Sufficient Provision

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:19-20)

Oh, how wonderfully sufficient is Christ! All I have needed His hand has provided. All I need His hand is providing. All I will need His hand will provide. This sufficiency is true throughout my life and into the life to come.

So, the question I must ask myself is, “Is He enough for me?” I recognize that He has been and trust He will be. The real test is whether or not I am acknowledging that He is sufficient now. Am I content with His choices for my life as well as for this moment?

Contentment is the child of faith. – John Stott

Isn’t that true? When I am living by faith, I have no problem with contentment. If that’s true, then a lack of faith is revealed by discontentment.

Even in times of need, I need not be discontent. Hebrews 4:14-15 is described this way:

By becoming human. He got right inside our skin, literally. That made it possible for Him to see life through our eyes, feel the sting of our pain, and identify with the anguish of human need. He understands. – Chuck Swindoll

Dear Provider, You are more than enough!  Whether working through the past, future or today, You remain more than enough for every need I have. Therefore, I trust You and choose to be content with Your choices for my life.

Sensitive Heart

Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.  (Psalm 82:3)

Erosion is gradual. The most insignificant decision or action can erode. The heart begins to accept what it once rejected. The question is, “Who has my heart?” If I have the heart of Jesus, I will be moved by what moves Him. He is moved to justice for those who cannot defend themselves. The Defender loves the poor, orphan, oppressed and destitute. They have nothing to offer. Caring for such a person might cost many things but the cost is eclipsed by the worth. God looks at these and commits to their care because they are worth it. I, too, must cultivate the heart of God in me and look at others like He does.

We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation & true friendship.” C. S. Lewis

Isn’t that true? How can I know the heart of Jesus without times of solitude, silence and privacy? It is in those times that I can find true friendship. And, it’s during those times that I come to know my Father’s heart for the needy. Growth and relationship go together.

The great privilege of the child of God is relationship; his great responsibility is growth.  John Stott

James 1:19-25 challenges me to not only listen but do. I must listen to the world to know its needs and listen to the Word to be equipped with the answer. Otherwise, I don’t know how to talk to others or I have nothing to say. But, listening is not enough. I must be ready to serve as Jesus served. And, that requires a change of heart and mind.

It is really impossible to grasp the concept of serving others—or to carry it out with joy, without fear—until our minds are freed from the world’s mold and transformed by the Lord’s power. Serving others with joy requires a freed mind, transformed by the Lord’s power.  Chuck Swindoll

How is a freed mind and such transformation brought about? One of the tools God uses is times of pressure, stress. When enough pressure is applied, that which is deep within comes out. Therefore, when enough pressure is applied to my heart, what is deep within that heart comes out. Pressures remove masks; the real is revealed. Additionally, pressures energize my faith; they take me to the place where all I can do is trust Him. Crises reveal, release and energize. And, as they do their work, my heart is made sensitive to the Lord and to others.

Lord, make me a servant who asks of you and of others, “What can I do for you?” Out of a transformed mind and heart, let me serve with humility and joy.

Ultimate Care

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.  (Psalm 55:22)

“How would you like to be remembered?” “An ordinary Christian who struggled to understand, apply and expound the Scriptures in all of life.” ~ Question asked to John R. W. Stott and his reply.

I find it interesting that Paul introduces himself with humility before authority in Romans 1:1. His identity was “slave” or “servant”, a humble position. His role was “apostle” one of privilege. I believe the key lesson here is to never allow privilege become identity. My identity, regardless of role, will always be “servant of Christ.” Because of that, never ending care from my Lord is needed and desired!

He alone is my sustainer and source. Every detail of this day and every day depends on His intimate work in and over my life. In Him, I am sustained and never shaken. Through all, I can remain stable and preserved.

I never need to validate what I do or vindicate myself when wrongly accused. The humble servant of Christ need do nothing but rest in his Lord who sustains, defends and fully understands. However, being fully human, what a joy it is when someone comes alongside, encouraging me to continue trusting in our sufficient Lord. And, what a ministry it is to encourage another. Together, we look to the Lord who sustains.

No hypocrisy or envy. Spirit deliverance, freedom from facades and compulsions to be like… A renewed mind to truly live with His definitions and limitations. Never shaken by shadows.

Lord, You alone sustain me. Whatever You ask me risk or release will ever shake me. You alone preserve and stabilize my life so there is fear. You alone are my trustworthy Friend. Thank you.

Unceasing Intercession

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

If only we could remember who God is! – Tozer

Am I pleasing to my Lord? He is always interceding for me. How is He praying for me? What do I need to unlearn by His grace? These thoughts are grabbing my attention this week.

Purity

I know the Lord is always praying that I remain pure. Therefore, I must not be:

  • Weakened by any situation. Stand strong.
  • Deceived in any persuasion. Walk wisely.
  • Gentle with my emotions. Guard them diligently.
  • Confused with immediate resolves. Focus on core issues.
  • Fooled by immediate satisfaction. Anticipate the ramifications.

Change

Pleasing the Lord is going to require Spirit-driven changes.

I must let the peace of Christ rule and the Word of Christ dwell in all I do. I must unlearn my definition of good and embrace His. I must cease fleeing from trials and problems which serve as unique tools to help me become like Christ, which is a primary importance to the Father. I must release any desire for greatness and adopt the posture of servant.

Lord, I am not sure I like to change very much. However, I realize that some changes are needed, in fact, change is always needed. I ask your Holy Spirit to bring about these changes. You decide what they should be. Help me remain pure and purely yours. May I embrace your ruling peace and indwelling Word. And, help me to be your servant each day and with each task.

Grace and Kindness

God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7)

Kindness

a work of the Spirit, 

revealed through the person and work of Christ, 

toward me to turn me from my sin.

I am an example of God’s incredible wealth of grace and kindness shown through all He has done for me. This is an amazing thought! It immediately leads me to reflect on all He has done in my life and to interpret this work as works of incredible grace and kindness. All His answers to prayer rise from His grace and kindness to me.

As I live in Him, and His grace, my love grows more perfect, leaving fears behind. I have nothing to fear because He is with me with grace and kindness. I find myself consciously and willfully abandoning myself to the only One who is completely trustworthy.

It is God’s kindness that puts me in need so I will humble myself in contrast to living for myself. I pray, He hears. I seek, He forgives. I turn and He restores. This is grace and kindness!

It is God’s kindness that allows me to know Him through His truth. The God of the universe is revealed to me, personally, through His incomparable truth. This is grace and kindness!

Lord, thank you for your unending grace and kindness shown to me. Because of You, fears are gone, I’m forgiven and your Truth continues to reveal You to me and me to myself. What joy!

Sustaining Grace

…he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. (Hebrews 1:3)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:5-8)

God is a sustaining God. His strength is all I need for every situation. By his commands, he sustains me.

Paul desired relief from a God given limitation; three times he asked for deliverance. God’s response was simple, “My grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 2:7-10). Why the limitation? Wouldn’t God want his children free from such limitations and fully free to live and work? Yes, to a point. The point in Paul’s situation was pride. He was given the limitation to keep him from becoming proud; he says it twice in these verses.

To keep me from becoming proud, God gave me ____________ AND grace to sustain.

This raises another question: how can I know what is really inside me? How is God’s work not only sustaining but revealing? I believe He not only reveals Himself to us but ourselves to us through His Word.
So, I must be still and get to know Him (Psalm 46:10). I must cease striving and let Him reveal how He is sustaining me, leading me to victory through the battles and limitations I face.

Lord, You are the Great Sustainer with your words and through your Word. Thank you that I can cease striving and depend on you totally. I trust you and surrender to you.

Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)

Who does not need wisdom? Who has not experienced God’s working, not understanding what He was doing? This has been the focus of the week for me. I have learned that to run the race that God has laid out for me requires His wisdom. Understanding the things which tightly control and bind my life, things which hinder my running, requires His wisdom.

Living with enthusiasm regarding what He’s doing requires His wisdom. He truly is more than enough in every situation. His heart and hands are all over the details of every moment and decision. His wisdom clarifies and assures me that He is more than enough.

Psalm 128 encourages me to stand in awe of God’s “yes” for me. As His child I need wisdom to even understand answers to my prayers. Yes, no, wait all flow from Abba Father.

I need His wisdom to simplify. It’s more than throwing things away or downscaling. It’s about simplifying the heart, holding everything loosely, with open hands.

I need His wisdom to use my tongue wisely and graciously. The truth can be said with grace.

The bottom line, I need the wisdom of God for everything. There is another lesson though. For wisdom, I go to Him and through unswerving faith I receive His wisdom. His wisdom is not one of many options or something that can be tossed away if I don’t like it. His wisdom settles my heart and situations completely.

Father, You are wisdom. I realize I need Your wisdom and guidance for every step I take. Thank you for being there, in the trials and tests. Thank you for every answer. I accept Your wisdom because I know it rises out of your heart. The deep peace in the Beloved is mine! Thank you, Father.

Running the race

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Hebrews 12:1 teaches us to put aside, stop, disable everything that is hindering our freely running the race God has laid out for us. Hindrances are controlling, limiting, paralyzing. If allowed they might keep us from running at all, running the full course or running with full vigor.

So, what are common hindrances we must be alert to as we run? One of them is hurtful memories. Whether words or actions, if allowed a home in our hearts, they can affect our running. Perhaps this one of the most difficult hindrances. How do you get rid of memories? It’s not a matter of magically removing them, but properly positioning them. If what was said is untrue, run in such a way that truth is what is seen. If true, but said in a hurtful way, accept the truth and humbly change.

Run with the goal in mind. There is only one goal and audience – Christ. When any other goal is desired or when the race is run before any other audience, eventually, we see the race as not worth the effort and quit. We run for and before the audience of One. And, when we remember what He has done for us, the race is so worth it! Let’s run freely, lightly…no hindrances.