God is Peace: A Transcending Comfort on the Support-Raising Journey

 

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:7 (NIV)

We don’t live in a world that naturally knows peace. When the fall happened, this world became Satan’s domain, and “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4). Because of this, Romans 3:17 declares that the unrighteous don’t know the way of peace. The definition of peace to the world is an unachievable fantasy where everyone simply tolerates each other and gets along.

As Christians, we know that the promise of true peace is found only in Christ. It’s a transcending peace that guards our hearts and minds when wars rage all around us, hate drips from the tongues of others, and pain wreaks havoc in our lives. It’s an eternal perspective, knowing that this world and all the hurt that comes with it isn’t our real home.

The support-raising journey isn’t a stagnant task with no spiritual impact. It’s the ministry at hand and a key tool that unites people together to impact the world for Christ. Because of this, those on the support-raising journey are being led directly into a spiritual battle—whether someone is aware of it or not. Do you think that Satan wants people to unite together to do God’s work? Of course not! He doesn’t want us to make it to our ministries in one piece, so he’ll do whatever it will take, whether discouragement, pride, envy, etc., to knock people out of the game and take others down with you.

Without walking in awareness to the spiritual battle, people have been crushed by the support-raising “obstacle”. To combat what Satan throws our way, we must walk in awareness of Satan’s schemes. That doesn’t mean to be paranoid by or fixated on them. It means that we must be grounded in the truth of God and live in the peace that’s found only in Him. Because God is the God of peace, He can walk us through any trial and storm that Satan can conjure up to knock us out of the game.

  1. Take time each day to be alone with God and read His Word. This is the foundation to peace.
  2. Live in awareness to God and His plans for your life, so that when Satan tries to thwart them, you are focused on the eternal truth.

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God is the Author: Who Wrote Our Support-Raising Journey

 

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16 (NIV)

God is the Author of our stories. Psalm 139:16 promises us that every second of our lives was already written into His book before we even came into being. Therefore, since the Almighty writes everything into existence, He designs all of our days with one purpose in mind—to give Him the glory.

With this understanding, a whole new meaning to the support-raising comes into view. This journey isn’t a mistake. It might be often greatly misunderstood, but not a mistake. This journey didn’t take God, the Author of our days, by surprise. Therefore, this means that this journey has a greater purpose than just getting our money and hurrying to our places of ministry. When this journey is looked at through the way God authored it, it’s designed for worship.

God has given each of us stories to share that tell of His wonderful works of what He’s doing here and around the world. These stories then become the foundation for worship as others are led into the presence of God and given the opportunity to join His work. As people unite as one on the support-raising journey to accomplish God’s purposes, then teams of people are impacting communities for Christ. Thank the Lord, no one can do this journey alone!

When setting our eyes on a greater goal than just money, we’re able to see a bigger, and more beautiful picture of what God has written in His plan. God never misses a beat in the details of His design. Remember, since He’s the Author of all our days, everything we do fits into an even bigger picture, including raising support.

  1. How has your support-raising journey given God the glory?
  2. Look back at your life and worship God for how He has created you to do the very thing He has called you to do. (Eph. 2:10).

God is Our Abba: Who Gives Us the Best Gift on the Support-Raising Journey

 

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13 (NIV)

Daddy is such an intimate title and the word that Jesus chooses to show the depth of our relationship with God. Luke 11 teaches us the Lord’s Prayer and then goes on to explain the wonderful truth of what it means to be able to trust our heavenly Daddy with all our daily needs as we live righteously for Him. However, Luke 11:11-13 is often misinterpreted—even by Christians—and the support-raising journey can fuel our frustration, if we’re not grounded in the right perspective.

When our eyes are set on money, what happens when we continually call out to God for money and it’s not received in the timing we expect? Discouragement can set in when we compare our journey to someone else’s or covet the materialism of the world. It can feel as though everyone else is asking for money and getting it, but we’re being handed a snake instead.

The tendency is to assume the greatest gift on the support-raising journey is money. That’s wrong and a culturally driven perspective. Sure, money is obviously the need that is worked toward, but God isn’t ignorant to that fact. However, our want to sustain a worldly image doesn’t equal what God should give us as a gift. Our Daddy has our needs covered—that’s exactly what the Lord’s Prayer declares. He desires what’s best for us. Therefore, He has given us an even greater gift than what we could ever fathom—the Holy Spirit.

What does the gift of the Holy Spirit mean to us on the support-raising journey? He takes our steps of obedience and changes our heart. Relax. He’s got all the other stuff taken care of. Growing in intimacy with our Daddy and being transformed into His likeness are the greatest things that could ever happen on any journey that God takes you on. In all the noise and chaos the support-raising journey creates and in all the worldly concepts that challenges the simplicity of our needs, this truth should not be missed.

Dear God, Help me to learn what it means to sacrificially live in obedience to you and understand the difference between what the world demands of me and what is truly needed. I praise you for knowing what I need and caring for me as my Heavenly Daddy who gave me the best gift of all. Amen

God is Our Intercessor: The Groaning That Covers Our Support-Raising Journey

 

“In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express.  And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the thought of the Spirit is; because the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in accordance with his will.” Romans 8:26-27 (GNT)

There are many things I don’t know, and sometimes words are one of them. Thankfully, that’s okay. In fact, God promises that our silence in prayer is not inactivity. While we are still before God, the Holy Spirit is at work, speaking for us and pleading on our behalf. Praise God that I have an advocate who wants what is best for me! As I listen and allow Him to work, I’m then given His knowledge and my stubborn will is aligned with God’s perfect plan.

On the support-raising journey, we have lots of requests—most of them dealing with money. That’s okay. God asks for us to come before His throne of grace with confidence and lay all of our requests at His feet. That intimacy with the One and only God is a beautiful gift. However, we often go before Him and then hang on to our requests with clenched fists instead of laying them down and allowing the Holy Spirit do His work.

When things aren’t going according to my plans, my words and prayers are often like clanging gongs and are laced with fear. This often leads to frustration and tears. However, I’ve learned that my tears are not bad, because this posture often forces me into a wordless silence. I have learned—and am still learning—that my requests are heard and that God takes it from there. For what I don’t know, He knows in abundance. This truth allows me to be joyful in God’s presence and at peace on my journey, because I know that He is at work and cares.

  1. Praise God for His wonderful gift of intercession!
  2. After you’ve made your requests before God, be silent and listen. Allow God to give you His knowledge and align your will with His.

God Can Be Silent: When We Want Him to Shout on the Support-Raising Journey

“’I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.’” Job 30:20 (NIV)

 When someone you love walks next to you through the trials and tribulations of life, there are times when they don’t say a word. They simply hold you when you cry or sit next to you while giving you the space to grieve. However, we often have a problem when God is silent simply because He isn’t visible to us. The “tangible” way we feel His presence is through Him speaking to our hearts or guiding our steps. Therefore, we can equate God’s silence with Him not being present to our needs.

If anyone had a reason to shout his annoyances to God, it was certainly Job. God even offered this godly servant to Satan to be tested, and Satan jumped at the chance—go figure—to do everything he could to ruin Job’s life and his trust in God. Through a good portion of Job’s tragedy, God was silent. The only company he had was the miserable dialogue from his friends. However, when God finally broke His silence, it came in the form of His powerful testimony. When God showed up, Job’s response was “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Many people can often feel abandoned by God on the support-raising journey. When things get tough, it can feel as if God is silent and not present to our needs. I’ve often had conversations with God saying, “Okay, God, I was obedient, now what? You’re not speaking. You’re not showing me anything, and I feel stuck with everything spinning out of control fast.” However, we need to take our faith lesson from Job and understand that, when God calls us to do something, His plans will not be thwarted.

Yes, there can be sin that gets in the way of us hearing God when He speaks or times when we deliberately take the wrong path and refuse to listen, but there are truly times when God holds us without speaking so we can grow on our own to trust Him more. He’s preparing us for our different ministries. It’s during these times we must ground ourselves in the truth of who God is and trust His sovereignty. Be prepared, because it’s out of the silence, God brings us to a place of worship, and out of that worship comes great things for Him.

  1. Confess any sin areas in your life that may be interrupting God’s voice.
  2. Read Job 38-41. Understand who God is and His sovereignty over everything, including our lives.

God Holds Our Worries: As He Provides on the Support-Raising Journey

 

“Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.” 1 Kings 17:3-4 (NIV)

Being fed by ravens is a pretty crazy way for God to provide food for Elijah in the wilderness, and after the brook dried up, God told him to go to a widow who was about to see her last meal and ask for food. Even before Elijah’s big showdown with the prophets of Baal, God provided for him in the wilderness, and He met the widow’s needs in abundance because of her incredible sacrifice.

The support-raising journey can create a lot of worry for people—so much so, that many don’t obey God when He calls them on such an unconventional cultural path to do ministry. Many have a tendency to worry whether or not they’ll have enough money (often to keep their current lifestyle). People worry about asking others to support them financially. Still some worry if they’ll be able to get to their ministry in a timely fashion. This is often before the first step is even taken, and then it can snowball, if the journey gets tough.

Did you notice that the things we tend to worry about are mainly shaped by cultural expectations we place on ourselves and not from an eternal perspective? God called the prophet Elijah to go live in the wilderness beside a brook to be fed by birds. I’m pretty sure, even back then, that wasn’t a cultural norm. However, Elijah is a beautiful picture of God’s provision no matter how weird it may have been. Then, if the ravens didn’t top it, God used a widow on Elijah’s journey to show His care. This widow had nothing, yet gave her all.

Most wouldn’t bother her. It’s not culturally correct. However, if God hadn’t directed Elijah to the widow’s doorstep and if he hadn’t been bold enough to ask for food, both her and her son would’ve eaten their last meal and died. Does this not help you to see that God’s hand can be on others as well, and they need to be given that opportunity to be used by God through their sacrificial gifts?

Worries are grounded in the now—in appearances, in embarrassment, in security. We want to be comfortable, so we often worry those comforts will be taken from us. Elijah’s path doesn’t look easy to me. Technically, he could’ve “worried” about a lot of things, yet he trusted God. He didn’t care what others thought, about savings accounts, or where his next meal would come. God had that handled. Elijah kept an eternal perspective and was used by God in a powerful way. God is asking us to view our journeys the same way, because He has everything handled.

  1. What are you worried about? Offer these worries to God and watch how He provides.
  2. Be willing to abandon your comforts to God.

God is Our Conqueror: Who Goes Before You on the Support-Raising Journey

 

“David said to Saul, ‘Your Majesty, no one should be afraid of this Philistine! I will go and fight him.’ ‘No,’ answered Saul. ‘How could you fight him? You’re just a boy, and he has been a soldier all his life!’” 1 Sam. 17:32-33 (NIV)

The excuses against tackling something twice our size are always numerous. Because doing the impossible is not feasible by our own strength, we look at things from our own weakened perspective. Our thinking becomes, why do something hard when there is always an easier, even more comfortable route? So we go in search for something that doesn’t require the faith to trust in the power of God. Just like the Israelites, we often run away when God calls us to trust Him while raising support.

I love what David says to Saul, “Your Majesty, no one should be afraid of this Philistine!” He tells it like it is and exhibits a childlike faith in God’s power that the adults couldn’t seem to grasp in their fear. Then David went beyond just these words as he put his faith into action to face the giant—an act that no one else dared to do. He prepared by gathering stones, endured the taunts from both sides, and stood his ground when in the battle. In the end Goliath fell to a young, inexperienced boy.

So often we read stories like this, but do nothing to apply this truth to our current faith. Through this we know that God conquers the impossible for us, yet we still shake in fear when it comes to asking people to join God in His work. Sometimes we even feel defeated when we become so strapped into our own agendas that we miss seeing God show up in unexpected ways. I’m sure the Israelites weren’t expecting a kid to be used to show God’s strength. However, God still conquered the impossible in the end.

God asks for our obedience to show Himself strong. So, “People, no one should be afraid of this support-raising journey!”

  1. What excuses have you been making on the support-raising journey that hinder seeing God at work in the process?
  2. What steps do you need to take to conquer the giant God has set before you?

God is Truth: Our Lifeline on the Support-Raising Journey

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matt. 14:29-30 (NIV)

Do you truly believe, like Mary, that nothing is impossible with God? I am actually more like Peter in the fact that the thought of God’s miraculous power over the impossibility normally lasts for about a second—long enough to get out of the boat, but not long enough for me to walk all the way to Jesus. As soon as I recognize the storm I just hopped into, I flounder and whine, leaving Jesus to say, “You of little of faith. Why do you doubt?”

Raising support requires us to jump out of the boat, and staying on the journey requires us to maintain our focus on Jesus the entire way. The unfortunate irony of the support-raising journey is that we’re often conditioned to keep our focus on the money aspect. However, this is like telling someone to stare at the impossibility of the waves, instead of trusting that God is the One who called you into the storm and has power over our circumstances. One of the things we learn from Peter is that we sink when we take our eyes off Jesus.

The way I keep truth in the forefront of my thoughts is through a practice of praying back God’s attributes when Satan lies to me. When I doubt that God is listening to my plea, I pray back verses like 1 Jn. 5:14 or Ps. 116:2. When Satan tells me that I’m abandoned or alone, I pray back the truth of Deut. 31:8 and Heb. 13:5-6. Whatever storm comes your way, the truth of God’s character is found in Scripture. Declare that over the situation.

God asks us to not only to get out of the boat but to also keep walking on the water. In order to do that, we can’t let anything take our focus off of Him. Trust in His truths today, and allow Him to make the impossible happen.

  1. What lies are you believing? Look up verses that tell the truth of God’s character.
  2. Allow God to strip away the areas of your life that take your focus off God.

God is Our Refiner: As He shapes Us on the Support-Raising Journey

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 (NIV)

Most who live in the Western world have never had to face an actual fiery furnace or even death for our beliefs. How amazing it would’ve been to be Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they walked out of that furnace unscathed as a living testimony of the power of God? On the other side of the trial, it’s easy to look back to see God’s amazing plan and His goodness. Facing a trial and walking through it is a whole different story.

Trials are a testing of our faith as they serve to refine us. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s faith was put into action, and they were willing to face the furnace for their beliefs. Their faith was already strong before it was tested, but I think we can be certain that, when they came out, their trust in God was even greater than before. What better way to understand the heart of God than to walk in faith through the refining process, not to mention the testimony of God’s greatness to others.

No matter how strong our faith, our entire life is a continual process of being transformed into the likeness of Christ. Raising support is certainly not a fiery furnace—although it may feel like it sometimes! However, it is a faith journey where we have to put our trust in God into action. It is a path that is laid out before many, but only a few choose to obey God into the unknown. Money may not be an idol sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, but many bow down to its power.

Just the actual step onto the support-raising journey can be a refining process of our faith. We may not know where the money is going to come from, but we trust God and watch Him work. For others, the support-raising journey is just the first step into the fiery refining process. However, just as the words from Daniel 3:18 says, “But even if he does not (deliver us), we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” These three men knew that God was in control either way. They were going to discover God in deeper ways regardless of the outcome, so they obeyed and stayed firm through the trial. The result was their testimony gave God the ultimate glory.

All our journeys are different as God uses various situations to refine us. Stand firm through the refining process that the support-raising may bring. On the other side of the trial, after experiencing God at work, rejoice in the amazing testimony that gives Him the glory.

  1. Think of the testimonies of God’s greatness you’ve already experienced on this journey and give Him the praise.
  2. Pray for God to keep you strong through the refining process.

God is Our Healer: The Story of Glory on Our Support-Raising Journey

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’ John 9:1-3 (NIV)

The Pharisees were focused on the wrong thing. They saw a blind man through their own eyes, and with this human perspective, they clung to a false narrative. It was one that spoke of pity for lack of sight and blame for the punishment of being born blind. Their own sight was clouded and kept them in ignorance to seeing a greater picture. For you see, the world needed healing from their blindness, and God chose a blind man to be an instrument for His glory. What irony!

This picture of healing is not necessarily hard for me to understand on the surface, but actually a little uncomfortable when I have to put it into practice. On the surface I say, “Praise God for His miraculous healing!” While putting it into practice, I say, “Poor blind man, he grew up without sight. Think of all the things he missed seeing for all those years. Why did God have to do that?” The truth is, God often has us walk hard paths in order for His glory to be revealed.

The world doesn’t understand the support-raising journey. Sure, we give to charities, we help people out for the betterment of living, and some people even tithe to churches—sadly, the world often uses giving to make them feel better about themselves. But when it comes to people asking them for money to do ministry, it is increasingly becoming a foreign concept.

The support-raising journey is not a punishment from God because we couldn’t get a better job or even a sad burden for us to bear. Sure, it’s a hard path to have to walk, and we can take a woe-is-me attitude; however, the world is blind to missions and the work God is doing right among us. Have you ever thought of it as an instrument to display God’s glory?

  1. What false narrative are you walking on the support-raising journey?
  2. What ways can you display God’s glory on the support-raising journey?