Apr 252014

funeral-cake-ingredients-in-bowl“But if God knows what things we have need of, before we ask him, where lies the advantage of prayer?

If he is ready, of his own free will, to assist us, what purpose does it serve to employ our prayers, which interrupt the spontaneous course of his providence?

The very design of prayer furnishes an easy answer.

Believers do not pray, with the view of informing God about things unknown to him, or of exciting him to do his duty, or of urging him as though he were reluctant.

On the contrary, they pray, in order that they may arouse themselves to seek him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into his bosom; in a word, that they may declare that from Him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things.

God himself, on the other hand, has purposed freely, and without being asked, to bestow blessings upon us; but he promises that he will grant them to our prayers.

We must, therefore, maintain both of these truths, that He freely anticipates our wishes, and yet that we obtain by prayer what we ask.”

John Calvin

I read that little devotional last night before bed, seeking the encouragement to describe to God one more time the desperation of too many situations.

It didn’t work.

I crawled into bed seeking to be unconscious, not seeking God.

I’d spent another day waiting for hope filled words…”you’re hired’…”the medication is working”….”things are fine”.

The words that came, the only ones that came at all…were hopeless.

I have to assume that God heard them too.

After too many days of waiting, I’m too tired to talk about it anymore.

I believe, help my unbelief, and turn up the electric blanket.

Have I lost my faith?


God always works in a process…and hack preachers like myself like to use the cake baking analogy to describe what the process sometimes looks like.

When you put raw eggs, sugar, and flour in a bowl it doesn’t look like a cake.

It looks like a mess.

You take the mess in the bowl and you beat it…then you bake it until it transforms.

It’s only when the process is completed that you have a delightful product.

Therefore, in our analogy, if you are beaten and baking, you’re close to the end of this process.

It’s just a matter of time.

Make your own application…

  43 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. Thanks for being real Michael
    I have been without a job for a month 25 days. Trusting God but broke with just a few groceries but closer to God more than ever

    Praying trusting blessed and bbroken

  2. Blessed are those who mourn. Blessed. Curious, no?

  3. bigfalamike,

    Today marks one year for me.
    Hang on.

  4. Paigemom,

    The way of the kingdom of God are inverse to the ways of the world.
    I’ll probably get used to that right before I die… 😉

  5. Mess in a bowl …
    Beat… Beat … And beat some more…
    Oh that’s not enough … No.. No…No
    Through the burning fiery oven….

    Yay!!! does that mean I’m just about a delightful product!!!!????
    Sure hope so! 🙂

    Or does it mean next getting frosted and cut to cubes? :/

    Love that post Michael!

  6. Heard something like this on prayer:

    Both Gods enemies and Gods children make the same mistake:

    They underestimate
    The power of prayer…

  7. Thank you, Sis!
    Transformation is painful, but we can trust the chef…even when the beating seems a bit exuberant for us. 🙂

  8. Praying for you Michael.

  9. Thank you, J.U.!

  10. So… In thinking out loud on this

    It would kind of make sense., that we would be apportioned out after becoming that delightful product…

    Jesus said to Peter
    ” if you love me , feed my sheep”
    Which in essence would be
    Care for them
    Nurture them
    Pour your life out for them
    Apportion what I have done in your life out to others!

    But Jesus didn’t tell Peter that
    Until after satan had tried to sift him like wheat … The beating and the fire

    Thoughts anyone?

  11. Well Michael I had a bowl a little while ago filled with various things and right not two spinach quiches are in the process of being transformed.

    You’ve shown me the strength in being brutally honest when it doesn’t necessarily make you look like the perfect pastor who has everything down to a formula. God bless.

  12. Sis,

    That’s just one of many similar stories in Scripture.
    Jesus said to follow Him…and His path to glory went through a cross.
    The cross always precedes the glory.

  13. Erunner,

    Some of my church folks read here…and I’d never hear the end of it if I wasn’t honest.
    God knows the truth…and it’s better to just let it out.
    The formulas don’t work…God does.
    We wait on Him.
    Blessings, my friend.

  14. Michael, some times the glory we expect may not be attained this side of Heaven. So much I don’t understand.

  15. The path we chose was the narrow less traveled one.

    there are logs to climb over
    and limbs that hit us
    and branches to trip over
    we stumble over the rocks
    the path is hard to see at times
    because it is covered in leaves
    and overgrown with weeds

    we chose the rugged uphill path
    that leads us to the Cross
    we will have many scratches and bruises
    and be very broken when we get there

    but that is the path we chose…what a glorious path it is.

  16. Y’all are reminding me of Bunyan’s, The Pilgrim’s Progress. Love that book.

  17. jean, have you read ‘Hinds’ Feet on High Places’? wonderful book

  18. Through many dangers toils and snares… How true
    Amazing the grace that carries us through

  19. I’m taking a wheel thowing pottery class which has been an fantastic experience.

    The other night, I worked for over an hour with one piece of clay. First I made it into a cylinder then a bowl, then a cylinder again, then a pot, then a cylinder, then finally it settled into being a little platter.

    What struck me as I worked it into various shapes what how God does that sometimes to us. He works and works with us to get us into various shapes, all of which would have been useful to the world, but it’s not until he really gets us settled into what we are meant to be, that He stops.

    None of the steps along the way were “wrong” they just weren’t what that particular lump of clay was meant to be in the end.

    Helped me to think about how many times in my life I’ve been in a certain place where I thought, ok, enough already…I’d make a good (whatever shape I was that day) so that’s what I’ll be…but that wasn’t what I was meant to be, so the work continues.

  20. Well done, London!

  21. Dusty, No I haven’t. Thanks for the reference though. Just in case anyone is confused, Jean is the French spelling of a male name. 🙂

  22. “They pray… That they may declare from Him alone they hope & they expect both for themselves & for others, all good things…”

    That quote above from John Calvin helps me to better understand the personal connection we make with God in our thanksgiving, petitions, concerns and cares. Attributing and honoring Him as our Father who dearly loves, cares and provides those good and needful things in our lives and those we pray for

  23. This is the same John Calvin who suffered from chronic gout, tuberculosis, asthma, kidney and gall stones, severe hemorrhoids, migraines and probably died of septicemia brought on by renal failure.

    His only child died shortly after birth, his wife a few years later after years of incapacity.

    He suffered.
    He died praising the God who will someday wipe each tear of suffering from our eyes.

  24. Wondering if sometimes we don’t look at the equation from the wrong direction when we say why does God allow his servants to suffer so?
    Instead of Thanking Him for all the unknown suffering He spares us from

  25. Well, I am in the mixing bowl right now and I see no end to the beating. I feel like if God does not does something soon, there will be a messy ending to a long life of ministry. But I have been here before and God did resolve it. I think it is worse the older you get because you think you are settled and have life figured out. Then unbearable frustration comes and what seemed like the brightness of dawn was really the sun sitting and darkness and fog swirls. I very much look forward to being out of the mixing bowl.

  26. Randy, I’m right there with you, my friend.
    I’m glad you came by!

  27. Sis,

    That’s undoubtedly true.
    This morning, I’m too worn out to be noble or thankful.
    This will pass…

  28. Well Michael
    Please know you have stirred my heart in a greater measure towards prayer …

    An added measure for you today
    An added measure for dusty too

  29. Just now seeing a break in some of that frustration , fog swirls and weariness that Randy and Michael are experiencing …

    Like Randy shared., have been there before and seen God resolve it…

    How nice it would be:; to be able to really rest in what we know to be true when we get in that place… To be “still” and know that He is God… To wait upon him when we are weary … For he will renew our strength

  30. Thank you, Sister Christian…and thanks for bring your gifts here once again.

  31. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/trinity-western-law-school-rejected-by-ontario-law-society-1.2621211

    I don’t know if it’s essential for an Ontario law school to be a member of this society but this should demonstrate to all doubters that this is the method that will have Christians hiding in the catacombs (figuratively speaking) sooner or later. Or going to the (figurative) lions. Being marginalized at the very least, which might actually do some of us a lot of good.

    This concerns a Christian law school that has its students sign a paper affirming sexual purity and traditional marriage. No one is forcing anyone to attend this law school. Yet the agitators can’t leave it alone, they have managed to get this school banned from the Ontario Law Society. Canada is worse than the US but it is heading our way. Pretty soon, I suspect, we will all be asked to sign statements that we agree w/ same sex “marriage” before we are permitted to do all kinds of things…. Who knows? Maybe some day you won’t be able to get a drivers license or get a job unless you go along. Worse happened in the Soviet Union. Who ever thought it would reach the stage it has reached already?

  32. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. That verse has brought me more consolation and comfort than any other verse in the Bible. I was sharing with a man tonight who told me that he was raised in a “Christian cult” and now had no belief. I could see in his eyes, that he longed to believe. I shared with him this verse and I do believe that God touched him with some “hope.” Thanking God that He is able, even though we are so weak.

  33. Xenia,
    You may be going a little over board. Remember 10 yrs ago when we all had to sign statements saying we affirmed divorce and people living together without marriage, before we were allowed to buy or sell?

    Me neither.

  34. I was amazed that today we attended a civil wedding where the officiant declared that a marriage was between “one man and one woman.” This is in a country where in a civil wedding there is absolutely no mention of God permitted, no hymns, no poetry with the mention of God permitted, and yet he boldly proclaimed that marriage was a covenant between one man and one woman for life. That was amazing to me!!

  35. praying for you big brother (((((hugs))))and a sisterly kiss on the cheek.

  36. Praying for you as well, Dusters.

  37. thank you my friend.

  38. Praying for you Michael.

  39. Thank you, Derek…blessings to you, my friend.

  40. Have a good night everyone.

  41. I visited my former pastor today and had a nice visit. He is very sick having just had a leg amputated below the knee as diabetes ravages his body. He is also in danger of losing a finger and already had half of his foot on the other leg amputated as well as recently having a heart attack and is on dialysis while waiting for a kidney transplant.

    He’s at peace and said he wouldn’t change a thing as his relationship with God has deepened on a personal level in a way he didn’t know was possible for him.

    I sat amazed as he shared what all he has been through. I was sad to see him in the shape he’s in but his attitude sure helped me.

    He’s the pastor I had a falling out with several years ago. I sure don’t understand God’s ways when it comes to suffering. I think trying too hard to figure it out has tripped me up big time as God has chosen not to share wisdom that is His alone.

  42. Erunner:

    “You’ve shown me the strength in being brutally honest when it doesn’t necessarily make you look like the perfect pastor who has everything down to a formula. God bless.”

    The antithesis of the Moses Model. I often wondered why the facade was expected to work. People see right through it anyway.

    The Michael model works well. I trust such a man who is willing to be transparent and realistic. No shadow of turning…

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