Friday, October 23, 2020

Matthew 7 - Part 2


Read Matthew 7


A long time ago, when I was filling the pulpit between Jim and Duawn, not knowing that you would have to endure me almost every Sunday in this new century, I used the Janis Joplin song, O Lord Won’t You Buy Me as a parody of our prayers.

Some may remember the message.  Many remember the song.


I'd like to do a song

Of great social and political import

It goes like this


As an act of mercy to all present, I will read not sing or scream the lyrics.


Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz

My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends

Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends

So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz


Oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV

Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me

I wait for delivery each day until three

So oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV


Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town

I'm counting on you, Lord, please don't let me down

Prove that you love me and buy the next round

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town


We ask for some crazy things in our prayers.  Sometimes we ask for very reasonable things.  Many have prayed for the health of a loved one.  Many have prayed for a job.  Many have prayed for those who have gone down the roads of alcoholism and drug addiction.

I’m not asking for a Mercedes Benz.  I just want my grandma to live a little longer.

I’m not asking for a new television.  I just want to pay the water bill.

I’m not asking for drinking money.  I just want it to rain.

Is God even listening?

How about this approach his throne of grace with confidence business?

How do I know that I am in a his grace is sufficient situation?

Do I take a little wine for my stomach, go to the emergency room, or just pray for God to heal the daily aches and pains?

Sometimes I need more than being told that God’s ways are higher than my ways.  Sometimes, that’s not the answer that I need to my prayers.

Ask, seek, knock—what do I do with these verbs?  I ask all the time.  Sometimes I seek the Lord and his kingdom and his righteousness.  Seldom do I knock.  I know it won’t do any good.  I haven’t lived up to my end.

Really?  Jesus offers an open invitation to God’s blessings.  Do you remember the beatitudes?  Repentance prepares us for blessing.

But can we be blessed in our sin?  Can we be blessed in our apathy or ambivalence?  I meet with people all of the time who want help.  Specifically, they want money but don’t want the yoke that Jesus offers that would give them rest and peace and provide for what they need.

Sometimes what people seek is not what the good plans that God has in store for us hold.  What if the answer we seek would rob us or someone else of abundant life?

What if God answers everyone one of our petitions with a good gift but sometimes we didn’t see it because it wasn’t exactly what we thought we needed.

God gives good gifts!

If your kid was hungry and wanted you to make him some breakfast, would you give him a plate of gravel?  Here, put a little Tabasco on it.  It will go down easier.

If your kid asked you for a fish, would you give him a water moccasin instead?

Who would do these things?

But if we who all fall short of the glory of God can figure out how to give our own children good gifts, how much more will our Father in heaven give to us?

What if our requests amount to asking for a rock when we should be asking for bread?  Would you want God to give you a rock just because you don’t know what to ask for?

Sometimes, our prayers defy what God has told us to do.  If God told you to plant tomatoes but you wanted to plant cucumbers instead, do you expect God to bless your cucumber crop when you have neglected the crop that God told you to plant?

Read the Proverbs.  Tom’s notes summarized much of these quips of wisdom into a simple dichotomy.  There is God’s way and there is everything else.  One of the names for that everything else is wickedness.

Ask for what God has told you that you need. It’s like he said put these things on your prayer list.  I know you need them.  I stand ready to give them to you.

Seek the things of God and his kingdom and his righteousness.  Then expect him to open doors for you as you live out the good plans that he has for you.

Let’s try it this way.  Do to others as you would hope they would do to you and expect God to answer your prayers.  Live by love for God and for each other and expect God to answer your prayers.

Seek God and his kingdom and his righteousness and you will recognize the answer to your prayers when you see them.


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