Monday, July 19, 2010

God's Ways VS Man's Ways

This has been an interesting process from the selling of our house to trusting God for employment. It seems that every time we try to “take the reins” and try to make something happen, God brings provision through an entirely different avenue than what we thought. This move has been a study for me in God’s ways verses man’s ways.

When the Lord told my husband to put the house up for sale, we acted in obedience by putting a sign in the yard. Then a month went by and we had some showings but no offers so we decided to “help” God and put it on the internet. This was unnecessary and a waste of time and money because when the offer did come three weeks later it was from local people who saw the sign and knew us and the house.

This was only one example, but I have seen this pattern at work more than once on this journey we are on. Another example was the selling of our son’s truck. At the last minute, just days before we were to leave, my husband and I made another decision to “help God” and spent more time and money to put an ad on the internet to sell it. The very next day, we went out for pizza and there was a person we knew, through the course of conversation he inquired about the truck and he purchased it, cash in hand the very next day.

Once again, God didn’t need our help to get the job done. We spent countless hours on the internet before we came down here looking for a place to rent and what for? Days before we needed the provision, once again through a series of circumstances a house was presented to us for rent from a man in Pennsylvania for a fraction of the amount we were expecting to pay for rent.

Now here we are again, waiting upon the Lord to supply a source of income. Being unemployed is a test of endurance. We have been placing applications online with several different companies but no results. Looking back over the past few months and the pattern that has exhibited itself, one would think that it is entirely possible that God doesn’t need our help and will faithfully place us into the positions he requires for our living expenses to be provided.

Our learning experience in coming here also seems to be to live according to God’s word by faith in his loving hand of provision. This is a new level of living for us as we have always had employment and a mortgage and did things the world’s way. Now we are realizing more than we ever did before that we are at the mercy of our all powerful God.

Matthew 6:25-34 is becoming a reality to us. The challenge is to live according to the word, especially verse 33 which says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” This scripture is indicating that if we are about the Father’s business he will give us all we need.

Man’s way says, “get out there and pound the pavement, you have to go get that job.” But is that God’s way? Did he need our help before? Doesn’t he know what we need? Haven’t we asked him a million times already? No, he says to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and then the provision will come.

So what is his kingdom? I did a lot of research and this is what I came up with, I’m sure it isn’t everything but it’s a start. I was going to tackle righteousness too but the kingdom was a big bite to chew so here we go…

His Kingdom:

· Is made of priests…a holy nation - Exodus 19:6
· Set up by God and it will never be destroyed – Daniel 2:44
· One that endures from generation to generation – Daniel 4:34
· Handed over to the saints…everlasting kingdom and it’s rulers will worship and obey God – Daniel 7:27
· Requires repentance – Matthew 3:2 & 4:17
· Belongs to the poor in spirit – Matthew 5:3
· Is owned by saints that are persecuted because of righteousness – Matthew 5:10
· Many will come to feast there – Matthew 8:11
· It is to be preached – Matthew 10:7
· Is forcefully advancing and is taken by forceful men – Matthew 11:12
· Is like a man sowing a seed – Matthew 13:24
· Is like a mustard seed – Matthew 13:31
· Is like yeast – Matthew 13:33
· Is like hidden treasure – Matthew 13:44
· Is like a merchant looking for fine pearls – Matthew 13:45
· Is like a net – Matthew 13:47
· When instructed we are to own it and share it – Matthew 13:52
· Is like a landowner looking for workers – Matthew 20:1
· Is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son – Matthew 22:2
· Is like ten virgins – Matthew 25: 1
· Is like a man going on a journey – Matthew 25:14
· Is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost – Romans 14:17
· Is salvation and strength – Revelation 12:10

In addition, I found that you must enter into the kingdom as a little child (Matthew 18:3) and it is made of little children (Matthew 19:14). To be the greatest in his kingdom you must be like a little child (Matthew 18:1-3) and must humble yourself like a little child (Matthew 18:4).

So, if we are to live according to the word, we must humble ourselves to rely upon the Lord as little children and as we seek to do this, the Lord will guide our actions, embolden us and provide all we need.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.

Conviction Update...

Recently, my husband and I decided to sow into the community by volunteering at a local food bank. We found the experience very rewarding and we plan to continue. This is in response to the need that God showed me in the blog below. It doesn't seem like much but its a start. I have a feeling that the Lord will open other opportunities to us as we serve.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sarasota Stroll

We’ve been here two weeks and have been getting acquainted with our new surroundings. This morning we took time for an interesting stroll through our local farmer’s market here in Sarasota. As the palm trees swayed in the breeze, the market buzzed with life.

There were people from all walks there as well as dogs of every color, shape and size. I was taken by how the people interacted with eachother as I watched. A lady in a wide brim hat floated down the street with her two pedigrees leading the way. She was dressed in a flowing dress and had a large jeweled necklace that hung appropriately in its place.

All the while a man who lived on the streets sat dejected in his familiar spot trying to escape the heat of the day. Every belonging he had was stuffed carefully into a dirty bag he had found. People walked by him and pretended not to notice. Even I tried not to stare but I wanted to make eye contact with him and I smiled, he looked at me with cold, empty eyes as he puffed on his cigarette not wanting my acknowledgement.

A woman sat alone on another part of side walk with a small cardboard sign that said something like, “a few dollars will help.” How desperate she must be to turn to begging. It took me by surprise that she was there doing that. I guess small town is still in my thoughts.

This silent drama played itself out throughout the morning in the downtown area. Tents were set up and musicians played. Fruit and exotic plants were sold. Rich people strutted their wealth while poor people begged for money. People sampled teas and sauces while dogs sniffed at one another. All this happened as if right on schedule.

This made me think of what God has been saying to me recently through his word. The way we treat people is important to him. James chapter two admonishes us not to show favoritism between the rich and the poor; it also says that there should be action with our faith.

Matthew 25:31-46 reveals more of God’s heart about this subject as Jesus prophesies of what will happen when he comes to judge us. It won’t be about how much money we had or whether we were or weren’t successful in the business arena. No, his judgment of us will be based on how we treated those who are poor and in need around us. Did we meet their needs or did we turn our heads and walk the other direction?

I must confess; I am convicted.

Father, forgive me for my negligence and thank you for showing me the opportunities all around me. What is it that you would have me to do? I so want to be pleasing in your sight. When you come to judge me, I want to stand before you a sweet sheep ready for your Kingdom. Lead me, show me and help me to be obedient to your will. Amen.