Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Mom's Desire

Matthew 20:
20Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.

21“What is it you want?” he asked.

She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”

22“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.

23Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

Verse 22:  Jesus said to them:  “You don’t know what you are asking.”

The mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons and asked a favor of him.  Of course, Jesus could not grant what she requested, but it really looked logical from her viewpoint.  However, Jesus knew she had no idea the price to be paid for this answered prayer.

We have probably all prayed specific prayers for our kids from our human perspective which looked like the right thing, but really we had no idea what we were asking.

What if God granted those requests?  Would our kids be better off or worse because they received what we thought was best?

I still want to be specific when I pray, but I definitely want to have an agreement with God, "Not my will, but Yours be done."  

Lord, thank you for not answering all of my prayers the way I pray them.  Thank you that you see my heart and know I only want your best.  Never give me what I want but totally what you want. 

Give me the mind of Christ.  Give me discernment and words of knowledge to know how to pray the right things.  Prepare me and my kids for all that is ahead.  In Jesus Name.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

NEVER Give Up!

Children are bold and will ask for anything.  Oftentimes, parents say no, and for good reason.  They have expensive taste and often their requests require a lot of time.  Yet, day after day, if they continue to ask for the same thing, the parents will do all they can to make it happen, regardless of the cost, just to have some peace. 

In Luke 18, Jesus told a parable of a widow who asked a judge for justice from an adversary. Whether he created a spiritual, physical, emotional or monetary problem, we don’t know.  We only know the widow needed justice. 

The judge, who consistently said no to her request, eventually gave in to the widow because she kept bothering him and he didn’t want to get worn out. (Verse 5)

Jesus says in Verse 6, “….And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?  Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” 

At times, I have prayed over and over again about specific things, and honestly, it doesn’t feel like God is listening or granting justice quickly at all.  It feels like I’m the one getting worn out. 

In praying about the situation this morning, Here are some things I feel are important to focus on while waiting for the answer:

1.              Praise God regardless of your circumstances.   If there is a delay, there must be a reason.   You may need to grow in a certain area first or circumstances may need to be lined up for the answer to occur.  Just because the answer has not come yet does not mean He's not working on it.  

2.              Make sure the things you are asking God for are in line with His Word and His will for you.   I’ve always told God if I ask for things that are not good for me, please don’t give them to me, regardless of what I pray.   God created me and knows how to satisfy my soul.  I want the real deal -- no counterfeit.

3.              Examine your heart.  Ask God to reveal anything that you need to let go of (sin, anxiety, unbelief, fear) that might hinder Him from answering your prayers.  If things come to mind, let them go.   On paper helps solidify that you have released them. 

4.              Journal things God shows you about the situation.  If God shows you a scripture, pray it daily.  Praying the Word of God is powerful and effective.

5.              Control your thoughts and Words.   I’m not saying we can’t be real with each other.  You can say you are struggling, but you can also add that you know God will complete the work He has begun and you are expecting a breakthrough any day now.  Words of faith will build you up and cause you to be stronger spiritually. 

6.              Don’t give up.  As tempting as it is to quit believing and stop praying, continue day-by-day.   

This morning, I was reading in 2 Kings 8, about another widow and her son.  They had been warned of a famine by Elisha and told to go away for seven years during this season.  When the famine was over, the widow returned home and went to the king to beg for her house and land back. 

At the exact time she returned, Elisha’s assistant was meeting with the king and was telling a story about how God had raised this widow’s son back to life a number of years ago.  At the end of the story, he said, “This is the woman, and this is her son.”  (Verse 5)

The king questioned the woman and then assigned a caseworker to her so she would receive everything back that belonged to her, including any income that had come from her land while she was away. 

In all my plans, I don't think I could have set the stage any better for restoration.  God was lining up the circumstances for the widow and her son to receive what she needed.  The NIV Study Bible calls the timing a "providential coincidence."

For me, I choose to believe if I continue to come to the Lord, our King, expecting answers to my prayers, he will set up “providential coincidences” in my life too.    

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Who Gets My Time, Lord?

God created us to have relationships with others, and I am thankful for the church He has placed us in so we can connect with each other.  The problem is there are so many I want to spend time with—the new people and those I already have a connection with.  It becomes mind-boggling at times to know how to divide my time.

Jesus must have felt overwhelmed at times too.  Once, when the disciples had been out ministering two-by-two, they came back to report to Jesus all the things that happened on their mission.    

Jesus felt the time was right to pull away and rest in a remote place.   I’m sure he was looking forward to spending some intimate time with His disciples, hearing their stories, and just loving, serving and instructing them.   They had also just received news of John the Baptist’s death, so I’m sure they were also grieving. 

It’s probably a good thing they had the boat ride to this secluded area because that’s all the rest they got.  Word spread and a crowd gathered even before the boat arrived.  

Instead of being upset these people were at their vacation spot, Mark 6:34 says that Jesus was “moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep not having a shepherd.”  So instead of just being with the disciples, Jesus taught the crowds. 

I remember when our church was smaller.  The settings were intimate, and we all knew each other.  It was nice, comfortable, and easy.  We are a lot bigger now because we are ministering to the hurting, loving the broken, and helping those who are like sheep without a shepherd.     

There are times I feel challenged.  I want to know everyone and hear their stories. I’ve been asking myself all week what the answer is to this good dilemma we face.  How can we with our limited time get to know all these people and help them get connected and discipled?   
I’ve been reflecting on what Jesus did on a daily basis.  John 5:19 says He did what He saw the Father doing.   Even Jesus couldn’t reach everyone in the crowd.  I’m sure even with His disciples, it wasn’t possible to get to know everyone.   However, daily God knew who needed a touch or a word of encouragement. 

Today, I’m asking God to show me who I need to reach out to with a word of encouragement or prayer.  He alone knows what my focus should be.  If we all just do what we each are assigned daily, I believe we will reach not only our community but the world as well.