Our society has a mentality of trying to get away with putting in as little as we can, but at the same time we want to get the most out of it for ourselves. We want the best price, i.e. we pay the least, so that we have more money for ourselves. As a young pastor, with four children, I have often worked financially below what would be called “the poverty line”.
During this time my family and I have learned to make do with little, we have learned to be content and happy with the little that we have had. We have had to fix and repair broken things when others would have thrown them out, we have appreciated hand-me-downs and shopped at the used goods stores – something was better than nothing. We have also learned the importance of a good work ethic, often taking on extra jobs so that bills could be paid, or so a desired perk could be obtained.
In the midst of scrounging to make it financially, I would often think of Paul’s words in Philippians 4:19, “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” I would hold onto this verse looking for the provision of God.
Well, I’m over 60 years old now and I can definitely proclaim that God has supplied, I have clothes to wear, food to eat and a roof over my head. However, during the times of financial challenge, I would meditate on the words of Jesus that “the labourer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7). In my mind I would contemplate how I should be getting paid more, because “I am working for God”.
But this verse is not just saying that if I labour then I’ll get my hire, but perhaps also that if my hire, I.e. my salary or wages is not sufficient, then perhaps it is because my labour has been insufficient. You see, it is not just that I need to be putting in the hours but that I am actually being productive. Am I actually doing the important things that enable me to really be worthy of my hire? Now I might be able to convince a not so observant supervisor that I am working well when I am not, but it is more difficult to convince the all-seeing and all-knowing God, unless I am actually working in a way that is worthy of my hire.
Lord, help me to work in a way that is pleasing to You.
Have you every dreamed about or desired having a miracle from God? Perhaps one that would change your life. What type of miracle would that be? What would cause you to never be fearful, or to have great boldness and confidence, to have continuous faith in God, or to possess a testimony and witness for the Lord which was powerful and affective? We might think, “If only God did this for me, then my life would be different!”
In Matthew 14 we have the account of the disciplesPeer walking on water this is a phenomenal miracle, an experience that should be life changing.
• Though Peter is understood to be one of the primary sources of information for the Gospels of Mark and Luke, the instance of Peter walking on water is not mentioned in any of the other Gospels.
• Though Peter mentions seeing the transfiguration, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus in his epistles and his messages in the book of Acts, Peter never even alludes to himself walking on water.
• Peter never again mentions this situation. Nowhere does he state that, “you too could walk on water if …”, nor does he provide “three easy steps to walking on water.”
• Though character traits of the other disciples are mentioned through the gospels and the other New Testament writings, i.e. John the one whom Jesus loved, Simon the zealot, or Judas the betrayer, nowhere do the other disciples imply or refer to Peter as the one who walked on water.
This is not to say that he didn’t walk on water, but perhaps that is not the most important issue in Peter’s life. This was not the transforming miracle that he needed. Perhaps it is also not the great miracle that we would need.
After this walking on water episode, Peter is not yet a changed person.
• In Mathew 16, Peter is rebuked by Jesus -“Get behind me Satan.”
• He still did not understand the purposes of God and wants to build a tent at the mount of transfiguration, Matthew 17.
• He still is unwilling to forgive others who have offended him and needs to be taught about forgiving 70 times 7, Matthew 18.
• He still uses his own strength to try to protect Jesus, by cutting off the servant’s ear, John 18.
• Three times he denies knowing Jesus, after Jesus’ arrest, Matthew 26.
• Even after seeing the resurrected Jesus, he becomes discouraged and decides to go back to his former lifestyle of fishing, John 21.
• Peter was still locked up and afraid in the upper room, as were all the disciples, Acts 1.
Peter was not consumed by this miracles of walking on water, nor did it seem to change his life. What we do see in the life of Peter and his teaching is his enthralment over the teaching, actions and nature of Jesus. It is Jesus who consumes his thoughts and speech. Walking on water did not significantly seem to change Peter’s life. Interestingly, it was not the death, burial, resurrection or the ascension of Jesus, but rather when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in Acts 2, that then Peter was changed. Read Acts chapters 2 – 5 to see the boldness and confidence that came upon Peter.
You might be waiting for some great miracle or experience to change your life. Instead of constantly looking to that event, allow God’s free gift of His Holy Spirit to empower you in a fresh way, then become more overwhelmed with the love, character, nature and actions of Jesus. He is the one who truly is worth talking about.
In China, Brother Hahn (name changed to protect identity) talked about how they would seek God. “In our hidden Bible school, we would get up at 4:30 am, then take time for prayers, starting to preach and teach at 5:00 am then finish at 10:00 pm. In the mist of the teaching and preaching, there was prayer for people. There were many miracles. We would break for lunch and dinner yet at the same time as we were eating we would be praying intensely. For lunch we would have simple meals – it is hard to remember exactly what meals we ate or the time it would take to eat as we focused so much on the teaching and preaching and prayers.”
“In Bible school we did not have any spices, or peppers or oil for cooking, only dried vegetables as they were the cheapest. Not much rice, just noodles and preserved sweet corn, the cheapest there was to eat. Many times we would just pray and fast. Once the police found our Bible school, there were 4 teachers, 2 brothers and 2 sisters who were caught. They were interrogated and treated roughly.”
“Since then we persevered, not quitting the faith, and have ministered to groups of over 30,000 at a time. After the meeting of 30,000 people coming to hear, we would have to run away and hide, so we would not be caught by the police. After a big meeting of 30,000, then we could not stay in one area for more than two days or the police would catch us, though some of the local people would be caught by police. In China there still are areas in the mountains where whole villages do not know Jesus.”
Jesus said in Matthew 10:23, “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
Take a moment to ask God to strengthen the believers in persecuted nations. Pray that God’s truth about Jesus would be shared through all nations. Then ask yourself if there are areas where you need to be more faithful even when things don’t seem to be turning out well.
What we think of ourselves and the abilities that we think we possess, affects how we function, how we interpret situations around us and how we respond to pressures around us. Proverbs 23:7 says “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” When you are faced with obstacles and challenging situations do you see yourself as one who will be victorious or do you see yourself as someone who is being manipulated or taken advantage of? Do you have an understanding within your heart of the reality that you will be an overcomer or do you see the struggle as just another thing to endure?
In Romans 16:20 we are told that, “the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” These words should be very encouraging to us. They tell us that even if it seems like the battles or the struggles are coming from the very initiation and power of Satan himself, we will be victorious. God will not just put Satan under our feet, God will actually crush Satan under our feet. This process of bringing Satan under our feet and crushing him under our feet will not be one of anxiety, stress, frustration or turmoil for it will be done by “the God of peace”. There are many descriptives that could have been used to articulate what God was like, but the writer specifically states that it is the “God of peace” who will do this.
In the emotional, physical, mental, financial and spiritual struggles that you go through we should live our lives with an understanding that “the God of peace” is with you. Live in those moments with the understanding that “the God of peace” will use these moments (when we could be intimidated, fearful, or panicking) to crush Satan under your feet.
Right now there may be situations that are overwhelming you. Choose to rest in the God of peace, knowing that as a believer in Christ you are going to be a victorious person. In this situation and in others to come, as we rest in our Lord Jesus, we can know that God will be working to crush Satan under our feet. See yourselves as victorious because the God of peace is working . Choose to rest in our Lord’s peace.