Looking for an answer? Wish God would speak to you, and tell you what he thinks? Be assured, God wants you to know his will for you even more than you want to know it. Come and find the answers to your questions. (Recorded November 22, 1998)
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My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,
and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
The Search for Wisdom is Not in Vain
Let me assure you the search is worth it. It will not be in vain. Listen to what God said in Proverbs. Look for it, search for it, and you will find it.
James makes this promise:
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
John records this promise from Jesus:
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
The Beginning of Wisdom
George Washington Carver: God, tell me the mystery of the universe.
God: That’s too vast for you to comprehend.
Carver: Then can you tell me the mystery of the peanut? God: Well, George, that’s more nearly your size.
And God told him. Up till then the peanut was only used as food for pigs, but Carver invented over 300 uses for it, including oils, grease, paint, cosmetics and peanut butter. The peanut became a chief product of the state of Alabama, affecting their entire economy.
Where do I look for answers?
Keep your eyes open. Keep your ears open. Keep your heart open. I love to pour out my wisdom on those who seek it.
Look through the Bible and see how many ways he spoke to people.
Just a simple search on the words The Lord Said, reveals hundreds of times God spoke to people. The Lord said to Adam, The Lord said to Eve, the Lord said to Cain, the Lord said to Moses, the Lord said to Noah, the Lord said to Abraham, the Lord said to Aaron, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, Solomon, Elijah…and on and on.
Paul tells us that Jesus was right, the Spirit does speak to us about the deep things of God.
I Corinthians 2:9-10
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”– but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
As I prayed for Lana, almost a year earlier, this verse came to my mind. I asked God if she was the one, and I pictured the Spirit going, going, and going deeper into the heart of God to find the answer for me.
He’s spoken often through dreams. He revealed the name of Jesus to Joseph in a dream. He revealed to Abraham that he would have a son in a dream, and that his descendents would be as numerous as the sand. And he’s wakened me on several occasions from a dream that gave me pivotal answers to questions, one of which was the beginning of this Internet ministry.
He speaks through other people. David got many words from God from the people around him. David was very close to God, yet God still spoke significant things through prophets named Gad and Nathan that changed the course of his life forever. God speaks to me through other people: pastors, friends, even strangers.
He is speaking all the time. Keep your eyes open. Keep your ears open. Keep your heart open. God loves to pour out his wisdom on those who seek it.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
Thank you for giving us life and breath.
Thank you for speaking to us and answering our questions.
Lord, we revere you, we respect you and we rightfully fear you. We ask that you would pour out your wisdom upon us that we may serve you with everything we’ve got.
Hi! This is Eric Elder broadcasting live from The Ranch. Are you looking for answers to your questions? I hope that you are staying with me tonight because we are going to take a little bit of time to look at how God really does answer your questions. That search is not in vain. If you are searching for answers, I want to tell you tonight that God WILL answer your questions. In fact, He has spoken to me tonight – He just wanted to tell me a very simple message to tell you. This is the message:
Keep your eyes open, keep your ears open, and keep your heart open. For I, the Lord, am so eager to pour out my wisdom on those who seek it.
So God just really wants to do that for you. He wants to answer your questions. We are going to take a look at how He does that. Some different ways He might answer your questions and ways that you can keep your eyes, ears and heart open.
The Search for Wisdom is Not in Vain
I want you to look with me at a passage in Proverbs 2. So if you will open your Bible or if you don’t have a Bible in front of you, if you will look at the Message Notes that are on your screen. You can pull up the Message Notes and you will be able to read from Proverbs 2:1-6. I just want to play a short piece of music here while you read that passage. I just want those words to sink into your heart so you can really believe that this search is not in vain. That God really will answers your questions because He wants to show His will to you. In fact, He wants you to know His will more than you even want to know it. So, why don’t you take a look at Proverbs 2:1-6 and I will be back in a few minutes to talk with you about looking for answers and finding them in God.
So you see from reading in Proverbs that God really does want to answer your questions. He really is interested in you. In fact, He wants you to know His will more than you even want to know it. Doesn’t that just sound like God though? He really has your best interest in mind. He also has things that He wants to accomplish.
So He really wants to tell you what to do with your life. He wants to tell you whom to marry. He wants to tell you where to go to school. He wants to tell you what kinds of things to do with your money. What kinds of things to do with your life. What kinds of things to do with your talents and your gifts. God is very interested in revealing those things to you. So I just want to encourage you in that tonight. I just want to encourage you that God really will answer your questions. It is really worth asking and that the search is not in vain.
The Beginning of Wisdom
There is a funny story that I heard. Actually it was funny to me but it turned out to be a very truthful story. A man named George Washington Carver, he was an inventor, he came to God one day and said, “God, tell me the mystery of the universe.” And God said, “Oh, George, that is too vast for you to comprehend.” So George said, “Ok, God then tell me the mystery of the peanut.” Then God said, “Ok, George that is nearly your size.”
So He gave him insights into the peanut and how the peanut could be used. Up until that time the peanut was only used for hog food. So George Washington Carver came up with over 300 uses for the peanut. Everything from cosmetics, to oils, to paints, to greases and even peanut butter were invented by George Washington Carver. Simply by asking God, “God show me the mysteries of the peanut, show me Your wisdom, give me Your wisdom.” God graciously poured out the wisdom on that man and it changed the entire economy of the state of Alabama. The state of Alabama needed a turnaround and it turned out that the peanut, all the by-products and all the industries turned into a $300 million a year business. All because of a man named George Washington Carver simply asking God for wisdom.
God is very eager to give you wisdom. Let me just quote a few passages from the Bible where He makes this promise.
James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
You see, God is eager to give that out, and He gives generously to ALL without finding fault. Regardless of your education level, regardless of your color, regardless of your background, regardless of your situation or your past sins. God very much wants to give you wisdom. Even Jesus said He would send someone to give us wisdom. That “someone” is the Holy Spirit.
John 14:26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
So, Jesus promised when He was with His disciples and said, up to now I have taught you everything but when I leave I’m going to send another. My counselor, the Holy Spirit, He is going to reveal everything to you. He is going to teach you all things. He will remind you of everything I have said to you.
So we are not alone here. God very much wants to speak to us. Let us look where wisdom starts because we need to understand that God is the giver of all wisdom. As you looked in Proverbs 2, you noticed a key verse at the end, but look what we need to do up to the point where God speaks:
Proverbs 2:1-6 “My son, if you accept my words”
That is something right there, just accept His word.
“and store up my commands within you,”
That is something God wants us to do, store up His commands
“turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,”
He is saying turn your ear, apply your heart to understanding
“and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
It is God that is going to answer your questions, and God who is going to give the wisdom. Our part of the deal is to search for it, to look for it, to open our eyes, to call out for understanding, to cry aloud for it. Many of you I know have been doing that for a long time. You have been crying out to God and saying, “God, please answer me.”
I know that I was crying out at one time for some wisdom and I was asking God who I should marry. There was a girl in mind that I was wondering God is this was the girl? Is Lana the girl for me? I got down on my knees (literally) and I just pleaded before the Lord and asked, “Is this the one? Is this the one? You say your Holy Spirit will tell us. Will you tell me now?” This verse is one that I stuck with at that time. It is in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 and this is what it says what the Spirit of God will do for us.
“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has hearts, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.”
So, here Paul was saying, no one has seen or heard or conceives what God has prepared, but God has revealed it to us through His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things even the deep things of God.
As I was sitting there on the on my knees, saying, “God, what is the answer?” I was picturing the Holy Spirit searching all things, even the deep things of God. I could practically see, in my mind’s eye, the Holy Spirit going deeper and deeper and deeper into the heart of God to find the answer to my question. I just said, “God, please show me, please show me, please show me.” As I did I just saw the Spirit going further and further and further to ask God. And then all of a sudden – all my prayers stopped. Everything shut off. I just said, “Ok, God, where is the answer?” There was no answer that came that night. But I had a peace in my heart that the Holy Spirit had gone to find the answer for me.
Later, He came back with that answer. He revealed it to me and I will share that with you later about how you look for answers and where you look. I just wanted to let you know that it starts with God, it starts with searching out the deep things of God and saying, “God, I pray that You would show it to me.” As the end of Proverbs 2:6 says, “You will the knowledge of God.”
Where do I look for Answers?
So where do we look for answers? Once we start asking the question, where might we find some answers? I found this on my shelf – this is a book that we had gotten a few years ago. It is called The Book of Questions. As if we don’t have enough questions in life, they have written a book full of questions. For $3.95 you can buy this book and have all kinds of questions that you can ask.
Well, wouldn’t it be nice, if we could buy a book with the answers that would go with The Book of Questions, that we already have got, each of us, in our heart. Well, luckily for us, there is a book of answers and it is priceless. It is called the Bible. If you are looking for a word from God, here is over 800,000 of them. God has recorded in His written word all kinds of answers for us.
I get answers from the Bible more than any other way of getting an answer from God. When God speaks to me, He uses the words on the pages of this book. In fact, as I was asking God about Lana one more time – whether she was the girl to marry – I was reading Adam and Eve’s story. How Adam was sitting there in the garden and doing all his work, but he was all alone – there was no suitable helper found for him. And God said, “I will create a woman and bring that woman right to Adam.” So He put Adam to sleep, He created Eve; He created that woman and brought her to Adam. And He said, “Here, I have created this woman just for you.”
In that moment, God spoke to me and said, “Eric, I have created Lana just for you. Here she is, she is yours. She is a gift and I have brought her here to this city for you. I have brought her here so she can be your wife.” I was just thrilled and overjoyed that God had answered me through the Bible. God had given me a gift, just like He had given to Adam, a gift of a wife. I proposed to Lana that very day, in fact within ten minutes of hearing that from God. I went and I talked to Lana, and I said, “Lana, God has just spoken to me and has given me the most clear answer that I have had.” We were married a few months after that and almost eleven years later we have a terrific marriage. God knows He knows what is best for us; He knows those answers to our questions even before we ask them.
So God will speak to us through the Bible. It is one of the primary ways that I hear from God. God also speaks to us directly from the Holy Spirit. He tells us things; He quickens things to us in our hearts. He speaks to us directly even through His direct words. Many times He `spoke to people through the Bible. I did a simple search when it says in the Bible, “The Lord said” or “God spoke to someone”. Hundreds of times throughout the Bible it says: “The Lord spoke to Adam”, “The Lord spoke to Eve”, “The Lord said to Cain”, “The Lord said to Moses”, “The Lord said to Noah”, “The Lord said to Abraham”, “The Lord said to Aaron, to Joshua, to Gideon, to Samuel, to Solomon, to Elijah, and on and on and on. God speaks to His people. God speaks and He loves to speak to us. He loves to tell us what is on His heart.
God speaks to us through dreams. Some people are curious whether dreams come from God or whether they come from a pepperoni pizza that they ate that night. Well, some of each. But throughout the Bible God spoke through dreams. He spoke to Joseph in a dream and told him the name of His Son, Jesus. The very name Jesus came to the man Joseph in a dream. He spoke to Abraham in a dream, he spoke to Joseph in a dream and He spoke to them about what their future would be.
In fact, He spoke to me about this Internet ministry a year ago, in a dream. I woke up in the middle of the night, shot up out of bed and said that is it. That is exactly what God wants me to do. It was through a dream that God confirmed it and spoke it to my heart. So I would know that this is what He wanted me to do full time. So don’t discount how God speaks through dream. I got an e-mail from someone in Canada who shared with me a dream that I would love to share sometime if I get her permission. It spoke to her the love of Christ and how God really loved her and how God wanted to take care of her. God really does speak through that.
He speaks through people. Many times in the Bible, I would not think that we would need other people to us, even a man like David, King David, who is very close to God. He is called a man after God’s own heart. Even he would hear from other people sometimes what God had in mind for him. He heard from a man named Gad, about his future. He heard from a man named Nathan about his sin and about how God was going to deal with him on that sin when he committed adultery with Bathsheba. There were various times when other people spoke to a person about God’s will. That happens to us often, when we hear from a Pastor, we hear from someone on TV, we hear a friend, sometimes even a stranger – what God’s will is for us. We know in our hearts at that time that it is exactly right and that is what we are to do.
I want to encourage you that God is speaking all the time. He wants to answer your questions. I was asking Him what He wanted me to speak tonight. He spoke this into my heart, tells the people this,
Keep your eyes open, keep your ears open, keep your heart open. I love to pour out my wisdom on those who seek it.
So I want to pray and sing a song. Just worship God with me. I am going to come back after the song and just pray with you that God is going to open your eyes and He’s going to open your ears and open your hearts. He’s going to begin to answer your questions. So that you can know the wisdom of God. James 1:5 says
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and if will be given to him.”
Let us sing and worship God and then I want to come back. I have a special message if you don’t believe in God. I want to share that with you when we come back as well. God has such a plan for you; He wants to answer the biggest question that I believe you have in your mind – and that is “What is the purpose for my life?” “What is the meaning of Life?” When we come back after this song I’m going to share with you exactly what that is and how you can know that in your heart today. You can know that answer before you leave today.
You know this song, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. God is very faithful. If you just want to sing it with me, if you have a guitar, we are in the key of D. You can just sing along with me, play along with me and just worship the Lord because He is going to answer your questions.
Are You Searching for the Meaning of Life?
If you are searching for the meaning of life, if you are searching for what purpose are you put here for – I just want to tell you in a nutshell. God created you so that He can fellowship with you, so He can be with you and talk with you. He can’t fellowship with the stars; he can’t enjoy talking with the trees, the ants or the monkeys. He created someone in His own image and that someone is YOU. God said, “I just want to be with you.”
We unfortunately have turned away from God. We have sinned. If you are married you know what this is like. When you have sinned against your wife, you have committed adultery or something; you are not that close with your wife anymore. If you have not told her about it, if you have not confessed that and repented of that, then you are going to feel terrible. You are not exactly going to want to be around your wife very often, you are not going to be intimate with her. You are sort of going to want to runaway actually.
That is what it is like when we sin against God. We want to have an intimate relationship with God, but when we sin and turn away it pulls us away and that sins keeps us separated from God. God wants us to repent, turn around, confess our sins, and come back to Him. So we can be intimate with Him and talk to Him. That is why you were created so that you could be intimate with Him and enjoy God’s fellowship. Unfortunately, that sin is blocking you. The only way you can turn around and come back and be forgiven of that sin is to believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.
It was very simply stated in the Bible,
“For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
If you repent of your sins and believe that Jesus died on the cross for you, that you wouldn’t have to die for your sins – God will forgive you, He will forget those sins, they are washed away in a sea of forgetfulness. He forgets them as far as the east is from the west. You can come right back with God into fellowship with Him, be intimate with Him and enjoy a personal relationship with Him. Just like Noah did. Just like Moses, Paul, Amos, Obadiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah – all of these people had an intimate relationship with God. They walked with him and talked with him and they enjoyed his presence. There you have found the purpose of life.
We talked with a girl today who has found that a few weeks ago. Her whole life has changed. She has found the purpose of life she has found the meaning. She says she has learned more in the past week about God then I have in 35 years from going to church because she found it wasn’t about going to church, it wasn’t about the religious things we do. It was about walking with God and being intimate with him. God loves to change lives – He is in the life changing business. That is why He came, and Jesus that is why he died. He wants to do it for you.
I want to pray with you. If you want to know this meaning of life more personally, but I also want to pray with the many believers who are watching us as well. Who just want to some answers to their questions, their day to day questions. What do I do today? What do I eat? What do I wear? Where do I go? Who do I marry? There are a lot of questions that we have and God wants to answer them. Let us pray for those right now.
Lord, the Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. For anyone who doesn’t know you God, who has not come into that fellowship with You, who doesn’t walk with You. God I pray for them right now that they would repent of their sins. That this instant they would say, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I believe in Your Son, I want to go to heaven, and I want to have eternal life with You God.”
That is it that is all it takes. And God will forgive you and wipe them clean. I want to pray now for you who are asking tough questions of God and you are pouring out your heart and crying out to God. Let us pray right now for you.
Lord, You promised us that if any of us lack wisdom we just need to ask You and You will give generously to All without finding fault. That if we believe You and not doubt we won’t be tossed to and fro but we will have that sure foundation and we will know with certainty that You have answered us. God, I pray that You would pour out wisdom on those watching, that You would pour out your wisdom right now in this instant and as well as for the people watching later. I pray that You would pour out that wisdom so that they would know and have the assurance that even if You don’t answer today that You will give an answer. You promise us Lord and you say that if we seek for wisdom we will find it. We will find the knowledge of God. We will understand the mysteries.
God, if we are asking too much, then please shrink our request down to the size of a peanut. But then when you answer, I pray that you would give us 300 answers Lord so we would know what to do with it.
For the people who are wondering who to marry, if they will ever marry – God answer their questions. God, bring them a mate. Lord give them peace in their heart.
God, for people who are praying about children, I pray that you would answer them today. That they would know whether or not they are going to conceive. They would know whether or not to adopt. They would know whether or not that You are going to be there for them. I know Your answer is that You will – that you will be there. For you say that You will never leave us or forsake us.
God, I pray for those people who are really struggling with eating disorders, struggling with homosexuality. Struggling with adultery, struggling with affairs. Lord, for people struggling with what to do and how to get out of it – they have gotten in such a situation and they don’t even know how to get out of it. God give them wisdom and show them the way out. For God I know that you want to give them the way out. I know You want them to know how to get out. For You don’t want them to struggle in that mire, that muck, in that yuck that entangles all of us. I pray God that You would deliver them and show them the way out.
God, for people who are wrestling with what to do for the holidays, how to apply Your word to their life. For people who are struggling with what to do with their money. For people who are struggling with where they are going to get money. I pray that you would give them wisdom. I pray that they would seek You out, diligently and with their hearts Lord and that You would answer.
God, thank You for answering our questions, thank You that You have provided a Book of Answers, that is free to each one of us. Thank You that You have sent Your Holy Spirit, who searches out the deep things of God, so that we can know the answers to our deepest questions.
Lord, I love You, I worship You, and all of us watching tonight – we say thank you, thank you Lord for being so good to us. I thank You for my wife, who is in this room. I thank You God for answering my question for who to marry. I thank You for answering the question that I have had about the meaning of life. God, You are so good. We just bless You tonight and worship you and ask that You would continue to be with us as we sleep and as we go through our days. In Jesus Name. AMEN.
Boy, it is good to talk about the Lord. It is really good to share with you what He has taught me with you and I pray that you will share some of the things that He has taught you as well with me and with others. We have a chat room on The Ranch. I am going to go there right now after the live broadcast and we are just going to spend some time chatting.
If you are watching this later you can send me an e-mail or find me on ICQ, there is a way on our Talk to Someone page where you can locate me and we can talk. I would be glad to pray with you about any specific instances or any specific questions you have. Right now in the chat room we are going to talk a little more about these questions of how God answers prayers. I want to hear from you about how God has answered your prayers so that we can share that as encouragement with others.
Thanks for coming! I have enjoyed this time here at The Ranch. Join me again next week as we broadcast another message Live from The Ranch.