Needs Met

Nehemiah 9:20
“You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.”

Nehemiah is reflecting back upon how God faithfully met the needs of His people as they struggled through their wilderness journey. He speaks regarding the Spirit, the manna and the miraculous supply of water. If it were not for the provision of God there is no way Israel could have been sustained.

Their journey in the wilderness is both a real life historical incident as well as an illustration of the Christian life. The struggles they faced with difficulty, opposition, fear and periods of wanting faith are not unfamiliar to everyone who attempts to walk with Christ. It is important to know that the same God who provided for them will provide for us today.

When Israel was in want the Lord always had a remedy. At times water was supplied from very unlikely places, but there was always enough. A desert is incapable of supplying food for the masses so God sent bread from heaven. When Israel faced an enemy who threatened their safety it was the Spirit of God that enabled them to have victory.

The same will be true for us today. There are times in life where we face situations that seem to have no remedy. We may be facing financial problems, relational issues or just the daily struggles that come with life in a fallen world. Remember the same God that supplied for Israel will supply for you.

Jim

 

Forbidden Food

Leviticus 11:2
“Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth.'”

IMG_1488If we go back to the call of Abraham, we realize Israel was a nation chosen and established by God. Abraham was told that through his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Later, we read God’s purpose in choosing Israel was for them to be a light to the rest of the world.  God’s idea was for the world to know who He was, through the witness of His people. One factor that would make their light shine more brightly was living by a higher standard than the world around them. This is part of the reason for the dietary laws.

There may be some health reasons behind the food restrictions God placed upon His people, but this is certainly not the main reason for adopting them. There are many foods they were allowed to eat that are as unhealthy as what was forbidden. Instead, the laws were designed to cause Israel to stand out, and be a witness to the world. This principle is highlighted in the story of Daniel. You recall how he was offered all of the king’s delicacies, but chose to eat only vegetables (Daniel 1:8). This was, no doubt, driven by two factors. First,  the dietary restrictions of the Law, and second was the fact that much of the food of Babylon was offered to idols. When Daniel chose to stand up for the Word of God and live accordingly, he became a powerful witness to his generation. We find others joined him in his stand for the Lord, and many were drawn into relationship with God.

Jesus explained that the Christian is called to be a light to the world. The more we commit ourselves to the ways of God, the brighter that light will shine. When we refuse to bow to the standards of our culture, and instead, live according to the Word of God, we will see others drawn to Christ. While we do not have a list of movies, television shows, or a playlist of songs, that we are to avoid, it is clear from content, there are many things on which Christians have no business spending their money, or filling their minds. Remember, our first priority is to glorify God, and be a light to the world in which we live.

Pastor Jim

 

Treasures In Heaven

Matthew 6:21
” For Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b9a/30989304/files/2015/01/img_1301.jpgThe longer I live, the more I have come to realize, so much in life is passing. Things I once coveted and had to have, are bundled up and given to the Salvation Army. That “new car smell” has been replaced with “what’s that smell?” Even relationships that were once so close, have grown distant. The words of Christ shout a deafening cry,

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Matthew, Chapter 6, not only exhorts us to lay up heavenly treasures, it also sheds light on the spiritual activities that will help us do it. We are told to give, pray, fast and let go.

One of the great struggles we face is how to live for eternity, while living in time. We know, while God could cause manna to appear on our front lawn every morning, He has chosen to call us to “till the ground.” In other words, we all have to work for a living. We need the tangibles like cash, food, housing, etc. How do we balance living here with storing up treasures in heaven. I think one of the keys is found in Verse 33.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

When we decide to no longer worry, to no longer be consumed with the things of this life, and instead, put our full confidence in Jehovah, as our provider, we will be able to put Him first. When that happens, we will see  He is, in fact, able to meet our every need.

Today, whether you go to work, school, or stay at home, put Jesus in first place. Seek to please Him with every step, and watch as He uses the details of your day as opportunities to store up treasures in heaven.

Pastor Jim