Category Archives: ASK

Where is Your House Built

Matthew 7:24-27

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

This is probably one of the most familiar little stories of Jesus. We sang it as a children’s song when we were young and I would guess all of us believe we know the meaning of this verse. We tell people we have built our house upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ and the wind and waves of life cannot topple our house. We think of Him as our great foundation, holding us up by His word and His promises. What more can I possible say about this verse to give it deeper meaning?

Jesus was a great orator. We don’t often think of Him like that. We think of His healing and miracles, about His parables and stories, and about the price He paid for us. We think about His birth, His baptism and His death and resurrection. We think about blind eyes being open, the dead rising up, lepers healed and demons cast out. But we don’t give much thought to what a great speaker He was.

I have seen many great speakers in my life. Zig Ziglar, Colin Powell, Brian Tracy, Billy Graham and many others have awed crowds with their use of the right words to motivate others and get their message across. I have been in Toastmasters for over 30 years and have won many a speech contest, once taking the Iowa Table Topics contest 1st place trophy. There are elements that make a speech great, and the conclusion is the most important.

The conclusion must make an appeal for action to the listener based upon everything else the speaker has said. It should sum up in a few short sentences what the speaker is trying to get the audience to understand and should leave them with a desire to do what the speaker is asking them to do. We’ve all seen preachers who “close” their sermons three or four times before it is finally over. This is not great speaking, but it can be effective. Here, Jesus closes once.

This little analogy is very powerful and very specific. It is about doing what Christ has asked us to do in the previous three chapters. It is about following through with all that He has said, not just part of it. Jesus does not want us to flounder and fall into the waves that life will toss at us. He wants us to have that solid foundation that is based on His word. This is a foundation that the world is trying to do away with. The world does not want to have a standard of morality. The world does not want anyone to tell them what is right and wrong.

Jesus says the choice is simple. You either follow the words He has said and stay on a solid foundation or you don’t do what he says and you fall. Real simple, real precise. The Sermon on the Mount is a revealing of the kingdom of heaven on earth, and we best heed His words and do His words if we want to be a part of that kingdom for all time. What Jesus reveals to us is God’s will for our lives. This is how God desires that we should live here on this earth. This is how we should treat one another – not just our brother, but everyone. This is the standard, this is the way. In our last lesson we went through all the various things Christ taught us in Chapter 5. Let’s move on now and review Chapters 6 & 7.

In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us to keep our giving to ourselves and not let others know what we are doing. We shouldn’t even let our right hand know what our left hand is doing. He says our prayer lives should be private, not public. They should be personal, not vain repetitions.. He teaches us a pattern of prayer with the Lord’s Prayer, then He tells us we should forgive or our father in heaven will not forgive us. That should be enough to get your attention! Jesus next addresses fasting, telling us we should not let others know we are fasting by our appearance, but make sure we look good even though we are fasting. It’s none of their business! He tells us that the most important treasure we can store up is that which we have in heaven not on this earth. What a contrary statement to the worlds thinking this is! He explains how we must be singularly focused on the Light and not darkness, and that we can only serve one master. Then He explains how important it is to trust God for the daily necessities and focus our attention first on the Kingdom of heaven. We should not worry what tomorrow will bring. That’s a lot to take in from one speech and we still have another chapter to go!

In Matthew 7 He starts out by telling us not to judge others. We have enough troubles of our own to figure out. We should take care of our own faults before trying to fix someone else’s. Keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking if you want an answer to pray is Jesus next point. We are told to do good things for each other, and He gives us the Golden Rule. He tells us the narrow gate leads to life. This narrow gate is at the end of a path that is straight and follows His words. He also says the broad gate has many people going to it because they do not want to follow His Word and stay on the straight path. We then are warned of false prophets and are told we will know them by what they produce. They are very deceptive, and we must be diligent. We must do the will of the Father or Christ will say He never knew us on that day when He returns. The will of the Father is all in this Sermon.

The conclusion is that we have a choice. We can choose to live out all the things that Christ taught us in Matthew 5-7 or we can choose to just do what we want to do and maybe follow some things but not others. We can strive to please the Father or we can aim to please ourselves. This is our choice. Jesus tells us that if we will follow His Word then we shall have a solid foundation to stand on. Our lives will be built on the rock, and no storm will be able to knock us down. This is a promise that there will be storms, and what we do with Jesus’s words will determine how well we will survive those storms.

Or we can choose to just go our own way and follow what we choose to follow. If we make that choice, our house is built on sand, which shifts whenever the tide comes in. There is no solidity to it. There is no sure foundation, but it changes all the time., When the storms come in, the sand can wash away, leaving us trying to stand up with little or no foundation. I do not want to ever be in that place. I want to be where I can firmly stand.

Please never take this story away from the previous three chapters and all that Jesus tells us we should be doing. God desires us to be so strong in the storm that our light will shine for all to see. He wants us to be a lighthouse to a lost and dying world because they are floundering in the storms with no foundation. They have chosen their own way and are falling farther down all the time. They need us to reach out and grab them by the hand and pull them back up on the firm foundation.

Will you be there for them, standing on the Rock?

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A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 8 Conclusion

I want to start by thanking you for coming on this journey with me. It has been remarkable to go back through notes I made 30 years ago and redo this study. I have learned once again about the power of our prayers, and what God asks us to do in order for our prayers to be more successful. There is much more involved than just talking to God, although that is the essence of our prayers.

I am going to start doing two things as result of going through this study. The first is to keep a list of things that I am praying for. I daily pray for dozens of various things, if not close to a hundred. I am not sure if I will get them all on this list, as some things crop up mid-day and I’m not near my journal. But I will do my best. The first thing is to find the time to make the initial list.

Once the list is made, I will go back to it and check of the ones that get answered. I may even use dates when I started praying for it, and when it was answered. I have one person I was praying for to get a new job, and he got it within a week. Another job-related prayer is still in the works.

Do you keep such a list? I believe it will be beneficial for my faith. I have no plans to share it with anyone, except my wife, unless God directs me to. Answered prayer is never something we should boast about. I keep such a list of all my poetry and another list with all the songs I have written (which needs to be updated). Why not a list of prayers?

In a quick review, we talked about what I call the A.S.K. Principal. Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. Asking involves being in the right spirit when we pray, understanding what God asks of us when we pray, and making sure we are asking according to scripture. We can be silent or loud, standing or bowing, on a mountain or in a boat. We can use our own language or our heavenly language. We can pray for anything the human soul and body requires as long as we have the right attitude and lifestyle to receive from the Lord.

Seeking involves being in His word, praying the way the Bible teaches us to pray, finding the time on a regular basis to be before God and regularly going to Him with our requests. It means looking at all the scriptures that address the need we have so that our faith can be built up. It means not giving up until we arrive at the answer.

Knocking means waiting patiently. It means submitting to His timetable, not our own. It means not grumbling or complaining when the answer doesn’t come right way. To means asking for wisdom to know what we may need to do to get to the answer. It means listening intently for God to speak and show us the answer.

We’ve learned that prayer is a simple conversation with God. The most important part of that conversation is listening. So often we miss the answer because we are too busy praying and don’t listen to what he has to say. Prayer should be a two-way conversation!
We’ve learned that prayer can be made anytime, anywhere for anything? God loves to hear our requests. What prevents us from coming to Him with our needs? Pride mostly. We feel we can handle things ourselves. So, we don’t pray about this thing or that and then find ourselves praying to get out of the jam we got into because we didn’t pray. Better to pray first, I say.

I pray that you have received as much as I have through this series of posts. Thank you
for every comment made and for all who took the time to go through the study with me.
I have started to work on the book, and have proofreading going on now. Do you think
this can sell as a book? I have never written a book before, so I have a lot to learn
about that process. It will be fun to learn what is involved. If you have any tips for me,
I am wide open to listen!

That’s a wrap!

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 7 What Should We Pray For

I know. I know. We should pray for everything! Not a day goes by that each of us doesn’t have a list of things that need our attention in prayer. We have talked about every aspect of prayer, and have learned that God always answers our prayers.

In this chapter, I want to help build your faith a little more by showing you many scriptures that let us know God wants to hear our prayers, and answer our prayers, in various areas of our lives.

HEALING – James 5:14-15
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
We can call for the elders, or we can pray for someone ourselves. In any case, it’s the prayer of faith that saves the sick – that delivers them from their illness. Faith that does not waver, faith that is determined and persistent, faith that can move mountains, faith that has been tested and tried. This is the kind of faith we need for any prayer!

FINANCES – Joshua 1:8
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

God tells us how to be prosperous and have success. Three times in Joshua 1, God tells us this. We can pray for financial needs anytime we want, but if we are not doing what God says in Joshua 1:8, then He has no obligation to answer. If we are doers of this verse, and do it with all our heart, God will honor His word. After all, He magnifies His word even above His name (Psalm 138:2). It’s all dandy and good that you pray in faith, but make sure you are living in faith as well!

SAFETY – Psalm 91:11-12
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone

The key to understanding this promise are the words “in all thy ways”. If you meander off to the left or the right, or if you are tempted to jump off a mountain as Jesus was (Matt 4:6), that is not your normal way. If you are staying on that straight and narrow path that leads to God, He will keep you safe. He will watch over you every second and even send angels to guard you and hold you up. If you are going to pray that God will keep you safe and protect you in a certain situation, make sure you are on the right path. That is where the protection is.

DELIVERANCE – 1 Corinthians 10:13
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
The prayer of deliverance from any situation is always welcomed by God. We have to remember that God will answer that prayer in His time, because He may want you to go through this trail – it may be one that has been deemed a growth opportunity. Remember what James says – trials make our faith work so we can patiently be perfected (James 1:2-4). An answer does not always come right way, but it does come. In the meantime, we can know that God has equipped us to handle whatever He allows into our lives, so rest on that with faith!

GUIDANCE – Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
We all need guidance from time to time. It is essential, especially if we want to stay on that straight and narrow path. We pray regularly for God to guide us through situations that we are going through now, or that we know are coming up later. God says He will direct our paths – with a few things we should do first: Trust Him, don’t listen to your own thinking, and acknowledge He is in everything. When we do those three things, His guidance will be at our disposal!

OTHER PEOPLE – Eph 6:18
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Just before this verse is the description of the armor of God we must put on. That is all for our protection against the principalities and powers of our spiritual enemy. That this verse is right after that tells me that prayers for all the saints are a crowing part of that armor. This is something we must do to be protected from the enemy.

GOVERNMENT – 1 Timothy 2:2-3
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
It is so tempting to criticize and put down the leaders of our country for the way our government is running right now. We all know the problems we have. But God tells us to pray for them. Maybe things would be different if we would all do this one simple thing and stop the other!

WISDOM – James 1:5-6
5 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.
6 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.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
We can have wisdom to understand why we are going through the trials of life, or wisdom for our next decision. It can be ours if we ask in the type of faith that can move mountains. God says that here. Solomon gained wisdom that way. But if we waver in our faith, we will receive nothing from the Lord. Let us build up a powerful faith!

SPIRITUAL GROWTH – Ephesians 4:14-15
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
I would guess most of us want to grow in our walk with the Lord. We don’t want to be children in Christ – we want to grow up and be mature in Him. That will enable us to avoid the traps of the enemy. We will have more understanding in His ways. We are told here that when we speak the truth in love, we will grow in Him. Speak the truth in love – always.

KNOW GOD’S WILL – Rom 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
When we give ourselves wholly to Him and allow the word to transform our mind, we will walk in that perfect will of God. We will go through trials with confidence in Him. The world will see how we handle the bad times and they will know by our testimony that we walk with God. We can be in His perfect will when we continue to allow His word to work within us.

These are just a few of the verses that tell us how to pray, what is required for our prayers to be answered, and the promises that will come our way if we simply walk in His commandments. As you can see, there are other things attached to each one of these that must be fulfilled before we can claim the promise of the verse.

I believe many in the church think they can pray whatever they think they have need of, and God will supply it, no matter how they are living. These powerful promises tell us different. We have an obligation to God before He has one to us.

I could list hundreds more verses to show you what to pray for and His promises to answer. This is just my favorite selection. Perhaps you have yours and could list them in the comments. I would love to read them.

Be one that has their prayers answered! Follow God in all you do. Our next, and last lesson will sum things up. Hope you’ll stay tuned for the grand finale!

Does God Exist? Moral Standards

I just ran across Patricks’ blog, and he has some excellent posts on Does God Exits. Stop by and check him out sometime!

Patrick Meador

A few months back, while on a road trip with my dad and brother, we began to talk about the advance of technology and got on the subject of technology in cars. Some of you may remember the day when technology was almost nonexistent in the car world. Some of you may remember 8-track players, cassette players, CD players, and now cars seem to even be doing away with the auxiliary cable!

Nevertheless, in all of the progression of technology in cars, there is a new advancement that recent years have been focusing on more heavily: autonomous, self-driving vehicles. In the design and technology of these cars, there is one main issue: the moral coding of the artificial intelligence.

You see, drivers have to make many decisions on the road that aren’t necessarily routine. For example, let us say a child runs into the street and you have no time…

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BREAKING NEWS: WORLD EVANGELIST BILLY GRAHAM DIES AT 99

The magnitude of this will be felt for a long time.  The greatest evangelist we have ever known is gone – now forever in our memory for His service to the Lord.  God has called Him home, and we pray for comfort for His family.

Wed February 21, 2018 Evangelist Billy Graham — a confidant to presidents, a guiding light to generations of American evangelicals and a globe-trotting preacher who converted millions to Christianity — died Wednesday at the age of 99, his spokesman confirmed to CNN. Graham passed away at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, spokesman Jeremy Blume […]

via BREAKING NEWS: WORLD EVANGELIST BILLY GRAHAM DIES AT 99 — jesussocial

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 6 Where Should We Pray

 This chapter may sound dull to you, because you know as well as I do that we can pray anywhere we want to.  Most likely we do.  We pray when we have something come into our minds that needs prayer.  The Holy Spirit prompts us and we don’t wait until we get to church the next time, or until we are kneeling by our bed at night, or when we get back to our easy chair.  We pray right there, no matter where we are.

John 4:19-24 King James Version (KJV)

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.  21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Jesus and the disciples had travelled into Samaria while on their journeys. Many would go around Samaria because of the tensions between the Jews and Samaritans, but it was on the direct route between Judea and Galilee.  Jesus was not one to waste any time!

It was around noon and they were tired, so they stopped at a well and the disciples went into town to get some lunch and bring it back.  While they were gone, a woman came to the well by herself.  Usually the women would all come together, so Jesus probably knew this woman must be an outcast for some reason because she was by herself.

Jesus asked the woman fora drink, and she was shocked.  Jews just did not talk to Samaritans, especially men to Samaritan women!  She asked Jesus why He was talking to her, and Jesus told her if she knew who He was she would be asking Him for water – the Living Water that only He can supply.  He went on to explain Himself, which I am not going to dwell on today, and then came the portion of scripture above.  The main point I want to draw out of this scripture is the fact that Jesus says there is no particular place we will worship, but as long as the Spirit is there, we are in a place of worship.

We have talked extensively on being prepared for prayer and how we should pray.  As long as we follow the truth of scripture, our prayers are effective no matter where we are.  Let’s take a look at the various places Jesus prayed.  I am not going to display all of the entire scriptures, just the addresses.

On the Mountain.  Matt 6:9-13 – Jesus teaches the disciples to pray.

In The Field – Matt 8:1-2 – Jesus comes down from the mountain and prays for a leper

On the Street – Matt 8:6-9 – Jesus prays for the centurions son in the street

In a boat on the sea – Matt 8:26 – Jesus rebukes the wind and the waves

With a swine herd – Mat 8:29-31 – Jesus casts the legion into a swine herd

In someone’s house – Matt 9:1-9 – Jesus heals the paralytic man

In a crowd – Matt 9:20-22 – woman cured from an issue of blood

By the way-side – Matt 20:28-34 – two blind men healed

During a meal – Matt 26:26-27 – Jesus prays over the bread and wine

In a garden – Matt 26:39-44 – In the Garden of Gethsemane

On the cross – Matt 27:46 – Jesus cried out to God

These are just a few examples of various places Jesus prayed, and only from the book of Matthew.   If I listed them all, it would take too many pages.  The point I am making is that no matter where we are, we should pray when we see a need.  One of the astonishing things we read is that when people came to Jesus, or when He met them on His travels, He always took time to pray with them – no matter who was around or where He was.  The Bible tells us He healed them all!  Every leper, every blind man, every person possessed, every deaf and or dumb, every cripple, everyone sick –  He healed them all.

What about you?  I will confess that I am often intimidated by the world around me and don’t pray when I should.  When I see the lame man in Walmart, I usually don’t pray for them right there.  When I see someone sick at the doctor’s office, I usually don’t pray there.  If I see an accident on the side of the road, I usually don’t pray for them right there.  If someone comes up to me and asks me to prayer, I don’t always pray for them right there.  I most often wait until I am in the comfort of my car or home, then I go to the Lord in prayer.

Jesus was not intimidated by the world.  He would pray no matter who was around.  He had the faith and trust in the Father that He knew the healing would take place.  There was no doubt, no double-mindedness.  He knew blind eyes would open, deaf would hear, lame would walk, dumb would talk, demons would leave, lepers would be healed and dead would be raised.  Even in front of those who wanted Him dead, He did not back down.  He healed them all!

Is that why we don’t pray?  We are worried the prayer will not be answered?  If we think it won’t be answered, it won’t be.  James tells us that a double-minded man, one who’s faith wavers, will receive nothing from the Lord (James 1:6-8).  I know that this is my problem.  I don’t fully believe that they will be healed by my prayer – guilty as charged!  I need my faith built, my trust in God needs to be magnified a thousand times.  Then I need to step out boldly and pray for people no matter where I am or who is around me.

This world needs prayer warriors and those who will step out in faith and start praying for all the hurting people around us.  Not in the quiet of our homes, but out in the streets, in the malls, in the highways and byways of life.  Prayer warriors who don’t worry about who sees or who might mock us.  Will you be one of these?  Will I?

 

Be blessed