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June 6, 2011

Well Informed Faith - God Is Moving'

By Anthony Wade

Well Informed Faith - God Is Moving'


Well Informed Faith; God Is Moving

Matthew 15: 33 His disciples answered, "Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?"

How we respond to God can well determine the extent of His power in our lives. What do we approach Him with however? Doubt? Unbelief? Negativity? Worldly logic? God will not work with that. The key verse today comes from the miracle of the feeding of the four thousand. I have isolated this one verse because it is simply astounding to me. Jesus has been teaching for three days to a large group of people and has compassion on them. He is worried that if He sends them on their way, they might collapse on the way home. Remember there were no taxis back then! The response here from the disciples is staggering. Their level of disbelief is especially stunning in light of what they had already witnessed. Being His disciples they had already witnessed the miraculous on a daily basis. They had witnessed demons cast out of the possessed. The blind received sight. The lame walked. The deaf now hear. A dead girl rose to life. The woman with the issue of blood healed by merely touching the hem of His garment. The fierce storms on the Sea of Galilee calmed at His vocal command. And as if all of that was not enough, they had just seen the miracle of feeding the five thousand!

Can you picture the scene? After three days of teaching, Jesus wants to provide for the multitude. The disciples do not reflect back to His awesome power in healing people and raising the dead. They do not even reflect back to when He fed a larger group of people with only five loaves and two fish. They do not reflect back to the 12 basketfuls that were left over after that miracle. Instead they rely on their human logic and proceed to tell Jesus how crazy His idea is.

And isn't that just like ourselves sometimes? We too have seen the miraculous work of God in our lives. Our salvation alone is a miracle:

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Romans 1: 16 (NIV)

The word translated as "power" in this verse was "dunamis" in the Greek. Dunamis is translated 22 other times as "miracle" or miraculous." This makes complete sense as the Gospel is a miracle from God to provide salvation for sinful man. I am sure if we think back to where God found us and where He has brought us to, the word miracle would probably fit pretty well. The Psalmist agrees:

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock Psalm 40: 1-2 (NIV)

That the Lord of the universe, who spoke everything into existence, would turn to me to hear my cry and reach way down into the mire of this world to pick me up and set my feet on the solid ground of His only son Jesus Christ is nothing short of miraculous!

Beyond salvation we have all seen the miraculous even more from God. We have seen addictions and fear cast out of us as the disciples saw demons cast out by God in their time with Jesus. We have seen or directly experienced miraculous healings not unlike what the disciples bore witness to every day they walked with the Lord. We have seen miraculous provision from nowhere as if 5,000 people were fed with a schoolboy's lunch. But then that new mountain arises before us. That new miracle is needed. Suddenly everything we have witnessed is gone. Everything we experienced is forgotten. Everything we know becomes unsure. God says to step out into a new ministry and we ask Him incredulously - "Where can I get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?" He asks us to believe Him in faith for a healing we desperately need and we disapprovingly answer - "Where can I get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?" He asks us to trust Him as our provider and we doubtingly answer - "Where can I get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?" We forget who He is, what He has done, and what He can still do in our lives:

Then this message came to Jeremiah from the L ord : "I am the L ord , the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32: 26-27 (NLT)

When it seems as if things we are facing are just too big is there anything too hard for the Lord? When it seems as if the wicked are prospering or people are gaining dishonestly is there anyone smarter than the Lord? When we are facing our own sinful state and it overwhelms us is there anyone more loving and forgiving than the Lord? But when the Lord speaks to us in our here and now, we must remember what He has already done. Some refer to the Christian faith as blind because we serve a God we cannot see. I say we possess a well-informed faith based upon everything we have seen. I do not need to physically see God to know that He is there. I do not need to audibly hear God in order to know He is speaking to me. Let's consider Gideon for a minute.

Judges chapter seven tells the story of Gideon's army, which were about to fight the Midianites. But Gideon had too many men:

The L ord said to Gideon, "You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, 'Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain and go home.'" So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight. Judges 7: 2-3 (NLT)

Keep in mind that the Midianite army is estimated to be about 135,000 strong! THAT is how powerful our pride is. God saw that even 32,000 against 135,000 would still result in the Israelites thinking they had something to do with the victory! So now at 10,000 versus 135,000 God is still aware of how prideful we are:

But the L ord told Gideon, "There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not." When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the L ord told him, "Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream." Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream. Judges 7: 4-6 (NLT)

Now the odds are where God likes them - 135,000 versus 300. But consider Gideon for a moment. He did not blink when God asks him to do what is seemingly impossible in the natural world. Defeat an army of 135,000 soldiers with only 300 men? It is not like Gideon is introduced to us as this brave and noble character:

"But Lord," Gideon replied, "how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!" Judges 6: 15 (NLT)

Yet by the time God was done with him, he was a mighty warrior and the armies of Midian were defeated by God and the 300 soldiers in Gideon's army! That is what God can do through a yielded vessel. But it starts with believing He will see you through what He has called you to. He does not call the equipped He equips the called!

Likewise David had to decide early on in his life who he was going to believe in God or himself. The runt of the litter in his family David is actually sent to the front lines of battle not to fight, but to deliver cheese to his fighting brothers. What he finds is all of the fighting men of Israel cowering in fear of Goliath, the nine foot Philistine champion. He quickly says that he will go and fight Goliath. Here was the response from the natural world:

"Don't be ridiculous!" Saul replied. "There's no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You're only a boy, and he's been a man of war since his youth." 1Samuel 17: 33 (NLT)

And that's the king talking to him! In the natural, there is no way David can best Goliath. But David had a revelation of who God was and it did not matter how big the problem was in front of him he knew his God was bigger:

But David persisted. "I have been taking care of my father's sheep and goats," he said. "When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I'll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The L ord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!" 1Samuel 17: 34-37 (NLT)

You may say that there is a difference between a bear and Goliath but to God there is no difference. We need to stop thinking through our mortal eyes and start believing in our eternal faith. When the three Hebrew boys were going to be thrown into the fiery furnace, heated seven times hotter than usual just for them, they did not rest upon what they saw or felt. They reflected to what they believed:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up." Daniel 3: 16-18 (NLT)

The God we serve. If only we could start every response to crisis or faith with that phrase. The God I serve can easily feed 4,000 people because I just saw Him feed 5,000! The God I serve would not call me into a new ministry field and not give me the increase needed to succeed. The God I serve has healed me before and He will heal me again!

The disciples answer in our key verse today highlights our tendency to reflect to the natural world instead of the supernatural God who created the world. And within this one verse are three assurances God gives us about the problems we face

1)       "Enough Bread" it does not matter how much you think you need. Volume does not matter to God. Remember that Gideon defeated 135,000 with 300 men. Not because those 300 were special but because the God they served is.

2)       "Remote Place" it does not matter where you find yourself today. God reached far down to reach you once and He can reach farther down if He has to in order to reach you again. Isaiah 59 assures us that God's arm is not short. It doesn't matter how far away you are. If you would just turn around, God will be there. Distance does not matter to God.

3)       "Such A Crowd" it doesn't matter how many people may be relying upon you. God will always deliver. To whom much has been given, much will be required. Do not get overwhelmed by the scope of the assignment God may have for you or the size of the problem. If God builds it, God will maintain it. The size of the problem does not matter to God.

Turn from your own understanding beloved. In the natural, sometimes what we see before us is simply impossible. We feel like shouting out - "Where can I get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?" God is not asking you to solve anything. He is asking you to trust Him in everything. God moves. We have the privilege of having Him move through us, but it is God that does the moving. Let Him move today wherever this finds you.

Reverend Anthony Wade June 6, 2011

Authors Bio:
Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.