TODAY'S READING FROM https://utmost.org/ -- in addition to text from print version of Oswald Chambers Daily Devotional: My Utmost For His Highest -- Date: June 9
Ask If You Have Not Received
There is nothing more difficult than to ask. We will long and desire and crave and suffer, but not until we are at the extreme limit will we ask. A sense of unreality makes us ask. Have you ever asked out of the depths of moral poverty? “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God….” — but be sure that you do lack wisdom. You cannot bring yourself up against Reality when you like. The next best thing to do if you are not spiritually real, is to ask God for the Holy Spirit on the word of Jesus Christ (see Luke 11:13). The Holy Spirit is the One Who makes real in you all that Jesus did for you.
“For every one that asketh receiveth.” This does not mean you will not get if you do not ask (cf. Matt. 5:45), but until you get to the point of asking you won’t receive from God. To receive means you have come into the relationship of a child of God, and now you perceive with intelligent and moral appreciation and spiritual understanding that these things come from God.
“If any of you lack wisdom…” If you realize you are lacking, it is because you have come in contact with spiritual reality; do not put your reasonable blinkers on again. “Ask” means beg. Some people are poor enough to be interested in their poverty, and some of us are like that spiritually. We will never receive if we ask with an end in view; if we ask, not out of our poverty but out of our lust. A pauper does not ask from any other reason than the abject panging condition of his poverty, he is not ashamed to beg. Blessed are the paupers in spirit.
WE MISSED OUT ON EVERYTHING: DEPTHS OF MORAL POVERTY
I didn’t need the Bible to tell me that this is not my home (Hebrews 13:14); I lived that reality everyday of my young life growing up on the city streets of Troy, New York. My siblings and I looked out for each other since no one else did and we did the best we could for broken and neglected children without parents. It was by God’s amazing grace that we didn’t end up strung-out or on the back of an old milk carton. This does not mean that we survived unscathed. On the contrary, most of us have deep wounds that need to be rebandaged daily. In my case, I choose to wrap those broken pieces with the balm inside the Holy Bible.
It’s for this reason that I love scripture verses like 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 which speaks of the God of all comfort and compassion, comforting us in all our troubles, so that we ourselves can comfort those in similar troubles.
Conversely, because of my troubled childhood it’s also quite difficult to receive from God even when I earnestly pray. For me, feeling the depths of spiritual moral depravity gets mixed with the depravity of brokenness, isolation and disability. It’s a pain which often makes me cry out in tears and continue to ask for healing and unanswered prayers. It’s also a pain which grants me victory each time I’m able to ride my bike on amazing bike trails in the Adirondacks while pondering scripture verses like Psalm 34 – specifically Psalm 34:17-18 “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears; He delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted; He saves the contrite in spirit.” Some other scripture verses close to my heart are: 1 Peter 1:6 “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.” Psalm 42:5 “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.” Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Do you also struggle with anxieties or depression from childhood hurts, adult habits or other hang-ups? Please know you are far from alone and God wants to help you too. Daily it’s a struggle for me, and I want you to know this simply so you too may seek His help and forgiveness:
TODAY IS THE DAY OF YOUR SALVATION:
- Romans 2:4 — Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
- Romans 3:23 — for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
- Romans 4:8 — But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Romans 6:3-5 and 6:11 — Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
- Romans 6:23 — For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 10:9-17 — If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
- ACTS 10:38-48 — God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues[a] and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
- ACTS 16:30-34 — He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
- ACTS 17:24-25 and 17:28-31 — “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
More of my favorites … 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
1I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. 2My soul boasts in the LORD; let the oppressed hear and rejoice. 3Magnify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together. 4I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. 5Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; their faces shall never be ashamed. 6This poor man called out, and the LORD heard him; He saved him from all his troubles. 7The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and he delivers them. 8Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! 9Fear the LORD, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing. 10Young lions go lacking and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. 11Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12Who is the man who delights in life, who desires to see good days? 13Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceitful speech. 14Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are inclined to their cry. 16But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to wipe out all memory of them from the earth. 17The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears; He delivers them from all their troubles. 18The LORD is near to the brokenhearted; He saves the contrite in spirit. 19Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all. 20He protects all his bones; not one of them will be broken. 21Evil will slay the wicked, and the haters of the righteous will be condemned. 22The LORD redeems His servants, and none who take refuge in Him will be condemned.