"I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate . . . But . . . God's Spirit and God's power did it, which made it clear that your life and faith is a response to God's power, not some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else." - 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 (The Message) We all get into situations that we feel unprepared for, too tired to do, totally unfocused to accomplish, or a number of other reasons we could fail at a task that is set before us. When we find ourselves in a situation like that we have two choices. We can either dig deep and rely on our own strength and wisdom or we can submit to God our inadequacies and weaknesses and rely on the Holy Spirit.
People wonder all the time how a pastor, a deacon, an elder, someone in the leadership of God's church could leave their wife and run off with another woman. People wonder all the time how a Sunday School teacher who loves the Lord could neglect her children and family because of alcohol. Maybe you are wondering how you could be raising your hands to Jesus, speaking in tongues, and being used by God to touch lives one day, and sinning against God the next. The answer is when you fail to die to self each day, you are walking in the "flesh," not the "Spirit."
For each one of us, the one certainty is that one day this life will be over and we will pass into eternity. It is not a question of if, only when. That is why I try often to reinforce to you that we must live each day to its fullest. Our purpose in this life is to serve and glorify God. When it is over, the only thing that we will take with us from this life is our personal relationship with Christ.
"Reverence for the Lord gives a man deep strength; his children have a place of refuge and security." - Proverbs 14:26 While some days are 72 degrees and sunny, most of us experience some pretty severe storms in life, storms that threaten to wash us away. Things don't always go as planned. And in those tough times we need a place of shelter. We need a place of protection, stability, security.
"Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, `Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.' Then Jesus said to him, `Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.'" - Luke 19: 8-10 (NRSV) If we merely give out of our excess we don't give God the opportunity to prove his faithfulness. That's like lifting a very light weight. It won't strengthen your muscles. But when we give sacrificially, when we give to the point of it hurting a bit, we exercise our faith - we learn to trust in God by giving him a chance to prove himself trustworthy.
As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." â€“ Luke 21:1-4 Far too many Christians imagine that they'll be more generous if and when they become rich, but the amount of money we have doesn't matter. Generosity has more to do with the proportion we give than it does with the actual amount we give...no matter how much we actually own