When we stray from His presence, He longs for you to come back. He weeps that you are missing out on His love, protection and provision. He throws His arms open, runs toward you, gathers you up, and welcomes you home. – Charles Stanley
Nancy had a very sad story. No place to live, no money, mental illness and a 16 year old daughter. The only way I can imagine it worse is if she had cancer! She was desperate for help of some kind. This is happening more often than we want to admit. These are desperate days.
In case you’re wondering, yes I helped Nancy and her daughter. It’s what we do as Christ followers, isn’t it? It’s why people come to us for help because they know that Christians are supposed to help and we are, we should, we must. In desperate times like these there is nothing more important than showing the love God extends us by extending it to others.
This spirit of caring comes because God has cared for us. It’s a response to God’s love for us that makes us reach out to others. Some are selling their homes, moving into smaller homes and using the extra money to help others. Others are looking for different ways to help those in need. The love of Christ is motivating them to share what God has given them with those in need.
This is how Jesus fed the multitudes. He gave the bread and fish to the disciples who then gave it to the crowds. He made them “middle men” for his provision. He does the same with us in our day. We are his “middle men and women” sharing what God has given us with those in need, both spiritually and physically.
In desperate days like these the love of Christ in us is revealed most clearly as we help those who have nowhere else to go. The love of God moves us to action just as it did God when he gave to us, “For God so loved the world he gave….”
Giving out of love is the very nature of our Father. As his children we have this same heart, a heart of love that gives. Pray for an opportunity to share the love of God with those in need around you. Desperate days give us opportunities to show how glorious the love of God is for those in need of both food and faith.
It strikes me that a Christian who knows God is the richest of people while in the world’s eyes he may be without what the world values. We are the people who have everything, but possess nothing. We walk with a God who owns everything that exists and supplies us with daily needs. The world hordes goods, money, and things in the hope of having “enough” for the days ahead. Proverbs tells us to not set our hearts on riches because they make themselves wings and fly away.
And yet we long for security. We want to know we have enough in the bank to be ready for that rainy day when we will need it. We have the strange idea that we are in this by ourselves. In fact, for the man in the world I understand this need for security, but for the Christian who lives and moves in and with God it’s an idol to hold onto and seek after wealth as a security. God meets daily needs so that our trust and focus will be on him and not on our own ability to meet our needs.
There are difficult days. There are times when the economies of the world struggle. In those times those around us fear, panic and struggle….how will we survive? What will happen with our retirement? How will we have enough? We have this sense that all of this is up to us to hold onto, to provide, to save. If that is true we should be afraid! No one can be secure in the evil days. If we don’t trust in God for our daily needs, our daily provision, we will be fearful, worried and will struggle with the world around us.
But, imagine a man or woman who lives in the reality of a sovereign God who has promised to meet our needs and is fully able to do so. Imagine having nothing, but possessing everything. Imagine trusting God as your provision rather than your own ability. Imagine a rest, a trust in one who will provide no matter what the world around us is doing. Paul described it this way, “My God will provide all your needs according to his riches in glory.” What are his riches in glory? He owns everything, he possess all. If he lacks anything then he can’t be God, but he is! He has everything we need, everything. As you put your rest and trust in him you lack NOTHING.
In that trust we find ourselves to be wealthy paupers, possessing nothing, but having everything. We might walk about with empty pockets, but living as children of the Father who possesses the cattle on a thousand hills. He owns everything and promises to provide for us as we trust him. This is a whole different kind of life….a life of trust, of peace, of freedom from the news, the world’s fears, the crisis of the moment. It’s a life lived in dependence on a Father who has promised to provide all we need each day, our daily manna, the bread for the moment. We find we are the richest of men while in the moment we possess nothing at all.
The man or woman who trusts God finds they are the ultimate paradox- a wealthy pauper.
Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply all your needs according to HIS riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
True security is not in the possession of things, but in the possession of someone…the great God, the wonderful Father, the source of all we need for the moment even as we walk about with empty pockets, a company of wealthy paupers.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thes. 5:18
Today is Thanksgiving day in our country. It started with a group of men and women pausing to thank God for his care and provision. It continues as a tradition that has lost much of its initial purpose.
Today it’s a day off, football, turkey, family, pumpkin pie, a nap…..
Today God will find only a brief mention for those who give thanks for the meal, but there is so much more to say. Paul’s exhortation to the church speaks volumes for us. All that we have, all that happens, all we experience gives us opportunity to thank the one who gave it from his great kindness. Let me share a portion of my list as I begin this day of thanksgiving.
I’m thankful for God’s great goodness to me, for the day, for sight, for health, for family, for a warm home, for salvation…oh how wonderful is that, for purpose, for hope, for love, for food, for clothing, for God’s love in my life, for his constant care, for feet that work, for grace to experience, for friends…oh what a blessing they are, for a God who hears when I pray, for my bible…I so love God’s word, for my wonderful wife, for children I dearly love, for grandchildren, for glorious parents, for life itself, for this moment to celebrate a good God, for stars that show me how grand God really is, for thousands of other things, moment by moment, I say thank you, God. You are glorious!
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
Several times recently I have heard the comment, usually made to justify changing churches, “I just wasn’t being fed.” Considering the fact that I have said this in the past myself, my reaction to hearing it lately is interesting to me.“I just wasn’t being fed.” By that do you mean that there was no [spiritual] food made available? Or was the portion set before you too meager to satisfy? Was it there, and you merely did not “eat?”When I was an infant, I of course depended on my mother to feed me. As I grew, increasingly I fed myself but my mother still specified and provided the food that I ate. As time went on, I could choose more and more what I ate, but largely it was still provided by someone else. Finally, in maturity, I’m largely responsible for feeding myself, even though there is almost always someone else involved in the provision of food.
One might initially be drawn to a local church because of a hunger to know the Lord; by feeding on the Word, one can learn who God is, who man
really is, what God has accomplished to reconcile man to Himself, etc. As a [spiritual] infant, a person does not know what or how to eat, and the church, through the preached word, Bible classes, etc. can feed such a person until that person begins to learn to feed directly on the Word. From passages of Scripture such as Hebrews 5:12-14, we see that there is an expectation for the Christian to grow to maturity, but not every one does, and as Theodore Epp said,
It is a shame for a person to have been a Christian for years but not to have advanced beyond the knowledge of his salvation.
That aside, is occupying a seat and listening to sermons the reason ultimately for church attendance? The passage in Hebrews, as well as many others, points at our maturing to love one another as Christ commanded and to serve one another as Christ demonstrated. This is not at all to diminish the value or importance of the preached word, but the church is a family where we each have a responsibility to one another, and “eating” once a week will obviously not sustain us in our love and service to each other, much less to a needy world. We must daily see to our spiritual sustenance by making our mind available to God’s Word. Viewed in this way, “I just wasn’t being fed” seems a pretty selfish cop-out.
Last weekend, my wife and I were visiting the town where I grew up. As we drove by the church where I went as a child, we noticed the sign out front which carried this stinging rebuke:
Christians often expect the world to respect the book which they neglect.