Understanding Jesus’ Bold Statement: Ask and You Shall Receive

wayside-chapel-343505_640

Prayer is direct communication with God.

You speak, He listens.

You wait in faith as patiently as you can for what He deems the best possible solution and answer to your situation.

He responds, you react.

Sometimes your reaction is to jump up and down excited and full of praise and gratitude. Other times you stomp your feet and throw a fit. And sometimes you are simply in neutral response. Not so happy, but not so upset with His answer either.

Why is it so hard to pray sometimes?

Sometimes, we don’t think prayer “works” or matters. Sure we’ve heard the Bible stories of prayers offered up and the blessings and miracles pouring down…but maybe we haven’t seen it so powerfully in our own lives, so we’re left a little confused, frustrated, and perhaps wondering if prayer really does matter. We’ve heard the scripture, “ask and you will receive,” but when we’ve asked for what we want we haven’t always received it, even when we really believed God would give us what we asked for.

As God says, His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. So, instead of trying to get God to work in a formulated way that our minds think things should go, we need to align our hearts and minds with God’s will and mind…only then will we truly understand what “ask and you shall receive” means.

Understanding Jesus’ Statement: Ask and You Shall Receive:

“Jesus’ statement “Ask and you shall receive” occurs several times in the Gospel accounts in various forms. It is a saying that has often been misinterpreted by those who do not understand the verse in its context, but rather assume that Jesus’ meaning was “ask for anything you want and I’ll give it to you,” a basic tenet of the prosperity gospel and word of teaching. Sadly, the faith of many has been shipwrecked on the rocks of unanswered prayers that were prayed because of a belief in the faulty assumption that “ask and you shall receive” is a blanket promise with no conditions.

 

Perhaps the most famous instance of “ask and you shall receive” is found in Matthew 7:7-8where Jesus tells His disciples during the Sermon on the Mount that whoever asks receives, whoever seeks finds, and to whomever knocks, the door will be opened. We cannot gain a full understanding of Jesus’ meaning without reading the entire passage. Jesus goes on to say that God will not fail to give His children good things. Luke 11:9-13 repeats this message, but replaces the words “good things” with “the Holy Spirit.” This means that God will give good gifts to His children, and the best example of a good gift is the Holy Spirit. When combined with John 14:14, where Jesus tells His disciples that whatever they ask for “in His name” will be done for them, we begin to see the two-fold purpose of prayer—to give us deeper understanding of what God calls “good” and to cultivate a desire in us for that which God calls good.

Our prayers to God are not unlike our requests of men. They are based in a relationship, just as Jesus points out in Matthew 7:8 When we ask our earthly fathers for something they know will hurt us, those things are denied. A child may be frustrated and unhappy when his father denies his request for something bad, but he still trusts his father. And when a request is for something that the father knows is good for his child, he will provide it willingly and eagerly because he loves his child. This relationship is further alluded to when Jesus follows His promise in John 14:14 with verse 15: “If you love me, keep My commandments.” Loving Jesus, obeying Him, and praying according to His will are all part asking in His name.

Many new believers have experienced a disappointment about this reality, thinking, “But what if what I want / need is not in God’s will?” But when we think about it, this promise can never disappoint us. First, if what we want is not in God’s will, we really don’t want to receive it, because, though it might seem to be what we want, God knows it isn’t good for us and is faithful and loving to say “no” to that prayer.  Second, inherent in the promise is the guarantee that the things we truly need will always be given to us when we ask for them. God will always give us good things. Our job is to understand what is good, so that we know what to ask for. The natural mind does not understand this, but, according to Romans 12:1-2  renewing our minds, which can only be done through His Word, will help us understand what God’s will is. Then, asking in faith, we will have all we need for life and godliness and fullness of joy (John 16:24). This is not intuitive for us, but it teaches us humility, and it draws us near to God, who is the Source of our joy.

All other verses about prayer must be interpreted through this lens. Matthew 21:22 tells us that we will receive whatever we ask for in prayer, if we have faith. The question is faith in what? Again, it is faith in His Word to tell us what is best and faith that He will give us what is best. If we ask for healing, and that is the best thing for us, we should not doubt that He will do it. But if He does not heal, we must assume that not being healed is a necessary part of a larger plan that is ultimately for our good.

Consider Psalm 37:4, which says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” We know that this verse doesn’t mean “if you pursue God you will get what you want” because of what we already know about asking according to His will. This verse does not give us a way to manipulate God, nor does it mean that, if we obey, He will see it and be pleased and then give us whatever we are craving. Rather, it means that when we delight ourselves in God, truly loving Him and pursuing Him for His sake, then everything we want and need will necessarily be in Him. The issue here is a change of heart—when the heart seeks the Lord, it is satisfied with what it finds there, and its true desires are realized in Him. But loving and desiring God is far from natural for us.

Therefore, the first and most important prayers in the life of a Christian are “Make me love You above all else” and “Make me want what You want” because when we truly desire God and long to see the Kingdom of God realized in our lives and in the lives of others, when we are passionate to see His will and His work in this world, and we ask for the things that bring Him glory and increase our closeness to Him, He is eager and willing to give us anything we ask for. Sometimes the things that glorify God are pleasant things, like a marriage or a child. Sometimes they are difficult things, like a failure that humbles us or a physical weakness that makes us dependent upon Him. But we must never doubt that, when we pray for what is in His will, we will receive it, and that what we receive from Him will always be that which is best.” (source)

With this renewing of your mind about prayer, perhaps you will no longer believe the weight of answers to prayers lies solely in your lap, but instead is a trusted answer from a faithful Father.

10393165_702462349842786_2217533899744533977_nAbout Cooking Up Faith

 Cooking Up Faith seeks to teach and equip women in the knowledge of God’s Word, in order to help her become victorious in her walk with God, marriage, and motherhood. Subscribe to Cooking Up Faith (located on the left-hand side of the blog) or join us on Facebook so you’ll never miss a new post or recipe!

 

 

Related Posts:

How to Read God’s Word in a Meaningful Way

A Practical Way to Hear God’s Voice

What An Authentic Christian Walk Looks Like

 

49abc07510ca47e4b73cb88df5a3ef17_7Daily Reflection:

Want to feel and witness more of God’s presence in your life?

Love people more and the sense of His love within you will grow stronger.

The stronger your love for others, the stronger you sense God’s love for you.

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:12

1621759_581210025308339_1868489371_nDaily Reflection:

You can judge everyone you see today.

Or you can give grace and mercy to everyone you see.

The choice that brings peace, is mercy.

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy.

Mercy triumphs over judgment.

(James 2:13)

fence flower

Daily Reflection:

God is not surprised by your struggles.

He does not stand amazed that you have weaknesses.

He is not ashamed of you when you face temptations. Instead, He simply calls you to come beside Him…and find rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

Six Things to Change When Being a Stay-at-Home Mom is Emotionally Hard

51a3b96c37ddf6abf44a3662431b04d9

A new Gallup poll found that stay-at-home moms are more likely than working moms to feel negative emotions such as worry, sadness, stress, and anger on a daily basis. Why is this??

  • There are several reasons. One, being a stay-at-home mom can be isolating. We are made to be around people and community, and having small children simply demands being at home more due to nap schedules and the high cost of entertainment. Days are long. You may take an outing to the park or a trip to Target, but that may take up 2 hours in the day. There may be 8 hours left until bedtime. Now what?? The majority of a stay-at-home mom’s day is spent alone taking care of her children. The interaction she might get with others is usually interrupted and in very quick sentences!
  • Another reason being a stay-at-home mom is hard emotionally is due to the fact that the mother is not able to learn or try new things. There are just not enough hours in the day or resources available for a stay-at-home mom to take a cooking class, exercise class, educational class ect, unless she is able to afford joining a gym or child care. This leaves many stay-at-homes feeling like they have lost a part of themselves by not being able to grow and learn as an individual.
  • Finally, the pressures a stay-at-home mom puts on herself can be daunting and overwhelming. There’s the cooking, cleaning, laundry, emotional and physical needs of each child to tend to, and of course the pressure to keep the husband happy and fulfilled. All of this pressure can lead to feelings of failure, stress, worry, and finally anger as the pressure just becomes too much.

Hopefully these reasons listed help you to know that you are not alone, if you are feeling those negative emotions of sadness, stress, and irritability that being a stay-at-home mom can bring. However, you do not have to stay put here.  We’re going to look at how to change a few things in your day, and your perspective, and hopefully get positive and purposeful thinking back into your mind.

Here are a few things to think about when you start feeling drained emotionally as a stay-at-home-mom:

1. Get out of the house: plan some simply activities to get yourself and your children out of the house. Go to the park, meet friends for lunch, go to the zoo, ride bikes.

2. Get dressed, put on some make-up, and fix your hair: even if you’re not leaving the house or just running to the park, put on some make-up and something besides sweat pants. This will make you feel more put together, which will help with your mood too.

3. Plan a daily quiet time: Have your kids spend some time playing alone in their room or watching a show, and use this time for yourself. Read a book, check in with friends, read blogs, ect. Do something to unwind for a little bit.

4. Work on a small hobby/interest: We were made to create and be passionate about things. If you have given up everything to stay home, including your hobbies and passions, you may be feeling pretty depressed and dreadful. Think of something you enjoy doing/learning and do just a little of it as you can. Maybe use your daily quiet time to work on a hobby for yourself like painting, sewing, or writing.

5. Exercise: Exercise is not only healthy for your physical body, but also mentally. Do what you can – walk for 20 minutes, join a neighborhood exercise group, jog as you push the stroller. You’ll feel better!

6. Change your perspective: Jesus said the most important commandment is to love God and love your neighbor. Make this your most important goal of the day too. Stop beating yourself up about everything you need to get done on your to-do list, and refocus your thoughts on one main objective: to love God and love others well.

If you’ve ever been on a plane you know that if the plane is going down you are supposed to put the oxygen mask on yourself first so you are equipped to help others. The same is true in motherhood. You’ve got to take care of yourself physically and emotionally or you will start to crash and feel burnt out. You’re kids aren’t going to tell you to slow down and take care of yourself – they are going to take and take as much as you’ll give and give!

Be wise and create some healthy patterns in your day to help yourself emotionally. Your well being and your family’s depends on it.

10393165_702462349842786_2217533899744533977_nAbout Cooking Up Faith

 Cooking Up Faith seeks to teach and equip women in the knowledge of God’s Word, in order to help her become victorious in her walk with God, marriage, and motherhood. Subscribe to Cooking Up Faith (located on the left-hand side of the blog) or join us on Facebook so you’ll never miss a new post or recipe!

Related Posts:

When You Don’t Feel Like Doing the Laundry, Scrubbing Toilets, or Dusting 

When You Need New Eating Habits

Praying Scripture for Your Family

What Does the Bible Say About Raising Boys

skateboard-331751_640

It’s interesting that the Bible doesn’t include a specific book about parenting boys. There aren’t scenarios listed with answers to each situation. Rather, we are given a few guidelines about parenting in general, and the rest we are to leave up to prayer, faith, fellowship with other believers, and trust.

So often we look at the here and now. Today, we’re going to shift gears and peek inside the book of Titus to look at the future of these boys we are raising. Titus tells us what type of man an elder should be…and what must be taught to young men. If we can look ahead at what type of heart God wants to see in a man, it will help us tremendously as we parent boy children.

According to Titus 1, the type of behaviors you want to guide your son AWAY from are:

1. Wild and disobedient behavior

2. Overbearing

3. Quick tempered

4. Drunkard

5. Violent

6. Pursing dishonest gain

The Type of behaviors you want to guide your son TO are:

1. Monogamous in relationships

2. Believer in Jesus

3. Hospitable

4. Loves what is good

5. Self-controlled

6. Upright

7. Holy

8. Disciplined

9. Wisdom in what is true

The second list is what should be in the back of your mind as you parent your son. These are the qualities you want to be praying for your son, and guiding/training your son to have. Show your son these virtues and allow him to make them goals for himself. Sometimes we simply don’t know what to do with ourselves unless we are taught. That is what your son is looking for ~ someone to teach him how to think and behave properly. It does not come naturally. (Romans 3:23)

Do not panic if your son has more qualities from the first list! This is just a sign that your son needs more guidance and training from you and your husband, and from other male leaders and role models in your community.

How you decide to discipline, train, and guide your son is between God,  you, and  your husband, however it should never be cruel or abusive. Each child is different and responds differently to rewards/consequences. The important thing is to not give up or give in…keep the virtues of a godly man in mind as you parent your son. Discipline needs to be balanced with encouragement. Colossians 3;21 says, Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. If there is only nagging and constant getting on to your children they will become discouraged. However, correcting behavior followed with encouragement and support for that child is appropriate balance. Mercy triumphs judgement. (James 2:13) Do not make excuses for your son’s inappropriate behavior. Set expectations and work patiently with your son as he learns the way he should go. Believe in him, support him, and encourage him to become the best he can be.

Scriptures to Reflect Upon While Raising Boys:

Matthew 18:12-14 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?  And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Proverbs 1:8-9 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.

*Reflection Question: Name one short term goal and one long term goal as you parent your son. 

Joining A Little R & R and Wise Woman

10393165_702462349842786_2217533899744533977_nAbout Cooking Up Faith

 Cooking Up Faith seeks to teach and equip women in the knowledge of God’s Word, in order to help her become victorious in her walk with God, marriage, and motherhood. Subscribe to Cooking Up Faith (located on the left-hand side of the blog) or join us on Facebook so you’ll never miss a new post or recipe!

Related Posts:

5 Characteristics of a Godly Woman to Teach Your Daughters

Three Things Your Daughter is Probably Struggling with…and How to Help Her

Potato Ham Bake

potato ham bake

Mrs. H from Heritage Schoolhouse is here to share her Potato Ham Bake with us!

Potato Ham Bake
12 servings

2 cans cream of chicken soup
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 bag (32 ounces) frozen cubed hash browns, thawed
for topping
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup breadcrumbs

In a large bowl combine first four ingredients; mix well. Stir in ham and potatoes. Spread in a greased 9×13″ baking dish. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over casserole. Bake uncovered at 350° degrees for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.

-

You can find Mrs. H sharing stories from her farm, homemaking tips, and delicious recipes on her blog. You can follow Mrs H’s blog at Heritage Schoolhouse. Follow her on Facebook here.

What We Know and Don’t Know About Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual Gifts

One of the biggest inward struggles a Christian can face is this question: What is my spiritual gift and how should I use it?

There are two extremes you could take with this issue. One is to search obsessively for your gift, and then focus so much on using this gift that you forget to take time to tend to your own relationships, including your relationship with God. God becomes more about how He will use you and your gift instead of how you will deepen your relationship with Him. The other extreme is to be so full of doubt that you decide you don’t have a gift or anything to offer. You become so frustrated at how to use your gift that you even become angry with God for not showing you or using you enough.

The problem with both of these mentalities is that sometimes we view God has a human boss and we want Him to give us clear, black and white descriptions of what we have been given, how we are to use it, and what our rewards will be as a result.

However, God is not human and therefore He does not operate as a human. So, let’s look at the big picture and break down what we do know and what we don’t know:

What we Know:

1. God will use us: Whether a person’s heart is for God or against Him, He will use each person according to His own purposes and plan. Look at the story of Moses. Moses’ heart was for God and God used Him to lead His people closer to God and His will. Pharoah’s heart was against God, but God still used Him as part of His plan to free His people and illustrate the destruction of what happens when a person turns against God.

For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. (Romans 11:36)

2. If we are believers in Christ we have a spiritual gift: Jesus has every spiritual gift in Him. He has shared these gifts with you. It would be wise to draw closer to Jesus and allow Him to transform your heart to become more like His, then obsessively searching for what your exact gift is. The closer you become to Jesus, the more your gift will be revealed through you.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

 (1 Peter 4:10)

3. Our obedience matters: When we are obedient to God in our thoughts, words, and actions we open the door for God to use us in a good way. When we disobey God we open the door for God to use us in ways we would probably rather not be used. Again, God will use us…our obedience to His will may determine how He will use us.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

(John 15:5)

What we Don’t Know:

1. How God will use us and our gifts: We like to plan and control, so our thought process about our spiritual gifts naturally goes into wanting to plan what they are and how they will be used. However, God’s thoughts and ways are much bigger and deeper than ours, so we really have no way to understand how He will use us. Could Paul have imagined that Christians would still be reading his letters thousands of years later? Could a woman who simply smiles as a stranger understand what that smile has meant?

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.

“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
(Isaiah 55:8)

2. What kind of fruit we will bear: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is the type of fruit we need to look for in ourselves, however we can’t understand how God will transform and change our hearts over time. Hope for and search for all of these fruits to bear within your heart as you serve. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

(Galatians 5:22,23)

3. How much reward we will see: Many of the rewards from our earthly efforts will be eternal; meaning we won’t see the result of our efforts until we reach heaven.

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.  If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.

(1 Corinthians 3:11-14)

Looking at the big picture we see that God has given each of us a gift that can be used to help, encourage, and serve other people. Remember it’s about just that – helping people. Your gift is to be shared to build other people up, not to build yourself up. Stay close to Jesus, draw near to Him, and He will bear much good fruit from you. That…we know.

10393165_702462349842786_2217533899744533977_nAbout Cooking Up Faith

Join us every Monday for a weekly devotional, then come back on the weekend for a new delicious recipe. Subscribe to Cooking Up Faith (located on the left-hand side of the blog) or join us on Facebook so you’ll never miss a new post or recipe!

Related Posts:

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a New Goal

Knowing and Understanding Your Spiritual Gift

A Practical Way to Hear God’s Voice

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a New Goal

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a New Goal

Ideas can pop into your head all the time. One idea leads to another, and it’s hard to decipher which ideas, goals, and dreams you should follow…and which ones need to be just ideas. You’ve probably heard the expression, “God placed this idea on my heart so I need to follow my heart,” but be careful with this theory.  The Lord Himself says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

God goes on to say, “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10)

If God is searching our hearts behind our deeds, then it would be wise for us to do the same before we jump into anything.

Here’s a few questions to start with when searching your heart:

1. Why am I doing what I’m thinking about doing?

2. What am I really trying to achieve?

3. Is it wise to do this financially? Do I have the time to commit? Will any of my relationships be hindered?

4. How will I do this thing with balance? (What will the boundaries be so I don’t get myself over-scheduled and overwhelmed?

5. What will measure my success?

It’s easy to get excited about a new idea or goal. It’s even fun to start planning, buying materials, or just hop into your new ambition. It’s much harder to finish what you started. So before you eagerly jump on board, take a step back to look at the big picture. What’s really going on in your heart behind this new idea? If you can align your belief and thoughts to what God’s will is for this new passion of yours, then you’re ready to jump in. It might take some discipline and scripture searching to get there, but it will be worth it in the long run.

* Your turn ~ Are you wanting to start a new goal? What will determine if you’re ready to start and stick with it?

10393165_702462349842786_2217533899744533977_n

About Cooking Up Faith

Join us every Monday for a new weekly devotional, then come back on the weekend for a new delicious recipe. Subscribe to Cooking Up Faith (located on the left-hand side of the blog) or join us on Facebook so you’ll never miss a new post or recipe!

Related Posts:

What an Authentic Christian Walk Looks Like

Why Exercise is Important for Christians

How to Read God’s Word in a Meaningful Way 

Harvest Wild Rice Soup

DSC_0109

Fall is here and Mrs. H is bringing us this delicious Harvest Wild Rice Soup recipe!!

Ingredients needed -

1/2 cup wild rice
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 small onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon parsley
1/8 teaspoon sage
1/8 teaspoon rosemary
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream

Directions:

Cook wild rice according to package directions; set aside.
In a pot, sauté vegetables in 1 tablespoon butter.
Add broth and seasonings to vegetables.
Melt remaining butter in a sauce pan and combine with flour.
Whisk in milk and let cook, continuing to whisk, for about a minute or so.
Add mixture to pot and whisk to combine.
Stir in cream and cooked rice.
Makes 4 servings.
Enjoy!
-

You can find Mrs. H sharing stories from her farm, homemaking tips, and delicious recipes on her blog. You can follow Mrs H’s blog at Heritage Schoolhouse. Follow her on Facebook here.