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Is God listening?"
August 16, 2023

August 2023 Issue 209

Is God listening to my prayers?

"Is God listening to me? Is anybody there?"

Everyone who has ever prayed has asked those questions, although some might be embarrassed to admit it. We singles probably ask them more often than married folks.

Prayer can be exasperating. Most of the time it feels like a one-way conversation. What about those people in the Bible who talked with God, and he talked back? Why doesn't he do that with you and me?

I asked God that question and guess what? He didn't answer.

Luckily for me (and you too), I'm not like one of those TV preachers who says, "The Lord told me…" or "God said to me…" I think they're fibbing.

I believe we have proof God is listening to us when we pray, even if we don't hear his reply. See why I think that way: Is God listening?

A hidden world

There's a hidden world around us
that we mortals cannot see,
where God is working miracles
to safeguard you and me.

It's as real as solid granite,
neither heaven nor in hell.
It's a place of secret warfare
where the mighty angels dwell.

They are fighting, ever fighting,
yet they're always in control.
They keep the horde of demons
from defiling your soul.

When hard choices come upon you,
they deflect each fiery dart,
so Christ's own Holy Spirit
can speak clearly in your heart.

You can count on their protection
to ward off Satan's wrath.
They are fighting, ever fighting
to keep you on God's path.

You'll never know how many times
they came to your defense.
But when the world is closing in
their power you can sense.

There's a hidden world around us,
where God's mighty angels roam.
And some day they'll escort you
safely to your final Home.

~ Jack Zavada,, 2023 ~

"You can't be happy by making yourself miserable"

That's a pretty obvious statement, yet many singles engage in self-sabotaging behavior that does, in fact, make them really miserable.

Hope for Hurting Singles shows you how to recognize that kind of conduct in yourself and how to stop it. I can tell you how because I made myself miserable for years!

It's hard to be objective about yourself. We tend to rationalize the very acts that are holding us back. The advantage of Hope for Hurting Singles is that it's a compassionate way of addressing your problems. You read, you ask yourself, "Am I doing that?" If you are, then you read how I stopped. Then you try my method yourself.

I'm no therapist, just an everyday guy who believes common sense is usually the best solution to a problem. Hope for Hurting Singles is jam-packed with common sense, the kind you develop after decades of trial-and-error.

You'll find advice on depression, rejection, self-esteem, fear, and loneliness. Want to read that chapter on loneliness right now? I'm making it available f'ree, right here.

Hope for Hurting Singles is $10.99 in paperback or $3.99 for the Kindle version.

August QOTM: When God is closest

August's Quote of the Month comes from someone intimately acquainted with heartache: Joni Eareckson Tada. A quadriplegic because of a diving accident when she was just a teen, Joni has used her life to inspire millions, while proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ:

Heartache forces us to embrace God out of desperate, urgent need. God is never closer than when your heart is aching.

~ Joni Eareckson Tada (1949 - ) ~

I am convinced beyond a doubt that when we cry, God cries with us and for us. Perhaps the most poignant verse in the entire Bible is John 11:35: Jesus wept.

The unfairness of life can drive us to our knees. We pray and ask God "Why?" but get no answer. God's silence is painful. People much smarter than me have tried to explain it, but sometimes God's ways are a frustrating mystery. I do know this: God never gives up on us, so we should never give up on Him.

Silence in reply to our prayers is the norm, not the exception. God does speak to us, however, through his Word, circumstances, and other people. Keep watch. Ask Him to help you spot His answer.

If God wrote you a love letter, how often would you read it?

Love letters—real, honest to goodness love letters on paper—are rare today.

We communicate through texts or emails, but there's something coldly mechanical about them. That's why a real, snail mail love letter is a beautiful thing. Do you realize God has written you a love letter? It's the Bible. But sadly, only about a third of Christians read the Bible every day.

From outward appearances, the Bible doesn't look like a love letter. It's a book, and it's printed in the millions. What most Christians don't understand is the Bible is a supernatural book, the only one ever written.

Here's what's different about it: When you read it, the Holy Spirit within you makes it a personal love letter to you. He works in your spirit to reveal who God is. He teaches you things you can't learn anywhere else. He rewards your effort with the gift of understanding.

The Bible is God's personal love letter to you. God has a lot to say to you, and this is how he chooses to do it. See how God uses the Bible to show you who he is.

The time a new car made me sad…

This is one of the most important lessons I've ever learned:

I sat behind the wheel of my brand new car, a gold 1991 Chevrolet Cavalier. It wasn't fast or sleek, but it was replacing a lemon that had given me headaches for months. Although it was raining that night, I decided to take it for a drive around Galesburg, Illinois to get the feel of it.

After driving about an hour, I felt odd. Oh, the car performed flawlessly, but I realized something.

I wasn't happy. A new car is supposed to make you happy, right? But I wasn't. I just felt sort of…flat. It was a nice car. I was not disappointed with my purchase. Still, I didn't feel happy, like the drivers in TV commercials.

It was a few weeks later before I finally understood what was going on:

Material things can never satisfy spiritual needs.

I needed a new car. My old one was unreliable. My new car met a material need but didn't have the power to lift me to some level of personal bliss.

I was 40 years old at the time, still wondering why I couldn't shake the nagging restlessness inside me. About six months after I got the car, I was reading the Bible when a verse jumped out at me and changed my life forever:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6, ESV)

There wasn't any angel choir singing in the background, but that wouldn't have surprised me. My restlessness had been God all along. Nothing I had tried had worked because Jesus is the way. Jesus is also the only truth that can never be proven wrong. And Jesus is the life, the source of life now and for eternity.

The lesson for you is God has implanted a burning need for Him inside you. It cannot be satisfied with cars, houses, clothes, jewelry, careers or anything else. Only Jesus can satisfy it. When you make him your Number One Priority, the restlessness will finally stop.

Don't dismiss this. Don't let it be just another little throwaway tip like how to clean your kitchen faster. Life is about Christ. That's what you're searching for, whether you realize it or not. It's not a matter of already having Jesus. It's a matter of looking to him for the soul-deep fulfillment that brings the Kingdom of Heaven to you right here, right now.

Are things actually speeding up?

The Bible prophecy teachers on TV are convinced we're in the End Times. Maybe it's my imagination, but it seems life is moving faster and faster. And that's coming from a retired guy!

It could be all the technology. It could be my attention span is shrinking. I don't know. I do know it's a relief to go to church every week where things slow down so we can worship God in peace.

Do you go to church? It's comforting to pray with other believers. You're part of a family and you're missing out if you don't take advantage of that.

So there's the August Inspire-O-Gram, fellow singleton. I hope something in it refreshed you. Your comments are always welcome. Our secure contact form will send them at warp speed right into my personal inbox, then I'll send you a reply.

Thanks for reading. I'll leave you with the words of pastor and writer Tony Campolo: "God carries your picture in his wallet."

Jack Zavada
PS: Not a Christian? Find out how to become one!

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