Encouragement – “see pg 317”
For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he has not. ~2 Corinthians 8:12.
This scripture reminds me of the humble lifestyle of my childhood. Dad was a good provider for our family, and God blessed us in all the things that count. But there were definitely times when Dad felt that he just wasn’t “Living the American Dream”. All that changed when God opened new doors in Dad’s life. Because Dad was willingly obedient to God’s calling, our entire family has reaped the earthly and the spiritual reward for four generations.
I remember that Dad regretted not having a college education. I could tell by his conversations with me growing up that he seriously wanted his children to get more education that he had. Yet he was so gifted that he achieved far more in his brief life than I claim for my own life (having more formal education and outliving him by almost 20 years). Dad used what God blessed him with by tithing, supporting gospel ministries, teaching Sunday School classes, helping build youth camps and church buildings with limited materials, actively serving as an ordained deacon in his local church, and by sharing God’s Word with ordinary folks he met in ordinary circumstances. Dad made sure he was the spiritual leader of our family. He declared Sunday as “Family Day” and took us to church; then afterward he took us on picnics all over the place. He became a pilot and flew us to uninhabited places you wouldn’t believe just so we could enjoy hot dogs together on a deserted beach; then beach comb until sunset. When he could no longer fly his plane due to health reasons he made sure it went into service in the mission fields of the far north Alaskan bush villages. Dad really took care of the important stuff. I am convinced that God can and does call each person without regard for attributes that men would esteem. When I observe believers who share their faith in amazing ways through giving, music, preaching, teaching, charity, care giving, or a myriad of other ways, I am struck by God’s love for diversity in His chosen.
It must be a very sad thing to God when believers are unwilling to use what they DO have in service for the Gospel. When we make excuses for not sharing Jesus, it is such a paradox! If we truly believed that we have no skills, talents, or resources with which to share the Bible message, what about our mouths? Wouldn’t our verbal skill be better used for glorifying Jesus through witness than for making those excuses?
Sometimes God has opened doors of opportunity to me but when I demonstrated willingness He shut the doors. Was He just testing my willingness? Was my faith alone acceptable, even though I was poorly equipped to handle the assignment? God is so kind and merciful. He never expects us to do more than we are able at the time. One particular example of God’s tenderness was revealed to me personally about ten years ago. A new job opportunity that I felt was God’s will for me came out of nowhere and I accepted the job. I was so excited and hurriedly packed my bags, as the job location was in a remote area of Alaska. Then suddenly God let me know that I should not go. I was so confused until I realized that God had slammed that door shut out of love for me. I had been depressed and needed more healing before leaving home and family. He just wanted to know that I was willing. My readiness was acceptable, but He would not expect from me what I did not possess. Later, God blessed me with complete healing of depression and then opened new doors for service to Him. Has your willingness been tested? What do you lack that God is not great enough to provide or help you to overcome?
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28 KJV
Even though I had memorized this verse as a child, I seem to have missed one important word in the verse – the. "Them who are the called” is much more personal than "them who are called”. I am so honored to have a new designation; to be a member of a select group; I am a part of “the called”, not just “called”. We are justified by the Blood of Christ when we turn from our sin and accept the free gift of His salvation through faith. That is when we become "the called". It's not what we do on our own, but what Jesus did for us on the cross. As we die to the flesh and are reborn spiritually, we live according to His purpose through guidance from the Holy Spirit. Read Romans chapter 6 on this process of sanctification. Again, we are perfected by God, not our own works.
Talk about encouragement! I feel so dumb that I missed that for so long. Thanks, Dad!
There is more of Dad’s New Testament message ahead in Encouragement – “see pg 343”. If you don’t want to miss the next part of Dad's message, stay tuned ...
Original post at Importantstuff.live on 02/17/2016.