I just started a Daily Grace Bible study, The Sermon on the Mount, and already I feel richer for it. Described as “a study on God’s upside-down kingdom”, where humility and kindness to the lowliest is valued over being best and first, we are still to shine our light brightly wherever we go. Perhaps especially so. Done with sensitivity, shining our light does not take anything away from the other. A good reminder.
I learned the full meaning of these well-known words:
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you
. [Matthew 7:7, NET translation]
It can be hard to know what is a legit ‘ask’ and what is really not. Especially when we notice that sometimes God answers our call for help, and other times he does not. How to know the difference, when to ask and when not to?
I’m pretty sure it’s not about asking for a new car, and poof, there it is. (But maybe.) Nor does he care much about winning lottery numbers, or a prestigous promotion at work (unless that fits into his plan for you).
Knowing the “key” to God’s granting of gifts and prayers is not meant as an easy way out of our earthly problems, though. It IS meant for us as a grateful acceptance of God’s Grace, which is freely given, but not predictable.
For me, when I genuinely seek God’s help in developing my character (the desirable attributes as described by Jesus in his sermon on the mount, in the gospel of Matthew, chapters 5 – 7) my wish is generally granted. I’ve received the ability to offer more kindness, to grow my heart for loving others and myself, to be more disciplined in my spiritual practices, to serve well while watching out for my own health, which is my first responsibility. And I’ve been granted such a thirst for knowledge of God that I never imagined, at my request.
But I have found that to receive from God I need to meet him halfway. Or at least take a concrete step in that direction. Like in any good relationship, I have to do my part. For example, if I want a deep and personal relationship with him, I need to dedicate solid time to showing up, not necessarily a lot of time but some time on a regular basis to be with him, just the two of us. And I need to spend time reading and digging deep in the Bible to understand his character, bit by bit. As if by taking the first step, he understands that I am serious in my desire. And he is only too pleased to help propel me. What a deal!
The Bible is his gift to us. It is his sacred word. While it takes some learning to understand how to get into this big book, the reward along the way builds in its wonder. The Bible has been described as a love letter from God to his children. It does feel like that to me. Such wonderful guidance and inspiration.
I look forward to day 2 of my Bible Study.
[Update – I’ve just completed day 7 and can’t get enough. But I am purposefully slowing the pace in order to fully absorb all the goodness. The Godness!]
The following is in response to a recent question on what is a Bible Study. Good question!
Doing a Bible Study is like having a knowledgeable pastor guiding you through a section or theme of the Bible, with commentary, context, explanations, and questions to make you think. Often, those questions make you realize things that you would have missed otherwise. It facilitates your digging deeper into the meaning and the purpose of a given text. It’s being presented with an alternative to the more obvious or common understanding. It’s having someone guiding your learning in a purposeful way, like being in a classroom or having a tutor by your side. And I am loving it.
I can’t compare with other studies since this is my first, but the ones offered at The Daily Grace Co. are excellent. I have ordered several, including one that focusses on a dozen or more known women of the Bible. I look forward to that one.
They have a variety of offerings:
– An App where your purchased studies are uploaded, which makes it easy to take along, and an online community of women doing the same study as you.
– A Blog with inspiring and hopeful messages (http://dailygraceblog.com)
– A weekly Podcast led by two young moms (Check your favourite podcast provider.)
– An online store (http://thedailygraceco.com)
God bless, M.