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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Happy Easter (Resurrection) Sunday

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Easter blessings

Luke 24:1 (ESV) But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

Today is Easter Sunday, or as us Christians call it “Resurrection Sunday” and today is the day where we celebrate what makes Christianity different from all other religions. The fact that our messiah came to earth as a human, died for us and rose again. This doctrine is central to the faith.

Painting the picture

Imagine the scene, the disciples all were devastated, the man they had spent the last three years with, the one they understood to be the Son of God, the one they had seen many miracles be performed from was dead.

He had been crucified just before the Sabbath and everyone seen that he was dead and it was the number one topic of conversation wherever they went.

The women who attended our LORD

These women were desperate to attend to the body of Jesus as was the custom. They had been hampered from doing so as quickly as they would have liked due to the Sabbath but literally from the hour they were able to they wanted to be with Jesus. These women started their journey before dawn, light was only just coming up when they got there.

Males you evaluate your own time with Jesus huh? Are you in such a rush to spend time with him? Is it that high a priority?

Where was he?

What they were expecting to see was a body. But instead they saw a tomb that was open. This must have been perplexing as this tomb was to have a stone, to be sealed and to be guarded by two of Romans finest soldiers who would be there “on pain of death”.

Not only was the tomb open, but the body was gone. Now let’s recap, in their minds they knew and witnessed Jesus dying on that cross. They saw the cruelest possible way to kill a criminal unfold in the manner of crucifixion. People just don’t come back from crucifixion! 

They knew the answer but forgot in their grief

They were reminded of the words of Jesus where he said he would rise again on the third day. They knew the answer but forgot in their grief, the prophecy became reality and went to tell the others.

The others were in the same fragile state, one of their best friends had betrayed their master for 30 silver coins, couldn’t handle the guilt and hung himself and also they lost Jesus, they guy who they thought was going to be the messiah, did many miracles and ended up dying next to the criminals on a criminals device for torture and death.

The women relay the news

These women come to them with the most fantastically unbelievable tale! That the Jesus who they had seen being tortured and hung up on the hill of the Skull actually was missing from.the tomb and that they had been told he was alive.

Do you think they swallowed it right away? No! the man Peter, the one who is famous for jumping in and saying the wrong thing is careful about what Jesus believes here. He wants to believe but about so wants to be sure! Cautiously he goes to the tomb to check out the story. His heart shows that he is desperately seeking it to be true, went to see the cloth laying there and had the proof he needed.

Not quite the end of the story

Later in the chapter we read about Jesus appearing to the disciples, even allowing Thomas to feel his wounds to ensure that he was actually the messiah. Jesus fulfilled this to show he did actually raise from the dead.
These guys from this point would do amazing things for the gospel and in many cases proclaim the good news to the point of their own individual deaths.

My hope is that this article is a reminder to those who do believe what Easter is all about also well as a helping resource to those who are yet to believe.

God bless you and I pray you have a blessed Easter, please like, share or comment below as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE