Give Yourself to the Hungry

It’s that bird feeding time of year again. I always enjoy watching the birds that come to the feeder…so many different kinds with unique colors, sizes, even personalities! This morning I am reading through Isaiah 58 and I came to verse 10, “And if you give yourself to the hungry…” I paused and asked God what it looks like to feed the hungry. Not that I don’t have any idea of what that is, but if God is asking me to feed the hungry I want to know some specifics about who are the hungry around me, what are they hungry for, and how am I to feed them?

Hunger is defined as: “A strong desire or craving for.” So I realize that we all hunger for more than just food. As physical beings we hunger for food to nourish and sustain us. But we are not only physical beings. God tells us that we are made in the image of God and that makes everyone a spiritual being as well. It is the spirit within that hungers for spiritual food. The physical food that feeds the body we all are very aware of and make sure we eat of every day. But our spirit is often left hungry without us even being aware. The spirit within those who don’t know God through faith in Jesus is hungry to be filled with the Holy Spirit who God gives to everyone who believes in Him. There is a hunger that only the truth of God’s love can satisfy. Once we know God and become a child of God the Holy Spirit lives within our spirit and fills us with all the fullness of God. That fullness of God can be evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

And so when God calls me to, “give yourself to the hungry,” He must expect what I have available that which will satisfy the hunger of those around me. So I realize that as God has blessed me with physical food I can be generous to give others the food they crave and desire, And as God has filled me with the fruit of His Holy Spirit I can be generous to feed others with His love, joy peace…  There are hungry people all around believing their hunger will be satisfied with the things of this world, only to be left craving and desiring more. While their physical bodies are being fed their spiritual body is starving. I realize that by having the fruit of the Spirit within me I can feed others with the love, joy, peace…they crave and desire. It is through sharing this fruit with others that they taste and see that God is good! And when they have a taste of God’s love and goodness they find He is the only One who truly satisfies their hunger!

So as I sit here looking out at the birds eating from the bird feeder I’m reminded that I am a “feeder” filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and pray that I may give myself to the hungry so they will know the love, joy, peace…of God and be fully satisfied!

Destroy evil before it destroys you

Reading through the story of David and Goliath I was reminded of the difference of perspective and how the object of faith determines the outcome. Goliath had faith in himself and David had faith in God.

This is what it says of Goliath…

4″And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. 7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. 8 Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

Goliath came out each morning for 40 days and taunted the army of Israel. He boasted of his strength and it caused all the men of the army of God to become paralyzed by fear and not one was willing to fight the giant.

Then David, a young shepherd boy, came into the camp of the Israelite army. David had been tending his father’s sheep when his father asked him to go and check own how the battle was going and to deliver some supplies for his brothers.

David arrived just as Goliath was taunting the Israelite army. David chose not to consider his outward appearance but rather looked at his heart. For Goliath’s heart was evil and meant to destroy the people of God.

This evil was what David wanted to destroy before it destroyed the people of God.

While his brothers thought David was proud and insolent, and King Saul considered him unable to go against Goliath because he was an inexperienced youth, David had another perspective of who he was…

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

David saw himself as one who was capable of accomplishing great things by the power of God.

The armor King Saul offered him as protection didn’t feel right, he wasn’t used to wearing it, and so David went out to face Goliath with only a staff, five smooth stones in a pouch, and a sling.

42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. 43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

Goliath was confident in his own strength, his experience, and in his armor. He looked at David and considered his outward appearance and made assumptions based on what he saw.

David was confident in the name of the Lord who had delivered him from the lion and the bear. He looked at Goliath and though he saw Goliath’s sword, spear, and javelin, he didn’t allow his own inability or weakness to bring him fear. David relied on God who doesn’t save by sword or spear, but by His power and might.

48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.

Confidence in God alone gives supernatural power to destroy the evil that is about to destroy you.

 

The Fast that Pleases God

6“Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
12 Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.

Isaiah 58:6-12

I Look to the Mountains…

Where do you look to for help? Where do you look to find answers? In what do you put your trust?

David wrote in Psalm 121

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LordWho made heaven and earth.

 

Perhaps when David wrote these words he was remembering when he was a shepherd boy watching his father’s sheep. He would have led them through the mountains and it would have been in those mountains where he faced the lion and the bear. It would have been in those mountains that he found himself alone and in need of help so that he could protect his father’s sheep.

Looking to the mountains might have reminded David of the days when he was on the run from King Saul. When Saul was jealous of David and set on killing him, David ran into the mountains and hid in caves.

Mountains are majestic and beautiful! Many artists capture them on canvass, and  photographers capture them in pictures.

Mountains speak and each one who beholds them hear their words in a personal and intimate way.

When David wrote Psalm 121 he declared that it is the Lord who helps him, keeps him, protects him, and guards him.

That day the mountains spoke words that reminded David of the help that God provided when he faced fears and dangers. Those times David was alone in those mountains and there was no one or nothing else that could help him.

It was in those mountains that David found God to be his help!

The God who made the mountains, the lion, the bear, King Saul…

The God who made him…

God proved Himself to David in supernatural ways. God alone gave him the strength and courage to kill a lion and a bear. Only God alone helped him to stay safe and alive from the wrath of King Saul.

This is the God who David looked to for help!

Looking up at mountains your eyes are on their way up to the heavens. When you need help don’t stop at the mountains, for there is nothing on this earth that can help as the Lord who made everything in heaven and on earth.

Everything you look to here on earth will never help in the ways God helps. His help is always available in your time of need and when you put your complete trust in Him, He will enable you to do the impossible, and will protect you from all harm.

May the mountains you look to be reminders that your help comes from God alone, for He is your keeper, He is your protector, and He guards over you night and day!

Wise Men Still Seek Him

We are told by those who study the stars that there will be a very large star visible this Monday evening, the Christmas Star 2020, as Jupiter and Saturn come together. The alignment of these two planets hasn’t happened in 800 years.

I am reminded of these verses in Psalms…

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world.” Psalm 19:1

God speaks through all that He made and it is

the wise who take the time to look, to listen, and to believe!

The wise men saw something one night they had never seen before and what they saw captivated them so much they packed up their supplies, saddled up their camels, and went on a long journey.

As astronomers the wise men were familiar with the stars and consolations in the heavens above. So the night they saw a new star it caught their attention. Its presence made them curious. And as they searched for it’s meaning they found it to be the star of “He who was born King of the Jews.”

Why would wise men from the East go on an extended leave to a far away country bearing expensive gifts to bow down in worship of the new born King of the Jews?

I can only believe that just as God spoke and all things were created…

The voice of God “heard” in creation still calls people to come, see, and believe that He is God!

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead,” Romans 1:20

The account of the wise men recorded and written down, preserved through the ages, tells of the wisdom in…

Leaving everything behind,

Earnestly seeking and following God’s leading,

Presenting precious gifts…

Gold=belief in the One who is King,

Frankincense=the One who is worthy of worship,

Myrrh=the One who died so that we may live.

Bowing down before the King!

The new star the wise men saw in the night sky spoke of the King of the Jews coming to this dark, sinful, hopeless world, and so Jesus, the Light of the world, continues to shine and reveals the glory of God to all who choose to seek Him.

May the Christmas Star of 2020 be a reminder of God’s amazing glory displayed through His creation and of His perfect timing as He calls us to seek Jesus in this dark and confusing world.

As we marvel at this great light in the sky, may we consider the true Light of the world who loves us so much He left everything, gave all He had, bowed down to His Father’s will, and died so that we may live!