Receiving, Asking, Knocking


I have read in  a few spots that the most prolific atheists out there had daddy issues.  The going theory is that they transferred their views of the earthly father or father figure to God.  The flaws they say in the early context, whether justified or not, took the appeal of reverence or awe of God right out.  Assigning blankness could be empowering after a sort since their expectations of benevolence are stunted or warped.

And for those in Jesus’ time who had a relationship with God based in Old Testament theology it would be hard to see God as father explicitly.  But Jesus addressed this because the New Covenant to be offered through the cross would be very familiar and very intimate.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:7-10).

it will be given to will find….the door will be opened to you—Jesus is showing the loving nature of God the Father as very gracious and gives really what amounts to a guarantee.  All in the “will” part.

But a guarantee is precisely what needs to be qualified briefly. God will graciously not answer our prayers with the exact result that we want.  Sometimes the greatest gift of God is in saying no to the specific request but granting you what is truly needed.  20/20 hindsight often informs us and, with humility, informs our conscience for the future.

In speaking about where my conscience seems to be informed now I can use the example of healing.  Joni Eareckson Tada was paralyzed from the neck down, asked God for healing and did not receive it.  Her body, so it seems, is “as is” until she crosses to the other side.

But what about the healing of the heart?  What about her life being a testimony of God’s grace?  She is a singer, painter and artist and has influenced many people of varying hardships to embrace the message of a loving, relevant God in suffering.  I see a beauty in that.  The “it” given her is something else God had in mind.

seek and you will find— For anyone familiar with the Sermon On The Mount, or the general teaching of Jesus, it is obvious that the teaching of the gospel is not to see the material things as and end in themselves.  The seeking, as we see later in this chapter, is to be first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).  To the extent one is seeking these of God with their baggage fully disclosed is the extent that God will make such experiences found.  And if you find yourself at the cusp of God’s kingdom and righteousness what is prescribed from Sacred Scripture is to put yourself out there publicly for God approval.  I have knocked on the doors of clients who turned out to be no shows.  It made me feel weird while I waited.  I was stood up and put out there.

But God will not leave us out there.  Jesus has been standing at our door long before we stood at His.

So how do we apply this accessibility to God in our gut? Jesus presupposes the natural good will to fathers about how they know they should be.  Just as an atheist will project their baggage from their earthly father onto God, Jesus changes the dimension to the fathers they want to be themselves.  The universal truth of caring for ones child correctly is expanded upon.  Jesus strikes an emotional nerve and through it grows in the hearers the drive to live out this truth.

If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him—- Jesus carries the conversation from the listeners sincere love for this children and knowledge that they needs forgiveness.

God wills to give to us from His essence.  This is why the parallel passage to this in Luke says Holy Spirit instead of good things.  This is where pure religion stands out.  The impure kind that falls short of the fullness of God’s love is transactional.  The pure is constant in it’s opportunity to be accessed in faith and is relational.  We can be atheists if we want.  We can be deists of a God who just exists.  Or we can be radically transformed by the message of Jesus Christ for now and eternity.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3).

PS I think this should go without saying, but if one asks God for forgiveness He will forgive.  100% I guarantee it.  This I read and this I know.


Getting Anxious To Life


It’s funny when someone talks about how “I walk it like I talk it”.  No one wants to be a hypocrite yet if someone speaks a hard truth then they will gulp down a challenge to be true to the virtue of which they speak.

This is a particular blog of where I get anxious: because it is about being anxious.  Recently I prayed that God would humble me.  The next week I was fired wrongfully.  Recently I blogged about forgiveness and two hours after the upload someone sinned against me significantly.  So with some trepidation, here it goes.

“No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?  Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil (Matthew 6:24-34).

First Jesus is refining the conversation to address Whom or whom we serve as the means by which we live our lives.  You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…. 

The “therefore is predicated on the decision of the disciple of Jesus to see that God is served and reverenced as the definition of what matters.  This is absolute and the spiritual reference point addressed repeatedly in the Bible but fulfilled in the context of Jesus.

Jesus said later “you call me Lord and Master and so I am”.  If Jesus is Master then that gives Him the right to tell us what to do but it was assumed that He took care of the wholeness of who was under Him because of that.

This context of Jesus is three fold and to be kept in mind if we are to maintain ourselves in the fullness of “peace that transcends all understanding” (Phillipians 4:7).   Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life”.  Jesus was no flower child.  Jesus spoke as the fulness of the wisdom of God but based on the layout of salvation history.

“The way” in Greek is “hoda” but is a reference in shorthand to “ex-hoda” in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament).  The latter term is something used for Exodus as in the way out of Egypt.  That is why frequently in Acts the Christians are referred to as “followers of the Way”— — even before being called Christians.  Jesus stood, and still stands, as our Savior from sin and bondage of Egypt that as in our lives.

“The truth” is “alethia” is can be defined as “all defining reality”.  Have you been saved?  Great! But just as we have been saved by grace through faith continue to walk with Him.

“The life” is defined as, “of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and  ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the  hypostatic “logos” and to Christ in whom the ‘logos’ put on  human nature”  (Symbolism of The Gospel of John

Look at the birds in the sky… your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? 

The dignity of the human person is far above the dignity of the other creation.  This is why Christianity stands to give hope to mankind in that God is intentional and relational with humankind.  God truly loves the world in the sense of human beings created in His image.  The correct question is not so much how can we intellectually process this as much as ask how we can get this in prayer.

To be in the our own intentional response to Jesus in practicing His presence is essential.  It could be worth considering that in the verses preceding the Philippians reference to “peace that transcends understanding” that Paul talks about: rejoicing always, the Lord is near, keep your gentleness evident, pray, petition to God, thank God for what you have (as opposed to worrying about what you don’t) and THEN anticipating the peace of God.  If you are doing the opposite from above, per the Dr. Phil doctrine, “How’s that working for your?”.

If God so clothes the grass of the field….will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?

To have a life that is saturated with the values listed above from Phillipians is to have a life of faith and on the deposit of faith.  One would ultimately know that God’s agenda of Christ being formed in you in life or death will work out.

But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.

Jesus is to be sought in our journey as the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  Is your life ordered after your highest understanding of God and seeking His favor above all others?  To the level that both areas are “Yes!” is a good guess about where your vulnerability to anxiety is.

Gulp.  God is going to hold me to this in challenging me to trust Him more.  But I will remind myself, and your dear reader, that our heavenly Father loves us with an undying love.  And to change our patterns likewise, though a price to pay, is worth paying.