Monday, October 15, 2012

The Important 'Stuff'

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13).
Jesus taught a lot about prayer in Luke 11.  I was thinking about these words - 'ask and it will be given to you' - this past week.
  There are so many times that we pray and don't hear answers or anything at all for long periods of time.  There are times when we don't get clarity.  I was taught a few years ago that sometimes we ask with wrong motives.  
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures (James 4:3).
Last week I cried out for direction - for doors to be shut or opened - for clarity on what to do about jobs.  I was willing to do what He wanted me to do in the situation.  My motives were pure and unselfish.  I believe this is why He made things clear to me.  There have been so many more times that I ask God for things with selfish desires - "that I may spend what I get on my pleasure."  This time, it was truly about honoring Him - not wanting to be out of His will in any way.  Tuesday afternoon the nurse manager sent me an email saying that she thinks they would not be able to train me adequately in the time availability I gave.  Tuesday I talked with Macaroni Kid and went forward with the ad selling.  Thursday morning I got an email from Target saying that they don't have anything for me.  Although it hurts to be rejected, I had to praise Him for making things clear and closing doors.  I am continuing to pray and entertain other opportunities that come my way.

Last week we also began a budget - there's a great free online tool you can use called We've never done this before, me saying that I don't know how to do a budget and I'm not good with numbers.  So, we go on, not really knowing or caring where all of our money goes each month, but stressed.
Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways.  You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes (Haggai 1:5-6).
I think He is going to show us great things by obeying Him and 'considering our ways' with what we sow.   I am also praying for continued softening of my heart so that I can give out of joy when obeying and tithing.  And also that He will help us to be content with what we have, like Paul.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want (Philippians 4:11-12).
I've been trying to focus on the 'stuff' that will matter after leaving this earth - not the 'stuff' that breaks and collects dust and makes us happy for a moment - until we want the next thing.  It is a constant battle at times to not feel sorry for ourselves that we can't go buy this or that - or even fix the broken tail light on my van!  To want what others have, to go on that third vacation this year, to be dressed like I stepped out of a fashion magazine.  I think Jeff and I thought that God moved us here for an easier life financially, but He may not have.  He is doing things in us that are so much more important than giving us barrels of money.  Things that will last - 'things' that we will be proud to be remembered by.

Our friend from Seattle, Scott was visiting this weekend and got a call that no one wants to get.  His father passed away Saturday morning.  It was heartbreaking news and we tried to comfort him as best we could.  Jeff and I had the pleasure to be around Scott's dad only a handful of times.  I could not tell you what kind of things he had - if he had the latest clothes, electronics, and cars.  But I can tell you that he had the kind of 'things' that are remembered - he was a very generous, hospitable, and giving man - bending over backward to make you comfortable.  

6/26/2009 - Us and the Brecht family.  Bob and Carol welcomed us into their home for our two week vacation in the Pacific Northwest.

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