Genesis 18: 20-33
Colossians 2: 8-14
Luke 11: 5-13
This year marks forty years of God’s faithfulness to us as a Church. The Bible says that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it. God’s Word does not return to Him without accomplishing that for which it was sent. I believe He will lead us into forty years more and beyond because our God is a good God and He always fulfills His promises.
This year also marks the time we were received into the communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church marking our reception into the one, holy, and apostolic Church. One year ago was also the installation of the second Bishop of this Diocese. God is faithful and He will never leave us nor forsake us. The time is in His hands, and in His time, everything will turn out beautiful. One thing I have learned through much fear and trembling is: no matter what happens, the Lord reigns and so we do not have to be afraid.
Today's parable is not about what God is like but what our prayer should be like. Jesus portrays what God is really like. Our God is a God who gives us fish, not a snake; an egg, not a scorpion. The reason Jesus came is to show who God the Father is because some have failed to understand it. God sends Someone who doesn’t kill us but gives us abundant life! If He gave His life, what more can He give?
The Father’s heart is that He has gladly chosen us His Kingdom. Why would He withhold other things from us if He gave His Son’s life for us? Let us change our wrong view of our God. He wants the best for us always! He wants our good all the time; He doesn’t change. God's heart is always expressive for a desire for our best. God is always outward; God always blesses and He ever blesses so He is ever blessed.
The parable tells us of what our prayer should be like: persistent and selfless. Abraham was not praying for his wishes or his needs. I am not saying that we don’t pray for our needs. God grants even our whims. Our Holy Father wants to give what is best for us. He is a fish giver and an egg giver, but the request of Solomon and the persistent friend was not for themselves. Their prayers were for the sake and the need of their brother. Ideally, our prayer should be for others.
In our prayers, sometimes what we ask are things that are not necessary good for us. Likened to a child, he would ask something not for his good, but only for his palate, which only gives a fleeting joy. God gives what we ask, but He expects us to mature. Our prayers for personal needs are overtaken by our prayers for the needs of others because we more and more become like Jesus who always thinks of His neighbor first before Himself.
Our mission, our job description, the reason we live is to grow up eventually into the image and likeness of God. Our God is a Blessor; a Giver, and this is what satisfies Him and fulfills Him. God should not be seen as a cosmic genie or a cosmic Santa Claus that grants our wishes. Prayer is so that we can be equipped to fulfill our mission.
Whenever we ask something from God, what is it for? It is not wrong to ask for what is for ourselves, but God would tell us, “I want you to mature. I want you to be like My Son Who is always concerned for the Kingdom.” What He asks is always what is needed for His kingdom. James 4:3 said, “You ask and you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures, selfish reasons, and selfish desires.”
In our faith, we believe this teaching that says, “Name it and claim it!” My question is: who is it for? What is it for? What is our motive for asking? For self or for others? St. Paul says, “If I have a big faith so as to name it and claim it, but I do not have love for my neighbor and ask for my neighbor, then I am nothing.” This is what the world wants to trap us into – the deception of taking care of self. The greatest love of all is not love of self in the kingdom of God, but it is demonstrated by Jesus in giving His life for others.
Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it no one enslaves you and deceives you with foolish traditions of men and the world’s ways rather than the example of Christ who gives His life for the sake of many.” The will of God is for us to be blessed, and blessing means being like Jesus. Blessing means having His heart. Blessing is not accumulating wealth which will pass away. The character of god is eternal.
God ever blesses and this is why He is ever-blessed. What is being blessed? The Sermon on the Mount is how Jesus defines blessing. Blessed are the poor in spirit, the spiritually humble. Blessed are the gentle. Blessed are those who thirst for righteousness. Blessed are the merciful, not thinking that we are taken advantage of. Jesus said that being merciful, being forgiving of the sins of others and their offenses is a blessing. Blessed are the peacemakers, not the war-mongers. How can we derive satisfaction when we get our brothers to fight against each other?
Blessed are those who control their anger against their brother. God has given us a spirit of love, power and sel