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The Character of God – Reflected


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A guy bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for her birthday.

After hearing about this extravagant gift, a friend of his said, “I thought she wanted one of those sporty four-wheel-drive vehicles.”

“She did,” he replied. “But where was I going to find a fake Jeep?”

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I remember as a kid going to the J.C. Penney Christmas Catalogue and making out a lengthy list of Christmas presents.  My sister and I would take turns looking through that book turning page corners down and circling items with pens and crayons.  We’d then finalize a list on a separate piece of notebook paper.  It was very strategic.  We knew we would not get extravagance (from either Santa or our parents).  We would get things that we could play with and that would be fun.  I can go back in my brain and remember some of the items.  A football.  A long rifle…cap gun.  A Scooby Doo latch hook wall hanging kit.  Tonka trucks galore…very useful in the sand box.  Books.  New underwear.  Etc.  Most everything was purposeful to us.  Our parents tried best to match gifts that they new wouldn’t spoil us but would provide great entertainment and some learning along the way…as well as things we needed…new underwear.  🙂

Jesus, in Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it will be given.”

I’m a huge Pirates of the Caribbean movie fan.  Each movie has its own plot, and each plot contains a search for “treasure” in various forms.  Captain Jack Sparrow is the lead character who is bent on finding the “treasure of the time.”  The last film has him searching for the much sought after ‘Fountain of Youth.’  In his round about ways, he ends up winning … something … somehow … in each movie to the amazement of all other characters.  You see, Jack Sparrow is not seen as a brainy pirate.  Occasionally his schemes work.  But for the most part, he’s often portrayed as clumsy.  But he always ends up winning!  In each movie, various perplexed characters often ask the question of Jack, “Does he plan it all out, or does he make it up as he goes?”  Either way, the quote says a lot about Jack’s ability to keep searching.

Jesus said, “Seek and you will find.”

In the book Les Miserables, Jean Valjean is a bread thief…stealing to feed members of his family.  He spent 19 years in jail for his crime and for attempts of escape.  He finally gets out and is making his way back home.  He is desperate and probably not all healthy of mind and heart.  He knocks on a door hoping to find a place to sleep.  It is the door of the town’s local Bishop, Myriel.  The bishop leads him through the doorway, knowing that his passport papers  show him to be a convict.  Jean Valjean can’t sleep at night and ends up stealing the bishop’s silver.  The thief, after being caught by authorites, is identified by Bishop Myriel, but the bishop says that they were a gift and that he had not stolen the silver.  He was not arrested.  Myriel later looks him in the eyes and basically says words that bring grace to Jean Valjean’s upturned world.  A picture of God.

Jesus said, “Knock and the door will be opened.”  He said this knowing that we are not worthy to enter.

Here is the interplay that Jesus is describing.  He is saying that there is something in asking God for what we need.  If we were to stand before God, I’m sure that none of us would ask for extravagance – but for what we know we need – and deep down I think we all know that He’s good and will give what is required for us to live abundantly and to serve Him well.   Jesus asks us to seek.  And sometimes, like Jack Sparrow, we are seeking rightly and sometimes wrongly and sometimes we just make it up as we go…but we seek.  And if we seek with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13) we will find God and His ways and His wisdom and His knowledge and His help and care.  Sometimes we simply need safety and shelter.  Jesus says to knock and the door will be opened.  Even though we are carrying sin in our lives, God opens the door.

God is the perfect parent.  He gives perfect things when we need them.  He shows Himself to us when we seek Him.  He shelters us when we need it.

Now, Jesus is about to change gears.  He moves from God’s character to ours.  He finishes His statements about God the Father, and then begins the next sentence with, “So, you….”  We need to pay attention here because He’s setting up the classic “If – Then” statement.  If God is like this, then you should be like this.  He then pulls out a blanket word….’everything.’  In ‘everything,’ we should treat others like we would like to be treated.  The Golden Rule.  No, it’s just from your elementary teacher’s bulletin board poster, it’s from the very mouth of the Creator (John 1:1).  And He finishes with this phrase in verse 12, “This sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  Does that ring a bell?

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest  commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  (Matthew 20:37-40)

Here, in the Sermon on the Mount, we hear Jesus speaking how to Love God and Love People.  We love God by asking Him for what we need…seeking Him with our whole heart…and coming under His shelter and authority.  We love other people by treating them as ourselves…and we ourselves should be allowing God’s light to shine through us so that others begin to ask, seek and knock like we do.  Do you see the circle?  Throug the process we begin to reflect God’s character.  If we love God and know Him, then we treat other people as God treats us…all for the purpose of them seeing more of Him.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

Ed

 

Questions for Growth:

  • What do you ask of God?  Do you ask for anything specific on a regular basis?  If so, what?
  • How do you seek God on a daily basis?
  • Do you ever find yourself knocking on God’s door?  What’s the purpose of your knock?
  • Do you follow the Golden Rule? …with coworkers, classmates, on Facebook, with church family members? …in everthing?
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