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Ask

It seems like a lifetime ago, but I guess it was not that long ago that my oldest son was a toddler. He was one of those little ones that really didn’t want to speak. If he wanted something he usually just pointed and grunted. Pretty much like adult males today. The truth is his mom and I almost always knew what he wanted, but if we just got it for him when he pointed and grunted then there really was not any reason for him to learn to talk. We took him to speech therapy, and we learned to withhold what he wanted until he at least made some effort to communicate what he wanted. It worked, maybe a little too well. Once you get a kid talking you can never get them to quit.  

In my devotions this morning in Luke 11 the disciples noticed Jesus prayed all the time. They also noticed that they really did not know how to pray very well or maybe even not at all. They asked Jesus to teach them. Guess what, Jesus taught them. This is an important lesson for us to catch here. I never read where Jesus told His disciples, “too bad, you should already know how to pray.” NO, Jesus took the time to teach them. In essence He answered their prayer. 

The Lord knows what we need even before we do but like as parents, we really want to hear it from our children. I fear that we have made praying so much more difficult than it really is. Jesus tells us in Luke 11:9-10 that “And I tell you, 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 the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Now we know that Jesus is not giving us a blank check. He doesn’t just give us all we want. Jesus isn’t a genie in a bottle. What He is saying is that He loves us, and for those things that draw us closer to Him, makes us stronger in our faith, all we need to do is ask.

If you are walking a dry path and in need of a touch from God, try praying and asking. I am pretty sure He will answer such a prayer.



Dry

It was heartbreaking for Colts fans and for football fans in general. Last year during a preseason game an announcement came from the field that Andrew Luck was going to retire. I think there were a lot of tears shed by many Colts fans. Personally, I didn’t care; I’m a Bears fan and we have enough of our own problems. The question was why would Luck retire at such a young age? He had so much talent and a great career ahead of him.

The speculation was that he was burned out. He had played football most of his life, he had just come back from a very painful injury, and he had lost his love and passion for the game. In short, Luck had dried up.

Have you been there? Have you gotten to the place in your life that you were just done? There was just no more gas in the tank. It happens in so many facets of life. It happens in our jobs, school, and it even happens in marriage. The other aspect of our life that burnout can happen is in our faith. You know what I ‘m saying. You’ve been serving in the same position for a hundred years. It really doesn’t seem like anything is any different than day one. You haven’t had any new ideas or vision for your ministry for at least fifty years and you are now to the place of being dry and burned out. So, what do you do? You have a couple of choices. One, you could quit. Sure, just throw up your hands and cry out to the world that you give up. Better yet cry out to God that you are done, and you quit.

That is one choice, but there is another way to go. It all begins with what we really desire in our very souls. There must be this spark in us that cries out, “NO! I will not give up. I will not quit. I will go to Jesus because He is still in the business of reviving the broken and dried up hearts of man.”

The Lord asked this question of Ezekiel in chapter 37, “Son of man, can these bones live?” This question was asked after Ezekiel had been given a vision of dry bones. Now we know that these dried up bones represented Israel. They had gotten so far away from God there was the question if they would ever be able to get back to Him. Yet, the truth of the power of God does not change whether it is a nation called Israel or a follower of Jesus in a small town in Indiana. The God of Creation is to command the dry bones to come back to life. He did this for Israel, and He wants to do that for us.

Here is a beautiful text that I want to leave you with. “I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will l know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:6) My friends, I do not know where you are today or what you are going through, but the Lord God does. If You belong to Him you are never alone, nor are you ever without hope. Cry out to Him today, ask Him to once again breath into your dry bones and then you will know that He is the Lord.



Embarrassed

People do embarrassing things all the time. Whether we walk into the wrong restroom or try to push a door open when it clearly says you need to pull. Nobody likes to be embarrassed. We do our best to avoid such situations. I remember one time I was at Skate-away, a place to roller skate. They were having races. I had a “friend” who said that if I would get out there for the race he would. At the last moment I jumped in line and guess what, he did not. The race began and before I made one lap I was being passed by the leaders. I jumped off the course as soon as I could, nice and embarrassed. My “friend” thought it was hilarious, me not so much. I could hear the laughs from all around and I just wanted to leave right then.

The truth is that there are things that happen to us either by some unforeseen accident or by poor judgment that will embarrass us. It is then bred into us to try to keep away from such situations. Sadly, too many followers of Jesus do not tell people about Him, or even invite people to church for that very reason. They are afraid to be embarrassed.  We may not like to admit that, but if we were truly honest with ourselves that is what it really boils down to.

Let me share some words from the Apostle Paul in II Timothy 1:12, But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. The question I have to ask is if we are afraid of being embarrassed because of Jesus, why is that? Is it that we really do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for all sin and raised on the third day? Maybe we really do not believe that we are secure in the salvation that He has provided for us? Could it be that we are not sure about our own salvation?

The truth is that we all do things that have and will embarrass us, but is coming to Jesus for salvation really one of them? Let us be reminded that Jesus is alive, He is King, He is the only way to salvation, and He is coming back. My friends, that is nothing to be embarrassed about. Go and tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere. Jesus Christ is born, died, resurrected, and coming soon.



The Breach

If you have been or are in charge of an organization, I think we would all agree that finding people willing to volunteer their time is getting more difficult in these days. It’s not that these organizations and what they do are not important, but it seems that everyone always has something more important to do in their lives.

There may be a wide variety of “reasons” people refuse to give of their time and some of those may even be legitimate. That doesn’t change the fact that there are things that need to get done and some of those things are important and not just to the organization. When it comes to the church, it is important to God.

This year, such as it is, our theme as a church has been “The Watchmen”. We are to be on the wall crying out warning to those who are lost of their need for a Savior. This is not a theme that a group of people came up with for a church. If you were to continue to look throughout the Bible, that is the theme God has challenged people with since He created them. In Ezekiel 22:30 here is what the Lord said, “And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Israel had turned away from God and the Lord was going to send the Babylonians to conquer them. The Lord wanted to give this nation a chance to repent and so He called out for anyone who would be willing to stand in the gap between the nation and the Lord and look what it says, “He found none.” Those have to be some of the saddest words in the Bible. God gave the imagery of the wall of protection having a breach in it and the enemy was coming. If there had been one who would stand and cry out warning, possibly the wall of protection could have been rebuilt. Yet, no one was willing. It seems like everyone was too busy with their own lives to take God seriously. I wonder, will that be said of our nation? Will that be said of our state? Even worse, will that be said of our church?

The Lord has called every single one who is His to a purpose. That purpose is to cry out warning to those who are lost and in eternal danger. Will it be said of us that the Lord called yet He found no one? I pray that the children of God will rise to the occasion, take their fears and worries and cast them to the side, and seek out what the Lord would have them to do to stand in the breach