About a year ago, I did a piece about a field that I saw that was covered with the cuckleberry plant. I was amazed because I had not seen a field of briars since I was a kid. I saw that in the off season the farmer who owned the field plowed them under and treated the land. Here it is a year later, and the field is covered once again with the same problem.
This cuckleberry plant can become a major problem for crops that are planted in a field because they spring up at the same time that the crop would spring up. Like Jesus said, in Matthew 13, thorns will choke the seed and limit the harvest. I noticed that the crop that the farmer had planted near me did not produce a bountiful harvest. I am convinced that that is primarily because of this pesky cuckleberry plant that keeps reappearing in his field.
As I meditated on this, it became very clear to me that a lot of our problems in our lives are like that even though we hear the Word of God. We promise ourselves that we are going to change only to find that after a period of time that the same problem that we thought that we got rid of reappears and begins to choke us again. A lot of Christians will get so frustrated with this that they will give in to the problem, but there is hope. That hope is always in Jesus. He has to be the one to clear our lives of these pesky issues. Until then, the problems will keep reoccurring and they will continue to do so to the point of frustrating and cause us to become unproductive; unfruitful. It is hard to deal with the same problem over and over again.
I have talked with many people who have expressed how difficult it is to put forth effort to change only to find that they have to deal with the same problem year after year. It can become debilitating and depressing, causing you to throw up your hands and say, 'What is the use?'. If you are one of the ones who are gagging for air because of the continuing issues in your life know of a certainty that there is hope that you can rid yourself with God's help of these issues and move on to your next level of destiny.
You may be wondering how to break through this barrier. See my next blog for some suggestions on how to Learn How To Breathe Again.
Everybody desires increase. We want to have more, go more, do more, be more. The fact of the matter is increase doesn't automatically come because you ask God for it. I know that this may surprise (or sound strange to) some because a lot of us have the mentality that if we ask and just believe it will happen. Years ago, I was praying for increase and God plainly told me that if He gave me more, I wasn't able to handle it. He told me that He wasn't going to give me more than I could handle. That disappointed me at the time, but as I thought about it, it made a lot of sense. I knew of people who suddenly came into large sums of money and found themselves after a few years broke. Why?...because they didn't know how to handle it. The statistics show that even in things like weight loss, the large majority of those who lose it will gain it back because they don't know how to discipline their appetite. There are also all types of resolutions that are made in January and by March those resolutions are gone by the wayside.
I began to research scripture and I found several places that address these matters. I don't have the space to discuss all of them here now, but one in particular in Luke 16:10 says: "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much." What I saw in that scripture is that the way to the increase is to manage what God has already given me; to manage that well which is already in my possession. During the early part of my adulthood I was frivolous in spending. I was a poor manager of what God had allowed me to have. My credit was a mess and it was just a reflection of my attitude toward scripture at that point in my life. I didn't see the connection between how I managed that material things that God brought into my possession and my integrity. I definitely didn't see how that would hinder what God would trust me with in the way of increase, and I was a pastor at the time. It was the small things that were hindering me like not paying my bills on time and buying things that I didn't need.
I had to learn how to become a better manager, and that was not easy. Coming to the realization of that was powerful, but to put it in operation was very difficult. It requires a life-change. One of the major keys to increase is managing well what God has already given you, whether it be money, time, talent, or relationships. Are you preparing yourself for increase? Prepare to be blessed by learning how to appreciate and best use what you already have.
I was teaching in minister's class a couple of months ago concerning this subject and, in my years of ministry, I have noticed that there were times in my life when God would allow me to suffer through certain things in order to break me in the right place.
I discovered that God uses brokenness to get our attention. God's desired result is the total surrender of our will. There have been some great tragedies that have happened in the lives of men and women like David , Peter and Ruth. In the case of Ruth, she lost her husband. All of them went through tragedy and that resulted in a turning of their hearts to God in a greater way. Sometimes, God uses brokenness to get those who already know Him to let go of whatever prevents them from experiencing Him more fully.
In either case, brokenness means recognizing that what we have is not enough. When I was a young pastor, I went through a period where I felt rejected by the leadership in the church. This rejection crushed me so until I was ready to quit. As a matter of fact, I did quit. I told them that I was resigning. For days, I told God that I was through with the work; the church that I was pastoring: Faith Tabernacle. God let me go on for days telling Him what I wasn't going to do. And then one morning, as I was telling God what I wasn't going to do, God responded to me and asked me where I was going to go and He said I never told you to go. Well, when He said that, I knew I was in trouble. Then He asked me why was I so angry and I told Him that they had rejected me. Then He told me that they were only what I had taught them to be. It crushed me. It broke me because it put the burden of responsibility back on me, and I wanted to blame them. I realized that what God was telling me was that they responded the way that they responded because of what I had taught them.
Although this period of brokenness grew from a sense of personal failure in ministry, times of breaking come in many flavors. For some, it takes a chattered marriage; others the loss of a loved one; for others, the loss of a job; and still for some, ruined finances. God can use any of these issues to tame our soul. The source of the situation is not nearly as important as how we respond to it. Although the circumstances may be diverse, the divine goal is very simple BROKENNESS.
Pastor Earl Goings shares his thoughts on everyday concerns.
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