DEPEND ON GOD, NOT THE GIFT
And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. – Mark 11:1-6
The gifts of the Spirit are not meant to be a substitute for our own faith in the Lord. We are not to depend so completely on some individual with a spiritual gift that we neglect our own spiritual growth and maturity. We can receive anything we need from the Lord without a gift of the Spirit operating through another individual, if we know how to believe. Dependence on the Lord directly is superior to dependence on the Lord indirectly through someone operating in one of the spiritual gifts.
What if there were no gifts of the Spirit and the Lord established that the only way we could receive from Him was through our own faith? There would be some individuals who would get born again who already had terminal diseases but didn’t have enough time left to mature in their faith and receive healing. They would die if it wasn’t for others interceding for them or someone with the gift of healing praying for them. That’s why the Lord gave these gifts–to keep us encouraged and alive so we can mature.
It is also wrong for an individual not to mature in his personal faith in the Lord and become dependent on the gifts. It is not right for someone to receive a miracle through someone with the gift of miracles and then just struggle along until the next time that gifted minister comes through town.
The Lord wants us to receive His power through these gifts, but then we must mature so that we can walk in God’s best on our own.
We are able to mature beyond a total dependency on the gifts to where we can hear and receive from God directly. But none of us will ever reach such a level of maturity in the Lord where there is nothing left to learn or receive. Let Him teach you through His Word today.
THE BABEL PROJECT
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. —Psalm 127:1
Two workmen were asked what they were building together. One said he was building a garage. The other replied that he was building a cathedral. A day later there was only one man laying bricks. When asked where the second was, the first replied, “Oh, he got fired. He insisted on building a cathedral instead of a garage.”
Something similar happened on the ancient worksite of Babel. A group of people decided they would build a city and a tower that would reach to the heavens and unite their world (Gen. 11:4). But God didn’t want them working on a grand, self-centered plan based on the idea that they could rise to the heights of God and solve all of their own problems. So He came down, stopped the project, scattered the people “over all the earth,” and gave them different languages (vv. 8-9).
God wanted people to see Him as the solution to their problems, and He revealed His plan for them to Abraham (12:1-3). Through the faith of Abraham and his descendants, He would show the world how to look for a city “whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:8-10).
Our faith does not rise out of our own dreams and solutions. The foundation of faith is in God alone and what He can do in and through us.
Dear heavenly Father, forgive me for focusing on my own schemes and dreams. Help me to look to You for guidance in all that I do.
God wants to do what only He can do in and for us.
CHOOSE TO TRUST …
Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust… – Psalm 40:4, ESV
Trusting in the Lord is a decision we make just like we would choose anything else in life. You chose what to wear today, you probably chose what you would have for breakfast, and you can choose to trust God today, too! When you choose to trust God, there is a peace that settles on the inside of your heart. There are blessings in store for you when you trust Him.
No matter what you are facing in life today, have faith that God will come through for you. Trust that His Word is always true. In Psalm 32, David calls God his “hiding place.” In other words, not only can you choose to trust God in the midst of your difficulty, you can actually hide in Him and find rest for your soul. When the circumstances of life seem overwhelming, choose to trust that God is ordering your steps. Find security in Him knowing that He’s making your crooked places straight and leading you into the everlasting life He has prepared for you!
WHAT YOU NEED IN THE WILDERNESS (6)
‘…You are to receive the offering for Me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give.’ Exodus 25:2 NIV
God’s people already possessed everything necessary to build the tabernacle. So Moses went to God for the plan, and to the people for the resources. And that’s still how it works! Pastor, don’t come up with a plan of your own, or one you got from somebody else, and then ask God to underwrite it. Ask God for His plan, because that’s the only one He will bless. And don’t feel intimidated about going to the people and asking them to give. Perhaps you’re reluctant to talk about finances because some people in church complain and say, ‘All the pastor ever talks about is money.’ Of course, if they’re right, you need to get back into balance. But generally speaking, people need clear biblical teaching on giving; to see it as a privilege and an opportunity to go into partnership with God. Over and over the Bible refers to giving as ‘sowing’. And when you sow, you should expect to reap. The law of giving is like the law of gravity; it never fails. God said, ‘As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest…will never cease.’ (Genesis 8:22 NIV) Observe how it works: first you sow your seed, then there’s a time of waiting, and finally you get to reap. Money can be a touchy subject; it can stir up resistance and resentment. But God promised that when you sow generously, you will reap generously: ‘…whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully… for God loves a cheerful giver.’ (2 Corinthians 9:6–7 ESV) Now, either God told the truth or He didn’t. And you need to find out whether or not it’s true. The only way to do that is to try it and see for yourself.
AGE IS NOT A FACTOR
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. —1 Corinthians12:26
After owning and working at his dental lab for 50 years, Dave Bowman planned to retire and take it easy. Diabetes and heart surgery confirmed his decision. But when he heard about a group of young refugees from Sudan who needed help, he made a life-changing decision. He agreed to sponsor five of them.
As Dave learned more about these young Sudanese men, he discovered that they had never been to a doctor or a dentist. Then one day in church someone mentioned the verse, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Cor.12:26). He couldn’t get the verse out of his mind. Sudanese Christians were suffering because they needed medical care, and Dave sensed that God was telling him to do something about it. But what?
Despite his age and bad health, Dave began exploring the possibility of building a medical center in Sudan. Little by little, God brought together the people and the resources, and in 2008 Memorial Christian Hospital opened its doors to patients. Since then, hundreds of sick and injured people have been treated there.
Memorial Christian Hospital stands as a reminder that God cares when people suffer. And often He works through people like us to share His care—even when we think our work is done.
God cares when people suffer.
THE MIRACLE OF THE DONKEY AND COLT
And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt. – John 12:14-15
This is the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. Notice how specific Zechariah’s prophecy is and how exactly it was fulfilled. Zechariah prophesied Jesus not only riding an ass, but also a colt (unbroken), the foal of an ass. Zechariah also mentioned the people rejoicing greatly and shouting which certainly came to pass on this day.
All four gospels include a triumphal entry, but only Matthew records a donkey with a colt. A simple explanation to a so-called “contradiction” is that Jesus rode the colt while the other donkey went along. No doubt, He rode each animal part of the way.
Not only was it a miracle that Jesus knew about the ass and its colt, but also where they would be. God also worked some kind of miracle in the owner of these animals so that he would be willing to release them. It is possible that the Lord also revealed to this man that Jesus would need his animals.
Perhaps he was just a devoted follower of Jesus who gladly surrendered them when he knew Jesus was the one wanting them. Either way, it was just as much a miracle that the owner was willing to surrender them as it was that Jesus knew exactly where they would be.
Jesus hadn’t been in Jerusalem in quite a while and there is no indication that He had made previous arrangements with anyone there to obtain this ass and its colt. This was nothing less than supernatural knowledge imparted to Jesus through the Holy Spirit. As Jesus did, let God’s gifts flow through you today.