Welcome to the Summer 2017
edition of the From His Heart Newsletter: REAL
. We trust the insights below will be a blessing to you. Scroll down to view the following articles in this edition or click here
to download the newsletter as a pdf.
- What it Means to Have a Big Faith in a Big God
- Q & A with Jeff
- From Debbie’s Heart
- A Note From Jeff
- Your Gifts at Work
- Meet the From His Heart Team: Media/Technical Director/TV Producer, Jay Budzilowski
by Dr. Jeff Schreve
I have a big question for you: Is it really possible to believe in God with a big faith—even when things go terribly wrong?
Well, 2 Kings 4:1-7 is a great story given to help us believe God, no matter the circumstances.
Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels; do not get a few. And you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all these vessels, and you shall set aside what is full.” So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing the vessels to her and she poured. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not one vessel more.” And the oil stopped. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
In this passage, we see four key ingredients of a big faith.
First Ingredient: You come to Him with your problems.
This woman had a big problem. Her husband had died—and she was in debt. In those days if you couldn’t pay your debts, your kids could be taken as payment. Can you imagine? Distraught, she sought help from God (through Elisha, His representative on earth) because she believed He would help her.
When we come to God with our difficult circumstances, they amazingly don’t seem quite so dire.
Second Ingredient: You don’t dismiss what you have.
When Elisha asked the woman what she had, she quickly responded, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Even though she had something—a jar of oil—she saw her little as nothing. Yet, God used her little nothing.
Recognize what God has given you. Don’t dismiss it just because it’s seemingly small and insignificant in the face of a great need.
Third Ingredient: You step out on the bare Word of God.
Elisha told this widow to go and borrow empty vessels from her neighbors. That couldn’t have made sense to her, but God often tells us to do things that don’t seem to make sense. So she went out from Elisha’s presence and obeyed!
Big faith believes that God does “exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). So, step out on the bare Word of God, even when you can’t see how this action could possibly meet your need.
Fourth Ingredient: You use what you have.
The woman got the jars and received further instructions from the prophet, “And you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all these vessels,and you shall set aside what is full.”
You know what happened? As she began to pour the oil, it didn’t run out! The Lord turned her little jar of oil into a fountain that filled vessel after vessel.
She used what she had—and God did much more than she ever could’ve imagined.
My prayer is that, like this woman, you would have big faith in a big God who can take your little and turn it into a lot!
Q: Jeff, I’m having a hard time believing God is going to get me out of this tough season I’m in. What encouragement can you give me?
A: Jesus said, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). In the midst of suffering, difficulty, and tribulation, remember that God is at work. He is using the trial you are facing to refine your character and pour out His grace. Paul wanted his thorn in the flesh removed ... until he understood that God was using it as a means of displaying His power and grace. The greatest witness we will ever have is genuine peace and joy in the midst of troubles and trials. That gets people’s attention more than anything.
Q: I heard that God always works out everything for my good. Is that right?
A: Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Obviously, not all things that happen to us are good. But, we serve a good God who can take the worst of situations and work them for good in our lives. For example, consider the cross. It was the worst instrument of pain and suffering man ever devised. Yet, the Lord took the worst and turned it into the best—the gateway to eternal life.
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- by Debbie Schreve
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to trust God for other people? How quickly we can say things like:
- Don't worry... God's got this! He's in control.
- Just take that to the Lord and leave it with Him. He loves you and has a perfect plan for your life.
- God will see you through this. He will never leave you or forsake you.
- Trust the Lord! Don't be anxious. Cast you cares on Him and He will sustain you.
We say these things to friends and loved ones because they are all 100% true. We say them because we believe them. But when troubles or difficulties come our way, we have a much more difficult time putting those true words into practice. We can easily get caught up in anxiety, worry, and fear over the uncertainty of our situation. When we do, trusting God becomes much harder.
As I look back on my own life, there have been many times I’ve struggled with trusting God. In January 2016, our youngest daughter, Sarah, had to have brain surgery.
In June, our oldest daughter, Jill, had to have one foot of her intestine removed. Both times, I struggled with anxiety over the outcome of those two surgeries. I was fearful about how much pain and suffering they would have to endure.
Each time I had a decision to make: would I trust God and lean on His strength, wisdom, and sovereignty? Or would I trust myself and my exhausting roller coaster of emotions?
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
The choice is pretty clear: God’s way is the best way to go when hard times hit. He is worthy of our trust. We can claim His promises. We can choose to believe Him even when our emotions cause us to doubt and fret. We can cry out to Him, “I do believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). He hears ... He answers ... and He sees far beyond what we can see.
Truly, He’s got you!
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Everybody’s got problems. The book of Job tells us that every single one of us is “short-lived and full of turmoil” (Job 14:1). But whether your troubles are with your finances, your physical health, or your family, there’s one way to fix them that always, always works.
You bring them to Jesus.
Look at Psalm 55:22 with me: “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”
Isn’t that something? God has promised to sustain you through any trial or tribulation you might face. All you have to do is give your burden to Him ... and leave it there with Him.
Too often, we look at problems as something we want to get out of as soon as possible. We pray, “Lord, change my circumstances.” But when we do that, we forget that God can and will use our tough seasons for our good and His glory.
You say, “Yeah, but Jeff, you don’t know my problems.” Well, I’ll tell you what, it can’t be worse than Lazarus’s problem. He was dead!
Yet Jesus used his problem to do something amazing — John chapter 11 says He raised Lazarus from the dead. It was an opportunity for Jesus to show His glory, and that’s just what He did!
Listen, whatever your problems are, Jesus wants to use them for good. But you have to serve and trust Him. And when you do, you’ll realize that even on your hardest days, knowing Jesus is worth every trial, every problem, and every tear.
I hope you’ve been encouraged by this edition of our ministry newsletter—and I pray you’ll let me speak even more truth into your life about having faith in tough times, by requesting my 3-message series, Believe and See, as well as my TWO bonus series (71 messages total), And You Think You’ve Got Problems and Turning Trials to Triumphs.
As always, thanks for your partnership to speak the truth in love to a world in need. God bless you!
You're a blessing!
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Thank you for helping to make the following testimony possible through your support of From His Heart!
“Sometimes I feel alone in my struggle because it seems to be going on so long; but your message has helped me to keep praying, respond in a godly way to viciousness, and have real faith that God has this under His control. Thank you!” — Damon
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Jay provides leadership to the entire TV production team and produces all of our television broadcasts and ministry videos. He also provides critical technical assistance to our online ministry—helping reach people all over the world with the Gospel.
Jay has been involved at First Baptist Texarkana since he was 13 years old. Today, he loves serving with From His Heart because he believes we’re making a genuine difference in the world. Jay and his wife, Jill, have been married for 9 years. They have 2 daughters, ages 6 and 1. Back to Top