I would like to start by saying the basis of the thoughts on my mind are not original with me. I will always give credit when it is due. While visiting at a church meeting recently, I was reminded again how much the Pastor needs preaching from time to time. Elder Dwayne Hooven preached a wonderful message and one small point he made stuck with me. I am glad the Lord works in this way.
I am a simple feller with simple ways. My studies and writings are rarely deep with flowery words. I learn in simple ways and believe that it is an excellent way of teaching. Sometimes we need a simple way of remembering things. One of these methods of teaching and learning is using acronyms. We Old Baptists know these well. To easily teach the gospels of grace we use the acronym T.U.L.I.P. .
T - total depravity, teaching the biblical truth of the lost condition of all mankind caused by the fall of Adam in original sin.
U - unconditional election, the biblical teaching that God chose His people of whom He loves and promises to save before the foundation of the world.
L - limited atonement, teaching the truth of Jesus died for His people. Just as it is taught plainly in scripture.
I - irresistible grace, the biblical truth of God's command to "live" in regeneration that needs nothing else to quicken us into life.
P - preservation of the saints, teaching that God will preserve His elect in grace for all eternity. It is a blessed truth that He shall lose nothing.
It's a simple tool, but effective. I am reminded of another my dad used regularly when teaching me to diagnose trucks. K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid. It was a lesson I needed regularly and have used it in many aspects of my life, even beyond the truck shop.
Our need to communicate with God and seek His direction in our lives can seem daunting at times. We try to make communicating with God as complex as we see God to be. However, its good to be reminded just how simple God can be at times. The brother shared with us our text today. If we desire to see God, find God, learn God, or follow God we need only A.S.K. .
A. - Ask the one who knows.
Its a simple thought, but according to scripture it is one we often over look. James tells us, by Holy Inspiration, we have not because we ask not. So often in our lives we would really like to know what God would have for us. It is another well known acronym, W.W.J.D. what would Jesus do? We wonder these things and we ask the preacher, a good conversation to have by the way, or we ask our friends, or we look to our own thoughts and understandings to find the answer. We also, I hope, pray for an answer. If you don't, please understand that's where it should start. The beautiful thing about this text is that every aspect of this teaching comes with a promise. God is indeed a good Father. He is far superior to us and He states in the following verses that even we tend to give that which was asked for. If we, that are evil, are good enough to often answer the question, how much more will our Heavenly Father do? Scripture tells us not to lean unto our own understanding. If we desire to know better how to serve God, how to follow His will, how to help our loved ones, how to be a better church member, how to be a better Christian, or any other thing of God we need only ask. You may say, "well I've asked before and I still don't know". Far too often that is because we stop there. The teaching, however, doesn't stop there.
S. - Seek His answer.
God's ways and thoughts are far bigger than ours. We want things to be straight, simple, and to the point. We want God to deal in neon signs, split seas, whirlwinds, burning bushes, or talking donkeys. However, a deeper study of Scripture will show that far more often He works in the still small voice, prayer and fasting, long pauses, and step by step instructions. Jesus reminds us that the kingdom of heaven, that we are currently living in and have access to, is like a woman that would not stop asking the man to help until he moved. It's not a question of convincing God we need it or changing His mind into taking action. It is far more about our fickle, temperamental, wishy washy ways that are the challenge in this teaching. God's design and direction for our ways tend to be tedious and hard to achieve. He tells us that it is the unwise man that starts off into something without first seeing that he has everything needed to finish the job. One of those things needed is the fortitude to finish the course. Do we intend to put forth the effort to finish the course? Prove it by being willing to work to start the course. Seek His direction. Seek His will. Seek His answer. Study His word, attend church, listen to the preaching, study further to see if it's true. Work to find His answer. David said in the Psalms, my soul followeth hard after thee. Will we be willing to do the same? This is only step two.
K. - Knock for the opening.
As we begin to ask and seek the Lord's will, He will begin to open His directions before us. Often, this is where we stop because we hit road blocks or hit struggles. When we run into these things, we far too often depend on our own strength and discernment to find our way and overcome. This is a mistake on our part. We want to find His direction and see to it that we follow it, whatever it takes. We will kick the doors down if need be. When furthering God's kingdom and sharing His name, we can't be bulls in china closets. We are told to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. When we begin to follow God a good practice is to knock. Do not kick down. When we believe we see God's direction, begin to knock. If it is God's will He will open it and help us overcome it. Trust in the Lord to keep poor doors closed and open the right ones. Knock and He will open and answer. He will open and provide. He will sustain. This will require punishment. Just because this is the last step of this teaching does not mean it will be quick. Knock and wait for an answer. Remember we are seeking God's will and direction. This is all an understanding of His understanding not ours. It is all about His time, His will, His answer, His understanding, and His opening.
I hope that this easy ASK reminder will help us to find our way in this world. May God bless you all is my prayer.