MONDAY, 11/7
Read Matthew 7:7.
Ask.  See.  Knock.  Jesus uses these actions to reveal the Father’s heart toward His children.  Such knowledge of our heavenly Father is to inspire us to approach His throne of grace with hope and confidence that He will meet us with grace.  These verses serve as instruction about how we can pray given what we know about God.  
Verses 7 and 8 are characterized by a promise.  If we but ask God, we will receive from Him.  If we seek Him, we will find Him.  If we knock at His door, He will open it.  That is the promise.
I want you to read those promises again.  I wonder what went through your mind as you read them.  Were you encouraged by God’s faithfulness and maybe motivated to pray to Him?  Did you meet the promise with some skepticism, perhaps remembering a time you prayed and weren’t sure you received?  I wonder what is running through your mind.  
I bring this up because your thoughts reveal a great deal about your posture toward God.  If you felt encouragement, then there is a confidence in God that can inspire a more intimate prayer life.  If the promises stir up only questions, then it’s worth doing some soul exploration as there is some obstacle that appears to be standing in the way of complete trust in God.  
If that is you, please don’t hear that as a judgment against you.  Doubts are not the enemy of faith.  They manifest themselves in our hearts in various ways, and are opportunities for us to discover God in new and deeper ways.  Doubts are dangerous only when we leave them unattended and allow them to fester.  Ask the Holy Spirit to make the root of your concern evident to you.  Work through that in prayer.  Ask Him about it.  Seek His wisdom in prayer.  Don’t be afraid to knock.  He will meet you in that.  He has promised to do so.  Lean in and persevere in prayer, and you will experience God’s faithfulness.  
My hope is that this promise ultimately compels us to draw near to our Father in heaven who loves us so that we can experience His grace anew and the refreshment it brings to our souls.  
Praying Together:
“Jesus, thank You for the invitation to seek You through prayer.  I am grateful to know that I am able to come to You in prayer with my needs.  What a blessing to know that God will meet me in my greatest needs.  Help me experience Your grace in my deepest hurts, fears, and longings.  Amen.”
Read Matthew 7:8.
If you read yesterday’s WayPoint, you will recognize that verse 8 is a repetition of what Jesus said in the prior verse.  Jesus isn’t afraid to double down when He wants to get His point across.  It is evident that Jesus wants to hammer this promise into our minds and hearts.  He has good reason to emphasize the promise as it is one we can easily forget.
There is a point that distinguishes verse 8 from verse 7.  Jesus says, “everyone” who asks will find.  “Everyone” who seeks will find.  “Everyone” who knocks will have the door opened.  There seems to be a universality of this promise, which means it isn’t only for those who are already God’s children by their faith in Him.  
Perhaps a look at some of Jesus’ other teachings on this will shed some light for us here.  In John 6:44, Jesus said that no one will come to Him unless the Father draws them.  We take this to mean that anyone who is compelled to turn to Jesus does so because God has first moved toward them.  The wind of the Spirit has blown into their life, to use the image from Jesus in John 3.  As a result, their posture toward God has changed.  They come to God as children, approaching His throne with confidence.  God’s meeting them with this promise is then a way for Him to open their eyes to who He is as a Father—One who loves them and wants them in His family.  As such, this is a far-reaching promise with the power to transform many lives.  
This promise offers a refreshing dose of hope for us.  In most cases, we never have any sense of assurance that when we ask, we will receive.  We have no idea that when we seek after something, it will be found; or that if we knock, the door will be opened.  With God’s promise we can have such hope, as this promise is backed by God’s faithfulness.  Therefore, we can have the utmost confidence to approach Him.  We don’t have to wonder if God is for us or if He will hear us or respond to us.  We can know that He is for us and that He will hear us and respond to our need.  
I wonder what need you have that you need to bring before God.  I wonder in what ways do you need to seek Him.  I wonder what in your life has given you pause in coming to His door.  Perhaps it is time to knock.    
Sending Prayer:
“God, I am grateful for Your wonderful promises.  I have things in my life I need to bring to You today.  There are needs that I want to lay at Your feet, and I do so because I trust You.  I trust that You will listen and that You will respond.  Meet me in the places where I am trusting You.  Meet me also in the ways where I struggle to believe You.  Show me, by Your Spirit, where those places are.  Take me through a process of uncovering how I can trust You to lead me to a deeper faith in You.  Amen.”  
Read Revelation 3:19-22.
These words come out of Jesus’ instructions to the seven churches.  They are words of encouragement and warning and are worthy to have in mind for the church today and always.  
After addressing the church at Laodicea’s complacency, Jesus invites them to repent.  He wants them to turn from disengagement to a renewed commitment to Him.  These verses, much like those in Matthew 7: 8-9, serve as a wonderful promise to us when we find ourselves in need of turning from our ways and back to Christ.  
Jesus reminds us that His call for us to repent is motivated by love.  A parent disciplines their children, not someone else’s children.  They do so because they love their children and have a good vision for their lives.  Like all children, we wander from that vision and need to be called back to it.  That is God’s heart for His children, and it is what Jesus is doing here.  
Jesus tells us that He is ever ready for us to turn to Him; in fact, here and now, He is standing at the door and knocking.  He is seeking out God’s children with an invitation to leave old, lifeless ways in order to embrace the new life waiting for them in Him.  All we have to do is listen for His knocking and open the door.  He promises to come in and abide with us.  Jesus’ image here reminds me of these words in John 14:23: “Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching.  My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make our home with them.”  Wow, what a powerful truth for us to claim!  God will establish a home for us–in us–where we can abide with Him.  
John Wesley used Jesus’ image here in Revelation to speak to the nature of God’s grace as it works in our lives.  He said we first encounter God’s grace as it is given to us before we even know God.  We are likely aware of God’s grace in our lives as it is working before we can see it for what it is.  This is called prevenient grace, and it is likened to our standing on a porch.  We are being drawn to the door, but we have yet to open it.  
The next way we encounter God’s grace is when we stand at the door, and the door is opened.  We’ve all stood at someone’s door; something changes when we move through the door and into their home.  It is a sign of deeper fellowship.  This is the grace of justification.  We hear Jesus knock and the door to new relationship is opened to us.  We choose to enter into a relationship with Him.  This is what we know as salvation.
That isn’t the final stage of the relationship.  That is when we enter and He makes a home with us.  The final way Wesley unpacked God’s grace for us is through sanctification.  This is the grace that is opened for those who have come into relationship with Jesus and continue to walk with Him.  We engage in a life that is always expanding and deepening.  It is a grace that prompts us to grow.  We grow in our capacity to love like Jesus loves and to reflect His character.  This is where we enjoy the abundant nature of our life with Him.  
I wonder what of this image speaks to you today.  Perhaps, you sense the need to turn to Jesus again.  Maybe it is to listen for the way He is knocking on the door and inviting you to know Him more deeply.  Consider where you are in prayer and what it looks like to respond to His call.  
Sending Prayer:
“Jesus, You are so good to pursue me.  You want to know me and for me to know You.  You desire to make a home in me, so You stand at the door of my heart and knock.  Today, I choose to open the door to let You in.  I want to know You more fully.  I want to enjoy Your grace and grow in likeness to You.  May Your grace work in my life and may I flourish under Your care that I may not only be blessed by You but also bless You.  Amen.”  
Read Matthew 7:9-10.
I have to admit that I love this passage.  It makes me both smile and cringe a bit every time I read it–and I appreciate it for that.  These verses contain an encouragement for us along with a small dig at us.  
Jesus is revealing the Father’s heart toward us.  He does so by using the tangible example of our love for our children.  The Greeks had a name from such a love, storge.  It was known as a protective love.  It sought the ultimate good for the other, and would look out for the well-being of the other even at the expense of the good of the giver.  If you have children, you can understand having such a heart for your children.  
Jesus speaks to that love when He poses the question of how we would respond to the need of our children.  If our child needed some food, would we give them something useless–or in His example of the snake, even harmful?  No.  Of course, we wouldn’t do that.  We want the best for our children.  We will give them good things to meet their needs.
Jesus uses this fact then to say something about God’s love for His children—again, with a slight dig at us.  Jesus says, “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!”  Yes– and ouch!  
The whole “you are evil” part catches our attention, which is the point.  What does Jesus mean by that?  Well, let me take a stab at it.  Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has opened our eyes to the sin that lies in the deeper parts of our hearts.  As we look back at His teachings, Jesus has shown us the anger and resentment we hold against others.  We see our tendency to lust; in other words, use people for our own pleasure.  He also had us look at our unforgiveness, our practice of ungrace and how we can be unloving.  These are the realities of how the evils of sin mar our souls and harm our relationships.  This is what Jesus means by “you who are evil.”  
The counterpoint to the evils in us is God’s goodness.  God is not spoiled by sin as we have been.  He is perfect in His love and character.  Looking at this truth, Jesus says if we can wish and deliver good things for our children in spite of ourselves, how much more will God, who is good, do good for His children?  That is a profound point that we do not want to miss.  If we have reason to trust our intentions for our children, how much more can we trust God’s intentions for us?  
We would do well to not get lost in Jesus’ assessment of our souls, but instead, see where He puts the emphasis, which is on God’s generosity.  This is what is to compel us to seek God in all things, which is Jesus’ point.  
Sending Prayer:
“Father, You are good.  Your heart toward me is so very good.  I trust You and Your hopes for me.  I trust Your will for my life.  I know that when I come to You, You will answer me.  You will work in my life to make Your plans known.  You will work for my good.  You will work to bring good out of my life both to bless Your Kingdom and others.  I want that kind of a life, so I lay my needs before You.  I invite You to enter my concerns and needs and to speak life into me.  Amen.”
FRIDAY, 11/11
Read James 1:17.
Change in this world is constant.  We have seasons that change the leaves on the trees–from the green leaves of spring to the colorful red, orange, and gold leaves of fall.  The temperature changes daily as do our choices of what to wear.  We expect change as time passes, which is one reason we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. We even learn how to accomplish more over time to prove our worth in the job market via trade schools, college, and on-the-job training. Though sometimes we do not embrace it, we age over time despite our efforts not to. All of these things speak to our expectation of change.
But then what of our God? Does the One who created us change with His creation? What can we expect of a God whose every gift of grace is beyond measure and is as certain as the sun that shines. It is as unchanging as the heavenly lights that God hung in the sky.  In the day’s sun or in the night’s moon and stars, the Presence of God is shining down upon us always, never changing.  We will always know good on Earth because God never fails.
We know enough about who God is by His past and present character, by the way He keeps His promises, by the everlasting grace He provides, and His never-ending source of mercy. I count on God to be the same loving and compassionate God I’ve always known.  I need God to love me so much He would give up His Son for our sins, even if our sins continue and our need for grace remains constant.
If God is a constant, I am always covered in grace and guided by light. I will never see the depths of shadows if I follow His commandments. He will never turn away from us.  If He is always for us, who can stand against us?
Sending prayer:
“Lord, it is on this day that I am thankful for this message.  I need reminding that You are ever-present. I need to recall the ups and downs and find Your presence in the details. I know that I will never be truly alone and that You are always with me, no matter what the circumstances.  You are my anchor, Lord, and for this, I am grateful.  Amen.”
Read Matthew 7:11.
As parents, we have to determine the best gifts for our children. This task depends on our understanding of what they want, their having expressed their preferences, and our ability to give them what they desire.  One year, we gave a gift to our older son who did not even know what he wanted.  When he was in high school track, he tried to measure how fast he ran a mile using his phone. Sometimes he would try to do it himself. Sometimes we would do it for him. So the biggest gift he received was the one that my family pitched in for and was completely unexpected: a runner’s watch. It measured his time, his speed, and how things change over time, etc.  He loved it! It has been said that this was the best gift ever!
As parents, we did well. Now, set that bragging aside. If I thought I did well as a gift giver, what would it be like to receive a gift from God?  Gifts from God are different from what we could possibly give.  God does not bestow salvation on all alike, but bestowed His riches on all who call on Him. For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. It’s not material blessings that He is referring to here, but rather spiritual blessings that include daily forgiveness, deliverance from evil, peace, the increase of faith, hope, and love.  Without each of these, we would be lost. 
I wonder how often we forget to ask God for what we need. How frequently do we tire of asking when the answer seems to take longer than expected?  All that is good and perfect comes to us through our Father, but we will only come to know it when we pray.
Sending prayer:
“O Holy God, I often forget to pray for what I need.  I often forget to invite You into my circumstances. I need to share my heart with the one who created it.  It is in prayer that I find the peace I seek.  It is in prayer that I find the strength that I long for. It is in prayer that I find my courage to face the challenges ahead.  You are the God of grace and mercy and I need You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”
SUNDAY, 11/13
Read Matthew 7:12.
I was teaching a confirmation class several years ago.  I asked them to join me around a rather large metal fan that stood four feet off the ground.  The fan was old, dusty, and covered with warning stickers. It was likely that each one of the stickers represented a problem with the usage of the fan.  The stickers included such warnings as, “Do not stick your fingers through the fan’s metal cage,” “Do not move the fan while it is on,” and “Do not allow water in or around the motor of the fan.” If you are like me, you can picture what had to have happened for the manufacturer to place these stickers on the fan. Someone must have gotten hurt doing what those warning signs warned us not to do.
I explained that each sticker was placed on the fan to prevent the owners from doing anything that would harm them. Only the ones that we needed most often were listed most often.  Now, God’s got a list of commandments that Moses brought down the mountain for us to follow in relationship with one another.  God lists all the most common points of conflict humans have in dealing with others: Do not commit adultery.   Do not covet.  Love your neighbor as yourself, etc.  Then I asked them (outside of God being the only god) which commandment would they see as most common point of conflict in relationships; in other words, what would go on a sticker to warn people what to watch out for when getting involved in relationships.
The hint I gave was this: Which commandments did Jesus say were most important? It was to love God and love your neighbor as yourself.  He focuses on on the latter most because most of the conflict we face with others is our lack of love, respect, and unwillingness to be kind. This does not replace Ten Commandments, but warns us that the lack of love/respect/kindness is the most common source of conflict in our relationships with others. 
Jesus’ main reason for coming to Earth was to teach people to love God and how to love their neighbor as themselves.  What do you do to ensure the “Golden Rule” is followed in the way you treat others? 
Sending prayer:
“Gracious God, I need You. I know that the “Golden Rule” has become the gold standard as to how we are called to treat one another. God, I need Your guidance on loving all of Your children. I struggle with loving the ones who are unkind to the ones I love. How can I be the best example of love and respect for others for the secular world to see? Help me to see the best in everyone, even when I struggle to do so. Hold me to a higher standard of being kind than I am  used to.  I pray that my example can be used to show others Your love, even when I do not know them. Amen.”