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"Yea, they spoke against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?" Psalm 78:19

Lots of good things come from cans! I enjoyed a can of Progresso Hearty Tomato Soup for lunch one cold day last week. A can of Vienna Sausages, a honeybun, and a can of Pepsi makes a real good spread on the tailgate of a pick-up truck in the middle of the woods, or in the Walmart parking lot. I remember multitudes of jars of vegetables in my Grandmother's pantry, all different colors expressed by the tomatoes, green beans, and jellies. People once just about lived out of cans. Now, freeze dried, vacuum packed, dehydrated, and frozen foods have replaced the golden pantries. Instead of Mason jars on the kitchen counter there are Walmart, Bi-Lo and Food World bags.

For Christians though, canning is the only way. However, there seems to be "dehydrated" Christians come Sunday and the Primitive Baptist Christians are sometimes referred to as "the frozen chosen."

Christians are containers. A believer is indwelt, or contains the Holy Spirit. Christians are the temples of the Lord! Christians are alive and will live forever because the Lord Jesus Christ took our place on Calvary's cross, died for all our sins, and was resurrected to validate the cancelled sin debt and to give access to the Heavenly Father. Christians are eternal, spiritual beings living in a can called the human body. Christians are preserved in Christ because they have been sealed by the Holy Spirit. Have you ever heard jar tops "popping" after they cooled a bit from the hot water during canning procedures? When God says "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so," He does so because we have been delivered from the hot waters of hell and His wrath! We ought to do a lot more "popping off" for God than we do.

Now the purpose of canning foods and vegetables is to have provisions for life sustenance at a later date and time. So, when God "cans" us, He does so because He knows what we need to live in the wilderness of a sin cursed world. Jesus Christ is the bread of life and He is the ever flowing spring of grace. The Holy Spirit enables us to hunger and thirst after His righteousness. God the Father tells us to open our mouths wide and He will fill it.

Psalm seventy-eight is the story of Christianity in a can. God had delivered His people Israel from Egyptian bondage, brought them across the Red Sea, fed them with manna from above and gave them water out of a rock. Yet, these people complained, doubted God, and most of them died in the wilderness. The thing that is so sad about this story is that they didn't want to live out of cans. Ingratitude and pride go hand in hand.

One of the best lessons God teaches his people is that they ought to appropriate and appreciate what He provides. God doesn't provide us a menu so that we can pick and choose what tickles our fancy, fickle, spiritual appetites. No, God packs our lunch each day with a can of grace and a jar of joy. If we're too proud to eat out His cans, what good will a steak at the finest restaurant be if God is not at the table?

Several years ago, during my forestry life, a large landowner near Bluffton, South Carolina contacted me regarding some timber work on his property. He invited me to come to his home, to discuss the project and to survey the area. Now, he set the appointment time for around twelve o'clock (I should have known, I guess, that he was intending for me to eat lunch with him and his wife). So, a co-worker and I left Bulloch county near mid morning heading to Bluffton. Randy though, thinking of himself and not wanting to take a chance on eating out of cans, or imposing on hospitality, stopped in Ridgeland, South Carolina on the way to have an early lunch at a familiar restaurant buffet. Well, when we arrived at the landowner's home, we were met on the porch by a most gracious couple who warmly insisted that we have lunch with them. I tried to say, "We've already eaten," but the words just would not come out; especially when I saw the table spread with home cooked vegetables, cornbread and fried chicken. (I also wanted to make a good impression so I would get the job). I remember seeing my partner roll his eyes at me when I said, "Sure, we'd love to have lunch with you."

For sure, that home-cooked meal was much better than the buffet down the road, but I didn't enjoy it near as much as I would have if my stomach had been empty. I mean, we had to try some of everything, including the home-made peach cobbler and ice cream! Even though I got the business, I missed the blessing. As Christians, God intends for us to live out of cans; His provisions. If we don't and we think so much of ourselves and of not imposing on someone else, we will miss a blessing even though we may get the business. What good though is business without blessings? Let's go to God's pantry of providence and see what cans He has there.

Can God? This is a question a Christian must never ask. It is a fatal question and deeply grieves our Father's heart. The only place for this can is the trash can! Never think or ask, "Can God help me in this situation?" or "Can God deliver me from this easily besetting sin?" No, never, never, ever say "Can God?" Unbelief in God is a slander against Him; and, to question the ability of one who is manifestly almighty, is to degrade and to speak against Him.

We must be careful in our daily walk with God not to subcon-sciously doubt what He can do. Every day we face trials and spiritual warfare that stretches our imaginations to the point we wonder if God's plan is outside the can. Remember, Abraham's Sarah "laughed" when the angel told her she would bear a child in her old age. Sarah thought no one heard her, but God did: "And the Lord said unto Abraham, wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Genesis 18:13. Besides grieving our Heavenly Father, when we put God in a can, we actually limit what God will do. Surely we cannot limit what God can do, but often we limit what God will do. Faith pleases God and is the fruit of the spirit which enables us to live for God who died for us. Why would God bless us for disobeying Him?

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel" Psalm 78:41

God Can! The only can for the Christian to live out of is the God can. God can do anything! He is sovereign. That means that He is greater than all. It means that the Supreme Court is not supreme, God is. The shear audacity of a mere human being to question or think that anything could thwart the mighty God who spoke this universe into existence and created all things out of nothing! In a world run by lunatics and hunted by devils, it's comforting to have a "God can" in our spiritual cupboard.

Having a "God can" mentality can change a person, a marriage, a family, and the world. Often Christians are faced with circumstances and situations that are hurtful and hard to understand. Job, in the Old Testament, could not figure out why he had lost so much and God seemed to have abandoned him. But just when Job was desperate and on the verge of spiritual starvation, he opened a can of God. Really, God opened it for him by reminding him of His creative power and his lack of involvement in any of it. God can show up during the worst trials. God can open the way through a mountain of doubt. God can open the heart of a rebellious, seasoned sinner. God can help a lost, backslidden child of His find his way home.

The gospel is a can of good news, not a bag of the blues. God can forgive sinners like you and me because He sacrificed His only begotten son on the cross for us. God can resurrect a body out of the grave or a soul out of spiritual death. God can still our storms. God can renew our hearts in revival or harden our hearts when we neglect Him. God can convict a grown man's heart and comfort the heart of a homeless child. The label on our God can is "Nothing is too hard for God."

As Christians, we are to spread the good news that God can. Those pretty jars in my grandmother's pantry were not there to look at, but to be distributed and opened and spread on toast or poured over rice. Evangelism is nothing more or less than taking a God can to the world and opening up the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ. You nor I can save anyone but oh my goodness, God can! When we continually eat of the God can, we are so satisfied that we want to tell others that God can. That's what Naaman's servant girl did when he had leprosy and could find no cure.

"And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy." II Kings 5:3.

Now obviously Naaman was a picky eater, and he was convinced a sack lunch would be just as good as a can of God. Naaman found out though that there are things only God can do, but can only be realized when done God's way.

I Can! One of my favorite hymns is "Because He Lives." The gist of the song is that because Christ has been resurrected and lives, we live also. One stanza says in part, "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow." A paraphrase of that stanza is "Because He can, I can." Now obviously, there are many things God can do that you and I cannot do. But, we can do everything He wants us to do.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13.

Because of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, I (We) can - forgive, be forgiven, pray, love an enemy, live, not sin, die in grace and go to Heaven. The "I can," remember, is sealed by the Holy Spirit and is also indwelt by the Holy Spirit. That's how we can do spiritual things in human bodies. Believers are spiritual beings having human experiences. True Christians are saints of God and joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. So the "I can" we are to live out of on our earthly pilgrimage is our witness of the reality of who Jesus Christ really is - He is all sufficient and satisfies completely.

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galations 2:20.

Believers are overcomers because what's in the can is greater than what's in the world. If you are facing a great trial, say, "I can do this." Live out of your "I can" of God's promises. He will never leave or forsake you and He has promised to complete what He started in you until the Lord Jesus comes back. Remember the cartoon "Popeye?" Just when Brutus was about to steal Olive Oil, and Popeye was helpless and weakened, he would open a can of spinach and was instantly transformed into a giant muscleman, rescuing Olive Oil and defeating the enemy, Brutus. Sometimes life gets pretty messy for believers, and it seems as if evil will prevail. Then God sends a spiritual can opener to open our "I can." These spiritual can openers come in all shapes and sizes. Including preaching, prayer, Bible reading, a friend or even a failure. The results are the same though, the miracle of transforming grace provides power in our weakness and victory in Jesus even if the mess remains.

When I was a very young boy, I remember an uncle of mine, who worked at the railroad said the old coal burning trains would climb slowly up a grade, seemingly, slowly saying "I - think - I - can, I - think - I - can - I -think - I - can." Then when the train started down the grade, it said much faster, "I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could." Our faith is strengthened, our witness is clearer, and our joy is fuller when we realize that God has done something to us and we know that because He has, we have changed our tune from "I think I can" to "I thought I could." Yet, we know that we really haven't done anything but live out of a can.

Brother Randy

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