Ask…Believe…Receive

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. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

John 14:12-14 NIV

When you pray, do you truly believe what you are asking for will happen?  Or is it more like wishing for something that may or may not happen?  True transformation is when we believe what we ask for will happen and not on our timeline or according to our expectations.  As I look back over the early part of my faith journey, I remember prayers that were more just like going to a wishing well…speak it once and probably never think about it again.  This is not sincere, authentic praying.  Prayer is communication with God, it is about spending time with Him and our relationship with Him.  Jesus put it this way…

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Matthew 6:6-8 NIV

The key to this statement is your Father knows what you need.  Ask Him for things, believe in Him and what He can do.  Then watch and listen for Him and you will receive.  Ask…believe…receive.  Amen.

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“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11:24 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)

Do Good Things

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Galatians 5:24-26

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:1-2

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Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Galatians 6:7-10

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 at Palisade Head along the North Shore of Lake Superior)

Righteousness

Honesty…integrity…honor…purity…goodness.  Seek to do good and good will come back to you.  This is about who we are as a person in all aspects of life.  When you seek to do good, there is no telling how long it can last in the world, especially when you do good to others.  There is a quote from John Wesley who was an English evangelical clergyman, preacher, and writer in the 1700’s that still sums up what our goals for goodness should be:

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”

― John Wesley

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Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Matthew 5:6

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin)

 

A Giving Mindset

The holiday season is a time to remind us to be grateful and to share with others where and when we are able.  The challenge is to maintain a level of a giving mindset throughout the whole year.  It is easy to slip into a self-oriented mindset for numerous reasons…the ability to stand firm and to change your perspective is possible by building and growing your relationship with Jesus Christ, every day.  He knows what it means to sacrifice for others, He knows how to have compassion and to be humble even when, especially when we don’t deserve it.  Ask God to help you find and maintain a giving mindset throughout the holiday season and beyond.  May we all find moments of peace and joy and opportunities to help those in need.  Amen.

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“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:13

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 while driving through Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)

You Get What You Give

This is pretty simple, yet we often forget it.  In my reading this morning it was pointed out that when you read about the life of Jesus in God’s word, He was never offended by a sinful person…yet those who were filled with self-righteousness and set themselves apart from others in their own eyes, like the Pharisees, He would warn them of the judgement to come.  Whatever our thoughts, words and actions are that we put out in the world are bound to be what comes back to us.  Learn about the life of Jesus and treat others the way you want to be treated.  Amen.

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Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 6:37-38

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Pike’s Peak in southern Colorado)

Give Your Best

Trusting in God means trusting in Him for the outcome of circumstances and events.  If we can offer the best of what we can give, whether it is our time, our ideas, our attention or our money and we trust in God, He can take what we offer and do so much more than we can do on our own.  In Matthew 14:13-21, the disciples gave Him all they had, five loaves of bread and two fish and with that over five thousand people were fed with plenty of leftovers.  When we give our best and trust God for the outcome, amazing things can happen.  May the peace of the Lord be with you.  Amen.

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Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Matthew 25:37-40

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 at Garden of the Gods park near Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Generosity

Give whatever you can, whenever you can, wherever you are.  Giving and being generous is about so much more than money.  We all have the ability to give…we can give of our time, we can give attention, we can give of ourselves physically to help out another, etc.  We all have been given talents and gifts.  Certain people are good at somethings while others are good at other things and when people are willing to give of their gifts good things occur for many people.  If you are unsure what you can offer, ask God: How can I help?  And pay attention for opportunities to give wherever you can.  Amen.

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“…remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “

Acts 20:35

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 at the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park)

 

Give To Those In Need

The temperature has plummeted here in the upper Midwest…as I write this morning the temperature is -29 and the “feels like” temp is -50.  Every day in every part of the world there are people in need…people who lack in some or all of the basics in life like food, shelter and water.  No one person can help everyone, however, one person can help one other person.  Don’t quit trying because the problem is too big…God loves every person in Creation…and every single person has something that can help at least one person, it is not all about possesions and things or stuff.  Take inventory of your life and surroundings, give thanks for the blessings you have and seek wisdom to understand what God is asking you to share with those in need right where you are…you don’t want to miss being a person who can provide for the need of another.  We are blessed to be a blessing.  Amen.

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“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

Proverbs 14:31

(This photo was taken in December of 2013 in northwestern Wisconsin…that is a picnic table on a deck)

Be Generous

To be generous is to be a giver, not just in terms of money.  There are far more valuable things in life than money to give.  A generous person has a certain mindset, an attitude and perspective about life and things.  A generous person focuses very little time on what they receive or if they will receive, as that often takes care of itself because they are givers.  Givers carry many of the characteristics related to the Fruits of the Spirit…they often exude kindness, goodness, gentleness, love, joy and patience.  They are generous with their time and focus very little attention on what’s in it for me.  To learn more about what it means to be generous, learn more about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ…you will find all you need to know in God’s Word.  We are blessed to be a blessing.  Amen.

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“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:31-32

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)

Give And You Will Receive

The messages we keep getting from all around us are “get more”, “take what is yours”, “protect it”, “mine”, “not yours” or “me first”…the world emphasizes selfish behaviors and attitudes and people wonder why there is so much conflict and suffering.  This is not how we were made to be.  When God created us out of His love He gave us free will because when we choose to give, it has such a deep impact compared to being forced to give and serve.  Let’s talk about our pets as a simple example…if you have ever owned a dog or a cat you may have experience in the joy one feels when our pets give love and affection freely versus when they choose to do other things…and often times the pets receive better attention and affection when they are givers rather then when they are demanding to get!  If you have never owned a pet I recommend watching the movie ‘Marley and Me’ to see this illustration.  The point is when we make a choice to help, to serve and to give we are showing the love of God through our actions and we will have no need to worry about what we receive.  May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you.

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“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)