trust

A Command that Doesn’t Make Sense

I am doing character studies in Scripture again and one common figure that has fascinated me is Elijah. He is known to be the one of two persons never to die, and reading his story and how the Lord used him, it is clear as to why he was graced as such. Nevertheless, he was a real person with real emotions that at one point made him suicidal. Within the stories centered around this man of God, we are introduced to a widow, whose name was not provided and all we know is that she had a son.

Reading this story, which I have read or heard preached several times, I was struck when God told Elijah that He had already commanded the woman to feed him. First of all, the fact that we get this piece of the character of God, we see how He truly does value women. Often times, people consider Judaism or stigmatize the place of women in the Old Testament and the corresponding culture, but this excerpt is one of many where we see God’s consideration of and revelation to women. So awesome. Still, the focus is on the command itself.

God had called this woman to minister to His prophet, Elijah, by giving him food. Fair enough, but the only problem was that she had none to give. So now what??

Being a widow in that time, it is no surprise that she was struggling, and the pressure on her was much greater considering that she had a son to take care of as well, so the last thing that she needed was God to tell her to give away what she really didn’t have to give. Yet, she did have something to give. Yes, it was barely enough just for her and her son and starvation was looking like a sure thing; she didn’t see the value in what she had, but made the commitment to obey God, though she didn’t know how. Isn’t that just like us??

God often commands us to do the impossible, for when we look around and consider what we have at our immediate disposal, we often think we misheard God or just fall into disobedience. I heard at a conference, “whatever the need, you have the seed to produce it,” and oh how this widow’s obedience reflects this principle. As we read the rest of the story, we see first that she was willing to obey, but she was just unsure how, and that is completely fine, since it will often lead us into unknown and scary situations, which is why Elijah told her not to be afraid and to do first what God commanded her to do before doing what she thought was necessary, like feeding her son. Now do I think that she was immediately assured to the fact of no fear or apprehension? Maybe not, but Elijah encouraged her that by sowing that seed, the Lord would bless her for the years to come during the famine. Her seed would meet her need. She was desperate, struggling, and preparing to die, but God met her where she was, giving her the opportunity to trust God with literally all that she had. And when you really think about it, she really had nothing to lose if she was going to die anyway.

In our moments of desperation, God still calls us to bless others in various ways, we must never forget that, because the earth and its fullness belongs to Him. As we see, the blessing of obedience far outweighs the cost of obedience.

As we continue to be ourselves and live our lives on purpose, we must never get so consumed with what we have that we hoard the little bit. God is a God of multiplication and whenever we sow those seeds and live in even the smallest acts of obedience, following the commands that don’t make sense or appear to magnify the struggle we are in, rather than rescue us, He promises to prove Himself, His power, His provision, and His faithfulness.  All of this is the beauty of the journey, because the biggest moves of God in our lives are in those random situations that can’t be logically processed as possible or effective; every mandate has a purpose, whether you recognize it immediately or not. So I have one question, do you trust Him?

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200 Feet

So if you havIMG_0350e watched TV anytime recently you may have seen a the Toyota Corolla commercial with the car driving around a winding mountain while dark, and the only light coming from the car. During the dramatic scene the narrator makes this statement, “Wherever it is you want to go, all you need to see is the next 200 feet.” Now I have seen this commercial several times, but that particular line always sticks out to me, because though it is based on the worthiness of the car, it is very relevant to how we live life.

Like the blackness of the mountain, there is the fear and anxiousness of what we can’t see, the unknown, and the uncertainty of the next move, yet all that we really need is that short span of light to take the next stride. Our focus should be on that light so that we can stay focused on what is in front of us at all times and not get distracted by what we can’t see, because yes there are dangers on the road like bad weather, other drivers, and bears as shown, and at times we are privy to actually experience them. Anyway, focusing on those 200 feet also allows us not to dwell on what it behind us. The past is the past, and though it does have its role, there is far less light to give attention to what is behind us. Well that’s nice, huh? I just answered all of life’s hardest questions…hardly.

To be serious, this commercial reminds me of a verse in the book of Psalm, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”    The obvious truth here is that life is full of dark mountains, otherwise there is no need for a light, but draw attention to where the light is, at tlamp 2he feet. As I heard it explained before, it’s like whlampen we use a flashlight walking through the house at night especially when there are stairs involved. We don’t usually shine the light straight ahead of us, but rather down at our feet, just enough so we can see the very next step, maybe two. Even a light on a path is not that bright, just enough light to guide you to the next, like a lantern or street light even.

As the Lord has shown me, we can’t handle the big picture all at once of where the Lord is taking us, because as mentioned before, we get distracted, try to rush, get too excited and try to skip steps that are crucial to reaching our destination in tact, or get discouraged by where we are at the moment, and or what all we will have to go through to reach out destiny. This whole journey is about faith, trusting an unknown future to a God who is all-knowing. It’s a matter of going through the process trusting that the light we have been given to lead and guide us has a fire or bulb that will never burn out.

And yeah, if you are like me, you desire that piece of control that wants the whole map and the lights ogods plann the road to shine as far as the ending destination, but in the Lord’s wisdom, He does things otherwise. Now many times we do have a vision, that is knowing where we anticipate arriving, but I think I can safely say that we never know what is really in between the start and end point. But it’s around those winding roads and mountains we learn to trust God, develop courage, perseverance and patience, wisdom and understanding; we learn to love and care for others on the journey and those that may be in the car with us; we begin to appreciate the beauty of the simplest things we wouldn’t normally give notice; we are kept from veering off in the wrong direction. It’s the dark “in between” we learn to be ourselves for a purpose, ensuring that we are all we need to be once we reach our destiny. So whether you only see 200 feet or 2 feet in front of you, remember that you are being lead by the One who created even the most treacherous of mountains and terrains, and the next step is all you need to see.

 

Beautiful Mercy for Ugly Sin

This love letter is amazing. As I read it and study more, the more I learn the heart of God and how much He truly loves me in spite of. Anyhow, there are four people that come to mind when I think of those that Satan very specifically targeted, not just a demon: Peter, Job, Judas, and David. Of course there may be others, but they are all I got. The first three I mentioned you are probably familiar with, but still going through Chronicles, I read about Satan’s encounter with David, and the story I knew but Satan’s role was unfamiliar.

Briefly, Satan was attempting to bring down Israel and used David to do so, by swaying him to pride and mistrust. You can read 1 Chronicles 21 for all the details. By counting the people David’s pride caused him to think that his success as the king thus far was by him alone, and what he had attained and accomplished was his doing. On the other hand, in doing so it was another slap in God’s face because it was as if David didn’t really believe the promise God made to multiply. He didn’t trust that God was doing what He said He would do. What I find the most intriguing are the events thereafter.

After David realized what had happened and God dealt with him, he was driven to build an altar and make a sacrifice to compel the Lord to stop the plague. However, in doing so, due to his guilt and shame, he nearly backed out because he was afraid, but the mercy of God is incredible. For the same place where David humbled himself after being so full of himself that God had to correct him, the place that represented one of his most costly mistakes and or sins, God still used it to build His temple.

So often in our own lives we mess up big and God has to deal with us, but when He does it’s in such a way that only He can get glory. God takes our mistakes and creates miracles. He uses our faults and failures as building blocks to an amazing testimony of His faithfulness, mercy and power. And truth be told, like David, it can be scary coming to God knowing just how flat out wrong we were, but His compassions are new every morning and His love endures forever. Coming to Him with a repented and humbled heart, the Lord is always willing to receive us with open arms. God will take the very thing hurt us and use it as a platform to help us and to see His promises come to fruition. David prepared the way for his son, Solomon, to build the temple of the Lord in the same place he built an altar.

In the end of his preparations for the next generation who would build the temple, David encouraged them. (See 1 Chronicles 22:17-19). He reminded them that the Lord was with them and everything was taken care of, so all they needed to do was focus on the task. He told them to devote and seek the Lord and begin to build the sanctuary so that things could be set in place.

The same speaks for us. We must continually seek the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33) and surrender all of who we are to Him, heart, mind, body and soul (Matt. 22:37). As we do so, we begin to build our temples, our bodies, the place where the Holy Spirit resides (1 Cor. 3:16) and we allow those precious fruit and sacred things of God to fill our hearts and minds that will give witness to the name of Christ, like joy, peace, forgiveness, love, and hope. These things will give room for the work of God to go forth in our lives and through our lives that the Name of the Lord may be known by whoever interacts with us as we use our gifts, talents, passions, and abilities to usher in His presence and leave His sweet aroma wherever we go. We have to prepare the way and give God the ugly things, the broken things, the sin that hinders the process, so that His beautiful mercy and love can cover it and be our foundation to build on. In doing so we have mastered the art of being ourselves for a purpose.

Just in Case

The story of Gideon is very interesting and to cover it all, a blogsite would not suffice, so for the sake of this entry, I want to focus on the beginning of his story, which pretty much sums up much of my relationship with God in one way or another.

If you aren’t familiar with the story of Gideon (Judges 6-9), it tells of a man full of insecurity, fear, and uncertainty so God had to prove Himself, and yes, yes He did. Nonetheless, it’s the beginning of his story that draws most of my attention. Gideon was pretty much a nobody, in that there nothing special about who he was, where he came from, or who his family was. But you know what? That is the beauty of it all. God’s standard for using someone has nothing to do with who we are or where we come from. What He has spoken over your life, the purpose He has for any of us, is not dependent on such superficial factors, rather our ability to believe what He has spoken and the choice accept it and pursue it. Sandy Smith put it this way, “God has a way of using those the world calls “nobodies.”

When God first expressed to Gideon his future as a mighty warrior (6:12), Gideon didn’t believe him for much of the reason many of us refuse to trust God today: His circumstance blinded his faith and belief and he didn’t see God working.Yet, God replied “Go in the strength you have.” One of the most remarkable things that make me love the Lord all the more, is how He is able to take the little that we have and do something incredible, if we allow Him to. Just as He told Gideon, I am telling you as He also told me, give Him all you have, even if you feel it’s very little, if anything at all, because “I knew nothing, I was nothing. For this reason God picked me out,” which is how St. Catherine Laboure explained it. Living a life of purpose is giving God the all of the little that we have to offer the God of the universe and trust that He will bless it and multiply it, like He did with the boy who only had two fish and five loaves of bread.

One of the things I grasp most in this passage is how God knows our limits and strength. Gideon asked a question that many of us do, “how can I?” We question ourselves and God doesn’t correct us, instead He promises to go with us (6:15-16). Bottom line, with the Lord, we have everything we need; we are in the majority. We are finite and however ways we are limited, He is infinite and has an unlimited amount of power and riches. We are weak but He is the Almighty God.

Nevertheless, as we each do often times, at least I know I have about a million times and then some, when we hear God, we question if it is God in fact talking. Although, generally speaking, when we aren’t sure, for one reason or another, it is good to inquire, which emphasizes having an intimate relationship with God so that when He speaks you know His voice. Still, God is gracious and puts up with our stubbornness and doubt, and will comply and show Himself; we just have to be willing to see it. Truth be told, many times it does require God several attempts before we get it, but we build our relationship with Him, it takes less for us to believe what He says and does.

Overall, God has spoken, and His word shall come to pass and He will fulfill His purpose in your life, whether it looks like it or not. Furthermore, you have no capacity, strength or ability to do all He has purposed you to do apart from Him, but just in case you forget, as we all do, as long as you have Him, you have all you need to accomplish the greatness set before you. Oh, and if nothing else, remember that God likes to show off, so be careful when you ask Him to prove Himself ☺.

Generation

Beth Moore is someone else I have been listening to recently. One of her messages, consequently. was about purpose and why it is so crucial that we don’t give up. I have mentioned it before in prior posts, but I want to reiterate it again. Simply put, your God-given purpose was chosen for this generation AND generations to come.

As any other person, there are things that you don’t understand or know why it happened, but we serve a God of the future and your story will be one to impact generations to come. God knows what He is doing and has an amazing plan for you and men. There is a reason He chose to put you in the family He did, gave you the personality, the talents and skills, the money or lack thereof; there is a reason He chose for you to grow up in the environment in the country or city, and a reason for the time which you were born. As Mordecai explained to Esther, you are here for such a time as this to impact this generation.

You are here immediately for this generation, as was said about David (Act 13:36). David served his generation. There are people that only you can reach, only you can connect with, only you can relate to, and as you do so, your service will touch generation to come. So be encouraged and know that God is working through generation. Stay focused and keep your eyes on the cross because your purpose I can guarantee is so much greater than your life; with God working through, what you do for this generation will last even after you pass, because the purposes of His heart continues throughout the generations (Psalm 33:11).

Make your story tell of God’s greatness and faithfulness so that future generations can praise His name (Psalm 102:18). Even more on a family basis living a Christ-centered life of purpose, your descendants will be blessed (Psalm 112:2). All in all, God’s calling on your life is so much bigger than you, thus, it’s imperative we live with conviction and purpose, because our children, grandchildren, and great-grands depends on it as well as their generations.

If we can come in accordance and seek God’s face and start fulfilling the great commission in whatever manifestation He led us as individuals, that’s how we receive the favor and blessings of God (Psalm 24:6). So live a life of purpose, believing God is sovereign and has a plan, even when it makes no type of sense the things you have to go through, know He wants to do in you something great, because this generation depends on it. Don’t lost faith. Keep praying. Keep seeking. Keep pressing. Keep trusting. Keep believing.