Give Him Your "Only"

As I was reading in the Word this morning God used something to speak deeply to my heart. I want to share it with you.

What God used was the incident of Jesus feeding over 5,000 people at one time. This was truly a miracle, and at the same time was proof that our God is more than big enough to take care of us...all of us. It all started when Jesus' disciples came to Him and asked Him to send the large crowd away so they could go into the villages and towns to find food and rest. Seemingly out of nowhere Jesus says, "No, they don't need to go away. You feed them." Their response to Jesus' command was typical of any human being, but not typical of God. Still learning they said, "We have here ONLY five loaves and two fish." Notice that the disciples (like you and me so many times) focused on the insufficiency of what they had, not on what Jesus could do with what they had. This little 4-letter adverb "ONLY" blinds the disciples to Jesus' infinite potential, and gives clear sight to the smallness of what they possessed. How often do you and I do the same thing! "I would love to do this, but I am only......." "If ONLY I were younger." "If I ONLY had more." "I can give ONLY..." We need to stop allowing this tiny, 4-letter word to limit the unlimited God in our lives!

Jesus took the disciples "only" (5 loaves and 2 fish) and with His infinite abilities multiplied it greatly and fed over 5,000 folks! Miracle? Yea. But in God's eyes...simply routine! Does Jesus want to do that for you and me? Absolutely. But He needs for you to give Him your "only".

I am intrigued with how Jesus did this.  (Matthew 14:19 - 20) says Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. Then He blessed them. Then He broke them. Then He gave them back to the disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the people. When it was over, verse 20 says "and they all ate and were satisfied." Is this cool or what? He took, He blessed, He broke, and He gave it back! Incredible!  Think about your "only". Release it to Jesus. He will take it from you. He will bless it. He will break it (to multiply it). Then He will give it back to you in exponential amount so you can give it away to those in need. Wow!

Don't forget. Jesus works through that which seems insignificant. (See 1 Corinthians 1:27 - 29) He multiplies that which is given to Him in faith and trust. When we release our "only" to Him, will we experience the "sufficiency" of His all-sufficient grace!

There 4 You

In a previous post I dealt with our own faithfulness to God. Faithfulness is a virtue desperately needed in our world today. Even in the church, there is a deficiency of this particular virtue. Faithfulness is a key ingredient to success in just about any realm.
The dictionary defines the word "faithful" as: ( a.) Strict or thorough in the performance of a duty. (b.) True to one's word. (c.) Steady in allegiance or affection. (d.) Loyal, constant, reliable, trusted, or believed. Faithful. Sounds to me like faithfulness is a very good thing to exude. What do you say?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to deduce that the genuine source of faithfulness is God Himself. He is the epitome of faithfulness. The first definition of faithfulness listed says "strict or thorough in the performance of a duty. I'd say that nails God! He's God, right? I'm convinced that God is very strict and loyal as God. He's not God today and simply a legend tomorrow. He's always God and He's quite good at it! That's because He's faithful. The second definition was "true to one's word". Bingo! God again. What God says He will do...He will do. What God has said He would do...He's done! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever according to what He said. He's held true to that. The third definition says "steady in allegiance or affection". If there's one human word (among a gazillion others) that describes God it is steady. Isaiah says God loves with an everlasting love. That's pretty steady and affectionate. The Bible says God is "love". How can you get more affectionate than that? Other definitions listed are "loyal, constant, reliable, trusted, or believed. All all of these accurately describe God's infinite faithfulness.

If God were not trustworthy, He could not be trusted. Yes, quite a simple statement but with profound implications. In other words, if trust did not have as its aim One who is trustworthy, it would not be possible. In the same way faith can only be substantiated by the One who is faithful. If God were not faithful, it would be futile to walk by faith. I am always saying (because I am passionate about it) that if you want to experience God's faithfulness...you must take steps of faith. Your faith gives God the opportunity to express His faithfulness. As a matter of fact, the Bible says we must walk (live) by faith...not by the way things appear. This is possible because He is truly faithful. Many Christ-followers are not experiencing God's faithfulness to the incredible level they were created to. Why? Because they're not walking by faith. Many think walking by faith requires them to muster up some invisible force from within that causes them to believe and trust in God. And when that doesn't happen they think they are just one of those who don't have faith. God has given us all we need to trust Him. His Word.

My encouragement to you today is, if you need to trust Him more (experience His faithfulness), then trust Him to do what He's already said He will do...for you. Become a student of His Word, not just for knowledge, but for faith. The book says "Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God." Live your life according to what His Word says. I promise you...you'll experience His faithfulness. He is there for you!

Exchanging My Time For His Presence

The above phrase came to my mind one day as I was basking in His presence. "Exchanging my time for His presence". Quite often I get alone with God with my head between the ear buds of my I-pod. It seems that during those encounters (when I just sit and enjoy His presence in the midst of some anointed worship), time almost stops. But at the same time I am amazed at how much time slips by during these encounters! I guess that proves God owns time - but is not confined to it. 

Through the years I've heard pastors and teachers teach on the subject of the Law of Exchange. It is when you give something and in return get something different. For instance, when you give $1.77 @ Starbuck's, you in return get a delicious, tall cup of Sumatra or a Cafe Verona brewed to perfection. In a sense, you turn your buck 77 into a delicious cup of coffee! God kind of used that analogy on me again recently. (I wonder why!) 

When I give my valuable time to God, to just be with Him - in return I experience a dimension of His presence that only comes by exchanging my time. How valuable is my time? I will answer that with another question. How valuable is His presence? In His presence I experience so many things that literally change the course of my day, and thus my life. Here are just a few: His love, His energy, His joy, His gladness, His strength, His voice, His input, His direction, His Word, His Son, His Spirit, and more. 

Let me ask you, are you ready to exchange your time for His presence? I can promise you this - it will change your life - and it's much better than even a cup of Caffe' Verona from Starbuck's!