Thought for the Week.02-28-16. Ask, Seek, Knock
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
Jesus was a continual source of amazement for those who followed after Him. Here on the mountain, He has already taught them the prayer of example, and now He emphasizes the importance of their showing complete trust in God through prayer.
That trust is displayed by their approaching Him and just being open in their relationship with Him: asking God implies a sense of need, seeking implies putting forth concerted effort, and knocking implies persistence, that is, not giving up easily.
This message couldn’t be more relevant in our day. We are told in several places in the New Testament to be a praying people. Praying to God is a wonderful source of both comfort and power, so long as our prayers are prayed in accordance to His will. We can accomplish more through prayer of sincere faith than we could even dream of.
Thought for the Week.02-21-16.Unexpected Outcomes
“I returned and saw under the sun that--
The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).
The preacher has written an aggressive and persuasive treatise in this chapter, promoting the idea that everything is in the hands of God. Life is unpredictable, he says, and things often turn out differently from the way we expect.
While he has already made clear that mankind is to work and do his part, he emphasizes here that, in the end, one must not be disappointed when the outcome doesn’t agree with our most logical and rational expectations. Human wisdom doesn’t work even in ordinary life many times, and certainly it doesn’t work when we insert it into spiritual matters.
A full acceptance of this philosophy will save us a lot of heartache, both in this life and in in the life to come. God is the ultimate power. We do our part by following the instructions He has given in His word; and then we allow life to happen as it happens, accepting that God’s will is being done now and that His will is certain to prevail for our spiritual welfare in eternity.
Thought for the Week.02-14-16. Kiss the Son
“Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are those who put their trust in Him” (Psalm 2:12).
A kiss is a symbol of many things, both good and bad in scripture. As a good symbol, it represents love, devotion, friendly affection, tribute and many other emotions. In this passage, it is used to mean “to pay homage to.” “Homage” means “respect or reverential regard” or “respect paid by external action.”
The psalmist prophecies the time when God would set up His Son as King and that the world would “kiss” him—that is, they would express devotion to Him and put their trust in Him for their spiritual future. That time came, of course, at the cross.
Since we are living in the time prophesied about in this psalm and since the New Testament verifies the kind of relationship we are to have with God’s Son, the message rings true today: through the way we conduct our lives every day, we demonstrate the depth of our “kiss” of Jesus—that is, the sincerity of our commitment to Him.
Thought for the Week.2-7-16.Am I My Brother’s Keeper?
“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ And he said, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?’ ” (Genesis 4:9).
When Cain asks this question of God so long ago, he has no idea how dramatically the answer will chart the course of human history nor how timeless the principle will be. All he has in mind is to diffuse God’s question and try to get himself out of a jam.
In fact, the question is so absurd that God doesn’t even dignify it with a direct answer. He just tells Cain the severe consequences of his action, that is, of his having killed his brother Abel. And in the First Corinthian letter, the Apostle Paul repeats the principle through examples that show the extent of our responsibility to each other.
Not only are we responsible to help each other in everyday affairs of life, but we must make sure that our actions, even our liberties, don’t cause others to justify some sinful behavior. This mandate makes us realize the extreme responsibility God has placed upon us: we are our brother’s keeper both physically and spiritually.
Thought for the Week.1-31-16.Give Us a King
“But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ So Samuel prayed to the Lord” (1 Samuel 8:6).
The prophet Samuel no doubt knew God’s attitude toward this rebellious demand from the people before he ever prayed to God. God was the ruler of the people, and He wanted it to stay that way.
This demand really speaks to an aggressive attitude the people had developed and to their moving away from depending on God as their only ruler. That is what displeased God. They wanted to be like the other nations that had a king, and God wanted them to be His unique people who continued to rely upon Him.
God wants the same from us today. He wants us to depend on Him by relying on the instructions in His word and by showing our devotion and dependence on Him through prayer and faithful service. May we ever be such a people.