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Is The Lord's Arm Too Short?

Far too many believers just don't trust God. Here is some exhortation to help.
 

We receive a constant stream of begging letters from India, Africa, and people in poor countries, asking us for money for physical reasons. There is much poverty around the world, but there is an equally great spiritual poverty, and because of that, most people donít have the right approach in dire circumstances. They look for a physical solution. They ask for a handout.

It pains me every time I receive a monetary request. I feel grief inside. Firstly, I feel sadness that their circumstances are so impoverished, but a greater cause of my sorrow is due to their lack of faith. They are like blind, dumb animals, not knowing which way to turn.

If only they could know God and the promises in His Word, and have a living faith in Him! Implicit trust in His Word would solve their problems. I donít mean it would solve every little detail. Nor do I mean that they would not have to endure some hardship. What I mean is that they would have peace of mind, AND a solution to their dilemma. God would provide their needs, if only they could have the faith to look to Him instead of to us, and work industriously in their situation.

But, because their focus is on the physical, not the spiritual Ė because they look to a human solution, not to a spiritual and divine answer Ė they donít receive.

Jesus declared a principle that governs all receipt from God:

According to your faith... (Matt 9:29).

No wonder the disciples implored Jesus:

Lord, increase our faith (Luke 17:5).

And He did. But the process of developing that faith took time. They developed it through testing trials in which they HAD to put their trust in God, and hold on tight, hoping against hope and trusting against all natural odds.

Thereís no easy way to get faith. It doesnít come by suction or osmosis! It comes as you die to self, and live to God.


The Power Of Faith

You donít have to have a mountain of faith. You just need a little to begin the process (Matt 17:20). Simple obedience sets it in motion, makes it alive. Living faith is what you need. That is practical faith. So you have to be a doer. Donít just think of doing it, DO it!

Jesusí words were unequivocal:

Assuredly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ĎBe removed and be cast into the sea,í it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive (Matt 21:21,22).

Youíve got to believe God. Then He will help you.

When people ask us for money, they are not believing God. They have taken their eyes off God, taken their trust away from being in Him, and put it in us. They are committing idolatry, so itís no wonder they donít receive what they need.

You have to be in the will of God to receive from Him. John wrote:

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, what- ever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him (1 Jn 5:14,15).

Quite often you donít even have to ask!

We have had an angel fill the ink cartridge in our printer when we ran out of ink. We didnít have to ask. God works sovereignly to achieve His purposes. He knows what you need before you ask Him (Matt 6:8).

We have had someone bring money to our door after fulfilling Godís command to send out some tapes.

When my computer crashed and I had no money to replace it, God spoke to a lady to give us £2,000 to buy a new one. He told her how much! She was shaken that God would speak to her so directly!

When we were head over heels in debt, God moved various people to donate huge sums of money to completely pay off our debts Ė on three separate occasions.

We have experienced other miraculous incidents of Godís provision. Why? Because we are in His will, doing His Work, not wanting for ourselves, but for Him.

And God is no respecter of persons. He will provide for you, too, if you learn to stay in His will and do whatever He has in mind for you. It may be very menial. He may have simply called you to tithe from a regular boring job, to care for your family, to love your wife and children, and to share His truths with the few people whom you meet (and whom God shows you to share with). That may be the extent of what He wants you to do as a part of His Work on earth.

But if you do it; if you faithfully fulfil His will, and do your best, He will provide for you, too. He will move heaven and earth, if need be, to make sure you have what you need to obey Him.

Faithfulness is the key.


The Problem With Most People

Too many Christians are still selfishly preoccupied. They are not in Godís will because they are doing their own thing. They do not consider that God is a holy God, who has holy standards which He wants you to take note of, and aim towards (Matt 5:48).

They think they can carry on in their own lives, taking His name on their lips while they seek their own ways, pursue their own ambitions, and disregard what God wants them to do.

They are not dying to self. They are not humbly wanting to do what He wants rather than what they want. They havenít yet laid down their lives to Him like they promised at baptism.

Because they are not communing with Him in prayer morning, noon, and night; and not fervent in spirit, or faithful to Him in other ways, they donít have the union with Him that they need in order to receive. They donít have His faith. They donít truly know God, nor love Him. Their love is compromised.

Whatís the point of me giving such people money, when they are not in His will? I would be doing them a gross disservice! I would be teaching them NOT to trust in Him, but to trust in me, or to look to man instead of to God!

While I have to look to God to provide miraculously what we need to do this Work for Him, is it right for them to expect me to carry them and provide for them? No, itís not right! Itís very wrong! They are actually hurting themselves spiritually by asking us.

They can ask us questions about how to build faith, and we will provide the literature that shows them how to trust in God. (Some useful publications in this regard are: Faith: Raising Our Level of Expectation; Witnessing For Christ; Guidelines For Evangelists and The Bible Speaks, Vols 1-5.) But to ask us to take the place of God as Provider to you is entirely iniquitous.


Godís Arm Is Not Too Short

Western churches have poured in huge amounts of money and aid into Africa and India (and I donít say that all that was wrong), but what is the effect of that? Without further teaching, taking people into the realm of God through faith, it has been to cause people to look physically to the West. It has undermined faith in God, and it has jeopardised the real Work of God which does not depend upon money or other physical human factors.

Not many people Ė even those who spout Ďfaithí! Ė believe that. The Work of God is not dependent upon money and human support. God brings along money and human support, as it is needed, but the Work is not dependent upon those factors for its survival:

This is the Word of the Lord... [itís] not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit (Zech 4:6).

Thatís what the Work of God depends on and leans on. We donít look to money. We donít look to human ability or strength (Ďpowerí). We donít look to physical might. We look to God, and rely upon His Spirit.

With that approach, the mountain that stands in our way is removed, just as Jesus promised:

Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of ĎGrace, grace to it!í (Zech 4:7).

Zerubbabel was the one whom God had anointed to oversee the work of rebuilding the Temple in about 536 BC. He is a type of others today who are entrusted with the restoration of the latter House on earth. Notice that restoration is only by Godís grace. God is gracious and He promises to provide for those who reciprocate in the same way. If you are singlemindedly serving God, NOT serving God AND mammon (Matt 6:24), you can rest assured on His promises:

Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on... (Matt 6:25).

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matt 6:33).

Why doesnít it happen to most Christians? Jesus gave the answer:

O you of little faith! (Matt 6:30.)

When God told Moses that He would feed the whole nation of Israel (600,000 men, plus women and children Ė several million people!), Mosesí natural response was equally unbelieving! (Num 11:21-22.) God was annoyed. He responded irately:

Has the Lordís arm been shortened? (11:23.)

God can do anything! And He WILL do anything that is necessary to further His plan on earth. If you are part of His plan, and if you fit into His plan through humble, faithful obedience, He will do anything for you, too. But it depends on you Ė what your motivation is.

Behold, the Lordís hand is not shortened that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear (Is 59:1,2).

People donít realise how we turn Him off by our sinful selfishness! He canít abide sin. Jesus said:

If you, then, being evil... (Matt 7:11).

And we donít think about it. We think we are OK. No, we are only OK when we are humble before Him, dedicated to doing all He says, and not seeking for ourselves. Only then are we covered by the blood of Jesus, and recipients of His grace.

I hate to think of the devastation that will come to all the poor believers in Africa and India when unprecedented calamities bring Britain and America to their knees in about two yearsí time. The money flow will cease. Churches will not get the cash they have come to depend on. Unless people begin now to build faith in Jesus instead of faith in Western ministries or church funds, Christiansí lives will be as desolate as ancient Tyre, whose demolished columns lie submerged under the waves of the ocean!

Malcolm B Heap, April 2006
 


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