Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask, and it shall be given you;
Seek, and ye shall find;
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Matthew 7:7 

As I have been interceding for Bill and Terry these two weeks, the importance of prayer has again become for me a major interest and calling for another search in God’s Word.

I was led to Jesus’ words instructing us to ask, seek, and knock. His words are not just thrown out to us for a random catch. Every word He spoke ~ every word recorded ~ has infinite meaning. If we want to know the depths of His words, we need to go beneath the surface. If we are to understand the full meaning of His words, we must dig deeper into the whole counsel of the written Word for the heavenly substance contained in them. We must search for the legacy that is ours as His disciples.

Thinking this would be a simple 1-2-3-presentation, I started to search and as usual, discovered more, much more than I anticipated. Again overwhelmed with the treasure of God’s Word, we must break this into three parts: Ask, Seek, and Knock.

As you can tell from the title, His message is to teach us what it means to ASK with the understanding that asking, seeking, and knocking are three forms of the same desire to apprehend and claim what is promised from the Giver of all things.

ASK in the Old Testament

In Hebrew ask ~ shâʼal, shaw-al’ meaning to inquire; by implication, to request; by extension, to demand.

God commands us to ask and He tells us in His Word what we are claim from Him as the Giver. He would not tell us to ask except that He waits to be gracious to us and grant our request. The first references are from the Old Testament.

In Isaiah 45:11 the Lord says “concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”

“Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.”
Isaiah 58:2

In Jeremiah we remember the Lord’s counsel.
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16

“They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.” Jeremiah 50:5

ASK in the New Testament

In Greek ask ~aitéō, ahee-teh’-o means to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require

There are two specific things we are to ask for:
The Holy Spirit and Wisdom

The Holy Spirit

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:13

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to His disciples as perhaps the first and most important thing to ask, for it is the Holy Spirit that gave men the words from God and interprets them for us. He is the Spirit of truth and guides us into all truth (John 16:13). He reveals what we are to ask.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Romans 8:26

Wisdom

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5

The following references reveal the wisdom we need.
1 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Colossians 2:3; James 3:17

We ask in faith.

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” James 1:6

We ask and receive because we keep His commandments.

“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
1 John 3:22

We ask according to His will.

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” 1 John 5:14

 We know what to ask because we abide in Him and His words abide in us. Here, again, the Holy Spirit works through His Word in us.

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7

We ask in Jesus’ name.

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13

The power of the Holy Spirit works in us through our asking and receiving.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us,
Ephesians 3:20

Dear heavenly Father, I ask that you speak through your Holy Spirit to those of your children who have not yet learned what to ask or how to ask. Bring us closer to you in faith and knowledge of your gracious bounty that is ours in Christ. Keep us abiding in your Word, filled with the power of your Spirit to live in obedience to your will for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Related Articles: Jesus’ Words are Not Suggestions
How the Holy Spirit Works

New Wineskins

Have you run into the grocery store bypassing the grocery carts because you only needed one or two items. Before you get to check-out your arms are loaded with other things you see. Something else you remembered you cannot get because your arms are loaded already.

Such is our going to worship without preparation and the proper vessel.

“But new wine must be put into new wineskins,
and both are preserved.”
Luke 5:38
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7
” I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 36:26

Let us worship today in anticipation and prayer that the Lord enlarge our hearts, open them to receive and carry with us the new wine of His Word prepared for us.

Dear Father, you have preserved and prepared your Word for us. Open our eyes to see and our ears to hear the written Word. Open our hearts to conceive and receive what you have prepared for your people today. And let the Spirit of your Living Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, lead us through this week ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Blessings in Intercession

A short note today in relation to last Saturday’s post Advocates for Bill and Terri:

I had thought to reference this during the week but did not have time.
Much of the week has been spent in intercession for Bill and Terri.
Too, I have spent a considerable amount of time reading Terri’s blog ~ having only known her a few months, I have kept up with Bill’s blog for years.

One thing I want to mention here is in reference to those who have been interceding. Have you been blessed by your intercession for them? I certainly have, and in the process been brought closer to the throne of grace.

As our great High Priest, he Lord waits for our petitions.

Do You Sense Your Prayers are Being Heard?
Does it ever seem that your prayers are not getting through? I was reminded of this possibility this week. When there is something between us and the Lord that has not been settled, our petitions are not heard.

Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

When there is hidden sin in our lives, the way is closed to His presence.
Confession of our sins, repentance, and faith open the door to His heart.

Intercession is not just for others but it is a means of grace to strengthen our relationship with the Lord. He willingly accepts our requests and grants them when our hearts are clean before Him.

Be Blessed by Reading Their Blogs
Another thing I suggest, if you are not acquainted with Bill and Terri, is to peruse their blog sites. Their posts will be a blessing and minister to you. Whatever your state in this world, their witness of God’s grace will change your perspective of your own life. They testify of the fulfillment of God’s promises to us as His children.

Bill’s blog: Unshakable Hope

Terri’s blog: Diary of a Quadraplegic

Please continue to intercede for them and for all God’s people. Continue to pray to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life and the lives of others.

Gracious Father, thank you for a Spirit-filled week and for the preparation for our worship tomorrow. Fill us with your Spirit and teach us how to pray continuously and fervently. Search our hearts, try our thoughts and see if there be anything in us that is keeping us from you. Forgive, and lead us onward and upward in pursuit of your blessings for us and others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

Showers of Blessing

And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing;
and I will cause the shower to come down in his season;
there shall be showers of blessing.
Ezekiel 34:26

I will not make this a long post ~ only to bring awareness again of the need for prayer and supplication.

I don’t know what the weather is like in other parts of the world, but we are in a drought here in Georgia, with record highs in the 90s even in October.

In our last post, I presented the remedy for spiritual paralysis. We can apply the same solution for a spiritual drought. We must pray fervently for mercy from God, our Father, and Creator ~ to send His Holy Spirit in power. We need the outpouring of His Spirit to bring awareness of our need.

We need Him not only for physical rain on this earth and relief from the heat. We pray for Him to bless hearts with His presence and fullness.

We need His power to draw His people to His Word. We need a hunger for His Word. We need a thirst for His Spirit to apply the Word to our hearts and lives.

The Welsh Revival
I am always moved when I remember the Welsh Revival of 1904-05. I cannot recall if it was from the book about this revival or a different awakening ~ but the thing that moved my heart and prayers was a scene resulting from the moving of the Spirit.

Crowds were so large that the meetings were held outside. When a downpour came, no one left. They tried to protect their Bibles from the rain, but they would not move from hearing God’s Word.

I would have loved to have been there. Even today, the Word of God is so precious I could listen to it preached all day, every day. I pray this for God’s people.

Showers of blessing begin with a love for Him, for Christ, His Word, and His Spirit.

“And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit,
and the earth shall yield her increase,
and they shall be safe in their land,
and shall know that I am the Lord,..”

Ezekiel 34:26
Gracious Father of life and light, hear our plea. Pour out the blessing of your Spirit upon your people. Awaken, and by your grace, take away the stony heart and give us new hearts and new spirits that hunger for your Word and desires your Spirit’s fulness. We thank you for the truth of your Word; the authority of your Word; the glory of your Word; Christ, your living Word commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit. In His precious name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Suggested Reading:
The Garden of God’s Word ~ The Purpose and Delight of Bible Study
What the Holy Bible Says about GOD’S WORD: A Six-Month Study

The Immensity and Intensity of the Christian Faith

Or, we might use the title, The Immensity and Intensity of the Gospel.
They are the same.
There is no Christian faith without the Gospel.

The Gospel is the means to a life of faith. It is more than just words spoken by men. The good news of Christ is more than men can ask and more than men can imagine. It is the revelation of the kingdom of God by the Spirit of God within the spirit of men.

It is meant to be experienced within the mind, the heart, and the life of men ~ beyond our own doing.

The Christian faith is different than any other faith. It is the only religion that addresses, deals with, and resolves the issues of sin and death.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ promises more than any other ~ promises we can trust ~ greater than any man could plan for himself.

Its immensity is little known because man cannot desire what he has never tasted. We do not taste unless we are drawn to and search God’s Word. The kingdom of God is the kingdom of the Christian faith to which the Gospel brings His people.

“It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.”
Luke 12:32

Who can describe such a kingdom?

The intensity of the Gospel and the Christian faith that excels through the Gospel is the working of the Gospel itself by the power of the Holy Spirit in the heart and life of men. Yes, I am repeating myself. The Gospel bears repeating even as preachers continue to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10).

It is not puny words of men that fall to the ground, but it is the power of God for salvation to those who believe (Romans 1:16). It is power to quicken those who are dead in their trespasses and sin, awakening their senses to their sin and need of a Savior.

The power of the Gospel is the good news of Christ raising the dead to life in Him.

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,
and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Even when we were dead in sins,
hath quickened us together with Christ,

(by grace ye are saved;) 
Ephesians 1:19-20; 2:5

No minister, worth his salt, will throw out a dry bone to his congregation. Dead men need the meat of God’s Word to live. Those who have been revived ~ made new through the new birth of the Gospel ~ need the continual Gospel to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as we wait for the promise of eternal life in Him.

The man of God digs deep into the treasury of God’s Word and presents those treasures to his hearers.

The Gospel works its immensity within the hearts of the ministers of the Gospel.

They must be overwhelmed with the greatness of God’s redeeming love.

They must know the reality of a heavenly Father who, in the covenant of redemption, planned to sacrifice His own Son to secure our place with Him for eternity and the reality of His Son, in agreement with this covenant to sacrifice Himself.

What love! What sacrifice! ~ immensity of grace greater than can be comprehended by mortal men.

This should bring forth an intensity of the Gospel which the man of God cannot keep to himself.

He should be zealous, always ready to present the Gospel wherever He is called, to whoever hears.

Are there such ministers in the world today? Yes! I would not be writing on this subject if it were not so.

Our own pastor, Chris Strevel, is such a minister of the Gospel and the Christian faith. Preaching for thirty years, he holds Christ in the center of every sermon, continuing to unfold the treasures of His kingdom. My heart is weekly quickened, opened and enabled to receive the Good News of Christ ~ His grace and His glory. You can listen or view all his sermons on Sermon Audio. He is presently preaching through the Gospel of Luke and Exodus.

Another pastor, Ryan McKee, in Northern Ireland, is younger, but also preaches the immensity of the Gospel with the intensity of Christ. I began watching these services in 2016 when we were unable to attend church for ten months. Five hours ahead, their morning worship is at seven. Their evening worship is at two. Ryan is preaching through the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew’s Gospel.

We have one among us here on WordPress from California. Check Jim’s blog here.

I mention these who are devoted to Christ and His Gospel as they serve God’s people. The Gospel and the Christian Faith are too valuable to take for granted ~ too precious to keep hidden. If you know other local pastors, please let me know.

We should pray for a revival among the ministers of God’s Word in our local churches. Some preach to the masses in conferences, etc. but we need daily, weekly oversight of pastors who shepherd God’s people in the name and power of Christ.

Gracious heavenly Father. Lay it upon the hearts of your ministers to draw near to you ~ to seek the face of Christ as never before. By your Spirit, draw them to your Word, fill their hearts with the zeal for the power of the Gospel. Enable them to proclaim your Word to your people. Open the hearts of your people to hear and to live the Christian faith Jesus died to give. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Five Lessons for Preachers  Charles Spurgeon

Love Your Enemies


“O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.”
2 Kings 6:17

The king of Syria is perplexed as to how the king of Israel is evading him and his army. When he learns that the prophet Elisha is foiling his attacks, he sends his horses, a great army, and chariots at night to surround the city of Dothan, where he plans to capture Elisha.

The next morning, when Elisha’s servant saw what was happening, he said to Elisha, “Alas, my master, what shall we do?”

Elisha is not bothered at all by the situation and answers his servant with assurance, “Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” 2 Kings 6:15-16

Elisha then prayed the prayer that revealed God’s presence and power. He said, “Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.”

The Lord answered Elisha’s prayer and opened the servant’s eyes so that he saw a “mountain full of horses and chariots of fire” around them.

Elisha prayed again, but this time for the Lord to blind the army. When the Lord answered this prayer, Elisha led them to Samaria.

Again, Elisha prays – this time for their eyes to be opened. When this happens, they see that Elisha has brought them to the king of Israel, who could have killed them; but Elisha tells the king to give them food and water.

“So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.”
2 Kings 6:23

This story reminds me of three references in the New Testament. The first is of Paul’s words in Romans 12:20.

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Then the words of John come to mind, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

But, more than these, we have an example of Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 5 and Luke 6 to “love your enemies.” (See related article and sermon links below.)

We do not have prophets like Elisha in the world today. The prayers he prayed were for a different time. Now we have the Spirit of Christ to assure us of His love, His protection, and His wisdom. We don’t see the supernatural work of our heavenly Father with human eyes, but our eyes are opened spiritually to see and to know that He is always with us and how He works through us to respond to our enemies.

Before leaving His disciples, Jesus said to them:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20

Throughout the Old and the New Testaments, God promises to be with us. Elisha’s first words to his servant are, “Fear not.” Many of the books of the Bible quote these words from the Lord. In Isaiah 41:10, KJV, we read,

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Dear Father in heaven, thank you for the prayer you gave Elisha so that his servant could see your marvelous work on their behalf. Give us faith to believe, and not fear what man may do to us. Thank you for bringing us into your presence, and opening our eyes to see the King of kings – not to receive your wrath upon us, but heavenly food and drink, and eternal blessings. Keep our eyes focused on the wonders of your great salvation in and through your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  And enable us to love our enemies as you  have loved us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran (Excerpt from PRAYERS That Bring the House Down)

Related article and sermons: From Daily Thankful Tough Love
Love Your Enemies Matthew 5:25 ~ Ryan McKee ~ Northern Ireland
Love Your Enemies Luke 6:27 ~  Chris Strevel ~ Georgia, USA

A Sinner’s Prayer

In 2014, at the age of 75, I wrote this hymn as a witness of how, over many years, the Lord brought me to Himself. I set it to a tune to be sung as a solo but I plan to use a  familiar tune, instead, so that it can be sung in corporate worship. It is a hymn all true Christians should be able to sing.

I share only the text in this post. I will share the musical version when it is available.

A SINNER’S PRAYER

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:19

1. LORD, be merciful to me, a sinner.
What have I to bring to you?
I am poor, and lost, and helpless;
Show and teach me what is true.

Hear me calling, gracious Father,
I am deaf and cannot see.
I am hopeless; I am dying.
No one here can answer me.

2.  Lord, you said that you would save me 
If I trust in you alone.
What is faith; what is believing?
It is your work, not my own.

Hear me crying, dear Lord Jesus;
Hear my pleading; see my tears.
In my sin and in my anguish,
I have struggled through the years.

3. All my trying, all my labor
Are but vanity to you.
I am dust in need of Spirit.
Breathe in me your life anew.

I confess Lord, that I need you.
I repent of all my sin.
By your Spirit, live within me.
Be my strength and be my Friend.

4. Lord, you promised life abundant
When you came and bled and died.
Let me see and hear you clearly —
Jesus Christ, the crucified.

O, I can see you, I can hear you.
You have opened eyes and ears.
You have covered sin and sorrow;
You have banished all my fears.

5. Lord, let this poor, ransomed sinner
Know you, love you, and obey;
With your guidance, daily leading,
Showing me your will and way.

Hear me calling, blessed Redeemer,
In my nights and in my days.
I am helpless, but your grace, Lord,
Will lift these weak lips to praise.

© Fran Rogers 2014