ASK OF ME!
AUTHOR – BILL TAYLOR
COPYRIGHT 2017 – BILL TAYLOR
PUBLISHED BY BILL TAYLOR AT Shakespir
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Special thanks to Shila and Pragna for their encouragement and inspiration
He Sings Too!
Well, sort of! It was twenty five years ago that I recorded my one and only gospel CD. It was sold through the church I attended at the time, to raise funds for famine relief in Africa. Once the record had served its purpose, I have thankfully been able to burn and give away hundreds of copies since. That which God is invested in, never truly dies folks!
Most of the songs were carefully chosen to reflect my personal testimony. I may not have had much to offer my wonderful Savior, but I did have a story of His magnificent grace imparted to an undeserving man! Thus the point of the specifically selected songs.
One such tune was purposely left for the final cut. The last thing they would hear should be the most important to them, I thought. The song title? “Ask Of Me”. May I take the liberty to share the song’s lyrics. They have meant so much to me over the years, throughout all the ups and downs of life with its complications. When things get a little shaky, these words remind me of where my complete provision comes from. A faithful God who promised He’d never leave us nor forsake us! A graciously loving God who encourages us as our Father, to seek Him and only Him, as our answer to life’s storms.
“Ask Of Me”
I always hear my children when they bow to pray
I never fail to entertain all that they say
I mourn with every sorrow, I grieve with every pain
Yet all the while I’m strengthening and blessing them again
I want so much to be their source from which they feed
For I and only I can give them what they need
That’s why within the pages of my written word
Time and time again this simple line is often heard
Ask of Me don’t turn to any other
Can’t you see you could never be a bother
Just believe that I can be your answer
My beloved child
Ask of me don’t search in other places
Can’t you see that I’ll be your Oasis
In that dry and thirsty world you live in
I will be your cup of water, if only you will give in
And ask of Me
I Will Be Your Cup Of Water
Seven simple words that we so badly need to hear on occasion. This world can be a very dry and thirsty place at times and we know it. Spiritually thirst quenching sources are rare indeed and tend to have a shelf life complete with an expiry date. Jesus, while communicating with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well reveals who He truly is to her. They have a chat about water. Jesus asks the woman if she would draw Him a drink with her bucket. The woman in the story being a Samaritan, is confused as to why Jesus is even talking to her.
Jesus being a Jew, a very long standing tradition is being broken. In the Lord’s day Jews weren’t to talk to Samaritans. In fact, they weren’t to have anything to do with them. These who were seen as traitors to Judaism were considered unclean outcasts. Not being a stickler for tradition, Jesus engages the lady in a full-blown conversation complete with a back and forth Q & A. Let’s pick it up where Jesus changes the trajectory of the dialog to a much higher place.
John 4 – 10: Jesus answered her: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water”.
John 4 – 13 & 14: Jesus answered: “Everyone who drinks this water ( referring to the well ) will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water that I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life”.
It would take a few more revealing moments of chatter with the Lord before the woman would connect the dots and realize this man she was speaking to was Jesus the prophesied Messiah. Samaritans being somewhat Jewish had heard of the coming Messiah but my goodness, there she was face to face with this foretold One. What to do, she must have thought.
Well, the first thing she did was stop asking questions! The second? She ran back to her town to share what she now knew with her declaration: “He told me about my entire life”! This lady had to have been very convincing seeing as the whole town embraced her story as true! On that day they all drank deeply from the Well that never runs dry!
Deserts are dry and thirsty lands. When our souls are left to fend for themselves in those desert type places we become parched. As we move from one area to another in our search for relief, all landscapes regardless of local, begin to seem all too familiar. Never ending sand can have a spiritually discouraging repetitiveness.
You’ve asked the question before of others: “How are you today”, only to hear as a response: “Same old same old”, as if they were watching the same movie for the twentieth time already knowing the ending by heart. An ending that persistently and diabolically has drained whatever energy that may have existed at one time, with its awful discovery that they’ve been walking in a circle!
All their efforts, with no relief from their thirst, leaves them relegated to the hopelessness of assumed “never finding water status” in their hearts!
After chasing their many mirages into self-exhaustion, they then look up from their place of dryness and hear Jesus saying in Matthew 11 – 28: “Come to ME all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”.
I will cause rain to fall on your desert! I will be your oasis! I will be your answer! Ask of ME! You have been searching in other places for that which only I can supply! “I AM” your cup of water!
Matthew 7 – 7 & 8: “ASK and it will be given to you: Seek and you will find: Knock and the door will opened to you. For everyone who ASKS receives: The one who seeks finds: And to the one who knocks the door will be opened”.
Available To All By Request – Freely
There is no such thing as too unclean! There is such a thing as too proud and too independent. That can be a foolishly placed wedge that we drive between ourselves and Jesus! It takes some humility to ASK. To admit to our insufficiencies can be difficult when our desire to see ourselves as self-sufficient is front and center in our minds. Why foolish? Because, whether we happen to like it or not, we are all inclusively without exception sheep, in desperate need of a Shepherd.
Sheep who decide differently tend to get themselves in rather huge messes. I just appropriately raised my hand as a transparent confession and personal confirmation regarding that truth! We also serve a Lord who thankfully rescues! This too I know is true by experience.
Well, there are times in life when humility is forced on us. Those scenarios when pride simply doesn’t make sense nor is an option. Independence leaves when a death sentence arrives, as was the case with ten men in the bible who had leprosy. A disease with no cure but worse, no quick end to the misery. A misery that would extend far past the obvious physical into every aspect of life.
Luke 17 – 11 > 16: Now on His way to Jerusalem Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As He was going into a village ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice: “Jesus master have pity on us”. When He saw them he said: “Go show yourselves to the priests”. And as they went they were cleansed. One of them when he saw he was healed came back praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him – And he was a Samaritan.
We are seeing a pattern develop here folks. The story of the woman at the well – Samaritan. This story – Samaritan. In Luke 10 – 30 > 37: Jesus tells the story of the “Good Samaritan”! Jews thought of themselves as better, actually much better, than Samaritans.
Samaritans were an offense to Jews and thought of as foreigners. Even Jesus mentions in Luke 17 -17: that the only one of the ten who came back to express his thanks was a “foreigner”.
And yet Jesus mentions these folks three times in a very complimentary way! Don’t think a few feathers weren’t being ruffled every time He said the word Samaritan. Just the mention of them made Jewish flesh crawl! So, was He just trying to annoy His brethren or did He have a point?
Oh He had a hugely important point. A message from His Father that would drastically change historically entrenched, cultural biases, forever! God’s love was no longer exclusive, but rather all-inclusive! Heaven didn’t operate in the world of labels but rather in the world of hearts! All hearts! Folks. That was seriously radical talk in our Lord’s day! He was erasing lines that had been etched in stone for a very long time.
My friends, Jesus made it clear that He is available to all who ask. Even a Samaritan man with leprosy! Both interpreted by others as untouchable, unworthy, and unclean, but to Jesus, no more or less than a person in need of His touch. His touch that He longs to apply to every life regardless of condition, without conditions.
Did you ever wonder why Jesus healed all ten knowing nine would not be returning to say thank you? Why He didn’t chase them down the road threatening to retract their healing because of their unbelievable ignorance? Valid questions, in that we know He knew. He knew everything. He knew exactly when He would be crucified and told his disciples before the fact. So, nothing surprised Him. So why did He do what He did with all ten? Because they ASKED OF HIM!
Jesus, Can’t You Try To Get Along?
Moving from Samaritans to Adultery! Can’t Jesus just find some nice tree to sit under and stay away from hot-button controversial topics and behave Himself? It would seem not! The needy are the needy, and that’s who He came for. Can we all say “Thank you Lord for that”! Oh how lost I’d be if He had only come for the neat and tidy folk!
I don’t believe I could have ever gotten neat enough nor tidy enough, if given a million years to do so! Thank you for your life changing grace Jesus! A magnificent grace that restores dignity to the souls of people! That would include mine!
John 8 – 2 > 11: At dawn He appeared again in the temple courts where all the people gathered around Him and He sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.
They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus: “Teacher this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now, what do you say”? They were using this question as a trap in order to have a basis for accusing Him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger.
When they kept on questioning Him He straightened up and said to them: “Let any one of you who is without sin, be the first to throw a stone at her”. Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first until only Jesus was left with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one sir she said”. “Then neither do I condemn you”, Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin”.
An amazing story that we’ve all heard, read, and been taught thousands of times. This woman in question had arrived by force, accused and fully expecting to be condemned, thus stoned to death. She was guilty and knew it! She made no attempt to defend herself. She said nothing on her behalf as an excuse.
Well the crowd present would have been large. The religious leaders had a plan and doing this in private with Jesus wasn’t going to serve their purpose. No, this had to be on display for all to see and hear. They needed witnesses so their “hoped for” breaking the law of Moses by Jesus, could be confirmed by as many as possible, thus an accusation of blasphemy would stand up!
They were clever but made one major mistake which led to their own shame. The woman was positioned right in the face of Jesus. I believe she was so close, she could see the compassion and fairness in His eyes. Folks, she couldn’t have been standing in a better place!
She had already been accused by the religious elite, but it would be Jesus that would have the final say. It was He being asked the questions therefore it would be He that condemned her or not. She trusted He wouldn’t and He didn’t, but He did condemn the hypocrisy of her accusers.
It’s conjecture but most believe He was writing the names on the ground of those present who knew the woman very well. Far too well in fact! The older ones first!
Did Jesus play a questionable card when He invited those who “had no sin” to go ahead and be the first to throw a stone at the woman? No, He was the “only one” who could claim that as His reality and He had no intention of doing anything but restoring a broken and abused woman’s dignity! “Neither do I condemn you” set the woman free to “leave her life of sin’. The grace of Jesus imparted to a heart has a way of forgiving, that closes the door on the past! She walked away free. The religious leaders remained “unforgiven”!
Three Stories That Tell Us What?
All who “Ask Of Jesus” qualify for His undivided attention, love, and compassion. It’s the only pre-requisite to receiving. There are no special inclusions or exclusions. We are all invited to: ASK OF HIM! As our beginning song said: “I want so much to be their Source from which they feed, for I and only I can give them what they need”. Jesus doesn’t need His arm twisted to come to our assistance folks. He stands at the ready waiting to be ASKED.
I’d like to close off with some of the lyrics from a favorite worship song of mine. Its words run through my mind every day. Their truth reassures me that I, like the woman in our last story, couldn’t be standing in a better place!
“None Like You”
There is none like You
No one else can touch my heart like You do
I could search for all eternity Lord
And find there is none like You
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