Thursday, March 26, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 78)

Jesus said, “So if you — who are evil — know that you are to give gifts that are good to your children, how much more will your Father, who is in the heavens, give good things to those who ask him!”
— Matthew 7:11 (USC)
We are good for our children. Yes, we are. Yet, just look at the chasm between the holy otherness of God and our own frailty which serves our children yet also often fails them.
An astute person might say, “God doesn’t give us every ‘good’ thing.” It all depends on what we determine is good. If we determine what is good by our own ‘evil’ standard (Jesus calls us ‘evil’, not I), we are likely to be eternally disappointed.
There is a better way. Of course there’s a better way.
The key is in our daily return to Matthew 6:33 and its surrounds. God is our Provider; in Matthew 7:7-11 as well as in Matthew 6:25-34. Do you see the large islands of Scripture making up a nation of praise for the Providence of God?
God provides. There is now no need to worry. There is now need to doubt God’s provision — if we put God and his Kingdom and righteousness first.
This is the way to peace: to jettison our own rather pathetic wishes in favour of the wishes of God, which are always a more satisfactory result as we are personally concerned. I speak from experience, having experienced the glorious blessings of God for selecting repentance over resentment, praise over complaint, and diligence of faith over a doubting that circles nowhere-land incessantly.
Preferring God’s wishes requires faith, and faith always risks what is seen and manageable for the hope of what is unseen and to be managed by God alone.
We think we can get ourselves good things. God can get us supreme things — supreme because they’re emergent of his Kingdom. They are eternal prizes far exceeding what is fleeting and sorrowful in this life. Yes, the things we hanker for in this life are sorrowful in comparison to the eternal riches laid up for us in the heavens!
What is laid up in eternity is accessible to joy here on earth. This is the peace that transcends our understanding.
Prayers to God for help and hope are well founded if they’re founded on his Kingdom and righteousness in our lives.
God truly is our only help and hope in the midst of burnishing trial. He, alone, can help. He, alone, is hope. Hope today for his help in your suffering.
1.     Compare your experiences of when God did provide what you needed with when he apparently didn’t. Was it true that you put his Kingdom and his righteousness first in the first instance, but didn’t do so in the second?
2.     Reflect over the requirements of faith outbound of trust — the need to trust God. What could God be saying to you about your faith; your trust in him?
3.     What is God’s will for your life in the midst of your struggles now?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.

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