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355 – Our Great Giver

Comments Off on 355 – Our Great Giver 20 June 2014

Who doesn’t love to receive gifts? From the preschooler who receives a stuffed animal to a child who receives a Sony PS4, Nintendo 3DS, a Nintendo wii u, or an Xbox 1, to a grandmother who receives her grandchild’s hand picked gift just for her, receiving gifts is very special. By the way, I am somewhat knowledgeable of the latest devices, but I checked the list above by my grandson Evans to be sure I knew what I was talking about. Everyone loves to “get” a gift. Behind all of those gifts there must be a willing giver. Every Christian has a Great Giver in our loving heavenly Father. When we think of our needs, we need to remember what kind of Giver He is and what kind of gifts He gives.

If you are a child of God by faith you have:

1. a Giver who is gracious – While we love to receive, it is God’s nature to give. Paul, while speaking of the nature of a giver in regard to his own ministry, said, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35 NIV). It is apparent when I look at nature that God gives graciously. In creation He takes care of the birds, fish, and all of His creatures and all of His creation in a benevolent manner. We have watched a beautiful male cardinal in our yard who has survived a harsh winter because of God’s benevolent care of His creatures. Jesus talked about that in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6:26ff). He talked of how God feeds the birds and clothes the lilies of the field. God is most gracious to those who are His children. Solomon wrote, “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 …to those whose walk is blameless” (Prov. 2:6 NIV). The psalmist said, “The Lord watches over all who love him” (Ps. 145:20 NIV). Paul taught the Philippians, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19 NIV). We learn from that passage that God is interested in all of our needs. Nothing is too great or too small to ask of Him. Paul said that He has the abundant resources in Christ, the Agent of creation, to supply all of our needs. It is out of God’s abundance that we are blessed. Paul affirmed God’s gracious giving as he said,  “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32 NIV). By the way, since God is such a gracious Giver to us, we are to give graciously. Jesus commanded His disciples before sending them out, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8 NIV).

2. a Giver who guards you – God protects through His sound wisdom given to us as His gift. “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones” (Prov. 2:6–8 NIV). The wisdom of the world today is humanistic. It rationalizes away sin and calls for decisions to be made based on what is relative. In the post modern world people choose gratification at any cost. Many claim what they want and demand it as their right. Given by whom, I want to ask? Our eternal God has given us His wisdom in His Word. It is eternally “fixed” in the heavens. “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Ps. 119:89 NIV). The wisdom God gives produces understanding of the way to eternal life and the way to live that life here in the world. The person who is wise takes God’s Word and lives by it daily. That wisdom guards and protects its possessor. So, our protection is given to us by our gracious God through sound wisdom. God said to Abraham, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward” (Gen. 15:1 NIV). The psalmist experienced the protective power of God’s Word and said, “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield” (Ps. 33:20 NIV).  God’s wisdom points out the danger signs along the pathway of our lives. He will keep us from danger if we heed them! That is the reason He gives us His wisdom so freely. God is our Giver who guards us through His wisdom!

3. a Giver who guides you – Those who choose to live by God’s Word are promised God’s guiding wisdom. God’s wisdom must be asked for and received. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5 NIV). The gift is free, but conditioned on a godly life. Wisdom is God’s gift to those who are “upright” vs. 7. There are many role models in Scripture of those who followed God’s Word and walked by His teachings: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Peter, John, Paul, and many more. They found as did Solomon that, “Lady Wisdom will be your close friend, and Brother Knowledge your pleasant companion. Good Sense will scout ahead for danger, Insight will keep an eye out for you. They’ll keep you from making wrong turns, or following the bad directions Of those who are lost themselves and can’t tell a trail from a tumbleweed, These losers who make a game of evil and throw parties to celebrate perversity, Traveling paths that go nowhere, wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends” (Prov. 2:10–15 The Message). When you receive God’s wisdom, it affects your heart (affections) and your mind (decision-making center). That is why God uses wisdom as your guide.

4. a Giver who governs you – God’s wisdom delivers from evil, and it also keeps us on the right path. “Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous” (Prov. 2:20 NIV). Most of us want to do what is right, but we are easily tempted to do wrong. We need God’s wisdom to lead us in the right way. The way of God is the way His Commandments direct us. God loves obedient children. When we make choices that lead us off of the path of obedience they bring sorrow and a search like David’s as he sought the restoration of the joy of God’s salvation in his life. “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you” (Ps. 51:12–13 NIV84). That was his plea and promise after he had broken multiple ones of God’s Commandments. It is a reminder of the strong desire to come home after our prodigal wanderings. It is also a reminder that God’s wisdom would govern us so we could avoid the prodigal trek in the first place. To help us walk in obedience, God has given us wisdom, knowledge, and good sense.

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