June 25, 2008

Give Until it Hurts!

Mary Southerland

 

Today’s Truth

Matthew 7:7-11 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. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

 

Friend to Friend

I have always loved giving gifts to my children, and now, we have two grandchildren – twins, a boy and a girl. I am in so much trouble! A few days ago, I took our daughter-in-law and the twins shopping. Seriously, shopping for these babies has become a love-driven passion for me, or as I am now known, Mimi. I had a list of items I wanted to purchase but was disappointed when I found only half of the items on the list. However, it was getting late and the babies began to “tell” us that they were ready for dinner and bedtime! We checked out, loaded the babies into the car and headed home.

 

When Jodi leaned over to kiss my cheek and thank me for the gifts, I looked at her and said, “It’s not enough!” Jodi chuckled, but I was serious! “No, you don’t understand, honey. We have to go shopping again because I haven’t given the babies enough and my heart is not excited enough yet!” I know. I am totally ruined but I am going to try very hard not to ruin Jaydan and Lelia. (The projected success rate does not look good right now, but I promise to work on it.)

On the way home, I began to analyze my words and my heart. I don’t really know how to explain what I feel for Jaydan and Lelia, but it is sort of like watching my heart walk around on the outside of my body. I know that I can love them in so many ways…and I do. Looking back, I realize that I was pretty much the same way with our own children. I didn’t have money then, and I don’t have money now but I was always looking for ways to give them gifts.

 

Our Father has the same heart - a giving heart - when it comes to giving His children good things. The problem is that we don’t really believe it! One of the most tragic results of our unbelief is an ineffective prayer life. We pray, not really believing that God will answer those prayers.

 

In Matthew 7:7-11, Jesus is teaching about prayer and about the very nature of God. He relates it to something we all can understand, the child-parent relationship. The son has been out in the fields working all day. By the time he comes home, he is starving. His family is seated at the dinner table and dishes of steaming, delicious food are being passed around. Imagine that the Father tosses his son a rock and says, “Here! Eat this!” Jesus is driving home the truth that good fathers want to give their kids good gifts. Now if this is true of earthly parents (and grandparents), imagine what our Heavenly Parent wants to give us.

 

No one’s voice sounds sweeter to God than your voice, friend. Nothing in the universe would keep Him from giving you His full attention when you pray! In Psalm 34:8, the psalmist invites us to “taste and see that the LORD is good”. In this verse, “Lord” means “Jehovah, Abba Father”.

 

Don’t think you have to figure out a way to steal a blessing from God. Don’t think you have to trick Him into giving up what He would rather keep for Himself. It is God’s very nature to give to His children. He is a giving God with a heart that longs to bless, to encourage, to empower and to love you. God is not only able to answer your prayer, but God wants to answer your prayer.

 

Let’s Pray

Father God, my heart longs for You and for Your unconditional love but it seems like I constantly battle the thought that I am not good enough for You to love or that I don’t deserve Your love. Today, I realize that You are my Abba Father, my Dearest Daddy and that You long to give me good things simply because You are my Father and I am Your child. Please help me remember that truth when the doubts and feelings of insecurity come. I choose against those false emotions and choose instead to believe You.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 

Now it’s Your Turn

Read and meditate on the following verses:

 

  • Psalm 17:18 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
  • Psalm 149:4 For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.
  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • Romans 8:39 Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Make a list of the ways God has proven His love for you.

 

Think back over your life and begin a list of God’s gifts to you. Add to your list each week. Be sure to date each entry.

 

Begin another list of the gifts you can give God. Pray, asking the Father to love others through you and in doing so, realize His love for you as never before.

 

More from the Girls

I have struggled with this truth since childhood – the truth that God loves me unconditionally and completely. I did not grow up with the love of an earthly father but God’s love is more than enough. His love never fails. I would love to share an entire message with you and tell you how I came to experience God’s love. Love that Never Fails is the story of my journey from fear and insecurity to faith and hope. I also encourage you to check out my free online bible study, Light for the Journey, as we study the power of right thinking.

 

 

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