Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Romans 8:28 is one of the most abused passages of Scripture. It's often used by people to say things like: "It will all come out in the wash" or, "Doesn't the Bible say everything works out for good?" No where does the Bible say that everything, for everybody, works out for good. The translators of the English standard version changed the order of the words to make an emphasis. Where the King James version says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." The ESV says, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." The difference in word order is important. The ESV helps us to see that "all things work together for good for those who love God — for those who are called according to his purpose."
You see, emphasis is not on "all things", the emphasis is on "those who love God". Now we need to remember that love is not a feeling it is an action. Or rather it's a series of actions each one confirming the other. To say "I love you" without lifing out "I love you" shows that you do not know the meaning of the words. God so loved the world doesn't mean much until there is added to it "that he sent his only son" to save the world. Some people will turn away from the idea of loving God because of the twisted understanding they have of the word "love". Nevertheless, God's word says, "And we know that for those who…". The world is divided between God lovers and God haters.
Those who love God.
The great divide. Let's read Ephesians 4:17-18, Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. The Greek word translated here as "Gentiles" could just as easily be translated "nations" or, "the human race". Christians are separated from the world by their faith in Jesus Christ. That faith can, and often does, result in rejection by the world. Recently, a pastor in Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced to sixty days in jail and a $1210 fine. For seven years he had hosted a Bible study at first in his home. When it outgrew his home he built a game room on the property and the Bible study begin to meet there. The government authorities determined that what he had was a church and therefore involved dozens of code violations. The Pastor's response was his meeting was no different than a group of friends coming together to play poker or watch football.
I have often joked that we think persecution is the code enforcement people not letting us break the law. This case is no joke! This man has had to pay a hefty fine and is now sitting in the Maricopa County jail, unless he has been released in the last few days. And that is not a fun place. I have no doubt that there are code violations, if the building is really a church, but at the same time there appear to be similar buildings being used for all sorts of recreation in the area. The problem is a lack of evenhandedness just because the use of the building involved Bible study.
We need to remember…
Trials come — look at Job! If you want to follow in your Bible turn to the book of Job. Most of you know the story of Job. He was caught up in a great contest between God and Satan. After he lost his property, and his family, he responded, Job 1:20-21, Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Then, he lost his health and the loving support of his wife. Read 2:9-10, Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Later, after much suffering and struggle Job answered his tormentors 13:15, Though he slay me, I will hope in him. That's love! That's trust! Job didn't feel very loving. I'm sure that all he felt involved grief and pain. But he could still say that he would rather hope in the God of heaven than turn away and follow his grief. Further on Job made one of the most profound theological statements in the Old Testament. He probably did not have any written Bible. In the context of the story I believe it happened long before Abraham, the father of faith. But Job knew God and could speak with confidence 19:25-27, For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! And the rest of the story illustrates Romans 8:28. God allowed one who loved him to suffer for no apparent reason. God allowed it to happen because he had a greater purpose than Job's comfort. And when it was over God restored his fortunes and honored his prayers. Job loved God and was loved by him in return.
According to John, in his first little letter, we love God because…
He first loved us. Read with me 1 John 4:18-19, There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
There's a praise song we sing that goes like this:
Your love, oh Lord
Reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness stretches to the sky
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains
Your justice flows like the ocean's tide
I will lift my voice
To worship You, my King
I will find my strength
In the shadow of your wings
That's an expression of love and trust in the living God reflecting his love back to him.
But does God really work good in…
All things? I believe he does.
He uses good things. Read with me Romans 5:2, Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God! We have obtained access into his grace and we enjoy it! That's a good thing and God uses it to help us to grow up to his image reflected in Christ. But God also uses…
Bad things. Look at the next three verses Romans 5:3-5, More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Suffering may be physical or mental/emotional. God always has a plan that includes our suffering and he has a purpose in allowing it. William Cowper was a great hymn writer. He wrote thousands of poems and hymns. Two of them are found in our hymn book more than two hundred years after they were written. One we sing often, "There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood". The other is less well known and we've never sung it. It is entitled, "O for a Closer Walk with God" And is hymn numbered 471. The second verse reads like this, "Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord? Where is the soul refreshing view of Jesus and his word? The last verse shows his love for and trust in God. It reads like this, So shall my walk be close with God, calm and serene my frame; so purer light shall mark the road that leads me to the lamb. Cowper could trust in the God he loved and know, without a doubt, though he suffered much mental anguish he would still be brought through to the glory of God.
Another sufferer was Adoniram Judson who served in Burma as one of the earliest missionaries. He saw the death of his first and second wives and several of his children with little obvious spiritual results. One day, obviously reflecting on the suffering he had gone through, he wrote this little poem:
In joy or sorrow, health or pain,
Our course be onward still;
We sow on Burma's barren plain,
We reap on Zion's hill.
Judson understood his calling and his God. He knew he could love God because God loved him, in fact, God is love!
In the Bible book of Habakkuk we see the prophet observing the contradiction of God using the pagan nation of Assyria, and later Babylon, to punish Israel and Judah. There was much suffering during that time and yet he could write at the end of this little book the following words, Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. Though all else fail Habakkuk would say, "yet I will rejoice in the Lord"! We need to learn to follow these examples and keep our eyes focused on the author and perfecter of our faith, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Those who love the Lord are also…
Those who are called. Romans 8:30
There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding around the concept of election or predestination. Of course, there are those who help make it worse by insisting on a hypercalvinism. I personally am not a follower of Calvin so much as I am a follower of Paul. What the Scripture sets forth plainly is that God has issued a call to mankind of a general nature and a call to some, very specifically, that will not be resisted.
There is a story told about John Leland, an evangelist from Virginia in the late 1700s. He was visiting with a local doctor who had recently become a Christian. The doctor was eager to learn more about the faith. After some conversation, the doctor told him that he should be glad to have his views on two or three points of religious doctrine. First, as to the sovereignty of God. This was with Elder Leland a favorite theme, and one in which his head and his heart had been engaged for sixty years. He proceeded, and occupied several minutes in repeating appropriate passages of Scripture, commenting upon them in a most lucid manner, until the doctor said he was entirely satisfied with those views. "Now," said he, "please let me know what you think of the free agency of man." With no less authority from Scripture, and no less potency of reason, he made this point equally satisfactory. "Now, Elder," said the doctor, — "One more solution, and I shall be entirely satisfied — will you tell me how you reconcile these two great and important truths." "Doctor," said he, "there was once a mother, who, busy with her needle, was teaching her daughter to read. The child at length came to a hard word, and asked her mother what it was. "Spell it, my child," said she, "I can't spell it." "Let me see it then." She handed her the book, and the mother, after puzzling over it for some time, returned to the child, and said, "Skip it then." Iain H. Murray, Revival and Revivalism, Banner of Truth Trust, pp 318-319
When we come to what appear to be two conflicting doctrines, that are both clear in Scripture, we may just have to "skip it" until we have better light on the situation. Both, the doctrine of election, and, the free will of man are taught in Scripture. Don't get tangled up in trying to resolve the apparent conflict. Rest in the fact that all Scripture is God breathed and is profitable for our instruction.
First of all let's look at…
The general call. Read the words of Jesus in, Luke 24:46-47, Jesus said, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. …" Repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name among all nations. Repeatedly, throughout Scripture, the word says we are to proclaim the gospel to everyone, everywhere. Look at what Paul said in Romans 10:14, How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? The message must go out to everyone of every race and nation that the Savior has come. For many the response may be negative but we have no way of knowing until we proclaim it. But for some there is a positive response to the gospel that is…
An effective call. Look at the words of Jesus,John 6:44, No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
In order for the call to be effective the Father has to draw that person. Nothing we do can cause a person to be drawn to God. We can plant the seeds, we can water, but God gives the increase. When Paul and Silas crossed over to Philippi, bringing the gospel for the first-time to Europe, they sought out a place of prayer. They went there on the Sabbath and finding a group of women set down and presented the gospel. Luke records the story for us, Acts 16:14, One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. Paul spoke the words God had given him. That's all he could do. Deliver the mail! It was up to God to open her heart to pay attention to what was said and, at the end of the day, she and her whole household believed and were baptized. All of these things are part of God's purpose. All things work together for good for those who are called…
According to God's purpose.
The salvation of his people. Read with me, Ephesians 1:5-10, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have redemption through his blood. From the beginning of time God planned to send his son to be born of a woman, live a sinless life, and die on the cross for our sins. He did this with the specific purpose of uniting all things in him in heaven and on earth. Since that is true, his purpose not only includes salvation it also involves our glorification. His purpose is…
To glorify them. Jesus talked about this plan in his prayer preserved in the gospel of John. Turn with me to John 17:20-23, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.…" Jesus actually said that he had given, already, the glory that the father had given him to those who believe in him. Well, I'm not experiencing it all the time but I have to remember that my experience is not the standard, the word of God is. You see I can't work up God's glory but I can accept what God has done. Look with me at the words Paul wrote to the Philippians, Philippians 1:6, And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that my salvation does not depend on my good works. In fact the Bible is very clear that it is not by works of righteousness that I have done but according to his own mercy he saved us. You see…
It is God who does the work. Look at, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Pay attention to what this passage says. The God of peace himself will sanctify you completely. You cannot sanctify yourself — it's impossible. Only God can do that! But folks, it says right here that he is faithful and he will surely do the work of completing our salvation. The glory that Jesus gives will be revealed in us at the end of time.
God sent his son to seek and save that which is lost. There is, and always has been, a great divide among humans. Cain killed Abel simply because Able offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice. However, God had a plan and a purpose even before he created the earth. That plan was to raise up a people by his own strength to serve and follow him out of love because "God is love"! Have you come to love him? Come to him today he will not turn you away.is
All Scripture quotes are from The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Romans 8:26-28, Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
The suffering of this present time is not worthy to be compared with the glory that is revealed in us. But the suffering of this present time often interferes with our prayer life and with our spiritual growth and development. We need help and are not even sure what to ask for. Remember the old saying, "Be careful what you ask for — you may get it!" Sometimes we just don't know what to ask for simply because we can't imagine what the answer would need to be. Thank God, the Spirit helps us in…
Resulting from our suffering. Read with me, Romans 8:18, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us… & 23, And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Without any doubt the apostle Paul understood the problems of suffering. You recall his pedigree found in 2 Corinthians, Chapter 11. There he spoke of imprisonment, beatings, stoning, shipwrecks, being constantly surrounded by danger and physically in need. Along with all this physical and mental suffering he still carried on his heart the daily pressure of anxiety for the churches. Without a doubt he understood suffering. He also knew that every believer will suffer at one time or another because of their faith and this suffering causes us to be weak in faith. We are also weak…
Resulting from our lack of knowledge. We know what we want, but don't know what's really right in any given situation. Our wants, the Bible tells us, are not God's wants! Contrary to popular opinion the world doesn't circulate around us! We are not the center of the universe individually or corporately. Sometimes we don't even know what we want. We only know that we want something to fix the problem. So one of our weaknesses is ignorance.
Ignorance is not a bad thing it just simply means that we do not know. Ignorance can be cured by knowledge. How can we know the will of God? We know the will of God by knowing the Bible. The Bible is God's revealed will to mankind. I know the Bible pretty well, but even with that, I don't always know what to apply in any given situation. I need direction and guidance.
Please, don't just open the Bible and put your finger down and claim a verse to solve your problem. That's nothing but superstition. But please do search the Scriptures for an answer to your problem. Take the time to look and see for yourself. Ask advice from someone you trust who really knows the Bible. And ask God to show you what you need to know. Many times our prayers are not answered because of our selfishness.
Resulting from our selfishness. Look with me at, James 4:3, You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Often times we are very sure what we want and believe that God should give it to us but our motives are wrong and God measures the heart. Half jokingly, someone created a T-shirt that said, "God, let me prove I can be trusted. Let me win the lottery"! That T-shirt prayer reflects the self-centeredness that's part of the human condition. So, often our prayers are not answered because they result from our self-centeredness. God is not honored when we are selfish. He is pleased to reward us when we ask correctly. Jesus himself said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) Thank God for that and focus on his kingdom and his righteousness. Because of our weakness the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
Jesus promised the Spirit. Read, John 14:15-17, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. … In his last days on earth, knowing that his disciples would soon be lost without him, he told them what the future plan was. At least three times he told him he would be arrested, beaten, and crucified by sinful men. He also said after three days he would rise again. Jesus knew they didn't understand it so he tried to reassure them in another way. He promised that he would send another helper, the Spirit of Truth, to be with them when he was gone. There is a false teaching in the world today that says a person can be a believer without having the Holy Spirit. I believe in being filled with the Spirit. I believe in many fillings of the Spirit. I have to base my beliefs on the word of God, not on my feelings or my experiences. The word of God says…
The Spirit lives in every believer. Read, 2 Timothy 1:14, By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and causes a person to seek a right relationship with God. The Holy Spirit comes into the life of a person and causes them to be born again into the family of God. The Holy Spirit guides and protects us, sometimes when we are not even aware of it! The Holy Spirit informs us — puts thoughts into our minds that glorify God. The thoughts that come to us come from at least three sources. First, they come from our renewed mind that no longer generates sinful thoughts. (1 John 3:9 and 5:18). Second, they come from the Holy Spirit and those thoughts always glorify God. Third, our thoughts come from the power of sin that lives in our body. Those thoughts never glorify God but often stimulate us to selfish desires! Thank God for the work he does in our lives to defeat the power of the enemy by pulling down every stronghold taking every thought captive to Christ. He sends his Spirit to live in us. That enables us to pray…
According to God's will. Look at what John had to say, 1 John 5:14-15, And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. Even Jesus had to ask "according to the Father's will" when he was in the garden of Gethsemane. You remember he prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." Jesus knew the will of the Father, but his humanity caused him to look for another way. I don't always know the will of the Father. Or, not liking it, still look for another way. Many times people will come to me and ask me to tell them it's alright to do something that's clearly not "alright". How can we really know God's will? Look at what the psalmist said, Psalm 37:4, Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. This is a spiritual IQ test! You're still very immature as a Christian if you take the phrase, "he will give you the desires of your heart" to mean that you could have any desire you want. That can only be true if your "wanter" has been fixed by the Spirit of God who has come to live in you. What this passage really says is that if we will make the Lord God our delight and desire to please him in all things. he will put the desires in our heart. These desires will bring glory and honor to him, and will guide us into a prayer life that will be…
According to his purpose.
The Spirit is our guide. Jesus explained to his disciples what the Spirit would do for them, John 16:13-15, When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare to you.
The Spirit of God comes to live in every believer when they are saved. He's there to guide us into all the truth. The Spirit, as part of the Godhead, will only instruct us in the things that please the Father. Sometimes, he will reveal to us the future to protect us from bad decisions while guiding us to right decisions. But always the Spirit of God glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He reminds us of what Jesus taught. He shows us how to obey Jesus and how to encourage others to obey Jesus. The Spirit guides us and our renewed mind receives that guidance. We know that's true because…
We have the mind of Christ. Read with me 1 Corinthians 2:16, “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. … I love it when the Bible is very clear. There should be no debate about the presence of the mind of Christ in the believer. We have his mind and are able to think his thoughts.
Why don't we do that all the time? It's pretty simple. We also have all our past experiences and habits resident in our body. I assume that the power of sin is resident in our brain as part of our memory. We learn how to tell the difference between the mind of Christ and our old habits as we grow in grace and the knowledge the Lord . You know the old saying, "Live and learn"? Some of us are pretty thick. One day I heard someone use that phrase in my dad's presence. Dad responded, "Some folks just live". If, as a Christian believer, you "just live" rather than "live and learn" you will be confronted again and again with the same problem until you "get it". We should look at everything in life as part of our spiritual education — I am sure that God does. Having the mind of Christ does not mean that everything we do is according to God's will. We are still subject to the world, the flesh and the devil. Eventually, we will see that the same problem continues to confront us and we will desire to "get it right" so we can go onto the next thing, whatever that is!
I'm so glad that God is patient and long-suffering with us. With his patience and the guidance of his Holy Spirit we develop the ability to think his thoughts because we have the mind of Christ! That guides us into…
Not our will but his wisdom. This is a long reading. Bear with me, 1 Corinthians 1:18-30, For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,…
We need to take this passage apart and see what it says. Too often we read Scripture and it seems to go into our eyes and out somewhere without having much effect on our mind. Or, we hear Scripture and it just goes in one ear and out the other! The world considers Christian teaching to be foolishness or folly. Well I have news for the world! God has made foolish the wisdom of the world. Unbelievers seem to be desperate to prove that God does not exist. Billions of dollars are spent in an effort to discover the origin of the universe. All the while ignoring the truth that "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Some will say, "They are only trying to discover how God created." If you watch the news, you know that on July 4 scientists in Switzerland announced evidence of the existence of the Higgs boson. This is a subatomic particle that will explain for them how things hold together. It is been popularly called "the God particle". Paul wrote to the Colossians the following words: For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17) Nothing discovered by science has ever disproved the existence of God.
Dr. David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's University of Durham,England, wrote: "When I was a physics student, the then retired Professor Rochester became a friend and we would sit together in our local church. I asked him once why he thought God had made a Universe with so many strange and exotic particles, to which he replied ‘Of course all particles are God’s particles. The really amazing thing is that he gives us the gift of science to discover them’."
My observation is that many scientists are clearly trying to teach that there is no God. The Bible has an answer for that, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'.” I understand that a better translation might be, "No God for me."
Paul's preaching was pretty simple. "… We preach Christ crucified" and that message is a stumbling block to the world. For those who believe, that message is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
The Spirit of God has come to live in us, the mind of Christ has been given to us and Christ has become God's wisdom for us. We are able to pray with confidence because we know without a doubt that God causes all things work together for good for those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.
We are in desperate need of the power of God in our day-to-day lives. In our human abilities and strengths we "get by" until things get tough. We don't know how to pray or what to pray for. Oh, we have lots of opinions on the subject but no real knowledge. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray and he gave us the model prayer call by many "the Lord's Prayer ". Even in that we only have a form with little knowledge of how to fill in the gaps. We need to remember that prayer is not a "shopping list" of wants and desires. Instead, prayer is communion with a Holy God. His first purpose should be getting into God's will. Then, when he gives us desires we may ask for them and he will answer according to his purpose.
All Scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.