The folks at Desiring God have put together a sweet demonstration from John Piper’s new Bible reading and sermon prep series.
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This morning’s Morning and Evening is a reminder that our God is more than willing to help us in times of need.
For those of us who despise the growing monster of the prosperity gospel, this can become a surprisingly hard pill to swallow. It is too easy to swing the pendulum so far in the other direction and forget that God takes pleasure in coming to our aid.
This morning’s devotional echos Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:7-11.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Not only does God give good things; every good gift has come from Him. James 1:17 states,
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
That said, God is not a cosmic gumball machine. He will not supply our every whim. According to James 4:2-3, we often ask with wrong motives or fail to ask at all.
You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
We cannot see the big picture and often our landscapes are filled with self. Thankfully, we have an intercessor who knows exactly how to pray for us and meet our needs. Romans 8:26 says,
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
What a comfort! Let’s not fall too far on either side of the petitioning pendulum with demands for prosperity or too much silence. God is both able and willing to meet our needs in Christ.
In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul writes,
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Even if we don’t get what we want, God will always give us what we need. He is a compassionate and gracious Father who lovingly provides good things for His children. As if that were not enough, He will guard our hearts and minds with His unfathomable peace if we prayerfully and thankfully take our requests to Him.
Here is Alistair Begg’s paraphrase of the Spurgeon classic.
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I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD. — Isaiah 41:14
This morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us: “I will help you.”
“It is but a small thing for Me, your God, to help you. Consider what I have done already. What! Not help you? Why, I bought you with My blood. What! Not help you? I have died for you; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help you! It is the least thing I will ever do for you; I have done more, and will do more. Before the world began I chose you. I made the covenant for you. I laid aside My glory and became a man for you; I gave up My life for you; and if I did all this, I will surely help you now.
In helping you, I am giving you what I have bought for you already. If you had need of a thousand times as much help, I would give it to you; you require little compared with what I am ready to give. It is much for you to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. Help you? Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of your granary asking for help, it would not ruin you to give him a handful of your wheat; and you are nothing but a tiny insect at the door of My all-sufficiency. I will help you.”
O my soul, is this not enough? Do you need more strength than the omnipotence of the united Trinity? Do you want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring here your empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Hurry, gather up your wants, and bring them here–your emptiness, your woes, your needs. Behold, this river of God is full for your supply; what else can you desire? Go forth, my soul, in this your might. The Eternal God is your helper!
Fear not, I am with you, oh, be not dismay’d!
I, I am your God, and will still give you aid.