Introduction

I came home from work the other day and I was just overwhelmed with a desire to praise and worship God.  My wife and son hadn’t come home yet so I began to thank God for what he has done for me and pray to Him about my life in general.  I remember looking back at my truck in the garage and thinking how I talked about having a truck for so many years.   I thought that I wouldn’t have a truck until a few years from now.  However, there it was in my garage.  I stared at it and just thanked God for the gift.  He provided a way for me to have it even though I didn’t think it would happen until much later.

I also began to think about a new vehicle for my wife.  I would really like for her to have a new SUV, but we surely cannot afford it.  However, I thought about all of the times in the past when I thought that way.  I thought we couldn’t afford a nice house when I graduated from college.  I thought that we couldn’t afford a new house in the suburbs for many years.  I thought I couldn’t afford the truck that I have.  I thought I couldn’t afford many things and yet God provided them anyway.

So I began to ask God for a new vehicle for my wife.  Her car is ten years old and I would like for her to have a new and more reliable automobile.  We can’t afford it at this time, but that doesn’t stop me from asking and that surely doesn’t stop God from providing.  So why should you allow your present situation to dictate your future state?  Just because you can’t afford something now or don’t know something now is no reason for you to not ask for it now.

However, I also think about the world around me.  There is so much pain and suffering and we really don’t deserve anything.  That is true, but we still should not let one type of events on the earth to dictate our entire worldview or our view of God and His provision for us.  Just because someone in Africa can’t afford a new car doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ask God for one.  Just because you have a certain level of education doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t shoot for the stars.

Life is a journey and we should treat it that way.  Every day is a new day and it brings its own opportunities.  We need to make the most of what we have and what God provides for us so that we could move on as best we can and as fulfilled as we can.

We are going to talk about receiving today.  I’d like to talk to you about a process or principle for receiving the things that you desire for yourself and others.  I am in no way suggesting that if you follow the principles herein that you will receive all that you ask from God.  Contrary to many beliefs, God will say no.  I am only suggesting a way that you would not limit yourself from receiving all that God has for you and others through you.  I am suggesting a way for you to be fulfilled in your life as much as possible.

 

The Basics

This discussion is practical.  I want to relate to you from a real-life point of view.  However, we should get some things straight.  We as humans are powerless to make much of any changes on our own.  We don’t have enough knowledge or strength to effect change.  That is why we require the following in order to succeed and live a fulfilled life.  Of course, this discussion is also from a Christian perspective.

  1. We need to be a part of God’s family.  This discussion is from a Christian perspective.  Therefore the things herein apply to Christians.  A Christian is one who believes in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Don’t expect to receive benefits extended to those who are in God’s family if you are not a member.
  2. We need a relationship with God.  Don’t expect to be blessed by God if you don’t know Him and have no relationship with Him.  That is absurd.  If you have a growing relationship with the Lord then we can have confidence when we pray.  Don’t wait until something happens before you get on your knees to pray.
  3. We must be actively pursuing righteousness.  You shouldn’t think that you can live any way that you want and then expect God to grant you your desires.  The Bible says that God will give those who delight in Him the desires of their hearts (Psalm 37:4).  Walk in righteousness.
  4. We should know the word of God.  The Bible says that if we pray according to the will of God then he will grant us what we ask Him (1 John 5:14-15).  Knowing the Word of God will take us a long way in knowing God’s way and His will.  Of course, knowing God’s will also come when we know God personally and intimately and experience God in our lives.
  5. Trust God.  I think that this goes without further explanation.  It is silly to go to God and ask Him for something and at the same time, you don’t trust Him to do it.

Basically, our discussion pertains to those who are saved and have a personal relationship with the Lord.  The following is not a formula for success, but rather insight and principles that you can use to acquire the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 (NKJV) — {4} Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

 

Attitude

Read 1 Samuel 17.  Consider the following scripture.

1 Samuel 17:32-37 (NKJV) — {32} Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” {33} And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” {34} But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, {35} I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. {36} Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” {37} Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

We all know this story very well.  It is the story of how David kills Goliath, the giant Philistine warrior.  However, notice the attitude of David.  He was so confident that he would kill Goliath.  Everyone else around him was afraid and yet this young boy had more confidence than all of them.  Notice what David based his confidence on, however.

David’s confidence rested in his previous experiences and how God moved in those experiences.  He said that he killed a bear and a lion and that God delivered him from them (Verse 37).  Therefore, God would deliver him from the Philistine champion in the same way that God delivered him from those wild animals.  He was just so confident.

I think that it is also important to note that David didn’t receive any special instructions from God that dealt with that particular situation.  He didn’t hear from the Lord to go and Kill Goliath.  David simply believed that he would kill Goliath because Goliath was defying the Israelites who were God’s people.  David knew he could do it because of his past experiences with God in his life in other seemingly impossible situations.  How would you feel if you had to go toe-to-toe with a lion or a bear?

Think back on the events of your life.  I am sure you can recall some situations that you thought was impossible at the time.  You thought that there was no way that you would get out of that situation or that there was no way that you would be able to do it.  However, in the end, you found that you did do it and that you were able to get through it.  Now, of course, there are times when things didn’t happen that way and things did fall through.  However, that is no reason to believe that all future events will fall through.

I remember when I was laid off from my job several years ago.  I did all I could to keep from worrying.  However, the fact of the matter is that if we couldn’t pay my mortgage then we would lose our house.  I had talked to a pastor friend of mine at that time and he said something that stuck with me during that whole eighteen-month ordeal.  He said that there is no reason to assume that this is the end.  I will never forget those words.

You see when we face difficult or “impossible” situations then we tend to think negatively.  We tend to think that the worse is going to happen instead of the best.  Why is that?  We have to fight with all of our might to think that we will get through it.  We need to be encouraged, held up, and a whole lot more just to keep a positive attitude on the situation.

What makes matters worse is that we Christians have God to look up to and yet we still immediately see the worse that will happen.  As soon as something “bad” happens we think that it will result in bad.  Why can’t it just be one of those things that happen in life?  Why can’t it just be another event that we didn’t like even though it causes pain and in some cases devastation?  I know that is easier said than done, which is why I’m saying it.

The answer is that we do not have a productive attitude.  The word attitude means, “A state of mind or feeling; disposition.”

What is your disposition when you enter into a challenge in life?  What is your attitude when in regards to the things that you really would like to have or accomplish?  Are you one of those “negative Nellie” type people or are you optimistic?  Are you quick to see the bad of a situation or are you one to look for a solution or a good outcome?  Attitude plays a very important role in our lives.  Many accomplishments would not have occurred if it were not for a good attitude.  For example, Thomas Edison invented the light bulb after almost two years of failed attempts.  It is said that he used over 6,000 different carbonized plant fibers while looking for a filament for his light bulb.

So if nothing else we should have a good attitude about our life and the things that go on in it.  This includes the desires that we have and the goals that we have for ourselves.  This doesn’t mean that we will have everything that we would ever want.  No one gets that.  However, there is no reason why we should assume anything negative without at least trying if warranted.

 

Believe You Receive or Assume You Receive

Consider the following scripture.

Mark 11:22-24 (NKJV) — {22} So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. {23} For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. {24} Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Now I have discussed this particular scripture many times in the past.  We should be careful not to assume that Jesus is suggesting that we can have everything that we pray for if we simply believe we receive.  There are many such teachings in the religious community, unfortunately.  The fact is that believing you receive is quite elusive.  What does it really mean?

First, note that faith is in God.  That is the key to getting anything.  We can only go so far with our own strength and knowledge and even those are not definite.  However, we can fully trust in God.  So the first thing that you should do is to trust God.

Trust God to give you what you pray for.  Expect that you will receive whatever it is that you pray for.  Now I should point out here that these “things” are those that are of a good motive and not for mere selfishness.  In any case, it isn’t a bad thing to have a good expectation for what you pray for.  Why not expect that God will give you a new car if you ask for one?  Why pray for it and assume that God will not do it?  What would be the point of the prayer?

So pray in confidence and with expectation.  In other words, assume the positive instead of the negative in regards to your prayers.  I am a believer of getting your hopes up for something.  Now others would say that you shouldn’t get your hopes up and in some cases, I agree.  However, when our faith is in God then I think that it is good to get our hopes up when appropriate.  I also think that we should pray for frivolous things.

We should keep one very important thing in mind.  God may say no.  The good news is that you will know whether he will do it or not sooner than later.  You know in your heart when God is with you or if He is not.  You know deep down inside if God is orchestrating the thing or He is silent.  Why continue down a path if you don’t think that God is with you.  It is better to wait and see what God will do; what opportunities He might open instead of jumping ahead trying to make things happen.

So why not believe you receive when you pray?  Why not believe that God will grant you your request if He has not indicated otherwise?  Why not hope for the best instead of assuming the worse.  There is no reason that we shouldn’t believe that we will receive or accomplish even if the task or object appears impossible.  There is nothing too hard for God (See Genesis 18:14).

We say that God is all-powerful and that He loves us.   We say that we are His children.  So why don’t we move towards success instead of failure?  Why not believe that He will do it instead of assuming that He won’t or that it won’t happen?  Jesus said that if we believe that we receive when we pray and don’t doubt in our heart then we will have whatever we pray for.  Why not just believe that? If it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen.  Why should we assume that it won’t happen before we even do anything about it?

 

Work

I am a believer in hard work.  I am also a believer of taking an active role in the things that you want and the things that you want to do.  I am not one of those people that believe you receive means to believe and sit down and wait.  The Bible does not paint a picture of a God that generously provides for those that sit around and wait for Him to do so.  We see the characters in the Bible taking an active role in the things that God had for them and provided for them.

Consider what the Bible tells us.

Ecclesiastes 10:18 (NIV) 18If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks.

Proverbs 10:4 (NIV) 4Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.

What are you doing about the things that you want and the things that you want to achieve?  Are you confident?  Do you get excited about it and hopeful?  Do you talk about it?  There is one thing interesting about us humans.  We tend to talk about things that we really like and are really important to us.  We tend to talk about those things that excite us.

I wanted a truck for a long time.  So for years I joked about it, talked about it, brought it up in conversations and the like.  Now I have the truck.  I am not suggesting that my confessions caused the truck to come to be.  I believe with all of my heart that it was provided to me by God himself.  I am also not suggesting that we blab our business around the world either so to speak.

There are many things that you could do to put you on the path of receiving or accomplishing.  Here are a few practical things.

  1. Read
  2. Research
  3. Watch and pray
  4. Talk about it with others (the purpose here is to get information and feedback)
  5. Plan
  6. Do whatever you can

I am not a believer that tithing or giving to a local church will secure your blessings to God.  That sounds strange coming from a pastor perhaps, but the fact is that is what I believe.  We have people that give to Pursuing the Truth Ministries and I believe that God will bless them for it.  However, I do not teach people that giving to Pursuing the Truth Ministries will secure your blessings and your desires from the Lord.  Our blessings come from the Lord so let’s leave it there.

I remember the late Reverend Effie Blumentoe telling us that God is practical.  I now say that God is not a genie.  He is not a magician.  Sure things happen supernaturally, but that doesn’t mean that our blessings will come supernaturally.  What I mean by that is that God may be behind the whole situation (supernatural intervention if you will).  However, the outcome may be just as practical as any other event in our lives.

For example, I believe that God was behind my wife and me purchasing our second house.  It was supernatural to us because there was nothing that we could have done to afford the things that we did during the time of the purchase and there is no way we could have predicted what happened during that time.  However, in the end we had enough money to put the necessary down payments down and purchase a multitude of things for the new home.  It was practical indeed but supernaturally orchestrated.

However, I talked to people and received great advice during that purchasing time.  We did our research.  We did what we could to get what we wanted.   We were ready and it paid off.  What are you doing about the things you want?  I hope you are not waiting for God to do all of the work.  God may have already orchestrated things for you and is waiting for you to do what you are supposed to do.  So get up and get to work.

 

Conclusion

Go for the things that you want in all righteousness.  Don’t assume failure, but instead assume success.  Have a good attitude about your life and the situations in it.  Pray with confidence and believe that God will grant you what you ask until He either does it or says otherwise.  Also, it is important for you to realize that you may have an integral part to play in the success that you do have in getting what you want and accomplishing your goals.  So go and be blessed and receive.  Let me leave you with what we started with.

Psalm 37:4 (NKJV) — {4} Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Now go and have confidence in God.

 


Believe first
By William R. Cunningham
January 8, 2006