Don’t Settle for the Bubblegum Ring

by Terri Gillespie

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the [Holy Spirit] to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:13 TLV

 Do we settle for less because we believe that’s all we deserve? We have a Heavenly Father that wants to give us the best, whether we think we measure up or not.

Have you ever noticed that we don’t always recognize what is best for us? What has the most value?

Once, my mother decided to take each of her young granddaughters out on a special “date” for their birthdays. Their date consisted of grandma and granddaughter one-on-one time.

When their date-day arrived, each little girl could choose their favorite restaurant and then go to their favorite store and pick out a special treasure — within reason — that my mom would purchase for that granddaughter.

Mom found it interesting how different each child was by their choices.

The older granddaughter’s birthday was first. She dressed in a cute sundress. When grandma asked where she wanted to dine, the granddaughter chose her favorite fast-food restaurant. Together they enjoyed a burger, fries, and shake. After the meal, the two perused the local five & dime. The granddaughter randomly walked the aisle, then finally chose a bubblegum-machine ring. The bobble was shiny silver with a big, purple “diamond.” All made of plastic.

When it was the younger granddaughter’s special day, they too dressed in their Sunday best. When mom asked the younger granddaughter where she would like to dine. The granddaughter asked her grandmother, “Where would you eat?” As a result, the grandmother chose her favorite restaurant so the two of them ate at a fancier establishment.

Mom and granddaughter ended up at the same five & dime, but this granddaughter asked for help again. Mom directed her to the jewelry case. The granddaughter chose a sweet, enamel floral bracelet nestled on a pad of cotton inside a shiny, white box.

The big purple ring broke within days. The bracelet lasted considerably longer.

As our Heavenly Father’s redeemed children, our idea of a “good gift” is not always what is best. We may think we know what is best, but our Father often wants to give us more.

Earlier in this chapter, Luke gives his version of the disciples asking Jesus to teach them to pray. The example He gave them is essentially the same as recorded in Matthew 6:9-13. Where Matthew’s context focuses on humility and forgiveness, Luke focuses on the generosity of our Father.

Today’s verse and the previous verses in the chapter, may seem like we can ask God for anything we want, and He’ll give it to us — like some celestial Santa Claus—or grandmother. But because He loves us, He longs to give us more than a bubblegum-ring; He longs to give us the riches of His Kingdom. The Holy Spirit. A part of HIM!

Let’s let that one sink in. The Creator of the Universe wants to give us a part of Himself, just as He gave His only Son to redeem us.

We have all prayed for what we believe is the best and God answered, “No.” As difficult as that answer can be — especially when we truly believe it is the best “ring” in the earthly bubblegum-machine — He has a much better choice. A gift beyond our wildest imagination. Isn’t that what we really want?

Abba Father, I don’t want the “bubblegum machine ring,” I want Your best. Please, help me let Your will be done without willfulness from me. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

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About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, because of His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, released in October.

Sweet Rivalry

Sweet Rivalry, the story of twins separated by a troubled mother. One twin is lovingly raised by her grandmother who owns a small-town bakery. The other sister is raised by an addict mother. They discover one another through a televised baking competition. But will rivalry break them apart again?

Join the conversation: Has God ever blessed you in a far greater way than your original request? Please share!

A Father’s Good Gifts

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13 ESV

When I was a girl, I took my parents’ provision for granted. I always had enough food to eat and nice, new clothes to wear. They provided me with a reliable used car when I began my last year of high school. They paid my college tuition and room and board. And although I did have to work for spending money and extras, in hindsight, I know Mom and Dad used that to teach me a valuable life lesson.

I didn’t know – and honestly may not have cared at the time – that Mom and Dad went without things they wanted in order to give to me. They even went above and beyond my basic needs to give me things I simply wanted. For instance, my mother didn’t buy clothes she needed so I could have a fancy prom dress. And my parents sacrificed years of vacations so I could get an education. It wasn’t until later – until I had children of my own – that I began to understand what my parents had done for me.

When Wayne and I started a family, we naturally began to make the same kinds of sacrifices my parents – and Wayne’s parents – had made. Date nights and dinners out dwindled. We set aside much of our own desires, and even some needs, in order to provide and bless our own children. We did it because we love our children. And it gave us joy to give to them. And now we get to see our own children love our grandchildren and sacrifice to provide for them.

Not all earthly parents properly care for their children. Far too many are neglected and abused. But most parents do treat their children with kindness and love. Most desire to abundantly provide for them. If that’s how we treat our children, even with all our sin and imperfections, how much more will our perfect heavenly Father respond to our petitions with kindness? How much more does He long to give us good gifts?

Jesus taught His disciples, and us, to pray to God as “Father” (Luke 11:1-4). If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have access to God because you are His child. On the basis of this relationship, you can boldly bring Him your every need. Every longing of your heart. Every hurt and grief and pain.

Yes, God knows our needs before we ask, but prayer is an expression of relationship. Through prayer we acknowledge our trust in the God who not only can provide for our needs, He also wants to provide abundantly.

God is a good, good Father and the giver of good, good gifts. Let us pray expectantly, trusting in God’s good provision.

A Father’s Good Gifts – insight from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

This post was adapted from Kathy’s book God is My Refuge: Twelve Weeks of Devotions and Scripture Memory for Troubled Times. It provides the direction women need to discover, understand, and tap into the ”ever-present help” that only God can give.

Join the conversation: How has our Heavenly Father provided for your needs in the past?