Wednesday, May 18, 2011

YOU JUST GOTTA HAVE FAITH

When talking with people about our involvement with missions, we often have people tell us that they would love to go on a mission trip but they just don't see how they could afford it. We've learned the truth, as Amy Lancaster of WE WILL GO Ministries often says, that "where God leads, He'll provide".


Sometimes He provides through giving us a job that allows us to earn our own trip funds. Sometimes He provides by just moving on people to give financially. Sometimes He provides by giving inspired ideas for fundraisers and then blesses those efforts. Sometimes He even provides through house fires and insurance policies as we have definitely seen over the last year. And sometimes it is a combination of those things.

Though we don't always know how He will provide the funding, we've decided as a family that we will not allow fear of not having the money stop us from stepping out in faith when He directs us to do something.

Over and over again, we see in the Bible that God told someone to go and do something and then He provided.


He told Moses to lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt and travel to the Promised Land where they would build a new nation. God provided abundantly by motivating the Egyptians themselves to provide for the trip and the building with an outpouring of wealth. These were pagan people who were definitely NOT on God's side but God was using them to provide for His people.

He time and time again sent out His disciples to preach the Good News of Jesus and would most often, have them take barely anything with them but to just trust on the generosity and hospitality of others. And because we know that all good things come from God, we know that even that provision was a gift of God.

And then there was Paul. Sometimes he was supported through the generosity of others and thru offerings, but other times he worked as a tent maker to provide for himself on his mission trips.

God told Noah to build and ark and fill it up with animals. God provided all the building supplies and food provisions they would need just through the natural resources He had put into place and through the hard work of Noah and his family.

And there were times of supernatural, miraculous provision....food brought in the beaks of ravens to a prophet, manna from heaven, and gold in the mouth of a fish.

But don't think that God only provided in the Bible but after that folks were left to their own devices. There are more well documented cases throughout the history of Christianity, and even in modern time, of God providing than I could ever even begin to list here.

Read just about any biography of famous Christians --- George Mueller, Amy Carmichael, Brother Yun, Heidi and Roland Baker, Mother Teresa, or Nora Lam, for example --- and you will find story after story of God calling, sending, and providing.

And in our own life, I've seen it.

A stranger giving Betsie a $100 bill at a road block; an alum of my college we've never met paying $2000 towards her Romania trip after she heard about our house fire; and then the unexpected huge amount of fire insurance money that we received that not only paid for Jim and my trip to Swaziland, but also our friend Kelly's.



Maybe we've not pulled a gold coin out of a fish's mouth or seen food fall from Heaven, but I personally know missionaries who have told me stories of supernatural provision. One missionary told us of going to the airport to leave for their mission trip, no money to pay for the airplane ticket, and when they went up to the check-in desk, the agent said a ticket was booked in their name. That same missionary lived in a foreign nation during a famine and the one bag of rice he had never ran out during the famine despite the fact that he was feeding his household and never turned away anyone coming to ask for food.

Whatever God is calling you to do, please don't let fear of not being able to "afford" it stop you from going. In all honesty, you can't "afford" not to obey God. What you will miss out on in the Kingdom of God by not going is a loss you can't even imagine. And what you will gain --- ranging from personal spiritual growth to lives changed and saved for the Kingdom --- can not have a price tag put on it. What you will gain by saying "yes", even when you can't see with your eyes the financial provision, is worth the scariness of stepping out in faith and simply trusting the one who can and does provide.

When God plants HIS dreams in your life, don't let ANYTHING stop you!

That's faith.

And that's what we, as His children are called to walk in.

George Seaton said, “faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to” and in the Bible, Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

We who follow Jesus say that we are part of the Christian Faith. Well, it ain't faith if we could see it all and understand it all. And to be honest, if we could see it all and understand it all, it would have to be pretty small. But God and His ways are so much bigger than us, so much bigger than our brains can wrap around.

He's GOD for goodness sake!

It is really crazy to think that HIS plans are small enough for us to do them all on our own with no amount of stepping out into the unknown and trusting Him to make things happen. I think that part of the reason why we don't see the church making a huge impact on our nation today is because we have made God small and his plans even smaller. We want to do only do for Him what we can figure out on our own. And when common sense or just our own giftings or resources can't make it happen, then we either just don't even try or we say "it must not be God's will for such-and-such to happen".

Wow.

I am so glad that Noah and Moses and Abraham and Daniel and Mary the mother of Jesus didn't have that attitude.

I don't want to have that attitude.

And I don't want you to have that attitude.

What is God leading you to do? Has He put the desire in your heart to go on a missions trip? Has He given you the idea for a ministry that is out of your comfort zone?

Then step out in faith. Head towards what is "unseen" and trust Him to provide the way...whether that is through sacrificing your weekends to put on road blocks and bake sales or whether it is through supernatural provision in the form of miracles, it will all be worth it.

You just gotta have faith.



And speaking of provision and faith, a sweet friend of church has provided a painted cross picture for our ongoing fundraisers. Christy Phillip's blue "faith" cross on a pink background measures 8 X 10. The bidding will begin at $9. To leave a bid, click on "comment" below. In the comment field, leave your name, the amount you are bidding, and contact information. If you are unable to bid on this blog, you can bid via facebook or email me at jimelm "at" windstream "dot" net. The auction will end Friday, May 27 at 5:00.

We also have another painting still up for auction. It was offered last week but due to technical problems with Blogger, people weren't able to post bids on it before the auction ended on Friday evening. The link to that post is: http://elysasmusingsfromgraceland.blogspot.com/2011/05/new-places-new-experiences-there-are.html

2 comments:

Grace B. said...

Not a bid. Nut I can first hand say God does miracles. Last year on my mission trip to Moldova we brought 75 lollipops per group. 80 people showed up at the first site and 30 at the other and we had half a bag left over when we got back to the house. Miracles...
(Yes lollipops but kids can get upset if they get left out...)

Elysa said...

Thank you for sharing that story of God's gracious provision, Grace. We has a similar situation happen with hotdogs in Swaziland when I worked there in the 80's. Hotdogs, lollipops...it is all about God's goodness. :)