So if Jesus pays the bills, what do I do?

Jesus Christ said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26 NIV84).

 Jesus isn’t against working hard (for the right reasons). Jesus isn’t  against planning for the future and putting something away for a rainy day.  I think the point of this verse is Jesus wants us to see our value to God.  And to know that if God cares enough about birds, to supply them with what they need to survive, He will with certainty care about us, to give us all that we need.  He wants us to stop worrying about what only He can provide, and wants to provide, for us.

Now, God doesn’t take the worm and bring it to the robin and put it in her and her young ones mouths.  The robin has to use its God-given abilities to hunt for the food and take it to her family.  We are no different.  We have to do what God wants us to do.  When God fed the Israelites manna from heaven they had to go out and collect it and grind it and bake it.  God does what only He can do, we do what we He tells us to do.

I think God wants us to trust Him for everything.  From trusting Him about food, clothing and shelter, to trusting Him enough to give Him back His 10% of our gross income by giving it to the local church.  And, trusting Him to make the other 90% meet our needs.  I think we also need to ask Him what He wants us to do with the skills, abilities, knowledge, and particularly the ability to practically show love to others, He has given us.

But, the process of growing in trust is HARD for me.  It involves risking the seen for the promise of the unseen.  I can risk looking stupid at times.  I can be at odds with society.  Hey, I didn’t have Christian role models in my life when I was growing up so I’ve never seen this done before.  As the Christian pop singer Carmen might say: if I step out on nothin’ will I find somethin’ there?  But taking the chance of obeying Him is the only way I can find out if He is trustworthy or not.  Jesus said that if anyone does His word he will find out if Jesus is from the Father.

I used to be afraid to tell Him I will obey anything He asks (okay, I still am a little;-).  Now that I have obeyed Him several times I have much more confidence that He is as good as He says He is.

As Charles F. Stanley might say, “[Trust and] obey God, and leave all the consequences to Him.”

Will Jesus pay the bills?

When I was a child I depended on my father to supply my needs.  I didn’t wonder where my next meal was coming from and I didn’t worry about how the mortgage payment would be paid.  My father loved me, I was his, and I assumed he would take care of me.  And he did.  Jesus said that to enter the kingdom of God I and you need to become like children.  We need to trust our Heavenly Father like I used to trust my earthly father.

Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV84).  Jesus said that He would supply our needs if we trusted Him as our Lord (His kingdom) and Savior (His righteousness).  He also said, that we could not serve God and Money.

We need to make a choice as to whom we want to trust.

We can see Money.  We can predict what Money will do.  And when we make Money our master we are deceived into thinking we control Money and that we are the master.  And it is very “normal” and natural to love Money.

But to trust God for the daily basics of life is not natural.  And very few people trust God with their lives.  We can’t control Him.  And we can’t predict everything that He will do or want us to do.  And we can’t even see Him.

So why do I attempt to make Him my King?  Why do I try to give up loving what I can see for the One I can’t see with my eyes?  Why do I trust Someone who lived 2000 years ago?

What I can see with my eyes doesn’t satisfy for long.  And then I need more and it still doesn’t satisfy.  Alcohol, drugs, sex, power, prestige do not fill the emptiness of the human heart.  Even good things like spouse, kids, work, and church busyness are empty without Jesus.  In the end, depending on this world that we can see, touch and hear will leave you helpless and hopeless.

The emptiness we feel and search the earth to fill was designed to be the home of God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit.  He made you, He loves you and He died in place of you so that your sins could be forgiven.  Then He rose from the dead to give you a new heart, and a new living spirit.

Jesus loves you and wants you to know Him personally and have your soul satisfied with His infinite love and eternal care for you.  And you can know Him right now.  Agree with Him about your wrong attitudes and actions.  Ask Him to forgive you and to fill the empty spot in you with Himself through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Then tell others about Jesus.  Read the Bible.  Find a church that believes the Bible and preaches it.  (And tell me about it, I would love to pray with you!).

Are you going through something bad?

While God never does anything evil, He does do things that on the surface appear to be bad.  That is, until His wisdom is proved right by its results (Jesus said that wisdom is justified by its children).  I said to God when I was in my late teens that I wanted to be a Christian like they were in the Bible .  I wanted God to tell me how pleased he was with me, and congratulate me on how well I have done so far and that I was so close to being perfect.  Instead God told me I was “a sinner.”  Not your average church going sinner that we all are, but evil, vile, repulsive.  I recoiled at what He said about me.  I said, “No, I’m not” twice to Him.  And then He gave me mental illness for ten years.

Now, I have said that “God gave me mental illness” to others and they have “corrected” me and said that God “allowed” me to have mental illness.  They said that He was not responsible for giving me mental illness.  Yet, when I rebelled against Him, He said He would “humble me for ten years.”  And what followed the statement was mental illness for ten years.

Dr. Charles F. Stanley of In Touch says that if God does something that we think is “bad” but God uses it for good, isn’t it ultimately “good” for us?  I wouldn’t wish mental illness on anyone.  Yet, now that I have the right meds and the pain is over I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.  Because God used it to change me from being fake nice and self-centered, to being willing to surrender to Him and being very concerned about other people.

If you are going through something that is bad, God may be using it for your ultimate good.  He will only keep you in a problem until you have learned what He knows you need to learn.  And any pain you endure will not be wasted.  You will be able to offer credible help to others in a similar situation.  And the joy you experience helping others through what you went through will make the former pain worth it.

Does God speak?… to me?… to you?

When I first “got saved” (surrendered to Jesus) I was rude and wanted my own way (not much of a surrender at first was it?).  I told Him that I wanted Him to speak to me and that I wanted to hear an audible voice.  None of this whisper in my spirit stuff, I wanted to literally hear His voice.  I remember having the thought: Wouldn’t it be better to give you my thoughts?  I thought this wasn’t dramatic enough, I wanted the “miraculous”.  Well, God didn’t give me an audible voice, but I “heard” a strong voice in my mind and I decided that would have to do.  God’s voice told me what he wanted me to do and I obeyed Him.  But His voice got more and more demanding and confusing.  Then after a couple days of listening to Him, He told me that His voice was to be obeyed above the Bible.  I quickly thought about what was happening and I then knew it was satan that was behind “God’s voice”.  Even though I was a brand-new Christian I knew that the Holy Spirit would never contradict the Bible.

I was angry at being deceived.  But I learned.  If I don’t accept what God says there is someone who will gladly tell me what I want to hear (satan).  I was grateful for God giving me that lesson.  My first lesson was 10 years before when God gave me an extra 5 years of mental illness.  He did that because I was disrespectful to Him about Him giving me the original 5 years of mental illness (to humble me).  This was the beginning of me piecing together over time that my greatest enemy was myself and doing what I wanted to do.  And my best friend was the Father, who often wanted me to do what I didn’t want to do (but in His infinite wisdom knew was what I really needed to do).

God has graciously spoken to me since that day.  Not audibly, but in thoughts that I knew were too good to come from me.  He has also spoken to me through reading the Bible, from circumstances, listening to trusted friends and even at times through those who were against me.

  God is continuously speaking to us.  The question is: Will I make time for Him?  After all He is the King of the Universe, my Creator, the One who gave His life for me, the One who holds my future in His hands, the One who loves me the most.

And amazingly He desperately wants a two-way conversation with me… and you, through prayer and listening to God.

If you want to read a great book to learn how to listen to God I would suggest reading “How to Listen to God”, by Dr. Charles F. Stanley www.intouch.org.

Have you ever wanted to see God?

 Have you ever wanted to see God?  Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8 NIV84)  I think in this life, seeing God is like seeing the wind.  You can’t see the wind directly, but you can see what it does.  God is constantly revealing Himself through His work.  Sometimes, God is best seen against the contrast of His enemy’s work.  Satan’s acts, like the Boston bombing, are obvious.  But God was evident in the immediate actions of the people who helped the wounded – and the helper and helped now share a special bond.  9/11 was tragic, but there are countless stories of heroism and kindness from strangers to strangers – that are not strangers any longer.

God does not create evil.  Evil is the absence of God.  Because all people sin, to get rid of all evil God would have to get rid of all people.  Though we each sin, God loves us too much to destroy us.  So God turns satan’s terror into hearts touching hearts, each helping the other through the pain sin causes.

But pain is not the only backdrop where God can be seen.  Each person, from conception to birth to old age, is made in the image of God.  And the beauty and capacity to love of each person, displays the beauty and capacity to love of their Creator.

God’s beauty and capacity to love ultimately expressed itself to us in dying to take away my sins and yours and then rising from the dead to give us the free gift of His Life and Spirit.  And when we receive His forgiveness and make Him Lord of our life he promises to come back for us. And we will see Him face to face. And we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is.

Why "I AM" for You!

While it is definitely true that “I”, Jim, “am” for you, it is even more important to know that someone else is also for you.  That person is Jesus.  Jesus deliberately used God’s name “I AM” for himself,  indicating he is God: who exists before the world began. 

You may be wondering: So what?  What has Jesus ever done for me?  If he is so great why doesn’t he “fix” this world and get rid of pain, suffering and injustice?  

While the problems are global, the solution is intensely personal.  A newspaper once asked for editorials to be contributed on what was wrong with the world.  The shortest editorial ever written was submitted.  It read: “I am.”  Now, he wasn’t talking about Jesus, he was talking about himself.  And he could have been talking about me, just as easily. I am the problem with the world.  What about you?  

We are all born with dead spirits.  We are not looking for God, we don’t even want God.  So God went looking for us. 

Jesus is looking for you like a Shepard looks for a wandering lamb that has lost its way.  Jesus said:

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety–nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?   And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety–nine that did not wander off.   In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” (Matt 18:12-14 NIV84)


 He knew before the foundation of the world that we would reject him.  That’s why He chose to die rather than to live in eternity without us.  Jesus brought justice by dying in place of all people and for “what’s wrong with the world.”  He then rose from the dead and offered His Living Spirit to make alive our dead ones.

You are reading this because Jesus is looking for you.  He loves you with all that He is.  If you want to be found please ask Him to forgive all that you have done wrong.  And ask Him to live in you and lead you.

With Jesus we can be what’s right with the world.  But best of all, you can have a close, personal relationship with the One who loves you most.