We are told in Isaiah 55:11 that God’s Word will not return to Him void but it will accomplish that which He has sent it out to do. Therefore, no matter in what situation we find ourselves, we should always be witnessing. If we listen to our Christian brothers and sisters in such places as Eritrea, China, Korea, and other countries where they are being persecuted, it seems that perhaps, the worse the situation, the more effective is God’s Word. These brothers and sisters consider it an honor to be chosen to bear the Cross of Jesus, even unto death. We need to reach that point in our spiritual walk that we would give our lives rather than deny Jesus. Paul said this:
21 To me the only important thing about living is Christ, and dying would be profit for me.–Philippians 1:21 (NCV)
We should understand that Jesus’s faithfulness brought Him to death on the cross. Should the created expected to be treated better than the Creator?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
In the verses from 2 Cor.11:5 to 12:7a, Paul has been making the case that only a fool would boast about the things that they accomplish in their own strength. He is is making two points. One is that as long as we think we can, God won’t and the other is that we are foolish to think that we can do any of God’s work in our own strength. Jesus made that fact very clear.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. — John 15:5
We are not put here on earth to brag and boast about ourselves and our accomplishments. Our purpose here on earth is to bring praise to God in our words and actions.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. — 1 Peter 2:9
It is in our weakest moments that God shows up to deliver us, it is when we come to the end of our rope and ask God for wisdom, that He shows us the open door through which He will take us to safety. Therefore, let us, like Paul, delight in our weaknesses and in whatever situation we find ourselves, trust God. As long as we think we can, God will allow us to struggle on our own.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Philip and the other disciples had been following Jesus for a while now. They had seen Jesus perform miracle after miracle. Even now, a huge crowd was approaching Jesus because they knew about His miraculous work. Jesus sees this as an opportunity to test Philip. He asks Philip, “Where will we buy bread to feed these people?” Philip doesn’t answer the question Jesus asks, instead, he makes a statement about their lack. It doesn’t seem to enter his mind that the Bread of Life is sitting right in front of him. When Jesus asks us to do something for Him, what do we see? What is our answer? Don’t we do basically what Philip did? “Even if we_______, we wouldn’t have enough! (fill in the blank with whatever you think you would have to do to accomplish the mission). Most of us, like Philip, avoid the question and look at what we don’t have. Jesus will never ask us to do a work for Him without providing everything we need to accomplish the task. All he wants is our availability and all we need to finish the work is Jesus. If we do what Jesus asks us to do, the oil and the flour will not run out.
15 The widow went and did as Elijah had told her, and all of them had enough food for many days. 16 As the Lord had promised through Elijah, the bowl did not run out of flour nor did the jar run out of oil.—1 Kings 17:15, 16 (GNT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
God inhabits the praises of His people, so we should enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and enter His courts with praise. After we have praised Him, He also instructs us to ask and keep on asking. He is longing to bless us when we are obedient to Him. And never forget to be grateful for what He has done, is doing and will continue to do for you. Worry will not accomplish anything useful, so just rest in the arms of Jesus and enjoy the “now”. He gives us a peace that passes all understanding, even in the worst of times.
3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. 4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” — Acts 1:3-5 NLT
Jesus spent forty days on earth after His resurrection. He would often appear to the apostles and talk with them, giving them further instructions about what they should do and how they should do it. The most important instruction was not to leave Jerusalem until they had been baptized with the Holy Spirit. That instruction is still just as important to God’s children today. When God calls us to do something specific for the Kingdom, we should immerse ourselves in prayer and wait for the moving of the Holy Spirit before we attempt anything. The reason for this is that we are merely mouths, hands and feet for God, He will accomplish the work to be done. What God speaks to us, we speak to others. We take the message wherever He instructs us to take it and we minister to those who He puts in our path. That is how the message gets to the ends of the world. We are carriers, He is the activator. The reuslts are not in our hands, they are in His hands. We are to be concerned about being obedient and God will take care of the results.
35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late.36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”
37 But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months .”— Mark 6:35-37a NLT
Jesus is still saying the same thing today — “You feed them”. We are still doing the same thing the disciples did, we are asking –“With what?” When we have a worldly view of things, we see the impossibilities, when we are focused on Jesus and see through His eyes we see the possibilities. What an opportuinity and what an honor it is for us to be asked to feed the multitudes. This situation with the huge crowd and little resources was an opportuinity for Jesus to teach the disciples. Even though they had walked with Jesus for quite a while and had seen all the miracles that He performed, they still had not gotten the message. I am sure that if Jesus had said “tell them to sit down and I will feed them”, the disciples would have had litttle trouble believing that, but when He instructed them to feed the crowd, that was a completely different issue. We, like the disciples, sometimes hear the words but misunderstand our part. Jesus needed their hands and feet to walk and hand out the food, He would provide the food. When Jesus instucts us to do something, just obey and watch the miracle happen. When you look at your resources, they may seem too little to accomplish the task, but there will be more than enough. There were plenty of leftovers after everyone had eaten their fill and in the Old Testament, the widow’s cruse of oil did not run out, there was always plenty to fill the next vessel. God’s Spirit will not run out, there will always be plenty to fill the next person. Our part is to be carriers, God is the supplier.
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. — James 1:8, 9 NIV
The Greek word translated as love here in James is “agape” or “agapao”. It is a word that describes the very nature or essence of God. “God is Love”. It is not an emotion and it is not based on feelings or the other person’s actions. It is a fact, plain and simple. There is nothing we did or can do to cause God to love us more or less than He does. It was agape that required God to send His Son to save us. It is the kind of love that we strive to show but rarely, if ever, are humans able to reach that level of love. Nevertheless, our goal is or should be to get as close as we can to doing so. Just as agape required God to give His only Son to demonstrate that kind of love, it requires us to give of our time, energy and resources in an attempt to show others the love that Jesus had for us. We must show it to everyone equally without showing favoritism. “To love your neighbor as yourself” means that we must be willing to do everything for our neighbor that we would do for ourselves. Agape is not passive, it requires action(s) on our part. It does not require the one receiving the agape to do anything to deserve it. We certainly could not and did not do anything to deserve what God and His Son Jesus did for us. Our efforts to show agape to others is how we accomplish the good works that accompany our faith. It is also how we can do what Jesus said to us:
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. — John 14:11, 12 NIV