Author: Ashley Kubik

I am passionate about writing and for others to grow in their walk with the Lord. My desire for this blog is to be transparent about struggles in the Christian life, laying down those struggles at the altar, and exposing truths in God's Word.

Have you lost your appetite?

Are you in a season of life where you’ve lost your appetite for God? For His church? For family? For people? For ministry? The things that used to interest you no longer interest you anymore.

Hannah was a woman who literally lost her appetite.

1 Samuel 1:7, “So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.”

I homeschool my son and one thing that drives me crazy is his constant desire for food. That sounds bad as I type it. But literally all day long, “I want a snack. I’m hungry.” I’m not exaggerating.

Our pantry makes a noise, so when he opens up the door I can hear it from wherever I am in the house. Next comes the refrigerator. I hear both pantry and refrigerator door shut. “Mom, there’s nothing to eat!”

Ten minutes later, repeat. “Son, what was there 10 minutes ago is still there. The magic food fairy has not yet come to our house to refill our pantry and refrigerator.” (I’m the magic food fairy 🙂 )

Well, in relation to our walk with God and our spiritual growth, the same is true when reading the bible. Most of the time my pantry is not as empty as he exaggerates. It’s just that what he wants – the snacks – aren’t there.

When reading our bible, there’s always something to take away from it, but maybe not exactly what we were looking for. We are looking for that certain “thing” that we can kind of throw in the face of someone. Do you know what I’m talking about?

We take a machete to God’s Word, thinking it doesn’t pertain to our situation, and miss what God has placed right in front of us. We butcher it up, search it out to only look for the “snacks”, something just to get us by, never filling up on the meat.

Hannah had some“thing” in her face every day. Peninnah. Elkanah had two wives: Peninnah and Hannah.

Here we go with the trap of comparison, “Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.” (1 Sam. 1:2) Comparison is the thief of joy! (Theodore Roosevelt) There’s nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9)! This has been going on for a while.

During this time, barrenness was considered a disgrace. It was very important to carry on the name, have descendants, and raise up workers for the field.

For Hannah to not be able to have children, and have someone who could have children, and all of her children right in front of her face every day, I’m sure, was disheartening.

Not being able to have children in and of itself is enough to make one lose their appetite. But then seeing the other woman popping out babies left and right, living in your house, is unimaginable.

“…although the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.” (1 Sam. 1:6-7)

We understand now why Hannah didn’t eat. She lost her appetite for food because she was being provoked DAILY!

Home usually is a safe haven, but her home was where all of her defeat was taking place. It was right in front of her eyes every single moment of every single day.

What does your situation look like? Have you lost your appetite for God because of someone “provoking you”? Have you lost your appetite for God because of ONE PERSON?! Think about that for a minute.

One person affecting the rest of your Christian life. That one person potentially affecting where you’ll spend eternity because you allowed it. Don’t let ONE person hold you back from the abundant life Christ has intended for you!

Jesus didn’t let that ONE hold him back. He was provoked in the wilderness by the Enemy.

Hannah became focused on what she didn’t have.

  • What is holding you back?
  • What are you hungering for?

Hannah eventually ate. Her situation did not change right away, but she did change, through prayer.

That will be a blog for another day 🙂

Ask.Seek.Knock…ASK!

Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Ask. Seek. Knock. ASK.

If you have your bible, what color are these words? These words are written in red, which means Jesus Himself spoke these words. He is literally telling us to ask Him questions! You may have heard this before from this verse, but this was a first for me; a revelation in God’s Word.

In Exodus, they would gather manna each morning to prepare them for the day (Exo. 16:21). They had just what they needed for that day, nothing more, nothing less. Then it started all over again the next day.

“But I’m convinced that morning is a principle, not merely a time of day. It signified a position of priority, a place of preeminence…But those moments are always more valuably invested in waiting before God, feeding on His Word, listening to what He whispers to your spirit…while your heart is most open and refreshed and able to assimilate truth.”-Priscilla Shirer

So what does that time look like for you? Does it include music? Is it quiet or are kids climbing all around you? Is it in the morning, during the day, at night, during the middle of the night?

Just as our relationship with our children looks different with each one, God’s relationship with His children looks different with each one as well.

The Quest was a bible study I did. As the writer puts it, it’s more like bible study meets prayer closet. This study has been embedded in my mind and my heart since I started it last year.

I want you to think about when you’re getting to know someone. You spend time together and ask questions to get to know the other person. Let’s say you’re going on a walk with a friend, do questions arise? For example, how are you doing? What’s been going on in your life? It’s kind of inevitable that questions come up.

What about your quiet time with the Lord? Are questions coming up?

There’s a difference between questioning God and asking Him questions. (The Quest video session)

When I think of questioning someone I think of an interrogation, trying to get information out of someone. When I think of asking someone questions I think of desiring to get to know them, really wanting a relationship and knowing their heart. So why should our time with the Lord be any different?

“We need to throw the word quiet out of quiet time.” -Beth Moore

Of course we are to sit at the feet of Jesus and His Word and listen to what He has to say to us, but how are you engaging in the conversation with Him?

Obviously we know He cannot audibly speak to us and respond like we would with someone face-to-face, but He speaks to us through His Word, other believers, songs, situations, etc.

It’s really a matter of how well you’re listening.

The gospels are full of questions, questions that Jesus asked and questions directed towards Jesus. If you study these books of the bible and those asking Jesus questions, you can see the difference in the motives between those who truly wanted to know Jesus and those who just wanted to trap and interrogate Jesus (the Pharisees).

In the study, Beth Moore defines the difference between a quest and a trip. I don’t know about you, but when I’m planning a trip there are lots of little details that need to be planned out in advance to make the most of a trip, eliminating any hiccups as much as possible. “A quest is more than a trip. It’s a jury of inquest, investigation. It’s a pursuit; a search.” (The Quest)

In our relationship and walk with the Lord, it’s a quest. But is it something that you’re pursuing? He’s pursuing us for sure.

Are you searching for Him? Is He what you’re looking for or is something else grabbing your attention?

The more you’re seeking out God and His Word, the more questions will arise.

We fear studying something deeper because there might be something that comes up that we don’t know the answer to…and we might not ever know the answer. That’s the great thing about a mystery!

But if we’ve mastered something, there’s no more mystery in it. (The Quest Study)

I used to read Nancy Drew books and play a Nancy Drew game on the computer when I was younger. When I’d get a clue and it’d lead me closer to solving it, I was so drawn and wanted to continue playing. I couldn’t get enough of these games and these books.

When you have glimpses of Jesus, and He shows you a “clue”, you’ll want more of Him. You’ll continue to seek after Him and pursue Him.

My fear for the Christian church is we have Christians who have never truly tasted that the Lord is good (Ps. 34:8), they’ve never had “clues” that draw them near to Christ to continually want to seek Him out.

I just want to challenge you to search your heart and see what your heart is really seeking. Get on board with a quest (a pursuit, a search) with the Lord and ask Him those questions that have been lingering in your heart.

Praying with expectancy

My family and I were on vacation last week at the beach. A brief rain shower came through while the sun was still shining. It was the perfect condition for a rainbow.

My daughter and I waited for the rain to stop before walking down to the beach. Rainbows have always been my “thing”. It never fails that I always see a rainbow when we’re at the beach.

As we were walking we were praying, “Lord, show us a rainbow. We are expecting it.” You can imagine my disappointment when we walked down there and did not see a rainbow.

We even walked on the bridge to get an aerial view of the sky. Still no rainbow. I wasn’t taking no for an answer.

So we stepped off the bridge and starting walking down the beach, still looking up in the sky for the rainbow. Nothing. I kept saying, “I am expecting You to show me a rainbow.”

Then what do you know, I stopped looking all around and I just looked STRAIGHT AHEAD and there was a rainbow…umbrella!! I said out loud, “I meant in the sky!”

Luckily no one was close enough to hear me. Oh, how I love His sense of humor!

But isn’t that just like us in our prayer life? We pray expecting something totally different. I guess I needed to be more specific because after all, He did show me a rainbow, just not in the way I imagined.

When we pray, we go into that prayer already have a preconceived thought of what that answer might look like, but all the while God has something totally different in mind. Sure, He answers it, but just not how we thought.

We need to pray with expectancy but also with an open mind. Sometimes all we need to do is just look straight ahead.

We often miss what’s right in front of us because we’re looking everywhere else for something else.

That umbrella was there the whole time, I just missed it because my eyes were set on something different.

I know this may sound silly to some, but I hope we don’t miss the point in this story: not to miss what’s right in front of us, that He’s already answered the prayer if we would stop looking everywhere else and just look straight ahead at what’s right in front of us.

James 1:6-8, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

The verses preceding speak of the Christian going through trials and the graces that are produced while going through those difficult times.

While the world tells you to be calm during those times, Scripture tells us to have joy (v. 2). The testing of your faith produces patience (v. 4). It flows into praying for wisdom (v. 5). If you lack it, ask for it!

James is telling Christians not to pray for the removal of the trial, but for wisdom through the trial. Guess what the rest of the verse 5 says? That whoever asks for wisdom, through this, God gives it to them liberally, bountifully, and without judgement or criticism!

It’s very fitting that this next verse uses the analogy of a doubting Christian to the waves of the sea. Here we are at the beach, waves going every which way, and I’m looking for an answer to this prayer.

A doubting Christian can be dangerous. Doubt leads our minds astray to the “what if’s” and the “what could have been’s”.

“A wavering faith and spirit has a bad influence upon our conversations. A double-minded man is unstable is all his ways (v. 8). When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be great unsteadiness in all our conversation and actions. This may sometimes expose men to contempt in the world; but it is certain that such ways cannot please God nor procure any good for us in the end. While we have but one God to trust to, we have but one God to be governed by, and this should keep us even and steady. He that is unstable as water shall not excel.” -Matthew Henry

“You will only live a life as bold as your prayers.” -Beth Moore

Are you praying in faith (v. 6)?

Are you doubting when crying out to the Lord (v. 6)?

Are you praying with expectancy?

Belief takes action…so where are you looking?

Pineapple: a symbol of hospitality

If you know me, you know that I love pineapples. They are probably my favorite fruit. Especially now.

They are used for all kinds of health benefits including immune system support, bone strength, eye health, healthy digestion, anti-inflammatory benefits, blood clot reduction, reduces the risk of a common cold and sinuses, and I’m sure many more. These are just what I found in my research. It has also been proven to induce labor. I can actually attest to this one myself as I ate quite a bit of pineapple the night before my water broke and I went into labor with my daughter!

But they are not just my favorite fruit because of all these awesome health benefits, but because it is actually the international symbol for hospitality.

The word pineapple was derived from a Spanish word used to refer to a pinecone in 1398, so it actually had nothing to do with the fruit until about 300 years later when the word became exclusively used for the fruit. The fruit obviously needs a tropical climate to flourish. Hawaii is the only U.S. state in which pineapples are still grown. Of course other countries grow pineapples, but as for the U.S., Hawaii is about it! (Research from LiveScience)

Hospitality is a theme that God has literally thrown in my face over the past few months, something He’s desperately working on my heart.

I fear for those in ministry that we’ve become accustomed to Christians and Christians only. It’s like we’re waiting for the world to come knocking on our church doors. And as we know, that’s not the case. We have to go to them.

When Paul was saved on the Road to Damascus, he wasn’t the least bit concerned for Jesus, or even looking for him for that matter. He had just left the stoning of the martyr Stephen! No way was Jesus even on his mind. But that’s exactly where Jesus met him. The woman at the well, she went looking for water but left with living water. She wasn’t out looking for Jesus. He was already there waiting for her.

As Christians, we need to move past this mentality of staying in our little “Christian bubbles” where we meet with and host only those that think like us, look like us, worship like us, live like us, etc. When Jesus met me where I was eight and a half years ago, I looked nothing like Jesus nor was I looking for Him.

These were the people Jesus met with: Pharisees, fisherman, tax collectors, the deformed, the sick, the adulterers, the homeless, the refugees, the wanderers, the possessed, and even the unclean. (Jen Schmidt) How about you? Would you welcome this group into your home? Would you send them an invite?

Back to the pineapple. The pineapple was a symbol of royal privilege back in the day (don’t you love that phrase?!). It would only be used as a centerpiece placed above the desserts because it was hefty price just to rent it for the day for whatever gathering was being held!

“The more affluent clients of the bake shop would actually be sold the same rented fruit to carve and share with their guests. Any guest who was invited to a party where a whole pineapple was displayed, knew that no expense was spared in guaranteeing the guests’ enjoyment. It was this that made the crowned fruit the high symbol of social events and became the meaning of welcome, friendship, and hospitality.” (The Story of the Pineapple)

Native Americans would place a pineapple outside of their door when they were welcoming guests. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but even outside of some hotels there will be a pineapple carved on a sign outside of the hotel.

Hospitality has become a lost art in our society. And sadly, a lost art among Christians.

“Who is missing at my table? Am I willing to enlarge the boundaries of my heart to allow the core of the gospel living to include anyone and everyone? Does my table look like Jesus’ table, set for all who are hungry and in need?” (Jen Schmidt)

Romans 12:13 tell us to pursue hospitality. It’s a pursuit. Is hospitality something that you’re pursuing?

So when you see a pineapple displayed, come on in!

Speaking the truth in love: a one-sided statement?

If I’m honest, I’ve heard the statement “speak the truth in love” countless times. And if I’m even more honest, I have no problem speaking the truth; it is in the “in love” part that I do lack sometimes. Okay. I’m not perfect. I know my flaws.

This statement is found in Ephesians 4:15. If we look at the life of Jesus, He always spoke truth. Since He was perfect, it was always spoken in love. He wasn’t worried about offending anyone. He was concerned with pleasing His Father. May we do the same.

Truth is truth. For instance, my son wants the grass to be blue. He has a tiny obsession with blue, to say the least. He can state his case all day long. And while God can choose to make the grass whatever color He so desires, right now the grass is green. So all the cases and claims and arguments he makes, at the end of the day the truth still stands that grass is green.

In Matthew we see several instances where Jesus shut up the self-righteous Pharisees by speaking truth. One instance in particular is when the Pharisees approach Jesus about paying taxes to Caesar in Matthew 22. And actually the leaders of the Pharisees did not have enough courage to come in-person. They had to send Herodians, those of King Herod, because they were part of the pro-Roman politics.

“What do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Matt. 22:17)

They think they have Jesus in a trap by asking this question.

“Had He simply replied that it was lawful to pay tribute, they would have denounced Him to the people as one who dishonoured the privileges of Israel, and considered the children of Abraham no longer free, but subjects to a foreign power.

Had He, on the other hand, replied that it was not lawful to pay tribute, they would have denounced Him to the Romans as a mover of sedition, and a rebel against Caesar, who refused to pay his taxes.”- J.C. Ryle

The Pharisees thought this was a simple yes or no question. But then Jesus responds. “Show me the tax money.” (v. 18). He asked why they were testing Him and actually calls them hypocrites (an actor under an assumed character, stage player, a dissembler; Strong’s). He asks whose image is on the coin. It was Caesar’s image.

Jesus just reversed the entire situation on them. Rather answering a fool according to his folly, he tells them to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and render to God the things that are God’s. God’s Kingdom is not of this world.

“But God governs history, and temporal authority exists only because he has willed it thus. Sovereign and final authority remains that of God. The State can require only our money and our services, never our souls-that is to say, the obedience which we owe only to God.” (Layman’s Bible Commentary)

Jesus’ response left the Pharisees speechless. “When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.” (Matt. 22:22) This word marveled means to wonder. Jesus left them thinking about what He just said.

The Pharisees did not receive the truth in love because their motive was not pure in their questioning. Does that mean the truth was not spoken to them in love? No! It just wasn’t received in love. The Pharisees came after Jesus in this situation in order to trap him with their question. Verse 15 says the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Jesus in His talk. And instead Jesus spoke right to the heart of the Pharisees because he perceived their wickedness (v. 18).

We need to be yielded to the Holy Spirit. When I hear the word yield I think of a Yield sign. What do you do when you yield? You slow down and let the other car take the lead. Just like in our walk with the Lord, we need to slow down and let Him lead. This is yielding to the Holy Spirit. I would rather be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit than concerned with pleasing others.

We have to look at the reverse of this original statement, what about receiving the truth in love? If a person is yielded to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is leading. The truth may have been spoken in love (I’m not saying that it always is), just not received in love. What is the true motive of the heart?

Look at Proverbs 25:12. “Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.”

“A rebuke given in love and received with intent to obey at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way is more valuable than gold.” -Study Bible Notes

Matthew Henry states, “…very graceful and well becoming both the reprover and the reproved; both will have their praise, the reprover for giving it so prudently and the reproved for taking it so patiently and making a good use of it.”

The verse right before this is, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Beautiful.

May we have the discernment when to speak the truth…and in love. May we pray for the receiver to have discernment as well to receive the truth…and in love.

What is it like being a mom?

There are really no words to describe what it’s like being a mom.

It’s beautiful and it’s ugly.

It’s joyful and it’s sorrowful.

It’s fun and it’s tough.

You don’t truly realize the messiness of motherhood. You don’t truly realize how beautiful it can be.

When my water broke with my first child, I was unaware that once your water breaks, it doesn’t stop. See, I thought that when it breaks it’s just one big gush and that’s it. Nope. Not for me anyways. And I had no idea! There are a lot of emotional and hormonal imbalances that can take place after having a child, cue postpartum depression. This was the beginning of my journey in motherhood.

Once you become a mother, your desires and wants change. Yes, your “me-time” is less (or non-existent) but it’s oh so worth it. My wants and desires are now in alignment with what’s best for my family and children, not just me.

I know I can’t speak on behalf of Jesus, but I can’t help but wonder if He really desired or wanted to be on that cross and beaten and whipped and mocked and spat on, but it was worth it in the end. He did desire and want what His Father wanted, “Lord not my will, but Your will.” May this be our daily prayer as mothers.

When you become a mother your outlook changes. You view life differently. My children have taught me so much. My son, for instance, is so excited about life in general. Some days this really inspires me and some days it really exhausts me. See the beautiful, unexplainable paradox of it all?

A mother is known as the “nurturing one”. The one who your children run to when they’re hurt, when they’re sad…and I love it.

I wasn’t the best child growing up. I was a little mouthy. Just ask my mother. You’re not fully aware about the difficulties you’ll face. When God blesses you with a child, you never know what hand you’ll be dealt, and you just roll with it and trust Him through it all. After all, He knows what’s best. Funny thing is He’s blessed us with a child who requires a bit of extra patience on a moment-by-moment basis, but yet I’ve never been the most patient person. See the irony in it? I can’t be patient without yielding to the Holy Spirit on a moment-by-moment basis.

Being a mother has shown me my desperate reliance on God, my desperate yearning for Him, and my desperate clinging to Him through it all. I could not do this without Him.

Mothers pick up the messes. Mothers get up early in the morning before anyone wakes up to cover their families in prayer. Mothers lose sleep for their families. Mothers plan and coordinate for their family.

Parents in general have a huge calling on this earth, single mothers who are raising children on their own have a huge calling. Those who do not have physical children, they have an impact on some child’s life in some aspect. We are ambassadors of Christ raising tiny disciples, influencing children and others in ways we won’t know until eternity.

The long days, the long nights, the long minutes will all be worth it in the end. I am not looking forward to the day when I have an empty, quiet house…okay, some days I do wish for it. But in reality, it’s a sobering thought. May we, as mothers, as children of God, focus on the end result and be eternally-minded for our families. And realize that we are raising them to learn to be dependent upon a Holy God.

How do I respond to opposition? “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” -Jesus

If I’m honest, I’ve been feeling a little opposed lately. Not just lately; the last several months honestly. Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there now. The word opposition means, “the action of opposing, resisting, or combating; antagonism or hostility; a person or group of people opposing, criticizing, or protesting something, someone, or another group”. (Dictionary.com)

Have you felt resistance from someone, something? Have you experienced hostility from someone, felt like you’re being antagonized? Is someone criticizing your every move, opposing all that you’re doing? If so, take heart, because I know one man who experienced all of these feelings. Jesus!

I want us to look at Jesus’ response to his antagonist, Satan. In Luke 4:1-12, Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Satan is an antagonist. Please remember who your real enemy is. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12). An antagonist is, “one that contends with or opposes another; adversary, opponent.” (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

Who does that sound like? Satan! “Be sober, be vigilant; because your ADVERSARY the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) He is our adversary, not our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Going back to the wilderness, Jesus was led there. He didn’t just happen to stumble into the wilderness. It was all part of God’s plan. And we can’t help but just ask why. Why, Lord, am I experiencing this opposition? Why, Lord, am I being resisted?

First of all, Jesus was led there and this took place right after He was baptized and right before His earthly ministry began. “Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and the news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.” (Luke 4:14-15). The next verse begins His first sermon. I mean, think about it, what a way to start a ministry just after being opposed and questioned and antagonized by the adversary, the enemy!

I want us to look at how Jesus responded when being opposed and antagonized. Luke 4:4, “But Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ” Luke 4:8, “For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Luke 4:10-11, “For it is written, ‘He shall give you His angels charge over you, to keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Luke 4:12, “And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘It has been said, ‘You shall not temp the Lord your God.’ ” Jesus responds to Satan with Scripture! All of His responses are from the Old Testament! If you have time, look them up: (Deut. 8:3; Deut. 6:13; Psalm 91:11-12; Deut. 6:16).

When we look at the six pieces of armor representing the armor of God, the only defensive piece used for battle is the sword. (And by defensive I mean the only piece able to be used to fight back with.) And what does the sword represent? The word of God. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” (Eph. 6:17). Jesus fought back His adversary with the Word of God…and we are to do the same.

When you have darts being thrown at you, you are being attacked, you put up that shield of faith, plant those feet in the gospel, and you get a firm grip on that sword and fight back the enemy with the Word of God. He is our defender. He is our protector.

Many times we want to avoid confrontation, we don’t want to call anybody out. Sin is sin. It needs to be addressed. Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:34 that He didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword. And we know what that sword is.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials…” (James 1:2)

“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” (Psalm 9:9)

We looked at how to respond to opposition. We may never fully know the why. But what we do know is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ suffered the ultimate death on the cross by crucifixion. Crucifixion was typically a topic that was avoided because it was so horrific. He suffered and consumed all the pain of sin on the cross. If we have to go through persecution, count it all joy that you get a tiny, slight glimpse of the sufferings Jesus went through and we get to enter into the sufferings of Jesus. May we remember how He responded so we know how to respond when opposition comes our way.

“For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:17)

You tell him, “Not today, Satan!”

Was Blind But Now I See

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“What do you want Me to do for you?” –Jesus (Mark 10:46-52)

What exactly is it that you want Jesus to do for you right now? When I think of the word do, I think of an action, physically doing something. In the portion of Scripture where Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus He asks him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51) The word ‘do’ in this verse is poieō. It means to band together, bear, cast out, lighten the ship, shoot out, take, tarry (Strong’s). Jesus is asking Bartimaeus what he physically AND spiritually wants Him to do. What is it that you want Jesus to bear? What is it that you want Jesus to band together with you on? What is it that you want Jesus to cast out? What is it that you want Jesus to lighten the ship for you? What is it that you want Jesus to take for you?

When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was coming, he cried out for Jesus, Son of David, to have mercy on him. But the people warned him to be quiet, but that just made him cry out all the more! (Mark 10:48) Jesus stands still and commanded Bartimaeus to be called (v. 49). The people that were just telling him to be quiet tell Bartimaeus that Jesus is calling him. He threw aside his garment, rose up, and went to Jesus. This is where Jesus asks Bartimaeus the earth shattering question. His response was to receive his sight. The only other time Jesus spoke in this portion of Scripture is when he says, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” Bartimaeus immediately received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

I can hear it now:

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”

This just makes me want to shout for joy! Had Bartimaeus listened to those who were quieting him, he would’ve missed out on the greatest blessing of his entire life. Nowadays we hear that we need to “tone down” our Christianity. You’re just too “Christian”. What if we listened to people trying to silence us in our faith? We could possibly miss out on the greatest blessing in our lives. Jesus stood still when Bartimaeus cried out.

“He cried out to the Lord Jesus for mercy; Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David. Misery is the object of mercy, his own miserable case he recommends to the compassion of the Son of David, of whom it was foretold, that, when he should come to save us, the eyes of the blind should be opened, (Isa. 35:5). In coming to Christ for help and healing, we should have an eye to him as the promised Messiah, the Trustee of mercy and grace.” –Matthew Henry

We carry around burdens that we were never meant to carry that eventually weigh us down. Going back to the definition of do, Jesus took that burden to the cross for you already. Before Bartimaeus goes to Jesus, he throws his garment down. This garment was a robe, a cloak, something that weighed him down. He knew if Jesus called, He’d heal. He knew what was about to take place, so he laid down the very thing that was weighing him down, his garment. We need to lay down at the feet of Jesus that very thing that is weighing us down, weighing down on our souls.

“He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall BEAR their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, and He BORE the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:11-12).

The last thing Bartimaeus does is follow Jesus. He truly encountered Jesus and wanted nothing more than to be with Him. Jesus wasn’t done with Bartimaeus. And as long as you’re breathing, He’s not done with you, either. When you truly encounter Jesus, He will not only be all that you need, but He will be all that you want.

“It is not enough to come to Christ for spiritual healing, but, when we are healed, we must continue to follow him; that we may do honour to him, and receive instruction from him. Those that have spiritual eye-sight, see that beauty in Christ, that will effectually draw them to run after him.” –Matthew Henry

Are you running after Him?

For the Love of God’s Word

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“Truth is a glorious but hard mistress. She never consults, bargains, or compromises.” -A.W. Tozer

 

If I’m honest, I didn’t always love reading the Bible after coming to know the Lord. I had a lot to “catch up” on I guess you could say. It was overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start.

But one thing I did know, I now had this new desire to WANT to learn, only because of the Holy Spirit now living inside of me. This is when I started digging into Bible studies, word studies, and commentaries to learn and study God’s Word.

It wasn’t merely enough just to read Christian books. I wanted more. I wanted more of Jesus. I wanted Him. This is where my love for His Word began. I couldn’t get enough of Him.

I want to look at some verses in Nehemiah to show how the people responded to God’s Word. It is so beautiful. If you have time, look up Nehemiah 8:1-12.

A new character enters the picture in the book of Nehemiah. His name is Ezra, which means helper. He begins reading the Book of the Law of Moses right in the middle of the street.

Nehemiah 8:2 tells us that all who could hear with understanding were there listening. This included men, women, teenagers, and children.

When Ezra opened up the book, the people stood up. This was a posture of reverence for the Word of God.  

Verse 6 is so beautiful, “And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.”

They first stood for God’s Word then God’s Word merely brought them to their knees; a beautiful response to the hearing of God’s Word.

 While Ezra was reading Scripture, not everyone understood it at first. For some, this was a time of rediscovery of God’s Word. For others, this was the first time hearing God’s Word.

Verse 7 shows us that there were Levites in the crowd helping people make sense of God’s Word and explaining it in further detail to them. ALL the people wept when they heard the words of the Law.

Ezra tells them not to weep or mourn, do not be sorrowful for this day is holy to our Lord. The joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10).

The people felt sad because they were now aware of their sin, but they could walk in joy because God was doing a great work. (Guzik)

Then they went away greatly rejoicing because they understood the words that were declared over them (v. 12).

I know personally when I am weeping after reading God’s Word it’s because I’ve seen how sinful I am and how merciful He is, bringing me to my knees.

These people were receptive and attentive to God’s Word. They wanted to hear it. Their lives were changed this day after hearing the Word. Only God’s Word was presented. So simple yet so complex.

I’m fearful that in our churches today we are looking for entertainment. When we come to church focused on looking to Jesus instead of looking to be entertained, we will then realize He is all the “entertainment” we will ever need.

The same is true in our daily lives. A life lived with Jesus is the most exciting life you’ll ever live. Each day is a new adventure with Him. Get in His Word. Dive deep into His Word.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

This doesn’t say Scripture is given to make me feel good and happy. It’s for reproof, correction, and instruction.

If I’m honest, I don’t want to be corrected. But correction from God is sometimes what we need.

  • How are we responding to correction from God’s Word?
  • Are we bowing down in reverence to the Lord and falling to our knees, or are we putting up a wall of pride?

 The author of the book, “Missional Motherhood”, gives a description of how we come to God’s Word:

We view it like a vending machine. We just come to it for a little snack, when we just need that “pick-me-up”. But what comes out of those vending machines? Junk.

Sure, it may fill you up for a little while, but after you’re constantly filling yourself up with junk, it doesn’t do your body any good.

We take a machete to God’s Word missing Him altogether. We’re missing Him because we cut up God’s Word to find what we want it to say about our current situation.

We shouldn’t revolve God’s truth around our lives. Our lives should revolve around God’s truth.

 “I love that it was the simple opening of the Word that drew such a gathering  and aroused such a dynamic response of worship. Oh, the simplicity. The Israelites weren’t looking to be entertained, checking their watches to see if it’d hit noon yet. They weren’t critiquing the song selection, examining the children’s program, or bummed that this week’s drama didn’t top the week before’s. I am not taking a shot at any of the many wonderfully different ways we do church. I’m just wondering how many of us would show up for only the reading of the Bible. Is God’s Word no longer enough?”-Kelly Minter

May we fall in love with God and His Word and let it consume us from the inside out.

Does it really matter if I pray?

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The truth is: any moment spent in the presence of God is NEVER a waste!

If I’m honest, I have questions about praying. What is praying doing? Is it making a difference? Does it really matter if I pray? Maybe you’ve had these questions as well. Maybe you haven’t and I’m alone in this thought process. I’m in a season where it’s hard to get alone and pray as I homeschool my five-year-old and have a three-year-old, and quiet time is scarce, but yet I pray to the Lord all day. Maybe you can relate. “Lord, help me!” This is my daily, consistent prayer. Sometimes that’s really all I can get out. My mindset changed after the Holy Spirit revealed the answer to these questions. I want to share what He revealed, hoping His Words offer you as much encouragement on this topic as they did to me.

Look up Exodus 32-1:14 if you have time. If you don’t, I’ll give you a quick summation. Moses was up on the mountain with God for 40 days. The Israelites were growing impatient. They came up with their own idea of what they could worship and ran the idea by Aaron, second in command, who affirmed it. They took all their gold jewelry and made a golden calf out of it. This is what they worshipped. They even had a party, but not a fun one, one that actually mocked the Lord. God relays to Moses on the mountain what is taking place and tells him He is going to pour out His wrath on the Israelites. Even if you don’t know what the word wrath means, you don’t have to look it up to know that it just doesn’t sound too appealing. Enter Moses who pleads and intercedes on their behalf.

This is what I want to look at, Moses interceding on the behalf of the people. God so graciously allowed Moses to intercede on their behalf, which He has given Christians the same opportunity to intercede for others now. He withheld from pouring out His wrath. Now, did God change His mind? God’s character and His view on sin will never change. “But He can and does change how He responds to individuals or nations based upon prayer, repentance of the people, and compassion. (Amos 7:1-6; Jonah 3:9-10; Judges 2:18)” (Steve Gaines)

This may sound familiar. There was another Man who interceded on our behalf on the cross; Jesus. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (John 23:34). The difference: Jesus took the wrath upon himself. God’s wrath did eventually have to be poured out for all of mankind, and the One who knew no sin became a sin offering for us (2 Cor. 5:21). He consumed all the wrath, the wrath that we so deserve. But this was one prayer. ONE.

Moses’ prayer was prayed on behalf of the Israelites. What would have happened had Moses not interceded on their behalf? Better yet, what would have happened had Jesus not interceded on our behalf?

We are very much like the Israelites. We get tired of waiting, so we take things into our own hands and create our own idea, our own plan. We want a quick fix for right here and right now. But that doesn’t really work out too well does it? They made a mockery of the Lord while doing this, and so do we. When Jesus was on the cross, guess what the people were doing. They were mocking him. And yet, he still interceded on our behalf.

In a season where I questioned prayer, the Holy Spirit so graciously showed that ONE prayer made a difference. Don’t think your prayers are in vain, or empty words. You never know what your prayers could do for someone else. Who are you praying for? What are you praying for? Praying for others is hard work. Paul used the words laboring fervently, or wrestling to describe praying in Colossians 4:12. It’s not our words, but the drawing of the Holy Spirit to lead us to pray, and Jesus still interceding on our behalf in heaven (Romans 8:34).

“You will only live a life as bold as your prayers.” (Beth Moore)

Pray BOLD prayers! You have not because you ask not (James 4:2).