Author: mjwjhuser

Finding the Truth

What is truth? In the world we live in today it seems the answer is whatever a person or group of people determine is right for them. It goes something like this, what is right for you maybe wrong for me or more bluntly, truth is whatever fits with my world view. We have been given free will by God to choose this way of thinking. However, in James 1:16 we are warned not to be misled and in James 1:17 “the source of all that is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father.” “He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” And further in James 1:18, “He chose to give birth to us by giving us His true word.”

To unpack this a little take a step back and consider that God created in each of us a need for something greater than ourselves, a need for Him. There is a sense of this in each of our lives. This need is like a big emptiness that needs filled and we will fill it with something. God is truth and so there is a craving or desire for the truth in each of us. However, we have this ongoing battle with our sinful nature which tempts us to fill that void in our lives with that which is not from God and we deceive ourselves into believing that this “filler” is somehow true. For many of us truth equals whatever makes us feel good, happy, etc. We replace God with something else and these idols take many forms…the obvious ones of various addictions, material possessions, and careers and the not so obvious ones of hobbies, relationships, ourselves (sometimes we make even ourselves into Gods), and even our families (when we place them ahead of God in our lives). The reality is that while all of these seem to fill our need they will in the long run still leave us feeling empty and ultimately let us down.

Why? Only God is permanent. Going back to James 1:17 “…He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” In Genesis 1: 1-2 we read that “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Reflecting back to James 1:18, “He chose to give birth to us by giving us His true word.” How do we know this is going to fill our need? We know this because as we read God’s word and pray over it and ask God to speak to us thru His word and help us to understand we become engaged in the process of being transformed. As we are transformed we discover that this great emptiness we feel becomes filled with the true goodness and joy that can only come from God. This does not mean we will never have a tough day or feel down, but what we will experience is a sense of inner peace that can only come from God.

So we have to ask ourselves which truth do we really want? Do we want to choose from the “truths” our sinful natures desire and this world encourages us to grab hold of? Or Do we choose God’s word? If we choose God’s word how do we get there? Well, stated simply, we walk in the spirit daily by reading the bible, praying, praising God, serving, and fellowshipping with other Christians. Easy? No it is not. This is a discipline that takes time, patience, and effort and we won’t always get it right, but God knows our struggles and He gives us the grace we need to move in the right direction.

Walk in the Spirit,

Mike

How much is enough? More than enough when we trust God for our needs

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How much is enough?  We are going to look at Proverbs 30: 8-9

When I think about that question where investing in God’s kingdom is concerned of course the tithe comes to mind along with how I could be using the time, abilities, and other resources I have been blessed with to serve God….and then, I must confess, there are moments when I question…how much do I have? Enough to tithe? What about my time commitments ? Am I already stretched too thin…do I have the time to serve in a ministry?

My approach initially was to apply a formula to giving time, money, and other resources…it was more like a sliding scale arrangement.  If I was feeling comfortable with where I was at financially and with my time commitments then I was more generous.  When things were not going so well I cut back on the generosity.

God has a way of accomplishing many things thru a single event and while investing in God’s work is important to advance His kingdom what I also learned (and am still learning) from giving was trusting God.  God wants us to trust Him with the answer to the question ‘how much is enough’. God already knows our needs and how He will be providing them. He also knows what our investment in His kingdom will look like. He knows how to strike the perfect balance for each of us for provision and investing. Proverbs 30:8 states “….give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.”…and God is looking out for our best interests here because if we trust Him for provision and how to allocate our resources He can keep us from going in the wrong direction.  Proverbs 30:9 “For if I grow rich I may deny you and say ‘who is the Lord?’ and if I am too poor I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.”

When we lack we can find ourselves focusing entirely on our needs instead of focusing on God.  When we have much we may get comfortable and feel we don’t need God….so we learn to trust God for that perfect balance for giving and having our needs met.

Mike

Chapter 6: Wandering

Photo Credit: Eric C Bryan via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Eric C Bryan via Compfight cc

At the end Chapter 6 of The Story, Moses gives a final motivational speech to the Israelites, reminding them of the need for an attitude of gratitude. Moses reminds the Israelites of the many blessings they had received from God. God had brought them out of Egypt, freed them from slavery, guided them through the wilderness, and provided for their needs along the way. Signs of God’s presence, power, love, and goodness were all around the Israelites and yet they persistently complained about their circumstances. Worse still, they acted in direct disobedience to God.

There are several instances of ingratitude, lack of trust, and disobedience on the part of the Hebrews on the journey to the land God had promised them. For example, God provided manna for the Israelites when they were hungry, but eventually they complained and wanted meat. On another occasion, as they moved closer to the promised land Moses sent scouts to explore the land of Canaan. When the scouts returned from their 40-day journey they described the rich land as flowing with milk and honey just as God had promised. However, instead of encouraging the people to press forward into the land, the Israelites came up with excuses for why this could not be done: the people were too powerful for them, the cities were well fortified, giants occupied the land.

In both instances God’s anger burned against the Israelites and he used severe measures to discipline them. When they complained about eating manna and demanded meat, God gave them what they wanted — to such an extent that the people were struck with a plague and many died. When they refused to enter Canaan and wanted to return to Egypt, God did not allow any of the older generation which he had led out of Egypt to see the promised land of Canaan. None of the ones who treated God with contempt lived to see the land.

What is the lesson here? God was testing the Israelites. He wanted them to trust him, obey him, and give thanks to him for the blessings they had received in the challenging circumstances they encountered. God’s blessings should have been reason enough for the Israelites to trust God, but their lack of patience, fear, and disobedience got the better of them.

In applying this to our lives we should be alert to our own complaining, which can easily work its way into our lives. I know it does in mine. Further, when we fail to put our trust in God and insist on doing things our way, we risk suffering unpleasant consequences. When we do make mistakes and suffer consequences for our sin, we need to remind ourselves of the unending love God has for us. His discipline comes from this amazing love. Ultimately, God uses the circumstances and trials in our lives to shape our character. As we learn to humble ourselves before him, express thankfulness for his blessings, ask for his guidance, and trust him in all circumstances, we will discover that God has the very best in mind for us.

God’s Blessings,

Mike Huser