Food for Jesus

We did not choose to be born in America! We could have been born in Uganda or Haiti. Imagine that! I respect that I was born in America. But we weren’t born here because we’re lucky. We were born here because we are blessed.

We are blessed to be born in a country where we have freedom and prosperity. We are blessed to have the opportunities that freedom and prosperity make possible. I know some people think we’re not prosperous. We hear a lot of concern about the economy. But unless you’re making less than four dollars a day, you’re making more than 90% of people in the world. They’re fighting to get here!

Even if you’re homeless in America, you’ll find water that’s better than what they’re drinking in parts of Uganda or Haiti. There are Ugandans or Haitians that say, “If I have to be homeless, and all I can do is drink water, then I might as well be homeless in America and drink good water. Here, I’m drinking water that’s killing me and my children.”

We have an opportunity to help. That’s why we’re so blessed! God looks at all of His children and says, “Those of you in this part of the world are doing very, very well. But there’s a part of Me over here that is not.” When you don’t help out, you’re basically turning your back. You’re saying, “You know what? I’ve got my own thing to do.” You’re becoming selfish, and selfishness is not of God.

Essentially, everybody has a broken spirit. Whether you are the richest man in the world or not, you still need the love of Jesus. You still need to be saved. You still need to have the blood of Jesus on your life. And when you share His love in the act of feeding someone who is hungry, you have done the act of Jesus.

That’s where Jesus says, “You have not only fed me, you have been me.” It is so important to understand that! Jesus went to the people who were hungry. He took a couple of loaves and a few fish and He fed five thousand people who were hungry. Why did He do that? Because they were hungry! He said, “I am It. I am everything. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one gets to the Father except through me. I am the Truth, and the truth will set you free.”

If you’re going to turn your back on Him and you don’t care about the person who is hungry, then your mind’s not in the right spot. You’re actually doing the exact opposite of what’s going to fulfill you. Selfishness is very shallow. Pridefulness is very shallow. Making sure that you are taken care of is actually a shallow life.

But when you feed somebody else, you have created joy and a smile on their face. Then you lay your head in bed at night and you say, “Man, I forgot to eat dinner and I didn’t even notice.” Why? Because you were feeding other people! You were not hungry yourself. Not one time. You didn’t need to be hungry. You were helping others who were hungry. You weren’t hungry because you were fulfilled.

Taking care of somebody else will fulfill your heart. And I think that is the greatest thing ever.

Good and Faithful Servant

In recent posts, I’ve been focused on the causes of doubt, be it doubt in God’s existence or His purpose for us. These are the doubts that come from our own lives, when we struggle with failure or frustrated desires. But God is everywhere, not just in our personal circumstances. We have to remember that, because another kind of doubt arises when we look beyond our own circumstances. This one is a serious challenge. What are we supposed to make of God’s purpose when a newborn baby starves to death? What plan could God have possibly had in that?

That’s a tough question, and I don’t claim to know the answer. If we wanted to end poverty, we could. There’s enough money in this world to end poverty forever. But it’s not going to happen, because sin is in the world. Selfishness will always keep that from happening.

Instead, I think about the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.” As ambassadors of Christ, we are called to help bring the redemptive love of Jesus to the earth. That’s bringing the kingdom. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” That’s bringing the kingdom to earth.

I think God has a plan for how this is going to all work out. It’s a perfect plan. And there are so many ideas, so many talents, so many skills, so many different callings, and so many different passions among people that we are overflowing with opportunities to bring the kingdom. I don’t really know how much I can or cannot do. I won’t know unless I truly challenge myself, and I challenge myself more and more all the time. I am certain that I’m always going to try to do as much as I can. My biggest fear is that I’ll sit before the throne of God one day and He will say to me, “You gave me 90%. I needed one hundred.” I don’t want Him to say that. I want Him to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I’m not saying that I’m working for my own salvation, because that’s not what I’m doing. I don’t have to! By the blood of Jesus, I am saved. No, what I’m trying to do is be a light. I’m trying to be a city on a hill. I don’t want to be one of those cities that didn’t light up enough. I want to be as bright as I can possibly be. I want to make sure that I’m hearing God call me. I pray for understanding, and pray that I’m doing what I need to do. I pray without ceasing that I will hear and respond to Jesus when He calls.

More on this next time. See you Tuesday.

A Gift. Freely Given, Never Earned

It can be difficult for us to trust God the King. We already have a lot of trust issues. We have trust issues with government. We see our representatives making deals without regard to morality. They will actually sacrifice their own morals to make sure their agenda gets done! We see that, and we get disillusioned. No wonder we don’t understand what it means to trust God’s Kingdom!

We can learn a lot about trusting God by exploring kingdom imagery. Imagine living in the 17th century and the King says to you, “Come and be my son.” What do you think someone back then would have said? Obviously, they would have said, “Really? You’re asking me? I am in! Yes!”

Now God says, “Come and be my child,” and we actually hesitate. Now we say, “I don’t know, I kind of like living out here, outside the gates of the kingdom.” Why? Because when we look at government, we don’t see trust. We don’t see a reason to trust.

So we don’t understand that we can trust God the King.

We’ve lost so much trust that we love Jesus and thank Him for saving us, but we still struggle to trust God. We don’t trust that He accepts us as His sons and daughters. We go out into the world, but we don’t really believe that we’ll be allowed back into the kingdom. We think God will shut the gate behind us.

So we get into a works mentality. We’re not perfect, so we sin. Then we feel like we have to cover for how we acted. We believe we have to earn our way back in, not understanding that we have never stopped being God’s precious children. We say, “I judged somebody, so I have to read five psalms today.” Or, “I had a lustful thought, so I have to put in two extra hours at the food pantry.” Or, “I thought I was a better Christian than my neighbor, so now I have to go to Nicaragua and help build a new school.” With this mentality, fulfilling the royal law becomes work. Honestly, it becomes an ordeal.

When you start doing stuff to make yourself feel better because you sinned, then you have a works mentality. You’re missing the point. We live in grace now, because of the sacrifice Jesus made, and then His resurrection. Now we live in God’s life. We walk in His Spirit and love with His love. When we sin, we can work it out on the spot with Him. He works all day every day for us. He loves us!

If you do something in order to show people what you’ve done, you’ll be dissatisfied. You won’t feel very good when you’re done. But if you do something to help a struggling neighbor simply because you love her, you’ll feel so good and fulfilled. Your heart will be right where it needs to be.

So trust the King! And when you struggle, send word to Him. Tell Him, “I need some help here.” Trust Him. He will come.

The Royal Law, Part 1

Whitworth University came to Generation Alive and said, “We want to package a ton of meals. We want to make a million meals for Spokane!” And I said, “Alright! Tell them to work on raising the funds.” And those students did something incredible. On May 3, they packaged over 600,000 meals for hungry people in Spokane!

I trust God. I live in a mentality of trust. When we show our love for our neighbor, we’re trying to meet a need. And we’re reflecting God’s Kingdom while we do it, because our motives are pure: we simply trust God. We’re not going to do something like this because we want to say, “Oh, I feel like a better Christian for doing this.” If you think about it, that doesn’t even make sense. I already am a Christian. I am a holy and blameless, righteous person. I’m just living in that identity.

Whitworth students didn’t take on this challenge because they wanted to make God look on them with favor. They were just trying to feed somebody! In fact, I think that for a lot of the young people who got involved, that was all they wanted. They might not even know who God is. Their mission was simply to get food, up to a million meals, into an area that really needs food. One in six people in Spokane are hungry! So they said, “We need to figure out a way to give our hungry neighbors something to eat.”

photo credit: KREM Spokane http://www.krem.com/news/local

photo credit: KREM Spokane http://www.krem.com/news/local

When you tackle the job of loving your neighbor as yourself, trust God. Trust Him to provide you with what you need. If you’re coming up short on donations, just say, “Hey God, we need more money.” Send word to the King. “We need more of something.” Then trust Him to provide it. If He says, “No, my provision is sufficient for you,” then use whatever you have. The Whitworth students made as many meals as they could. Use what you have, even if it’s a couple of loaves and a few fish, and get started. You might get to watch Him do a miracle.

Jesus said, “You need to help those who are hurting.” Well, everybody’s hurting. Your ability to meet a need doesn’t necessarily mean an actual physical need. It could be a mental need. It could be an emotional need. Figure out what is wrong with your neighbors, and love on them. Whether they need food, water, or clothing, emotional support, a friend, or someone who can love without judging, trust God and get started! That’s all you have to do. And if you need help, send word to the King. Let Him know, and He’ll provide what He needs to provide.

More on this next time. See you Thursday.