When God is Silent _ by sdfwerte


									When God is Silent !
Gateway Church

6 April 2010
Is this my cry?                                          …………Psalms 102:1-7

►   Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry for help come to you.

►   Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress.

►   Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.

►   For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers.

►   My heart is blighted and withered like grass;

►   I forget to eat my food, because of my loud groaning

►   I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like a desert owl, like an owl among
    the ruins.

►   I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof.

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Our warrant to complain! ... Because GOD is Silent?

►   Verse 1, the psalmist is wondering, 'God, are you even listening to all
    of these prayers I am pouring out to you from the bottom of my soul?'

►   Verse 2, the psalmist wonders if God is playing hide-and-seek with
    him. Those are games the psalmist does not want to play.

    I am sure we can in many ways identify with the
    Psalmist even as he is pouring out his complaints

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3 questions before you today

► Have   you ever felt that God was giving you the “silent

► What is the Lord’s purpose for not immediately
   answering prayer?

► How      should you respond when God seems distant?

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How to deal with it? Or is there something
more important to address?

                        Let’s find out

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Do we really know what to look for?

The choice of confronting sincere and struggling Christians like us is
either –
    ►    To ignore the critical issues of internal character development and just try
         harder to be good Christians without understanding what’s happening
         beneath the surface of their lives,

                             [If people would get into word, on their knees and out into their neighborhoods
                             witnessing for Christ, they would have no time for personal aches or pains]

    ►    To take an inside look guided more by current psychological theory than by
         biblical revelation

            [Identifying ones temperament, healing painful memories, learning to ventilate buried hurts,
            reconstructing he damaging impact of your parents mistakes, facing destructive emotions and
            hidden agendas and bringing them under conscious control are all examples of the second

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Deep Longings but Wrong Strategies

It’s time to take a deep inside look; a real inward
introspection; a real imagination towards change
Jeremiah 2:13
    ►    People are thirsty
    ►    People are moving in wrong directions in response to their

An inside look, then, can be expected to uncover two elements imbedded
deeply in our heart:
    • Thirst or deep longings for what we do not have; and
    • Stubborn independence reflected in wrong strategies for finding the
      life we desire

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If anyone is thirsty….

Two categories of Christians emerge: those who have high standards of
commitment and those who are contend to live ordinary, respectable lives

Unfortunately both categories can live miserably:
    ►    The first group includes people who are frustrated with their inability to measure up
         to their lofty ideals and a few who are satisfied with their performance
    ►    The second group consists mostly of folks who live reasonably happy lives as long
         as money, health, and relationships are doing well. If things fall apart they scramble
         to restore a measure of order in their lives

            Question is do we understand our Lord’s promise to
             make streams of living water flow from within us?

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Springs of Living Water? They Why So Much Pain?

1.       We are thirsty people, and we long for:
          ►      Physical comfort (casual longings)
          ►      Good relationships with people (critical longings)
          ►      The joys that only relationship with GOD provides (critical longings)
2.       Christ has not promised to meet either our casual or critical longings
         (Matt. 6:25-34)
3.       He has promised to satisfy our crucial longings, but:
          ►      The satisfaction available now is only a taste. The banquet comes later. We
                 will still ache, therefore, for more than what we have
          ►      The satisfaction of crucial longings does not dull the pain of disappointment
                 when our causal and critical longings go unmet
4.       Disappointment is chronic reality for the self-aware Christian, for at
         least three reasons:
          ►      The complete joys of God will not be ours until heaven
          ►      No relationship on earth is perfect. We will, therefore, be disappointed in our
                 critical longings
          ►      Fallen people naturally (but wrongly) depend on sources other than God
                 (money, well-behaved children, warm churches, loving mates, successful
                 careers) for satisfaction of their crucial longings

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Become Aware of Our Thirst

►   Awareness of our thirst is the unavoidable first step toward a real
    change, the kind that makes us more like Christ – and then to suggest what is
    required to experience the pain of unmet desires

►   Why should I face my thirst? (It is not unusual to avoid facing my thirst)
          ►      Reason 1: Freedom from compulsive sin requires an awareness of deep thirst
          ►      Reason 2: Sin will be understood superficially, and therefore dealt with ineffectively,
                 without an awareness of deep thirst
          ►      Reason 3: Without an awareness of deep thirst, our pursuit of God will be disciplined at
                 best. With it our pursuit can be passionate

    In summary, understanding and experiencing thirst is necessary to:
          • Recognize subtle sin
          • Break bad habits
          • Develop passion in our pursuit of GOD

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How Do I Face My Thirst?

►   Admit Confusion:
    ►     Ask tough questions
    ►     Don’t cover confusion with blanket of dogmatism or easy answers
    ►     Let confusion drive you and me to faith

►   Acknowledge Disappointment:
    ►     Reflect on how others have let you down or failed to come through as you
          deeply wanted them to
    ►     Don’t numb your disappointment with the anesthetic of denial, forced love,
          or cheap forgiveness
    ►     Let disappointment drive you to hope

►   Accept Conviction
    ►     Look squarely at how you protect yourselves from feeling disappointment in
          relationships by keeping distance from people
    ►     Don’t escape conviction by trying hard to always do the right thing. Explore
          the motives beneath your good behaviour
    ►     Let conviction drive you to love

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Why it looks as if GOD is Silent?

►   Unconfessed sin, or lifestyles of persistent sin, plug up our ears so
    that even when God is talking, we can't hear him.

►   Another way that you and I miss God speaking to us, is that
    sometimes we just drown him out.

►   Another reason that you and I sometimes miss God's voice when he
    is talking to us, is because our ears are not tuned to his frequency.

Page 12   6 April 2010           Presentation title
What can we understand from HIS Silence?

Barbara Brown Taylor writes these words in her book “When
God is Silent” –

"God's silence is as much a sign of God's presence as of God's
absence. That divine silence is not a vacuum to be filled, but a
mystery to be entered into. Unarmed with words and undistracted
by noise, a holy of holies, in which we too may be struck dumb by
the power of the unsayable God."

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Would you join me in prayer?

Lord God, we hate your silence, and yet we thank you that
you are not an idol. We thank you that you break your
silence and speak to us through your Word and ultimately
through Jesus Christ. Lord, redeem your silence in our lives.
May it be the impetus that drives us further towards you and
not away from you. Lord, we pray as we come to you this
morning, that you would break the silence here with your
real presence, and speak to us in our heart of hearts, that
word that we need to hear, that might mold and shape us
more and more toward the mind of Christ. We ask these
things in his holy and precious name. Amen.

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Text styles

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Thank you

6 April 2010

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