Ask Him

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Just Ask! Ask the Lord; he desires to give us good things! | Spirit & Truth

Yes, your Father already knows what you have need of, but He still wants you to ask Him for what you need.

For your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask Him

(Matthew 6:8)

Who Will You Go To?

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And the same day, when the even was come, he said unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side (Mark 4:35).

Jesus said, ‘Let us,’ which means He was going to be with them. He wasn’t going to leave them nor forsake them. The disciples left the crowd and took Jesus with them, but before they could get to the other side, a great windstorm arose. The waves beat into the ship and the ship was full of so much water that it would soon sink.

Jesus told them they were going to the other side, but when the storm appeared, they didn’t believe they were going to make it to the other side. They panicked. They didn’t speak or confess what Jesus had said. 

Before the storm, they could hear Jesus, but when the storm came, they couldn’t hear Him. He wasn’t speaking now. That’s how it feels sometimes when you’re facing a storm. It feels like Jesus isn’t there. You don’t see Him nor do you hear Him, but He’s right there – in the stern of the ship, sleeping.

I know Jesus later rebuked them, but there was one thing that the disciples did right. They went to the Word and they woke Him up. Sometimes when we’re going through a difficult situation, we walk away from the Word. We try to fix it ourselves. We seek help in all the wrong places. We go to another problem trying to fix a problem, but they went to the Answer. Sometimes we decide ‘Let me’ rather than ‘Let us’, but the disciples included Jesus. They went to the Word. They spoke to the Word. Do you not care that we are going to die?

Do you not care that I’m about to lose my home?

Do you not care that I’m sick?

Do you not care that I’m hurting?

Do you not care that these bills are due?

Do you not care that I’m having problems in my marriage?

Yes, they were panicking. Yes, there was a lack of faith, but I want you to recognize this: They were in a situation where they had nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to, but they knew Who to go to.

And this is how we should be. 

But Even if He Doesn’t

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fiery-furnace

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire and He will rescue us out from your hand, O king. BUT even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up (Daniel 3:17-18, AMP).

Daniel had just been promoted as ruler over Babylon. When he got promoted, he didn’t forget about his friends. When he was promoted, his friends were promoted. He set them over the affairs of Babylon.

Then, Nebuchadnezzar made a decree that when they heard the sound of different musical instruments, they were to fall down and worship the golden image. Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah refused to worship. They knew the consequences of not worshipping the golden image, but they trusted God to deliver them out of the burning fiery furnace. They believed God was able to deliver them, but their attitude was this:

But even if He doesn’t deliver us, if we don’t come out of this, if nothing changes, we’re still going to worship You, Lord. We’re still going to praise You. We’re still going to serve You. We’re still going to trust You. No matter how hard it gets. No matter how hot it gets.  Satan is a murderer, not You. The scriptures says You are a Deliverer and we are going to believe Your word. Satan is a liar, not You. We don’t understand why You have allowed this to happen, but we’re not going to change our confession. You didn’t leave us then and You are not going to leave us now. You are with us. We were praising You before we got in the furnace and we are going to praise You while we’re in the furnace.

The fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them (Daniel 3:27). What was supposed to kill Daniel’s friends instead killed Nebuchadnezzar’s men who casted them in the furnace. Even if they had died, it would have been because they chose to die rather than to worship the king’s gods.

That thing that you’re going through and that situation you’re in has no power over you. What you’re in is not going to get in you. It is not going to kill you. God is with you and just as He sent his angel to deliver those who trusted Him, He is sending His angel on your behalf right now.

God loves you.

Give to the Lord

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alabaster-box

One of the Pharisees invited Jesus over to eat with him and he accepted the invitation, but Luke tells us that an uninvited guest was there. A woman in the city, which was a sinner. When she heard that Jesus was at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster box of ointment. She began to wash his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair. She kissed his feet and she anointed them with the ointment.

When a guest was invited over, it was customary for the servant or the host to wash the guest’s feet, kiss him on the cheek and anoint his head, but Simon did none of these things. He didn’t even present him with a gift. This woman didn’t have water, but she used her tears to wash his feet. She didn’t have a towel, but she used her hair to wipe his feet. She used what she had.

Simon didn’t honor him like this woman did with her substance. He didn’t touch him like the woman with the issue of blood. He also didn’t think that this uninvited guest belonged there or deserved to be there. To him, her sin was great. Her sin was unforgivable. Simon didn’t invite her, but Jesus didn’t reject her. There was still room for her.

Some of us talk to God the way the prodigal son spoke to his father. Father, give me. We are always asking God to give us things when we should be asking Him to make us trustworthy or faithful for the things we are asking for.

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, Jesus never started the prayer by asking for things. The first thing he did was acknowledge who God was. Our Father, which art in heaven. After he acknowledged who He was and worshipped Him, then he made his request known. Give us this day our daily bread.

Simon (the Pharisee) said within himself, If this man (Jesus) was a prophet, he would know who and what manner of woman this is that touch him; for she is a sinner. He was wrong. Jesus did know what type of woman she was, but he didn’t bring up what she did or what type of woman she was. She already knew she was a sinner. That’s why she was at Simon’s house. Her tears were tears of repentance. Her tears were prayers. Her tears were tears of worship.

Not once did she ask Jesus for anything yet she was in need of something. What this woman did caused Jesus to move on her behalf. This woman, since the time I came in, has not stopped kissing my feet. She gave and she gave and he couldn’t let her leave without giving her something in return. The ointment she brought was expensive, but what was in Jesus was better than what was in her box. What she gave Jesus, cost her something. It was expensive. It was probably her last. It was probably all she had left, but she didn’t withhold anything from him. She didn’t keep it for herself. She didn’t give to someone else what only belonged to him.

Before God placed Adam in the garden, He placed in the garden everything that he would need. Before He placed you on the earth, He placed in the earth and in you (Eve was in Adam) everything that you would need. And because He gave to you, don’t stop giving to Him.

Like this woman, give Him your best. Stop complaining about what you don’t have and give Him what you do have. Give Him thanks. Give Him worship. Give Him praise.

 

 

[Luke 7:36-50; Luke 15:12,19]

 

First Things First

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According to Matthew, many were brought to Jesus that were possessed with devils. He cast out the spirits with his word and healed all that were sick.

There was a great multitude around him when a certain scribe went to Jesus and said, Master, I will follow you wherever you go. But Jesus didn’t give him the response he was looking for. He just told him about his living situation. The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man have no where to lay his head. I don’t believe Jesus said this to discourage him, but he wanted him to think about why he really wanted to follow him. He wanted him to count the cost. If he wanted to follow him for popularity or for the crowds or for fame, he was following him for the wrong reasons. I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus faced rejection, hate, suffering all the way to the cross, but how far was this man willing to go with him?

Then, Jesus moved to the next person.

Follow me. But this person said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus didn’t say, Ok. Go ahead and bury your father. He said, Let the dead bury their dead, but go and preach the kingdom of God. Some bible scholars believe that this man’s father wasn’t dead yet, but rather he was sick and would die one day soon. It’s not that Jesus didn’t care for this man’s father, but his business was life, not death. I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly. Jesus told this man what he was called to do and why he was born, but he thought he had plenty of time to make a decision. What he didn’t know was that Jesus would only be on the earth for three and a half years. By the time his father died, Jesus would have been crucified on the cross. But Jesus didn’t say anymore to the man.

He moved to the next person.

This person said, Lord, I will follow you, but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at my house. If he went home to tell his family goodbye, there was a possibility that he may not have returned to Jesus. His wife or children would have probably changed his mind by crying and telling him not to go.

The last two men said they wanted to commit, but they had an excuse why they couldn’t right now. It’s like a man who proposes to a woman and months later he asks her to set a wedding date, but she is not ready to commit. He didn’t propose to her to make her his fiancée. He proposed to make her his wife. He proposed because he wanted a family. He proposed because he wanted to change her last name. It’s the same thing with Christ.

Jesus didn’t go to everybody that day, but he went to these men. He could have selected anybody, but he chose them. They, however, didn’t choose him. No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. The field represents the world. The world consists of the sick, brokenhearted, blind, deaf, paralyzed, lame, the hurting and the unbelieving. If a farmer looks back while plowing, if he desires what is behind him more than what is before him, he will damage or harm what he was supposed to protect and keep alive. When Jesus said, Follow me, that was an urgent call. He was calling them to follow him now, not tomorrow, not in ten years because there were people that were in trouble. There were people who felt like giving up. There were people who had a need and he wanted to use them to meet their need.

Let me explain what I mean. I joined the Christmas club on my job. Not to buy Christmas gifts, but to save money. I had a savings account, but there was always the temptation to withdraw from it so the Christmas club was a great idea for me because I’m not able to touch this money. Before my employer gave me the money that I saved for a year, I already had plans for it. There were no plans to spend this money on pleasure. It would pay some bills as well as debts. But before I got the money, the Lord told me to give it to someone (and what He told me to give was not a few hundred dollars). I didn’t have a problem doing what the Lord told me to do, but these questions were in the back of mind: What about me? I need help. How is this going to get paid? How is that going to get paid?

But I obeyed and I followed His instructions. What I didn’t know was this person needed a certain amount of money by a certain date. I was worried about my need, but this person had a need, also. If I didn’t do what God told me to do, he would have done what Jesus did in this passage of scripture. He would have moved to the next person. But the reason He came to me was because I had a need. What I was getting from God was going to be greater than what I was giving to this person, but I had to trust God. That’s what the last two men didn’t understand. If the man who was concerned about his father would have followed Christ and do what he told him to do, maybe his father would have been healed and lived longer. This is what seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness is all about. Then, all these things (your worries, needs and concerns) will be added (to increase in size, number or amount) to you.

But before this can happen, you must put first things first.

 

[Matthew 8:16-22; Luke 9:57-62; Matthew 6:32-33]

Waiting on God

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Jesus Calms Our Storms - Epiphany Lutheran Church Dayton

Jesus told the disciples to get into the ship and go to the other side while he went up into the mountain to pray. Once the ship reached the middle of the sea, the wind began to blow against it and the waves were tossing it. When Jesus walked towards the disciples on the sea, they began to cry out in fear because they didn’t recognize who he was.

Jesus said, Be of good cheer. It is I. Be not afraid.

Peter said, If it be you, command me to come to you the water.

Jesus said, Come.

Peter was doing fine as long as he was looking at Jesus, but the moment he looked at the wind and not at the Son, he became afraid and stopped walking. He saw the effects of the wind. He heard the strong wind. When he stopped walking, he began to sink.

But what I want you to see in this passage of scripture is that Peter stepped out of the boat during the storm. Peter didn’t wait until the storm was over. He didn’t wait until there was favorable weather. He stepped out during a difficult time.

When he stepped out of the ship, he stepped out in faith. He didn’t use the wind as an excuse not to follow Jesus’ command. Solomon said, He that observe the wind shall not sow. There is a possibility that the wind will scatter the seed, but the farmer doesn’t withhold the seed because if he never sows, he will never reap a harvest. The farmer doesn’t worry about what may or may not happen. He sows in the morning and in the evening because he doesn’t know which seed will prosper.

Peter pursued Jesus while the other disciples waited on him. If you are always ‘waiting on God’, you will never write the book. You will never start the business. You will never own the home. You will never take that trip.

To receive the thing you’ve been desiring or praying for, you are going to have to do something. Peter stepped onto the water. He did something he had never done before and sometimes we have to do something that we’ve never done before.

Stepping out in faith does not mean that resistance won’t come. It doesn’t mean that fear won’t come. The wind comes to keep you from going to the other side. The wind will blow and the waves will toss, but decide today that you will step out of the ship anyway.

 

[Matthew 14:22-30; Ecclesiastes 11:4, 6]

Stretch Forth Your Hand

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While Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, a man was there with a withered right hand. The scribes and Pharisees should have been listening to the teaching, but instead they were watching Jesus to see whether he would heal on the sabbath day. To them, healing was a form of work and a violation of the fourth commandment. Six days you shall labour and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you should not do any work.

Jesus knew their thoughts. He then asked, Is it against the law to do good on the sabbath? According to the book of Matthew, Jesus asked them what they would do if their sheep fell into the pit on the sabbath. Mark tells us that they didn’t answer him. They knew they would have rescued their sheep because they would have need of it. But, wouldn’t that be considered ‘work’? 

Although this man had a hand that was useless, he was not useless. It was attached to the body, but it was no good to the body yet he was still valuable to God. Something was wrong with this man’s hand, but there was something wrong with the scribes and Pharisees’ hearts. Since healing was looked upon as ‘work’, Jesus didn’t touch the man. He didn’t lay hands on him. He just spoke. Rise and stand forth in the midst. Stretch forth your hand. When the man obeyed these instructions, his hand was restored whole like the other.

I’m not saying this man couldn’t work, but he was limited in what he could do. His health was stolen and if he was unable to work, that means his finances were stolen, too. The scribes and Pharisees valued the life of an animal more than they did of this man, but he was worth much more than sheep. Although they knew the law, they didn’t understand the law because this commandment didn’t suggest that they should neglect the need of others. It was not wrong to help him, but it was wrong not to help him. 

Jesus said that the first and great commandment was to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind. The second commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. If they had obeyed these two commandments, they would have seen this man and his need. If you obey the commandment that tells us to love God and others, it will cause you obey all the other commandments.

They would have immediately rescued their sheep out of a pit, but wanted this man to wait until the following day for his healing. Hadn’t he waited long enough? What if this man hadn’t live to see tomorrow?

To heal is to do good and we are not to withhold good from them to whom it is due when it is in the power of our hand to do it. Each day the Lord gives us is a day to do good, not just on certain days as the scribes and Pharisees thought. Jesus told the man to stretch forth his hand, but he should have told the scribes and Pharisees the same thing. They refused to give him a helping hand, but let us not miss our opportunity to do good to one another.

Someone needs you to stretch forth your hand.

[Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11]

I Give It All

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David and the Israelites had won victory after victory over their enemies. They defeated the Ammonites, Syrians, the Philistine giants, among others. But one day, David was tempted by Satan to number Israel. This was the same man who defeated with Goliath with a sling and five smooth stones. This is the same man that told Goliath, I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel. This is the same man that said, For the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands. The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. His trust was in God.

There was nothing wrong with counting the number of men, but why was he doing this? What was his motive? God did not command David to do this. When God chose the Israelites, He didn’t choose them because they were more in number than any other people. He chose them because He loved them. Was David now trusting in his own strength? Did he think that he and his men had won these battles? David wasn’t king when he defeated Goliath, but now he was king and he forgot about God.

David sent Joab to number the men. Joab told him that this wasn’t a good idea, but he obeyed the king. Joab counted approximately 1,570,000 men. There were more men, but he didn’t count them all as he feared the Lord. God was displeased with David’s decision. David immediately repented and took responsibility for what he did. I have sinned greatly because I have done this thing. I have done foolishly. But the Israelites were going to suffer for what David did.

God gave David three choices. He and his men could either suffer three years of famine or three months of defeat and destruction by their enemies or three days of pestilence in the land. Whatever choice he made, the numbers of his men were going to decrease. His men were going to die. He didn’t want Israel to suffer for what he did, but he had to make a choice and he chose three days. Maybe because it was less time. In three days, seventy thousand of David’s men died.

Gad, David’s seer, told him to build an altar to the Lord and to make a sacrifice to withhold judgment. Anytime you sacrifice something, you give something valuable for something or someone else more valuable. When David went to Ornan’s threshingfloor to set up an altar, Ornan was threshing wheat. The threshingfloor was the place where separation took place. It was where the wheat (what you need) was separated from the tares (what you don’t need). But it wasn’t until the oxen treaded on the harvest that the tares were revealed. Now this would be the place where what was in David’s heart would be revealed.

David only asked Ornan to give him the threshingfloor, but Ornan offered to give him the threshingfloor, the oxen, the threshingfloor instruments, and the wheat for free. I give it all (1 Chronicles 21:23). But David didn’t want to sacrifice anything to God that didn’t cost him nothing so he paid Ornan full price. Ornan gave to David what David should have given to God – all. He had been counting men, but he should have been counting on God. 

What have you been counting on? What have you been putting your trust in? When God removed David’s men, it wasn’t to hurt him, but to show him Who he should be depending on. God was showing David as well as us that every victory and every good thing that God allows to happen in our lives, He deserves the praise for it. Not you and not man. Yes, He will use man to bless His people, but He wants us to always acknowledge that it was His hand that has done it. It is not by your power or by your might, but it will be by His Spirit.

Give Him all – all the praise, all the glory and all the honor because it all belongs to Him.

 

[1 Chronicles 21; 1 Samuel 17:37-47; Deuteronomy 7:7-8]

The Power of Forgiveness

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Some years ago, someone asked me to do something and because I wanted to do the right thing, I agreed and gave the person what they asked for. I had no idea that the enemy was using this person.

I lied.

I knew because I felt like I was being manipulated, but I just didn’t think that the person would do what was about to happen next.

After I agreed to do one thing, the person asked me to do something else. This time I told the individual no. They got mad and took it anyway. I wouldn’t say that this person stole from me. They did, but I practically gave it to them due to manipulation and deception.

I gave the enemy (Satan) an inch and he took a yard.

I was so hurt afterwards because I really needed that money to pay bills as well as some debts. Also, I was living with my dad at the time and I hated feeling like a burden to him. I wanted to help him more, but was struggling to do so at that time.

Shortly after that incident, the person became unemployed. I’m not going to suggest that what he did to me caused this to happen to him, but he was unemployed and it was for more than one year. (I know what it’s like to be unemployed for seven months and trust me, it wasn’t easy. I don’t wish that on anyone).

Three years later, this person texted me. I don’t remember why or what they said, but I remember it was on a Sunday morning and I had just finished praying. When I text the person back, let’s just say it was the Lord speaking. It was not me. This person began to cry because my text had just confirmed what someone else told him earlier that week. Immediately following the text, job opportunities among other things began to manifest.

I know people say: Forgiveness is not for the other person. It’s for you.

But I disagree this time.

Based on what happened that day, I know that forgiveness is for the other person too because the moment I released that person, doors that were closed opened wide. It was like releasing someone from their debt. It’s like telling someone that owed you thousands of dollars, ‘You don’t owe me anything.’ When I forgave his debt, God then forgave me of my debts (sin). Now I’m not telling you it was easy, but I’m telling you it’s possible.

Sometimes the unforgiveness you have against a person holds them in bondage. Your anger towards them places them in a spiritual prison cell. They can move in that cell, but they are only going around in circles or back and forth. They are unable to move forward and to keep moving.

But in spite of what they did, God still wanted to extend His love and forgiveness towards them because HE loves them. And sometimes He will use YOU to help the person who hurt you.

And that’s the power of forgiveness.

Love is Inconvenient — Mitch Teemley

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“Love suffers long, it is kind and does not envy…it is not easily provoked and keeps no record of wrongs. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. It never fails. Only three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”       ~1 Corinthians 13:4-13 Love is […]

Love is Inconvenient — Mitch Teemley