May 17, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman, Speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 (NAS)
As a children's ministry volunteer for many years, I've noticed a common trait among the children of church employees and pastors: they walk through the church with a unique confidence. It's as if they are thinking, "My dad owns this place and I can go wherever I want."
I understand this mentality because when I was a teenager, my mother worked as the office manager of our small church. She was an invaluable resource to every volunteer with her efficiency and outstanding problem solving abilities. Although I was a little older, I remember feeling pride in my mother's role within the church. And it gave me a sense of ownership and authority.
A little child gains confidence because of his or her identification with a parent. Today, you and I can walk through this world with confidence because of our identification with our Heavenly Father.
As daughters of the Most High King, we have the privilege of approaching our Father's throne with the boldest of requests. And yet, for some reason, (perhaps a false humility) we hang back.
In fact, we often act like orphans; afraid to ask for too much, afraid to seem greedy. But the truth is we have a Heavenly Father who "is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). Even Jesus told us in Matthew 7:11 "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 good gifts to those who ask Him!"
I heard the story of a professional golfer who was invited to play golf with the king of a Middle Eastern country. The golfer flew to meet the king and spent some time golfing with him. At the end of the visit, the king asked how he could thank the golfer for spending time with him. The golfer said there was nothing he needed, but the king insisted. So the golfer said, "How about a new golf club." The king agreed, and the golfer returned to America.
Weeks went by and the golfer was curious about what type of club the king would choose. One day, a man appeared at the golfer's home with an envelope from the king. The golfer opened the envelope to discover the deed to a golf country club.
The moral of the story is that we need to think like a king. But I would add, we actually need to think like the daughter of a King. We need to be convinced that God is able to do anything you or I ask, and that it pleases Him to do so.
It would be wrong to give the impression that God is like a rich grandfather with a blank check. Scripture is clear in other places that we need to be seeking God's righteousness and pray according to His will.
But it is also wrong to walk around with our heads hung low, desperately seeking confidence and identity from worldly sources.
I believe we need to walk with our heads held high, in quiet confidence, knowing that our identity is found in being loved by a generous Heavenly Father, who "chose us in Christ before the foundations of the world to be holy and blameless before Him in love." And this same God, who chose us, longs to give us good gifts.
My prayer for today:
Heavenly Father, thank you for choosing me, and adopting me into your family. Your love is overwhelming. Teach me to hunger after your will and your righteousness. I ask for a heart of boldness and confidence that comes from knowing my identity lies in being loved by You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Consider if your identity and confidence are found in your own abilities or from your relationship with God. Identify the areas of your life where you trust in your strength to meet your needs. Decide to lay all your needs and wants before our Heavenly Father.
What are your most common prayer requests?
If you could ask God for anything, what would it be?
Why do you think God doesn't answer every prayer with a "yes" answer?
Is there anything in you that might hinder your prayers? (an unconfessed sin, unforgiveness, etc.?)
Tell of a time when God gave you abundantly more than you even thought to ask.
"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; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7 (NIV)
"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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 good gifts to those who ask Him!" Matthew 7: 8-11 (NIV)
"For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich." II Corinthians 8:9 (NRS)
"I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known through all generations." Psalm 89:1 (NIV)
"Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." Matthew 18:19-20 (NRSV)
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
Dreams of a Woman, Sharon Jaynes
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst