Saturday, October 27, 2018

He Cares

This morning, I felt the Lord's heart concerning certain things being said about Him. Specifically the thought that when we go to the courts of heaven to pray on behalf of someone, that we are not to pray based on a person's need, but on God's purposes being fulfilled in them. I understand why people say this. I've said it myself. Its true that people need to discover His purposes for them, but when we tell people not to appeal to Him on the basis of their need, but on His purposes only, it makes Him appear selfish when He is not. It makes it look like He doesn't care about people's needs, which He does.

We've heard it said that God doesn't answer prayer on the basis of need alone, but the reason this appears to be true is because we don't always perceive what the true need is or how that need should best be met. Scripture that came to mind as I was talking with the Lord about this--

  • God supplies all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)
  • Let us come boldly, or with confidence, to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need (Hebrew 4:16).
  • He knows what you need before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8).
  • If He clothes the grass and feeds the sparrow, how much more will He take care of you? (Matthew 6:26-33).
  • God is able to make all grace abound towards you so you having all sufficiency in everything, have an abundance for every good deed (2 Corinthians 9:8).

He cared so much about our need for salvation that He sacrificed Himself, His only son, to take care of our need. This is quite contrary to putting His own purposes above the needs of others. He sacrificed Himself for the needs of others.

People don't always know what their true needs are. There may be times it looks like He is not meeting needs, but He really is. He knows how to meet that need so it is truly met. Sometimes we are looking for Him to treat our symptoms, but not a real cure. He is interested in curing us, healing us, meeting the real need. We need to seek Him to find out what the real cure is and how its to come.

In John 11 when Jesus got word that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was for two more days. By the time He got there Lazarus had died. It looked like He delayed and the need wasn't met. They said, 'If You would have been here he wouldn't have died.' But yes, He did meet the need. He just didn't do it in the way, or in the timing, they were expecting. He sees the big picture. He is in the eternal realm. He may not do it "instantly" according to our timeline, but He does have the love and compassion to meet our needs, wants them to be met, and will meet them if we let Him.

There may be various reasons for having needs. The enemy may steal from us, we may open a door through sin or carelessness, or we are in a period of growth or change that causes new needs. We might pray and there are times it may appear as if He is not meeting the need. But are we really seeing things from His point of view? He may be setting things in motion to meet the need but we don't see it.

It's also true that we might not really need what we're asking for. He may be drawing us closer to Him, trying to teach us His way more accurately. We may simply need to trust Him and wait for Him. There may be a source of our provision that He is trying to change. He might be trying to get our attention to show us these things but we are distracted. We might jump to conclusions and say, "God, You failed. You didn't meet my need," when actually He is trying to meet your true need. He is trying to cure, not just treat a symptom.

We might be expecting our need is going to be met in a certain way at a certain time. This may not be the case. This is why we need to seek Him because there might be something we need to do before it will ever be met. We might need an attitude adjustment first. We might need to do some certain thing.

Jesus didn't show up so Lazarus died. In the mind of Lazarus' family, He failed them. But He didn't fail them. Yes, He went past their deadline, but whose deadline was it? We set up deadlines, but they are not God's deadlines. We need to seek Him, and trust Him. They didn't even consider Lazarus being raised from the dead as an option. Sometimes we are blind to the option that God is trying to get us to look at. We are too narrow minded.

Jesus wept (John 11:35). He cared about Lazarus and the family. Even though the need wasn't met when and how they expected, He always cared for them.

Father, we pray that the people of Waterford and this region come to an understanding that You do care about them. Just because their needs haven't been met in the timing or manner they are expecting, we pray that they know You still care for them. You care. We pray they come to trust You, to seek You. That they discover what the true need is, and don't just look for treatment of the symptoms, or a quick and temporary fix.

Let this understanding come. Let it be released now in Jesus' Name. Let it be preached and understood. So they no longer accuse You of not caring when You really do care. That they don't give up on You, but press in and seek You. That they are not discouraged or feel hopeless, trying to solve it in their own way. We release this understanding now in Jesus' Name.

He cares. He wants to meet your needs. But you need to trust Him. You need to seek Him. You need to understand His ways--His timing and purposes.

He won't cater to sinful whims. Prayer is not answered if they are lustful prayers contrary to His ways. We ask and don't receive when we ask with wrong motives (James 4:3) Sometimes its the motivation of our heart that keeps needs from being met. He will not compromise His integrity, righteousness, or His purposes to answer a sinful, lustful heart. Like a parent knows, sometimes kids ask for things that aren't good for them. Maybe the timing is off. Maybe they can get the cookie after dinner, but they want the cookie right now and don't understand why you say no. They accuse you of being mean. On the contrary, the Bible tells us:
  • Cast your care upon Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7).
  • Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. (1 Peter 5:7, Amplified Bible).
  • Cast your burden on Him and He will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22).
He doesn't quit caring when you are suffering through a need. He is not condemning you. He is trying to help you. Seek Him to find your answer! He has your eternal good in mind. Like the old saying, "Give a person a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a person to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." He's trying to meet your need in such a way that you learn something valuable that will continue to sustain you.

Pride can blind us from seeing the truth to the point where we blame God instead of seeing where we are missing it. But God is good. He is always good. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17). He is always right. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God so He may exalt you at the proper time (1 Peter 5:6). There's attitude, and there's timing. But there's always an answer. There's always a way out. No situation is hopeless. Go to Him.

We know that one aspect of faith is that what you look at is what will happen. Quantum physics tells us that when you're watching, things behave differently then when you are not watching. So, if you're looking at something and its not acting the way its "supposed" to --the outcome you want is not occurring, then you need to look at something different. Go back to the promise of God. Go back to His Word. What exactly did He say? Seek Him. Let Him show you what He wants you to "look at," the direction you should go. He knows where, when, and how your true need will be met.

The parable of the friend at midnight. (Luke 11:5-8) and the woman and the unjust judge. (Luke 18:1-8) both tell us that we need to be persistent. Persistent in going to Him. Ask. Seek. Knock (Matthew 7:7). Don't give up on Him. Don't think He doesn't care. Don't accuse Him and get mad at Him. Don't get arrogant about it. Don't think you're all alone. He loves you and He cares. Keep going to Him until you can clearly hear Him give you the answer.

He really does care about you!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Occupy Till I Come / Guard and Grow

11:  While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. 
12: So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. 
13: And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’ 
14: But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 
15: When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done. 
16: The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 
17: And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ 
18: The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’ 
19: And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 
20: Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; 
21: for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’ 
22: He *said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? 
23: Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’ 
24: Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’
25: And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already.’ 
26: I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 
27: But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”
Luke 19:11-27

Jesus told this parable as they were getting close to entering Jerusalem. The disciples thought He was gong to establish his kingdom right then. However, Jesus knew He was going there to die and return to the Father. In an effort to explain this to them, He told the parable to show that He was going to go far away to receive His crown, but there would be a time period before He would come back and establish His kingdom on the earth. They were to "do business" with what He had entrusted them with until He returned.

In verse 13 Jesus said for them to "Do business with this until I come back." The King James Version says to "Occupy till I come." Some translations say to invest, to trade, put this money to work etc. Basically He's telling us to do business, or work with, what He has given us to do. Produce fruit in the land He's called you to--your field or garden--and continue to do this until He returns.

The serpent came to Eve in her garden in the beginning. He was here on the earth because it was his area of domain before he rebelled against God. So, if the devil was here on the earth back when Adam and Eve were placed in the garden, were the other demons that fell with him here too? Did God put man into a demon-infested earth? If so, why? If He did, I think it would be for them to learn how to rule. Man needed to know how to take dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28). If you are going to rule and have dominion, part of that means you will guard against anything that tries to take that away. They needed to learn how to use the authority of God to stand against the enemy. Of course they didn't and we have seen the consequence of that.

Years later, when Jesus came, He defeated the devil, taking back that which he took from man and returning those who believe in Him back to a position of authority in the earth as sons and daughters of God (Colossians 2:6-15). Now we need to learn how to "do business" until He comes again. We take authority over the enemy, boot him out of our garden land, and plant/build/do business/be fruitful with what the Lord has given us to work with.

Doing business until He comes doesn't mean for us to all become billionaires before He returns. God doesn't need us to make money for His kingdom. He owns the earth (Psalm 24:1). It means to continue to engage in what He's gifted us to do until He comes.

If money isn't the currency of the kingdom then what is? In order for us to engage in business or trade as He's called us to, we need to engage with other people. We all have gifts we're to develop in. Through relationships--family and business--we will strengthen each other, live fruitful lives, and help each other grow in our calling.

We're to "occupy" or maintain this business until He returns. We're not to be like the disciples, getting excited because it looks like the time for the kingdom to be established on earth is getting close. But we're to maintain, occupy, stay engaged in the business He's called us to. We have work to do now. We're still in the "occupying" time period.

"Father, we thank you for the opportunity to pray for Waterford and the surrounding area. We pray that Your people understand what it means to engage in business until You come. That we maintain,  don't slack off, fall asleep, or neglect what You've called us to, but stay engaged in the business/calling You've given us. We pray that Your people in this area wake up to that. That they are injected with encouragement so they continue in what You've called them. That they don't grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9). That they continue, maintain, and do business. Also, give them wisdom so they know how to be as fruitful as possible in what You've called them to.

"I pray that we also, as Your people, recognize and walk in the authority You've given us over the enemy. That we see both sides of this--to boot the enemy out of our land, and be fruitful and multiply in the land. We boot him out of the land, and walk in and occupy our land making it fruitful. Show Your people both sides of this. The land the enemy occupied is now fruitful for You. We're going to take land, mountains, systems, businesses, schools, governmental positions, arts, sciences, the institutions of the earth for Your kingdom. We take it and occupy it!

Wherever the soul of your foot treads is given to you. (Joshua 1:3).

"Lord, we've walked and received the land You've given us. This land is Your land and we receive it from You. We will not leave it vacant. We will work the land. We put it to work for You. We plant seed in this land so it bears fruit. We won't leave it empty for the enemy to come and try to take it back again. 

Check the borders. Inspect the fences. Maintain the borders and ensure the enemy is not infiltrating. Protect and guard the land--the field--God has entrusted to You! The Lord is giving us time and opportunity to see what we will do with what He's given us. We guard the borders and work the land!

Some may be good at working the land but not at booting the enemy out. They grow good fruit but its devoured by the enemy. Others may be good at booting the enemy out but don't know how to grow fruit, so they have the land but there 's nothing growing.  We need to do both--guard and grow, guard and grow.

Outside the protection of the city is "weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 25:30). Stay within the borders that God has placed you, where He has called you. The ones who didn't want the Lord to rule over them didn't receive anything from Him and ended up being slain in His presence. We're under His authority. Remember that and stay under that. Work with what He's given to you to work with. Those in rebellion against the Lord will suffer the consequences of that one day.

He didn't tell them to address the rebellious ones, He just told them to do business until He returned. When you work the land He's called you to, you will be doing your part. Some will be drawn to the light. Join with those who have a similar calling--similar business. Lock hands with them and support each other. Whatever position--field--you're in, connect with those people around you, strengthen each other. Grow closer to the Lord, produce fruit.

How do you judge success? How do you know you are fruitful? In the end the Lord will judge our "success." He will say, "Well done good and faithful servant" to those who kept the business.

"Father, show us, each one of us, what our "business" is and what "success" looks like for us individually. Show us how You see success in what we're called to do. What do I have to do so I can hear "Well done" from You? I want to judge myself so I won't be judged by You and condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:31-32).

"Father, put it upon the hearts of the people to seek You and ask You what You've called them to do and what it looks like for them to be successful in Your sight. So they know what they need to do to  hear "Well done" from You. So the enemy is not leading them off into deception. So they know that they can know Your will for them. You are not keeping it from them. Teach us how to properly judge ourselves, and to properly hear from You so we know exactly what You want us to do. Show us how to know when we've accomplished that.

"Father, thank You for Your grace, the grace of the Lord Jesus, which includes the empowerment of Your Spirit to succeed in what You've called us to. Keep those doing Your business on the straight and narrow path--the highway to holiness (Isaiah 35:8)--so they will succeed in "doing business" until You come.