Don’t expect a laptop or an iPad for your birthday

Laptop, iPad, video game, cell phone.

This isn’t my wish list.  This is what my about-to-be-eight-year-old daughter will tell you she wants for her birthday if you ask her.

Seriously.

Her little second grade friends ask her for birthday present suggestions, and this is what she tells them.  Not, “Oh, a Barbie would be nice.  Maybe some new markers and Play-Doh.  I like Legos.”

No, not reasonable requests.

Crazy expensive requests.

So, I tell it to her straight yesterday.  Not even mom and dad will get you a laptop, an iPad or a cell phone for your birthday….so when someone other than your loving parents asks you for birthday ideas, think of something far, far, far, far, far…..less expensive.

To be fair, if I take her to pick out a present for her friends when they have a birthday, she always holds up the most expensive item on the shelf (an $80 Lego set or the $40 complete Disney princess collection or a $50 Xbox game) and declare that this is what her friend would like.

I explain that there are presents parents buy you.  There are presents other family members might buy you.  There are presents friends from school might buy you.

And there are presents so expensive, ain’t nobody gonna buy them for you.psalm66

You have to match the request with the giver.  You have to know whom to ask.

And sometimes, don’t we all get this wrong?  Don’t we carry needs to friends, carry worries to Facebook and Twitter, carry sadness to the phone and bitterness to the coffee shop?

But do we carry it all to Christ?

He’s the only One who can forgive and wash clean.  He’s the only One who can care for our every need, deliver us, redeem us, heal us, and restore us.

Yet, there we go, turning to others first and Jesus last.

Why is it that prayer is so often our final act of desperation instead of our first response to trouble?

Why do we so often try every other possible means of escape besides God?  And only after we realize that we have no hope in this hopeless and impossible situation do we finally give it over to Him?

Judas, that betrayer, collected his 30 silver coins.  Maybe he counted each one, stacking the silver into a pile, planning his financial future.

But Scripture tells us there was regret.  There was the deep conviction of sin.

 When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man”  (Mathew 27:3 NLT).

He took that blood money right back, hoping to be absolved of the heavy guilt.

And he confessed his wrong.  “I have sinned….for I have betrayed an innocent man.”

There, he said it.  He was a sinner.  Jesus didn’t deserve that cross.

Shouldn’t confession have shaken the conviction right off his shoulders?  Hadn’t he tried to take it all back, hand the coins over, and smooth right over that sin-laden path he’d traveled?

But the thing about taking our burdens to anyone but Christ is that no one else can handle them.

Those chief priests and religious elite took one look at Judas’s stack of coins and said,

“What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem” (Matthew 27:4 NLT).

He’d rejected, denied, and handed over to death the only One who could have forgiven the very sin he now carried.  No Pharisee or religious leader could cleanse or absolve such guilt.

Only Jesus.

No only that…they didn’t even care.

Do we do this?  Do we expect worldly goods and other people to assuage our guilt, to calm our fears, to satisfy our hearts, instead of taking everything to the only One who can save and redeem and fill us?

The Psalmist gave this testimony:

For I cried out to him for help,
praising him as I spoke.
If I had not confessed the sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But God did listen!
He paid attention to my prayer.
Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer
or withdraw his unfailing love from me (Psalm 66:17-20 NLT).

God doesn’t turn us away.  He doesn’t reject our requests or shrug us off like they did for Judas,’ What’s that to Me?  That’s not my problem.”

No, He listens to our prayers and does not withdraw His unfailing love from us.

So, we bring our sin to Him.  We bring our needs to Him.  We bring to Him our worries, fears, messes and mistakes, our everyday struggles, and the stress that keeps us up in the night.

He alone can save.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

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