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Posts Tagged ‘Hebrews 4:16’

Needs and Wants

May 4th, 2016

“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV.

What God withholds, you are best without.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “needs and wants.”

We all have needs and wants. Our difficulty is distinguishing between those; our insistence on satisfying both makes those feel ambiguously similar. God has promised to supply your needs. “And My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus . . Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Philippians 4:19/Hebrews 4:16 NKJV. Sometimes, your wants incorrectly masquerade as needs. But God never promised to provide all you want; wants are forever changing, and many times could be unwise for you. With your wants, you must trust God to know and choose what is best for you.

I have heard it said, “It never hurts to ask.” With God, there is no constraint about your asking. In the context of persistence in prayer, Jesus encouraged, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10 NIV. Read Luke 11:5-13 NLT. “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4:2 NIV. How sad it would be if your needs were not met merely because you didn’t bother to ask God.

Beyond the fact that God relates His generosity to your request, asking is a healthy expression of humility as well as an honest confession of reliance upon God rather than yourself. But be advised; God’s promises are not blank checks you can fill in and cash whenever you want. The Bible is clear about times when God does not respond to your requests as you wish. In fact, James also addressed times when you ask but God does not provide, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:2-3 NIV. What God withholds, you are best without.

God is both loving and wise, a Father who delights to meet your needs, and more. But He is not a doting Father who gives you what you want rather than what is best for you. Having God’s attention is not complicated. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 NIV. God’s liberality is forever aligned with His will. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7 NKJV. Soak your heart and spirit in the Word of God.

In addition to being persuaded of the will of God, Jesus said, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22 NIV. Believe that what God wills to do, He will do. “If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.” 1 John 3:21-22 NIV. Your needs are provided by the One described as, “. . Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to trust your wants to His love and place your needs in His hands.

Christian Communications 2016

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A Time of Need

September 11th, 2015

“We may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NKJV.

When you invite God into your situation, help is on the way.

My thoughts and comments today describe “a time of need.”

As a child, I remember my maternal Grandmother often say, mostly to herself, “Heaven help us.” I think it was both a prayer and a plea, a lifestyle of confidence that help in big and small things would come from Heaven. Everybody needs help sometime, some more than others and some more often. When you do need help, to whom will you look? Your answer reveals where you place your trust. Usually you will look where you have found help in the past, or where you could best expect help now. ”Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NKJV.

Out of all the possibilities, there is only one source that is sure. It is from Whom your help comes that makes a difference, not from where. The Psalmist wrote, “I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, earth, and mountains.” Psalm 121:1-2 MSG. “Let us be bold, then, and say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?“ Hebrews 13:6 TEV.

Moses uses picturesque, even poetic, language, “There is no one like our God. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you . . Who else is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your protecting shield and your triumphant sword!” Deuteronomy 33:26-27/29 NLT. Moses envisions the mighty God leaving the bliss of Heaven to engage the conflict with one objective, to bring glorious victory to those He has redeemed.

“What if the Lord had not been on our side? Answer, O Israel! ‘If the Lord had not been on our side when our enemies attacked us, then they would have swallowed us alive in their furious anger against us; then the flood would have carried us away, the water would have covered us, the raging torrent would have drowned us. Let us thank the Lord, who has not let our enemies destroy us. We have escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap; the trap is broken, and we are free! Our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.’” Psalm 124:1-8 TEV.

Feeling besieged, threatened, trapped, overwhelmed, and drowning in your troubles? When all seems against you, God is for you. Read Isaiah 43:1-2 NKJV. No enemy can overcome you; no flood will overwhelm you. Today, God will help you – if you ask Him, placing your trust firmly upon Him. When you are unable to do much else, you can whisper, “Heaven help me.” He will come; you’ll see. Wait and watch for the Lord. Read Isaiah 40:28-31 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to receive sufficient grace from the Lord in your time of need.

Christian Communications

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Morning Grace

February 1st, 2013

In your hurt, you are never out of reach of your Healer.

“His mercies begin afresh each day.” Lamentations 3:23 NLT.

There are times when you just cannot wait for the day to be over. Schedules weary you; problems worry you. You just want to go to sleep and wake up to a better time. But there seem too many days are much the same as another. Maybe Jeremiah felt a little like that. He wrote a small book – just five chapters – that he called “Lamentations,” meaning “complaint or mourning.” Jeremiah, often called the weeping prophet, ministered when Israel was in captivity as God had forewarned of judgment upon the nation’s sinful disregard of His Law and Lordship.

Jeremiah laments the national destruction Israel’s spiritual rebellion has cost, and the once avoidable hardships and suffering in daily life, while also recognizing God’s justice in their national pain. Then, in the midst of his lamentation, the prophet declares the Lord’s mercies. “I will not forget this awful time . . yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: the unfailing love of the Lord never ends! . . Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each day . . I will hope in Him!” Read Lamentations 3:20-32 NLT. My thoughts are captured by the phrase, “His mercies begin afresh each day.” Read Isaiah 61:1-3 NIV. When yesterday leaves you not wanting to face another day, awaken to the Lord’s compassion, mercy, and grace – afresh and ample each morning.

Life will hold moments when your present experience defies explanation. Your questions remain unanswered; your pain lingers. Minutes ago, I listened to a song, a phrase of which describes, “the moment when humanity is overcome by Majesty . . when the hurt and the Healer collide.” (The Hurt & The Healer, by MercyMe). In your hurt, you are never out of reach of your Healer.

Years earlier, I found that true the night my father and young sister died tragically in a highway accident. In a lonely motel across the road from the hospital where my Mother’s injuries were massive and her life uncertain, I fell across my bed with indescribable, emotional pain. In that dark night of my soul, I felt lost and alone. I opened my Bible randomly, and read David’s lament and praise, “Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord . . The Lord will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and your going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121 NIV. In the lonely night, my hurt met my Healer profoundly. For almost fifty years, I have walked in the healing truth of that Psalm.

In the Fall of  2000, unable to sleep, I sat at my desk late at night to process a neurologist’s diagnosis from earlier in the day. My Mother had suffered a massive, cerebral hemorrhage, was not likely to survive surgery if attempted, and would not live through the night without it. Unexpectedly, a promise from God’s Word gripped my breaking heart, “As your days, so shall your strength be.” Deuteronomy 33:25 NKJV. For seven weeks, I walked in the grace of those words, and continue to do so today. Indeed, God’s “mercies begin afresh every morning.”

You can hold tightly to your hurt and its pain, not knowing anything better to do with it, or you can bring your heart to Jesus and discover His compassion and grace, sufficient and unfailing. I pray that you will do the latter. See Hebrews 4:16 NKJV. Peter spoke of people who are waiting expectantly, “. . until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19 NIV. Jesus is that bright and Morning Star, the early promise of a new and better day for you. Whatever your history, whatever you’ve done, whatever your questions, whatever your past hurt or present pain, “[The Lord’s] mercies begin afresh each day.” See 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV.

My prayer for you is that you place every hurt in the hands of your Healer today.

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Help Wanted

January 13th, 2012

“We do not know what to do, but we are looking to You for help.” 2 Chronicles 20:12 NLT

“Not having every answer will keep you tender before God and honest with people.”

My thoughts today are about “help wanted.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to know everything? Maybe then you would never make a mistake, never again be at a loss for what to do, or never need anyone else; well, maybe this last one is not such a good idea for people who already believe that about themselves. No one ever knows all there is to know. Every person faces situations where the answers are not obvious, the right decisions are not all that clear. If life has not asked questions you cannot answer, you probably haven’t been paying attention.

I am confronted plenty of times with things I need to know, but do not. That happens daily in my own life and in the lives of those who look to me for spiritual leadership and guidance. That humbling reality has kept me tender before God and honest with people. My answer has been the same as Judah’s King Jehoshaphat discovered. Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-20 NLT. Here’s his story: three nations – “a vast army” – threatened Judah. The situation was gravely serious.

The King sought God’s guidance, called people to a national fast, and prayed publicly before the nation, “O God . . You alone are the God who is in Heaven. You are ruler of all kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you . . we are powerless against this mighty army. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to You for help. 2 Chronicles 20:12 NLT. Ever tried to help someone that didn’t want help? God rushes where help is wanted. God gave them glorious victory in an unimagined way. They worshiped wholeheartedly and God worked majestically! Read 2 Chronicles 20:21-30 NLT.

There will be times you will not know what to do; God always knows what He can do for you! Look to Heaven for help. The last sermon I heard my Dad preach was the prayer of Solomon upon his being crowned King. Dad’s text was Solomon’s prayer, “I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around (I do not know how to go out or come in. NKJV) . . give me an understanding mind so I can govern Your people well and know the difference between right and wrong . . the Lord was pleased with Solomon’s reply and was glad he asked for wisdom.” 1 Kings 3:5-14 NLT. What pleases God is simple – humility, honesty, and trust. See Hebrews 4:16 NIV.

A child doesn’t yet know all that much; they don’t know how much they don’t know, lacking sufficient life experience. Children have not learned their “way around” yet. They need help and direction; they need others’ wisdom and life experience to guide and protect them. That’s how I felt during that sermon. Only twenty-one years old, a Bible College senior preparing for ministry, and just weeks from marriage, Solomon’s sincerity deeply touched my heart. I could not have known that just weeks later that my Dad and sister would die in a tragic highway accident and I would be asked to pastor the church which my Father had pastored, and in which I had grown up?

In that traumatic situation, God clearly spoke a promise to my heart from His Word, “My help comes from the Lord . . the Lord preserves your life. The Lord watches over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” Psalm 121:1-8 NLT. As a man, husband, father, pastor, and friend, I have often felt keenly aware of how few answers I have of myself when others’ or my own well-being depend on that. I am, however, confident in the wisdom and faithfulness of the God I serve. God comes where help is wanted. Read Psalm 46:1-3 NIV.

My prayer for you today is to have supreme confidence in God’s timely help.

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