Tuesday, January 7, 2020

God Never Asks You To Do Something That You Can Do Without Him

You will always need God to accomplish what He sends you to do. We were just talking about Gideon. God used Gideon to defeat an army of thousands using only three hundred men, torches and clay pots. When Moses sent the twelve spies across the Jordan to spy out the land, all but two (Joshua and Caleb) came back with bad news. In the minds of the ten, it was impossible for Israel to defeat the giants that lived there. It was too hard a task. Forty years later, Joshua was once again standing at the banks of the Jordan. The task was the same. Joshua was to take the land for Israel. And the Lord said:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ― Joshua 1:9

God chooses to use ordinary people to do what is impossible in the minds of men. If you are going to do something for God, you cannot do it apart from God. What we do is by the power of God through His Spirit.

This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts” ― Zechariah 4:6

I would be at great fault if I did not make it clear that anything that was accomplished during our journeys must be credited to the dedication and commitment of the hundreds of volunteers that helped us. Time and again, the right people with the right skills, heart for service, and financial resources came to Mississippi, and later to Haiti and to Texas. When we faced the trials and challenges that we faced, we often had no idea how to overcome them. “But God” is perhaps one of the strongest phrases in the Bible. It appears no less than 47 times. But God met the challenges and trials using the volunteers who would come to our aid.

I could not possibly acknowledge each one, each group, each church that set their lives aside to help the “man in the ditch.” I would have to devote an entire chapter of my book, “Where Faith Is Waiting” to each of them. Not only did they minister to the people in the communities, but they ministered to Martie and me. What we did, where we served was a very difficult and, at times, a dark and dangerous place to be. They were like the balm of Gilead for us personally. They encouraged us. They blessed us. They stood in the gap for us. To this day we count many as dear friends and partners in the fields in which the Lord has set our plow. And we knew that is was by God’s providence that we were able to do what we did.

 “‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’  Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22:36-39

If you read Matthew 22:36-39 you see that God requires all of your devotion and that devotion then gives birth to a love for others. Saying yes to God re-quires faith ― trust ― obedience. Where we get into trouble is when we make choices in our own wisdom. Have you faced faith challenges in your life? Are you facing one now?  Would you be willing to go to a difficult place or become involved in a difficult circumstance? Or maybe you feel like you are already there.

Most people I know put a limit on their devotion to God.  They struggle with natural devotion and spiritual devotion.  Anything can become a god if we let it have preeminence over our devotion to God.  The second greatest commandment is to love others, but that is the second greatest, not the first.  God really asks very few to physically abandon their families to serve him.  But He commands every one of us to abandon any and all devotions that would push Him aside. 

Even loving Him more requires Him to do it.  We can’t do it on our own.  We must do it by faith by the power of the Spirit.  There are many admonitions in the New Testament to love others – above ourselves – but never above God.  The temptation is strong, but God is stronger.  God never asks us to do anything that we can do on our own except this one thing; to lay our lives down at the foot of the cross, to trust in God and not ourselves.

I share what od has done in our lives not as a point of boasting about ourselves, we are nothing. No, we are boasting about what a great God we serve and hope to encourage you to say “Yes” to God and go to a place uncertainty.  A place where you must trust in God and not yourself.  It might be right around the corner. Or with the next person you meet. 

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” – Jude 24-25

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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