Tuesday, January 20, 2009

“Preparing For The End Of All Things”

The Bible tells us that as Christ’s return grows closer and closer the times in which we live will become more and more tumultuous. As we look at the news each day we could certainly come to the conclusion that the end of all things is at hand.(1 Peter 4:7) Sinful indulgences are out of control, world wide financial collapse seems eminent, war and terror are a constant threat, and natural disasters seem to be growing in scale and frequency. The Bible has much to say about how we are to prepare ourselves spiritually for Jesus return, but not much is said about how we are to survive this ordeal physically except to put God first and have faith that He will provide. “Therefore do not worry, and be anxious saying, What are we going to eat? Or what are we going to drink? Or, what are we going to have to wear? For the gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all. But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right) and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” (Matt. 6:31-33) Amp.

Are there things we are to do in the natural man to prepare for the troubling days before Jesus returns? In 1Peter 4:7-11 Amp, Peter warns us “The end of all things is at hand” but what does he tell us to do to prepare? Move to the mountains, buy gold, stockpile food? No, he simply states, “Above all things, have intense and unfailing love for one another.” Peter just gets done delivering the shocking news that the world is soon coming to an end and yet his foremost instruction to us is to love! He goes on to say “Practice hospitality to one another” and to “do it ungrudgingly….as each of you has received a gift, employ it for one another.”

As contrary as it is to our natural way of thinking, God's plan for us to survive the hard times to come isn’t to hoard or turn to self preservation as our natural mind would tell us, but to learn to put aside covetousness and the lust of the flesh and become givers, using our “gifts” to take care of one another's needs. This demonstration of supernatural love will be an undeniable witness to an unbelieving world that God “Is” and that He living and moving within His people. As we talked about in my last post, we may “never have what we need” but we “always have what someone else needs” and God has given it to us to be used for His Glory.

“..Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You? And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least of these my brethren, you did it for Me.” (Matt. 25:37-40)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

“I Never Have What I Need”

When was the last time you were in the middle of a problem or a project and in frustration you said to yourself, “I never have what I need.” Have you ever thought about the fact that you really “Never” have what you need. I am not being negative or pessimistic here, it is just a simple fact. Seriously, there is never a time in your life when you have what you need. Why is that? It is because if you had what you needed you would no longer be in need of it, thus you never have what you need because what you have you are never in need of.

Secondly, have you ever thought about the fact that you “always” have what someone else needs, and that someone else “always” has what you need! This principle is what makes business and commerce work. I have what you need and you have what I need thus we make a trade.

I believe God has designed the body of Christ (His church) to live by this same principle. We see it demonstrated in the early church, “And all who believed were united and together they had everything in common. They sold their possessions and distributed the price among all according as any had need.” Acts 2:44-45 Amp. We are to use what we have to bless others, and they are to use what they have to bless us. Though our money is certainly included, it is not just material things the Lord would have us share. It might be giving wisdom to a struggling couple on how to have a sustainable marriage. It might be giving encouraging words to someone going through a difficult season. It could be giving of our time or labor doing things for someone who isn’t able to do for themselves. It might be sharing friendship with someone who’s alone or sharing Jesus with someone who does not yet know Him. When we share what we have to meet someone else’s need, we bless, encourage and build them up, thus fulfilling the only law true believers live under, the law of love. “Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal. 6:2

Science teaches us that within every ecosystem on the planet all living being are dependent upon other living beings within their environment for survival. God has designed us in the same manner. You always have what someone else needs, so look into your hands, look into your heart, look into your soul, what do you have that you will allow God to use to meet someone else’s need? And as for you, you may never have what you need, but cry out to Jesus for He always has what you need and is waiting to pour His favor upon you!

“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 command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt. 22:37-39