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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1326

The Blessing of Hunger
Part One

March 4, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: You know, it’s interesting to me to see the different ways the Lord works with respect to these services. There certainly is no pattern. You know, we could fall into a pattern where everybody has their sermon written out and it’s all planned out, or we could fall into a pattern where we’re supposed to not think about it and just come into the service and open our mouths and let her fly. And the truth is, there is no pattern.

God has blessed a whole lot of different ways. There have been many people in history who have read their sermons and God has mightily anointed them. And there’ve been many others who’ve stood up with nothing and…we’ve certainly seen with Brother Thomas in times past…many times the Lord didn’t give him anything in advance and yet he had something that was mightily anointed once he got started and a whole lot in between.

And many times I’ve had thoughts that have come to me, sometimes weeks ahead, and just kind of percolated a little bit and simmered, and sometimes it’s a day or two. And this one weekend where I have felt just utterly desolate and just sort of almost wishing we didn’t have a service or something.

( laughing ).

( laughter ).

Or somebody else would do something, ‘cause I’ve just felt totally empty. But you know, I believe we need to see the Lord’s hand in some of these things, not as a negative, but as a positive. And, one scripture did come to me and I’m just gonna go ahead and start. I have no idea whether this is gonna be 5 minutes or 15 minutes or 50 minutes. So everybody else…if the Lord quickens something to you, just be ready. As I say, I really honestly don’t know. And I don’t have any particular desire to be up short or long. I just want to say what the Lord says…have Him say it.

But anyway, we have what is called the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew, beginning in Matthew chapter 5. And, there is one verse that keeps coming back to me and it seems to be a bit of a theme with what I’ve been feeling and with what was shared in the men’s meeting this morning and what’s been shared in the service.

And it’s verse 6. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (NIV). Now most of the time, we are inclined to think of hunger and thirst as a negative thing and it can be. You know, in the natural you don’t want to see people that are hungry. And we don’t like to feel hungry. We like to feel satisfied. I just had a wonderful meal. That’s how it should be.

And…but you know something, if we never were hungry in the natural, that wouldn’t be very natural, would it? Because that’s actually, far from being a bad thing, it’s a good thing because it makes us aware of a genuine need in our bodies. We need the strength that comes from the food that we eat.

If we’re young, we need the nutrients in order to grow. I mean, it just doesn’t happen any other way…but, every once in a while, I’ve heard about somebody who has this weird, medical anomaly, and it’s that they never get hungry. But you know, that’s a terrible thing—that’s a horrible thing, because here’s somebody who desperately needs something and has no awareness of their need of it. And yet, here God says, this is a blessed thing to be hungry and thirsty—a blessed thing.

Many of you will remember Brother Thomas telling the account…and I think I’ve got this one right, there are so many different accounts he gave. But I think it was when he had come to a place in his ministry where he had a successful ministry as an evangelist among a certain group of people—a certain small denominational group. And they had just seen a gift in him and supported him to go out and hold revival campaigns, as they called them, Gospel campaigns. And God had blessed. There was an anointing on him, it was evident.

And all of a sudden, without even going into the details of what happened, the rug was pulled out from under him and he was basically shown the door. And suddenly, he was out. And this was a young…he was still a young man. He hadn’t even known the Lord all that long. But he was somebody that God had obviously called and shaped through all the terrible things that he’d gone through in his life and now he’d come to the Lord. He knew what the difference was between living for the Lord and living in the world. And then he had a passion because he’d been there, he’d done that.

And so he went out and into an area that’s now loaded with people. I mean, it was farmland then in Jacksonville. And he just cried out and said, God, what’s wrong? What’s happened? Why did this happen to me? I don’t understand. You were blessing me. You called me and now You’ve taken away. They were gonna put me on the road and they had these great plans ad it was gonna be such an awesome thing, and You’ve blessed. God, there’s something wrong!

And the Lord brought to his attention a scripture in…I believe it’s Jeremiah 17, isn’t it? Of course, it would’ve been the King James, within the religious culture of the day. “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.” (KJV). He’ll be like the heath or like a plant in the desert with no source of water, and so on. And then he said, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” He’ll be like the one planted by the rivers, never see drought when it comes. There’ll always be that source of water. There’s a place for the roots to go and draw moisture.

And so, the Lord was just talking to him. You’ve been in a place where you thought you were blessed. And I guess in a measure he was. But really you were leaning too much on man and I’ve got something better for you. In order for me to lead you to something better, I’ve got to take away what was worse and lead you to a different place. I want you to come to a place where you’re just trusting in Me and in Me alone, where you have no one else to look to.

And, there are many other times during his ministry he came to a place where he was just…what’s going on? I don’t get this? And I may be mixing up these scriptures, I don’t know. But anyway, the Lord again showed him that he was the one who was blessed, because he was the one trusting in the Lord.

And I think the question was, well, who are you trusting in? Well, I’m trusting in You, Lord. Well what does the scripture say? “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” And I think I am getting some of the stories confused, but the point is the same. The Lord has ways of doing things that are not our ways.

And we would love for a faith in Christ and a life with Christ to be just one bit of spiritual cotton candy after another. Man, I want to feel exhilarated all the time. I want to always have a confidence that no matter what is set before me, I can do that. I want to just feel…Lord, I don’t want to just sort of have to believe that You’re with me because Your Word says so, I want to feel it. I’ve just got to have the feelings.

I’ve got to…and for blessing…Lord, I want things to happen the way I know they’re supposed to happen! And if I see them happen that way, then I will know that You’re blessing me and You’re with me. And it’s not…if it doesn’t happen that way, something is wrong.

My God, we are such creatures of living in the natural realm. And I just…I thank God for the sense of desolation I have felt in my spirit the last two or three days. It’s like, God, I just don’t feel You. The enemy is assaulting my mind with my own weakness. You know, that’s the thing. We get in these places of need. How many of you know that one of the things the enemy is gonna hammer you about is your weakness?

( congregational response ).

And he will quickly tell you that the reason that you’re feeling what you’re feeling is that God is upset with you because you are weak. And if you would just straighten up and fly right, His presence would just flow right in and you’d feel His arms around you and everything would be wonderful again. Oh my God, is that according to the scriptures?

( congregational response ).

Do we have any reason based upon the Word of God to actually think that way? But how many think that way? Yeah, we all do. This is a need—it’s an area of need. And so, we find that in order for us to become what God wants us to be, there is a necessity for God bringing us to an awareness of need, and causing us to feel a sense of hunger about that need. And to come to a place where we don’t immediately assume something is wrong.

You know, if we really get in the mud, and we really get in a place of spiritual need in that sense and we still have a sense of hunger about us…in the first place, that’s a good thing. But in the second place, do we not have the right to come to God and say, oh God, if there is something, if there is a need, open my eyes to it?

( congregational amens ).

Help me, Lord. Do you think He would not answer a prayer like that? Do you think He would just leave us in the dark and say, there’s something so bad, I won’t even tell you. I’m so mad at you. No! I mean, this is devilish thinking. But this is a way that the Devil has of turning the sense of spiritual desolation into, ‘something’s wrong—something is bad wrong’ when actually it may be just perfectly right. It may be exactly what God wants!

I mean, if it’s mealtime and we need strength and we need sustenance for our earthly bodies, it’s a wonderful thing when we feel the need to go and get something to take care of that! That’s a blessing from God that there is the sense of need that accompanies life.

And you know, the people that do not have a sense of spiritual hunger are the ones who are in trouble. You think about the people to whom Jesus was speaking. How many of them went along comfortable in their religion, simply going through the form, going through the motion, doing all the right things, hearing what the rabbis would say and the teachers of the Law and carrying out all their dictates and all the little things about the Law, and doing all of that, but feeling, because they did that, that they were right! And not only were they right, they had the right to look down at somebody else who wasn’t doing like they were! Didn’t Jesus give a parable one time about two men who went into the Temple?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. One of them went in and the scripture says specifically, it was to show what happens when somebody is confident in their own righteousness and looks down on somebody else, because that seems to always go together. That’s just human nature. And so the one guy just prays, I thank You I’m not like anybody else and all that stuff…he brags about his goodness.

But the other guy…not only was he a sinner, but he was a tax collector. I mean, he was the lowest of the low. I mean, probably if he’d run a prostitution ring, he’d have been better in their eyes than a tax collector. That’s a guy who collaborates with Rome. Man, nobody thinks well of him.

But this guy stepped in there and he said, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” There was a genuine sense of his unworthiness. But instead of it causing him to be despairing…there he was in the Temple, there he was reaching out to a holy God, there he was…he wasn’t bragging. He wasn’t coming with a sense…oh, God, I deserve to be here. I am in need! But do you know there was a God who heard that prayer, who listened?

That’s exactly what God is looking for from us and we devalue it. We think there’s something wrong when God is doing something right with us.

You know, there’s another group in the scriptures that didn’t feel their need. They were a church that looked great on the outside…the Laodicean church. And you remember how the Lord, through John in the vision, gave a message to the church at Laodicea. This was one that Paul had written to—he’d written a letter to the Laodiceans. It’s not in our New Testament, but he refers to it.

And, they were a successful church in a prosperous community. There were believing the right things. They were doing the right things, but their religion had devolved into a ritual and not a relationship. You know, I had that phrase come to my mind…that God is looking for relationship, not ritual. It’s not a matter of doing all the right stuff. You can come here to church and sing the songs and read your Bible and do all that stuff and it not really have anything to do with a real personal relationship with God.

Do you think God is satisfied with that? No! And these people somehow had so allowed their spiritual life to evolve to the point where they were doing everything right, believing everything right, and they had…their opinion of themselves was such that…we’ve got it made. We have all that we need. We’re so rich! Praise God for all that we are! We’re just wonderful!

And the Lord says, you’re poor and desolate, empty, naked…all the negative things that He said. Just the opposite…they’re blind, they’re poor! Everything they thought they were, they were just the opposite in heaven’s eyes, because they had…in their religion, they had shut out Jesus. And you know, that’s the center! What else do we have but a Person! We don’t have a religion here! I pray to God we never have one! If Jesus does not dwell in the midst of this people, we have nothing!

( congregational amens ),

He is a living, present Savior! And He wants us to walk with Him. I know—I’m confident that’s a great deal of why He’s caused me to feel what I felt, and why He’s caused many of you to feel the same thing. It is not to discourage you, I can tell you that! It is not to discourage. But oh how readily do we get discouraged by that sense of emptiness and that sense of, ‘where is God and why is He not here?’

And the truth of the matter is, He is there, because He said, I will never leave you nor forsake you! I am with you to the end of the age! He’s always with us! Sometimes in order to do a work in us, He will withdraw the sense of His presence. And suddenly we will not feel what we may feel at another time. And all of a sudden, we feel this desolation, this emptiness, and we want to know, what’s wrong. This is terrible. It shouldn’t be like this.

And God is saying, it’s exactly how it should be, because I gave you a brand new life! There’s a life that’s been begotten in you. You were born from my Father in heaven! You’re His sons and His daughters! You have a new life! It was born in you! That’s what being a Christian is! It’s not an adherence to a religion! It’s literally a new birth into the Kingdom of God where there’s a brand new life!

But that life is analogous to our human life. That life has needs. That life just doesn’t exist. It needs nutrients to grow. It needs a living relationship with God in order to become all that it needs to be what you need. I guess I got the word ‘need’ in there a lot, didn’t I?

( laughter ).

I ran out of words, but that’s all right, because that’s really what it’s about. We think, oh if I’ve got that, I’ve just got what I need and I can just go right along and I can just kind of live my life and that’ll be fine. And what we wind up doing is feeding our human natures in various ways. We feel an emptiness and we want to go fill it with this or with that or with something, and my God, you get more and more desolate, don’t you?

I’ll tell you what, I thank God—I thank God for hunger. I thank God to be one of those fortunate ones upon this planet who feels the need. And it’s not just that I feel empty, it’s a emptiness that causes me to say, O God. It’s not an emptiness that causes me to turn to a bottle or turn to something else, or what the world turns to. It’s one that causes me to feel that there’s something lacking right here. I need You, Lord! I don’t have everything that I need! And there’s something You want me to have that I don’t have right now!

That was expressed so clearly this morning at one point. I forget which meeting. There’s something that I don’t have and You want me to have it. But how do I get from here to there? You don’t just dump it on my soul, I am a participant in what you’re doing in my life. In order for me to be a participant, you want me to come to a place where I hunger and I thirst and I want You, Lord! And then You promised to respond to that need! Oh God, help us to have that kind of hunger. But help us when we have that kind of hunger to say, thank You, Lord. I refuse to let my feelings dictate whether I am loved by You or not.

( congregational response ).

I know we all struggle with that. My lack of feelings is somehow a change on His part towards me. If He really thought well of me, or loved me or however you want to put it, I wouldn’t feel this way. And the truth of the matter is, it’s because He loves us that we feel the needs that we feel. That’s such a simple thought, isn’t it?

Boy, if we could just wrap our minds around that one, that would make a lot of difference in our lives. Because I love you and I’ve got so much more for you, and I see you in a spot where you’re just kind of churning your wheels, you’re just doing your thing, you’re satisfying earthly desires…you think you’re okay, but I’ve got something…I see what’s coming. I see the way the world is going. I see…I have plans for you. I want to give you so much and right now you don’t even feel your need. I have a table spread. You think about the parable of the banquet. “Come; for…” what?

( congregational response ).

“…All things are now ready.” You know, we have a Savior who has provided all things that we need.

( congregational amens ).

What a tragedy it is when we don’t feel a hunger for that or a sense of need for that.