The Benefits of Asking for the Right Things




At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” -1 Kings 3:5

This was a question that God asked Solomon. He basically showed up and offered to give Solomon whatever he wanted. How would you respond if God presented you with a "blank check" and gave you an opportunity to have whatever you wanted?

The response to that question says more about one's heart and values than almost anything else. With the prospect of being able to have anything he wanted, Solomon faced a great test from God.

Here was his answer: 

1 Kings 3:8, And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours."

Out of all the things he could have asked, Solomon asked for a wise and understanding heart to be able to better serve people.

I remember reading this Scripture many years ago as a young man and young minister. From that day until now, if anyone asks me what I want, I first ask for wisdom and understanding from God.

Notice how God responded to Solomon's request for wisdom and understanding:
1 Kings 3:10 The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 13 And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.

We know the importance of trusting in God, but we also want the Lord to trust us. Solomon's unselfish request not only brought the wisdom and understanding he requested, it also brought great blessing upon his life.

God will trust unselfish people who are motivated by walking in wisdom, understanding, and serving others. It is the gateway to being a better servant and living in God ordained provision for your life....and that provision provides the means to serve.

Walk that way.....


A Lesson From a Little Rich Guy



Luke 19:1 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.

Zacchaeus was a little rich guy. One wonders how a text collector becomes rich! Did he skim off the tax collections or was he paid bonuses for getting past due taxes?
Of course, we don't know the answer to those questions, but the point of the story is that Jesus did not care about the man's status. He cared about his soul. To the credit of Zacchaeus, he showed an interest and faith in Jesus as evidenced by climbing up a tree to get a better view.

There are people we might not think are worthy of God's love and mercy. Jesus receives the faith of anyone who is willing to turn to him.

What extraordinary action would you take to "see" and experience Christ in a better way? I would think that we could do better than a tax collector.

Know Jesus. Know the Power of His Resurrection. (audio)



Phil. 3:7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Easter Sunday has passed, but resurrection power is still here!

The Apostle Paul expressed his desire to know Jesus AND to know the power of His resurrection. He highlighted the failure of his own attempts at self-righteousness and revealed the victory of following Jesus. Paul showed that resurrection is not only a past event, but a present power. Death, and its related forces, is the most formidable of all challenges to life. Jesus alone defeated death and the forces of misery, defeat, and lack of purpose. 

Jesus' resurrection offers some very powerful and exciting concepts. We all live by concepts, both good and bad. A concept is: An idea of how something is, or how something should be done. 

Here is one of those concepts summarized in Romans 8:11, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

Isn’t that amazing! For a follower of Jesus, the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us and gives God’s life to our mortal bodies through the Holy Spirit. This is the source of our healing, strength and breakthrough in times of crisis. Because God loves everyone, His mercy through Christ is present, which accounts for the preservation of those who do not serve God. 

Don’t think if Easter Sunday as a once-a-year-go-to-church experience. Think of Easter as a reminder of the beginning of our personal salvation and power for daily living through Jesus’ Resurrection!

________

Listen to my Resurrection Sunday Message, "Know Jesus. Know the Power of His Resurrection," on the Firm Foundation Podcast on iTunes and Podbean.

2017 Multimedia in Focus Media & Arts Camp June 5-30





I am pleased to host another empowering and exciting experience for young men and women! This is our 18th year of Multimedia In Focus Media & Arts Camp!

Media plays a vital role in the lives of today's youth and in our world. The mission of the Vision Multimedia Workshop since 2000 is to introduce youth to the multimedia arts of digital and interactive media. By providing access to high quality hardware, software, excellent instruction, and exposure to professionals in the field, participants learn to create postive multimedia content.  In our program "consumers" become "producers!"

Multimedia in Focus  summer media camp provides a wide range of exciting, hands-on opportunities for young people. The program provides participants with a head start to higher education or a future career in multimedia as well as gaining confidence and self-esteem through the creative and team building process. We also visit media and arts institutions, as well invite media/arts related guests to present at our “VisionTime” talks.

We empower youth ages 11-18 in the digital media arts! Sign up today! SPACE IS LIMITED! www.visionmultimedia.org


The Empowerment of Persistence in Prayer (Audio Message)





[Message Notes] 

Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Persistence Definition: Firm continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. The quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people

We persist in three ways:

1. Prayer: Communication with God, empowerment for people, influence over circumstances
2. Personal Power: Your ability to influence or change an outcome.
3. Purpose: Fulfilling your assignment(s)

Luke 11:1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say:  Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins [& debts], For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”

5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. 
9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Relationship empowers persistence. 
Asking is the protocol for receiving

Asking, seeking, and knocking is the sequence and protocol for the empowerment of persistence. Your persistence open doors that remain open to you. This is the empowerment. 

Ask > Given  Immature Stage   =    No Power/Authority/Uncertainty
Seek > Find Growing Stage    =     Developing Power/Authority/Growing Confidence
Knock > Door Opened Mature Stage     =      Full Power/Authority/Full Confidence & Faith