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Monthly Archives: July 2011

God’s Provision or the World’s Excess?

Do we really know what “provision” truly is? Or do we have it confused with excess? Recently, I read a book entitled Lord Change My Attitude Before It’s Too Late by James MacDonald. In the chapter about contentment, he states that we should be content with food, shelter and clothes on our backs. He used I Timothy 6:8-9 as an example: And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. (NKJV) I know this is a hard piece of candy to eat, especially for me! Lord knows, I’m still in the process of changing my mindset about the difference between provision and excess.

The biblical definition of rich is “more than enough.” That’s right, more than enough. So if your cabinets and refrigerators continually have food in them, then you are rich. If your closet has more than one outfit, then you are rich. If you have plenty of space where you dwell, then you are rich. This is a hard pill to swallow because those of us here in the United States of America have an entirely different standard of living. We usually don’t think about how the rest of the world is living. We are filthy rich compared to rest of the world, but we are unaware. Media bombards us with images of what standard of living is considered acceptable or normal, when in reality the overwhelming majority of people in this country are rich. In many countries, it is rare for someone to even have more than one or two pairs of shoes. That’s unheard of here. You would be considered to be living in poverty
if you didn’t have five pairs of shoes! This is because we have confused provision with excess. Or even sadder, most people would actually prefer the world’s excess over God’s provision. We truly don’t seem to know exactly what enough is.

Let me break this down further. If you are eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Ramen noodles every day; that is still provision because that food is nourishing your body and satisfying your hunger pangs. You may not be eating some perfectly-balanced meal or steak and lobster, but you’re still being fed. You might be shopping at the Salvation Army for clothes and may not be up on the latest fashion, but does God care? We know the answer to that one. The fact is that you have clothes on your back to keep your body covered. Whether you are in an apartment in a low-income area of town or staying with someone; it is still shelter that has been provided. Even people in homeless shelters still have provision. Understand that provision is NOT based upon your personal preferences.

Trust me. As much as I’m writing this to you, it’s ministering to me because I have not arrived when it comes to this topic. It has come up in my spirit a number of times that we don’t want God to show us Himself. We want to be in control and think that we’re at Burger King where we can “have it our way.” Just like the children of Israel, they were only temporarily satisfied with the manna that fell from heaven. They preferred the meats, grains and whatever else they had when they were enslaved in Egypt. God was simply showing them that He will provide for them because they are His children. He was removing “Egypt” from them so they could better receive all that the Promised Land had for them. But they would not be satisfied and stopped believing in the same God who had just parted the Red Sea for them. I believe that we are the same way. God longs for us to depend on Him, but we would rather have excess so that we can be in control. Or should I say enslaved like the children of Israel to our own lusts? Most of us don’t want the faith walk where we literally depend on God for provision. I can’t honestly say that I’ve even grown to this level yet. How sad! God only wants to demonstrate to us that He is our source over and over again. Instead, we would rather just have millions of dollars in the bank and call it a day. I believe this is one of the main differences between those of us who are professed believers in this country from those around the world. They are usually in positions where they have no choice but to depend on God, and as a result, they enjoy much deeper relationships with Him and have a far greater reverence for Adonai than we do. They also experience miracles, signs and wonders way more frequently than we do in this country. In our nation, we seem to believe that we are entitled to any and everything. Many of us would reject His love in this fashion and opt for riches of the world.

Now I am not saying that God doesn’t provide abundantly. He does in ways in which we are unaware. But when abundance manifests in the natural, it’s ALWAYS so that you can bless others and not just yourself. It saddens me when I hear of multi-millionaires donating five or ten thousand dollars to a charity. They seem to believe that those millions all belong to them when it really all belongs to Him. It will be hard for them to see God because the riches are in the way. So now I have another angle as to why Jesus said “And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” after He told the young rich man to sell all of his possessions so he could follow Him. (See Matthew 19:16-28) God may not be telling you to do something radical like this, but He has told some folks. He will provide! His Word says that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Do we really believe this? I hope that I continue to grow and yearn for Him that I want to see His glory. That I would yearn for Him to provide because He knows exactly what we need. When we have excess, we are likely to fulfill selfish desires and use it ungratefully and unnecessarily. When He provides, it is at the right time and it is what we need. So let’s get out of the Lord’s way and allow Him to provide for us as He sees fit. Again, I’m not saying it is a crime to be rich. I’m just saying allow God to be God and not desire or worship the excess of the world.

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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Spirituality

 

Relax: God Knows Your Potential

“I wish I were on the Christian spoken word scene more.”

“Why have I not been released into full-time ministry yet?”

“I have so much more to offer than this!”

These are the thoughts that have run through my mind at various times during the past few years. I’ve struggled with the idea that I could be doing so much more for the Kingdom and that I was being “underused.” But… The Lord has spoken to me in that gentle soft voice to give me a very loud and clear message: Don’t get beside yourself son. Whew! That is a word of rebuke to say the least! So this piece of hard candy is focusing on the reality that we are only vessels to be used for His glory. This means being used the way He wants to use us and how He desires to use us at any given time. Often times, or should I say almost all of the time, we want
to be used by Him on our own terms.

Over the course of my life, I’ve had a lot of situations where I was involved in some sort of team effort and have many times felt like my ideas weren’t given enough consideration and that my talents were underutilized. I would become enraged on the inside and would feel like a caged bird. I remember pondering this one day during my quiet time with the Lord and I heard Him so clearly: It wasn’t your time son.

So I want to take some time to encourage and/or correct whoever reads this if this is an area where you might have struggled or still think about. You see, we live in a country where there is such a pervasive entitlement mentality. For this particular situation, I am speaking of the belief that we are entitled to certain things based upon our level of gifting or talents. Or even our backgrounds. For example, the young woman who has a singing voice that can rival that of Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey is likely going to be led to believe that she is supposed to be a recording artist. The man who went to Harvard Business School believes that he should eventually be the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation. Well I got news for you folks! The Kingdom of God doesn’t work that way! We have to remember that we are all created for His good pleasure and that He has a specific purpose and plan for our lives. It is all about advancing the gospel and reconciling the lost back to Him. Nothing more, nothing less. We all have different ways of carrying out the great commission and our gifts and talents are to be used for this purpose.

As I have been pondering this over the past couple of weeks, the Lord has given me some reasons why people are not operating in their gifting and/or may be seemingly be used at a level that doesn’t appear very significant. Actually there are SEVERAL different reasons and scenarios but I am going to focus on the ones in which I’m feeling led to share:

  • It’s not your season

We all know that God is all about timing because He is so strategic in His plans. He’s going to use us when He knows we can be the most effective for the Kingdom and we just have to sit back and wait. You may already have the character that is necessary. You may already be walking in a good place with Him. It’s just not your time yet.

  •  More healing and deliverance is needed

It is not good to minister to others out of a heart that has wounds that are festering. God is actually protecting His children from you in some cases because you will cause damage to His Kingdom. He is waiting for you to come to Him and make your healing and deliverance a priority over your desire to be used.

  •  He is yearning for you to be with Him

Now granted, this is always going to be the case every minute and every second of our lives. But I’m talking about those who want to be used who don’t have a deep enough personal relationship with Him. You want to be used by Him but don’t know Him well enough for yourself. Do you value being “used” more than spending time with Him? It could also be that you have placed too much of your self-worth in your talents and even your so-called status. This is referred to as the “pride of life.” The book of Ecclesiastes talks about this. He wants you to find your affirmation in Him alone. He wants vessels not performers. Ponder that.

  •  What is “insignificant” to you is likely SIGNIFICANT to Him

And that’s all that matters. A good mentor friend of mine has said on many occasions that God often detests the things that man values. In our flesh, it is impossible to know the impact we are having in the spirit realm which we can’t see in the natural. Another friend of mine says that he would rather be significant than popular. Being seen and operating under titles means NOTHING to Him. Obedience is what matters to Him. So relax, the “insignificant” things you are doing may very well pay you eternal dividends.

  •  He is building your character

The last thing God wants is for your gifts to take you places where your character can’t keep you.  He desires for you to remain a worthy vessel that can be used in high places and He is looking for His children whom He can trust. What are your motives? Can He trust you with a certain mode of operation in His Kingdom? Can He trust that you won’t become conceited or even turn away from Him when worldly success manifests? Are you able to operate by the Holy Spirit at all times so you can handle any situation that may arise? To whom much is given, much is required. Ponder these things.

And so…

We have to know that it is all about Him. Your gifts, talents and abilities don’t matter as much as you might think. The Kingdom does not need your gifts. God gave them to you in the first place and He can always give an assignment to someone else.

Another point to consider also is that you might desire to be used in a way that is not even on God’s radar. Yes you have the gifts and talents, and you will use them at specific times, but there might be a totally different path that He has laid out for you. We have no choice but to believe that it is the best possible path that exists, despite what we may desire or believe. He knows when and how we should be used to make the most impact for the Kingdom. So yes, the girl with the anointed voice might just serve on the usher board or live next door to you. The man who went to Harvard may get called to the mission fields in some third world country. Also remember, things are not always what they seem. Some people who seem to have been elevated or who are operating at a seemingly “high” level are completely out of God’s will! Their efforts are totally in vain! A day late and a dollar short; in the spiritual sense. You may not enjoy the way that God is using you, but it is all apart of being that living sacrifice. But I also know that He cares and sometimes we have to settle for joy instead of happiness. It won’t be this way always. Your situation can change even in this earthly life. So relax, God knows your potential! If you cooperate with Him, He will get the maximum results out of you.

God bless.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Spirituality

 
 
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