Sunday, September 17, 2017

You’re Not the Only One


You’re Not the Only One


Do you ever feel inadequate when God’s purposes for your life seem to be beyond your abilities, knowledge, experience and means? Does your heritage or history haunt you and hold you back? If so, you’re not the only one. The truth of the matter is, His callings are beyond our personal capabilities. His standards automatically disqualify us! That is why we must rely on Him for wisdom, direction, power, resources and righteousness. And He usually calls us to rely on each other as well (we weren’t meant to be lone warriors)!

Here are three examples of men who questioned God choosing them to do great things for His glory. Each had their faults, and each made some disastrous decisions along the way. But when they trusted and obeyed God, they were mightily used by Him.

Moses
Chosen by God to:
  • Confront Pharaoh and lead the Nation of Israel out of bondage in Egypt.
  • Receive the Law of God and disseminate it to Israel.
  • Deliver the Nation of Israel into the Promised Land.

When God called to Moses from the ‘burning’ bush and then told him about his mission to lead Israel out of captivity, this is how Moses replied:
  • Exodus 3:11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”


Gideon
Chosen by God to:
  • Deliver Israel from the oppression of the Midianites.
  • Lead 300 warriors of God into Battle against and army of 135,000.
  • Serve as judge over the Nation of Israel.

When the Angel of the LORD spoke to Gideon in the winepress at Ophrah and told him that he would save Israel from the hand of the Midianites, Gideon responded with:
  • Judges 6:15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”


King Saul
Chosen by God to:
  • Serve as the first King appointed and anointed by God to rule over the Nation of Israel.
  • Lead Israel under God’s authority and by His Law – set a God honoring example for all the Jews.
  • Continue to deliver the Promised Land from the remaining Canaanites as directed by God.

When God used the prophet Samuel to reveal to Saul that he would be Israel’s first king, here is what Saul said:
  • 1 Samuel 9:21 And Saul answered and said, “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak like this to me?”


It is a good thing to be in awe of God. When we consider who He is and what He has done, certainly we should see ourselves as inadequate. David expressed this well in the following verses.
  • Psalm 8:3-4 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, 4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
  • Psalm 144:3-4 LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him? 4 Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow.

However, we must not allow our feelings of inadequacy to get in the way of our obedience to Him and trust in Him. In Jesus Christ, we can do all things.
  • 1 Samuel 15:22 So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
  • Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Our weaknesses provide the opportunity for the power of Christ to be displayed in our lives.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Accomplishing great things for God is not about becoming great. It is about lowering ourselves and submitting all that we are to all that He is. His timing and ways are perfect.
  • 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
  • Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”


You’re not the only one to feel inadequate.
Be one who obeys and trusts Him.

Then let the church and the world see
What God accomplishes through a faithful servant!


Prayer

Father God, creator of all things and giver of life, please help Your children see that you don’t expect us to do the impossible. What You desire is for Your faithful servants to submit to Your purposes, plans and power in a way that brings glory and honor to You. Help us to be weak so that Your strength is revealed. I pray these things in the name of Jesus my Savior. Amen.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Disarmed

Disarmed


Have you ever condemned someone in your mind? Perhaps you were betrayed by a friend and decided to declare the complete and total end of that relationship. Maybe you have been cheated and decided to get even (plus a little extra). Or have you watched someone and, presuming you knew their motives and intentions, judged them to be doing something wrong. Regardless of the particular circumstance, a dialogue probably started in your mind about what you would say if and when you faced them, why you were right and they were wrong, who would side with you, and when you would dispense your justice.

Welcome to the human race. We are very good at condemning others. Our thoughts and feelings in these situations are typically along these lines, ‘I am justified in condemning this person and they are deserving of the consequences they will face!’

In the Holy Bible, in chapter 8 of the Gospel of John, we read a story about condemnation.
  • John 8:3-5 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

The religious leaders were getting desperate. Consumed with their self-righteousness and determined to eliminate Jesus’ threat to their status, they were willing to execute this woman. Afraid of losing their authority, unwilling to dispense grace, they sought to discredit, disgrace and dispose of Jesus.
  • If Jesus said to stone her, the crowd was ready, willing and able. But then they would have to contrive a different offence of which to accuse Him. They were out for blood!
  • If Jesus said to spare her, they would mostly likely have abandoned her and triumphantly arrested, abused and abolished Him. They weren’t interested in justice – she was just a pawn in their scheme to deal with Jesus.

But then we see the Godly wisdom and grace of Jesus!
  • John 8:7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

In that moment, all who were prepared to stone this woman and seize Jesus were disarmed.


With a humiliated sinner before Jesus,
the Law gave way to grace,
and the stones of human judgment
rested harmlessly scattered on the ground.


To show Godly grace is to:
  • Display unmerited favor
  • Dispense underserved kindness
  • Disarm yourself

Are you prepared to forgive? Are you willing to show grace?


Is there a stone in your hand?
Will you drop it or use it?


Prayer

Father God, may the love, mercy and grace You have shown disarm Your children. Help us to forgive as You have forgiven. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen