Sunday, January 25, 2015

He's More Than Enough



How can one define enough? In some instances, enough might be a whole lot of something.  At other times, enough might be just a little.

Most of the time more than enough sounds like an impossibility; we can't even get enough, let alone more than enough.

Jesus provided a perfect picture of more than enough when he fed the multitudes (Luke 9). One small boy in the crowd had five loaves and two fish. Jesus took that small meal (which was enough for the boy) and blessing it, He made it more than enough for five thousand. In fact, there were twelve baskets of left overs once everyone had eaten.

The story of the loaves and fishes is such a perfect example of the way God so often works. I have found, over and over, that He wants us to give Him the little we have; in exchange, we get all that He has. 

When I was a young woman, my siblings and I had a Christian rock group. Our goal was to lift up Christ and draw people to Him. We were pretty devoted and gave up all other ambitions in pursuit of ministry. 

One of our biggest hurdles was that we did not have our own sound system.This placed some serious restrictions on our ministry. We prayed and prayed that God would give us a sound system.  One day, after chores, I was walking across the yard, asking God (once again) for a sound system. God reminded me of David and his five, smooth stones - the same stones David took to meet Goliath. 

"What do you have in your hand," God said to me that morning. All of a sudden, I realized that I could sell my horse and the money could be used to buy a sound system. My sister and my father also sold their horses and we had enough money to purchase the sound system.

I won't lie to you; it was a sacrifice. I loved my horse. 

Did I ever regret giving up my horse for the Lord?  Absolutely not. God took the little that I had and poured out blessing on me, a thousand times more than what I had given Him. He took enough and gave back more than enough.

Let's take this even deeper.

Sometimes we hold ourselves, or pieces of ourselves, back from God. We love the self we have come to be and do not want to give all of ourselves over to God. We hold a little something back.

What we fail to see is that God has something so much greater, so much better, even so much more us, than the thing we are hanging on to. 

It's a little bit like a trapeze artist. Unless he lets go of the bar he is swinging on, he can't grasp the next bar that takes him even higher.

When we  stop hanging on so tightly to what we have, we can embrace the abundance - the more than enough - that God has for us.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Sabbath of Rest

God asks us to come away and rest.

Have you ever felt that you weren't good enough? I know I sure have.

The Bible tells us that all our righteousness is about as good as filthy rags. That tells me that no matter how hard I try, no matter how hard I work at it, I'll never be good enough in my own power. Romans tells us that all of us have sinned and fallen short of His glory.

In the fourth chapter of Hebrews we read: "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:9-10 NIV) 

What is the author really getting at? Is he talking about resting on Sundays? While resting on Sunday is a really good thing, I think he's talking about something much deeper in this verse.  He's talking about resting from our labor, our effort, our striving to attain, to be good enough. 

Several years ago, I had a dream that I went to heaven. It was a place of beauty beyond compare. I was awestruck and completely overwhelmed by all that God had prepared for me. I could not stop weeping because I felt so unworthy. 

An angel asked me, "why are you crying?" I told him it was because I felt so unworthy. 

I knew the life I had lived, and the many ways and times I had let God down. To think that God would reward me with this beautiful place in heaven and an eternity to be with Him was simply beyond my comprehension. It was way beyond anything that I could ever have expected in light of the life that I had lived.

Don't get me wrong. I wasn't what anyone would consider a major sinner, but like most of us, every day there were things that I had done that I shouldn't have, attitudes that weren't right, opportunities to do something for God that I had simply ignored. Certainly, I had done nothing to deserve such a great reward.

"I'm so unworthy," I said to the angel in my dream. 

"Of course you're not worthy!" the angel exclaimed. "No one is."

No one is worthy. Not Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, or the Pope, himself. That really hit me. 

Suddenly, I saw that it really wasn't about me or what I had done, been, or hadn't been. It was all about God, His mercy, His love, and the work that He did on the cross for me.

This is the Sabbath rest that God has prepared for us: to rest from our labors and our continual striving to be good enough. 

God loved us when we were unlovely.
Right standing with God comes only through Christ and His shed blood. 

He, Himself, is our Sabbath rest. We have only to accept Him and His finished work on the cross. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Every Morning

There's a whole lot of hoopla around a new year.  If you watched the ball drop in Time's Square or any of the other new year's events around the country, you probably saw a lot of joy and celebration.

I think one of the reasons that people love a new year is that it can represent a new beginning - a chance to start again.  It's a time when many people make resolutions to do something differently or break a bad habit. 

As Christians, we don't have to wait for the beginning of a new year.  The scripture tells us that his mercies are "new every morning." (Lamentations 3:23 ESV)

While we've heard about God's mercy and the enormity of his power to forgive, sometimes we have a hard time actually accepting it and walking in that forgiveness.

To not accept God's forgiveness - to believe that our sin is too great - is to make our sin more powerful than God.  If we say that God can't forgive our sin, whatever it is, in effect, we are saying - God is not powerful enough, God is not great enough, God does not have enough grace for us. 

It's worth looking at the whole of Lamentations 3:23, as well as the verse before it.

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

If we will only see it, only accept it - God is powerful enough, God is great enough, and God does have enough grace for each of us and for every sin. Like God Himself, the love of God is steadfast, unchanging, never ending.

Lord, help us to never diminish you and your power to forgive our sin, however great.

Fan the Flame

Fire is fascinating. My husband and I love to sit in our back yard around the fire pit in the evening and watch the flames. They are mesme...