Series: Unsettled: Asking the Tough Questions
Sermon: Just Ask!
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:31-35, 37-39, Mark 4:35-41
A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:37-40)
Monday July 9 — Acts 2:22-38
Of all the questions we find in the Bible, it is likely that none are more relevant than the question asked at the end of Peter’s Pentecost sermon: “what should we do?” (Acts 2:37). Most of us have asked a similar question at some point in our lives: what I am supposed to do now? We know that an encounter with the living God calls for a response. And we know that we spend our entire lives living out that response. So, we are always asking, what should we do (now)?
- Prayer: Loving God, thank you for sending your Son and your Spirit into my life. Help me know what I am supposed to do with my life, starting today. Amen.
Tuesday July 10 — Matthew 20:29-34
The Gospels are very clear that our relationship with God requires that we both ask and receive. It’s not that God doesn’t already know what we need, but that in our asking, we acknowledge that God is the one who gives good gifts to God’s children (see Matthew 7:11). The question Jesus asked the blind men is the same question he asks us: “what do you want me to do for you?” (Matthew 20:32). How do you answer that question? What do you want Jesus to do for you?
- Prayer: Healing God, open my eyes and ears to see and hear you more clearly today. Grant me courage to honestly ask for what I need and trust that you will provide.
Wednesday July 11 — John 5:2-9
The question Jesus asked the man who had been ill for 38 years is similar to the question he asked the blind men in Matthew 20, “do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6). The answer seems obvious, but it is not. Sometimes we resist change, even if it is change for the better. We are comfortable with the status quo. Another way to phrase the question Jesus asks is, “do want to experience new life.” For many of us the answer is “no.” How do you answer Jesus’ question?
- Prayer: Merciful God forgive me for resisting the new life you offer through Jesus Christ. Forgive me for being afraid of the unknown. Make all things new in me today.
Thursday July 12 — Romans 8:31-35, 37-39
In his letter to the Romans, Paul asks and answers a series of questions, starting with, “what then are we to say about these things?” (Romans 8:31). The answer is simply that God is for us and that nothing can “separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). This is one of the most comforting passages in the Bible. No matter where we go or what we face in life, God is with us. Nothing—past, present, or future—can separate us from the love of God. That truly is Good News. Do you believe it?
- Prayer: Loving God, thank you for the promises of Scripture. Thank you for promising that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus. Help me trust in you.
Friday July 13 — Mark 4:35-41
Jesus’ questions in Mark 4:40 hit close to home. If we trust Jesus, we can face life unafraid. Yet like Jesus’ first disciples, we experience fear and doubt, despite everything we know about God’s power and Jesus’ promises, despite the life-changing power of God’s grace offered to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are like the father of the sick child in Mark 9:14-29 who pleads to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24.) What helps you strengthen your faith?
- Prayer: God of Grace, I believe, yet my faith is weak. I experience fear and doubt. Help my unbelief. Strengthen my faith. Grant me courage to face life without fear.
Saturday July 14 — Luke 11:1-13
When Jesus teaches us to pray, he teaches us to ask for what we need: for God’s name to be holy; for God’s Kingdom to come; for our daily bread; for forgiveness of our sins; and for freedom from trials and tribulations. He insists that God desires to give us what we need to live faithful, abundant and fruitful lives. What God wants to give us most is God’s own self: the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is ask—and receive. In prayer today ask God for what you need. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Prayer: Holy God, thank you for hearing and answering my prayers. Grant me what I need to serve you and experience your love and grace. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.