You have to ask.

“The Lord waits to be gracious to you . . . He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as He hears it, He answers you.” – Isaiah 38:18a and19b

God offers grace – his intervention on our behalf as a free, unearned gift. Don’t we all want that? 

Naaman, Syrian military officer, (1 Kings 5) came to Elijah because he had heard Elijah could heal him of his leprosy. He was willing to ask.

Elijah tells Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan River and he would be well. The proud soldier objected. There were much better rivers in his hometown – why wash in the dirty Jordan? 

His aides talked some sense into him: Elijah is not asking much, they say, why not try it? Naaman reluctantly made his way to the Jordan River and dipped in it seven times. Not surprisingly, he came out cured of his disease.

Experiencing God’s grace in our lives seems to require two things: Recognizing our need and being willing to ask. Some of us have a hard time asking for help, but God wants us to ask. 

If we are proud, as Naaman was, we can find it hard to receive what God offers as a free, unearned gift. We’d rather not need God and his grace quite so much. But that is God’s way: Ask and receive. We don’t earn it. We can’t pay for it. We just receive.

What may be keeping God from showing us his grace? Maybe he’s waiting to hear our cry, to acknowledge our desperation for him.  

“The best place any Christian can ever be in is to be totally destitute and totally dependent upon God, and know it.”- Alan Redpath

#God’sgrace 

 

 

Get ready!

If you were coming to my house for dinner, I’d clean my house, have good food cooking, and shake out the welcome mat. I’d want everything to be ready when you rang my doorbell.

Maybe those were some of the desires John the Baptist had when he began his public preaching. What was his message? Jesus is coming, clear the way. Get ready. Prepare for him. He wasn’t talking about cooking food or cleaning house. He was talking about spiritual preparation – getting ready to meet Jesus face-to-face.

Too often we have a casual attitude about God. We rush into his presence, present our list of needs, then leave wondering if we were even heard. Maybe we need some of the heart preparation John was talking about. He told the people to prepare the way for God’s Son by cleaning up their lives, by being honest and grace-filled in their relationships, and by not putting themselves first, but giving others preference. (Luke 3:10-14). 

Does your spiriual life need a boost? Do you want Jesus to come to you in a new  and fresh way? Are you ready for him to respond to your prayers? God’s Word tells us how: Prepare the way by humbly confessing sin and living in ways that please him. We may need to examine our attitudes, priorities, relationships, thoughts, and actions to see if there’s any rubble we need to get out of the way so the path is cleared for Jesus to relate to us in his fullness. And he will. 

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight . . . and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (from Luke 3:4-6)


“Certainly all virtues are very dear to God, but humility pleases Him above all the others, and it seems that He can refuse it nothing.” 
― Francis de Sales

#humility #holy living

A Prodigal Thanksgiving

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” – James 1:17

There once was a great thanksgiving feast that involved two sons. One had asked for an early inheritance and then took off, spending all his money partying and having fun. The older son stayed home and worked in the family business doing all the right things.

When the irresponsible son ran out of money and was desperate, Jesus says he came to his senses. Apparently he realized how much had been provided for him and how much he missed the privilege of being under his father’s roof. He went home, a humbled man, thankful beyond measure that he was invited back into the family.

The older son, though, was miffed. He’d been faithful all this time, but it seems not having any fun at all. He had been obedient, clean-living, and hard-working. Sure, he had a home, family, and satisfaction in his work, but he was resentful and bitter. He wouldn’t even come to the thanksgiving feast his father was throwing for his brother’s homecoming.

In this parable, the father was thankful, the younger son was thankful (I’m sure other family members were, too, though Jesus didn’t mention them), but the older son was not thankful. Instead, he was angry that he was not the center of attention and celebration.

Only the truly humble are aware of the blessings poured out on us by our heavenly Father every day. A humble heart is a thankful (and happy!) heart.

So, let’s celebrate with friends and family the blessings of our Father’s generous love. It’s time for a party – happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

“Sincere gratitude flourishes only in a heart that is humble, convinced of its own poverty and thoroughly aware that it is nothing and can do nothing without continual help from God.” (from Divine Intimacy)