Friday, January 8, 2010

Are your thoughts LACKING?

In my last post, I talked about Christians moving beyond accepting Jesus as their savior, to recognizing Him as Lord of their lives. In a nutshell, we quit trying to be God ourselves and learn to rely on Him. This week, I want to show some scriptural examples where Jesus uses the meeting of our physical needs (provision) to establish His Lordship to us.

I think its human nature for us, in difficult situations, to tend to focus on our lack. “I don’t have this…I don’t have that”…while what God wants us to focus on, is what we HAVE.

God told Abraham that He would make him a great nation, yet he couldn’t help thinking, “I have no heir.” He struggled at times to see beyond his current circumstances.

God told Moses that he was sending him to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt and what was Moses’ first response? “Who am I that I should go…What if they don’t listen to me?” He didn’t think he had what it took.

Sometimes we operate in “lack” because we see the world according to our own physical limitations.

In 2 Kings 4, the widow said she was deep in debt and had no way to pay her creditors and Elisha asked her what she HAD. Her immediate answer was “Nothing.”

Before Jesus fed the 5,000, he asked his disciples “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He was testing their faith. Philip answered immediately. “Eight months wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” He was focused on what they did not have. But Andrew spoke up and said, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Andrew could focus on what they HAD, but because he could not see a way to solve the problem at hand with what provisions they had, he assumed that there was no solution.

When it comes to what WE need, do we focus on what we don’t have or what we do have? Do we tend to limit God to our own human capabilities or do we recognize him as the sovereign creator who can do all things?

When it came to feeding those 5,000 people, Jesus’ response was to tell his disciples to have the people sit down. Then he proceeded to do what the disciples would never have fathomed. He then took the loaves, GAVE THANKS for them and proceeded to distribute them to all those who were seated. In fact, not only did Jesus feed the 5,000 people there that day, but scripture says that when they gathered up what was left over, they filled 12 baskets!

This is similar to what occurred in the case of the widow. When she focused on what she HAD, “a little bit of oil,” and was obedient to what the Lord told her through the prophet Elisha, “to gather as many jars from her neighbors that she could find,” that little bit of oil filled so many empty jars that when she went out to sell the oil in the marketplace, she made enough money to not only pay off her debt, but enough that she and her sons could live on the rest.

Our God is NOT a God of lack. He is a God of abundance. He provides for the needs of His people not just by meeting the need, but by going above and beyond what we could even imagine possible.

“Our part” when we face tough circumstances is to choose to focus on what we DO have and be thankful. Then, as we saw with Jesus and the widow, we need to take our needs to God and let HIM be God. “His ways are higher than our ways.” We never can know exactly HOW He will choose to provide for us, but He promises that He will.

Man’s economy says, “Be fearful. You won’t have enough,” or “There’s not enough to go around,” but God’s economy says that HE will provide for all our needs and His word shows us He does so abundantly! To truly "live in the kingdom of God," you must recognize that GOD IS KING.

We aren’t born with a mentality of lack. It is something the world teaches us due to our own misunderstanding of God's purposes. Sometimes we may interpret circumstances as being lack when we don’t have what we think we deserve or what we see other people have. We have to trust that God knows best what we need and when. If we don’t have something right away, perhaps it is not something we truly need right now or perhaps He has something better in mind down the road.

If you take time to notice, historically speaking and in your own life, He has a really strong track record! Give credit where credit is due. Jesus is LORD. Live in His kingdom.



Warren Baldwin said...

I like your term "man's economy." We do rely too much on our perceptions, thoughts, wants, etc. in financial areas, and not enough on God's.

It is interesting to think of money from God's economy vs. man's economy. In the OT God forbid Israelites from loaning money at interest to each other, although they could loan at interest to foreigners (Gentiles). As we know in America today, interest becomes a form of enslavement. What if we were to go back to a non-interest form of money in our country? I don't just mean doing away with credit cards, I mean removing interest on the very isssuance of the money to begin with (our paper dollars enter society already debt-attached). We could free our people of huge financial burdens in the form of taxes for government debt payments.

I've thought about this a lot since teaching an American history course last school year and reading about how we used to have a more God-economy type of financial system.

Good post.

Nezzy said...

Amen! Sometimes we lack just because we lack the faith to ask!
We as a nation has focused way too much on things instead of placing our priorities where they belong, on God and others.

I truly enjoyed your post today, well written my sister! Have a great day and may God bless it!!!

Kelly Combs said...

Seems like spammers have figured a way around the word verification. I got 5 spams yesterday, and now Titus 2 has one.

Stacy, this was a great post and reminds me of Phil 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Barb said...

What a confirmation of what God has been putting into my life and my thoughts! I recently delivered this basic thought to a group.

God's Word is forever established!

Sue J. said...

I love that line in the feeding of the 5,000 story in which the first thing Jesus wants the folks to do is to sit down.

We all need to sit down ("be still" if you'd rather) and just be before God with whatever it is in front of us. We are so quick to act--and act in our own way--that we don't see that there's a huge Presence before us that wants to act on our behalf!

Quick to find fault. Quick to find "inadequacy." Quick to judge. Quick to think. But are we quick to pray, seek, sit before Him?....

Nice thoughts, Stacy!

Edie said...

Excellent thoughts Stacy!

This is something I remind myself of daily. It's kind of like counting your blessings. Whenever I go over the times in my past that God provided in a difficult situation, it builds my faith and confidence in Him, and drives out the fears.

I think we also place too much confidence in our employers, retirement plans, and insurance policies as our source of provision. Not that we shouldn't have these things if it is possible, but we have become dependent on them and forget that God can take care of us even when we lack these things.

This has been great encouragement to me today Stacy. It is easier to say these things than it is to live it out, but that Faith muscle must be worked out if it is to be strengthened.