Hard to Believe

youtube sessions

Happy Autumn!!  It’s my favorite season of the year and it’s in full swing in New York City.  I’ve got a new song for you this week.  I’m always amazed at myself how I wonder if God will come through for me.  He has never let me down.  Ever. Be it finances, where to live, how to get there, what to do, how to do it, who to be with, how to meet them, it has made no difference!  He has always met every need in a way that I couldn’t have imagined before.

But still, I come across a situation from time to time and my flesh says, “No way this is happening.”  That’s such a lie. Lord, help me to trust You…to just believe — all that You require.

Download here.  Play here:[audio:http://benwardmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/Hard-to-Believe.mp3|titles=Hard to Believe|artists=Ben Ward]

Hard to Believe

Why don’t I believe You
Why, You never fail
You always answer
So many stories I could tell
But the train runs Your schedule
Keeping perfect time
That’s what always kills me
I get restless, flying blind

CHORUS
You heal
You provide
You speak
And the fear inside me dies
You rescue
You protect
You orchestrate
And lives intersect
You’re everything I need
So why, every once-in-a-while
Is it so hard to believe?

You tell me, “Keep on asking”
Ask, seek, knock
I know You want to bless me
But my heart is solid rock
Could You plan some excavating
Digging out my doubt
Replacing it with faith
So I can trust my way out

CHORUS

Instead of trusting I keep trying
Run in place, forget the timing
Circumstance and speculation
Keep me in the dark
But Your lamp keeps shining
Illuminating shadows in my heart

CHORUS

Rave Recommendations

I had always heard of A.W. Tozer, but hadn’t really read or heard any of his teaching. A few weeks ago someone tweeted a quote of his that floored me:

The church that can’t worship must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment.

So I wanted to see if there was more where that came from…and there most definitely was!

tozer

I first found a series of MP3s from 1960 – ten sermons in a series on the Holy Spirit. I’ve listened to three and they are exceptional.

The next thing I did was to download his book The Pursuit of God.” I’ve been using the Amazon Kindle App for my iPhone to read books…it’s so easy to just download a book and my phone’s always with me. This book was only 99 cents! But it’s worth far more than that.

I’m only a few chapters in but there are already some amazing truths. Here are a few of my favorites (so far):

The modern scientist has lost God amid the wonders of His world; we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word.

…but let him come defenseless before the Lord and he will have for his defender no less than God himself.

The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.

(God said to Levi)…”I am thy part and thine inheritance,” and by those words made him richer than all the brethren, richer than all the kings and rajas who have ever lived in the world.

God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.

So, I highly recommend the teaching of A.W. Tozer this week. Do you have any recommendations for me??

Like a Little Kid

There are some 300,000 churches in America, and I could have picked any one to attend on Easter morning, but I liked being in this one. Especially the kids. They didn’t need Reverend Henderson’s prayer techniques, or the high-tech mantras of the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Their prayers weren’t Rabbi Gellman’s suburban Jewish prayers of Thanks! offered to whom it may concern. They didn’t pray to de-center their egos or find transcendence or to set off on a lifelong therapeutic spiritual journey. They prayed to a God with whom they were on a first-name basis, and they believed their prayers gave them power, which they used on behalf of their asthmatic sisters and infirm grandparents and a kid they knew with burns on his body. Sitting in church on Easter morning, I realized that I was probably never going to become a praying man. But if, by some miracle, I ever do, I hope my prayers will be like the prayers of the kids I met at the Love church in Berkeley Springs. Straight-up Gimme! on behalf of people who really need the help.ZEV CHAFETS in the New York Times Magazine

This is quite an interesting article about prayer (and long if you know the Times magazine).  This last paragraph was so powerful to me.  The author is an agnostic and goes to all kinds of Churches, Synagogues, therapists, etc. to find out about prayer.

In the end the most powerful expression came just as Jesus said it would: like a child.

I want to come to God like that.  So often when I pray I’m concerned with “squeezing it in” or getting to everyone on my list rather than just coming to Jesus with my heart open to the possibility that He can do anything.  Anything for me.  Anything for those I love and care about.  All I have to do is believe.

So, this week, I’m going to lay my heart open before the Lord and be like a child.  Imperfect and full of anticipation.

Just like a little kid.

I Am Known

youtube sessions

Sometimes life can get pretty lonely.  It can feel like you’re the only person in the world — the only one who’s going through what you’re going through.  But  then there’s the truth that God knows me.  He knows everything that’s going on in my life and He knows what I feel.  I am known…

Download here.  Play here:[audio:http://benwardmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/I-Am-Known.mp3|titles=I Am Known|artists=Ben Ward]

I Am Known

I’m a stranger in the world
Does anyone really know me?
I’m on the outside looking in
I just need You to show me
That what I believe is true
That You really care
Then quietly I hear Your voice
And I know You’re there

CHORUS:
I am known, I am celebrated
I am recognized, so familiar
You call me by my name
I am known, I am loved and accepted
And as I seek Your face
You wash me with Your grace
And promise me I’ll never be alone
I am known

That the God of all the universe
Even thinks of me at all
I’m like a tiny little leaf
But He sees when I fall
And He picks me up and sings a song
A song of mercy and kindness
No one else around, I know His heart
He knows mine and I am blessed

CHORUS

Better than I know myself
More than I could dream
But I don’t have to run and hide
His forgiveness covers me
Sets me free

CHORUS

A Prayer for NYC

This year is the first year Olivia and I have lived in New York City on 9-11.  We lived in Boston when it happened in 2001, and came down several times over the next several months, but we’ve never been “New Yorkers” on an anniversary.  It was a crazy thought to think as I was getting on the Subway this morning, that that day started out normal for millions as well.

So today, as a new “New Yorker,” I want to offer a prayer for the City:

Lord, thank You for all You’ve done to heal hearts, minds, and bodies in the eight years since the attacks on New York City in 2001.  Thank You for Your mercy, Your compassion, and Your power to overcome evil with good.  I thank You that many have come to know You as they’ve sought answers to their questions.  I thank You that You are the answer to any question.  Thank You for bringing back this City to a place of prosperity and influence.  Thank You for the gifts You have blessed it with.  Thank You for people that recognize and honor those gifts.

God, I ask You to protect this place from another attack.  I ask You to foil any plans that the enemy may have.  Will You frustrate even the most cunning of masterminds?  They hold nothing on You and Your omniscient, omnipresent power.  You know everything.  Before a thought has been born You know it and I ask You to be the great defender of New York City.  David called You a Strong Tower and may the people look to You, and only You, as that refuge.

I pray for the Church of Your Son, Jesus, here in New York.  May there be a mighty revival of power here.  May the great cathedrals and churches be filled with Your Spirit in even greater portions than at their creation.  May they be filled with believers and seekers.  May the fire of Your presence consume all who call on Your name.  Bring about repentance from our evil ways.  May there be genuine sorrow and conviction for things in our lives and City that do not honor You.  May that repentance be met with a raining of mercy and forgiveness that only You could bring.  Bring revival to Your Church here, Jesus.  And bring an awakening to those who have yet to come to know You.  May Your workings and movement in this City be a testimony to America and to the world.

Thank You for Your unending, unfathomable love in the person of Jesus in whose name I offer this prayer.  Amen.

Something Big

Recently, one of my Twitter friends stated, “what you ask of God reflects what you believe about Him.” 

If I don’t ask Him to meet seemingly unmeetable needs, do I not believe He can or would meet those needs (Phillipians 4:19)?  If I don’t ask him to heal the sick, do I actually believe He can do it (Isaiah 53:5)?  If I refrain from asking Him to make a way for me in my job/career do I somehow not really believe that He helps those who call on Him (Matthew 7)?

I want to believe God for great things.  Things that can’t be explained away rationally or with some natural answer.

Remember the movie Pay It Forward?  Haley Joel Osment’s character embarks on a project to do good things for others.  But the things have to be what he calls “Big.”  Not just holding the door for someone (that’s good), but something that alters someone’s life in a meaningful, impactful way.

That’s what I want to pray for, to ask God for.  For mountains in people’s lives to be moved, for the mountains in my life to be moved.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)

Recently at work I saw a name of a foundation that said this to me: The Miami Project to Cure ParalysisThe namers of this organization weren’t aiming to make a few nice discoveries.  They were going for the end-all for those who are affected by paralysis: the cure.

That’s what I want to have the faith to ask for in my life…to get rid of all debt…to see my eyes healed…to have a song cut…and on to my family, on to friends, on to cities, on to nations.

Let’s ask God for big things!!

What are you asking for?