Friday, May 5, 2017

Approaching God

Chuckle: Judge: “Why couldn’t you settle this matter yourselves?” Defendant: “We tried to, Your Honor, but the police broke it up.”
Quote: "For your desire is your prayer; and your desire is without ceasing; your prayer will also be without ceasing." --St. Augustine

"Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7 NIV).
With these words, Jesus is teaching us that God is approachable by his people. This passage is a part of Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew 5-7), which contains some of the most beautiful and comprehensive teachings of Jesus during his earthly ministry. In your minds eye, picture Jesus seated on the side of a hill with his followers gathered around him attentively as he patiently and lovingly teaches them.
Here Jesus teaches us to be persistent in pursuing God. Jesus likely makes this point because people may be tempted to give up after a few half-hearted efforts and conclude that God cannot be found -- or is not listening. But to know God requires persistent faith, intentional focus, and consistent follow-through. When we ask, seek, and knock, Jesus assures us that we will be rewarded.
Why would we want to seek God anyway? If we are committed Christians, we do not want to miss anything that God may say or do. We will hang on his every word and adjust our lives to his guidance. We will focus our attention on him. The theme of the sermon on the mount is commitment to God's kingdom. Earlier in the sermon, Jesus says this about seeking God's kingdom. "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things (food, drink, clothing, etc.) will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33 NIV). We should continue to ask him for more knowledge, patience, wisdom, love, and understanding. He will give them to us.
Of course our prayers must come from hearts with pure motives. "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures" (James 4:3 NIV). Pure motives will cause us to always ask for things that are consistent with God's character and will. Our prayers will always reflect hearts that are focused on doing the will of the Father, not our own. Above all, we should never give up in seeking God. "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and never give up" (Luke 18:1 NIV).
"Prayer pulls the rope down below and the great bell rings in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly; others give only an occasional jerk at the rope. But he who communicates with heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously with all his might." (C. H. Spurgeon).
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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