Just Ask, Part 2

Just Ask, Part 2

Let’s take a second look at asking. We have two children in college. One happily asks us to spring for things. The other often pays her own way, even for expenses we would gladly cover. I know she wants to be independent, but she’s trying to cover expenses for which we’ve already made provision.

So, are you trying to cover something yourself? Have you asked for something, only to have God answer, and you refused? For me, one of the most humbling things about marriage has been finances. God graciously allowed me to stay home and raise our children. However, after a stint in the workforce, the transition to complete financial dependence on my husband put a pin in my pride balloon. Even now, God and I wrangle over costs for school and writing. I’ve learned the hard way to humble myself and to accept His provision, even though God’s source made me squirm.

Coming. Asking. Receiving. Why are they so hard? Let’s take a look:

Accountability: If we ask, we may not like God’s answer and then we’re stuck. Obey—or not. Yet an opportunity to obey presents an opportunity to grow. God honors and blesses obedience. Even the smallest steps. Luke 17:6 says, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.’’ And it takes faith to obey.

Dependence: To admit need goes against our American streak of independence. It’s even worse here in Texas where a pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps mentality prevails. Yet Scripture reminds us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Humility: To come, ask, and receive, we must admit that we are sheep and He’s the Shepherd. Sheep aren’t that bright. They’re defenseless. They get lost. They have no cool factor. Something in us wants to be Boss and we wince at our weakness. Peter tells us to embrace our inner sheep, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:5-6)

Are the control, the independence, and the pride worth it? Or are they costing more than you know?

Workout for the Week: Just Ask, Part 2

Memory Verse: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Meditation Passage: John 1:10-13

Just Do It: Come, ask, receive.

 

Just Ask

Just Ask

My husband and two of my boys have a unique gifting. They ask—and people respond. I’ve seen them snag more discounts, free stuff, perks, and promotional items simply because they asked.

Still hesitant? Ever wonder what people in Scripture asked God for? Let’s take a look:

Advice: “ . . . so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered . . .” (2 Samuel 5:23)

Confirmation: “Then Gideon said to God, ‘Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.’ That night God did so.” (Judges 6:39-40)

Help: “Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.” (Daniel 6:11)

Favor: “Then Jehoahaz sought the Lord’s favor, and the Lord listened to him, for he saw how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel.” (2 Kings 13:4)

Understanding: “After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.” (Mark 7:17)

Wisdom: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)

And my personal favorite: We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” (Colossians 1:9-12)

So, why aren’t you asking God? What keeps you silent when your heart burns with questions?

God’s not too busy.

You’re request isn’t too small.

You’re not bothering Him.

Just as you want your children or grandchildren to ask you for things, freely and without inhibitions, go to your Father—and ask.

Workout of the Week: Just Ask

Memory Verse: Choose one from above.

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

Just Do It: Ask for something specific.

A New Season

A New Season

My kids have started school and so have I. Summer temps still hover—and will for another month, but a new season has arrived. Before we find ourselves drowning in the new activity of the fall, let’s take some time and explore what God has for each of us this season. Walk with me through Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. This won’t be a quick journey. Try chewing on a verse or two over a cup of coffee during the next couple of weeks. Here’s the passage and some questions to open us up to what God has for us this season:

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Extreme Thirst

Extreme Thirst

Camels have extreme thirst. They can drink 30-40 gallons at a time.

I think my puppy is part camel.

When he drinks, he flops down, wraps his paws around the bowl, and plunges his head in the water dish.

Sometimes he goes to the Texas-sized water bowl (the pool) for a drink. He’ll jump in—slurping all the while.

That’s some kind of thirsty.

When’s the last time you were that thirsty?

Thirsty for God?

Plunge-your-head-in-the-water-bowl thirsty for Him?

Three things contribute to my puppy’s thirst:

Food: His puppy chow makes him thirsty. What kind of spiritual chow are you feeding on? Because an absence from spiritual things—be it church attendance, Bible reading, or prayer—does NOT make the heart grow fonder. It creates callouses. We become hardened toward God and are less likely to feel hunger and thirst.

Exercise: We exercise Valor. A lot. He turns into Psycho Dog if we don’t. Exercise creates thirst. As we exercise our faith—in our thoughts, words, and actions—our thirst for God increases. It takes effort to submit all things to His authority in obedience.

Heat: August in Texas scorches. Just walking to the mailbox makes me sweat and sends Valor into the pool. But life burns too. A steady smolder that singes your spirit and shrivels your soul. Stress, challenges, just keeping the many balls we juggle in the air—these can drive our need for God. Substitutes won’t do. Only His peace is beyond understanding.

If not, train with Valor.

If so, Jesus says, “Come.”

The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” Revelation 22:17 (NIV)

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;” Isaiah 55:1

Nail your spiritual workouts and change your corner of the gym.

Workout of the Week: Extreme Thirst

Memory Verse: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” Psalm 42:1

Meditation Passage: Psalm 63

Just Do It: Only God can quench extreme thirst.

Walking on Water: When You Need to Reach

 

Walking on Water: When you Need to Reach

Workout of the Week: Walking on Water: When You Need to Reach

Memory Verse: “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’” Matthew 14:31 NIV

Meditation Passage: Matthew 14:28-33

Just Do It: Reach For Him.

Overwhelmed.

Underwater without scuba gear.

Desperate for firm footing.

Have you been here?

I was changing blog hosts, and six years of blogs had just disappeared. I floundered in the waves of technological ignorance. Helpless as the tiny rainbow wheel spun. Hopeless as the error message appeared and reappeared.

I identified with Peter in Matthew 14:

            “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

            “Come,” he said.

            Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw     the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

            Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

            And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

I had gotten out of the boat.

I had stepped out in faith.

But the storm blew my hair in my eyes, waves soaked me, and the water rose.

While I love The Hand of God painting by Yungsong Kim, I don’t think Jesus waited that long before He grabbed Peter’s hand.

Scripture confirmed He wouldn’t wait that long for me either.

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’” Matthew 14:31 NIV

Jesus’ question to Peter? “Why did you doubt?”

It’s my question too.

The same Lord masters calm water and violent waves.

And computers.

Would it have mattered if Peter had walked through fire instead of water? No. Neither does it matter what circumstance we face. He rules them all, and just because He permits the storm doesn’t mean He’s not reigning through every second of it.

Look at verse 33, “Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”

Those in the boat.

The disciples who watched the storm and Peter who stepped into it.

Eleven dry.

One wet.

All worshipped.

Have you stepped out? Is the water rising?

The people in the boat are watching.

Will you trust Him? He’s there, and He won’t let you go under.

Oh, and once you’re back in the boat, don’t forget to worship.

Nail your spiritual workouts this week and change your corner of the gym.

Tweetables:

Jesus’ question to Peter? “Why did you doubt?” It’s my question too. Click to tweet.

The same Lord masters calm water and violent waves. And computers. Click to tweet.

Just because He permits the storm doesn’t mean He’s not reigning through every second of it. Click to tweet.

Those in the boat. Eleven dry. One wet. All worshipped. Click to tweet.

Have you stepped out? Is the water rising? Click to tweet.

The people in the boat are watching. Click to tweet.

Will you trust Him? He’s there, and He won’t let you go under. Click to tweet.

Once you’re back in the boat, don’t forget to worship. Click to tweet.