Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Don't tell God how big your problem is. Tell your problem how big God is!

Sounds so easy, doesn't it? The problem is, that it goes against most people's inherent nature. We are so used to complaining our way through life's problems that we miss the fact that so many things are out of our hands. If the outcome is indeed out of our hands, then it is better off in the hands of God.

If the problem is insurmountable for you, a human, then is it too big for God? Your might be thinking, "No. God can take care of anything! Nothing is too big for him." and you would be right. The other thought that's a little deeper is the one that is saying, "He's too busy and too big taking care of important things. Why should He bother with me?" and that would be wrong.

Luke 11:9-10 (New International Version) 9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Notice I hi-lighted the word "everyone"? That's you!

Mark 11:22-24 (New International Version) 22 "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. 23 "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Here the word "anyone" is hi-lighted (by me). Guess what? That's YOU too! What strikes me here is that throwing a mountain into the sea is a huge task! It all hinges on faith. Then there's the part that says to not doubt in your heart but believe it will happen. I find that I am more successful at this when I am in my deepest need. God shows up because I cried out and was not distracted by over-analyzing whether I was believing enough or not harboring doubt. Everyone experiences doubt and unbelief once in the while so don't get too down on yourself.

Take the New Testament example in Mark 9:19-27. A father brought his son to Jesus asking him to remove a demonic affliction that had plagued the boy all his life. The spirit threw the boy into fire and water and tried to kill him. The man said to Jesus, "but if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."

This reminds me of my own thought processes. Surely God sees my struggles. He will take pity on me and fix this problem. This prayer isn't so much a prayer of faith as it is a prayer to get God's pity. Guess what? That's not working for you! Jesus replied to the father of the boy, "If you can?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes.". This caught the man in his error. He had tried the pity ploy and came up empty! Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" There seems to be no record here of Jesus helping the man's unbelief. He simply rebuked the evil spirit and removed it from the boy. I believe He worked with the faith that the man had, for the man had said "I do believe" even though in the next part of the sentence he asked Jesus to help his unbelief just in case his belief wasn't strong enough.

How much faith do you need anyway? Faith enough that you feel it rising in your chest? Faith enough so that there is no doubt in your heart or mind? Big time faith that is so showy and flashy that everyone says "Boy he is a man of faith"? Heart felt faith?

I believe that faith is not rooted in a feeling at all. It doesn't depend on how many doubts enter your mind or how many pity prayers you offer up to God. Faith is something that impresses God Himself! He desires it for us as much as we desire our natural needs of food clothing and shelter.

We are to live by faith: Romans 1:17 (New International Version) For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

We are to obtain things from God by faith: Hebrews 11:6 (New International Version) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

We only need a small amount of faith to move God to action!: Matthew 17:20 I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

God is impressed by faith! The Centurion touched Jesus by believing he had the power to heal his servant without being present: Luke 7:6-10 (New International Version) 6 So Jesus went with them. 
      He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." 9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

Faith is real and accomplishes so many things. Hebrews 11:1 (King James Version) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is something God expects us to live by: Habakkuk 2:4 but the just shall live by his faith.

I could go on and on but the simple truth is that in everyone there is a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3). We just need to put it into action. The easiest way is to make a commitment and announce it verbally, like the father of the possessed boy. "Lord I DO believe!" ("help me overcome my unbelief" would be optional here). Yes doubts pour in. It's human nature and our minds are active. But faith is not about thoughts or feelings, it's action. You made a commitment to believe and spoke your belief. Get some others to pray on your behalf as well. Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

There its done! God's turn now! And yes He is much bigger than any problem you have.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My 5 Guys Burgers and Fries Story

A very unique thing happened to me the other day. I would like to take a little time to tell you about it and analyze the experience.

It all started when my wife and son suggested we go out for dinner to an up and coming hamburger chain. This location had just opened and we were happy that it was so close to us. We use to travel a lot further, but now it was practically in our back yard! Oh ecstasy! Thy name is "5 Guys burgers and Fries"!

On entering the establishment we were surprised that though crowded, there was no line to take our order. We stepped right up and placed our order. I ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, mayo, fried onions and mushrooms, a very pleasing and substantial sandwich. My wife ordered the same but without mushrooms, and my son, lacking imagination, ordered a burger with LTM.

When my number was called and I got the order, I started to pull the sandwiches from the bag and much to my surprise my sandwich was smaller than the rest. I'm not talking a little bit now. I'm talking a full inch shorter and about half the weight of my wife's burger.

I opened the wrapping and there seemed to be something missing. The condiments were right. There was lettuce, tomato, mayo, onions, and mushrooms. Aah the missing element! The cheeseburger! I began to laugh out loud. (LOL for you internet junkies!) I just couldn't imagine leaving the burger off of a hamburger sandwich! We all stared in disbelief!

I went up to the counter with my burger and was immediately met by an employee who marveled at my empty roll. I remarked "Shouldn't a hamburger have hamburger on it?" She blankly shook her head yes, apologized, and immediately swung into action. In no time, I had the object of my affection, a delicious juicy cheeseburger just the way I like it!

I tell you this not because 5 Guys Burgers and Fries is so bad, rather that it is so good! Another restaurant would have gotten me so angry, I may not have returned. But 5 Guys does some things so well that you can't help but love them. The food is simple, without strange and exotic menu items. Prices are reasonable, wait times are short, and there are free peanuts! FREE! I have up until this time never had a bad experience! Even now I wouldn't rate the experience bad as much as humorous. In fact, this outing was much more memorable by the event described here.

There are a lot of chains out there that fail, but 5 Guys Burgers and Fries just keeps growing on the support of happy, well-fed customers like me!