Monday, June 03, 2013

God Is Enough

I'd like to start off by bringing you to a scene in our biblical past... the poor widow who gave everything and walked away with nothing.  Or so it would seem.  Picture this, men and women were giving of their wealth, of what they could afford to give without actually causing any kind of financial pinch.  They paraded their wealth before men and gave for all to see.  Then in walks this precious widow, ever faithful to God, who came with all she had and tossed it in the offering along with the wealth of those who had preceded her. 

I wonder, did she weigh her decision carefully before leaving her home on that particular day?  Were worry and fear on her face as she walked forward to offer the only money she had remaining?  What was she going to eat tonight?  How would she pay for any personal needs she may have in the coming days?  Jesus saw what she had done.  What was His reaction?  He called His disciples over!  Hey guys, get over here, look at this!  Jesus wanted to show them what a real act of faith looked like.  He explained to them that this woman had given more than anyone else because she had given of her poverty while the others gave of their wealth.

So what did this poor widow walk away with?  She walked away with peace of heart.  She walked away with the joy of knowing that she was obedient to God.  She walked away knowing that God would meet her needs no matter how dire her circumstances seemed to be.  She walked out the same way she walked in, with faith that God saw her as precious in His sight and that He would not abandon her in her hour of need.  I wonder what blessing she received from this act of faith.  I'll have to ask her when I see her. :)

How many of us have a faith like that?  Why are we so ready to freak out at the slightest problem or loss instead of having faith in God?  When will we learn that God is enough?

Jesus is our example of how to trust in our Father under persecution, financial distress, illness, etc...  In fact, there is one occasion where the Lord was eager to sidestep something that brought distress to His heart... His own torture and crucifixion.  He went before God three times to ask that the cup be taken from Him if possible.  Three times! 

What was this "cup" Jesus spoke of?  Was it the pain of crucifixion?  Yes, but it was so much more.  The cup is used in the bible to signify God's judgment, so what He was asking was that if it was possible for Him to do this without having to endure God's wrath (His anger, His judgment, His punishment) and without having to be isolated from God at that moment when all our sin would be heaped upon Him, then He would prefer an alternative, but if He had to endure all of what God had planned from the beginning, then He would be obedient to Him and submit to God's plan of salvation for mankind.  Jesus was so distressed that as his facial muscles clenched, it caused blood to drip from his pours.  Remember, Jesus had never experienced God's wrath because He was perfect in all His ways.  He had also never experienced isolation from God.  He had never known physical torture.  This was unexplored territory and it caused Him great distress.

What was the final verdict?  Jesus would have to continue on the path that God had set for Him and He would have to endure it all.  What was Jesus response?  Stop asking for deliverance and walk in obedience.  He walked away with the mindset that He was going to complete the work He came to do.

So now we come to us.  How has fear caused us to take our eyes off of our Creator and place them on the creation?  When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, what did they do when Jesus came walking in the garden?  They ran and hid.  Why?  Fear.  When the disciples were in the midst of a storm that threatened to upend the boat, they cried out to Jesus to save them before they all died.  What were they feeling?  Fear.  Even though they had the Son of God with them, they still felt fear because their eyes weren't on Him, but on the situation at hand.

We clutter our lives with a lot of hay and stubble.  We become comfortable with what we have and use it all to satisfy our fleshly desires.  Then, when something threatens to take any of it away, fear is right there to make us take our eyes off of Who and what are really important and instead focus on what we may lose.  Financial difficulties have a way of making people sort through their priorities and decide what's really important, but still the hay and stubble remain.  Why?  Because we're using this hay and stubble to satisfy our own desires instead of using what the Lord has blessed us with to bless others.  This hay and stubble are the very things that we're told by the world that we "need." 

Fear comes from not having.  I just lost my job... fear.  I took a cut in pay and now can't afford my car payment... fear.  My cable is going to be shut off... fear.  I've just been diagnosed with cancer... fear.  My unwed teenage daughter is pregnant.  What's going to happen to her future?... Fear.  So what is it that we don't have?  Faith.  We don't have faith.  We immediately look at the situation presented to us and we forget about seeking God's guidance and begin using our own intellect to resolve the issue and plan a way out, if possible. 

Sometimes we'll say, "Take this from me, Father!" without realizing that what we're experiencing is what God wants to use to bring us closer to Him, to shape us into who He wants us to be, to prune us so that we may produce fruit.

Faith is more than just believing.  Faith is more than just acknowledging that God has blessed you with all the wonderful things you have in your life.  Faith is also that thing you possess when the bills can't be paid or your child gets sick or your relationship with your spouse seems to be souring or when you find yourself in line at a food bank.  Faith isn't just for the time of plenty, but also for those times when everything seems to be going wrong.  Without faith, fear reigns.  We need to recognize that God is enough.  He was enough for John the Baptist, who spent years in the desert eating locust and honey and dressed in clothes woven from camel hair.  He was enough when the disciples left their livelyhood and families and friends and followed Jesus and eventually spread the word of God to the whole known world.  He was enough for Moses when he wandered through the desert after leaving Egypt or when he was ordered back to Egypt by God to deliver His people from bondage.  He was enough for Joseph when his brothers sold him into slavery. 

When fear creeps in, our reaction should be immediate: stop, pray, believe, and wait (and in some circumstances, rebuke!).  Then seek encouragement by opening up your bible.  Read the accounts of the lives of God's chosen and take heart, for you are one of His chosen as well and an heir to His throne.  Be encouraged as you read about all those who God delivered... those who were obedient to Him.  Joseph, Daniel, David, Abraham, Moses... there are so many stories of tragedy and hope, of betrayal and deliverance. 

When you are worried that you could lose everything, remember that God sometimes needs to reshape and remold you into a vessel through which He can work miracles in the lives of others.  Sometimes God needs to prune the branch severely in order for it to survive and produce much fruit.  Know that when the Lord allows such times in your life, He's not just concerned with the "now" but is also looking ahead when the pruning will produce 30, 60 or 100 times.  He's looking ahead when the vessel He's shaping (you) will be fit to be used to fulfill His purpose.

Everything we possess, from our house and car to the clothes on our back, are temporary.  Even these fleshly bodies are temporary.  So don't fear those who can kill the body but can't touch your soul or spirit, don't fear losing those things you've taken years to acquire, don't fear when everything around you seems to be in an upheaval.  Remember that God is eternal and He is our Provider.  He has already arranged the provision.  We just need to step forward in faith and accept what He has prepared for us for today. 

God knew you before the foundation of the earth was laid.  He saw every sin you would ever commit and He still chose YOU!  That's love!  And what does God say about love?  Perfect loves casts out fear. 

Take heart and don't fear... God is enough.

Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!
TribulationHarvest.net

2 comments:

  1. I desperately need to know the answer to this question. What if I don't have that kind of faith? what do I do?Because I'm pretty sure there are way more professing Christians who don't than do, though most of them would do anything to keep it a secret.How do I change my own heart? How do I force my heart to believe what it doesn't believe even though my mind does.
    Here's the answer to all your questions above;because peoples hearts have not been changed.People who have been changed don't need to be told to give or serve.you couldn't stop them from giving and serving without killing them.
    Churches/pastors are in to big a hurry to "build" their church to make sure the people in it are really saved.
    Ask any pastor and I bet he will tell you" 20% of the congregation is doing 80% of the work. They ask the congregation why. They preach about discipleship and tithing and so forth but it's really just manipulation.These people are there every Sunday and they're not part of the flock yet and even they don't know it.
    One on one mentoring, intensive prayer and laying on of hands, meditation on scripture, aswking God for more of the Holy spirits work in our hearts and waiting on God UNTILL GOD DOES THE WORK.Jesus was with his apostles every day for three years and when he was taken they still didn't get it. He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the power,(Spirit), from above.
    It took all three years AND the work of the Spirit.

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    Replies
    1. You have answered your own question. Prayer, reading God's word, seeking the leading of the Holy Spirit. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

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