September 16, Friday

Editor’s Note: Today’s AMI Quiet Time is provided by Kate Moon, who is currently serving in E. Asia.

Devotional Thought for Today

John 15:7-8:

 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Mark 10:51-52

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.  The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, ‘Your faith has healed you.”  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Many of us know all too well from our everyday experience that God does not always just grant us what we wish.  When we petition God, there is a condition to Him answering our prayers with a “yes”: that our hearts are aligned with His will (v. 7).

But what is God’s will?  When we ask for healing, we tag on, “if it is your will,” not always as an expression of humble submission but sometimes as one of just plain uncertainty.  Because we’ve experienced God’s “no’s,” we’ve become not really sure what we are asking is His will after all, and our prayers lack boldness and confidence.

Yet this lack of confidence is the exact opposite of the intent of this verse.  Why did Jesus say these words?  His main point was wanting to expand the scope of His disciples’ asking (“whatever you wish”) rather than limit it.  He was not saying these words out of a fear that His disciples would take Him for granted.  He wanted them to be bold in asking.

Though He was not presenting Himself as a genie, this was still the Jesus with the servant heart who asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” (v. 51). When the blind man says he wants to see, Jesus does for him what he wishes because it ends up being to his Father’s glory; this was the fruitfulness His Father desired of Him.

In trying so hard not to misapply this verse (John 15:7) out of a fear of wrong motives, we can lose the sense of empowerment that it was meant to give.  Are we trying to obey God’s commands?  Love God and love people?  Then we can ask whatever we wish.  We do not presume that the answer to our prayers will always be a “yes,” but let’s be bold in asking!

Prayer:  God, as I look at the world around me today, there is so much that I wish for.  I wish people could see You for who You really are.  I wish they would be healed and set free.  I wish for wisdom and love to speak Your words of life into their hearts.  Hear my prayer.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 3

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Lunch Break Study 

Read 1 Kings 3:3-12:Solomon showed his love for the LORD by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. 4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 6 Solomon answered . . . 8 “Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.  9 So give your servant a discerning a heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.  For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him . . . 12 ”I will do what you have asked.  I will give you a wise and discerning heart . . .”

James 1:5: 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Questions to Consider

  1. When Solomon offered sacrifices at Gibeon, was he walking according to the statues of his father David (vv. 3-4)?
  2. How does God respond (vv. 5, 12)?
  3. Considering the two observations above: what principle can we draw from this passage? How does this passage teach me to approach God?

Notes

  1. No, which meant that he was not worshipping God in the way that God had prescribed. He was not exactly in the center of God’s will.
  2. He still meets Solomon and grants his request. It wasn’t that it didn’t matter that Solomon was not worshipping God where he was supposed to, or the Bible would not have mentioned it (v. 3). But there was this grace.
  3. God responds to us, even when we don’t get everything exactly right. It does not mean we can have a casual attitude toward obeying His commands, but there is this grace; and He gives us credit for what we do get right.  We can approach God trusting and believing in His grace.

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Evening Reflection  

What happened today when I asked God for whatever I wished?  Whether He immediately granted my request today or not, how did my obeying His command to ask Him freely impact my relationship with Him today?

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