Did You Ask?

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…You do not have because you do not ask.  James 4:2

I was serving snack the other day at work to a group of kids.  I had some pieces of cheese left over and a girl asked if she could have them.  I said yes and gave them to her.  Her brother listening got upset and asked why didn’t I give the cheese to him.  I told him I didn’t know he wanted it because he didn’t ask.  He got more upset and said I should have known he would want some.  I would have asked how I was supposed to know that but I know better; attempting to reason with an angry child is not wise. I explained I would have gladly given him the cheese had he asked and left it at that.

I have been around people who are very uncomfortable asking for what they want or need.  You probably know people like that.  I have been like that at times.  Sometimes it’s because I really don’t know what I need but other times it is a matter of pride.  I don’t like being needy.  What about you?  Do you find it easy to ask for what you need?

One of the blessings (if I could call it that) of chronic pain is learning to realize and accept my limitations with grace.  Sometimes that means some things just don’t get done.  Other times, it means I ask for help.  UGH!  While it may be pride that makes asking people for help extremely difficult, I find that it is shame that makes asking God for help.  I am all too aware of my failings and  shortcomings and don’t feel worthy of His attention, much less His help.

But, He has promised to be my ever present help in time of need.  No strings attached; I don’t have to earn His help, in fact, I can’t.  Neither can you.  I am needy; I need His help daily, sometimes minute by minute.  It’s possible that help is delayed simply because I didn’t ask.  I let shame keep me from coming to Him for the help I need.  Have you ever done that?  Been so aware of your mistakes that you felt you just couldn’t possibly ask God for help one more time?

Would you like to read what God says about that?  He says “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us”.  Psalm 103:12 .  Whatever record we are keeping of our sins, isn’t it good to know He isn’t?  We can ask freely for the help we need from Him.

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Gracious and forgiving Father, thank You for removing my transgressions from me.  Thank You for allowing me to come to You in my time of need and know that You are willing and able to be my help.  Forgive for the times I have hesitated to ask because I felt so unworthy and thank You for declaring me worthy because of Your Son and His sacrifice.  Help me to be able to ask others for help and help to be a help to others who are experiencing limitations.  Amen.

Do you need healing?  Can I pray for you?  Please let me know.

Do you have a healing testimony?  I would love to hear it and share it with others if you are willing.

Born To Be Loved

I worked at a Boys and Girls Club and got to visit with some pretty amazing kids. One day the subject was puppies and I happened to have a litter of puppies at home that we were all enjoying watching grow up.  The kids were very excited to learn about them and see pictures and after a bit one child started connecting the dots and asked, “So, you mean you let your dog have puppies just so you can sell them?”

Well, when put that way it did sound rather crass.  We did have puppies to sell them, but we saw it as a wonderful experience and meeting the people who adopted our puppies was a memorable time for us and it was a great life experience for our son who is homeschooled.  But, ok, the bottom line was that if it didn’t make us money, we wouldn’t be doing it.  So I tried to cover my shame as best I could and fess up, “Yes, that’s why we let them have puppies”.

“Oh” she replied, “I would let them have puppies just so I could tell them that I love them”.

All I could think of was, yeah, that’s a great reason too.

But later, as I thought this over, I realized that this is why we were born.  I mean there could be other reasons, but what if the only reason God created man and placed us in such a beautiful creation and went to such great extents to get our attention, to provide for us, to reveal Himself to us, to consistently be there for us, what if the bottom line is just this – we were born just so that God could tell us that He loves us and all the things He has done since are because of that love.

Isn’t it hard to imagine that kind of love?  And if that wasn’t enough, He also sent His son Jesus, to take our place of condemnation so we could be free of it; to take our pain and sufferings so that we could be healed of them as well?  What kind of love is that?

Thank You God for loving me.  For truly loving me and for going to such great lengths to prove that love to me.  Thank You for providing for my freedom from sin and sickness and pain.  Help me to grasp just how deep and how wide is Your love for me and then help me to share it with others who need You.  Amen.

Kingdom Benefits

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Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

Psalm 103:1-5 NLT

In this Psalm, David commands his soul (his mind, his will and his emotions) to line up with his spirit and bless the Lord. To bless the Lord is to adore and thank Him for all His benefits. To recognize His rightful place as Lord over all, including me and every aspect of my life. It is to gratefully acknowledge Him for who He is and receive all that He has provided for me and chosen to bestow upon me. It’s a way of saying “YES” and “AMEN” to the promises of God.

What are His benefits? Just in these verses we see that His benefits include forgiving me of my sins, healing me of my diseases, redeeming me from death, crowning me with love and tender mercies, filling my life with good things and renewing my youth like the eagle’s. Wow! Where else can you get benefits like that?

That list of benefits is huge and it seems like blessing God isn’t something I should have to command my mind, will and emotions to do. But, often, I forget. I forget the benefits; I forget how awesome it is to have Him as Lord over my life. Sometimes, can I just say this, sometimes, I forget to even think about Him, much less bless Him. Ugh! There I’ve said it. I’m not proud of that. Like David, sometimes, I have to command my mind to bless God; I have to put a halt to self-regarding thoughts and purposefully think on God-blessing thoughts. Sometimes I have to command my emotions to line up with the word of God and not be swayed to and fro because of symptoms and sometimes I have to command my will to line up with His because, quite frankly, I like to have things my way. A lot.

Amazing God, how wonderful You are to us.  How gracious and giving. Thank You for all the benefits You so freely offer.  Enlarge my capacity to receive, I pray, enlarge my faith and enlarge my sphere of influence so that I can share You with others.  May Your will be done in my life.  Bless You Lord. Amen.