The People God Uses to Impact their World

“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, blesshis holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.[1]
I.          What is inside you?
            A.         When Psalm 103 tells us to bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name, what does that mean?
                        Your soul is your mind, your will and your emotions. When I was studying this Psalm, I wondered how “ALL that is within me” – ALL the things I was and all the things I WASN’T could bless the Lord.
                        That is when a powerful truth hit me that changed my life: this Psalm is telling me that everything I AM can “bless the Lord” but also everything I am NOT can bless Him too! I don’t have to be everything to be something. God loves me and accepts me: strengths and weaknesses.  And because of that great love: as He has loved me; so can I love others too. I can love people for all they are and for all they aren’t too!
            B.         Look at what this Psalm reminds us of immediately after telling us to let “ALL that is within me” bless His Name:
vHe forgives my iniquities and faults.
v He redeems my life from destruction.
v He crowns me with lovingkindness and tender mercies.
v He is merciful and gracious.
v He is slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.
v He won’t always chide nor keep His anger.
v He doesn’t deal with me after my sins or iniquities.
v His ways are higher than mine.
v As a father loves and has compassion on his children so the Lord feels towards them that fear Him.
vHe knows what I am made of!
                        THAT is why we can bless the Lord in all places of His dominion. 
            So WHAT is inside of you that can bless the Lord? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Once you have given the Lord dominion over both your strengths and weaknesses, all that is within you can bless Him!
II.         Your Strengths
            Saul, Uzziah, King Nebuchadnezzar, and Samson, some of the strongest men in Scripture, demonstrate that your strength can work against you when you trust in your own strength vs. God’s strength.
III.       Your Weaknesses
            When looking at the people God uses, it seems as if their weaknesses are always made evident in Scripture so that we know that God uses us when we permit Him to without allowing our weaknesses to stand in the way.
            And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.[2]
            How does God see you? How does He see you with all your weaknesses, your limitations, your mistakes? It is so very important that you know how God sees you. What you believe about Who God is will determine your relationship with Him; what you believe about how God views youwill determine the way you see yourself, and how you relate to others.
            Your correct or incorrect assessment of how God looks at you can make you hide from Him or run to Him when you are faced with your weaknesses.
            Deny your weakness, and you will never realize God’s strength in you.Maybe the truly handicapped people are the ones that don’t need God as much. Joni Eareckson Tada
            The glory of the terrestrial is seen in the glory of the celestial.[3] The moon demonstrates this principle.  By itself, the moon is very dark. The moon’s ability to reflect light is like coal. The moon does not produce its own light, but reflects the light of the sun in accordance with its orbit. The large amount of debris on the surface of the moon contributes to its reflectivity. In other words, the more debris on the surface of the moon, the more it reflects the sun!
            Has it ever occurred to you that often the weakness we want to hide is the place where God produces the strength that He wants to show the world. (Stephen Furtick)
What’s Stopping YOU?
            Today we aren’t going to talk about who you are; we are going to look at who you aren’t – your limitations – and what God can do with what you give Him. When you give who you are and what you have (and don’t have) over to God, our limitations become God’s manifestations!
            God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called…
1.         Fearful People With Excuses
            What he didn’t have.  Gideon felt abandoned; he was scared and hiding from the Midianites,[4] feeling the least in his family, It says that “the Lord” turned to him through His messenger and said, Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?[5]Gideon had all kinds of excuses: My clan is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the least in my family.[6]Even when Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord,[7]he was so afraid of his family and the townspeople[8]that he followed instructions at night rather than in the daytime.
            What Gideon’s life shows us.  God wanted Gideon to know that if God is for us, who can be against us?[9]That is is Not by might, nor by power, but by [God’s] Spirit…[10]He wanted Gideon to know that it wasn’t about who Gideon was, but it was about Who God was! God shows us through how He worked in Gideon’s life that it doesn’t matter how little you feel, how scared you are, or how insignificant you think your life is, when God is for you, no man can be against you. He wants you to know as He told Jehoshaphat, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.[11]He wants His story to intersect with your story to bring glory to His name. As insignificant as we are, Christ is in us, the hope of glory,[12]and He has commanded His light to shine out of our darkness, by shining His light in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not of us.[13]Do you need God to confirm His Word to you? He will! Do you need His specific strategy for the battle you are facing? He will give it to you! Blow your trumpet, shout the sound of victory, shatter your earthen vessel and get it out of the way to shine the light of God, and see God work.
2.         People With Flawed Character
            What he didn’t have. Saved from the wrath of Pharaoh, he was found by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised in the palace as Pharaoh’s son. But Pharaoh did not know that Moses was a man with a heart to free his people. Moses was raw material: he had a hot temper and he murdered an Egyptian beating a Hebrew.[14]  He then became fearful: he ran away and hid for about 40 years in the backside of the desert, keeping sheep.[15]He wasn’t a good speaker: he spoke slowly and became tongue-tied easily. But he wasn’t too tongue-tied to argue with God: even after the Lord told Moses He would handle that and would be with his mouth and teach him what he should say, Moses argued with the Lord to send another person to speak. He argued until God became angry with him and told him that after Moses heard from God, his brother Aaron would be his speaker and the intermediary to the people.[16]
            What Moses’ life shows us. God showed Moses that He desired to show forth His glory on something common, by setting His fire on a bush. The bush was not consumed, but the fire was seen on it. When Moses said, Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?;[17]God pretty much says: “I will be with you” – this isn’t about you; remember the bush; it wasn’t about the bush and it’s not about YOU – it is about I AM WHO I AM.[18]God asks “What is that in your hand?” and Moses replies, “a staff” (used to shepherd); and the Lord tells him to throw it on the ground to show Moses that He can put His glory on what is in Moses hand if it is yielded to Him. Our character flaws do not prohibit God from demonstrating His glory in our lives and equipping us to be leaders in spite of them. What are your character flaws? God wants to show His glory on something common where His glory can be seen.  God wants a relationshipwith you. Like He had with Moses: raw and real.
3.         The Young and Weak
            What he had.  King of Judah reined from approximately 640 to 609 B.C.[19]Josiah was the son of King Amon and the grandson of King Manasseh – both were wicked kings. Yet Josiah …did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.[20]He began to reign at age 8.
There was no king like him before or after [Josiah] who turned to the Lord with all his heart and all his soul and all his might, according to all the Law of Moses.[21]
            What Josiah’s life shows us.  God shows us that you can choose to follow Him regardless of how young you are. Even children can make strong spiritual decisions that can have great impact on their world. God shows us through the life of Josiah that even if your parents don’t live for the Lord, it doesn’t stop you from choosing to respond to God’s Word correctly and make different choices for your own life.
4.         The Insignificant
            What David’s life shows us.  David was the youngest of the 8 sons of Jesse. When Samuel called Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice, Jesse didn’t even bring David. When Samuel knew from God that God had not chosen any of the 7 sons that Jesse brought, he inquired if they were Jesse’s only son, only to discover that David had not even come with them to the sacrifice but was referred to by a Hebrew word qatan which refers to diminutive, not important, the least, the cut off one.  
            God wants us to know the same thing He showed David: that He is with us when we are tending sheep, or when we are facing giants (David or his men went on to overtake Goliath’s four giant relatives![22]) Even if we are feeling insignificant in light of the giants we face, we come with the Name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, and He is able to deliver. He wants us to know we can run into our battles shouting that our battles can become our testimonies, as David. He wants us to demonstrate to others that the Lord doesn’t save with sword and spear: but our battles are His, and He willgive us victory!
5.         The Outnumbered and Overpowered
            Joshua was told specifically by the Lord that the Lord would give Jericho and the king and the men of valour into his hand.[23] Joshua was leading a bunch of second-generation Israelites that hadn’t seen all the Lord had done. They were facing a huge group of people with a fortress around them.
            What Joshua’s life shows us.  Joshua needed to know that even though God wanted to deliver Jericho into their hands, the Israelites had to separate themselves and look God for the victory. They had to follow a strange battle plan from Joshua, so they had to see God’s anointing in his life. They had to be totally quiet, and just listen not talk, and to walk around the city once a day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day, with the priests blowing the trumpets. Once they blew the trumpets with a long blast, they were to shout with a great shout and the wall of the city would fall down flat.[24]
            Like Joshua, we need to learn to serve before we lead. We need to be “where the action is” and where God is speaking, and we need to learn the voice of God because …as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [His] ways are higher than [our] ways, and [His] thoughts than [our] thoughts,[25]and we need to trust His voice. We need to separate ourselves and trust God for the victory. We need to follow God’s plan for victory, even though sometimes it may not make sense! When we come against our enemies with the Lord’s battle plan, the victory is ours through Him!           
6.         People that are Discouraged
            the wife of the sons of the prophets Elisha ministered to
            This woman was a widow. Her husband feared the Lord, and may have even been one of Elisha’s pupils since he was referred to as the son of the prophets. His creditors came to take his two sons to be bondmen because of his debts. She comes to Elisha for help, and he asks her What shall I do for you? Tell me, what have you [of sale value] in the house?[26]  She had one pot of oil.
            What this woman’s life shows usFirst of all, the woman knew where to go when she had a need. She didn’t run to a bank or her neighbors first, but ran to one who she knew heard from the Lord. And then we hear it again: “What is in your hand?” “What do you have?” God wanted the woman to see that if she would give Him what she had, then He would take care of what she didn’t have.  She then had to obey the prophet in faith and as many vessels as she gathered would be filled. Here the woman didn’t stop short: she gathered enough vessels to not only pay the debt, which she was seeking after, but to live off of with her sons.  
            God wants us to look to Him to answer our needs. He wants to use what we have and multiply it. He wants us to be closed in with Him for our vessels to become full. He wants us to go over and above with a heart to obey what He tells us to do—gather not just a vessel or two but gather as many as we can! He wants us to empty ourselves so that He can fill us. He wants us to trust Him for what we need in our lives, and to know that He will multiply our resources. Just as Elijah had asked the widow of Zarephath for her handful of meal in a barrel and a little oil when she came to him telling her she had absolutely nothing left, once she gave it up and made a cake for Elijah with it, Elijah told her that …The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.[27]
            Don’t be afraid to give what little you have. Give generously. Give unto the Lord. He will provide, and He will be glorified because when He provides there is always, just as He is, more than enough.
7.         People that Doubt and Have Questions –John the Baptist… Thomas… even Peter…
8.         The Misunderstood and Falsely Accused
            What Joseph’s life shows us. When Pharaoh finally called for Joseph to come out of prison after more than two years, he was 30 years old, and yet he had the faith to tell Pharaoh that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.[28]This declaration was even though the dreams God gave to Joseph seemed unfulfilled since almost 13 years had passed: he had been 17 when he received it and he was now 30 and just coming out of prison. Joseph held on to his dreams. He was able to say to his brothers, Even though you planned evil against me, God planned good to come out of it…[29]God wants us to know that sometimes we have to go through some stuff and some wilderness experiences to get to the promised land. Through it all He is faithful, and we need to keep looking to Him to fulfill His plans for our lives. Even though our family and friends may forsake us, God’s plan for us will never fail.
9.         The Suffering and those with great losses.
            What Job’s life shows us.  This book shows us that when we go through incredible losses, even our best friends that leave everything to console us may not offer sound theological advice, and we need to hear from God Himself.
            God wants us to realize that our relationship with Him and our understanding of Him is more important than everything going perfectly as planned in our lives. We have to trust Him that He will work out the losses in our lives for good when we are called to His purposes.[30]
            God also wants to show us through the book of Job that as friends that love others and walk through the sufferings of this world with them we should not purport to have all the pat answers for God, particularly when those answers put salvation, redemption and victory in our friend’s own hands and doings rather than trusting in the goodness of our Lord and Savior.          
10.       People with Limitations
            The lad with the lunch.
            As Jesus was teaching about 5,000 men, plus women and children, the book of John records that Jesus asked Philip, Where are we to buy bread, so that all these people may eat? Andrew said, There is a lad here, who hath five barley loaves, and two fishes: but what are these among so many?[31] Seems as if the lad didn’t even offer up his lunch but rather Andrew found him with it.  The lad brought a lunch: five barley loaves and two fish. I know how the lad with the lunch felt as he stood with his little lunch in the midst of a crowd.
            I can imagine how the lad felt when asked to turn over his lunch. It was the only food available. The lad had enough to eat, but now was asked to turn it over to Jesus to feed the multitudes with it! Sometimes I feel like that boy must have felt: I am clutching my little provision to my chest wanting to hoard it. After all, he was the one that thought to bring food for the long day!
            But when he turned it over to Jesus, Jesus blessed it; broke it; and handed it to the disciples and they fed the multitudes with twelve baskets to spare.[32]
            What the lad’s life shows usIf the lad had held onto his lunch there would be no miracle. Jesus uses our little lunch to supply the needs of others, miraculously. But we have to give our little bit to Him to bless, break, and hand out. Jesus reaches the multitudes through us. When we give what we have to Jesus – He has the capacity to bless it, break it and hand it out to feed the multitudes and make an impact for eternity in the lives of countless others. He provides the seed to sow, then multiplies it! And [God] Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness [which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness, and charity].[33]
IV.        What about YOU:  what are your limitations? What do you have that you can put in the hands of the Lord for Him to multiply and feed the multitudes with? What don’t you have that you can trust God to put his glory on the commonplace for all to see that it isn’t about them but about the great I AM THAT I AM?  Bless the Lord O my soul, and ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME bless your holy name!


[1] Psalms 103:1–5 KJV
[2] 2 Corinthians 12.9-10
[3] 1 Corinthians 15.40
[4] Judges 6.13
[5] Judges 6.14
[6] Judges 6.15
[7] Judges 6.22
[8] Judges 6.27
[9]Romans 8.31
[10]Zechariah 4.6
[11] 2 Chronicles 20.15
[12]Colossians 1.27
[13] 2 Corinthians 4.6-7
[14] Exodus 2.11-12
[15] Every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians. Gen 46.34
[16] “And Moses said to the Lord, O Lord, I am not eloquent ora man of words, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and have a heavy and awkward tongue. And the Lord said to him, Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the dumb, or the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what you shall say. And he said, Oh, my Lord, I pray You, send by the hand of [some other] whom You will [send]. Then the anger of the Lord blazed against Moses; He said, Is there not Aaron your brother, the Levite? I know he can speak well. Also, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be overjoyed. You must speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you what you shall do. He shall speak for you to the people, acting as a mouthpiece for you, and you shall be as God to him.” (Exodus 4:10–16 AMP)
[17] Exodus 3.11
[18] Exodus 3.14
[19] 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35
[20] 2 Kings 22.2
[21] 2 Kings 23.25
[22]1Chronicles 20.8
[23]Joshua 6.2
[24]Joshua 6, pt. vv. 6-16
[25]Isaiah 55.9
[26] 2 Kings 4.2
[27]1Kings 17.14
[28] Genesis 41.32
[29]Genesis 50.20
[30]Romans 8.28
[31]John 6.5-9
[32]Matthew 14.16-21, “But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me.And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.”
[33] 2 Corinthians 9.10