Apples of Gold

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Whatsoever ye shall ask

‘Whatsoever ye shall ask the father in my name. He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.’

John 16:23 & 24

Over twenty years ago my best friend in this world died and I was left devastated. I cried for hours on end and my heart ached beyond anything that I had ever experienced before in my life. It was almost as if an invisible hand had been plunged into my chest and had succeeded in ripping out my heart.

Many friends and relatives did their best to comfort me, but I was unable to hear their words. Nobody but nobody could enter into my loss. Life would never be the same again. My best friend was my Dad!

He was a big powerfully built man. He had served for almost 30 years in the Police Force and he was highly regarded by everyone who knew him. Our upbringing was very strict indeed and often I rebelled against this. Part of growing up I guess. My father never raised his hand to me. He did not need to!

I had the utmost respect for him. A frown upon his face was enough for me to know that I had overstepped the mark. Though he was a big man, he was very gentle and he had a huge heart, full of love. He showed great delight if I did anything that he approved of. He was a very emotional man, not frightened to shed a tear and not afraid to embrace us with a bear hug whenever we needed comfort.

I had no difficulty in asking my father for anything. We were not very well off in financial terms yet we never lacked anything. The only time that he would refuse my request was if it would not be for my good. Whenever he did say no, I did think about the reasons why, and it was not long before I understood that his decision was indeed correct.

It is great to have such a relationship. It was founded on love and the union became stronger as I grew older. I loved nothing more than to see a smile of approval on his face. I learned later that whenever he had given me a row, it had hurt him more than it hurt me.

I often make comparisons with Dad’s love for me and that of my heavenly Father. All too often I have been guilty of viewing a frowning providence, seeking comfort in Christ as though Christ and the Father were of different opinions! This has caused me many a problem in my Christian life.

It is impossible for Christ and the Father to be on different wavelengths. (Forgive my language.) It is strange to think that I can believe that Christ looks upon me in a different way to that of His Father.

There is nothing sweeter to my soul than seeing a smiling providence, enjoying access and boldness at the Throne of Grace and being able - like Moses – to talk face to face with my Father. It can only be done when my relationship with Him is correct, founded on the atonement of Christ.

The Lord knew that His disciples were soon to be devastated by His death on the cross. He therefore encourages them with these words, ‘ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.’ Every good and every perfect gift has been purchased for us through the sacrifice of Christ. Not only does an eternity with our Beloved await us at death, we need lack nothing in this world if only we ask the Father in faith.

A word of warning here! Although God honours faith, His gifts are not as a direct result of our faith! It is all of grace. As sinners we have the ability to believe in something that may be contrary to God’s Will. We may call this faith, however a petition contrary to God’s Word will never be granted.

I prayed earnestly for over a decade that God would open up a way for me to serve Him in Romania. At the time I believed that I was praying in faith. I was wrong! It was a hard and painful lesson to learn. What is not of faith is sin.

Having children of my own now it gives me tremendous joy and satisfaction to be able to answer their requests when it is within my power and means to do so. Sometimes I have to say no and that hurts, yet I am sure that they will learn as I did, that when I say no to them, I am really telling them that I love them too much to spoil them by saying yes.

If we then being evil know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more is our heavenly Father willing to give what is good to those who walk uprightly.

It may help to ask yourself these questions before making your request:-

Will my request glorify God?

Is what I am asking for according to His Will? Test this against Scripture.

Answering these two simple questions should remove doubt from your request.

I am often happier seeking God’s blessing on other Christians. For example - I pray for revival in our Islands. For some reason I have a greater boldness when praying for God to work mightily through His Pastors in their various congregations than I would if I had some involvement in the process.  He has chosen these men for this time. May they in turn view fields white for harvest.

We are to approach Him with every confidence, knowing our sins forgiven and our adoption sure. There are times when I believe that we are too timid in our approach. He Himself demands us to come with boldness. Let us pay heed to that today and ask a great God for great things and expect to receive them. ‘Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.’