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Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 2

February 3rd, 2016

“Stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV.

With God, there is more than you can see from where you are.

My comments today continue about, “obstacles and opportunities.”

Obstacles are natural events the devil uses to restrict you to the past or impose limits today. Every obstacle also presents opportunities. Opportunities are Godly provision that encourages you into a better and greater future, just over the horizon from where you now are. You fail to progress in your faith if you only see the obstacles but not the opportunities.

The Bible records two similar yet distinct miracles. Moses and Israel’s miracle at the Red Sea was to redeem Israel’s history. Joshua and Israel’s miracle at the Jordan River was to release Israel’s destiny. Allowing God to deal with your history allows entrance into your destiny. There never could have been a miracle at the Jordan if there had not been a miracle at the Red Sea. As with Israel, God sovereignly deals with your past as prelude to entering your blessed future, a place, “with flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.” Deuteronomy 6:10-11 NIV.

But first, Israel faced two insurmountable, natural barriers – the impassable, swollen Jordan River at the worst possible time of year and the formidable, menacing city of Jericho – a sentinel guarding the Jericho valley and entrance to Canaan. Read Joshua 3:10 NKJV. As you read, notice God’s two purposes for the miracle He would provide. (1) assurance of His abiding presence among them, and (2) His guarantee of unfailing victory until every enemy was vanquished before them. If God could dry up the waters of Jordan, He could collapse the walls of Jericho. From what God has done you learn what God can and will do.

The priests, bearing the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders, were to step into the surging flood waters first and, “stand still in Jordan.” (Joshua 3:8 KJV). It required obedience to step into those surging waters and even greater faith to continue to stand there. Read Joshua 3:13-17 KJV. As promised, the miracle began when the priests stepped into the water, but not where the priests stepped into the water.

Miraculously, the waters stopped many miles upstream beyond where the priests stood and could not yet see. As the rushing waters receded, the priests, “stood firm in the middle of the Jordan on dry ground while all Israel completed the crossing on dry ground.” There will be times when your miracle is still upstream and unseen. With God, there is always more than you can see from where you are. In such times, “In prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV. “And having done all to stand, stand therefore . .” Read Ephesians 6:11-18 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to stand strong in the truth of God’s Word at all times.

To be continued . . Part 3

EDL Pix stormy sea

If you did not already watch the video of this teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760.

If you watch the video, would you be kind enough to simply hit “reply” to the email – no comment required. It’s just a simple way for me to know if posting a video teaching is useful to EDL readers. By the way, at the website, allenrandolph.com, this video and three others are available any time. You can go to the website and scroll down past the calendar to the bottom right corner and you will see them listed. Thank you for your support of this ministry.

Christian Communications 2016

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The Minimum Is Never Enough

March 21st, 2014

“You should abound more and more . . to walk and to please God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NKJV.

Minimum effort will never bring maximum benefit.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “the minimum is never enough.”

Aren’t we strange creatures? People want to receive the maximum benefit from a minimum effort. Life just doesn’t work that way. There is an equity to life. Extra effort is rewarded. Your dividend is directly proportional to your investment, whether made in the coin of time, energy, abilities, or finances. A marriage does not endure with minimum investment. Children do not thrive with minimum love and care. A family does not grow close with minimum time together. A friendship does not deepen with minimum communication. Your spiritual life will not mature with minimum time and attention. The minimum is never enough.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:38 NIV. When you examine the context of this familiar verse, you discover Jesus’ instruction regards giving mercy and forgiveness, but provides a Godly principle that applies broadly to all areas of life. Give minimally and you will receive minimally; give your maximum to God and others and you will receive maximum blessings from God. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 NIV.

A favorite verse of mine has been and remains, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. To Him be glory . .” Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV. God lavishes the sufficiency of blessing and provision – “immeasurably more than all [you] ask or imagine.” God neither gives nor does the minimum. 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV. You abound as a recipient of the blessings of God because God abounds in the grace of giving abundantly. John 10:10 NKJV.

There is a lovely story in the Old Testament. Nearing the end of his life, Abraham entrusted his oldest servant to bring a wife from Abraham’s homeland for his son, Isaac. (Read Genesis 24) He took ten camels and gifts of Abraham’s wealth for her and her family. Arriving at his destination and stopping at the well outside Nahor, he prayed that God’s choice for Isaac would be known to him by her generous response when he asked for her help, “. . And she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink.Let her be the one You have appointed for Isaac.” Genesis 24:10-15 NKJV.

Rebekah could have done nothing; she could have shown minimal courtesy to a weary traveler. But Rebekah quenched his thirst and then as only God could script, she volunteered the extra effort to water all of his camels, as well as offering feed for the camels and a place where the servant could rest. Minimum effort will never bring maximum benefit. Little did she know she would soon ride on those same camels to meet and marry Isaac. See Genesis 24:61-66. As with Rebekah, your extra effort may be the instrument God uses to bless you and exceed your expectations.

The Bible says it best, “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God . . Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NKJV/1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that extra effort and doing your best is your lifestyle.

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Having Enough

June 16th, 2011

“My God shall supply all your need.” Philippians 4:19

Having more is rarely the solution to having enough.”

My thoughts today are about “having enough.”

However much you have at any given time, there always seems an underlying and nagging worry that you will not have enough. No one wants the unknown circumstance to become the unforeseen need. But really, can you ever be sure that you have enough for absolutely any eventuality? How much would that require?  I suggest that having more is rarely the solution to having enough. What then is the answer? Glad you asked!

However much you have, your resources will always have limits. You will never know enough to know everything, never able to do enough to do all things, never have enough to have everything, whereas God’s knowledge and wisdom, abilities, and resources are infinite. The real question is not about what you know, can do, or have; the question is whether God is the Source and Supply in which you trust.

Here’s Solomon’s conclusion: “The steps of the Godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble they will not fall for the Lord holds them by the hand. Once I was young and now I am old and I have never seen the Godly forsaken or his children begging for bread.” Psalm 37:23-25 NLT. I think one of the problems is our confusion that having a lot is the same as having enough. God is your sufficiency for every lack.

The Bible says, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV. Do you know the context for that promise? It is not at all as you might presume. Read the preceding verses about Paul’s experiences – “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation . . well fed and hungry . . living in plenty or in want . . I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13 NIV. He discovered that even when he didn’t have it all, in Christ Jesus he would always have his needs supplied adequately. Maybe we need to embrace the conviction that adequate is enough. Learning to be content in God’s faithful provision is the path to realizing you have enough.

What do you think you need when you don’t have enough? Will more of what you lack be sufficient to have enough? Paul’s answer is simply this: in every situation, God is enough! When you are looking at what you lack, you are distracted from who God is, what He has, and what He can do. “And we have such trust through Christ in God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything is of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God who has made us sufficient . .” 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NKV.

It is possible to have correctly assessed all the facts of your situation, yet overlooked one overriding truth – “(Your) God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus!” Whatever else appears true at the moment, this is one truth that is eternal.

My prayer for you today is that you find faith and satisfaction in what God provides.

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A Little More

November 12th, 2010

“Everyone who has will be given more.” Matthew 25:29 NIV

“For the highest return on life, you must use what God has already given you.”

My thoughts today are about “a little more.”

I remember my Dad telling the story of the wealthiest, American businessman of a previous generation being asked, “How much money would it take for you to have enough?” His answer? “Just a little more!” Whether the story is true or apocryphal, I do not know, but it rings true to all our human natures. I think God created you and me with the desire for “a little more.” Maybe too many of us have just misdirected that desire.

God wants you to have more – more of the right things, to be used in the right way and gained through the right means. Read Philippians 1:10 Amplified Bible. “Learn to sense what is vital and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value [recognizing the highest and best, and distinguishing the moral differences] . . untainted and pure and unerring and blameless . .”

A problem you and I have is that we often want more of the wrong things, distracting us from “seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Mathew 6:33), and crowding out room for the best of things. A little more of the wrong things is worse, not better, than having just enough of those things good for you.

The Bible says, “You want what you don’t have, so you scheme to get it. You are jealous for what others have, so you quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong – you want only what will give you pleasure.” James 4:2-3 NLT.

More! That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? More time, more satisfaction, more love, more happiness, more respect, more reward, more opportunity, more friends, more fun, more things, more money. The list is endless but the one thing all those have in common is the desire for “a little more.”

The problem is that “more” doesn’t just happen because you wish it so. Increase comes by choice, not chance. You aren’t just entitled to more; you earn “more” by your industry, diligence, and obedience – with God’s blessing! God doesn’t multiply what you have; He blesses what you give.

Jesus told a story that taught this principle. Read Matthew 25:14-30 NIV. Three workers received some measure of their master’s wealth for their investment on his behalf. Upon his return, he expected that he would have received more than he left with them. Two of them had been diligent and doubled what had been entrusted to them; they were rewarded with more – enlarged responsibility and opportunity.

The third had not done so well and was not rewarded with more, but left with less. Jesus summarized his story this way: “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away.” Matthew 25:29 NLT.

Here’s how simple the principle is: for the highest return on life, you must use what God has already given you. A Christian author wrote: “It is not what you have; it is what you use, not what you see but what you choose.” That is how God determines how much He gives to your care.

My prayer for you today is that you use what you have for God’s pleasure and blessing.

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When Is More Enough?

March 22nd, 2010

“Because you have been trustworthy.” Luke 19:17 NIV

“Contentment is learning the distinction between plenty and more.”

My thoughts today ask, “when is more enough?”

The problem is not usually about what people have; the problem is the insatiable appetite to have more. There is a faulty belief that if a little bit of something is good then a lot more of that would be great, but that is not necessarily true. Success and happiness in life is recognizing when more is enough.

I have watched my wife, Gayle, take a bite of a dessert so tasty and then push it away, explaining to my amazement, “No bite ever tastes as good as the first.” I think I am more the opposite. That first bite just leads me to want more, sometimes until I wish I had not. But I have learned she is right; the last bite after too many certainly is far less delicious than the first one. Has that ever happened to you? I believe they call that overindulging. It would seem we all do that in too many things.

There are a lot of things – good things – that money can buy, but more money is not the answer to everything, if anything at all really. Some one has reasoned this way: money can buy you a bed but not sleep, books but not learning, delicacies but not an appetite, a house but not a home, medicine but not health, luxuries but not happiness, company but not friends, and influence but not integrity.

That is not to suggest that money is of little value, nor that you are not meant to have it or enjoy it. See 3 John 2 NKJV. I do suggest to you that money – and more of it – will not give you what it cannot provide. Appreciate it for what it can do, but understand its limitations. Contentment is learning the distinction between plenty and more. Money is not always worry-free, and more of the same is not the solution. “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and He adds no trouble to it.” Proverbs 10:22 NIV. Ever heard anyone refer to “ill-gotten gain?” God’s blessing is never ill-gotten gain. The Bible teaches three ways to be blessed with more, which will always be enough and for your good.

Be faithful with what you have, and God will give you more “because you have been trustworthy.” Being responsible in someone’s trust brings you greater trust and added responsibilities. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” Luke 16:10-12 NIV.

Be generous in serving God and others with what you have, and God will give you more “because you have been trustworthy.” “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but it comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed . . blessing crowns him who is willing to sell . . he who seeks good finds goodwill . . (but) whoever trusts in his riches will fall . . the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:24-28 NIV.

Be obedient to do the will of God with what you have, and God will give you more “because you have been trustworthy.” “By faith, Moses . . esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the great reward that God would give him.” Hebrews 11:26 NKJV/NLT.

My prayer for you today is: enjoy what you have and trust God for all you need.

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