Saturday, September 12, 2009

MM Meditation - Giving Good Things

Matthew 7

7 Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you:
8 For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Sometimes in life, we are forgetful and need reminders. Unfortunately, we often need to be reminded about the true character of God. Our vision of Him gets clouded when we haven't been faithful in reading the Word of God, or when we have not recognized the voice of the liar whispering in our ears. Believers can have obstacles on the path of life that keep the seed of the Word from bearing fruit in our lives.

To break up the fallow ground of hardened or unbelieving hearts, we need to remind ourselves of His true Person, and rejoice in the benefits that we receive from those qualities.

I love to buy my kids presents. Whether it's a bouncy ball from those tempting quarter machines at the grocery store, a used book at a garage sale or a brand new toy from the store, I love giving them fun things. I love having the ability to fulfill heart-felt desire. At times I buy them something on the spot, other times I make them wait so they appreciate the gift even more.

If they are selfish, expect more from me than I am willing to give, or express unthankfulness for all the good things they already have, I don't buy for them. Isn't that a good rule of parenting? If they ask in a wrong way, they don't get it? If they pitch a fit for a treat, I dig in my heals, and say NO, no matter how much my mother-heart longs to be able to give them good things. I don't substitute, either. (If you substitute gum for the candy bar they are whining for, they still win.)

If they whine I will always say NO.
If they didn't behave in the store I will always say NO.
If they ask for something that isn't healthy for them I say NO.
If it is bad timing for me I say NO.
Sometimes, I say NO just so I can teach them to hear a NO and have a happy heart.

In fact, I go further than even just saying NO. I will say, "NO, and no fuss." I want them to walk out of the store with empty hands and a full heart; a heart that trusts and loves me despite the decision that I had to make. Their reaction when I say NO is more important to me than their reaction when I say YES. Of course, they are going to love the candy, or the little ball, or the new doll. But, can they take a NO as well as a YES? I laugh at the campaign that tells kids "Say NO to drugs." How can kids have the power to say NO to temptations, when their parents haven't taught them to accept a NO from them? NO gives you power over the flesh, and saying NO to your children teaches them to deny the flesh.

Apply this to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Have we asked in prayer, or have we demanded? Have we complained about His provision and asked for something we thought was better? Have we asked for things that are fleshly and irrelevant to our spiritual purposes on earth? Of course.

We would be liars if we denied we are any different than our dear little children.

We don't want to focus on our character, but rather on the character of God. He loves to give us good things. He loves to have us ask and have the power to give. His heart is towards us, longing to bestow endless blessings upon us. We have to imprint upon our hearts His great love and His longing to give us good things, so that at times when we don't understand what He is giving us, we can trust His character.

Does cancer fit into this category of "good things"? It would be if it caused you to experience an intimacy with Him you wouldn't have experienced in good health. Does losing a child fit in this category? It would be if others came to know the Lord through the death. Does a flat tire on the way to Bible camp count as a good thing? It would be if it is what kept you from a major accident on the highway. In our finite minds and abilities, we can't understand the big picture that encompasses the lives of all those on earth. We need to concentrate on the fact that He longs to give us good things. He wants good things for us in our lives.

When we don't understand the "things" we need to understand His character. He gives us good things because He is a good God. The things He gives us are always good, because He is always good.

At times I am amazed that God, in charge of the Universe, would choose to answer one of my feeble prayers for a front row parking spot when I am in a hurry, or to find something I need at the thrift store for a discounted price. I am amazed, a little embarrassed to have prayed about something so little, but still thrilled that He heard and He cared.

Author and devotional writer, Majorie Parker, gave this encouragement to pray for all things. "If it is small enough to cause concern, it is large enough to pray about." These little things are the prize from a gum ball machine, those little things given as a reminder of His love. Not necessarily for good behavior, but just because. He wants to show us He is listening, He wants to answer, and He wants to keep asking and keep seeking.

If we can trust Him with those seemingly unimportant details like a parking place, we can trust Him with our health, our families, our jobs and all the things we can barely vocalize that burden our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. The most important "good thing" He wants to give us is eternal life through faith is His Son.

You just need to ask.

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