He Doesn’t Forget

1455061_10151968801494280_1986483280_nHe does not forget the cry of the afflicted. (Psalm 9:12b)

It seems like God forgets the cries of the afflicted sometimes, or maybe that He just ignores them. But that’s our own perspective. When we don’t like His response time, we decide to project what we believe His decision and process must be.

We’re often wrong.

We can trust and believe Him, no matter what. Even when we don’t understand, when we don’t like a situation, when we feel overlooked. God is still God. He is still powerful enough, compassionate enough, just enough, and patient enough.

“Enough” is more our issue than His.

Have you ever wanted to go to Israel?

What’s stopping you?

More important, why is it stopping you?

How is what you have “not enough”?

Are you certain it’s not enough?

Here’s what happened the last time I led a group to Israel…

We received a list of items need by Bridges for Peace, where we served in Israel.

  • New baby clothes
  • Children’s toys
  • Toothbrushes
  • Backpacks for kids for school
  • School kits (pencils, erasers, crayons, glue stick, scissors, pencil sharpener, etc.)

We gathered as much as we could pack, and we lugged around our extra suitcases for the first several days until we began serving. We combined our bags and packed them on the bus. We rolled them into the building where they would sort, store, and distribute the items, and we started unpacking.

11.4.14 Bridges for Peace (5)

 

Little by little, those working and serving at Bridges for Peace that day came to see what all the commotion was about. They found an explosion of suitcases as we filled bins.

And they had tears in their eyes.

We started with a list, but what we didn’t know was donations were down because of the change in airline baggage fees.

We didn’t know they had been out of baby clothes for three months.

We didn’t know the baby clothes we had brought were enough for six months.

We didn’t know they had been praying for provision and witnessed God’s answer.

They cried for joy, hugged and thanked us.

11.4.14 Bridges for Peace (23)

We cried, too…partly for joy, and partly because we wish we had known. We wish we had done more.

It was pretty easy to gather items, pack them, and roll them on and off our planes and buses. What we thought was “not much” was an abundance for those in need.

Yes, we could do more, but what we did was…something.

Look around. You are surrounded by needs in your home, church, community, and world. You can’t solve every problem or meet every need, but you can do something. Don’t let “not much” stop you. It might just be more than enough.

And don’t let your “not enough” stop you from exploring the possibilities of journeying and serving in Israel. Space is limited, so we can get to know each other well and serve and travel well. Click here for more information.

There Is More Than Enough

How many times do we look for more? We’re looking for just the right rug to go in the living room, or the right guest towels, welcome mat, throw pillow. We want the right necklace or shoes. We want a good recipe to try. We want a better phone, more reliable car, more (or less) roomy house, or a job that is more prestigious, better paying, or more flexible. We want more. Yet God says,

There was more than enough. (Exodus 36:7)

I know it might not be the things I named. Perhaps it’s more time to do what you most want to do, even in God’s name. Perhaps it’s the ability to travel more, help more, serve more, study more, pray more, become more. Even when object of our longing is noble, that same longing can get in the way of our faith. We want more when God says there is enough. God might provide more in the future, but for the time being, there is enough.

The context of Exodus 36:7 is the building of the tabernacle. People brought offerings for the building of the sanctuary, yet there was enough.

Enough to accomplish the task God intended.

Perhaps we don’t think there is enough because we go beyond the task God intends. We have plans of our own. We don’t try to understand the task in front of us, so we keep gathering, which keeps us from building and completing what God says we should be doing.

Defining God’s “more than enough” as our “not quite enough” reveals our hearts are set on ourselves instead of God.

What is “not enough” in your life? What does God have to say about it? You might be surprised and find He declares you have more than enough.

“Not Much” Is More Than Enough

We received a list of items need by Bridges for Peace, where we served in Israel.

  • New baby clothes
  • Children’s toys
  • Toothbrushes
  • Backpacks for kids for school
  • School kits (pencils, erasers, crayons, glue stick, scissors, pencil sharpener, etc.)

We gathered as much as we could pack, and we lugged around our extra suitcases for the first several days until we began serving. We combined our bags and packed them on the bus. We rolled them into the building where they would sort, store, and distribute the items, and we started unpacking.

11.4.14 Bridges for Peace (5)
©2014 PurePurpose.org

 

Little by little, those working and serving at Bridges for Peace that day came to see what all the commotion was about. They found an explosion of suitcases as we filled bins.

And they had tears in their eyes.

We started with a list, but what we didn’t know was donations were down because of the change in airline baggage fees.

We didn’t know they had been out of baby clothes for three months.

We didn’t know the baby clothes we had brought were enough for six months.

We didn’t know they had been praying for provision and witnessed God’s answer.

They cried for joy, hugged and thanked us.

11.4.14 Bridges for Peace (23)
©2014 PurePurpose.org

 

11.4.14 Bridges for Peace (24)
©2014 PurePurpose.org

 

We cried, too…partly for joy, and partly because we wish we had known. We wish we had done more.

It was pretty easy to gather items, pack them, and roll them on and off our planes and buses. What we thought was “not much” was an abundance for those in need.

Yes, we could do more, but what we did was…something.

Look around. You are surrounded by needs in your home, church, community, and world. You can’t solve every problem or meet every need, but you can do something. Don’t let “not much” stop you. It might just be more than enough.

Out of Gas

I was taught to never let my gas tank get lower than the quarter tank mark. My dad preferred to have a half tank “just in case,” but he was adamant about the quarter tank. I’ve lived my life by that standard – until I got a vehicle with a warning system. A light comes on when my fuel is getting low and flashes when I need to get gas within the next several miles.

The light has rarely come on – probably because of my dad’s firm instructions – but I’ve relied on the warning light several times, particularly when gas prices flunctuate. If I know I’ll soon be somewhere with consistently lower gas prices, I’ll intentionally let the fuel level get low so I can pack as much cheap(er) gas in the tank as possible.

That was the situation when my daughter and I went to a nearby city to shop. The indicator light came on, and I pressed my odometer trip setting to begin measuring how many miles I could continue. The light wasn’t flashing yet; I could easily get to our next planned stop, which would be even closer to home. So, I rationalized, the “cheap” gas would take me farther.

But while cruising on the interstate at 65 mph, the van died. I steered it to a safe location and got help…and learned some things in the process.

How close to empty are you willing to go?

Do your actions match your standards, or do you behave in a way that’s inconsistent to the standards you’ve been taught or that you teach others?

Of course, I’m not talking about the fuel level in your vehicle. I’m referring to your spiritual fuel.

How are you spiritually living? Where would your spiritual fuel gauge indicate you are right now? How often do you add fuel? What level of fuel do you consistently maintain?

God doesn’t want you to have “just enough.”

God doesn’t want you to try to stretch what you have just a little bit farther.

God doesn’t want you to add only what you temporarily need.

In fact, God doesn’t want you to determine the level you need or want at all. He wants you to rely on him for what you need. He knows better than you, because he knows what’s ahead. You might think you know, but your indicator lights are likely inaccurate because you don’t have all the information. God wants you to rely on him for what you want, too. He wants to be the one you want. As you trust God to provide, you’ll embrace his will, and because you most want his will – one bit at a time – you yield your will to his.

When I rely on God, my standard for fuel is to always be full. When I rely on God, I’m only relying on his warning lights, which aren’t only to indicate “nearly empty” but also “not quite full.” And I don’t even need to watch the gas price wars to get the best deal! All I need to do is humbly submit to God, relying on him to provide and guide.

I might run out of gas but through no fault of God. When I’m fully relying on him, I know where I’m going and have whatever it takes to get there.

And I prefer the purposeful journey to sitting beside the road.

Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19

Frozen

One week ago, everything as far as my eyes could see was covered in ice. I heard the winter storm effects covered many states, but I didn’t venture outside my house to investigate. I did, however, enjoy the many photos and stories posted by Facebook friends, including this one by Cathy. (She’s a fabulous photographer!)

It’s a beautiful photo, but it made me think: “I don’t think that clothespin is going to be able to do a good job of pinning anything for awhile.” While it was hanging around on the clothesline, freezing rain and sleet encased it. Now it’s stuck.

Ever feel that way? Unable to move, rendered useless or worthless? Perhaps you’re overwhelmed with “can’ts.” There’s not enough time, money, talent…the list goes on. Sounds like there is plenty of one thing – excuses!

Sure, you might call them “reasons.” I’ve used the same rationale through many seasons of my life, but the truth is, I’m not an inanimate object that gets frozen in ice. I’m not trapped. I have options. I might be too blinded to see some of my options, and I might not like some of my options, but I’m not trapped.

And neither are you. You’re not unable to move. You’re not useless or worthless.

Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ, who through our faith has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory. We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us. Romans 5:1-5

When we have problems and trials, we can develop endurance. (We can also sit and mope and whine and become self-focused. We can let the ice freeze around us, immobilizing us…and we can even appreciate where we are as “beautiful”!) Endurance develops character. Character develops our hope in salvation. And yet…isn’t it our hope in salvation, our relationship with Jesus, our acceptance and understanding of God’s character, that helps us deal with our problems and trials in the first place?

We often stop where we are because we’re waiting on something. We think we need more faith or we need more strength or we need more courage. We may even ask God for it. And then we wait and wait and wait….when we already have what we need! If you have a relationship with Jesus, you have his strength and courage. You may not always feel like you have it, but it’s there. We may feel completely drained and insufficient and incapable, but it’s not because we actually are. It’s often because we’re not standing on the promise of Romans 1:5.

The Holy Spirit gives us everything we need. The strength and courage we need is already in us, and not only is it in us, but the Holy Spirit fills us! You have access to God’s love, courage, strength, joy, discernment (and the list goes on…) inside you, accessible at all times. So why would you want to be frozen to a clothesline or sit beside the road, bury your head in your hands and quit?

This is what God made us for, and he has given us the Spirit to be a guarantee for this new life. – 2 Corinthians 5:5