From Pain to Wisdom to Hope 

From Pain to Wisdom to Hope 

Jayne M

Jayne Michener has been married for over twenty years to a "son of thunder" and is mother to two adolescent daughters, one delightfully immersed in nature and another humorous, artistic girl who is devoted to cats.The better days are spent developing Christian culture and character with the educational principles of Charlotte Mason in mind.The worse days are spent with lightly held sanity, tightly gripped coffee, and semi-vocalized prayer.She is on a journey depending on the Holy Spirit to guide her into all truth, whether unseen spiritual realms or earthly ventures, such as education, healing arts, nutrition, neuroscience, and art.Oh, and her children would be horrified if she did not mention that they live with two cats, Blacksmith and Beauty.
Jayne M

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From Pain to Wisdom to Hope

We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 

 Romans 5:3-5

Pain

Pain is the high price of wisdom, but even after purchase, we can accidentally leave it on the shelf.  Sometimes pain is paid in installments that seem to stretch endlessly at regular intervals over decades, with no maturity date.  At some point, though, we may return to the point of sale to redeem what has been bought, but with additional interest, paid in sorrow.

My parents have been married a full fifty-five years, and from the beginning my mom always described her relationship with my dad as fitting together like a hand in glove.  Well, that’s not the type of relationship I have.  While my husband asked for my hand in marriage—that’s as far as that metaphor goes.  A culinary metaphor is more apt—like oil and vinegar, tangy and sharp, coming together temporarily for a splash of interesting and complex flavors, but soon separating into entities that will never mix.

Opposites attract, as the saying goes.  Opposites may indeed attract, but it is no sure sign of compatibility, and when two such people come together in marriage, it may be a covenant of pain.  Sometimes there is a vain comfort in feeling one’s sorrows are uncommon and unique, such as the tortured artist cutting off his ear, but leaving a legacy of genius.  I have been tempted to think the obstacles in our marriage are more formidable than that which is common to man, and I am not ready to give up that idea completely.

Age Old Obstacles

What is in the guise of unique, formidable obstacles, though, is actually an age-old Ephesians 5 problem.

Men want to be respected.  Women want to be loved.  We are no different here.  What makes our marriage one of perpetual, irresolvable conflict is the basis of our decision making.

After twenty-three years, we find ourselves at an increasingly pressurized impasse.  The path of peace for one is a trampling and violation of the other.  In other words, the decisions which make my husband feel respected come at the cost of my feeling unloved.  Conversely, the decisions which make me feel loved come at the cost of my husband feeling disrespected.

Can a wife solve her Ephesians 5 problem with 1 Peter 3?

1 Peter 3:1-6

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord.You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Be Like Sarah?

Peter holds Sarah up as a holy woman of the past who submitted to her husband, Abraham, and did not give way to fear. 

One account, in particular, highlights the tensions between the sexes regarding freedom, security, and the basis of decision making.  I will revisit this narrative from a decidedly biased, twenty-first century, female point of view, looking at how this rightly-heralded man of faith threw his wife under the proverbial camel, and how Sarah did not give way to fear.

Because of famine, Abram is going down to Egypt to buy grain.  He tells Sarai to inform the Egyptians that she is his sister so he will not be killed on account of her beauty.  Subsequently, she is taken into Pharaoh’s palace—think harem and concubine!  This experience must have been rife with reservations, rationalizations, and resentments.

Sarai’s reservations:

The Lord has certainly called my husband on this journey, but did Abram check with the God of heaven regarding this partially true yet deceitful strategy to circumvent his fear of Pharaoh?  What might happen to me once I leave the comfort and safety of my family?  Will I be raped by Pharaoh?  Does Abram have plans to rescue me from Pharaoh and be my knight in shining goat’s hair?

Abram’s rationalizations:

If Sarai really loves me, she will do whatever is necessary to protect me.  She will respect my authority and say everywhere we go, “He is my brother.”  Besides, she really is my half-sister, so it is not selfish or sinful, but reasonable and rational.

Sarai’s resentments:

That grievous goatherd sold me out to cover his own skin!  Abram does not cherish and protect me; I am nothing more than a bartering tool to be exchanged for his freedom.  Apparently, my security is a low price for him to pay!

Discussing this Event with My Husband

Certainly this story might be cast in a different light. 

In discussing the account with my husband, he mentioned maybe Sarai felt honored to represent their family interests at Pharaoh’s court.  Really?  Is there some secret Prophetic Men’s Justification Club?  Now, to be fair to my husband, his response was tongue-in-cheek, and to be fair to Abram, maybe he thought Sarai’s fate would be the same whether or not she said Abram was her brother.  But my point is that Abram’s decision might have been a bitter point of contention between them had Sarai given way to fear.

Darker Times of a Covenant Marriage

Later in this couple’s history, Hagar the slave woman is cast out because she and her son have no share in God’s covenant promises to Abraham. During the darker times in my covenant marriage, I have felt that being in the desert with Hagar seemed more alluring than staying in a covenant relationship that is fulfilled only through death.

We are in good company, though, regarding this angst as it seems even the Divine is not exempt from the painful conflict associated with covenant relationships.  Before the covenant vows were even said, God was ready to destroy the Israelites and start again with Moses after their idolatry with a mysteriously appearing golden calf.

In that light it seems strange that God would bind himself in relationship with his wayfaring people who time and again strain that union through adulterous affairs.  In fact, the only release from covenant is found in death itself.

The death that was eventually offered to the Israelites is that which is ultimately offered to us today:  either accept and participate in the death, burial, and resurrection of his Son, or face the cataclysmic death of the covenant relationship like the Israelites experienced in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

There is Only One Option

The deeper, the longer, the more entangled that I become with my husband, the one that I intimately know and love, but with whom I am so painfully enthralled in irresolvable conflict, it becomes clear that the only option for this covenant is death.

I must either die to myself with the possible hope of resurrection to something both familiar and unknown, or our marriage will experience the obliterating finality of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  One thing is certain.  Death is excruciating, and death to self no less so.  Is it possible, like Sarah, to do what is right and not give way to fear when your husband leads you on what seems a reckless and potentially dangerous path?  Can one’s reservations and resentments be crucified and discomforts tolerated?  Can one’s fear of the Lord be greater than the fear of where her man might lead her?

Something is going to have to die, but only one death has hope of resurrection.

Death imagery is actually woven into the fabric of our universe, a divine parable whispered through creation.  Every night the sun “dies” and the light is extinguished only to be reborn with dawn, sometimes in glorious splendor.  Or take seeds falling to the ground with seasonal, earthy death, returning markedly changed and fruitful.  Though we wish to shirk death, we were born to die.  Not only that, death is also our hope.  Each time we die a godly death within the context of our covenants, in that paradoxical death, we plant the hope of resurrection.

Edited by: John Michener, beloved husband, not grievous goatherd.

Praying Luke: The Name We Proclaim

Praying Luke: The Name We Proclaim

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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The Name We Proclaim is Everything

The importance of a name. The Name we proclaim will determines the direction of our lives. Zechariah was given a chance to show his faith or lack of it, by simply proclaiming a name. We are given this same option.

Jesus say’s in Luke 16:10:

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

The power of believing God even in the smallest of details means that we are showing others our utter and complete belief. In this case, the “small” detail boiled down to a name. The name of a child who would then proclaim the name of the Lord Almighty!  The is the name under which every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Now, the most important name you will ever say is Jesus Christ is Lord. You will either proclaim it with joy in His heavenly presence because you proclaimed it here on Earth or you will proclaim it out of fear, knowing that you did not carry his name as the biggest and smallest detail in your life. May we never have to dread this day. May we willing wear his name and share proudly with others that we are followers of Christ and they should be too!

As Zechariah wrote out his son’s on his tablet, in the silent but loudest voice he had, he proclaimed his faith in the Lord, the Name above all names! 

Luke 1:57-58

When we read this, Lord, we want to jump up and down for your mercy and what you did for Elizabeth too!

Oh , the mercy you had on Elizabeth! In her old age, after her decades of wanting a child and never being able to conceive, you miraculously opened her womb and gave her a son.

And not just any son, but one that would announce the coming Messiah!

What mercy and love you poured out over her!!

What a blessing to be able to celebrate this gift with her friends and relatives!

Let us be a people that rejoice along with our brothers and sisters who are receiving the gift of your mercy right now too!

Maybe it’s rejoicing in a marriage that is stronger in you now after the devil tried to rip it to shreds.

Maybe it’s rejoicing in someone coming to know your forgiveness and the gift of grace.

Maybe it’s one coming seeking forgiveness and receiving your mercy as she has confessed.

Maybe it’s rejoicing alongside someone whose decades long prayer has been answered.

Let us be a people who are faithful, loving, and rejoice along with those who are rejoicing in all you have done for them!

In the One who is faithful to all he created – Amen! 

 

Luke 1: 59 – 61

Lord, when you call us to stand strong and courageous, we often think of doing this against those who are opposed to you.

We don’t often think about standing strong and courageous when dealing with those who love you too.

But this is exactly what you called Elizabeth to do at the very moment when the miracle baby you had given her was about to be named.

No!

She stood up and with the voice you gave her proclaimed the name that you had determined this precious baby to be called.

No!

They would not name him after his father even though that was the tradition.

No!

It didn’t matter that they did not understand the why behind it.

She was standing tall and courageous up to the family that loved her but didn’t fully understand the prophesy and miracle that you had given to her husband.

Lord, we pray that we will be as bold, firm, and lovely with the ones that love us. May we not be swayed by their well-intentioned actions but hold on to the truth you have called us to live.

In the One who calls us to stand for truth no matter what anyone else thinks – Amen!

 

Luke 1:62-64

Lord, prepare our hearts to be challenged and questioned by others who don’t understand what you have called us to do.

Help us to stand strong.

We praise you for Elizabeth and Zechariah’s faith in what you told them to call their son.

They could have just flippantly dismissed what you said to do because it didn’t fit their traditions. You don’t call us to be a people of tradition but a people of faith.

Obedience brings about blessings sometimes immediately and sometimes eternally. We praise you for giving him his speech back again so that he could go on to tell his son about your amazing ways.

Let us not hold our tongues when they work so well. Let them sing your praises and glorify you through our faith!

In the One who gives us a reason to sing your praises – Amen!

 

Luke 1:65 – 66

When we humble ourselves to you and obey what you are calling us to do, Lord, you not only keep us in awe but you also keep those around us in awe too!

How awesome it was for everyone in the hill country of Judea to be wondering what plans God had in store for John!

He would be the one pointing the way to the Messiah!

They had know clue how important his role would be, but they understood that God was doing something big.

Lord, we know you are doing amazing things right now in our lives too. And just like John, you want us to point all those around us to the One, the only One, who can change their lives for the better.

May we not shrink back from the responsibility you have given us or pass it off to someone else. May we pray over those whom you have placed in our lives and share the good news with them too!

In the One who put us in this time and place for a reason – Amen!

Pray Luke from the beginning…

Praying Luke Praying Luke When the Time Comes Praying Luke: Perfectly Timed Encouragement Praying Luke: Glorifying the Lord in the Big & Small Details

#prayingluke #luke1 #prayingthebible
Innocent by Association

Innocent by Association

Andrea E

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Innocent by Association

As I was driving to work one morning, a car irresponsibly and dangerously pulled out from a side street and continued down the road in front of me.

I slammed my foot against the brake and as the other car straightened out in the lane, my brain registered a familiar sticker on the car’s rear windshield. It was an Auburn University interlocking AU almost exactly like the one I had on my own car. We continued down the road.

Processing & Seeing a Spiritual Revelation

It was about five seconds before I went back and processed the event and the greater spiritual revelation.

A car pulled out in front of me, nearly causing an accident. I slammed on my brakes, continued on my journey and nothing happened.

I didn’t get mad. I didn’t think, “You MORON!” I didn’t yell inside my car, “Watch where you’re going!” I didn’t blow the horn. I didn’t tailgate the car to the next light. My heart rate did not increase. I didn’t remind myself that I needed to forgive the driver. I didn’t feel guilty because I harbored anger at a stranger for an obvious miscalculation. I didn’t justify my anger against an intentional offense. I did nothing but continue driving my car.

I’m not that noble. Normally, I would have done at least two or three of those things. I thought for a minute and realized why I had not.

It was the sticker. I had never put stickers on my car prior to my son’s entrance into high school. During Josh’s high school years, I had a cryptic MP sticker on the car, for Myers Park. When he went to Auburn, I put an AU MOM sticker on the car because I missed my son. I am proud of my son. I love my son. I want to be connected to my son.

I think of my son every time I see the sticker. Whenever I see another AU sticker, I feel immediate affinity. I am reminded of my son. I identify that sticker with my beloved son.

When the car straightened out in front of me, I saw my son and credited no infraction against the driver.

Immediate Forgiveness

There was immediate forgiveness without even going through anger prior to the forgiveness process.

I got the point in a way I never had before.

That’s what it means when it says that the blood of Jesus Christ continually cleanses me of my sin. God doesn’t get mad at me, take a while to get over being mad or having his feelings hurt, then wash me clean. I am continually clean. I am not dirty and clean and dirty and clean.

When God sees me, he sees his son…and credits no infraction against me.

When God sees you, he sees his son…and credits no infraction against you!

As believers in Christ, we are innocent by association.

 

 

 

Changed by God’s Word

Changed by God’s Word

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”

Isaiah 40:8

Changed by God’s Word

In our part of the country the changes of season are in the air. The wind chills the cheeks of my girls as we play outside in our front yard. The leaves of our three oak trees are falling from the busy squirrel up above. The mums and pansies shine bright, but most of the other flowers are wilting away. The blooms of my crape myrtles have all blown off. Leaves in the trees surrounding us are turning golden. In a few weeks our grass will be dry and brown. Autumn has come.

While Isaiah 40:8 is about much more than the turning of season, I can’t help but be reminded of it this time of year. There is something that doesn’t pass away. The living word of God. As autumn progresses we will find ourselves in the holiday rush, a time of year that is so easy to become consumed with matters of this earth. Thoughts about our holiday outfits, our Thanksgiving table, sports, the pumpkin path, the Santa picture, lights, our decorations, our greeting cards, the parties to attend… while none of it is wrong, it can be overwhelming. So what a breath of fresh air to be reminded that the matters of this earth aren’t as important as we make them out to be. How important it is to be reminded that the word of God is eternal, that his promises are true.

I love the song,

Ancient Words.

“Holy words long preserved

for our walk in this world,

They resound with God’s own heart

Oh, let the ancient words impart. 

Words of Life, words of Hope. 

Give us strength, help us cope

In this world, where e’re we roam

Ancient words will guide us home

Ancient words ever true

changing me, and changing you.

We have come with open hearts

Oh let the ancient words impart. 

Holy words of our Faith

Handed down to this age.

Came to us through sacrifice.”  

The Power of God’s Word

Not only is God’s word eternal, but it contains the power to change us- really change us.

God’s Word Creates Action

If you’ve never watched the movie, Monumental by Kirk Cameron, I encourage you to do so! It is a wonderful documentary about the Christian roots of America. This film begins with the story of the Puritans, and goes into great detail to share the hardships they faced as they broke away from the Church of England and fled to Holland, and later the New World. These were men and woman who were deeply changed by God’s word. These were people who had grasped the concept that God’s word stands forever, and that the needs we have on this Earth are trivial compared to salvation. Oh, what sacrifices they made, many even loosing their life. God’s word mattered to them, and they wanted to preserve it for future generations. The movie is centered around the National Monument to the Forefathers in Boston, which shows how much they prioritized the word of God. The Bible was worth sacrificing everything for, and it was important to preserve it and pass it down to future generations.

Yes, these men and women had been truly changed by God’s word.

How has God’s word changed you? 

Personally, one of my greatest battles is insecurity, and I have been changed by God’s word time and time again when I go to Him in my distress. At times my eyes are opened to changes I need to make, and other times I’m reminded of who I am to Him. Over and over, he blesses me through his word.

Let me honest with you though- I’m not always allowing it to work in my life. I can’t tell you how many mornings I finish my reading only to become easily angered with my family, or selfish in my time, greedy in my wants, or wallow in my insecurity. I am human, I confess. I must choose to be changed.

God’s word is powerful, and if we want to reap it’s benefit, we must be willing to accept it, to let it cut us to the heart. We must allow the comfort in his message give us grounding peace. We must act upon the the convictions these words bring. We must be willing to as James so boldly put it, do what it says! (James 1:22)

There will always be more to learn, we will never grasp it all. Yet no matter where we are on our spiritual journey, these ancient words can convict and change. No matter the trends of culture, they are relevant. His word stands forever.

This time of the year can be quite full. Let’s not forget to prioritize time in our Bible, and to truly let it convict our hearts. Let us not be afraid to be deeply changed by God’s word!

 

 

 

 

The Blessing of Bible Class!

The Blessing of Bible Class!

Candace B

I am a proud wife and Mother! My hubby, Tyler, and I both attended Oklahoma Christian where our love grew! We got married, had two beautiful kiddos, our son Gunner and daughter Brooklyn, and we are living a truly blessed life! I am a Kindergarten teacher in the great state of Texas and most importantly a Christian. I strive daily to keep God #1 because he is the reason I have all the amazing blessings, I give him all the praise!
Candace B

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Why do we have Bible Class?

Why do we go?  Is going to worship the only thing that is scripturally sound?

I want to look into the word to really look at why Bible Class (along with worship) is so important.  Many people go to worship and choose to not attend Bible class.  The church where we attend has even tried to take measures like switching worship and Bible class where members are encouraged to stay and attend Bible class after worship is over. 

What’s the point of Bible Class?

I feel to some extent that we have lost sight of why we have Bible class in the first place.  Bible class is a personalized lesson for the appropriate age to learn and grow in Christ. Whether you are 2 or 92 you want that growth to be steady and consistent.  Most importantly to continue to have a hunger to learn more about Christ.  Going to worship is wonderful, great, NEEDED but why do we not put the same stock on Bible Class as worship?

It’s not scriptural?  1 Corinthians 1:1-9 talks about how we have been enriched in every way (speech and knowledge), as we eagerly wait upon The Lord, be blameless. God is faithful has called you into fellowship with his Son…

Part of fellowship is being with the body of believers. Bible class is one of those fellowships that we have together.You not only grow in knowledge of God but grow closer as a church family when you have more time together and meet whenever you can.

We should be joyful that we have the opportunity to meet together and fellowship anytime the body of believers can come together. Whether it be Sunday, Wednesday, Ladies Bible class, Men’s breakfast…anytime your church family is together you should yearn to be there as well. To be able to slow down from our busy lives and soak in the love we have for each other and the main thing we all have in common, which is that we love God and want to know him more.

I will admit….

when I was younger and my parents took me to church, I would at times have an awful attitude about going to church “everytime the doors are open” but I have to say that I am forever grateful that my parents took that time to show me how important it is to be with the Church. How important it is to have a relationship with them and grow with God together. 

I was encouraged by my son’s Bible class teacher recently.  My son, Gunner, has struggled with many things in his short 8 years.  Open heart surgery, speech delays, setbacks, I could go on and on.  He continues to get better but I always tend to worry how he does in school and other areas like his Bible class. 

The sweet lady that teaches his Bible class came up all smiles and said,

“Candace! I just have to tell you that Gunner is not only reading the Bible but I can tell he is getting some spunk in his reading too!”

Building on Life Eternal

It hit me like a bolt of lighting.  This is one of the reasons I LOVE going to Bible class and why it is so needed… ENCOURAGEMENT, LOVE, JOY! 

The reason Gunner is starting to have some “spunk” to his reading is because he sees it on his Bible class teacher.  This moment is what truly spurred me on to write this post.  Both of my kiddos know a lot about the Bible because they are there every time the doors are open. I knew Bible class was important but sometimes i forget that my kids continue to grow and when they are around the people that have fire for The Lord and invest in his life on a daily basis…that’s building on life ETERNAL! 

Bible class is a building block that you continue to build and build til when you are called home and live your life eternally in heaven. Isn’t this our ultimate goal as a Christian? 

The Blessing of Building Lasting Relationships

If you are not making an effort to be at Bible class in order to have not only a deeper relationship with Christ but a deeper relationship with the body of believers then I’ll be honest…you are missing out! 

Building stronger relationships come with time and effort.  When you are married, you don’t just stop loving each other. You find ways to keep that spark alive and Bible class, worship, as well as anytime your church family meets together is that spark that can keep you going.

I cannot tell you how many times that I have attended a Wednesday night Bible class after all day in my Kindergarten classroom… all I want to do is GO TO BED.  Those days are even more important to make a special effort to be there because I promise you that God rejuvenates you with his word and your brothers and sisters.

It does your body good no matter how tiring of a day you have.  It’s worth it!  So much time, effort, prayer and lesson planning go into these Bible class lessons. That is The Lord speaking to us through his soldiers and we need to be there to hear it.

Praying for Guidance and Perseverance

Hebrews 10:25 encourages us:

“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Not in any way do I want this post to make you feel discouraged but I will say that if it makes you feel guilty… you need to pray and search inside yourself and ask yourself, “Am I making meeting with The Church most important?”

Pray for guidance and perseverance. I understand we all have jobs and are tired but we would not tell our boss we are too tired, or our teacher that we couldn’t complete an assignment because we just don’t feel like it.  We need to have the most dedication to our Lord before our jobs and even our family.  

If we have our hearts and minds on God then everything else WILL fall into place cause He knows narrow the path. 

Matthew 7:13 encourages us to focus:

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.”

If your heart is stirring… that is the Holy Spirit working in you.  I pray that my intentions and words were an encouragement to you.  I love The Lord and I love you. God has called us to a higher purpose.  To spread his word and be with the Church body is where it is at for our continued growth, encouragement and unconditional love.

 

You’ll Never Know Until You Ask, So Just Ask

You’ll Never Know Until You Ask, So Just Ask

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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You’ll Never Know Until You Ask, So Just Ask.

This is what I have been telling my kids a lot lately, especially one in particular. He will start to ask a question, then think through what he is asking, answer it himself based on what he thinks I will answer, and then doesn’t even ask me.

It’s been annoying me, because he starts off with, “May I ask you a question?” To which I respond, “Always.” But then he doesn’t ask.

So once again today, he started the same pattern and I quickly encouraged him in a sing song voice, “Just ask. I might say “no” or I might say “yes,” but you will never know until you ask!”

With a slight hesitation, he asked, “Can we go get a snack at X?

To which I responded: “No, but thank you for asking. I’m thankful that you asked. Now you know the answer.”

Another question was obviously brewing. I could see it written across his forehead in the review mirror. Then, without asking if he could ask he smiled and boldly began:

“Then, can we go to the chocolate factory for a little treat…just you and me?”

Oh, that boy knows my weakness. “Of course, yes. Just you and I will go and get a treat. See, if you have chosen not to ask, we would not have this opportunity to enjoy this treat together. So please, from now on, just ask. You will never get a yes, if you choose not to ask.”

The Boldness of Just Asking

There are many who asked Jesus for things. Some wanted to be healed. Others wanted to follow him.

But there was one man in particular that stands out in my mind because many would have proclaimed he was absolutely unworthy to even talk to the Messiah let alone make a request of him.

This man, while Jesus was dying on the cross, heaped insult after insult upon him. And yet as the hours passed, the insult slinger noticed something different about the man who shared the same fate as himself. He realized that the “King of the Jews” he had been taunting, really was the chosen Messiah. He went from keeping insults to defending him.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?
We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Luke 23: 39-41

In that very moment, maybe even with the same breath, after scolding the criminal being crucified across from him, he turned his gaze to Jesus. His boldness skipped just asking, but audaciously steamrolled straight to a sincere plea:

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Luke 23:42

Jesus’ reply not only reveals his grace, mercy, and ability to read hearts in a way that proves He was God incarnate, but stuns us thousands of years later. The words that are graciously spoken between struggling breaths while hanging on the cross give us hope and remind us to just ask Jesus no matter the circumstance:

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
-Jesus, Luke 23:43

Jesus Wants Us to Just Ask

Ask I pour over the Bible, I see Jesus repeatedly exclaiming the importance of coming to our Heavenly Father in prayer about everything. With all our feelings, hopes, dreams, sorrows, and confusions. When we choose to engage in prayer with God we are in essence entering a spiritual and eternal conversation.

Let’s make the most of it and enjoy the relationship Jesus died on the cross to gift us!

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
-Jesus, Luke 14:12-14

In essence, Jesus encourages us to just ask.  He wants us to lean into him, to fear the Lord, to ask his guidance, and to seek his will. He wants to gift us with his abilities and willingness to be bold and it all starts by trusting that he will answer our prayers.

What have you been longing to ask the Lord, but have left unasked?

The blessings the Lord will gift in response to our asking are far better than any chocolate treat that we could receive.  As my son and I walked out of the “chocolate factory” this is the lesson I encouraged his heart to hear. 

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