God’s Great Plan decreed our inheritance before creation. “He chose us before the creation of the world.” Ephesians 1:4
His Great Plan laid the foundations for a supreme sacrifice. He knew. And he came. He wanted us to be with him. He wants us to be with him. All his desire is for us to be with him. All our desires should answer his. Imagine the unbounded greatness – the meeting of our great desire with his. Like worlds and galaxies colliding. The shockwaves of love that move mountains and shake the stars. Imagine living within the hub of that intensity in perfect peace. No harm. No fear. Not easy, but no fear. Life is still messy, but inside the hub is light and peace.
But there’s only room for one. We must each love him to the edges of our desire, our own worlds colliding with his. Only after we attain the hub do we join together to create an even stronger unity. Is it correct to say we live in a hub? He is a strong tower, a fortress, a wing of protection. I think hub fits.
I learned to pray the hard way. Sometimes we just find ourselves in seasons where we need help. When it hit me, I thought I knew what to do: trust God. Jesus said, Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? (Mat 6:25) He said He would take care of us.
So when I ran out of money and couldn’t find a job, I trusted God. I would spend my devotional time telling Him how much I trusted Him, that I knew He would take care of me, that He would open doors of opportunity. I trusted Him. But nothing changed. Small jobs would come my way, but nothing that would help significantly. It frustrated me because I believed I was doing what He wanted me to do in that position. The problem was, I was still looking at my problem.
Then something changed in my attitude. Instead of telling Him how much I trusted Him, I began telling Him how good He is. I filled pages in my journal praising Him and loving Him. I poured out all the greatness that belongs to Him in every way I could think of. It wasn’t an action that I felt I had to do, it was genuine and loving.
Almost immediately money started coming my way. I knew that I’d need to continue to rely on God’ provision going forward, but it was going to be ok. It was amazing.
As I sat back and thanked Him for all that He was doing for me, I began to think about a nice hot chai latte. I love chai lattes, but I had not allowed myself any indulgences because all my money had to go to paying expenses. I heard the Lord say, “Go get one.” I said, No, I can’t. I still have bills to pay. “Do you think I will stop providing for you if you spend $5 on something that will please Me?”, He said. Why would it please You?, I asked Him. “Because it is a form of worship when you obey Me.”
This astounded me. He has promised to give us life abundantly, but the only way we can enter into that is to trust Him and enjoy who He is and what He is doing for us. I would never have considered spending $5 on a chai latte as a form of worship, but because I could trust Him to continue to love me and provide for me, He wanted me to enjoy something that He knew I would love. So I did, and I loved it, and I praised Him for it.
This lesson that I learned was to seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to us. It’s true and it works. Take you eyes off the problem and look to God’s amazing goodness. Then watch what He will do.
I think that there are many in the church who understand what it is to serve others. They work in the kitchen, feed the homeless, and pick up trash. But we have to be careful about doing works for the sake of works.
Yes, it’s good to feed the homeless. Yes, it’s good to work in the community. But ask yourself why you would do that? Because people are hungry! Because it needs to be done! But let’s remember this: And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (1 Cor 13:3)
Are you serving or a servant? There are a few ways to look at that. One way is to see serving as an act and servant as a mindset. To be a servant to others is to intentionally put them first. Yes, it’s nice to do good things for others, but to do them in sacrifice, in love, goes to the heart of God. I could give my body to be burned for others, but if I do it out of obligation or merit, I would suffer for nothing. My actions must be to truly care about people.
The next time you volunteer to clean up after a potluck, pick up someone who needs a ride, or pay for someone’s lunch, stop and look at who you are helping. See the person inside. They’re just like you and they want to be loved as much as you do.
Serving with a heart of love is enormously different from serving to get a job done. Love will reach out through the action to touch another soul.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
If you’re like me, change is something to be avoided at all costs. Change requires us to let go of ideas, habits, attitudes that we held onto for a reason. We’re comfortable with what we know. We allow new processes into our routine when it suits us. The problem is how we react when it’s God introducing them?
Sometimes God has to shake things up in our lives. He may point to a certain direction for a long time, and if we are not responsive to Him, He may turn our lives upside down to get us where we need to be. In most cases, that’s not a pleasant experience. But He does it for a reason. He always has our best in mind, and He’s not afraid to make us uncomfortable to get it.
If change is thrust upon you, turn to God and look to see what He’s doing. We always need to be more loving, kind, generous, forgiving. If God is rearranging your life, it’s because He wants to give you more of His Spirit. Go with it, you’ll grow as you do.
But is change happening because you’re fighting against God? Maybe He needs you to show more forgiveness and kindness. Are you running away from something that God is using to shape you? It’s miserable to live in a situation that stresses you, but allow God to open the doors. Don’t kick them in yourself. Those times of trial are meant to bring you closer to God. Even then, you can find peace, you can find joy.
Don’t assume that when the bottom falls out of your life that you’ve done something wrong. Maybe you have. Maybe you’ve made bad decisions, but it may be God loving you more than you realize.
I think I’ve been guilty of reading scripture to my benefit, not necessarily the way it was intended. For instance, Philippians 4:19 “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” I’ve trusted this scripture to be true for a very long time. And it has been. God has been faithful to supply all my needs. Some how I’ve always been cared for in all the ups and downs in my life. But now I read more into that passage and I wonder how I’ve missed it.
To read that verse in context, Paul is thanking the Philippians for sending him aid when no other church did. He was grateful for their generosity and said that God would supply them with all their needs. The implication is that God will repay their generosity.
This is not a new concept. Jesus said in Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” The command is to first give.
We love the part where God says that He will supply all that we need with overflowing blessing. It’s unfortunate that we gloss over the part where we need to be generous ourselves. Many people are good that way, but I know that personally, I need to be better. I admit that when it comes to giving, I feel a catch in my spirit that I have to overcome. There is some inner selfishness that doesn’t want to let go. But when I do, I know that God smiles because He knows that it was an act of will on my part.
I pray that God will make me more and more generous. I want a heart like His heart. I want to give because I have been given so much. It may take work, but it’s all part of God shaping me into His image, and that’s my heart’s desire.