Why Standing Stones?

Why Standing Stones?

In ancient Israel, people stood stones on their end to commemorate a powerful move of God in their lives. It was a memorial to something God spoke or revealed or did. Often these standing stones became reference points in their lives. Today, we can find reference points in the written Word of God. Any scripture or sermon can speak something powerful into our lives, or reveal something of the nature of God. In this blog I offer, what can become a reference point for Christians, taken from God's ancient word and applied to today's world.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Stealers Gonna Steal

None of us are crying out for hardship, are we?  I know what Paul said about rejoicing in tribulation.  I understand what he’s saying… but no one really looks forward to that. 

Don’t get me wrong, we need tribulation.  That’s how God works in us.  That’s how God changes us.  That’s how God completes us, but life on its own has a lot of stresses and struggles, too.  If we’re honest we have to admit that we need blessing, as well.  So this post today will look at how to get blessed.

John 10:10 (NKJV)
10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Stealers Gonna Steal

Jesus has come that we may have life more abundantly.  God blesses – Isn’t that what you’ve heard?  I say that all the time, God wants to bless you.  I know that some of you think that this is just “preacher talk.”   It’s just what preachers say to keep people coming.  You’re thinking, “Yeah, he says that all the time but I’m just not seeing it.” 

This scripture tells you why.  Jesus came that we may have life more abundantly, but what else does it say?  It says that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.  He’s a thief.  What does a thief do?  He steals.  So, there is someone who comes to steal the blessing of God from your life.  He’s a glutton; a devourer – He swallows your blessing.

That word devourer means an excessively greedy eater.  Devourer – One who swallows and eats ravenously.  That’s what God calls the devil in the book of Malachi.

Malachi 3:11 (NKJV)
3:11 "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field," Says the Lord of hosts;

Malachi is telling us that God will rebuke the devourer for our sakes.  The devil is the devourer.

Let me ask a question, here.  Have you ever felt like there isn’t enough money to make it to the end of the month?  Maybe that’s even a reality in your life.  Maybe you're constantly struggling to make ends meet.  Your credit cards are maxed out.  The bills are more than you get paid every month.  Creditors are calling and demanding payment.  If that’s you, you don’t have to be embarrassed.  The thief is doing what thieves do – stealing.  You know hater’s gonna hate?  Well stealers gonna steal.

The devil hates God and he hates you!  The thing that really makes him mad is you believing God.  The devil hates your faith.  He hates it when you believe God for His promises.  He will do whatever he needs to do to make you doubt.  He’s also looking for those that will be easy to trick into unbelief. 

1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)
5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

The devil is an adversary:  That means he opposes and resists you, and he’s looking to devour you.  Why would you let the devil win?  Look at what we need to do to beat him back:

1 Peter 5:9 (NKJV)
5:9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

Resist him – You don’t have to let him win.  Stay faithful – faithful means full of faith.

I know it’s hard, sometimes.  This happens in my family, too.  We’re getting near the end of the month and the end of the money, and we’re wondering what’s going to happen.  We start to waver in our faith.  We struggle in our faith, too and I’ve been a Christian for a long time.  I should be past that struggling with that, but there’s still that struggle of faith because the devil, that lying, cheating devourer wants me to doubt God.  He knows that if I can’t believe God for His provision; if I doubt that His promises are real, then he can cause me to doubt whether or not God’s really saved me.

That’s dangerous because if I lose faith that I’m really saved, the devil can turn me away from God, because I’ll begin to doubt that God is even real.  If you start to doubt God’s promises you’ll eventually doubt that God is real, and that’s all that he needs to do to win.  The devil doesn’t need to get you to commit serious sin, he just needs to make you doubt.  It’s the sin of unbelief that will cause a lot of Christians to miss heaven.  This is why resisting is so important, because he comes to steal your blessing, he comes to kill your faith, and he comes to destroy your soul. 

The devil wants to remove blessing, but Jesus is just the opposite of the devil.  Jesus doesn’t come to steal he comes to give.

Jesus Has Come to Give

“I have come that you may have life and that more abundantly.”  What does abundant mean?  Abundant means marked by great plenty – That means a lot of supply or support.  God is not stingy.  He doesn’t just keep it all for Himself.  God gives abundantly.  He will supply you. 

Matthew 6:30-32 (NKJV)
6:30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

Again, it’s a matter of faith.  He says, “Don’t worry.”  God knows what you need  and God doesn’t withhold.

Malachi 3:10 (NKJV)
3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Test me.  Check out what I say.  Here’s my promise, “I will open the windows of Heaven.”  Then remember Malachi 3:11, “I will rebuke the devourer.”  That’s God’s promise.  That’s life more abundantly.  Jesus has come to give that.  The Bible even says, “Test me now in this.”  There’s a way to test the promise of God.  God tells you how He can prove to you that He blesses.  Do you want to know what it is?  The following scripture is the key to getting blessed.

Malachi 3:10a (NKJV)
3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house,

This is the test we can use to see if God will keep His promise.  When we do that God will show us this:

Malachi 3:10b (NKJV)
3:10 "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

The tithe – Tithe means tenth – a tenth of your resources.  If you make NTD $60,000 (US $2,000) then your tithe is NTD $6,000 (US $200).  Test it out.  God is challenging you to try it.  God says He will make you a believer.  

I know that some of you think that you can’t afford it.  You think that you don’t have enough, so you won’t test God in that.  But guess what – That’s exactly how the devil rips you off.  It’s how the stealer steals.  It’s a spirit:  It’s spiritual:  We call it a “Poverty Spirit.”  I call it the “Spirit of Not Enough.”  Uh-oh, some of you may be thinking, “He just wants our money.”  I’m not posting this so that I can get blessed; I’m posting it so that you can get blessed. 

As a pastor, I have seen people who have tested this and God has blessed them.  They’ve stood up and testified about God’s miracle provision.  There are others who tested this for a few weeks and then they backed off.  Maybe it wasn’t what they expected.  I don’t know.  Maybe they expected a pile of money to fall out of the sky.

How it Really Works

The following is a testimony by James Dobson:

“As an evangelist, my dad could never depend on the compensation he would be given.  The local church would collect a freewill offering for my father, but many times the gifts barely paid his traveling expenses.
 He would usually stay with the pastor during a ten-day revival.  While there, he often observed that the children needed shoes or books or medication.  So, on the final night of the revival, my dad would take enough money to get home, and then donate the rest to meet the needs of the pastor’s family.  Then my dad would return to be greeted by my mother and me.  I can still hear the conversations between them.        “Did you have a successful revival?” my mother would ask.        “The Lord was with us," my dad would reply.        “How much did they pay you?”
        “Well, I need to talk to you about that,” my father would say, grinning.        “I know,” Mom would say, “You gave it all away, didn’t you?” A few days later when the bills began to accumulate, our little family would gather on our knees before the Lord.  Dad would pray first, “Lord, you know we’ve been faithful with the resources you’ve given us.  We’ve tried to be responsive to the needs of others, when you laid them on our hearts.  Now Lord, my family is in need.  You’ve said, ‘Give and it shall be given unto you’ (Luke 6:38).  So we bring to you our empty meal barrel and ask you to fill it.” As a child, I listened intently to these prayers and watched carefully to see how God responded.  I tell you, without exaggeration, that money invariably arrived in the next few days.  God didn’t make us rich, but He never let us go hungry.

This is a perfect example of how it really works.  God doesn’t make you rich, He just keeps supplying you.  I’ve told you before about the widow of Zarephath.

She’s collecting sticks to make a fire and cook the last meal for her and her son.  They have nothing; just enough for one last meal and then they starve.  She has nothing.  No husband to provide for her.  Nothing to sell for money.  No prospect of any more – There’s a drought.  All the crops are dead.  This is the end of her resources.

Then the prophet comes by and has the nerve to ask her to feed him before they eat their last meal.  He literally says to her, “Give to me, first.”  The prophet’s not looking to get blessed.  What’s a small cake for him; it’s a little thing, but he knows if she responds, she’s going to be sustained.  She’s going to receive a blessing, and so, she does – She gives him a cake. 

She probably thinks, “This is my last meal, what’s a small cake more or less?”  She has nothing to lose and everything to gain.  So what does God do?

She doesn’t receive a huge amount all at once, but for the next three and a half years God meets her daily needs.  Think about it she gives one day’s food and receives back 1,277 days’ worth of food.  She wouldn’t be able to store all of that.  That’s abundance – That’s how God blesses.

But it takes faith – trust in God’s promises.  Let me tell you on more story – about another widow.  This one is at the temple; Jesus is watching her.  She’s near the donation box; where people give their tithes and their offerings.  Jesus is standing near there also, watching.  All of these rich people come and put in their offerings.  Then the widow comes up to give.  She, like the other widow has nothing; no husband, no son, no money; nothing.  All she has is two cents…well, she has one other thing:  She has faith; she believes.  She gave it all.  How many of you trust God like that? 

So, here’s the question for today:  If you can’t trust God with your finances.  If you really can’t trust God with ten percent of your resources, are you really trusting Him with your salvation.  Faith is the cornerstone of Christianity.  It’s what sets the foundation for our lives.  If we don’t have faith then prayer is a waste of time.  It’s a useless endeavor – Faith activates miracles.  If we don’t trust God, we have no salvation.  We’re not saved because salvation is based on believing and trusting Jesus.  If we don’t have faith there will be no miracles.

Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Be a person of God and let God prove Himself to you.  That’s how you find blessing.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It was a reminder to me to continually trust God to provide. God does bless us with what we need (not what we want). I am thankful for that. It reminds me of Proverbs 30:8-9.