THE GOD WHO IS MORE THAN ENOUGH

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. 2 I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

Genesis 17:1-2 NIV

 

The Hebrew word for God Almighty is El Shaddai – the God who is more than enough – more than sufficient. It means that He has the power to complete promises of blessings and prosperity. Everything God does is over the top, more than enough, a surplus, super-abundant, overflowing, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over!

“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God.  Deuteronomy 28:1-2 NKJV

 

The Bible says that when you obey God’s word, His blessing will not only come upon you, but it will overtake you.

Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.

Matthew 25:28-29 NIV

 

If you are faithful with what God gives you, He will give you more and you will be blessed with abundance.

Hezekiah had very great riches and honor, and he made treasuries for his silver and gold and for his precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of valuables. 28 He also made buildings to store the harvest of grain, new wine and oil; and he made stalls for various kinds of cattle, and pens for the flocks. 29 He built villages and acquired great numbers of flocks and herds, for God had given him very great riches.  2 Chronicles 32:27-29 NIV

 

When you honor God, He will bless you with great riches. You will need to look for more storage places!

Their sons went in and took possession of the land. You subdued before them the Canaanites, who lived in the land; you handed the Canaanites over to them, along with their kings and the peoples of the land, to deal with them as they pleased. 25 They captured fortified cities and fertile land; they took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things, wells already dug, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they reveled in your great goodness.

Nehemiah 9:24-25 NIV

 

Those who please God are abundantly blessed and well-nourished. They revel in His great goodness.

“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, `How do we rob you?’

“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

Malachi 3:8-10 NIV

 

If you will joyfully pay your tithes, God will throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough to accommodate all of it.

For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack–that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”  2 Corinthians 8:12-15 NKJV

 

God blesses us with abundant blessings so that we can be a blessing to others.

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.  Luke 6:38 NKJV

 

If you will be a giver, God will always multiply the blessing back to you in a good measure. You can try to squash it down and fit it in to your containers, but it will still run over.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.  Ephesians 3:20 NKJV

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.  Ephesians 3:20 NIV

 

God is able to do immeasurably more and exceedingly abundantly (superabundantly) than all we ask or imagine – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams – according to His power that is at work within us.

GOD’S THOUGHTS AND WAYS OF GRACE ARE HIGHER

The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  Psalms 103:6-12 NIV

 

God is a good God. He is merciful, compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. He will not always accuse us, nor continually chide us. He will not stay angry forever nor hold a grudge. He does not treat us as our sins deserve nor repay us according to our iniquities. These are His ways and He has let us know them. How blessed we are to have a God like this, Who willingly sent His Son to die, Whose blood can wash away our sins and transgressions as far as the east is from the west! We don’t deserve His forgiveness, but He offers it to us anyway. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him. His love is so much bigger than our love. We cannot comprehend His love for us, but He loves us anyway.

 

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:6-9 NIV

 

God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts. Many people use this scripture to explain tragedies and to say that we cannot understand why God would kill, steal from or destroy us, because His ways are not our ways. However, we know from scripture and especially from these scriptures that God is not a destroyer, but He is a restorer! It is God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness that we cannot comprehend. We cannot understand how it is that God would forgive the vilest of sinners – even mass murderers. In our mind they should pay for their sins, but if they ask God to forgive them – He will not withhold His mercy. This is the same mercy that He shows to every one of us.

 

When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals-one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  Luke 23:33-34 NIV

 

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”  Luke 23:46-47 NIV

 

Jesus’ compassion for the thief next to Him and His grace toward His murderers impressed the centurion. Even though these people mocked, despised, beat and crucified Him, He asked His Father to forgive them and to not lay this sin to their charge. This great love distinguished Him from every other person ever treated so cruelly. When we are treated badly, our earthly reaction is to fight back, but only God’s response is one of love and grace. The compassion and mercy of our Lord set Him apart from the rest. It is God’s grace, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and love that are higher than ours and when we display His heart – we are revealed as His very own!

 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35 NIV

God is a gracious God and only His own can begin to know His love – that is higher than the heavens – and to allow His love to flow through them – distinguishing them from the rest of the world.

HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU

It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows–how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.

 

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10 NKJV

 

God’s grace is sufficient to meet and match any situation we face. Paul was not sick or diseased and his eyes were perfectly healthy, but he faced tremendous hardships and persecutions as he sought to obey God and answer the call of God that was on his life. Paul had several encounters with the Spirit of God after his first dramatic encounter with the living God on the road to Damascus. Before his conversion, he was greatly used by the devil to destroy God’s people, even though he sincerely thought that he was a crusader for God and the law. After his conversion, he was zealous for Jesus and became a big problem for the devil.

 

The Greek word aggelos is translated angel or messenger. This is a being, not an object like a sickness. Satan sent a messenger, a demon, to harass Paul. This demon tried to stop Paul, to hinder and harass him and even tried to kill him. The demon stirred people up to persecute Paul and to try to kill him. They even left him for dead at least once. Paul tells us what he went through in 2 Corinthians 11.

 

Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ?–I speak as a fool–I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness–besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.  2 Corinthians 11:22-30 NKJV

 

When God calls us, He anoints us, and He also graces us to deal with whatever we will face as we seek to obey Him. God does not call us because of us, but in spite of us. We can do our best when we yield to Him, and rely on Him, and allow Him to work through us. When we feel weak or inadequate, we rely on and trust in Him and His strength makes up the difference. Actually, we are in our place of greatest strength when we are weak in ourselves and we rely more on Him and lean harder on Him. You are in a good place when you need God’s grace and when you are dependent on God’s grace. His grace is sufficient for you!

USE YOUR TALENTS OR LOSE THEM

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

 

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. `Master,’ he said, `you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 21 “His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with the two talents also came. `Master,’ he said, `you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ 23 “His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. `Master,’ he said, `I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, `You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “`Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  Matthew 25:14-29 NIV

 

Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. He gave them one, three and five talents—most likely in accordance with their abilities and proven faithfulness—and then he went off and left them to do what was required of them. Two of the servants, who had three and five talents respectively, went out and put their money to work, doubling their investment. However, the servant who had the one talent did absolutely nothing with it. He was so afraid of his master and so afraid to fail that he did nothing at all. He went out and hid his talent in the ground.

 

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. He was very pleased with the servants who had used their talents and increased their initial investment, but he was angry with the servant who wasted his talent by hiding it. He called him wicked and lazy. The first mistake the servant made was to be motivated by fear—believing that the master was hard and unfair—at least that was his excuse! The second mistake he made was to be lazy—he tried to take the path of least resistance. However, the “easy” way turned out to be the hard way—he ended up losing his talent, his job and his place in the master’s house.

 

God is not a master to be feared—unless we are wicked and lazy servants. However, He is a master to be respected. We show our respect by our submission to God—to do His will—not just doing what we want to do. God expects us to work.

 

He gives us talents and abilities and He requires that we work and use them.

God is not angry with us when we try and we fail. He is angered by our laziness, wastefulness and lack of faith. We should not be afraid of using the gifts and talents God has given us. He gives the abilities—we work and use them. As we prove ourselves faithful and trustworthy, we are entrusted with more, until we are promoted permanently into a place of honor in His presence. Take the talents that God has given you and put them to work. Use them so that you will be pleasing to the Lord Who made you and graced you with those gifts.

 

THE SOWER SOWS THE WORD

Foundation Scriptures: Mark 4:2-8, Mark 4:14-20

It’s time to pay attention, hear and listen by Rodney Howard Browne

  1. Jesus starts this parable in verse 3 with these words: Give attention to this! And ends in verse 9: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
  2. The preacher, preaching the word, is the sower of seed.
  3. God’s word is living and powerful and gives you power and victory over the enemy.
  4. When cultivated it produces fruit in varying degrees: fruit, more fruit and much fruit.
  5. Unless our hearts are prepared to receive the seed of the word, we cannot grow in grace or knowledge.
  6. The devil is the enemy of God’s word in your life and will steal it from you anyway he can.
  7. The devil knows that the best time to destroy a tree is at its genesis—when it is young and small—before or shortly after it starts to grow and definitely before it sends its roots solidly down into the earth.
  8. The seed of the word is the same in each case—it is the soil that makes the difference between success and failure.
  9. YOUR heart and life is the soil.

Verse 15: The ones along the path are those who have the Word sown [in their hearts], but when they hear, Satan comes at once and [by force] takes away the message which is sown in them.

  1. These people receive the word negligently.
  2. They hear the Word with hardhearted indifference.
  3. They are not listening and not paying attention.
  4. They need to hear it, but are not ready or willing to hear.
  5. The devil has no trouble snatching the word away from them.
  6. They walk away with nothing.

Verse 16-17: And in the same way the ones sown upon stony ground are those who, when they hear the Word, at once receive and accept and welcome it with joy; And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.

  1. The Message Bible: And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
  2. These people actually stop to listen.
  3. They get really excited initially, but it is merely an emotional response, nothing more.
  4. They have not developed any character in their life—they are very shallow.
  5. Because their soil is shallow, the roots of the word can’t get a good grip.
  6. They believe (endure) for a little while.
  7. Like a hot sun, trouble (hardships) and persecution arises on account of the word.
  8. When these people encounter pressure or difficulty, they are instantly offended—they become displeased, indignant and resentful.
  9. They blame it on God and His Word and back off from the word.
  10. They stumble and fall away, turning their back on God.
  11. This outside pressure does not just make them back off it leaves them personally offended. This offense robs them of God’s blessings.

Verse 18-19: And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word; Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamor and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.

  1. The Message Bible: The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.
  2. Notice that this soil is already full of thorns and weeds.
  3. These people hear the word and receive it and it is able to grow up a little bit.
  4. Unfortunately, they take their eyes off of the word—they become distracted and preoccupied with the cares and riches of this life and the word in them is choked and suffocated to death.
  5. Instead of focusing on the answer—Jesus—they focus on the problem.
  6. Worry, covetousness and lust are weeds that choke the Word of God in your life.
  7. Their fruit does not ripen—the Word of God becomes unfruitful in their life.

Verse 20: And those sown on the good (well-adapted) soil are the ones who hear the Word and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit—some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some [even] a hundred times as much.

  1. The Message Bible: But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams.
  2. The good ground represents the prepared heart that receives the seed and produces fruit; produces a harvest.
  3. These people hear the Word and embrace it—they receive it, accept it, and welcome it for themselves.
  4. This is the only appropriate response to the Word of God—the only one that will produce any fruit.
  5. Luke 8:15 AMP says that those with good soil hold the word fast in a just, noble, virtuous and worthy heart and steadily bring forth fruit with patience.
  6. The Word of God is allowed to grow and keep growing in their heart and life in spite of life’s circumstances; in spite of trials and temptations.
  7. These are genuine disciples.
  8. They produce a harvest of good fruit in varying amounts 30, 60 or 100-fold.

How do I walk in God’s best?

  1. Commit to personally receive and obey the Word of God.
  2. Put your flesh under—don’t yield to fleshly desires.
  3. Don’t believe the devil’s lies—hide the word in your heart so that you will recognize the truth.
  4. Don’t lose your focus—know what you believe.
  5. Don’t cave in under pressure—hang in longer than the devil.