The Land of More Than Enough

Celia with younger siblings - Dominican Repubic

My siblings and I in a lush land (Dominican Republic)

I’ve lived in a few “lands” in my life–the Dominican Republic, Arizona, California, Illinois, and now Kentucky. I’ve heard Spanish . . . and Southern drawl. I’ve lived in lush tropics . . . and in the desert. I’ve enjoyed beaches . . . and snow. No two of these places are alike.

Just like the two places I am thinking of today: the land of Barely Enough and the Land of More Than Enough.

You can see a really good example of these opposite “countries” in the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to what became The Holy Land. The Lord delivered them miraculously from slavery in Egypt. He led them through a wilderness area to Mt. Sinai, where they stopped and built the Tabernacle of worship. Within months (a year or two) they could have entered the Promised Land, but they were not ready. So they wandered in the wilderness for forty more years, until all the older generation had died.

Why were they not ready to take possession of the Promised Land? They didn’t trust God when he said he would go before them to give them the victory over their enemies.*

A cave in Israel where Dead Scrolls were discovered. People actually lived in this area!

A cave in Israel where Dead Scrolls were discovered. People actually lived in this arid part of the country!

Now, God cared for his people–even when they did not trust him. During the years of wandering in the wilderness, he miraculously provided manna for those millions of people to eat. He also (according to Moses) kept their garments from wearing out and their feel from swelling (Deuteronomy 8:4). Daily miracles of provision for forty years! But the desert was the Land of Barely Enough.

They could have been in the Land of More Than Enough “a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper” (Deuteronomy 8:7-9).

Two of the original adult generation–Caleb and Joshua–made it to the Promised Land. They knew God would do what he said. They believed. And it happened for them–in spite of the doubters around them.

Do Christians around you say things like:

“Ask God for what you need but don’t expect him to give you what you want.”

“I’m only human. I can’t live the way the Bible says.”

“I’m just not very spiritual. I don’t know what God wants, so I’ll have to decide by myself.”

“God only heals once in a while.”

“It is not spiritual to want to be comfortably well off and have plenty to share with those in need.”

“God only calls a few, extraordinary people to do great things.”

“Until they get to heaven, Christians have to put up with everything the world dishes out. Strong Christians don’t expect God to protect them. He wouldn’t anyway. He just gives you grace to endure.” *

Maybe “the masses”  of well-meaning Christians are saying these things, but what what does God say? (Did you click on the link in each statement to see?)

Are you content to live in the Land of Barely Enough–barely enough grace, barely enough well-being, barely enough protection, barely enough provision, and barely enough fruitfulness? You don’t have to! Study the Bible, take God at his word, and step into the Promised Land. Be like Joshua and Caleb–hold out for God’s full purpose and destiny for your life. And–like Joshua and Caleb–as you step into it, take all your family and friends with you.

No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,

Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9 MSG).

____________

*Christians do suffer persecution and challenges for the sake of the gospel. And God gives great, supernatural grace for that. But, otherwise, God blesses and protects them.

A Healthful Climate

Yesterday the first white, flowery haze appeared in the pear trees outside my window. Won’t be long before the magnolias and redbuds and dogwoods turn the whole city into a garden. A glorious state of affairs for the eyes. But for some people, a time of sneezing and stuffy heads.

Arizona

You probably know people who have moved to Arizona or some other dry climate to escape spring and fall–and any other–allergies. Environmental factors really do make a difference. And that, I realized a couple days ago, explains a lot about miracles and faith.

For many of us, God’s promises to heal us of any disease are too good to be true. “Sure, we’ll be perfectly healthy once we get to heaven,” we say. “But here on earth, there’s sickness. And we have physical bodies that are vulnerable to diseases.”

Here’s a mind-blowing thought: Those who have believed on Christ as Savior and Lord are now in the Kingdom of God. Same bodies, new environment. Yes, we can experience complete health, here and now, by moving to the new climate of the Kingdom of God.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Col. 1:13).

In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray:

   “your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).”

His kingdom operates fully right here on earth, for those who follow the King. Dare to believe it.

Here’s a fun and profound thought from my pastor: the Kingdom of God has an upstairs and a downstairs. They’re both part of the same house.

Miracles – Where Do They Fit?

Statue of Elijah on Mt. Carmel where he confronted the prophets of Baal.

One of the mind-boggling thoughts that hit me—after visiting Israel—is how many supernatural events have occurred in that small country. The current state of Israel is smaller than the state of Delaware, but there have undoubtedly been more miracles per square mile in that land than anywhere else on earth.

Speaking of square miles, our tour guide pointed out that most of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee took place within one square mile. In that one square mile, he turned water into wine, feed 5000+ people by multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish, calmed a storm, walked on water, and healed countless people.

But miracles occurred in Israel even before Christ’s time. The prophet Elijah’s prayers resurrected a dead boy. He confronted  the 450 prophets of Baal (a pagan god) on Mt. Carmel with a spectacular result that left the observing Israelites saying, “The LORD—he is God!”

His successor, Elisha, performed sixteen miracles in all—the last one happening after his death. (A corpse was placed hastily in Elisha’s tomb. When the dead man touched Elisha’s bones, he came back to life!)

I said that Israel has seen more miracles per square mile than any other place on earth. But miracles happen all over this planet. During World War II, in Ravensbruk, a large concentration camp in Germany, Betsy Ten Boom shared her precious bottle of vitamins with other ailing women Her supply never dwindled. In widely separated parts of the globe, when believers have prayed, tidal waves have separated, and fires and tornadoes have changed course, leaving them unharmed. A friend of mine has strong faith in God’s desire to heal. When she went through chemotherapy for cancer, she did not experience nausea or any other symptom.

Where do miracles fit in the scheme of things? When is it appropriate to “bother God” for a miracle? Is it a sign of immaturity and weakness to ask for God to supernaturally solve a problem?

When my granddaughter was two, she didn’t want help dressing herself. “No! Nikki by ’erself!” she protested as she proceeded to turn her shorts backwards and put both legs in one hole. My point? God doesn’t want us lazy, but, on the other hand, he wants us to know our limits. If I did not let experts do things for me, my car would be in terrible disrepair, my computer would have me completely stumped, and I wouldn’t know how to read and spell.

Was the apostle Paul’s statement “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7), just a sentimental thought? Or did he mean that God would help us with the issues of everyday life? To what extent? Well, when we go to a human friend or professional, they put the full extent of their knowledge and skill into helping us solve our problem. Will God not do the same? And, for him, that means pulling some strings supernaturally. Not just once in a great while, but every day. If we ask.

However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 NIV).

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12 NIV).

Making It Personal

  • Will you ask God for his help today, and expect a miracle, if that’s what it takes?
  • Unless you expect miracles, will you be able to accomplish the God-size tasks he has called you to do?