VIDEO May I? Ask and It Will Be Given

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Wayne Baker, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, wrote a book titled All You Have to Do Is Ask. He believes most of us struggle with asking for help, but we often underestimate how willing people are to help us. According to Baker, learning how to ask for help is an important skill for success. He pointed to a study that sent participants to approach strangers on the streets of New York City asking, “Can I use your cellphone to make a call?” Surprisingly, many strangers were willing to oblige. On average, it took only two tries to get a New Yorker to lend them a phone.[1]

In Matthew 7:7, Jesus invited us to liberally ask God for help in meeting our needs. The New Living Translation says: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

Don’t be afraid to ask God for His help, and don’t be reluctant to keep on asking.

God is more willing to give than we are to ask. Andrew Murray


Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 7:7-11 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

Community Memory

Today's Devotional

He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you.”  Luke 22:19

 

In his book Restless Faith, theologian Richard Mouw talks about the importance of remembering the lessons of the past. He quotes sociologist Robert Bellah, who said that “healthy nations must be ‘communities of memory.’ ” Bellah extended that principle to other societal bonds such as families. Remembering is an important part of living in community.

The Scriptures teach the value of community memory as well. The Israelites were given the Passover feast to remind them of what God had done to rescue them from slavery in Egypt (see Exodus 12:1–30). Still today, Jewish people around the world revisit that rich community memory every spring.

Passover holds great meaning for followers of Christ too, for Passover has always pointed to the work of the Messiah on the cross. It was during Passover, the night before the cross, that Jesus established His own memorial table. Luke 22:19 records, “He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’”

Every time we gather at the Lord’s Table to celebrate Communion, we remember that Christ rescued us from slavery to sin and provided us with eternal life. May the rescuing love of Jesus remind us that His cross is worth remembering—together.

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

Why is it valuable to take Communion with other believers in Jesus? How does the shared event remind you of Jesus’ sacrificial love?

Thank You, Father, for the gift of Your Son. Thank You also that He has given us a tangible way to remember His sacrifice whenever we gather at the Table.

Read For This He Came: Jesus’ Journey to the Cross at discoveryseries.org/hp191.

An Unshakeable Faith

John 15:1-7

Faith often matures in hardship, because trials remind us how dependent we are on the Lord. And as we allow ourselves to trust Him more deeply, we will increasingly find that with Him, we can endure anything.

The key to such rock-solid faith is an intimate relationship with God. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Upon salvation, we are grafted into the vine of Christ, which means that His Spirit lives and works in us and provides a constant connection between Father and child. Abiding in God gets us through hard times.

However, we have to choose to tap into that power. Trying to keep things from God’s control could interfere with His plans and cause our relationship with Him to grow distant. But when we commit to knowing God through prayer, meditation, and obedience, His power flows through us, like sap through a branch, bringing new growth.

Intimacy helps us trust the Lord when life gets difficult. And the more we abide—especially during hard times—the more we grow into unshakeable “oaks of righteousness” (Isa. 61:3).

Find Wondrous Things in the Word

“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:18)

The word “law” (Hebrew torah), as used in the psalms, actually refers to all the revealed Scriptures. We may well understand it today to mean the entire Bible. And we can indeed behold wondrous things in the Word if we have eyes to see and hearts to believe by the grace of God.

The adjective “wondrous” is often used to describe God’s mighty miracles in Egypt and elsewhere (e.g., Psalm 106:22, “Wondrous works in the land of Ham”). This would indicate that there are many evidences of divine origin that can be gleaned from the Scriptures if our spiritual eyes are open to discern them as we search.

This 119th Psalm itself illustrates this truth. It has 22 stanzas (keyed in turn to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet), each with eight verses (the number eight representing new life, since eight suggests a new beginning after the “completeness” represented by the number seven). In each stanza, each verse begins with the same Hebrew letter—aleph, the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, in the first stanza, beth in the second stanza, etc.—and the 176 verses (i.e., 8 times 22) of the psalm (the longest chapter in the Bible) have 176 references to the Holy Scriptures.

The great theme of the psalm is, therefore, the wonder and power of the life-giving, written Word of God. As the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead on the “eighth day,” and as there are eight other instances of the dead being restored to life in the Bible, there are eight different Hebrew words used for the Scriptures in the psalm.

Life through the Word! This is also the testimony of the gospel of Christ, revealed in “the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). HMM

Where I am Going to Graze

The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.

—John 12:21

 

Toward anything like thorough scholarship I make no claim. I am not an authority on any man’s teaching; I have never tried to be. I take my help where I find it and set my heart to graze where the pastures are greenest. Only one stipulation do I make: my teacher must know God, as Carlyle said, “otherwise than by hearsay,” and Christ must be all in all to him. If a man have only correct doctrine to offer me I am sure to slip out at the first intermission to seek the company of someone who has seen for himself how lovely is the face of Him who is the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley. Such a man can help me, and no one else can.   POM xiv

Forgive me, Lord, and give me afresh and new vision of Youso that any pasture I spread will be worth grazing in. Amen.

 

The Fruit of Loving Obedience

And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart…to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

—Deuteronomy 30:6

 

Obedience is both the evidence and the definition of our love for Christ and the condition for receiving the Holy Spirit. We demonstrate our love not simply in an intellectual comprehension of Christ’s teachings but by applying them to our lives.

A young married man once called on me expressing a desire to be filled with the Spirit. Prompted by the Spirit, I said, “Go and do the next thing God tells you to do!” He left my study hurt that I had not taken more time with him.

For several weeks I did not see the fellow. When he called again, I knew by looking that God had fulfilled the desire of his heart. He confided that at the time he had called on me, he and his wife were estranged. The “next thing God told [him] to do” was to go to the city where his wife was staying and be reconciled to her. He obeyed the voice of God, and his obedience resulted in the indwelling of the Holy Counselor. As one preacher put it, “Obedience is always followed by blessing!” JJJ336

God being who He is must have obedience from His creatures. Man being who he is must render that obedience. ROR143

 

How to Study the Bible

Psalm 119:18

Read and study the Bible as two young lovers read and study each other’s letters. As soon as the mail brings a letter from his sweetheart, the young man grabs it and without waiting to see if there is not another letter for him, runs off to a corner and reads and laughs and rejoices over it and almost devours it. If he is a particularly demonstrative lover (may the Lord make us demonstrative lovers of our Lord Jesus Christ) he will probably kiss it and carry it next to his heart till the next one comes.

He meditates on it day and night, and reads it over again and then again. He carries it to town with him, and on the street car appears very quiet and thoughtful, until at once a twinkle comes into his eye, out comes the letter and choice portions are read over again. He delights in that letter. Read in Acts 17:11 KJV what the disciples in Berea did: “They received the Word with all readiness of mind.” A frank and noble mind is open to the truth, and wants it more than gold or pleasure or fame or power.

“They searched the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11 KJV). Precious things are deeply hidden. Pebbles and stones and autumn leaves abound everywhere, but gold and silver and precious stones are hidden deep in the bowels and rocky ribs of the earth; shells cover the seashore, but pearls are hidden in its depths. And so with truth. Some truth may live on the surface of the Bible, but those that will altogether satisfy us and make us wise unto salvation are found only after diligent search, even as for hidden treasure. “Search the Scriptures,” (John 5:39 KJV) said Jesus.

“They searched the Scriptures daily.” Daily, not spasmodically by fits and starts, but daily, habitually. They dug into the Word of God.

Read and study the Word not to get a mass of knowledge in the head, but a flame of love in the heart. Read it to find fuel for affection, food for reflection, direction for judgment, guidance for conscience. Read it not that you may know, but that you may do.

Finally, do not be discouraged if progress in the knowledge of the Word seems slow at first. It is like learning to play an instrument or master a trade. Keep at it, keep at it, keep at it!

Happy shall we be, if, like David, we can say, “Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11 KJV).

Samuel Logan Brengle, Heart Talks on Holiness