive and

2.       The Promise we believe.

Here is the promise: "I will answer you, says the Lord."

The answer is not always what we want to hear. Don't get the wrong impression. God is not the genie who simply gives you whatever you ask. God knows what you need. He knows what is going to make you a better person and He will answer you and give you everything you need.

My father wrote a fabulous message many years ago entitled, "How does God answer prayer?" There were four points:

1.       Sometimes God answers No. That is an answer, after all.

2.       Other times God answers Grow. This means not now, but as you become mature enough and capable of receiving it, I will give it to you.

3.       Sometimes God answers Slow. Slow can be very slow. Meaning you start today, and you creep along and you expect things to go a lot faster and it just goes along at a snails pace until the day you die.  We don't understand everything about God and how He makes this universe work.

4.       Sometimes He answers Go. The heavens open and the plenty and the bounty falls from the sky and our prayers are answered the way we expect.

Our second point is: The promise we believe. In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 9 we read of a healing which Jesus has with a man who brings his son to Him. The man comes and presents his son and Jesus asks the father, "How long has your son been like this?" The man answers, "Oh, from childhood. But if You can do anything, take pity on him and help us." Now we see some real personality here in Jesus. Jesus says, "If? Did you say if I can?" Isn't that interesting? The man says, "if You can help us." Jesus responds, "if?" "If I can help you? Everything is possible for him who believes," He says. Immediately the man jumps to attention! The gospel says, "Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe.'" Then he sort of back pedals and he says, "Help me overcome my unbelief." So which one is it: does he believe or does he have unbelief? This is a very amusing account of the conversation between this man and Jesus. It shows the honestly and the reality of the situation. Jesus is questioning "if", the man is saying "I believe, well not really, I'm trying to believe, help me to believe."

The account is so realistically the way we are today. That is why it is amusing. I say, "I believe Lord." Then I say, "if You have the power to heal, help me." How many people pray that way? "If You have the power to help me God." Then we say, "I believe Lord, I believe. Lord, help me with my unbelief." This is the way we live. Yet, we must remember that God says, "Call upon Me, and I will answer you."

Our third point is: The provisions we receive. "I will show you great and mighty things which you do not know." There are so many things we do not know. It is absolutely astonishing for me to get on an airplane and see hundreds of people get on and all of the luggage and all the food and all the beverages! Even though I have studied the aerodynamics of aircraft and have seen all the diagrams, I still cannot understand how this aircraft will lumber down the runway and suddenly leave the ground and soar so high in the air it disappears and then continue to go halfway around the world, and 12 hours later you will land on the opposite side of the world. It just boggles my mind every time it happens to me.

We ask the question how is it possible for God to answer my prayers? Suddenly, we realize we are in a process from the very beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, God has been in the process of uncovering information and new scientific discoveries and things that you cannot even begin to imagine today, things that will be taking place a hundred and fifty years from now. You know it, I know it. When we read these words, "All things are possible to him who believes." (Mark 9:23) we understand there is nothing that is impossible for God.

1. The person we conceive

2. The promise we believe

3. The provisions we receive

The provisions are "I will show you great and mighty things which you do not know." I think God was laughing to Himself, thinking of 747's and DC 10's going down the runway and trying to explain it to Jeremiah. We continue to be educated about a lot of things. We also can be misinformed about some things. It's like the little girl who went to the museum and saw the dinosaur there and she asked the security guard, "how old is this dinosaur?" He said, "Oh it is three million, four and a half years old." "Three million, four and a half years, how did you get so accurate?" He said, "Well I started working here four and a half years ago and at that time they told me he was three million years old."

God, in His timing, will continue to reveal new things and we will come to know things in the future that we do not know today. "I will show you great and mighty things which you do not know."

The fact is God always answers our prayers in a good, positive, beautiful way. When things happen, we have to respond believing "that all things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) We don't always see it at the time. But, the time will come when it will be revealed and we will understand the power, the wonder, the graciousness and the love of God. "Call upon Me, says the Lord. And I will answer you and I will show you great and mighty things which you do not know." Pray. Call upon the God who has the ability to move mountains and see it happen.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you that You are a God who cares, a God who loves, a God who continues to provide us with everything we need. So we call upon you to help us to be responsive and to believe in Your words and Your promises. We thank you, Lord. Amen.

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