Leadership Lessons from Nehemiah

Is there anything weighing on you today? Are there concerns in your heart that perhaps keep you awake in the night? How about problems that you want to keep private, but perhaps if a trustworthy person could see through you and ask confidentially what’s going on, you might just open up?

I’ve got a troubling situation eating at me. It has kept me up at night. The options in dealing with this situation are unpleasant. Relationships are at stake and there are potentially harsh impacts to some people no matter the current apparent solution.

Through much practice and learning from many mistakes in the past, I’m in a better habit of noticing these situations and quickly giving them over to God. I don’t pray specifically for him to fix it, I pray for him to take this burden from me. To reveal himself for his glory. To guide my heart. To remind me that the problems of this world are not mine to worry about. To forgive me for trying to control a situation on my own and for my worry.

The ensuing peace after this time in prayer is indescribable. We have a king, a father, who loves us, who knows our hearts and wants us to go directly to him with our troubles. He doesn’t want us to try to hide our problems or for us to worry, he wants us to make him lord of all things in our lives. And we can do this because he has proven himself worthy over and over again.

Today’s reading: Nehemiah 2

Nehemiah was a servant to the king. The time period is believed to have been around 444 BC.

In today’s reading, Nehemiah was suffering from deep sadness that he could no longer contain. As the king becomes aware of Nehemiah’s sadness, Nehemiah becomes fearful.

Why fear? Wouldn’t we want someone to know of our sadness and inquire as to what is going on? Well, not exactly in this case. It was against policy to show sadness in the king’s presence, and further as we learn in Esther 4:11, one could be put to death for approaching the king without being summoned.

Like our God and King, the king in Nehemiah 2 could have responded harshly, however he responded with love, grace, and mercy. The king listened and responded and responded favorably to Nehemiah’s requests.

Learning from Nehemiah’s examples:

  1. Nehemiah used his position of power (favor from the king) to serve God rather than himself. What opportunities are before us today where we could choose to serve Jesus rather than ourselves?
  2. While Nehemiah does convey that he was fearful, he also faces the fear with boldness in God’s name. Who and what can we fear when we know that God has it all in his hands? Nothing!
  3. Nehemiah appeared to have been prepared when he was given the opportunity to ask the king for a favor. We must always be prepared in the name of Jesus. “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15)
  4. Nehemiah attributes to God what should be attributed to God. How often do we praise ourselves or fail to acknowledge God when we see victory? “And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.” (Nehemiah 2:8b)
  5. Nehemiah called people to action (again using his power to serve God) and they followed. I believe they followed him because he stayed close to God, he proved himself worthy of being a leader, he was committed to the cause, and he was able to articulate the mission to the people as a matter of logic and heart.
  6. When facing opposition, Nehemiah boldly relied on God’s promises. Again, fearlessness and proving to be a leader worthy of following.

Father God, we seek your wisdom today. Give us the courage and the words to proclaim the truth about who you are and why we serve you. Give us also the wisdom to keep silent when we should just listen instead of talking. Help us to become better leaders and better followers, in your son Jesus’ name and for your glory. Amen.

Fallen Fortress

There are two very heavy vehicle-sized doors made of iron at the entrance of our driveway and a very tall fence around the perimeter of our multi-family dwelling. The only way in is through the doors or climbing the fence so it feels relatively secure.

Unfortunately this week our “fortress” was proven to be weaker than we had thought. While leaving for work one morning, I discovered someone had “keyed” the side of my car. Why… how… who…? I have no idea… After the initial shock and disgust there were many other feelings. I was a victim to a crime which led me to feel powerless, betrayed and violated, with no one to rescue me.

What if (hypothetically) in this scenario I had a brother who was aware of the crime taking place? And in this crime my brother not only sat idle and did nothing, but then proceeded to help the criminal destroy my vehicle and then insult me after doing so?

That’s pretty much what happened in Obadiah 1.

The people of Judah (their brothers) were being attacked and not only did the Edomites sit idle, they helped the attackers! Imagine first the feeling of “being attacked” then imagine your brother (or someone who should help you) helping the attackers complete the job, then laughing in your face, pillaging and plundering your belongings.

In the end, God was furious with the Edomites (the house of Esau) for their pride, greed, violence and betrayal. God made it clear that they would pay dearly.

 For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
  your deeds shall return on your own head. (Obadiah 1:15)

As always I look for Jesus in the story. We betrayed him. We spit upon him, denied him and murdered him therefore we deserve the same fate as the Edomites. We betrayed God’s chosen one and we continue to betray him through our sin.

Unlike the Edomites, we can look to the one we betrayed for redemption. Even though we are guilty of putting him on the cross through our sin, he does something what no other “god” can do: Jesus forgives us even though we do not deserve it, then he offers us an eternal place with him in Heaven.

Mercy and grace and an eternal home in a place with no sadness in exchange for our hearts. Deal.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7)

God’s Rightful Place

Recently a good friend asked me to inform him of any mistakes he is making and for me to share ideas on how he could improve. As a response started coming to mind, my thoughts went to admiration for his courage and humility in opening this door to real conversation.

Do I know where I can improve, and the mistakes I’m making?

Considering this question I quickly wrote eight areas for me to improve; four professionally and four personally. Only one of the eight was technical or tangible (objective) and that was to continue to improve in my Italian language skills.

There was no science behind the number of areas, it was just that these were the first to come to mind and they seemed right. Certainly there are closer to 80 or maybe even 800 areas for me to improve but let’s not crush my spirit just yet.

The remaining seven…

  1. Communicating better. Sharing ideas and setting expectations; not assuming people know what I’m thinking or what is going on.
  2. Asking better questions. Becoming more vulnerable.
  3. Becoming less judgmental.
  4. Becoming more humble.
  5. Loving others more.
  6. Allowing more joy in my life (by removing distractions).
  7. Listening better. Stopping and listening and referring back to the goals around humility and becoming less judgmental.

Today’s reading: Isaiah 6

All of the aforementioned improvement areas (and related weaknesses) are good reminders that I am a sinner in need of a savior. Failure in these areas can usually equate to some sort of sin (typically selfishness, pride, greed, and even hate). I constantly need to remember to focus on the appropriate priorities, and most important, I need to be cognizant of God’s rightful place in my life. 

God’s rightful place is to be high and lifted up. To be Lord of my life. To be my first thought in the morning, with me throughout the day and in the night.

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up (Isaiah 6:1a)

We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling (as in Philippians 2:12), in awe of our loving and perfect God who knows us and calls us by name. To be like Isaiah, knowing our sin is unacceptable to God.

And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5)

Isaiah needed an intermediary (the burning coal) to pay for his sins.

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” (Isaiah 6:6-7)

We too are in need of an intermediary that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1:7-10)

Consider praying today for God to reveal opportunities for putting him in his rightful place in your life. May He richly bless you today, for His glory alone.

Clarity given, but faith needed to receive

Autumn 2018

We learned of an exciting opportunity to join the February 2019 mission trip to Kenya with members of our church in Illinois.

Amy had been on a mission trip (and has been eager to do another one with our entire family) and I’ve wanted to go on a similar trip to Kenya for a long time. Since our current home is halfway there from the USA this idea became even more enticing.

We started praying about the trip and met the rest of the team who had already signed up. Through video calls we became even more eager to join; the team consisted of several loving, kind, energetic, fun and faithful people. The primary objective of the trip was to photograph and engage with children. This sounded like a perfect opportunity that would involve our entire family.

As we moved forward filling out forms, preparing finances and making plans for the trip, things were looking great. God was at work and we knew it!

A few months into the planning we learned that there was a problem with Amy’s European residence request (permission to remain in Europe). The end result: If she left Europe (now our home) before the residence request issues were resolved, she would risk being deported.

Our prayers for the trip then focused on requests for clarity and direction. We prayed for definitive answers; for it to be clear as to whether or not we should go on the trip. His will be done.

Clarity Received

Our lawyers eventually made it very clear that we should absolutely not go to Africa at this time. We felt this probability in our hearts in the days leading up to receiving this information, so we received the news with mixed emotions. We were saddened to not be part of the trip, but thankful and relieved for the answered prayers for clarity, thankful that we met some wonderful people, and thankful that we could still support the team.

We are now talking to this ministry group about plans to join them in Kenya, 2020 so we have plenty of time for prayer, preparation, and planning!

Today’s Reading

1 Kings 17 has some classic miracle and faith stories that many of us have heard since we were children. What stands out for me is Elijah’s faith, a reminder that we may not know (or even agree with) what God has planned, however we need to wait, listen, and obey.

  • Elijah being fed by ravens. He faithfully received God’s provisions. I’m pretty sure I’d have some doubt in this plan… “I am sure you know what you’re doing here God, so I must have not heard you right, you said ravens are going to bring food for me? Surely not!”
  • The woman and her son who were about to die of starvation. Elijah asked her for her last morsels of food and she obliged. By faith, he trusted God that the partaking of the woman’s “last” food would not result in the demise of her and her son.
  • The woman’s son dying. Elijah faithfully asked God to heal the boy. Why ask for something you do not believe God can do? Elijah believed and God miraculously answered.

Elijah’s faith reminded me of how I need to be faithful as well as lead my family in being faithful through all circumstances, seeking to become more like Jesus every day. We don’t know why our mission trip roadblocks weren’t miraculously cleared. Looking at the photos of the team there this week, my heart breaks a little bit, yearning to be there, but I know God has a different plan and it is good.

Through all of this we are given another opportunity to increase our faith. To apply the learning to our daily life. To give all praise and glory to the only one who is worthy.

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. (Luke 15:10)

For more information on the team serving in Kenya right now please check out: http://www.goyasponsorshipteam.com/

The Goodness of God

Psalm 103 is a quick way to get to know God, or if we already know him, it is a great reminder as to who he is and what he does. The Psalm says he:

  • forgives (Psalm 103:3)
  • heals (v3)
  • redeems (v4)
  • crowns (rewards) (v4)
  • satisfies (v5)
  • works righteousness (v6)
  • reveals himself to us (v7)
  • takes action (v7)
  • is merciful (v8, 10)
  • is gracious (v8)
  • is slow to anger (v8)
  • is love (v8)
  • forgives, accepts our repentance (v9, 12)
  • loves us (v11)
  • is compassionate (v13)
  • knows us (v14)
  • rules over all (v19)
  • speaks to us (v20)

Who are we?

As for us, even on our best day we cannot even compare ourselves to all of these attributes. In fact, it is likely that we can read these attributes and recall a very recent time when we were quite the opposite.

Our response is a choice.

The Psalmist calls us to action in response to who God is. Calling us to obey His voice, do His will, and keep His commandments. This reminds me of a recent sermon by Mike Baker at Eastview Christian Church. Pastor Mike said something to the effect of “the reason some people have a problem with Jesus is that he requires us to give up control and submit to Him.”

Would you submit to someone or something you do not know or understand? Probably not. This is why I believe God reveals himself to us in many ways each day: so that we may know him. He does not try to hide from us, he calls out in every moment of every day, seeking to draw us near.

As we go through today, let’s remember who he is, what he has done through his son Jesus, and what he will do. Look for the aforementioned attributes in every situation, the good and the bad. He has always been and always will be. Our circumstances may change but he does not change, he is good, he loves us and he will never leave us.

How is that not stealing?

In the 1999 movie “Office Space”, a scheme is devised to take “fractions of a penny” from a company and put these fractions into a bank account that did not belong to the company. The plan was to do this millions of times and therefore generate a whole lot of money for the schemers.

In one scene the main character, Peter (Ron Livingston) tries to convince Joanna (Jennifer Aniston), that since they are taking only fractions of a penny, it really isn’t stealing, and besides the company where the money is coming from is evil. Through the course of the conversation, Joanna repeats some of his words: “You’re going to make a lot of money right… that’s not yours?”… “So you’re stealing…” … “How is that not stealing?” Peter continues to rationalize and suggest she doesn’t understand, but it is no use.

Taking something that isn’t yours = stealing.

$422.20

An employee of a company submitted an expense report for business travel. The company reimbursed the employee for the travel. There was a change in the travel itinerary resulting in a partial refund. The refund was $422.20 and appeared on the employee’s personal credit card.

No one will find out… just spend it and forget about it… you work hard, they owe you… you probably forgot to expense some things in the past so this makes up for it… God probably wants you to have it as a gift… Not like the company needs it, they have a lot of money… you deserve it…

The Enemy

Taking something that isn’t yours = stealing.

There is an enemy who has been trying to deceive since the beginning of creation. His plan hasn’t changed. Twisting the truth, attacking our vulnerabilities and seeking to destroy us.

Yes, this was a true story, I was the employee and yes I returned the money.

Black and White

In Joshua 6, God continues his eternal undefeated streak, once again showing his power and demonstrating his faithfulness as the walls of Jericho fall and the Israelites take the city.

But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.

Joshua 6:19

The Israelites had clear instruction as to what to do and not to do with the city’s assets.

Today’s reading is Joshua 7, and we learn that Achan defied the instruction by secretly taking beautiful clothing, silver, and gold; then hiding it. This sin brought harm on the people of Israel (defeat at Ai) along with the eventual stoning of Achan as a penalty for his crime.

I can imagine Achan heard some of the lies listed above… no one will know… you deserve it…

Jesus

God is serious about his commands and serious about sin. He loves us, he knows our hearts, and he knows our sins.

We have no secrets. Just as Achan had to pay for his sin, you and I are also sinners and have racked up debt against God. Thankfully if we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we have the Holy Spirit’s guidance (speaking into our hearts, guiding us when we are tempted), and then we have redemption through Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection as payment for our sin.

As we go about our day, let us take in the words of Jesus as he instructs us on prayer; including the topics of forgiveness and temptation. Read it slowly, focusing on each phrase.

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

Matthew 6:9-13

May God bless and keep you today!

The Ten Plagues

Writing Bible Journal posts is one of my favorite things to do. It isn’t easy, but the process of writing provides much needs spiritual food and direction for me, and I pray that our readers find it worth their time. After reading the assigned verses, for nearly ever post, I verbalize “I have nothing to say”.

After taking a deep breath it usually becomes clear that while I have nothing to say, God absolutely has something to say. So I wait, pray some more, read some more, pray, read, wait… then certain phrases start to speak to me.

This cycle puts me into detective mode which leads to asking questions like:

  1. Why did God do this or say this?
  2. Where is Jesus in this Old Testament narrative?
  3. In what ways am I like the sinner in the story?

That we may know that He is the Lord

and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”

Exodus 10:2

In Exodus 10:2 the words “that you may know that I am the Lord” stood out as the answer to “why”. On the surface we have Pharaoh, easily identifiable as the bad guy. Yay God, yay Moses, boo Pharaoh!

Digging in, the story is all about the explicit and powerful example that God is the Lord. He is all powerful. He has our days, nights, and every breath under his realm. He can move the mountains. He has control over the sun and moon, the wind, and tiny creatures such as locusts. If he has power over that, we can sure trust he has power over everything.

He wants us to know that he is the Lord so that we will stop trying to do things all on our own and look to put him in his rightful place, otherwise our lives will continue to get more messed up.

That we may serve him

So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me.

Exodus 10:3

Another message for us: He wanted his people to be released from slavery so that they may serve him. Not so they would be happy. Not so they would be rich. Consider the metaphor, God wants us to be released from the bondage of sin so that we may serve him with full hearts. The enemy wants us to remain in the bondage of sin to keep us from doing the good work that God has in store.

The enemy continues to lie

No! Go, the men among you, and serve the Lord, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.

Exodus 10:11

Does this remind you of anything? A crafty serpent twisting the truth perhaps? Pharaoh attempts to deceive by suggesting that Moses was asking for only the men among them to serve the Lord. Fortunately Moses stood firm on God’s direct commands. No bargaining with Pharaoh. All or nothing. Go Moses!

Trusting what He has in mind

Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must take of them to serve the Lord our God, and we do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there.” 

Exodus 10:26

Pharaoh again tried to find a loophole by suggesting that Moses leave the flocks and livestock behind. Moses didn’t know what God’s plans were specifically. All he knew is that he needed to patiently obey and the Lord would provide and guide.

Set apart

But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’

Exodus 11:7

Our neighbors have dogs that bark all day and all night. They bark at us when we leave and when we return.

Thinking of the time period that this verse was written there were probably a lot of nasty snarling dogs barking all over the place. I would love to just walk out one time and have a stare-down with the neighboring dogs and then we both go silently on our way. Like when Jesus called to the waves in Mark 4:39, “Quiet! Be still!”

Finally, this “setting apart” points to Jesus Christ. We are either with him or apart from him. Rick Jebb posted on The Passover on this site back in 2012… Dive into this post if you haven’t already. https://www.biblejournal.net/2016/02/28/passover/

Father God, thank you for your living breathing words in the Bible. Prepare our hearts for this day to receive your word on fertile soil. Give us wisdom. May we honor you and your son Jesus Christ today through obedience, humility, love, and selflessness. Amen.

Crouching at the door

In Genesis 4, the brothers Cain and Abel brought separate offerings to God. Abel’s offering was pleasing to God, but Cain’s was not. Instead of owning up to his failure, Cain responded in anger, jealousy, and ultimately murderous rage against his brother.

This chapter reveals conversation between Cain and God so it would seem that there was relationship, perhaps even a good relationship so how did we go from relationship with the Almighty God to murdering one’s brother?

  1. Why did Cain provide an offering that wasn’t acceptable?
  2. Why instead of repentance did Cain double-down on sin and go so far as to kill his brother?
  3. Why would Cain think that God wouldn’t see his crime?

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

Genesis 4:7

For me the aforementioned verse is a warning that one sin leads to another. Somehow Cain’s priorities became misaligned then he sinned and sinned again.

How can we make sure to avoid the same mistakes as Cain as we give?

  1. Prayer. Lord, reveal to me my own heart and shortcomings. Reveal my selfishness. Shape me to understand that the amount of the gift means nothing when compared to the intent of my heart. May this gift be pleasing to you.
  2. Remembrance and thanksgiving. Meditating on what He has done and what he’s promised. He’s given us so much by loving us first even though we are sinners and then eliminating the penalty of death that we deserve. God gave his only son, Jesus gave his life. Does our gift reflect gratitude for these gifts?
  3. Repentance. For the times when we gave and wanted to feel good about ourselves rather than truly giving to His Kingdom out of sacrifice. For times when we may have given out of self-glorification. We always reap the reward we seek. 2“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. (Matthew 6:2)
  4. Acknowledgment that we cannot keep anything from God who “sees in secret”. so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:4)
  5. Foresight. We likely will not be able to comprehend the impacts of our giving until we get to Heaven. Perhaps one day we will come face to face with someone who was hungry, sick, lonely, poor, and unreached and we will have some knowledge that our commitment impacted their eternity. What a beautiful day that will be!

Freedom from Worry

Worrying is a choice. 

Worry is a prison that we voluntarily commit our hearts and minds to the bondage of sin and all of its ugly related consequences.

One of the worst feelings in the world is worry. It eats at us. It distracts us.

Worrying is bad for us physically and can literally make us ill. Worry impacts us mentally as it brings feelings of depression, despair and hopelessness. Worry can be contagious so as a result, we can adversely impact others through our own worry.

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 6:27

Spiritually, as we worry we send several messages to our creator such as:

  • I don’t trust you.
  • I trust myself more than I trust you.
  • I have forgotten your promises.
  • I have forgotten what you have done for me.
  • I choose to disregard your commands.

Worrying is a choice. We know it is bad, so why do we do it? Notice that at the beginning of each of the aforementioned messages to our creator is “I”. Worry, like most sins is something that puts “self” before God.

Transformation

Transformation from worry is a result of a relationship with Jesus. It comes from trust and obedience. There will always be a temptation to worry, but as our faith strengthens, our worry instead turns into hope, praise, worship and rescue no matter what the Earthly result.

The opposite of worry looks something like this:

  • Putting our trust in the only one who can truly save us.
  • Denial of self. 
  • Reading God’s word and clinging to His promises.
  • Meditating in prayer reflecting on all that he has done, starting with the mercy and grace through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • Obedience to his commands. Instead of worry: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 25:33)

Let the joy return!

Turning our worry into praise and worship brings joy! It pulls us out of the fire, out of the darkness, out of the prison, and helps enable us to live in the way God intended us to live. 

What are you worrying about today? God is ready to listen. Tell him what he already knows then ask him for forgiveness. Embrace His love and let the light in!

Just Ask

Hugs

My wife Amy is a hugger.

During a recent interaction with a friend, Amy did her usual hug thing. Except this time after the hug, the friend said “could I please have another hug, I could really use one”. Amy was delighted to serve!

Amy shared this story with me and we reflected on the fact that the friend was bold enough to ask for another hug. Sure, hugs are free and it was a simple thing to do, but it made me wonder how often people need a good hug or any favor, but refrain from asking.

It is my opinion that 100% of the time, a friend, or even a casual acquaintance would find joy and satisfaction in being trusted enough to be asked for help.

Amy has always had the desire to be independent or self-sufficient. She is a passionate individual, and when she wants something she goes after it. In doing this, she doesn’t like to burden anyone, ever.

Becoming vulnerable

We have one car so logistics can be a little tricky. Shortly after the hug incident, we had a scheduling conflict. Amy wanted to go to her fitness bootcamp and I needed the car for work.  As a result, someone needed to change their plans or we needed a new variable in the mix.

Then out of the blue, Amy decided to go out of her comfort zone and ask for help. She messaged the bootcamp group and asked if anyone might be able to give her a lift. The same friend from the hugging incident quickly replied and offered to help. Nice!

The two ladies chatted it up en route to the workout and when they arrived the friend turned to Amy and said “ok, give me a hug and hop out”. Surprised, Amy said, “Wait, what? You’re not coming?”. The friend briefly shared that she just wanted to help Amy out; friends helping friends. How refreshing.

This was a reminder for us to not think so highly of ourselves that we miss out on building closer relationships and being part of someone else’s joy in giving. Becoming vulnerable builds trust and opens us up to new experiences we might not have otherwise imagined.

Ask our creator

Through this story we are once again led to our God who desires relationship with us; a two way relationship. He wants us to communicate with him in prayer, to ask him to meet various needs and he wants to answer. It is a model for how we can and should be in relationship with others.

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

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

Asking shows our trust that the responder will be open to our requests. It is symbolic of relationship. Conversely, not asking says “I’ve got this”… and in the end, we don’t have this, Jesus has this!

  • Whose life do you need to inject yourself in and start helping?
  • What situation in your life could use some help from a friend?
  • In what ways can you step out of your comfort zone and become more vulnerable?
  • What aspect of your life have you not turned over to Jesus because “you’ve got this?”

Just ask!