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; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).
This passage gives my flesh fits. After all, there are plenty of things that my flesh wants that it doesn’t get. And I’m not just talking about stuff. The healing of a relationship, the salvation of a friend–sometimes we ask for good things, righteous things, and we don’t get them. “Ask and it will be given to you,” doesn’t always seem to apply.
That’s annoying, and painful, and sometimes a little faith-rocking.
Perhaps, Beloved, the key to this verse lies in remembering God’s priorities. This isn’t a cop-out or a rationalization–it’s truth. When it comes to you, God’s biggest concern isn’t your finances or your career or even the other people in your life. It’s your relationship with him. He wants to draw you in, bring you closer, make you more like his Son. In these things, the sky’s the limit. You don’t have to wonder if what you request would be best. You don’t have to pray, “If it’s your will.”
You becoming more Christlike is always his will.
So…ask to draw nearer to him. Seek a closer relationship. Knock at the door of his heart. He’s waiting.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces (Matthew 7:6).
Well, there go my plans for the weekend.
So, the basic interpretation of this metaphor is: Don’t give the Gospel to those who aren’t in a position to receive it.
Wowzers. Jesus just got finished warning us about judging people, and yet this sounds pretty judgmental. Are we really supposed to decide who deserves the Word and who doesn’t?
Perhaps it’s less a question of judgement and condemnation than of stewardship. God has entrusted us with the priceless treasure of his truth, and while that truth may be unlimited, our time, our energy, our strength is not. We can’t preach the Word every hour of every day. So, we need to perform a little spiritual triage. We must use the wisdom and discernment God has given us to determine who is in a place to receive the Gospel and who is not. If someone is being openly hostile and argumentative, it is probably not the best time to hit them with the Four Spiritual Laws. Maybe you hit them with a chair first; then when they’re calm you hit them with the Gospel.
OK, I know Jesus never said to hit anyone with a chair; I’m just…expounding.
Spread the Word today, Beloved. But spread it wisely.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5).
Sometimes Jesus just makes way too much sense.
It kinda cramps my style.
You don’t have to be a carpenter to understand the metaphor here; in fact the image of a plank jutting out of my eye is enough to keep me awake at night.
It’s awfully close to reality.
As I have pointed out on occasion, people bug me. I have a tendency to translate their personality quirks into character flaws, and use my spiritual microscope to detect and identify all their issues.
In reality, I don’t need a microscope. I need a mirror.
And, you know, a pair of tweezers the size of my arm.
Happy Monday, Beloved.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Matthew 7:1-2).
I don’t want to be judged.
Seriously, I really don’t want to be judged.
I actually can’t quantify for you just how very much I don’t want to be judged.
But it’s a lot.
Look, I know that sometimes we are required to judge. If someone is spreading a false gospel and leading folks away from Christ, it is our duty to speak out and defend the truth.
you and I both know that the vast majority of judgement has less to do with truth than it does with opinion
So whaddaya say we reserve our judgement for those who deserve it most?
You know who I mean–lousy drivers.
Happy Friday, Beloved.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).
God is not bound by time.
He is outside of time. Past, present, and future are all Now to him.
I can’t really wrap my brain around that, but there it is.
You and I, Beloved, are bound by time.
Past? Can’t touch it.
Future? Don’t know it.
If we want to act, to move, to do, to be, to spend time with the One who loves us, it can only happen Now.
So, live your Now, Beloved. Live it fully.
But seek first his kingdom, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).
There’s just so much.
Everywhere I turn there’s…stuff I need to do.
At least, I know it is for me.
Look, Beloved, Jesus isn’t saying that you should ignore the rent, the car insurance, the homework, the family responsibilities. He’s saying that you shouldn’t let them be first in your heart. It’s a forest and trees kinda thing. Don’t become so fixated on the details of life that you forget your reason for living.
Before you dive into the day, with all its attending stresses and fears and lists, take a moment
maybe this moment
to stop, and to pray, and to connect with the One who made you
the One who chose you
the One who loves you
and see if the rest doesn’t sort itself out.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.
So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them (Matthew 6:31-32).
The Ice Cream Diet
OK, so there isn’t an ice-cream diet, but there should be.
Beloved, we spend so much of our time and energy on things that are really peripheral. Of course we need to eat, and being healthy is a way to honor God with our bodies. Yes, you need to wear clothing–please–and the way you dress can affect how others see you and your witness for Christ.
But really, Beloved, how much of that time and energy is for the glory of God, and how much is for the glory of…
Yeah, well, that’s the problem, isn’t it.
Focus on the Bread of Life
The Living Water
And being clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
The rest will sort itself out.
Happy Tuesday, Beloved.
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his splendor was not dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you–you of little faith? (Matthew 6:28-30)
Last spring , my family went on a wildflower hike. It was, in a word, wowifying. The sight of all those beautiful flowers–some of them no bigger than a dime–brought this verse to mind.
Wildflower time is short in SoCal. After a few weeks, the blooms are spent, the flowers dead, the hills returned to their normal shade of California Gold
which always reminds me of brown.
Still, God chose to make the flowers beautiful. He made them more beautiful and delicate and intricate and lovely and spectacular than I can describe with words like beautiful and delicate and intricate and lovely and spectacular.
God did not make flowers in his image. He did not send his Son to redeem flowers. Flowers are not the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Flowers are not his Beloved.
That would be you.
So, if God gave that much attention to glorified grass…
Yeah–I think he’s got you covered.
Happy Monday, Beloved.
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)
Beloved, it’s out of your hands.
All of it.
And that really is a good thing.
Isn’t it sad that something God intended for our freedom has become a source of bondage? Realizing that He is in control should bring peace and rest, but my pride panics at the lack of control. It just refuses to admit that I am not Captain of my soul.
But I am most firmly not.
The sooner we come to grips with that painful fact, Beloved, the sooner we will be free.
Happy Friday, Beloved
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or stow away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:26)
The answer, for the record, is…
Regardless of what PETA says, you are much more valuable than a bird. You are God’s Beloved, and your Father has got you covered. That’s not saying you won’t have to work. Birds need to hustle to keep their little gullets filled. But they don’t seem to stress about where next week’s worm is coming from. They simply do the work in front of them, and reap the reward. That’s the lesson here: do the digging God has set before you, and trust Him to provide the worm.
Or, you know, something even better.
Happy Thursday, Beloved.