Ask And You Shall Receive?

I receive a daily email from The Gospel Daily that I really enjoy. Today is Forward Friday, when they encourage you to forward the email to friends. I thought I’d do one better than that and post it here. I pray you are touched by it. 

Good morning everyone. I hope your Good Friday starts off on a positive note. Today’s Bible verse comes from the book of Matthew and discusses the concept of our prayers. 

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.  Matthew 21:22

Many people look at this verse and think they can receive anything they want, if they believe hard enough. They never consider that what they want is not necessarily what God wants for them. God wants us to have faith in knowing that, He knows what is best for us.  I use a mug with the caption, “God answers all prayers, sometimes He says, ‘Yes,’ sometimes He says, ‘No,’ and sometimes He says, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’”  I sometimes have to wonder how many of my prayers are selfish or not necessarily what God wants for me. God asks us to have faith, trust in him, for he knows what is best. – Commentary by Mary Frances Morden 


Today’s Prayers
Father, we ask that even through our doubts and stumbles you continue to guide us. Amen. 

Thank you for being a part of our email community. Friday’s are designated here at “The Gospel Daily” as “Forward Fridays.” We ask that you forward this email on to a friend, family member, or co-worker that you feel would appreciate today’s message. And if you’re new to our emails, click here to join us.

God Bless, and have a wonderful Good Friday!

Prudence


As you can see, I included the entire email and the link to their site is in the first paragraph. 

The Heart of the Matter

“God resisteth the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1Pe 5:5).

When you peel everything else away and get to the bottom of all things – the heart of the matter – you discover at the root of it all in one of two things: Pride or Humility.

Let’s talk about this.

Pride at its very essence is a disagreement with God. It is the ultimate act of independent self-determination. Neither God’s Will, nor His Word, carry any weight in the heart of a proud man.

When we read of the Fall of Lucifer we see the first-fruits of pride displayed in the arrogant five-fold declaration of self-will – “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer!” Isaiah writes. “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’” (Isa 14:13-14).

Perhaps we can now understand why “God resisteth the proud.” The word means “to set oneself in battle array against another.” Friends, it is not a good thing to have God dress Himself in battle gear and place you in the kill zone of His arsenal.

Surely you prefer a more excellent way? An alternative to war with the Almighty?

May I suggest Humility?

Humility is the God-given self assurance that eliminates the need to prove to others the worth of who you are, and the rightness of what you do.

Humility is the singular virtue from which stems all other blooms of the Kingdom. When a man or woman humbles themselves before the Lord, then He lifts them up on high.

Humility is agreeing with God, and experiencing the peace of mind that comes from doing so. A proud man contends with God; a humble man agrees with God. God opposes those who disagree with His will for their lives; and He empowers those who embrace His will for their lives. In other words, God resisteth the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Choose Humility over Pride every time – and God will flood your life with His grace.

From the daily devotional “Rylisms”.

Eternity

Nowhere does the Bible teach that Christians are to be exempt from the tribulations and natural disasters that come upon the world. It does teach that the Christian can face tribulation, crisis, calamity, and personal suffering with a supernatural power that is not available to the person outside Christ. The early Christians were able to experience joy in their hearts in the midst of trials, troubles, and depression. They counted suffering for Christ not as a burden or misfortune, but as a great honor, as evidence that Christ counted them worthy to witness to Him through suffering. They never forgot what Christ Himself had gone through for their salvation; and to suffer for His name’s sake was regarded as a gift rather than a cross. Christians can rejoice in tribulation because they have eternity’s values in view. When the pressures are on, they look beyond their present predicaments to the glories of heaven. The thought of the future life with its prerogatives and joys helps to make the trials of the present seem light and transient.

Daily Prayer

Father, help me to go beyond the afflictions and tribulations of our age, and to look toward the inheritance reserved for us in heaven.

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. (‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭18‬ NLT)

From the daily devotional by Billy Graham, posted to YouVersion.

The God Who Gives Himself Away

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found of you,” says the Lord.” (Jer 29:13-14, New American Standard).

Did you ever play hide‘n seek when you were a kid? Sure you did. Did you ever hide so good that nobody could find you? Perhaps. If so, let me ask you this — after awhile, did you get tired of hiding? What did you do to get caught?

Did you clear your throat at the appropriate moment, or click your tongue, or fake a cough? Did you throw a rock, or make some other noise? It was your way of letting the seeker know where you were; you were in fact “giving yourself away.”

God does the same for us!

He is right now next to you, breathing upon you, putting His hand upon your shoulder. Oh I know you don’t feel it — but, I’m tellin’ you, He’s there. Occasionally He even makes His presence known. Actually. Literally. Physically!

In other words, He “gives Himself away.” He lets Himslef be found.

Just as a man in hiding would make his whereabouts known by stirring, so also God makes His presence known to us by stirring in our midst, by moving upon us with His Spirit. The fact is that no one could have ever found Him unless He gives Himself away! Unless He lets Himself be found.

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found of you,” says the Lord.

Perhaps you may wonder if you can find God? I assure you that you can. The Bible makes clear that you were created by God and put on the earth — at the right time and in the right place — to provide you the best possible opportunity to seek after and to find the Lord. “He is not far from any one of us.”(see Act 17:26-27).

God gives Himself away to those who seek Him. But here is a thought for you to consider: He is seeking you! Are you hiding cleverly, thinking you will not be found? If so, isn’t it time for you to now give yourself away to Him? It’s easy, really — just call upon His name and say, “Here I am, Lord! Here I am!”

And you will find each other!

From the daily devotional “Rylisms”

When Miracles Come from Mud Balls

“One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (Joh 9:25)

It’s one of those strange moments in Scripture – Jesus makes a pair of mud balls and places them over the empty eye sockets of a man who was born blind, telling him to go wash his face at the pool. The man does so and – bam! – he can see!

It is at this point that the story gets really bizarre.

The religious leaders become so agitated by this man’s excitement and his confession of faith in Jesus, that they ultimately toss him out of the Temple! How ironic — a blind man sees, and sighted men are blinded by their self-righteousness.

William Yeats said, “All empty souls tend to extreme opinion.”

Such were the religious leaders in Jesus’ day – empty, and extreme. And such are those who prefer religion over relationship with Christ in our own day.

Matthew Henry, the great Bible Commentator, wrote, “There is none so blind as those who will not see.”

It is uncanny how quickly religious minded people fall into the snare of their own opinions. An extraordinary miracle took place right before their very eyes, but they couldn’t see it because their minds were already made up about something completely different.

They were dead set against Jesus – and therefore nothing He did could possibly be legitimate. Rather than acknowledge the miracle, they excommunicated the man whom Jesus had healed.

When miracles come from mud balls we each may be faced with similar challenges – especially if our opinions are so set that we cannot see what the Lord is doing in spite of us.

Henry Ward Beecher described a highly opinionated religious opponent thus — “He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin and never seeing noble game.”

Don’t let religious opinions blind you to the miracles that come from mud balls. Otherwise, you just may be the one who ends up sitting in the dark.

From the daily devotional Rylisms

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Psalm 23

IMG_0630Down through the last couple of weeks the 23rd Psalm has loomed large in my mind. For many years this psalm was one that I didn’t want to think of or hear very often. Despite it being one of the most well known and loved texts of the Bible, for me it was an unwelcome reminder of tragedy and loss: this was the Scripture preached at my dad’s funeral. Being only nine years old, and him a mere 29, when he died, and associating Psalm 23 with his death, these six verses brought little comfort to me, unlike they do and have for countless others.

Not long ago I read the account of how so old hymns came to be, their stories behind the lyrics. Many of them surprised me, touched me, and made me think more deeply about the words, knowing their inspiration. One such old song is “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and I would like to share a bit about its origin with you as we get ready to delve into our discussion today.

Thomas Andrew Dorsey was a black jazz musician from Atlanta. In the twenties he gained a certain amount of notoriety as the composer of jazz tunes with suggestive lyrics, but he gave all that up in 1926 to concentrate exclusively on spiritual music. “Peace in the Valley” is one of his best known songs, but there is a story behind his most famous song that deserves to be told.

In 1932 the times were hard for Dorsey. Just trying to survive the depression years as a working musician meant tough going. On top of that, his music was not accepted by many people. Some said it was much too worldly-the devil’s music, they called it. Many years later Dorsey could laugh about it. He said, “I got kicked out of some of the best churches in the land.” But the real kick in the teeth came one night in St. Louis when he received a telegram informing him that his pregnant wife had died suddenly.

Dorsey was so filled with grief that his faith was shaken to the roots, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, he turned to the discipline he knew best-music. In the midst of agony he wrote the following lyrics:
Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand.
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light;
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home.

As we begin to read this psalm I think it’s clear that David was a man of some age, experience, and wisdom by the time he, under inspiration, penned it. I imagine that he was reflecting on his youth and of the many times in his life that God had protected him, provided for him, and pondering the good things that layer yet ahead for him in his life.

Psalms 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

For David, and the culture in general during biblical times, the shepherd was a very familiar figure; David had been a shepherd himself in his earlier life. The Lord is referred to as our Shepherd throughout Scripture, Old and New Testament, among other places:
Gen 48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,
Psa 80:1 To the chief Musician upon Shoshannimeduth, A Psalm of Asaph. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.
Isa 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
Joh 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
Heb 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
1Pe 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
1Pe 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Think about this: the all-knowing, all powerful, always present Creator of everything that was, is, or will be willingly takes on this lowly role for you and me; pretty humbling, isn’t it?

Being provided for by this Shepherd, how could His flock, us, ever be in want? He who is their Shepherd has all power in heaven and earth; therefore he can protect them. The silver and gold are his, and the cattle on a thousand hills; and therefore he can sustain them. He has all that they need, and his heart is full of love to mankind; and therefore he will withhold from them no manner of thing that is good.
Psa 34:9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
Psa 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Rom 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Psalms 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Places of tender, young growth grass. The idea and imagery being a place of tender softness, perfectly suited to cool, sooth, feed, and rest the flock. These waters are of stillness, which invite one to rest and relaxation, in contrast to churning streams of turmoil and stagnant ponds of offense. This is a place where the flock are fully satisfied, in peaceful rest, and provided for by the Shepherd.
Isa 49:9-10 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. (10) They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.

Psalms 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Literally, “He causes my life to return.” Or, “He quickens me,” or causes me to live. The word soul” here means life, or spirit, and not the soul in the strict sense in which the term is now used. It refers to the spirit when exhausted, weary, or sad; and the meaning is, that God quickens or vivifies the spirit when thus exhausted. The reference is not to the soul as wandering or backsliding from God, but to the life or spirit as exhausted, wearied, troubled, anxious, worn down with care and toil. the heart, thus exhausted, He re-animates. He brings back its vigor. He encourages it; excites it to new effort; fills it with new joy. He leads me along the straight and narrow road, the path this good in God’s eyes, in the ways that are pleasing to Him. And He does this for His glory, so that His name may be honored.
Jer 14:7 O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name’s sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.

The feeling expressed in this verse is that of confidence in God; an assurance that he would always lead his people in the path in which they should go. This he will always do if people will follow the directions of His word, the teachings of His Spirit, and the guidance of His providence.

Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

The idea here is to show that no matter how dark, dreary or gloomy the path may seem, God is still there, too. He is guiding and protecting us during the lowest of the low times, the times when we feel most exposed and alone; the Shepard never leaves His flock. The true believer has nothing to fear in the gloomiest scenes of life; he has nothing to fear in the valley of death; he has nothing to fear in the grave; he has nothing to fear in the world beyond.
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The shepherd used his staff, likely the hook-ended stick we are so familiar with today, and his rod, a walking staff-type of tool, to guide and protect the flock. With the rod he could fend off predators, spread open brushy pathways, and prod the ground for hidden pits, snares, and the like. The crook was used for similar tasks but also to grasp the leg of a sheep that might be nearing the jagged edge of the cliff, or to free the animal that had become ensnared in some briar patch. These instruments of protection and guidance are a comfort to us, to know that they are there, as our Shepard cares for and guides us.

Psalms 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

This verse refers back to, or reinforces, verse one “I shall not want”; the word “table” is equal with the term “feast”, meaning “prepares a feast for me”. As the psalmist has laid out, God is our Shepard and cares for us, His flock, making provision for our every need. David, in his lifetime, had many accounts recorded in the Bible that could have been the “idea” that spawned this thought, and I’m sure there are many more that occurred that aren’t documented in God’s Word. He probably had many references in his life that could have felt as if God had literally laid out a banquet for him, while his enemies watched him feast and were powerless to interrupt David’s meal. The oil represents prosperity and rejoicing, coupled with cup that is running over, shows the abundance of good that David felt in his life and, rightly, attributed to being provided by God. We, too, today can and should have this abundance bubbling over in our hearts, our cup, as members of the same flock and with the same unchanging Shepard as our guide and provider.
Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Though he knew that at some point his life on earth would end, David expresses confidence that as long as he resided on this side of eternity God would continue to provide for and protect him. This is the language of a heart overflowing with joy and gratitude in the recollection of the past, and full of glad anticipation, resulting from his experience of the past, in regard to the future. David wanted to fulfil the remainder of his days serving and honoring The Lord, dwelling in His presence the rest of his natural life; this expresses the desire of a true child of God. Members of the flock today should and can be just as certain as David was of all this and more; David didn’t have the full revelation of Scripture or the Gospel that we have today. By faith, David knew in his heart this was all true for him both here and in the next life and the children of God today should be just as confident and seek just as diligently as David did to serve, honor and praise our Shepard; those assured promises are ours, too.
2Co 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Php 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

If you live long enough, you will experience heartache, disappointment, and sheer helplessness. The Lord is our most precious resource in those hours of trauma.
Psa 9:9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble

Tom Dorsey understood that, as did David. His song was originally written as a way of coping with his personal pain, but even today it continues to bless thousands of others when they pass through times of hardship. David’s song was written in a similar fashion, looking back upon events of his life. But David’s song not only comforts us but lifts us up knowing those promises the Shepherd made to him are still valid for us today.

The question at the end of the thought here is a simple one, but the most profound one you or anyone will ever answer: Can you truly say “The Lord is my shepherd”? If not, none of these promises, protections, assurances, none of any of this applies to you/them; these belong only to the flock, not the world. But if you are outside this flock you can be taken into the fold by the Shepherd, you need only come with believing faith and ask Him.

Originally posted and taught on 11/8/14.

John 14:16

THE INDWELLING SPIRIT

“I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.” — Joh 14:16.

THE GIFT of the Holy Spirit was due to the intercession of our Lord, and St. Peter refers to it when he says: “Having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit” (Act 2:33). In 1Jn 2:1 (R.V.) marg. the word Comforter is translated Advocate—”One who makes us strong by His presence, as Helper, Guide, and Instructor.” Think what this means, to have always beside us, not a vague influence, but a Divine Person, who waits to be our strength in weakness, our peace in trouble, our wisdom in perplexity, our conqueror in temptations, our consoler in sorrow. The Lord meant that the Holy Spirit should be to us all that He Himself had been. This is the meaning of Another. There are two Advocates, or two Paracletes. When the One ascended to the glory, the Other descended into the hearts of His disciples. “He abideth with you, and shall be in you.”

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Christ had been speaking of sending Another; now He says, I am coming Myself, so that we learn that He is so indissoluble One with the Holy Spirit, Whom He sends, that the coming of the Spirit is His own coming. Do not look for the Spirit apart from Jesus. As the sun comes in the light, so does Jesus come in the Spirit. When we are filled with the Spirit, we shall not think of Him, but of Jesus to whom He bears witness, and when our hearts are taken up with the Lord, we may know that we have received Him, who is the Gift of gifts.

Open your whole nature to the entrance of the Holy Spirit. Unlock every door, uncurtain every window, that entering He may fill you with the glorious indwelling of the Father and the Son. “I will prepare a “mansion,” Jesus said; and, “We will make the holy soul Our Mansion.”

“‘He shall teach you all things.” His lesson-book is the life and words of our blessed Lord. We may think that we are fully informed of all that He has said, but as we study the Bible, the Holy Spirit brings us back to them again and again, always revealing new light, and undreamt of depths. Never let a day pass without reading some of the words of Jesus under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

PRAYER

Thou hast not left us comfortless, O God. May life be renewed in its springs, by the gracious operation of Thy Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and leading us from grace to grace. AMEN.

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From Our Daily Walkdevotional.