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It’s a bit scary to me to realize how many people have a scarcity mindset. As a result, far too many people are trying to figure out how to get their piece of the pie, but they don’t really want others to have their piece too. This should never be the mindset of a Christian! Our God has an unlimited supply, so we should be the most generous and abundance-minded people.
Sadly, sometimes I still encounter Christians who think that only some people can claim some of God’s promises.
This is part 5 in our series “Is that in the Bible?”
Statement #5—Old Testament promises are for the Jews, New Testament promises are for the Christians. Is that in the Bible? No!
Jesus Himself said, “Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17 AMP).
Plato told a story about people chained in a cave in such a way that they could only see the shadows on the wall. He said that if the chains were unlocked, some would turn toward the opening of the cave, see the solid figures that had been creating the shadows, and move out of the cave. Plato also said that some would see the reality and choose to stay trapped in the cave—they would prefer shadows over reality.
Both John and the writer of Hebrews describe how Jesus came as the incarnate Reality of God. Jesus reveals that He is the Substance behind all of the shadows of worship in the First Testament (Hebrews 1:1-2; John 1:1-14).
Look at the worship practices of the tabernacle, specifically the practices on the Day of Atonement. Two goats or lambs were brought into the outer court on that day—one had all of the sins of the people transferred to it and was sent into the wilderness as the scapegoat, and the other was sacrificed so its blood could make atonement for the sins of the people. The high priest would take this blood past the curtain separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, and would sprinkle it on the atonement cover (also called the mercyseat) of the ark of the covenant of the Lord.
John said that Jesus came to make His dwelling among humans. The word John uses for “dwelling” is the same word for “tabernacle.” Jesus Himself became not only our High Priest, but every single item the earthly high priest used on the Day of Atonement. Jesus is the…
scapegoat—Leviticus 16:20-22; John 1:29
sacrificial lamb—Leviticus 16:15; 1 Peter 1:18-19
curtain in front of the Holy of Holies—Hebrews 10:22
By His life, death, and resurrection the shadows became Substance through Jesus. Hebrews 10:1-14 describes this, but especially note verse 12: “But when this High Priest [Jesus] offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God.”
This High Priest not only sits down in God’s presence, but He takes us with Him into the Holy of Holies: “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6)!
So now ALL God’s promises are for ALL who are in Jesus! “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
I like how the Personalize Promise Bible turns that verse into this prayer: “My heavenly Father is faithful to His every Word. No matter how many promises He has made, in Jesus, He makes good on every one. I have God’s Word; therefore, I have God’s will. Every time that I pray in line with His Word, the answer is guaranteed.”
My friend, if you have placed your faith in the completed work of Jesus, then EVERY promise in the Bible is a promise you can claim for your life. Hallelujah! What an amazing thing God has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ!
Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or Audible.
Why is it that so many people have a worst-case mindset as their guiding factor?
As a leader responsible for programs, and large groups of people, and the financial well-being of organizations, I know that I frequently fell into this trap. When we began making plans for the future, I wanted to keep a “fallback plan” in place. I frequently found myself saying to our leadership team, “Even in the worst case scenario we can….”
But then I realized how much vitality this was sapping from our team.
If we as leaders want to infuse more energy and excitement in our teams it may take some paradigm shifts on our part. Here are three shifts that I have endeavored to implement in my life:
Shift scarcity to abundance.
Shift fear to hope.
Shift worst-case to best-case.
On a recent episode of our leadership podcast, my friend Greg Heeres and I discussed the limitations that come as a result of a leader’s limiting fears.
As a Christian, I believe the greatest Helper in these three paradigm shifts is the Holy Spirit. When I take time to pray about the big decisions for my personal life and for the organizations I lead, I find that His guidance helps me tap into God’s abundance, which gives me hope for the best-case scenarios to be realized. This hope in me quickly translates to hope and expectation in my team.
Leaders, start with prayer and then try these three paradigm shifts. As the Holy Spirit transforms your heart and mind, I believe you will begin to see a greater energy and excitement in the organizations that you lead.
Let’s stop asking, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” and shift to asking, “What’s the best thing that could happen?”
When God made His promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for Him to swear by, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. (Hebrews 6:13-15)
After waiting patiently…
God’s promise did come, but Abraham had to wait a long, long time! One translation says that Abraham waited long and endured patiently. Another says, Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him.
God’s promises DO come to those who patiently endure UNTIL the promise comes.
Don’t lose heart.
Stick it out.
Don’t give up.
Persevere until it comes.
God has determined to show us the abundance of His promises, the faithfulness of His word, the trustworthiness of His promises.
Ask Abraham. He’ll tell you that it’s so worth it to hang on until God fulfills His word.
God’s counsel is unchangeable.
His wisdom is profound.
His treasures are immeasurable.
His delights are beyond comparison.
His hope is secure
His word endures.
His promises are sure.
Don’t give up. Patiently endure another day. God’s promise IS coming!
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.
[These are notes from Oswald Chambers’ lecture on Jeremiah 17.]
All sin is unpardonable, every sinner is pardonable. …
God cannot pardon sin, but He instantly receives the sinner when the sinner leaves his sin and comes to Him. The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ does not mean that God forgives the sinner and leaves him in his sin; God forgives a man for being a sinner and puts him in the place where he need never be a sinner any more. …
God is only after one thing, a right relationship to Himself, and He does not care about our physical comforts. Until we are rightly related to Him, God will play ruthless havoc with every comfort and relationship we have. …
When we are sanctified the perpetual temptation is to do what Jesus did not do—“Now I am sanctified I can do what I like.” I cannot. My natural life and natural gifts are to be turned into a spiritual possession by offering them to God.
From Notes On Jeremiah
God cannot tolerate sin, but He loves the sinner so much that He sent His Son to die in our place as payment for our sin. While we are still wallowing and trapped in our sin, God will not leave us alone; He will not make life comfortable for us; He will ruthlessly ruin everything that we try to use as a substitute for a relationship with Him.
Once we do confess our sin and receive the Atonement that Jesus purchased on the Cross for us, the Holy Spirit will continue to harass our old nature. Our sinful flesh wants to return to wallowing in the muck of sin, but the Holy Spirit will make it tremendously uncomfortable for us to go there.
Don’t strive for a comfortable life; strive for a God-honoring life. Pay attention to those areas of discomfort or dissatisfaction, because God is speaking to you through those and calling you into a deeper, more vibrant life in Him.
Ann Voskamp speaks lovingly to the hurting and broken. She never condemns them for their brokenness, nor does she encourage them to stay in their difficult place. Instead, Ann brings a new perspective to the path of healing; a path that allows our brokenness to become our givenness to other broken and hurting people. This is The Way Of Abundance. Be sure to check out my full book review by clicking here.
“Go fall in love with grace and mercy and the only One who has ever loved you to death—and back to the realest, abundant life. Because the world is begging us all to get out of bed and live given, get out of bed and sacrifice for someone hurting, for someone different, for someone forgotten or marginalized, to hold the hand of someone who doesn’t look like a us, to lean in and listen to someone angry and grieving and doubting the likes of us, to give a bit of ourselves to those who feel like they aren’t given much real space at the table.”
“The real Jesus turns our questions of why—why this brokenness, why this darkness?—and says, ‘You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here.’ ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him’ [John 9:3]. There’s brokenness that’s not about blame. There’s brokenness that makes a canvas for God’s light to be lavishly splashed across the darkness. There’s brokenness that carves windows straight into our souls. Brokenness cracks open a soul so the power of God can crack the darkness in the world.”
“When you aren’t afraid of being afraid, you transform fear into friend. … Feelings can accompany you, but they don’t get to control you. Feelings get to inform you, but they don’t get to form you. Feelings get to keep you company, but they don’t get to keep you in bondage. Only God keeps you.”
“We are always lost until our heart makes its home inside of someone else. Our lives are unfulfilling if we only let our hearts fill us instead of filling other people’s broken places. The art of living is believing there is enough love in you, that you are loved enough by Him, to be made into love to give. Fulfilling lives happen when we give our hearts to fill other people’s empty spaces.”
“There are really only two choices when begging temptation looks you square in your twitching eye: there is either the pain of self-denial, or the pain of self-destruction. … They’ll tell you there’s no such thing called temptation anymore, only repressed self-limitation. They’ll tell you temptation isn’t an issue for the sophisticated. And all I want to say: just don’t say you’re a follower of Christ if you’re actually following your own heart.”
“Shame dies when stories are told in safe places. … Shame gets unspeakable power only if it’s unspeakable.”
“The only way to live a truly remarkable life is not to get everyone to notice you, but to leave noticeable marks of His love everywhere you go.”
“When you feel basically respectable, you want religion. And when you know you feel the brokenness of rejection, you want the gospel. In religion, it’s the ‘respectable’ who search for a God to impress. But in the Gospel, it’s God who searches for the brokenhearted rejected to save.”
“Never fear the moments you imagine will freeze you: unexpected blasts of cold can be what draws you nearer to the flame of His love.”
“The body of Christ must recapture its vision as the only collective in the world that exists for its nonmembers. … We are a community that will not dish out condemnation but courage, that will lean in and listen long and love large.”
“You love as much as you are willing to be inconvenienced. … The brokenness of people is never truly an intrusion. Loving the broken people when it is inconvenient is the way to have fuller inclusion in the life of Christ.”
About a year ago I read and reviewed The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. And now that I share a review of her newest book—The Way Of Abundance—you might be tempted to think that brokenness and abundance sound contradictory, but you would be wrong!
In The Broken Way, Ann wrote, “Unless we die, unless we surrender, unless we sacrifice, we remain alone. Lonely. But if we die, if we surrender, if we sacrifice, that is when we experience the abundance, that is when we dance in communion. The life that yields the most—yields the most” (emphasis mine).
Now in The Way Of Abundance, she shares this opening thought, “What would happen if the scars you carry are what God uses to carry Christ to a scarred and broken world? Weak is the real strong. Brokenness is the real abundance” (emphasis mine).
Brokenness cannot stop meaningfulness. God wants to work through your brokenness to do something abundantly more than you can even imagine. And He can and will do it if only you will yield your pain to Him.
The Way Of Abundance is given to us in 60 shorter devotional-style chapters. It’s a two-month journey into getting to see our pain, disillusionment, brokenness, and questions in a new light. It’s a journey to get us to change the focus from our brokenness to Christ’s abundance, and in so doing, discovering how Christ can enrich the world through our yieldedness.
What I wrote a year ago is just as true for this book: “This is a book of healing. A book that will remind you that you are not alone in your pain, in your questions, in your searching for answers. This book is a gift to anyone who feels broken, cut up, cut off, or beaten down.”
Read this book for yourself. Read this book for other broken people. Read this book with other broken people. And then watch the abundance of Christ’s life explode like you’ve never imagined!