Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].
James 1:17 AMP
It would be good for us to read the whole chapter of Isaiah 64 this morning, beloved — to contrast our own indebtedness to our cry for His mercy. But verses 1 and 5 are especially encouraging for me to include here this morning:
Oh, that You would tear open the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence— You meet him who rejoices in doing that which is morally right, Who remembers You in Your ways. Indeed, You were angry, for we sinned; We have long continued in our sins [prolonging Your anger]. And shall we be saved [under such circumstances]?
Isaiah 64:1, 5 AMP
And it would be good for us to read the whole chapter of Malachi 3 this morning as well, beloved. But again, I have included a small section of encouragement:
“Yet from the days of your fathers you have turned away from My statutes and ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings [you have withheld]. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, this whole nation! Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it. Then I will rebuke the devourer (insects, plague) for your sake and he will not destroy the fruits of the ground, nor will your vine in the field drop its grapes [before harvest],” says the Lord of hosts. “All nations shall call you happy and blessed, for you shall be a land of delight,” says the Lord of hosts.
Malachi 3:7-12 AMP
In James, we see the every good and perfect gift comes down from God in Heaven. In Isaiah, we see that God does indeed open up Heaven to come down to meet with those who do right and who remember Him in their ways. And in Malachi, we see that even in our turning away from Him, we can return, we can repent, we can bring it all to Him as we should, and He will open the windows of Heaven.
Now I must say, that “opening the windows of Heaven” is not some formula we should try to leverage in order to borrow against our blessings in heaven to gain health, wealth, and prosperity now. Isn’t it clear how foolish it is to be a slave to the lender within the financial realm, and don’t we see warnings in scripture about such things?
The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.
Proverbs 22:7 AMP
And how foolish would it be for us to trade our nice home built on a firm foundation that appreciates in value, and trade it for an expensive, flashy car that over time breaks down, rots and rusts.
“Do not store up for yourselves [material] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. But if your eye is bad [spiritually blind], your whole body will be full of darkness [devoid of God’s precepts]. So if the [very] light inside you [your inner self, your heart, your conscience] is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].
Matthew 6:19-24 AMP
Only a con artist and a thief, sent to steal kill and destroy, would try to convince a man to do such foolish things as trade whate is perfect and imperishable for what rots and rusts.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].
John 10:10 AMP
What do good and perfect gifts look like? The world might answer, “Money, Physical Health, Powerful Influence, Talented Abilities, Beauty”. My 9 year old daughter with a birthday looking might say “a puppy”. I might open up the Amazon Shopping app on my phone and say “a radio tower” so that we can get reliable Internet service here on our farm in the rolling foothills of the mountains. But God tells us what the good fruit is:
But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites. If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. We must not become conceited, challenging or provoking one another, envying one another.
Galatians 5:22-26 AMP
So, have we crucified our sinful nature along with its passions and appetites, like described in Galatians 5, beloved?
Are we eager for heavenly treasures that might look like unselfish concern for others, and an inner peace to wait patiently upon the Lord even in times of great challenge, like described in Galatians 5, beloved?
Or do we need to hear the call to return, like described in Malachi 3, beloved?
Therefore do not worry or be anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted), saying, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ For the [pagan] Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; [but do not worry,] for your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:31-34 AMP
Thank you, Lord, for tending tho our every need. Thank you for not letting us become so rich and fat that we forget generosity, thankfulness, and self- control. Thank you for not letting us become so poverty stricken that we forget your promises to provide for our every need. Thank you for not letting our appetites and our desires rule over us and steal from us the abundance you have in store for us. Thank you for making a way where there was no way. Thank you for opening up heaven ands meeting with us, and avoiding in us and through us to reveal yourself to a fallen world, and to spend time with us, your beloved. Amen.