Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Category Archives: New Testament

Avoid irreverent babble to avoid more ungodliness – 2nd Timothy 2:16-19

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Avoid irreverent babble to avoid more ungodliness – 2nd Timothy 2:16-19 – August 31st 2016

This is a series in the book of 2nd Timothy, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of 2nd Timothy as the LORD wills.

2nd Timothy 2:16 (ESV) But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Paul encourages Timothy to be focused; perhaps it is because of his youth or perhaps it is a personal observation but we see that Paul lasers in on avoiding irreverent babble. We see so many ministries today lose their effectiveness because the believer does not heed the warning in the book of James chapter 3…

James 3:1 (ESV) Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

As I read that I start to disqualify myself because I know my own heart and my own failings. I know none of us are perfect but what Paul is stating here (as well as James) is that profane babblings are not to come from the mouth of a teacher because like it or not he has a greater responsibility not to stumble others. If the leadership has dropped standards in this area it will encourage others to do so and will create a culture of ungodliness.

This is confirmed in verse 17 where Paul states that “it will spread like gangrene” and I know that this is a very graphic picture where it will be like a cancer and be like a degenerating illness when we allow the profanity of man, whether that be his opinions, his ideas or his ways although they tickle the fancy of those you wish to reach and be very popular, if it is contrary to the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ then those things are exactly what Paul is speaking of.

Some of the most lampooned heretics started off on the correct path so we have to be on our guard. They did not all start off like Hymenaeus and Philetus. (Do you remember Hymenaeus from 1st Timothy 1) Their message was profane to the correct Word of God and it was popular because we hear that it was spreading quickly and we even know what error they were preaching.

They taught that “the resurrection has already happened” and due to the heresy they were causing others to believe in something that was contrary to the Word of God. Whilst it was terrible that this happened I do love the lesson here that we have to line up what we are being taught with how well it lines up with the Word of God that will not contradict itself. They were trying to remove the hope from Christianity by stating that Christ was not coming back and the fruit of their labors is that they were upsetting the faith of some, should they remained in this error without repentance we have the words of Christ in the gospel of Matthew 18…

Matthew 18:1 (ESV) At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Sounds harsh huh? That is why I quoted that “not many should become teachers” as it is a much greater responsibility. We have to stand on the solid foundation of God as we read in verse 19. Despite Paul being on the defensive he states quite clearly that the defense of the Gospel that he is defending would not be touched by such minuscule attacks. Guys like Hymenaeus and Philetus and even modern day heretics would not be enough to pull down the kingdom of God. They may misrepresent it or cause it scandal but the Lords firm foundation stands.

Paul speaks of two seals and we see these below…

The Lord knows those who are his – Is a direct quotation from the book of Numbers which in context reads as follows…

Numbers 16:1 (ESV) Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. 2 And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. 3 They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” 4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, 5 and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the LORD will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him.

And we are reminded that the Lord knows who are his, we don’t always do and although we can see small evidences of spiritual fruit in people’s lives we will be surprised when we get to heaven by who made it and who didn’t. This is a great witnessing strategy too because Jesus died for us all so who are we to judge who deserves or not His saving gospel.

Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity – We are called as Christians to flee from our sin! Who is perfect in that area huh? I am not being facetious when I say that as we all have different hurdles and stumble in different ways but if we still act like we are in the world then how will we effectively witness to those we want to save for Jesus Christ? How salty are you?

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we will look at the verses twenty through twenty six of chapter two where Paul encourages Timothy to “be an honorable vessel” having read ahead I love these scriptures and I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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Do not quarrel about words because you will ruin the hearers – 2nd Timothy 2:14-15

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Do not quarrel about words because you will ruin the hearers – 2nd Timothy 2:14-15 – August 29th 2016

This is a series in the book of 2nd Timothy, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of 2nd Timothy as the LORD wills.

2nd Timothy 2:14 (ESV) Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Paul again charges Timothy to “remind them” and to go over information that they already are aware of. This hits home with me because I do not always listen right the first time and often times I have to be reminded things that I should already know and I don’t know whether it is just me but I usually get the difficult things down but it is the beginner or easier parts of Christianity that I don’t always have switched on. I am so grateful that Christianity is not like other religions in that it is all rules, facts and figures but an actual relationship where I am the party that will mess up and be unfaithful. That to me is challenging and the more I write these articles the more I feel God working in my life.

Timothy had the same job as many pastors do today and that is one of realigning the vision of the ones he had been charged to shepherd and keep them focused on good doctrine. Keep the main thing the main thing and not to get bogged down in words that do not matter and we could learn from that today in our church culture that is all about packaging and branding as much as it is the life changing message that could save someone from Hell! People ask why I have not made “more of an effort with this website” and my answer has and will always be “it is about the bible studies and not building something pleasing to the eye” as people really are not going to get saved by a great introduction page!

Again Paul allows Timothy to cut out the fruitless arguments over things that really have no importance, we can get lost in spiritual rabbit trails about things that really have no impact in people’s lives. I have seen whole ministries dedicated to arguing a point about one small piece of scripture and really being ineffective in the world because the point they are arguing does not glorify God or save souls. They are “busy” for the Lord but not really “productive”. That is a warning for everyone and in that I include even me and I have to check myself on a regular basis to make sure I am not doing likewise. What do you have fruitless arguments over?

Be careful because Paul warns that these arguments can ruin the hearers because people do what people have been taught and if they are taught by an endless debater that leads more seekers to be detractors from the Word of God then that seed will be sown in the new believer and you will have cloned another who debates fruitlessly and does very little to advance the kingdom of God. I feel strongly about this as I used to be like this and I took 1st Peter 3:15 as an invite to debate people into submission and it was never intended to be like that.

We have to remember that the scriptures are living and breathing and have the power to change people’s lives and we must not be trying to bludgeon people or bore them to death with them and our endless debates.

Verse 15 is by and far the most quoted verse in this chapter and my own home church in Porterville California used to have it on their announcement sheet. I will break this down ito it’s component parts…

  • Do your best – Be diligent, work hard and endure in the Word, find out exactly what it means and be in context before you begin to teach it. Never underestimate the benefit of laboring in the scriptures.
  • To present yourself to God as one approved – Timothy was not doing this to appear smart before men, at least that should not be his motivation and this echoes the teachings of Christ who advised men like that “had received their reward already”. You will also notice that he was to first present HIMSELF to God as one approved.

It is similar to when you are on a flight and you listen to the safety announcement where it states that always affix your own safety device before helping someone else, yes Timothy will have plenty opportunity to mentor others into a deeper faith but he must not neglect his own personal study because he will leave himself pumping a dry well when he is serving.

  • A worker who has no need to be ashamed – we have all had a teacher, a manager or supervisor at some point in our lives and if we do a poor job then to be called on it we know how embarrassing that is and how it shames us. Being entrusted with the holy word of God well that should motivate us to do our very best work.

I am reminded of a story that I heard the preacher Philip De Courcey say when he was quoting an account from Kissinger where a young intern handed Kissinger a report and he asked “is this your very best work?” and the intern thought and said ” I guess it can be improved” and this happened a few other times and finally the intern said “yes, I am confident this is my best work” and Kissinger took the document and read it. How is our work for the Lord? Are we holding something back? Are we clock watching? Are we ashamed?

  • Rightly handling the word of truth – remember what we said earlier about getting the truth correct from the scriptures? Timothy had to be able to teach correctly and be strong enough to squash any heresies and explain what the scriptures said and did not actually say. Many commentators have a picture of a sword and that Timothy should be handling the Word like a sword and that is a good picture to keep because a Sword does divide and pierce, much like the Word of God.

It also means that his teaching had to be relevant and we need to learn that today that the illustrations should be small and pointing towards a larger truth. The point of an illustration should not be to “be funny” get a “quick laugh” or to alleviate the tedium of a long service but to point someone to a greater truth. Remember we are trying to save souls, not bore people to death!

It also gets rid of “interpretation issues” where people will state “you interpret it this way and I do not” if you have rightly divided the word and have it in context and approach the text with no bias (I say this because many people will try to get scripture to justify all manners of sin by using an interpretation that at best is a stretch!) then you will have the correct interpretation which is why it is vital to labor in the scriptures to understand and rightly handle the word of truth.

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we will look at the verses sixteen through nineteen of chapter two where Paul instructs Timothy to “avoid irreverent babble” having read ahead I love these scriptures and I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

When football clubs become voices of political ideals and religion


When football clubs become voices of political ideals and religion

For my US readers I am talking about (Soccer) football…

This blog is a strange one coming from me as I do not usually go into current affairs (with the exception of a few posts about Scottish Independence) and I am even curious whether this post will even reach the blogosphere after I type it. The reason for this is because simply that this is not the reason why God pressed on my heart to use my writing and it is not the reason for this website. The reason for this website is to do bible studies and get some doctrine out there that will help people find their messiah Jesus Christ, not to discuss something that will probably blow over in five minutes.

That being said, I am a product of the West Central Scotland where the names “Rangers” and “Celtic” are much more than football clubs. There is a traditional mentality (right or wrong) that the two sets of customers for supporting of these Scottish Football institutions should be separated by denomination. That the Rangers are only for the Protestants (or Proddies in West Scotland slang) and Celtic was “the Catholic club”. (Which I find ironic as “Catholic in its truest sense means universal”)

Why did I write this?

Celtic are coming in for criticism for their display against the Israeli team Haepol Beer Sheva where many of their most vociferous fans held up Palestinian flags and have since fell foul of the UEFA rule that states the following…

“The European governing body’s rules prohibit the use of “any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature”.”

And to use a phrase of my new homeland the USA “This is not their first rodeo” because they have been looked at EIGHT times and found to be wanting based on UEFA’s guidelines for supporter conduct.

I know the folks that want to diss Celtic at any costs will bring up past behaviors’ such as flying the flag of the Irish Republic, other dubious flags, singing songs of Irish history that would be classified as “rebel” or “dubious” really won’t help in this discussion and I know that people will want to draw a IRA-PLO link that may or may not be there but the nuts and bolts of it is Celtic are a business, a business that has had a drop in attendance due to Rangers being liquidated and starting again in the 4th tier.

They have had 5 years of the league not having much of a challenge and the company side of Celtic could really do with not alienating potential clients and there are many who do not have the stomach to hear terrorist songs or political displays. I know the guys in the Green Brigade could not care less about the plc’s bottom line but they would do well to remember the pre Fergus McCann days where the team was almost wound up with a crumbling stadium and mounting debts, Celtic were technically insolvent.

Fast forward to present and they now have 60,000 seats in a decent stadium that 95% of the seats offer a decent view. If they ever brought up the main stand to the same level as the rest of the stadium they would have around 80,000 (potentially more with the introduction of safe standing) and all the seats would then have an excellent view due to the offending support pillars no longer being needed. However that is unlikely to happen if the team continues in a league with no discernable title challenger. As stated previously they are not filling their current stadium so why spend millions building more seats.

It’s just banter!

Some will dismiss this as banter, such as “Argentina” chants when a Scottish team plays England but this really is not actually banter as there is a real conflict between the people who are loyal to the flag that they are taunting the Israelis with and the state of Israel. It is anti-Semitism at its core and if it was meant to be humorous then it missed the mark worse than an Anton Rogan clearance.

The “Celtic song” has the following lyrics…

“It’s a grand old team to play for, it’s a grand old team to sing, if you know your history”…

Let’s look at the history then, it is interesting they used the term “FREE PALESTINE” as this is blatantly incorrect because the state they wish to be recognized as a nation turned down the last opportunity to become a nation when it was offered by the UN in 1948. (The same time Israel became one) and the state of British Palestine actually was a flag which was sky blue and white halves with a gold Star of David. (I did not see any of them in the Green Brigade section?) Perhaps they do not “know their history?”

Celtic’s history – the poor man’s club

Celtic are known for championing causes and they have done many benevolent acts such as turning over their stadium for charity events and they were founded as a club to help those poor families in the East End of Glasgow, many of whom happened to be Irish and much like clubs in Dundee and Edinburgh, they became the club championed by the Catholic supporters and in some cases the Irish immigrants in those relevant cities. Unlike Rangers who would not proactively sign a Roman Catholic (and the first high profile signing was in 1989 when ex Celtic player Mo Johnston signed for Graeme Souness) conversely when Celtic had their greatest achievement in 1967 they had a few non-Catholics playing for them.

I really do not get the fascination with the Palestinian cause, I get that most of the Celtic fans are “cultural-Catholics” and couldn’t tell you the name of their local priest but even with the most basic of biblical knowledge they will know that God still has a special place for Israel so why are they actively choosing to go against the God that is a major part of the faith that they champion being such a big part of their identity?

Celtic or Rangers – Which one are you?

Actually neither! I come at it from a slightly unique point of view as I used to be employed by Celtic in the retail division and as hard as it may be to believe for the most ardent “Old Firm” fan but there was once upon a time someone who was known to be a “Proddy” and who used his “Sunday name” William and he answered the phone in most of Glasgow’s branches of the Celtic Shop and also the Mail Order line at some point in his Celtic career, and guess what – Celtic Park did not crumble! John Barnes was the manager around the time so the fans were preoccupied with what was unfolding (or not) on the green stuff in the middle of the stadium rather on me in the retail section.

Actually I only had an issue once and that was from two wee guys with Northern Irish accents and they were having issues spending a “Northern Bank” 20 pound note and it was a new girl on the cash desk who I had to approve this as Northern Irish money is legal tender in parts of the UK. (The girl had never seen one before so she called me over to make sure it was legit) and during the transaction they inquired why a Catholic would be called “William” to which I replied “Actually I am a Presbyterian” as I handed the kids their change, the look they gave me was priceless and symbolizes what happens if you project your prejudices on your kids.

To call myself a Protestant in those days of my life would be a slap in the face to those who set the reformation in progress, stalwarts like Knox, Wishart, Luther would not have recognized my life as “Christ like” and it was simply a cultural attachment more than an active church going/relationship with Jesus type of thing.

So how come you do a Christian blog now?

That has all changed and I am the worst type or “Proddy” as I am one of those annoying ones that is a “true believer” one that couldn’t really care what tribe you belong to on a Sunday as long as you truly worship the messiah you claim to represent. Really that is all that matters! There would be nothing to divide over if it wasn’t for that fundamental faith, if you are clinging onto that and not even attending the church you represent then you are not what you claim to be. Confusing stuff huh?

I moved passed the buildings of worship and found the reason behind it all and that was Jesus Christ, I worship at a new cathedral and that is the throne of grace. I don’t attend Scottish football anymore but that is because I live in the USA and my closest MLS franchise is some 200 miles away in Los Angeles.

You are a Zionist

Not as far as I know, I love the State of Israel because I believe that God is not finished with them yet, however many within that state have still to come to a knowledge of their Messiah. Do I think that Israel does everything right? Absolutely not as it is governed by men who make mistakes, there are faults on both sides in the Middle East conflict. I am not anti-Palestine, anti-Arab or anti-Islam because I believe that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) but that can be resolved by finding Jesus as your Messiah.

Something to say?

I welcome debate but comments like “IRA loving” Terrorist supporting” PLO loving” or other fun stuff like that really won’t add to debate and often times I won’t even let them through! Feel free to comment otherwise though!

Please make your own application as needed.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The parable of the sower part three – Matthew 13:1-23

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The parable of the sower part three – Matthew 13:1-23 – 07/18/2016

Matthew 13:1 (ESV) That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.” 10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. 18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

In yesterday’s article we looked at the second and third type of seed that was sown on “the stony ground” and “thorny ground” and today I wish to continue the three part series by looking at the gospel account in the book of Matthew which again goes into great detail and for the purposes of this article we are looking at the last place where the seed was sown into the good ground. Should you wish to see the previous articles then click on the links at the bottom of this article.

Obviously those who receive the seed like the good ground are the seed bearing, life changing Christians (or some may say the real ones) who are bearing fruit, living as Christians and are going out, evangelizing some, mentoring or strengthening the faith of others and ministry is a way of life for these people. This will look different for different people as people have different callings.

I am not saying that all others were never saved to begin with. I do not have that knowledge of the internal workings of that person’s heart but the tangible evidence does suggest that there was no real commitment to the Christian life based on the lack of fruit shown. That is not to say that the busiest people or the people most involved in ministry are those who are the strongest believers and it is up to us individually to keep ourselves accountable that we are feeding ourselves spiritually in the same way that we would feed ourselves with food that would sustain our bodies. In the same way we have to be as diligent to eat spiritually.

Please also don’t think that if you have had some life changing event such as illness or some other thing that prevents you from doing your calling despite the soul being willing then I am sure the Lord understands and I am trying to relate to the ones who have the resources and ability to be life changers but choose not to be. I am not suggesting that everyone should be Pastors however there is an element where we can all be pastoral to people.

Please do not think because I am sharing this blog I have it all sorted and I am 100% right in all aspects of Christianity. I share this because I have had seasons where I have been on the road, in the stones, in the thorns and other times where I have been in good ground.

To recap there are 4 categories and only you can identify where you are today and the categories are…

  1. The ones who have allowed Satan to steal away their seed (only got the flavor of it)
  2. The ones who have taken the seed but right away paid no heed (ignored it)
  3. The ones who allowed the seed to be choked with the newest thing in their lives and dulled the effect of the seed (neglected)
  4. Allowed the seed to bloom, blossom bear fruit and allowed it to change the world.

Please make your own application as needed.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The parable of the sower part two – The stony and thorny ground -Luke 8:4-15

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The parable of the sower part two – The stony and thorny ground -Luke 8:4-15 – 07/15/2016

Luke 8:4 (ESV) And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 9 And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10 he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

In yesterday’s article we looked at the first type of seed that was sown on “the road” and today I wish to continue the three part series by looking at the gospel account in the book of Luke which does a little more to explain the meaning of the parable. I love that Jesus used parables because he was keen to use stories that would mean something to his intended audience (often non-educated blue collar men and women) and I truly respect pastors who do likewise and when I am teaching I try to also to relate to the folks I wish to share the gospel with on a level that they will totally get. In my opinion what we need in the modern day church is less “theology” or “Christianese” or “Christianspeak” and more life changing message of the gospel on a level that will reach people.

I am not saying change or dilute the message by any means but we need to stop talking over people’s heads! Some of the greatest messages I have heard have been by everyday people and the movement that I am part of has the mission statement “Simply teaching the bible simply” and the idea is that the love of Christ is available to everyone, the sower in this story sowed to everyone and the way it is received is the core meaning of this account.

I wanted to look at two ways the seed was received…

  • Rock/Stony ground – The word takes a little further root than the seed sown on the road but when the storm comes and life gets in the way and the sailor has to navigate into choppier waters, then they lose hope and discard the fledgling faith.

Whilst I understand that often times the folks who fall away were never really sold out believers and whilst the seed moves in their hearts it is more of an emotional attachment to the truths of the word, it is not life changing and the seed does not take root and is allowed to blossom and bear fruit. This is best described that this prospective Christian’s walk is like a firework as it makes a lot of noise, is often colorful and fizzles out with a bang.

  • Thorns – is a little more involved than the stony ground because it does not mature and I equate it to the development of a child. If your child was still on a milk based diet at the age of 6/7 then you would be worried that the child was failing to thrive. Again there will be a lack of fruit in this person’s life due to their choice to let the pursuits of this life distract them. There will be a lack of fruit and oftentimes their Christian walk will resemble that of a baby regardless of how long they have been saved.

Whilst it may not be the be all and end all of a believers walk, if you are in the business of mentoring new believers you need to be looking to encourage the fruitless first but please remember, you cannot be their “holy spirit” they have a certain amount of accountability to search out the scriptures and spiritually eat for themselves. They are not completely lost and we as Christians can still bring them into a sold out relationship with Jesus.

I use mentoring in this article because I love what we do in the big crusade Christianity where people are affected by their hearts being touched enough to leave their seats and make a public profession for Jesus Christ and whilst that is great, we need to have accurate follow up with those new believers, encouraging good mentors that will evangelize, mentor and disciple these new converts into strong believers so they can affect their former sphere of influence and be a life changing testimony of how Jesus changes lives.

That is much more powerful than a million eloquent sermons! Seeing a genuine authentic Christian life is what changed me from a “don’t care” to a “Christian” and seeing the words backed up with actions and mentoring really strengthened me.

On Monday, LORD willing I plan to look at part three of the Parable of the Sower.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The parable of the sower part one – critiquing your leader/pastor/teacher – Mark 4:1-9

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The parable of the sower part one – critiquing your leader/pastor/teacher – Mark 4:1-9 – 07/14/2016

Lord willing this will be a three part article on this vital part of scripture and until recently I would have tried to squeeze this into one article but I have had some feedback that my articles are a little long so I am trying to pack a punch with less words. I plan to start with this text in the book of Mark…

Mark 4:1 (ESV) Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Here we have the greatest teacher of the bible that the world has ever known, the co-author of the heart behind the message is telling the story in the context it was intended and he teaches on what could only be described as a self-fulfilling parable. I say self-fulfilling because even although we had that teacher who could explain the hermeneutics, the theology behind what was said and also the heart behind the text, the ability to cut through the popular interpretations that have bent the scripture beyond how it was intended and allowed the people to twist it to their own ends and own interpretations. I know that even although it was Jesus who was teaching there would have been some who would not have lost their hardness of heart, some who would stubbornly not change and some who allowed the devil to snatch the freshly sown word from their hearts.

If this happened when Jesus taught how much more will it happen when your pastors and leaders teach? These guys are not superman and from experience in ministry people can have unrealistic expectations of who you are and what you do. I would urge you to examine what your pastors say, make sure it lines up with the scripture and is free of heresy but avoid stylistic comments that are not said with the purest of hearts, I have heard some crackers in my time, some examples would be…

  • Pastor, you labored the point there
  • I was not touched by that message, I just did not feel it
  • Pastor, your lecture (note the wording) made me feel bad, why must you beat the flock?

Of course if there is a pattern then by all means address it as you would with any brother, however in many cases it is just idle opinion and pastors leave these conversations deflated and hurt. There is more devil in these conversations than exhortations and that includes when pastors are always “over congratulated” for a great message. (I am always suspicious of inflation of ego personally when I am given kudos)

The idea of splitting it into three articles is to look at the different ways the seed was received so let is look at the first one in relation to how your pastor sows his particular seed. You have to understand that often times and we would hope that this is always the case but when the pastor prepares the sermon it is done based on what he is being directed to say by the Holy Spirit. I don’t know many pastors that will change a sermons application because “someone will be there”.

I say this not as a pastor but as one who has prepared messages for people to hear and I have been blessed with having a real mixed bag of people as far as maturity levels, biblical understanding and different levels as far as thirst for the scriptures. The truth remains however when we toss out the seed we do not always see the path, the thorns or the difficult ground. We certainly are hoping that the seed takes hold and blossoms and takes on a fuller level, however many folks who listen to sermons are very internal with their difficult soil.

If you find yourself consistently critical of your pastor or leadership, the issue maybe the ground that you have prepared. Has the seed fallen on the pathway, not allowed to be taken root? Is there a pride issue involved? Have you been hurt in the past and are not allowing yourself to go all in? Do you view yourself higher than you should be and have designs on the pulpit? Take it from one in ministry; it is not all Sunday sermons and looking good on the stage! I would remove any sin from your own life first and then if your pastor is still not a good fit then talk to him. It may be able to be resolved.

I beg you…Do not allow your seed to be snatched from you and stunt your growth as a valuable member of the Christian community, the Devil does not want you to grow and you are much easier to pick off if you do not have the support of a loving church family.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Loving a Lymie – Viewpoint from a non-Lyme sufferer

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Loving a Lymie – Viewpoint from a non-Lyme sufferer

First of all this article is not a complaint, I love my wife and I am doing this to increase awareness of something that has been difficult to overcome. I write this in the spirit of honesty and to try to increase awareness of Lyme as a whole. I urge you if you know someone who suffers from Lyme or want to increase awareness of this disease then please share this article and the articles that are linked to this one.

Who am I?

You don’t know me, chances are we have never met and had it not been for this blog article I doubt you would ever have read any words I have written. Normally I write articles of a devotional type length about different parts of the bible but this has been on my heart because this is my daily life because of the woman I love. If you want an introduction to me then check out my “about” or “testimony” page if at all interested in the person writing the article. (I do warn you, I am rather beige!)

My wife wrote a beautiful blog of the same name at the following link (Keeper ministries) and I am not going to repeat much of what she said, she is a much more powerful written and oral communicator than I am as I tend to write with my heart on my sleeve and let my passion go before allowing my common sense and ability to tidy up the verbiage. You probably do know my wife, a beautiful dynamic lady who despite what this incredible but terrible illness has done to her still manages to keep her head held high with a decent amount of dignity.

To give you an introduction I married my wife on a beautiful sunny day in California in 2005 and the lady I married was an outgoing wonderful friendly person who is the strongest person I ever met (she still is all of these things and more) but over the last few years my wife has been cut down with an illness that whilst we are still diagnosing the full extent of what she has we are fairly sure that it is Lyme or at the very least a co-infection of Lyme that has literally zapped the life out of my good lady. Obviously this is a labor of love and an exercise in knowledge sharing and any comment that would be posted below I would be happy to reply as they come in.

What is the point of this?

The point of the article is to try and get some dialogue going, whether that be on the comments part here or on the various Facebook pages or social media pages that Lyme sufferers go to for support. You see, whilst I have seen the effects first hand I have no idea what you are going through. I can’t feel the pain and despite the facts that I can see the results of the pain I can only sympathize as opposed to empathize because really I do not have a clue. Honestly, I wish I could give my wife a “pain vacation” because she could really do with a day off.

Why is this happening?

Who knows? Only God can really answer that one. I trust Him even although I do not understand and I know that God can do miraculous healing and rather selfishly it is what I ask most for in my prayer life mainly because my wife has been through so much and it truly has opened my eyes to a world where you cannot diagnostically see the effects of the illness but you understand that it has taken so much from the victim and the first thing I noticed when checking out who was affected by this illness is that it is not discriminatory, it does not choose based on ethnicity, obesity, skin pigmentation or any other factor. It could quite literally happen to anyone and why it happened to my dear Chelsea I have no idea. Maybe I prayed too hard for an opportunity to show my love, who knows?

Where and when did this happen?

We have no idea, it could have been a tick, it could have been anytime, all I know is my wife has been sick for years and have progressively been getting worst and I could give you a phone book of doctors that have passed her off to the next guy because they couldn’t diagnose her. Chelsea felt like she was being passed on and passed over, I was getting frustrated because I wanted some kind of answer as to what was going on with her and I wanted to start a road to trying to get her better or if that was not possible get us on the road to getting the symptoms to a manageable level.

I also wanted (for my wife’s sake) some validation that she was ill because I was starting to feel like very few people were attempting to understand that she was actually sick! It is difficult to cancel things at the last minute like bible studies, parties we were meant to attend or even something as simple as having folks over for dinner becomes that more challenging if the paid is too much to bear.

How do I feel?

Honestly? I am a mixture of emotions and if I was being selfish and could have all of my prayers answered I would want her to be well and I would wish for us not to have all of these crazy medical bills and I wish we could carry on with our hopes and dreams. My wife has such a talent for music and whilst I am amazed at what she has managed to accomplish before collapsing in an exhausted heap I wish she had the ability to enjoy what she loves. Myself I have always desired to be teaching the Word of God and I wish I could get back to that but I am fortunate in that I have a good job (3 actually) I still have my wife and we have been blessed with a beautiful daughter who is wonderful and truly is the other love of my life.

Do I need to do more?

Of course! My wife does what she can however I do not like asking her because she still homeschools and does other stuff that most other Lyme sufferers would not even attempt. We have no defined roles and if I want to be leader of my home I have had to learn that I can do that as well by being in front of the washing machine, sink, cooker, vacuum cleaner or whatever people would say are not “men’s jobs” in a chauvinistic manner, truth be told it is a team effort and I do what I can but I also admit I get lazy sometimes. I am not perfect and if you have advice, life hacks, shortcuts or anything that could make our lives not as complicated then I would be grateful if you would share. Whether that be planning meals so we don’t have to eat out or just ways to get a more fluid process then I would be grateful.

She doesn’t like to ask me to do things and I am learning slowly when things are getting too much for her. Don’t get me wrong I often get it wrong and I am grateful for the patience she shows me. This is not a short term scenario and I know what I signed up for, I promised on my wedding day that I was going to love her “in sickness and in health” and I often joke with her “when do we get the healthy part?” and it truly is a test of love because the girl I fell in love with was vibrant, outgoing and such a servant. She won me over without a word and has shown me such an example of Jesus that it turned my life around.

Isn’t Lyme covered by most doctors and insurances?

Actually no, most are reading from out of date statistics and often times if your insurance plan covers anything at all they will usually only cover antibiotics for a certain time and whilst that works in some cases it does not work in all. Lyme doctors often have to go out of network and personally my wife and I travel three hours to see a Lyme specialist who is about 200 miles away from where we live and that is a fortunate situation as we have someone who will see us in the same state as often times people have a way worse commute than we do. I have found that most Lyme doctors are out of the insurance networks and because of this it can be a very costly exercise to go and visit these specialists. You can’t put a cost on healthcare and I would gladly empty everything I own to have my wife treated.

How long will this go on?

You are in it for the long haul and I truly am, if I have to be a full time carer for my wife I am prepared to do so should things go south. It is not always roses in the garden and sometimes there has to be some hard graft put in but my number one priority is my wife and then my child. I am called to serve them first and foremost and then afterwards do whatever externally I am called to do. We see the following said about love in 1st Corinthians 13 (Our family chapter)

1st Corinthians 13:4 (ESV) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

It is a high calling to bear all things, believes all things, hopes and endures all things. Problem is, I am not Superman and I fail more often than I succeed (just ask my wife) but the main part is that I am willing and my desire is to have this article spread in order to try and advance the cause of Lyme and maybe make some contacts who are in the same boat as me.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

 

Faithfulness and blessings – Deuteronomy 28:1-6

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Faithfulness and blessings – Deuteronomy 28:1-6 – 07/11/2016

Today’s devotional is based in the Mosaic Law book of Deuteronomy chapter 28 which reads…

Deuteronomy 28:1 (ESV) “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God. 3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. 5 Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 6 Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

Let me be plain and state that I do write this article with a certain amount of bias; I am starting this article with the presupposition that God keeps his promises and that when the relationship breaks down between God and us as believers then it will always be an issue at our end because I serve a flawless God and I am very flawed.

If?

When we look at the text the first word that stands out in six feet tall letters is the second word of the first verse “IF” and the reason this is there is because God is perfect and we are, let’s face it – NOT! We know that this is the case with our relationship with God today and how many times do you look in shame at your performance at being faithful to God, being more faithful to yourself and selfish desires than being faithful to what you know is right in the eyes of God and often times we are sinful in going your own way. Some sins have more far reaching consequences than others and whilst you know that God will be that “good good father” and forgive this prodigal child (Luke 15:11-32) likewise we also know that we will not always be absolved from the consequences of our sins.

Sounds awesome, so it is all blessings?

God knows us better than we know ourselves and much like the children of Israel we are given that choice to follow him or not and God lists a whole bunch of blessings that they would receive so that they would know that they would be so blessed that it could only have come from the LORD. He lists a whole bunch of blessings from verses 1-14 and on the flip side he promises them in verses 15-68 what would happen if they did not follow him. On one side they would be blessed beyond anything imaginable and if they cursed God they would be cursed beyond anything imaginable and having read that list it scares me to the bone and gives me a healthy fear of God.

Cool does that mean I will be rich?

God wanted to not just bless them in a tangible way they could see such as material belongings and assets but also in a much better blessing by blessing them spiritually which I am sure you will agree have value eternally as well as temporarily. As Christians we serve the same benevolent God who wants his children to be blessed and whilst it is not a guarantee of an easy life and often times we will have the same troubles as anyone else we do know that we will have that divine blessing that will be much more than a material one because the choice to follow or not was up to the people and God was not going to force himself upon those who did not wish Him to be their God. This choice is the same to us as Gentiles where we can either choose to be servants of God or not because we have our Messiah in Jesus Christ who came down to earth to be our sacrifice through his death at Calvary and his mission was in order to reunite and reconcile man to God because God wants us to be in eternal communion and does not desire that any should perish (John 3:16-17) but have eternal life.

Is this just your opinion?

Not at all! The apostle Paul wrote about this in the third chapter of Romans, he compared how men were compared to an indescribable perfect God. He stripped away the idea of Jew and Gentile and showed that we were all the same when it came to God. Please feel free to read below…

Romans 3:1 (ESV) Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” 5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. 9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

If you are interested in bible studies I have done in the book of Romans then please click here and this will show you different articles that have been done in this book in a commentary/devotional format.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

 

The great recommendation? – Mark 16:15-16

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The great recommendation? – Mark 16:15-16 – 07/08/2016

Mark 16:15 (ESV) And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

I am of course being facetious when I put the title of this blog article because we all know this part of the bible (Along with Matthew 28) as the “Great Commission” that Jesus leaves his disciples with prior to ascending to heaven. The word commission reminds me of orders done in a military fashion…

Dictionary.com has “commission” as the following…

15. to give a commission to:
to commission a new graduate of a military academy with the rank of lieutenant.

16. to authorize; send on a mission:
I’ve been commissioned by my friend overseas to find him a cheap apartment in New York.

17. to give the order that places a warship, military command, etc., in a state of complete readiness for active duty.

18. to give a commission or order for:
The owners commissioned a painting for the building’s lobby.

Jesus obviously sent his disciples on a mission and that extends to his disciples today, we are called to follow that great commission, we are called to do the following…

  • Go – We have to be obedient, we have to follow the call of God in our lives and go to where he wants us to be. An example of this is typing to you at present. I was born in Scotland but now I am in California.
  • Into all the world – There are no barriers to where God will have you serve, it may be in your neighborhood but you may also be called into a faraway country, with the obedience that we mentioned before we have to listen to direction and be surrendered enough to want to go where we are called to.
  • Proclaim the gospel – The mission is clear, the world needs its Savior! It needs the Messiah who came to save them from eternal damnation and the message has to be about him rather than you.
  • Whole creation – There is no-one beyond saving, there is no culture, no language, no people type that does not need Jesus. We have to keep proclaiming that gospel until the whole world hears.

I don’t know where you are in doing this, perhaps you are reading this because you are guilty of not doing so, and perhaps you are awesome at this. I would say to the ones who are strong, then help those who are weak. I say this because it is not an optional doctrine and we are simply the seed sowers and often times we will never see a result from the seeds that are planted but be encouraged because we read in the book of Isaiah…

Isaiah 55:10 (ESV) “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

We are not the Holy Spirit and do not convict people of their sins, we are commanded to love people enough to tell them the truth of the one who can save them from their sins. We are just called to be faithful and be the messengers, will you answer that call?

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

 

Does God give only good gifts? – Matthew 7:7-11

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Pic – Daddy daughter date circa 2014

Does God give only good gifts? – Matthew 7:7-11 – 07/01/2016

Where am I going with this?

This is top of my mind this week due to my child having her birthday; it is a bookmark of a reminder of another year of blessings with the cutest kid I know and lamentations that I see some of me in her. It also reminded me of a teachable moment that happened at a birthday party five years ago. I want also to look at the gospel of Matthew as the text for this verse…

Matthew 7:7 (ESV) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Imagine the scene…

You are at a birthday party for a toddler who appears not to be enjoying the birthday party and especially seems not to be enjoying getting gifts, now as someone who is older this puzzles you because at your parties that is the highlight. Let’s look at it from the toddler’s point of view…

You are now the toddler and this party has been a stressful affair, everyone your parents know has handled you, cuddled you, loved on you and despite the highlight of having ice cream and cake they are now playing this weird game with you where they all sit around you in a circle, take pictures of you, your dad is milling around with a video camera and now you mother and grandmother are playing this weird game with you where they make you rip off the paper of toys and once it is unwrapped they take it off you and make you unwrap another toy, which they again take away from you, you feel frustrated and have no other option but to scream and cry.

Was I really abusing my child?

Before someone calls CWS on me, the child was unwrapping birthday presents and they were all played with at some point in the shelf life of the toy. But from the child’s perspective this was torture, she saw something fun that seemed appropriate for her to touch and then her parents didn’t allow her to do what she wanted and in some cases blocked her from carrying out her will so she vented her frustration at her father and mother.

Of course we had a plan and we could see more than she could in her situation and we would restore these gifts to her and after the unwrapping was over she asked in her own way and we let her play with stuff.

Have you ever felt like that with God? Never? Well you are better than me then because I will be honest and say I am a whiner! How many times have you went to God first and asked in faith expecting an answer, now it may not be an answer you like but I like to know why or at least know the reason what is happening to me. I know and I trust in God however I do like to complain!

God is the giver of all things, our finances, our possessions all that we have set up as our “mini idols” it is all his and we are simply custodians of what he has trusted us with, Jesus introduces us to the giving nature of God and shows us that his gifts are much greater than the gifts that we would give each other and he uses the purity of heart as a good contrast. We have to also understand though that God will not allow things to happen that are our rampant heart’s desire because they would ruin us. (Do we ask for serpent like things that really would not help us or glorify God? Could that an example of how close or far away our hearts are to God’s will) The gifts that he gives to us are always good as God wants the best for us.

How good is that gift?

The answer to that question is confirmed in a scripture in the epistle of James…

James 1:17 (ESV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Again we have confirmation that God grants good gifts only, please don’t take from that I don’t mean that we are exempt from bad things happening to us because I have certainly had “teachable moments” but many have been caused due to paths I have started on. Does that mean we will all win the National Lottery or all have Ferrari’s? If it would corrupt us and ruin us then I doubt God would allow that as a “gift”. He may allow financial pressure to be released on you but there is no guarantee of “free money”.

James describes it as not just a good gift but also a perfect gift and we see that God is only interested in gifting us with things that will be good for us. I liken it to fast food where I know that a cheeseburger tastes good but I also know that if I eat the same unhealthy thing three times a day for the rest of my life I will harm myself. How many cheeseburgers are you praying for? Maybe time for an assessment of your wants and needs in your prayer life?

Are you grateful for what you receive? I know many (I am in that number) who will have a 911 prayer request that God has granted me and then later I forget to be grateful to God in prayer, he does not require that and he sees my heart and knows that I am grateful but in the same manner I would consider it good manners to than someone who has blessed me how much more should I thank Him to whom all blessings flow?

James concludes with the idea that God is constant, never changing, no variation and you know where you stand with God, there is no “gifting’s based on whether God is having a good day” God is already more mature or all-knowing and wiser than we will ever be, there is no need to change and another thing that is constant is the good nature and giving nature of God, it is something that is assured because he is that good, good father!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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SDG