Faye Bryant

Ask, Seek, Knock

The bold words in my Bible before verse 7 says, “Effective Prayer.”

Jesus is speaking about the loving care of God and how to pray effectively. He is not telling how to get what you want out of God.

In following verses, he talks about how even us wicked humans won’t give a stone when asked by our children for food or a snake when they ask for a fish.

The Message paraphrase says verses 7-11 this way:

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?”

Almighty God loves us even more than we love our children. He also knows what’s best for us better than we know what’s best for our children. He kinda has inside information, you know.

While we could give God our request one time and He would remember it and act on it, when we keep on asking, seeking, and knocking, we will receive, find, and have entrance. We will learn more about us and our Savior through the process.

I truly believe these three are more about us and how diligent we are in seeking God and making our desires known to Him. If we really care about something, we dig in and refuse to let go until everything is right. We keep going back and keep looking for answers.

God isn’t offended by that. At all. He doesn’t get tired of hearing from us. Even for the little things. Don’t hold back!

And God hears our asking, seeking, and knocking. He really hears us!

How do you hear your children or spouse or best friend? You are tuned in. Your ears are constantly in listen mode.

God is always in listen mode for His children. He never shuts down.

Believers, we can be assured that our asking, seeking, and knocking will be answered with the very best answer for us. God doesn’t fail.

Granted, sometimes we’re not tickled with His answer, but we can be absolutely certain that it is the absolute best for us.

Go ahead. Ask Him for that thing you desire most. Seek Him as you ask, hear His heart for you. Knock on His door and when the door opens, walk reverently to His throne, look into His loving face and ask again.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

God, the Vending Machine

How amazing is this? I can get all my dreams come true! It’s like a cosmic vending machine; I put in my time and effort and voila, all my desires are reality.

I’ll be rich beyond imagination, I’ll have a big home, I’ll have maids and cooks, I’ll have a Lamborghini and a Maybach and a Rolls Royce…

<<<< screeching tires >>>>

Uhh, no.

God is NOT some sort of cosmic vending machine. These words of God, written by David, are not saying that if we like God, He will give us what we want.

What happens when we delight in something or someone? Do we not fall more deeply in love with them? Do we not pour our hearts and minds into them?

When we delight in the Lord, we spend time in His Word – even Numbers and Leviticus. We care about what He says is right and lament when we do what He says is wrong. We talk to Him and listen for His response.

WE CHANGE.

His desires become our desires.

And then, because our desires and secret petitions are in line with His, He will give them to us.

We must keep in mind that God never changes and that He will not reward sin. While His love for us never changes and we’ll never be separated from it, our sins will create a divide between us.

Delighting ourselves in Him can prevent our choosing sin. Wow! That would be cool. To be able to say no to the things that tempt? Sign me up!

Let’s start today. Let’s choose to move a little closer to the Father. Let’s open His Word and ask Him to show us what He wants us to know. Let’s ask the Spirit to teach us how to delight in our Maker.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Just ask.

I have heard wisdom described as knowing the best thing to do with the information given. The analogy given being that knowledge tells us a tomato is scientifically a fruit, but wisdom tells us not to add it to our fruit salad.

I think we all wish for wisdom. We want to make the best decisions possible for ourselves and our families.

What a daunting task that is. To feel the pressure of examining all the possible outcomes to discern the best path tires both mind and body.

James tells us we don’t have to wear ourselves out like that. All we have to do when we need wisdom is ask God for it.

That’s it. Almighty God is all wisdom and holds all wisdom. That He is willing to share that with us is such a gift!

First, it helps us arrive at the answers we need, but most of all, it helps us understand better who we are in relation to God.

When we receive wisdom from Him and make a decision that is nearly the opposite of what we would have done under our own power, it’s a bit scary. When we see how it works out for the best – beyond our expectations – we recognize that He is God, He knows all, beginning to end, and He shared that bit with us for our success. All because of His love for us.

What joy to know that our Heavenly Father wants to give us this part of Himself! What peace to know our best and wisest answers are only a breath away!

Let’s choose to seek wisdom in God above all. No need to take a poll. No need to map out all possible outcomes.

Just ask.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Be just and righteous

The prophet Amos was sharing what God told him to say to the people of Israel. It seems they were either blatantly disregarding God’s laws or doing the necessary by rote with no heart involvement. (Anybody saying ‘ouch’ yet?)

I like Amos. He didn’t try to soften the message at all. He just said it straight out: God was tired of this mess.

There were those among the people who would say “If only the day of the Lord was here!”

God said they didn’t have a clue what they were asking for, that the day they wanted was one of death and destruction for them.

Could that be us? Praying for the return of the Lord, not understanding what that might mean for our favorite cashier at the market or the neighbor who brings us cookies? See, we see some of their actions, but we don’t know their hearts. That day might be death and destruction for them.

In the verses leading up to verse 24, God declares that He hates the people’s show and pretense. He hates the hypocrisy of their festivals and solemn assemblies. He refused to take their offerings or to listen to their noisy songs of praise.

Seems the people were doing the singing and festivals per instruction, but without love – for God or fellow man.

Does this fit us today? I mean, does God still point these things out to us today?

God said what He really wanted to see was a flood of justice and an endless river of righteousness.

Simply put:

He wanted His people to seek Him.

See, outside of Almighty God, there is only skewed, unbalanced justice. Without Him, there is no righteousness.

He had rescued Israel from so much, but their hearts would not remain in Him.

This should serve as a call from God to all who believe.

We must be careful not to follow our hearts – no matter what the world says. God says our hearts are deceitful. We must choose to navigate life with our focus on Him alone.

We must seek to be just in all our affairs. That’s different from “fair.” Justice requires adhering to an immovable, unchanging standard. That would be God alone. When we measure us and those around us to Him, we realize we all fall short and that His Grace is necessary.

We must be about His business in the world around us. That cashier, that neighbor, that family member – they all need to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Sure we get sick and tired of the evil we see in our world, but to hope and pray for the Day of the Lord – the Day of Judgment – is to pray for the destruction of those who do not know Him. Be careful.

Let’s examine us today. Is there any faith discipline that you’re approaching without your full heart-attention? Are you praying because you have to? Are you reading scripture to tick off the box on your checklist?

If there is anything about your faith that you’re doing outside a true seeking of the Lord and His will, it’s time to change that. Just stop it. Choose to be fully present in your prayer time. Be expectant as you read the Word. Do everything as though God Himself was standing there and you’re doing it for Him.

It’s time.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Check your thinking.

David might have been recalling his anointing as king of Israel when he penned these words. I believe God said to write them, but as he wrote them, maybe he remembered Samuel passing up all his strong, handsome brothers for him, the youngest, the ruddy shepherd.

The prophet, Samuel, had told the family that God looks on the heart, not just the chronology of birth or the strength. Somewhat of a reprimand for those who chose Saul as king because he was head and shoulders taller and good looking and such.

I can see where Psalms 21:2 can be either comforting or frightening.

If a person has yielded their entire being to Christ, surrendering their very will to Him, this is comforting. They know that when they make a misstep, when they say something untoward, He knows their heart isn’t spiteful, filled with deceit or malice. He knows the mistake.

For those who choose to wield His Word like a club or a mace (the medieval club with spikes or blades on the battering end), to prove their point or to legitimize their agenda, these words can be frightening. God’s Word is always about reconciling broken mankind to Himself. We don’t do that by battering hurting souls. There is a difference between lovingly sharing a warning and declaring someone’s eternal demise.

It would be frightening for those who choose to continue in their chosen sin instead of surrendering to the Lord, too. If I say I’m a believer, a follower of Jesus, but I am constantly envious and am gluttonous, I need to remember that God is looking at my heart and I should be dismayed enough to make changes.

The truth is, there are times when we ALL think we’re right. Every one of us. And in reality, we’re all the way opposite from God’s right.

We all need to examine our own hearts in the light of all scripture – that means we have to read further than our few favorite verses. This is why reading through the whole Book is so very important. What God says to you while you’re reading in Leviticus and Numbers could be that thing that brings you into His will.

Jeremiah wrote in his Lamentations, “Let us examine our ways and test them and let us return to the Lord.”

He understood that we need to constantly keep an eye on what we do and the motives behind them in order to stay in God’s will.

Let’s do that today. Let’s take a few minutes to open ourselves and open the Book. Let’s be bold enough to ask God to point out every wicked (against God and His will) way in us. Then, when He shows us something, let’s be honest enough to agree with Him (confess) and repent (turn away) of that so we can walk with Him rather than opposite Him.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Where does east end and west begin?

There is no place on earth where God’s name should not be praised.

Even in the communist countries? Yes.
Even in oppressive lands? Yes.
Even in opiod dens and crack houses? Yes.
Even in kidnappers’ lairs? Yes.
Even in businesses? Yes.
Even in schools? Yes.

E V E R Y W H E R E

Did you notice that God, through the psalmist, didn’t say from north to south?

Could that be because He knew humans would discover the poles and be able to say these were boundaries? That we would think once we went this far north and turned south, His name no longer should be praised?

Would we do that?
I’ll leave you to answer that one for yourself.

I believe God chose east to west because there is no starting point and no ending point. There’s no way to know when you’ve gotten all the way to the east because it stretches far beyond until you’ve planted your feet in your own footprints again. Same with going west.

Sort of like the infinite God who made this declaration, huh?

Another point: this doesn’t say go to everywhere to praise Him. It says that His name is to be praised everywhere. As in, the location of the person does not change the truth that God’s name is to be praised.

How does this apply to us in our corner of east to west?

Let me ask you, do you praise Him in traffic that is barely moving?
Do you praise Him with your hands in soapy dishwater or putting on the zillionth load of laundry?
Do you praise Him in the yard as you weedeat or on the side of the road when the car breaks down?
Do you praise Him in the store where you shop?

I’m not talking about singing praise songs aloud everywhere you are. I’m talking about that heart inside you. Is your soul filled with reverential awe of the Creator of the universe? Is your mind filled with the Truth of the Provider of all, including your last and next breath?

I’m pretty sure we can all work on this one. Might as well get started today. Perhaps it will make your drive home from work or the store different that the last one.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

The view from the Comfy Chair at sunrise, facing west.

A dangerous question

David, King of Israel, wrote this prayer. He wanted to know how to please God. He declares “You are my God.” As in, there is no other God.

Do you see, he is asking God to take over. It seems to me David is saying he needs more than a nudge, more than willpower, more than reading the Torah. He needed God Himself to teach him to do His will. Not teach him HOW to do it – that’s how WE want it! Give us a list or a plan and we’ll follow it.

No, David asked a dangerous question.

What would it take for God to teach US to do His will?

Would He have some barriers to break down? Some closets to clean out? Some lies to overcome? Some chains to break?

Or would He have to break us in our stubbornness until we’re willing to surrender to Him?

Notice that David knew God well enough to know He would be right there with him to lead him forward on level ground. Some translations add “into the land of uprightness.”

There is confidence in knowing God well enough to ask a question that could bring about change in and for us while realizing God will be right there with us every step.

I have known since just before the holiday season that I was supposed to take a step I didn’t really want to take, but God made it very clear I was to do it. I have put it off for a couple weeks after the new year. This week I knew it was time. I sent the emails and messages. I said the so-longs.

I told one lady, “I know God has something new for me, but I have no clue what that is. I do know that until I take this step of obedience, I won’t find out.”

In less than an hour after my step of obedience, I learned. One text message that led to a phone call opened a door that I know is from the Creator Himself. I laughed. I cried. Simply because God is so good to teach me to do His will.

It’s kinda scary, this next step. I don’t feel qualified. Yet I know that it is God’s step for me and I’m taking it, on level ground, into the land of uprightness.

Are you ready to pray this dangerous prayer? To ask God to teach you to do His will? No better time than the present!

Get ready when you do. Be watchful, because He will answer this honest prayer. Don’t be stubborn like me! Listen and act on what He teaches you.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

The most sensible way to serve God

UGH!!!

That’s what I don’t like about this Christianity gig – telling me what I can and can’t do!

Well, yes. And no.

Even as a Christian you can do whatever you want to.

It’s when we examine all God has done for us that we begin to see how valuable we are to Him. We start to realize how vast His love for us is.

Then, just like a little child reaching up to Mom or Dad, we surrender to our Heavenly Father. We realize that we are treasures to Him and yield ourselves to Him completely.

That’s the giving up our bodies. As believers we surrender all we are to the care and control of our Savior. We recognize who He is and what He has done and give up, no longer needing to hold the reins of our lives.

As for being able to do what you want, holding back this sacrifice, this surrender? Read that last sentence of Romans 12:1.

This is truly the way
to worship Him.

Other translations of the Bible say,
…which is your reasonable – rational, intelligent – service and spiritual worship.” AMPC
…which is your rational – logical, intelligent – act of worship.” AMP
…which is your spiritual service of worship.” NASB
That’s the most sensible way to serve God.” CEV

So, giving up ourselves, physical and spiritual, isn’t just a matter of pleasing God, it’s the sensible and intelligent way to worship Him.

Mind you, this isn’t the kind of sacrifice of laying down on an altar to be killed by the priest(ess). It’s not flailing yourself with chains or cutting yourself with knives or crops. It’s not changing your appearance to look like someone else. It’s not dressing like all the others.

It is freedom in your sacrifice, a freedom that begins in your heart at the moment of salvation.

Giving up your body goes along with what’s happened in your heart and soul. You give up control of your spiritual self, it makes sense to give up control of your physical self, too.

When you do, be prepared to receive the blessings that come from pleasing God and being fully in worship of Him.

Be prepared to walk in a new life, to think differently, to have peace and be able to enjoy life even in the hard times. Be ready. This sacrifice opens you up to the amazing blessings of the Father who treasures you and gave Himself for you.

Are there places where you’ve not surrendered yourself physically? Talk to God today about those. You won’t regret it.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

No More Glances

When was the last time you looked in a mirror or caught your reflection in a window but didn’t really notice yourself?

I mean, you recognized it was you, but as you walked away, you can’t really recall what that reflection showed you.

Think about it. I’ll wait.
.
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God, through James, said that is what it’s like when we read or listen to His Word without obeying it.

We look at the words, like looking in that storefront window, but they have no effect on us because we don’t act on what they said.

When we read or listen to scripture, it’s supposed to change us. Even if we’ve read or heard it a thousand times before.

When we read the Book, we must not simply skim over the words, but let them in. Make the choice to do what they say. Seek God for application in our lives here and now.

As you open the pages or scroll through the digital version, do more than glance. Take your time to really read it. Turn it around in your mind. See what is in you that needs changed so you will fit that Word. Then, make the changes.

No more glances. You’re worth the investment of time and effort.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Walking by Lantern

Have you ever carried a lantern to light your way in the dark of night?

It doesn’t light up everything. It doesn’t allow you to see everything.

It also doesn’t light up behind you.

It lights your next step.

This is God’s Word to us. It lights up our next step, the path just before us.

We want to know that step and the 40,000 after it. We want to know it all.

God’s Word directs us IF we let it. We must open it and open us to it. We must let the words in those pages saturate us with Truth and Wisdom. Not doing so is like carrying an unlit lantern at midnight.

When we carry a lantern in front of us, where we have passed is not illuminated. God’s Word focuses us on taking our next step toward Him. Then the next one. Not going backwards, not reliving the past.

Walking in the dark with a lantern requires a combination of focus and trust. It takes a bit of training even. Held at the wrong place, all a lantern does is blind instead of illuminate.

Walking in the world with the Book requires the same combination: Focus and Trust. We call training discipleship – when someone who has been using the Lantern helps those who have not learn how to hold it and use it with the best results.

What do you say? Time to light that lantern and get to walking or maybe to help someone who doesn’t know how?

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Who do you trust, rely, and lean on?

Have you ever wondered why Jesus sometimes says, “He who has ears, let him hear.”?

Could it be that the Creator knows that we often hear things but don’t really pay attention? And He said that thousands of years ago before the distractions we deal with were even thought about.

How many times has someone shared information with you that you later asked for because you hadn’t tuned in fully to hear what they said? Yeah, it’s lots for me, too.

As Jesus walked the earth, fully God and fully man, He always pointed people to the Father. He declared Himself the only way to the Father, and said He obeyed the Father. He constantly invited people to do the same.

Here in John 5:24, Jesus plainly says that those who listen to His message and believe in God will have eternal life with no condemnation.

The Amplified Version that uses more than one English word to translate the thoughts behind the Greek and Aramaic explains this way:
𝘐 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶, 𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘦𝘮𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘐 𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘺𝘰𝘶, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘔𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘴 -𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘔𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘢𝘨𝘦, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘏𝘪𝘮 𝘞𝘩𝘰 𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘔𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 (𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘸) 𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦. 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘫𝘶𝘥𝘨𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵, 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘶𝘳 𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘫𝘶𝘥𝘨𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵, 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘮𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘺 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦.

Open to His words, listens to His message. Not just letting the words pass over as though insignificant.

Believes is more than brain work! It includes trust that causes one to cling to and rely on the One in whom you believe.

Has = possesses now. Not later. Not after death. We who are believers are walking around with eternal life within us. It’s a part of us as surely as our skin is.

And the bonus? No judgment that leads to death. No facing the flames of hell, no eternal separation from God. No. We who possess eternal life have already dealt with that and come out on top. All because of Jesus.

Oh, Believer, hear this message today! If you have believed Jesus’ message and believed in God to the point of trusting, relying, and leaning on Him, your place with Him in eternity is settled. Not merely a reservation, but a settled reality. LIFE! All yours.

Even when
you don’t feel like it is.

And when you feel/sense/hear condemnation, know to your core that it is not coming from your Heavenly Father. It’s not. He doesn’t love you one day and condemn you the next.

Your enemy, however, wants to keep you from being confident in that truth. Time to kick him in the teeth, don’t you think?
Tell that rotten one that you have believed Jesus’ message and trust, rely, and lean on Almighty God and are free from condemnation. At every turn resist him and watch him flee.

Let’s listen to God today. Really listen to what He says to us. Then we can walk a little taller, step a little lighter, and enjoy the confidence of our God and King.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

When health and spirit fail

I’ve had two bouts with cancer.
I lived with depression for a lot of years.

I feel this verse so much. Hearing the words, “we found cancer” is terrifying. For me the world went into super slow motion – or maybe it was super fast. It was a blur all around me. I didn’t know what to say. I was hit-by-a-truck stunned.

Some days the darkness of depression dragged my spirit so low that daylight was just a dream.

In all of this, I still knew my strength. God never left me. He held me when I cried great gulping tears of fright and anguish.

Here’s truth for today: as a believer, you’re never alone. Once you’ve chosen that relationship with God through salvation found only in Jesus, God is with you. He’s there. And He knows better than any oncologist or psychologist what you need the most.

•••••••••
Understand: I am not saying to not go to the doctors who can help you. I’m saying to realize you always have a companion when you go, and since He made you He knows what you really need and we should listen to Him.
•••••••••

Peace and hope are found in the words of Psalms 73:26. We just need to realize the truth there.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.