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God is Our Refuge: An Ever-Present Help on the Support-Raising Journey

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

One of the weapons Satan uses against Christians is illusions. He gives us the illusion that love is better with someone else, so marriages fail. He gives us the illusion that materialism is what we need, so stuff becomes our idols. His slight of hand can so closely mimic the truth that we don’t see it coming, hence why we are fooled.

In this particular Psalm, the poet leads off with a foundational truths that prepare for the coming storms. He explains that God is our refuge and strength before the earth gives way and the mountains crash into the sea. He tells us of a great city of God, where the most Holy dwells before he tells of the wars between people and kingdoms falling. He commands us to be still so that we can understand this truth, because in the end, nothing else matters. God is above everything and the only One who is exalted.

Notice how the psalmist doesn’t say if the mountains fall into the sea or if there are wars, then God is our refuge. The fact is that the world is going to be stormy and rough. Because of this, Satan wants to give the illusion that God has left us to battle everything alone. When we feel unshielded and naked, that’s when terror grips us, and we can become angry with God for leaving us all alone during the worst of times. 

God never promised the support-raising journey to be easy. There are enough storms around to try to distract us from God’s truth, even before we take a huge step of faith. In a literary sense, there are times when life actually feels as though entire mountains are crashing into the seas around us. Satan wants us to feel as though God has abandoned us, that God doesn’t understand that we are fighting for the needs of our family. These are illusions. 

Praise God that the psalmist knew that we needed to understand that God is our refuge and strength. He knew we would be walking through disasters and wars. But through it all, we can be at peace, because God is in total control. 

  1. What storms are you going through right now? List them out and give them to God.
  1. Write out Psalm 41 by using your own imagery of what is happening around you. Explain how you see God before, during and after the turmoil.
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God is Our Shepherd: Who Tends to the Support-Raising Journey

 

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)

When was the last time you stopped everything you were doing and actually took a complete rest? Our souls need to be refreshed on the support-raising journey, but this is a hard thing to do. There are deadlines to work toward, people to meet, and letters to send. You do all of that, and then repeat it—sometimes even more frantically.

The very first line of Psalm 23 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” How intuitive of God to lead with that statement. He knows that we have to be reminded of the fact that He is our good Shepherd who takes care of our every need. It’s only when we grasp this reality that we can settle down and rest. He’s saying, “I’ve got it! Put your mind at ease and rest. I’m your Shepherd who will protect you.” If you think you’re lacking in anything, then your mind will never shut off, as you think about how you’re going provide for what is lacking. 

Unfortunately, the support-raising journey can make us feel as though we’re lacking a lot. Not enough people are giving to us. How can we support our families? Are we going to be able to buy the things we need? I’m running out of people with which to talk. That person just rejected me. What am I going to do? The list goes on.

The world tells us that we need certain things to be happy, and we need to live at certain income levels in order to be respected—people have even said this of ministry workers! However, that kind of worldly living is warned against in the Bible. Panic can set in when we aren’t able to achieve the worldly standards that have been demanded of us. When we’re worried about the things we’re lacking, that makes it hard for us to find rest for our souls.

The good news is that our Shepherd knows what we need. We are without want. He asks us to trust Him, because we are going to walk through some difficult times and our souls will need to be refreshed along the way. He is preparing us for the dark valleys where His rod and staff will always be there to comfort us. 

On the support-raising journey, take time for your soul. It needs the rest. Your Shepherd tells you this.

  1. 1.Find a time on a regular basis to refresh your soul.
  2. 2.List the worldly ideas and concepts that have crept into your support-raising journey, and give them to God. 
  3. 3.Trust that He is taking care of your needs.

God is Our Living Water: Our Satisfaction on the Support Raising Journey

“On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” 39 He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” John 7:37-39 (CSB)

The only way to walk through a desert is with an endless supply of water. That way, when you see mirages glimmering in the distance, they don’t falsely tempt you to crawl to them for relief. And when you see vultures circling above, you’re not consumed with worry that you’ll be their next meal. Water becomes your lifeline. Apart from it, you can be led astray, or worse yet, die. Connected to it, water fills and satisfies, and allows you to enter dangerous territories without fear.

As believers we have that same gift of Living Water through the Holy Spirit. Jesus declared in John 7:38, “The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow deep within him.” The crazy thing is that, even as believers, we sometimes don’t tap into this truth. We enter deserts with tall glasses of water at our fingertips, yet we don’t drink.

Sometimes I think the reason for this is that we don’t fully understand the true satisfaction the Holy Spirit will bring us. We are looking for something different, something else that will satisfy us in a different way. Water is tasteless, so we want more.

The support-raising journey is not necessarily a desert. It is simply a journey on which God asks us to sacrifice everything in order to trust solely on Him. It has unfathomable benefits of walking hand-and-hand with God as He, like a happy Daddy, delights in directing His kids’ every step. The drawbacks come when we become dissatisfied with where He is leading us.

The journey truly can become difficult and frustrating. We can be tempted by mirages of materialism or not being satisfied with how things are going. We can even want to give up when Satan circles around us to whisper to our hearts about how our circumstances are awful, and that a good Daddy would ask His children to sacrifice everything for Him.

It’s in these moments we must recognize the truth Jesus spoke and drink from the Living Water of satisfaction in Him, no matter the circumstance. He knows what will grow us closer to Him and what will make the biggest impact for His glory. We must trust in that and stay attached to the Source.

  1. Are you satisfied where God has you? Why or why not?
  2. What will help you to draw even deeper satisfaction in Him?

God Never Leaves nor Forsakes Us: Our Promise on the Support-Raising Journey

“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5b

Just like Joshua, God asks us to do impossible things for Him in order for Him to be glorified and made known. The greatest thing that stands out to me in the first chapter of Joshua is when God says, “I will give you every place you set your foot as I promised Moses.” That’s an amazing promise, considering the giants and warriors who dwelled in that land; yet God is God, and He alone could keep His promise.

The Israelites went on a conquering journey before they could occupy the land God gave them. During this time they witnessed many amazing things: the Jordan River parts before them, the walls of Jericho fall down by just walking around them and shouting, God rained hailstones on their enemies, and the sun stood still. The people of the land heard of these things, and their hearts melted in fear of God.

God tells Joshua the truth of His character before he enters the land He promises them. Why? Because the battles are going to seem impossible, yet they didn’t have to fight them on their own.

For us, the support-raising journey is part of the battle. Anytime we step out in faith, Satan is waiting to take us down. However, we have the same promise God gave both Moses and Joshua. If I could write the book of my family’s life, I could write down all the impossible things that happened to us while following after God—we received a free house to stay in and have been given free cars by just praying for them (not to mention the free meals and furniture). We have seen hearts changed and even have watched people join God’s mission that we never thought were possible. All these things happened while we were on the support-raising journey, before we settled into our ministry.

The biggest temptation on the support-raising journey is to take it for granted. But it has a purpose. Watch as God does impossible things. Even when things don’t make sense, He is still working. His purpose is always for others to see His amazing acts and worship Him. We need to allow our testimonies shine and allow others to hear of God’s good deeds, even on a journey to our “ministries.”

When you become discouraged amidst the hard work of raising support, know that you are right where God has you to make the biggest impact for Him.

Dear God,

Thank You for never leaving me nor forsaking me. When this journey seems impossible, may I see You at work to do the impossible for me. May I not get discouraged and keep following hard after you in the middle of the battle.  Amen.

God is Glorious: And we reflect that glory to others on the support-raising journey

 

“All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.” 2 Cor. 3:18 (GNT)

Legacies reflect who we are and what we’ve achieved. Some people are commemorated with things named after them. Others are written in history books with names and facts we have to remember for tests. However, for almost all of us, once we die, our names will be forgotten relatively quickly. This bothers a lot of people, because we want to be remembered. We wrongly associate remembrance with impact. If we don’t do something big and noteworthy, then we won’t have a legacy worth talking about.

Even believers can adopt this worldly concept. We want to be remembered like Jim Elliot, Billy Graham and even Mother Theresa. This is not a bad thing, because these people sacrificed a lot in order for others to encounter Christ. Dreaming big isn’t what gets us into trouble. That’s a good thing when we’re following after God, because He often puts big dreams in our hearts.. The problem comes when we have tunnel vision and focus all our attention on the “big” thing—saving the world—that it causes us to miss what’s right in front of us.

God has given each believer his or her own ministry, and it’s pretty simple in theory, just harder to live out when we let our selfishness get in the way. We are to die completely to our own desires and motivations, take up His glorious legacy and make it our own. When we clothe ourselves in His righteousness, then we reflect His glory to the world. This is to be our ministry every single day, and sometimes it may not seem like a very “big” thing to do.

Raising support is one of those mundane tasks that can make people want to bang their head against a brick wall. God has called us to do something big, yet we’re stuck doing something so trivial that feels like it’s getting in the way with saving the world. And heaven forbid, if we can’t raise enough, then we’ve failed! Often our eyes can get so fixated on the huge need that weighs on our hearts and stirred us to move in the first place that we miss seeing the impact we can make in the here and now.

So, where does the real legacy begin? It began with God loving us so much that He sent His only Son to die a grueling death, so we didn’t have to be eternally separated from Him. This is glorious! Every journey we take, whether whole communities are impacted through our service or one life is changed through seeing our daily actions, we are to live that legacy out. Even still our names will more than likely forgotten, but the impact of that legacy is eternal.

Be obedient and dream big, but don’t skip over the mundane stuff that seems pointless. There’s a reason for everything God takes us through. Be wise in reflecting God’s glory on the support-raising journey. He’s not panicked. He’s got the rest of the world in His hands. He just wants you to be faithful in the everyday ministry moments where He’s placed you to make the biggest impact.

  1. Whose legacy are you trying to live? Are you trying to make a name for yourself so you’ll be remembered, or are you faithfully living everyday reflecting the promise of God’s legacy?
  2. Think of some ways that you can reflect God’s glory to others during the support-raising journey, and try them in your next conversations.