Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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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.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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Praying for Scotland on “Independence Day”

Praying for Scotland on “Independence Day”

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The timing of this article is deliberate as to publish as the polls open on “Independence Day”. Please feel free to comment below this article regardless of your political leanings.

This is a hard article for me to write and remain somewhat impartial so unlike the British mainstream media I am going to declare my allegiances up front and will advise that had I been in Scotland and registered to vote I would have been voting for the partition of the United Kingdom. Those of you who know me know that I am in favour of the pro-Independence stance of the Scottish National Party and have also campaigned for this party in elections past when I lived in Scotland.

The reason it is hard is to remainobjective whilst giving a commentary and an appeal to the people of Scotland. My appeal is not, as one would expect for you all to vote “yes” but simply to vote. The bible states that your yes should be yes and your no should be no and I tend to agree.

Whether you choose to stay with the Union or whether you choose that Scotland would be better as an independent nation is truly a decision for you, your conscience and the arguments that have been presented to you, in many cases in a biased format by those we expected better of. Should the Yes side prevail it would be in the face of the most blatant propaganda machine that has ever been Government endorsed since the days of Goering and German National Socialism. The people of Scotland have been denied the facts, had unbalanced coverage, had programs edited to remove keynote Yes speakers, had applause muted by yes supporters in debates and manipulated coverage of the referendum to tell a story that was not balanced.

If you were to look at the evidence at the author of this article I am a prime candidate to vote no. I am a former serviceman of the Royal Engineers; my maternal grandfather figure was a staunch Labour supporter, Union spokesperson for the National Union of Railwaymen and political activist in the days of Neil Kinnock. My own father was a Union rep and I lived in a staunch Labour area for most of my life. So why am I supporting Yes?

I began to look into Scottish independence after helping Labour (I know, I know) get elected in 1997, under the Tony Blair “things can only get better campaign” as I was attracted by the promise of Scottish Devolution and the possibility of a Parliament in Edinburgh for the first time since 1707. Soon I realized how “London-centric” New Labour were and I decided not to renew my party membership in 1999.

I still classified myself as a “Labour voter” even although I was not pounding the streets in support of the campaign. It was not until 2002 that I properly looked into the SNP and their policies. I found their policies regarding Scottish self-determination were in line with where I wanted to see my country headed and I joined the SNP. I canvassed/leafleted and campaigned for the Lloyd Quinlan campaign in Motherwell when he stood against Lord Jack McConnell for the MSP seat.

I fell out of love with politics and held no party affiliation and I didn’t actually vote again until 2007 when I lived in the Glasgow Hillhead constituency. I did not campaign but voted SNP. Beyond my wildest dreams the SNP won power in the Hollyrood parliament.

Follow this up with an overall majority in 2011 and we were firmly on the journey we are on now, with probably the most astute First Minister that Scotland has ever seen, holding court against the most inept leader of Scottish Labour I have ever seen and an astute smart Tory leader with no back up in Scotland due to the way her party is remembered in the eighties and current policies by David Cameron leaves her and the Liberal Democrats with very little friends up here. He (Salmond) really has very little opposition.

Now I am a Yes voter as a guy who supported devolution, supported the new parliament, supported the Scottish Government in both Red and yellow formats and know that the Scots ARE genetically programmed to make political decisions. (Unlike what Mrs. Lamont says)

Personally and from my point of view, independence makes sense, both financially and from a decision making standpoint. I believe that decisions made in Edinburgh will have a greater opportunity to directly benefit Scottish voters than a remote parliament who is only concerned with the South West of England.

I also believe that it would help the “No true Scotsman” image that my countrymen have, where Scotland invented all the finer things in life and England is blamed for all of Scotland’s ills. The “Anti-English” chip on the shoulder that is perceived to be the case would slowly but surely cease to exist as Scotland would come of age in its own right. (For a fuller explanation of what I am meaning please see my blog “The Jacobite experiment“)

Should separation happen, I have no problem in wishing our neighbours to the south a “fare ye well” and a “fond farewell” as a joint entity. I have many cross border friends that would suddenly be in a “different country” but I doubt that it would change as far as citizenship goes. I have no “Anti-English chip on the shoulder” I just believe that we as a country can run our own affairs more beneficial to the people within our borders.

Should separation not happen, my countrymen would have the distinction of being the first country to turn down independence when it was able to be selected of one’s free will. (With no shots fired) Imagine if our cousins in Ireland in 1922 and America in 1776 could say likewise? Look at how these two countries have grown since separation from the UK. In the words of the Bard “Rabbie” Burns in the case of a No vote going through “Forward tho I canna see, I guess and fear”.

I am also praying for a resurgence in Christianity in Scotland regardless of the vote. My country has a fine tradition of following Christ and I pray for fervent revival in my land and have my land healed of its troubles. As much as I would love an independent Scotland free to run its own affairs, I would love it more to have a Scotland that was on fire for Jesus Christ living in a society where the love of Christ came down, where we love and serve one another, preferring the other before ourselves. Imagine that land? Rich in oil and God’s blessings.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing, as usual please share, comment or like below
TGBTG
TTE

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