Asking and Seeking

Asking and Seeking

A.S.K.ing in Matthew 7:7 “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 he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”, Ask:  to beg, call for, crave, desire, require and it will be given –of one’s own accord, to give one something, to his advantage; to bestow, give as a gift Seek:   to seek in order to find; and you will find: to come upon, hit upon, to meet with; after searching, to find a thing sought Knock:  to knock with a heavy blow; and it will be opened: to grant something asked for What should we be A.S.K.ing (Ask, Seek, Knock) for? Verse 11 tells us our heavenly Father will give us what He defines as “good” or useful.  “…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” When we approach this question biblically, we quickly identify that it is not simply about asking God for whatever we want.  We should consider asking for (requesting/begging), seeking (in order to find), and knocking for (indicates aggressions) something(s) more “good” than just anything we want. Later on in Matthew 7, v. 21 He says, “He who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Consider if this is more about aligning our will (what we want) with what He wants (what is good), and then being intentful about asking and pursuing His desire for us:          Am I working His will to include what I want, or I...
That Dreadful Question

That Dreadful Question

My soul, wait in silence for God only.  For my hope is from Him. Psalm 62:5 Several years ago, I came across a friend whom I had not seen in quite some time. We exchanged the typical greetings and quickly shared several pleasant comments with each other. Immediately following, he looked at me straight in the eye and raised a question that no one had ever asked me before. Ever. “How’s your soul?” he asked. What kind of a question is that? In addition, who asks that kind of a question? At first, I almost took offense. The audacity. I stared back for what felt like an eternity. I am usually pretty good at drawing from a deep well of witty comebacks for such moments. Usually, there is no shortage of clever responses and at times, they even sound genuine. This time, I was speechless. Stumped. Interestingly, his genuine stare begged a genuine response. He proceeded to wait patiently for me to answer the question. I could not even come up with a fabricated response. I remember taking a deep breath and proceeded to mumble a few incoherent words. It has been several years now since I had that memorable interaction and I have never forgotten the question or the stare for that matter. That particular question, however, has caused me to periodically slow down and think about my soul. It is so incredibly easy for me to stop and think about a million other things, but it is so hard to think about my soul. Why is that? The prophet Jeremiah says, “The heart is more deceitful than all...
Old School – New Opportunities

Old School – New Opportunities

Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only that which is useful for building up others according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. I prefer to meet with guys in a public setting, a restaurant, coffee shop etc. for discipleship. Most of the guys I meet with have opted to use the Bible app on their smart phone or some other electronic version of the Bible for reference during our time together. While I certainly use my Bible app frequently, when meeting one-on-one, I prefer to lug my old school “hard copy” of the Bible with me. Over the years, during discipleship meetings, I have been asked by many others who happened to be in the restaurant or coffee shop, (at another table etc.), if I was a pastor, or if I could pray for them. I have found that God has opened opportunities as I attempted to be a part of the process of “…building up others according to their needs…”. It seems to me that when I am in a public place, without realizing it, I find there are lots of “…those who listen.” While the things said are important, it has been my experience that simply having the Bible on the table can open doors. A few years ago, one of my “Timothys” cancelled our meeting. I elected to go to the restaurant on my own to use the additional time to work on my Bible study (on which I was woefully behind). I asked for a table in what looked to be a section that was...
Protect Your Thoughts

Protect Your Thoughts

I was driving along behind a truck the other day when I caught a strong gasoline smell.  The first thing that popped into my mind was “I hope that that’s from the guy in front of me and not me.”  On the surface, this is a natural thought and one to which I wouldn’t give any extra consideration.  What I really said in the quiet of my own heart is “I hope that guy has a problem rather than me.” What I desperately want to think (automatically) is “I hope that guy doesn’t have a problem, and I don’t want one either, but will accept it if it’s God’s will.”  What a sad commentary on the state of my soul when I hope evil rests on another in order to protect myself.  I had little thought for this man’s safety, life, or soul – only my own. There are those of you who may say that this isn’t important and is such a small thing.  True enough; I have not robbed a bank or murdered anyone today (yet), but the longer I walk with Christ, the more convinced I am that we are undone more by the small things than by the large.  We ignore these at our peril.  Consider the following quote: Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny Consider these verses from scripture: A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out...
Power Struggle

Power Struggle

As men, we are driven by a desire for power. Though the Bible doesn’t define power, the essence of power is the ability to change or affect something. Wealth, sex, and authority are the means we use to exercise and gain a sense of power. God’s Word teaches that we are governed by powers which we cannot control (Jer 10:23). The curse of Adam was that sin was given power over us, and we can no longer exert our will in line with the God that guides and directs the creation (Eph 2:1). The Law cannot save us from the power of sin because the righteousness of the Law has no power of its own (Rom 8:3). This means that any attempt to overcome the power of sin strictly through obedience to the commands of God leads to condemnation. Sin has real power, it takes the Law captive and leads to death. Romans 6 teaches that when Christ triumphed over death, he took back the power of sin, making it possible that we could once again will with God. The power we have by the Gospel is contradictory to the power of the flesh. Our weaknesses are our strengths, we lead by serving, and we humble ourselves to be exalted. If our hope is that God will give us the desires of our flesh, we will be misled when things go according to plan. When we attribute our selfish gain to God, we are mastered by the power of sin. When we hold God accountable for the undesirable events of this world, we are similarly without reason to hope...
God Gets To Choose

God Gets To Choose

     I am one of twenty people who take the message of hope to my home town in Hampshire, England. We call ourselves ‘town pastors’, although only a few us are professional clergy. Sometimes we meet people in Alton late at night who are open and receptive to the Gospel and, of course, we attempt to be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have with gentleness and respect (paraphrasing 1 Peter 3:15). At times it seems an awesome, if not daunting responsibility. What if we make a mess of things? Of course, we do have responsibility; we should know the Gospel that Paul summarises in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. We should demonstrate the Gospel by accepting and loving those people. But we can also be reassured that, as for Lydia, it wasn’t Paul’s eloquence that moved her to faith in Christ, but God himself. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia…the Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. (Acts 16:14) Paul says of himself that many thought him a poor speaker (2 Corinthians 10:10) but as Luke reports, the response to his witness, whether poor or not, was entirely up to God – and so it is with us town pastors. It is God’s choice to reveal himself through his mighty Spirit, and that is a wonderfully gracious act for those that would ‘be sent’ to bear witness to Christ, as we are therefore released from: Concern over knowing or choosing to whom we speak – it...