OK, here's the plan (if God is willing):

1) Every day will be a new devotional. I have enough devotionals for every day for three years

2) Also as I can, I'll be posting on my new political blog (see bottom of page).

Some other housecleaning:

A) If you'd like to just get new postings sent to your email, just submit your address in the box on the left just below. There's just one possible downside, though. Occasionally I'll add a music video at the end that's relevant to the devotional, and you won't get them in the email sent to you. If I add a video though, I'll make sure to mention in the posting, so you'll know to come to the site to see it if you'd like.

B) I actually finished writing new blog posting for the TAWG at the end of 2016. So what I'm doing now is at the beginning of every month, I'll move the earliest month from 3 years ago ahead so that a "new" posting appears every day. That's why you won't find any postings for January 2014, for example.

C) When I started this Blog, I was using the 1984 edition of the NIV, and that’s what I linked to on the Biblegateway site. However, in 2011 Zondervan updated its edition and thus reworded a lot of the NIV translation. Therefore, all the links which went to the 1984 edition now redirect to the 2011 edition, which often has slightly different wording. Thus, part of my editing process has been to update my Scripture quotes in my postings. But I might have missed some, in which case you might see my quote in the posting as a little different from what comes up when you click on my citation link, since that redirects to the 2011 edition on the Biblegateway site. It's a good thing that we realize that the work of translation never ends, but it can be a kind of a pain on a site like this. If you see any difference in verbiage between my quote and what shows up as a link on the Biblegateway site, or if you hover over a link and it has "NIV1984" at the end of it, please notify me and I'll correct it.

D) I can't believe I have to say this, but here goes. At the end of every posting is a suggested short prayer that has to do with what we discussed. This is actually what I've prayed when I finished writing it. In no way am I asking you to pray the exact verbiage of my suggested prayer. It's just a springboard for your own prayer, nothing more. Quite frankly, I've never been a fan of praying rote prayers written by someone else. As with everything else I do here, to the degree it helps, great; to the degree it doesn't, chunk it.

As always, thank you so much for reading, even if it's to read one post. God bless.

[July 10]—Livin’ On A . . . Part Six: Some Thoughts On Asking For Stuff

Matt 7:7-12; James 4:1-3; 2 Cor. 12:1-10

            OK, we’ve gone through praise, thanksgiving, and confession. Now we come to the last major aspect of prayer: petition (a theological term for asking for things).
            For some reason, a lot of Christians seem to have some problem or another with this aspect. For what it’s worth, here are some of my thoughts (based on Scripture).Some Christians are actually uncomfortable asking our Father for anything for themselves. They’re really noble souls who like to praise him, thank him, and confess their sins, and they don’t mind praying for others’ needs. Just a reminder: The very word “pray” means “to ask.” But they’re uncomfortable asking for things for themselves. Now of course we want to keep the proper mindset when we’re asking him for something, especially if it’s for ourselves. That’s why I heartily recommend you spend some time praising him and thanking him before you get to any type of petition. In fact, I like to thank him for something related to my petition.
For example, let’s say I’m praying for my wife’s health. I might start out with “Father, I thank you that you are Yahweh Rapha, the God who heals us. I also thank you so much for bringing this wonderful woman into my life. She’s such a blessing and encouragement to me. Could you please bring her back to health, relieve her of this pain, bring her to the other side of this quickly?” You see, before you ask for a thing, take a moment to praise and/or thank him.
            Having said that, apparently it needs to be relayed to some folks: There's nothing intrinsically wrong in asking the Lord for what you need or even want. There’s nothing intrinsically less noble about asking him for things, even for ourselves. And I’m not just talking about asking for spiritual needs, like “Lord, please make me a better follower of Jesus. Please remove the sin in my life and help me be more pleasing and obedient.” Yes, we definitely need that (probably more than the physical stuff). I’m also referring to physical needs and even wants. If you need to, read over the Matthew passage again slowly. He invites us to ask for things. He encourages us to ask for things. He wants us to ask for things.
            Ask, seek, knock. You will receive. You will find. The door will be opened to you.
            But because we’re naturally selfish and sinful and unwise, there are three caveats we need to go over.
            First off, if you read the passage again, you might notice that the latter part is talking about asking him for things we need, not necessarily things we want. The son in his example is asking for bread and fish, in other words, the necessities of life. There’s nothing in this passage about asking him for steak and caviar.
            But is it wrong to ask? Well, it’s not intrinsically sinful. There’s nothing in Scripture that forbids asking him for even the finer things in life. But I think to ask him for luxuries betrays a sort of shallowness, a poor perspective on life.
            Think about it for a moment.  This isn’t rocket surgery, even if you’re not a parent. What type of parent gives his child everything the child asks for? A pretty poor one. Our Father is perfect, so he’s not going to give us anything which'll harm us, which would include hindering our relationship with Christ. He'll always give us what we need. But just like with children, our definition of “need” and his definition of “need” aren’t necessarily the same.
            When we pray, we’re not uttering a magical formula that manipulates impersonal forces to do what we desire. That is the definition of magic. We're asking a Person for something, Someone who knows perfectly what we need, and loves us enough to say “no” when that’s the right answer.
            And then there’s James’s discourse on this, which brings us to the second caveat. He tells us that there are two possible reasons why we don’t receive from God. First, it might be because you don’t ask. But second, and more germane to what I’m getting at, he says that even if we do ask, “[We] do not receive, because [we] ask with wrong motives, that [we] may spend what [we] get on [our] pleasures.” Why are you asking for X? Is it just so you can spend what you get on your pleasure? If so, James says that’s a great reason why our loving Father doesn’t give you what you’re asking for.
            That brings us to the third reason why he doesn’t give us what we ask for. The apostle Paul asked the Lord to take away his “thorn” (whatever that was). Satan sent it, but apparently the Lord in his mysterious plan ordained it behind the scenes. Paul—remember, this is the apostle Paul here—asked the Lord three times to take it away. And the Lord said no. No specific reason given, other than “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” In other words, I’m going to use this to grow you by having you rely on my strength while you’re going through this.
            But let’s not all these asterisks dilute the wonderful truth here. Yes, he does answer prayer. And he loves to say “yes.” I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating:

Thou are coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For his grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much.

--unknown

Father, I don’t want to be presumptuous, and I don’t want to be timid. Guide me here, please, by your Spirit. 

No comments:

Post a Comment