Tag Archives: need

Hard-Pressed Relief Outline

Hard-Pressed Relief

2 Corinthians 8:13-14 – “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.” (ESV) BURDEN & EASE

If one member of the body suffers – all suffer – 1 Corinthians 12:26

Burden causes fatigue, struggle, drowning—become overwhelmed & even angry

Yet we are to “Serve with gladness” – Psalm 100:2

  • Delegation – You Cannot Do Everything
  1. Jethro & Moses (Exodus 18)
  2. Seven chosen for distribution including Stephen & Philip (Acts 6)
    1. Good reputation / Full of Spirit / Full of wisdom
    2. Know gifts / don’t serve in all areas – serve where you can give your all
    3. Not burdened that others may live at ease. Remember Exodus 16:18 – Manna was gathered and there was “nothing left over” and there was “no lack.” Each one gathered as much as they could eat.
  • Recognize Burden – Take Note When You Are Drowning & Speak Up
    1. Moses says: “I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me” [Numbers 11:14 ESV]
    2. “Gather for me seventy of the elders… and I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.” [v. 16-17 ESV]
    3. Two is Better Than One [Ecclesiastes 4:9-12] – “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a three-fold cord is not quickly broken.”(ESV)
  • Jesus Above All
    1. Guard the Gospel [2 Timothy 1:12-14] “Which is why I suffer as I do. But I’m not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what he has entrusted to me. Following the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (ESV)
    2. Keep aware not to take away from another’s walk. Equip. Empower.

Ephesians 4:15-16 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (ESV)

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You Are Blessed

Circumstances change. Situations are not always the same. There are moments in life when you may be “on top of the world.” There are also moments when you are at your lowest point. But in any circumstance, in any situation, at any point in life, you can be content. It does not matter where you are at or who you are with or your circumstances. Paul said that he was content in any situation.

I know people who are never happy. They can only list the negatives in their life, yet if I examine their situation I find many blessings I could list. For some reason or another, some people feel dissatisfied, unhappy, broken, or lacking. For me it is hard to understand. I have grown to understand this same contentment as Paul mentions. Life is really different when you can be content in all situations.

Today I challenge you to look around and thank God for your blessings. Did you have at least one meal today? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have a job? Do you have family? Think of what you have—look at the blessings around you. When you focus on them and thank God for them, you aren’t living with your eyes fixed on your lack. If you can look at the situations that come your way in a positive light, you’ll discover this contentment that is only possible through Christ.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” – Philippians 4:12 [NIV]

The Yellow Shirt

It was early morning and I had broken sleep. I had not had my morning cup of coffee and I was walking not one, but two dogs, as Max was joined with his pal Marci. I felt like I was sleepwalking through the first half mile. I looked forward and saw a man in the distance sitting on a lawn chair. He looked jaundice. I immediately began to pray for him. As I got closer I realized he was just bald and he was wearing a yellow shirt. It was highly unlikely that he had jaundice. Then I said, “Lord, you’re probably laughing at me. I know I would.”

It was a good morning laugh. I was so quick to pray for the man and it was for something not relevant; however, I’m sure that God answered my prayer. The point that I want to highlight is the fact that I instantly prayed for the person. I don’t always do that but it is the best thing to do when we know of someone who is in need of prayer. When someone asks you to pray for them, do it right away. It does not matter where you are at or who you are around or what you are doing.

Prayer lists are great. I have one. Having a set time of the day when you connect with God in prayer is great as well. But there should always be this open door policy throughout your day where there’s no list, there’s no set time, there’s just you and God. When you are driving in your car and you see someone in need of prayer, pray for them. When you are on your work break and just saw someone post something on Facebook that shows a need, pray for them. Right then and there. Sometimes we put the list together and lose it. Sometimes we plan to take that list to our bedroom and pray before bed but we fall asleep with only good intentions that failed. You will feel better if you pray right away and at the same time, you will know that you took it to God first. It is always best in His hands.

“I love the LORD because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!” – Psalm 116:1-2 [NLT]

The Dog Bath

Giving Max a bath can be quite the ordeal. Since he’s a larger dog, it’s not so easy to get him into the bath tub. Plus he is not fond of getting a bath and I am not fond of cleaning all of the hair out of the tub when he finally decides to comply with his mom’s request. Every so often I take him to the dog wash, which is a dog bath at the local car wash.

Max never wants to go up the ramp to the bathing area. Although it is the good path to take, he does not want what will follow. He loves to be clean. He loves to have his hair blown dry. But he detests the bath itself. When the bath is over, I have to stand beside him when he gets put back on his leash for he wants to hop out of the bathing area rather than taking the ramp down to the ground. Today I got soaked because he rammed into me as I blocked the dangerous attempt

Many times God will try to lead us down a particular path in life. Sometimes it does not appear so great and sometimes the path brings about trials and obstacles we do not desire. However, God has a perfect plan and His direction will help us to get to where we are meant to be in life. There are moments when He opens doors for us to enter but we hesitate because we fear, we doubt, or we think we know better. There are also moments when we try to go another way, a way that might lead toward something not in our best interest. At times He will block it to keep us safe and at times He will allow us to take the other way to help us to grow closer to Him. It is as if He says, “You want it. Okay, I’ll give it to you.” Oh the lessons He has taught me by giving me what I wanted. I soon realized I no longer wanted what I wanted—I wanted instead what He wanted. Today, if God is leading you down a particular path, if God has opened a door for you to enter, I pray you have the trust to follow. Following His direction is always the best way.

“Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’
She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.” – Hosea 2:6-8 [NIV]

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” – Psalm 16:11 [NLT]

Desperate Disruptions

When you get desperate you do things you wouldn’t normally. You are more vulnerable. You are more shameless. You are more likely to fall upon your knees. You are more likely to take action. Again and again we see this desperation from so many people in the Bible. Remember the hemorrhaging woman who reached out to touch Jesus? How about the friends who went through the roof to get their friend to see Jesus? Or the blind man who continued to call to Jesus for mercy despite the people around him who told him to quiet down? These people all were desperate. These people were all in need. These people all recognized they could not do it alone.

Jesus did not see these people as disruptions. They were each people in need—in need of a Savior. Each person needed help. Each person needed healing. Jesus did not turn them away despite having other things on the agenda. He took time. He gave of Himself. He embraced these people and filled their needs.

We each are in desperate need of a Savior and we each find ourselves on our knees in desperation again and again. If we look around, there are also moments when people are in need of help and they are placed before you so that you can be the hands and feet of Christ. Today I ask if you see these people as disruptions or if you keep your hands open and your eyes on Christ? Perhaps these “disruptions” are God’s plan all along. Perhaps at this very moment, you were to do something great for God’s glory, but you saw it as an inconvenience and passed up the opportunity to show someone the love of Jesus. Perhaps.

“I cry to you, LORD; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’ Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.” – Psalm 142:5-6 [NIV]

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God Says There’s Plenty

With our human eyes, we see what is there and we consider that to be our resources. When I look into my refrigerator and see a gallon of iced tea, I understand that is all I have. At the same time, I know I have the money to get more tea so it does not worry me. There are moments though when we do not have the resources in our hands or in our bank accounts. There is nothing there to bring about a certain something in our lives. We do not have enough we then say.

It could be the funds necessary to put down a security deposit and first month’s rent to move into a new place because you have to move. It could be money that is needed to evaluate your car after the “check engine” light shined bright. It could be new shoes for your children because they have outgrown yet another pair. Whatever it is, you find yourself saying, “There’s not nearly enough.”

This servant looked around at the people and then he looked at the available resources. There’s not enough. There’s not enough. The servant said there wasn’t enough. But Elisha responded, “God says there’s plenty.” God says there’s plenty. Do you think God forgot about you? Do you think that when you need something, it won’t be there? God says there’s plenty. When the need truly arises, the need is met. God says there’s plenty. Trust it will come and it will be enough.

 

“His servant said, ‘For a hundred men? There’s not nearly enough!’

Elisha said, ‘Just go ahead and do it. God says there’s plenty.’”

-2 Kings 4:43-44 [MSG]

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Slavery of Self Reliance

We have become a very independent people. But self dependence has caused a slavery of self reliance. We depend on ourselves. We try to control our circumstances to ensure our lives. We take on the burden. We define our meaning and significance. We are in charge of our security and safety.

God did not create us to be this way. God wants to free us from ourselves. We weren’t meant to be burdened in this way.

God is our meaning, our significance, our security, our safety and protection. He is our hope. Only those people who find themselves in need of a Savior will look for one. Only those people searching for a Savior will recognize one.  Let go and let God. Let God define you. Let God be your meaning and significance. Let God be your security, your protection. Let it go.

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” – 2 Corinthians 3:5 [ESV]

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Begged for Guidance

Have you ever begged for something? Perhaps when you were a child, you begged your parents for a trending toy. When you neared driving age, you begged to learn how to drive and then when you passed your test, you begged to borrow the family car. Have you ever begged God for something?

Some people beg God for selfish requests. We do not always see it as such, but when things are uncovered, it is very self-centered. We also beg for particular things like healing because we do not see God’s bigger plan. I know I’ve begged for my pain to go away, and yet my pain has taught me patience and humility. I am all the better because of my pain.

In today’s verse, we read that Jehoshaphat was terrified knowing that there was a large group approaching via the sea. He was afraid and he immediately turned his attention to God. He begged Him for guidance. Have you ever begged God for guidance? Have you ever wanted His guidance that bad? Have you ever approached Him with that humility?

“Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.” – 2 Chronicles 20:3 [NLT]

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We Hate This Manna

The Israelites were in the desert hungry and God promised to rain down bread from heaven. The Lord provided for the Israelites and they called this manna. As time progressed, they were tired of the manna. It still was suitable for food. It still could satisfy their hunger needs. The problem was they wanted something else—the manna was no longer enough for them in their eyes.

The people went as far as to say “we hate this horrible manna.” The horrible manna fed them; Exodus 16 says the Israelites ate it for forty years. But the people wanted more and they were no longer so thankful for the provisions of the Lord. Perhaps God provided, but they had something different in mind.

We also receive provisions but do not always respond with a thankful heart. There are moments in life when we only have canned pasta to eat. We would rather have steak. Our expectations are different. Today be thankful for all of God’s provisions, not simply the ones that delight us the most.

“And they began to speak against God and Moses. ‘Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?’ they complained. ‘There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!’” – Numbers 21:5 [NLT]FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

 

The Good Things of Egypt

When the Israelites were in the wilderness, there came a time when they wanted some meat. The Bible says that the people who were with them traveling “began to crave the good things of Egypt” and they joined in with this desire. They were slaves in Egypt. They were treated harshly in Egypt. Yet they shifted their focus from what they now had to what they lacked.

When you focus on what you do not have, you will find that you act very differently than you would with your focus aligned on God and His blessings. These “good things of Egypt” included nice food, but it also came with poor treatment in slavery. It also included living in a sinful area surrounded by people who did not follow God. The Israelites focused on what they lost—the little good that they had in Egypt—instead of looking at what they now had thanks to God.

We do this as well. Next time you find yourself complaining—next time you are grumbling in the wilderness—shift your focus. Remember what you have thanks to God.

“Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed.” – Numbers 11:4 [NLT]

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