Friday, 16 September 2011

Personal Object Lessons - Questions and Queries

“Ask and it shall be given you;” Matthew 7 v 7

My life is full of questions. I always seem to be trying to find out ‘Why?’ In this respect I have continued to be like a small child who constantly asks why in order to understand the world around them.

Children invariably go to their parents, or care-givers, for their answers. Usually they get what they are seeking. The child learns step by step and the emerging world becomes less daunting to them. As I have grown up I, like most people, believe that I have outgrown my parents’ knowledge. I stopped going to them for answers in my early teenage years. Many queries remained unasked and therefore unanswered for many years after that.

What I have found is that it is usual to seek answers from a source that you trust. From a source that you believe can provide the answer you are searching for.

I still have an enquiring mind and I like to read so I have managed to find out some answers to a few burning questions that had remained with me for years. However, there are some areas that stump me and it’s at times like this that I may turn to the Bible. Matthew  7 v 7 says “Ask and it shall be given you”. I wondered if this was accurate for all things that I could desire so I read further. In John 14 v 13 it states, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do”, that sounds just perfect, but this is not a formula for selfish requests, the verse continues in this way, “that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

Therefore the request to God has a precondition, they will be granted as long as the Father is glorified by fulfilling the request. I wanted to know how I could know if God would be glorified by what I was asking.

As with many questions, one generates another. I have frequently found myself to be in a spiral of queries and not able to see the way out of them all. Again, I reach for the wisdom of trusted friends or the guidance to be found in the Bible. I reason that if I don’t get the full answer from one place then at least I will have gained some light and be able to look in another place for the rest.

This is what the Bible has to say about asking for things, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Mark 11 v 24. Therefore in exercising faith my desire and belief are fulfilled. There is an additional verse in 1 John 3 v 22 that explains why the requests are granted; it’s about obedience to the commandments of God. “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”

It appears that all our questions will be answered if we act in accordance with God’s commands.

The obvious next question for me is “What are God’s commandments?” As I said, one question often leads to another. I always gain insight from my search, but sometimes I end up with many more questions than answers. So I go back to the beginning and ask all over again.

In this way, I think that I never grow up; I remain child-like as I constantly seek guidance and direction from God. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

©MHMorgan 2011

Friday, 9 September 2011

Personal Object Lessons - Peace

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26 v 3

It’s nothing new to say that we live in troubled times. It seems that we are always talking about the bad things that happen to us, how then can we remain peaceful and remember to also focus on the good things? How can we find peace?

If it was a simple matter surely everybody would be doing it, right? Maybe it is an easy thing to do after all but not many people believe it because it is so simple. Because we live in such a complex world we have a tendency to have an aversion to the straightforward things in life. Simple solutions become suspect amidst the chaos and speed of everyday life.

However, I have found that getting back to basics has a lot of positive results.

One of my favourite verses in the whole bible is found in Isa 26 v 3, it states, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” This verse has kept me strong through so many tense and worrying situations. I have sometimes used it in a chant-like manner to remind myself that peace is guaranteed to me. It has worked.

So, how could this work for other people. I’m not suggesting that everyone goes around chanting the same verses over and over, what I am saying, and this is something that has worked for me, is that whenever possible it has been a good idea for me to think about God, His goodness, His provisions, His love and His promises.
Does that sound too simplistic? On one hand it could sound like a formula for robotic behaviour, but this would never be possible because each person is unique with their thoughts. So, how could thinking about the same subject, God, help to ensure a state of peaceful living? I ask this because so many people believe in God, but as many people as there are believing there are also that many interpretations of God’s will. How can that lead to a state of peacefulness?

The answers are, I think, in the Bible. Heb 12 v 14 states, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see God.” By loving each person we meet and wishing the best for them - as we would for ourselves - I think we will each be on the path towards wider peaceful living.

What about when we feel guilty regarding something? How do we find peace then?  Rom 5 v 1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Consequently faith and peace appear to be linked. We have to believe that our guilt – be it real or imagined – is taken away from us. As we follow this road of belief we relax in the comfort of peaceful reassurance because we gain a sense of rightness.

Isa 32 v 17 “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” From the beginning of peace we can follow the route to eternal assurance and quietness of mind. That sounds blissful. That sounds possible. It is.

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulations: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16 v 33) Therefore it is clear that we can still have a deep experience of peace while facing trials and tribulations each day. We are guaranteed that peaceful mind because it is a gift from God.

Jesus knows that when we are connected to Him and focussed on Him we will gain the peace we search for, we will overcome the troubles of the times that we inhabit. He has promised to give us peace, and His promises never fail.

 ©MHMorgan 2011
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