Have you ever prayed for something and God gives you the opposite? It makes me wonder if God is even listening. There are some prayers that I’m pretty sure I’ve taken the command to “pray without ceasing” to an expert level.
I’ve analyzed, quite possibly over-analyzed, those requests. I’ve wondered if like the clothes dryer, where socks go to part ways, is there an intake box where certain prayers get lost, and just what do I need to do to ensure their safe arrival? I’ve praised Him in the storms, I know that His love for me doesn’t mean saying yes to each of my requests, but must He always say “no!” to these few and noble requests that have weighed heavy on my heart for years?
I’ve not only analyzed certain prayer requests, I’ve run them through experts, and by experts I mean my besties and my Bible study group. As a matter of fact, I’ve even done a blind test using complete strangers and they too are perplexed about these “socks without partners” also known as “prayers without answers.”
What’s a girl to do?!
After 20+ years of “praying without ceasing” regarding certain issues in my life. I’ve confessed, my sin, removed doubt, asked in humility, collected mustard seeds, etc. If there was a checklist I’ve checked every box, and yet this mountain does not even flinch.
Then I came across the Apostle Paul, who also had an unanswered prayer, GASP! The Apostle Paul, the man who practically wrote the entire New Testament, and God didn’t answer his prayer. Mind.blown!
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
How many times have I, in exasperation with tears flowing, asked God about His promise to take care of my every need? Too many too count. And in that same spirit, how many times have I failed to see that my needs have never been left behind. How foolish of me to let my human expectations rob me of JOY!
I’ve realized that I must heed my own advice to be grateful. Hyper-focusing on the prayers without answers has worn me down. It has made my heart heavy and taken my eyes off the way God has answered my prayers. When you allow unanswered prayers to take residence in your heart in an unhealthy way, it robs you of your joy in Christ. Lay those unanswered prayers at the foot of His throne and thank Him for His perfect provision.
I’ve had to humbly come to the cross and realize that just because my expectation looks significantly different than His answer, my needs are being met and my heart is being tended to. He is a God who keeps His promise and it is I who have failed to see it because it arrived in a different package.
In my humanity and limited vision, I can confidently say, “let there be prayers without answers!
What is faith if it is not tested?
Years after the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham of a son, Abraham experienced a test that squeezed his faith to the max in the most frightening of all ways for any parent. God told Abraham to take his long-awaited, beloved son Isaac to the land of Moriah and to offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which God would tell him.
Gulp! Did Abraham run in the other direction or pretend he didn’t hear God? No! He listened to God’s instructions and obeyed.
When Abraham, Isaac, and the servants reached the mount of God’s choosing, Abraham spoke out of the abundance of a faithful heart, for he told his servants at the bottom of the hill, (one of my favorite faith-filled verses), “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” (Gen 22:5 NLT)
Up the hill of sacrifice they went to worship! Abraham’s faith started at the bottom of the hill while the rescue plan was yet to be unfurled. Once they reached the top, Abraham laid all on the altar, all that was valuable and precious to him, his only son, trusting that God would raise him up again.
Isaac asked his father the whereabouts of the sacrificial lamb and Abraham replied, “God will see the lamb for Himself,” (Gen. 22:8 Masoretic Text), meaning to perceive something apart from seeing it with one’s eyes. Or “God will provide for Himself a lamb.” (Gen. 22:8 NKJV)
The origin of the English word for provide comes from the Latin providere, which means to foresee, before seeing, to take measures with due foresight, to get ready beforehand, look after, and so on.
God is so good at before seeing and providing.
Can any parent imagine it?
Abraham held his dagger high in the air, his hand quivering as the dagger glistened in the sun. Sweat poured down his forehead. He held his breath in anticipation of committing the most horrifying act for a parent and, instead, heard, “Abraham! Abraham!” The Angel of the Lord commanded him to stay his hand of destruction.
Then, God said, “For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Gen. 22:12 NKJV)
Abraham raised his tear-filled eyes, turned, and saw the ram in the thicket. God presented a sacrificial replacement, a male sheep with its horns entangled in the bushes, as the foreshadowing of a crown of thorns upon the head of the Lamb of replacement.
Abraham then called that place “The-Lord-Will-Provide.” (Gen. 22:14 NKJV)
On our refrigerator is a white board. Some time ago, as financial woes hounded us, I wrote this on it:
Faith is not moved by what it sees.
“There is a sound of abundance…” (1 Kings 18:41 NKJV)
Elijah spoke it…
and after the drought, the rains came!!!
Then, up in one corner, I wrote: There’s a ram in the thicket!
After I wrote all that, I made up a simple, little chorus to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands.” It goes like this:
There’s a ram in the thicket just for me,
There’s a ram in the thicket just for me,
There’s a ram in the thicket that’ll be just the ticket,
There’s a ram in the thicket just for me!
And there has been!
Abraham passed the faith test. His hill of sacrifice became his pinnacle of obedience and his summit of provision. All Abraham did, the Bible says, he did by faith, and the promises of God were, thereby, fulfilled.
Do you have some hill of circumstance before you? Do you believe God has already foreseen and provided an answer, awaiting your unfaltering, Abrahamic obedience, even when you see no way of escape? Mount that hill with praise and worship!
God provided the lamb of rescue for Abraham. And He will do it for you. There’s a ram in the thicket just for you.
Have you ever thought about how the Lord provides a way to escape through provision? Honestly, I had never considered that until these past few months.
Through my life, I have always thought about how the Lord gives blessings and provides for his children through material possessions. But, now, I can see so much more than that because of this verse:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor. 10:13
Do you see it? He provides a way to escape from temptation.
Isn’t that beautiful?
To me, it is because I have fallen into temptation my entire life. I have longed for material possessions, to be the best (at many different things), I have suffered from jealousy, coveteousness, gossip, anger….. and the list goes on.
One thing I have held higher than I should is the need for stability.
I never really thought about that or how it can be sinful to need stability, but this past year, God has shown me that anything I place above Him causes my heart to wander.
It took a true friend, one who knows I long to learn more about the Lord to speak the truth.
One day, as I shared our financial situation, she very lovingly replied: “The Lord will bring to light the things we need to work on so that He can do bigger things in our lives and the lives of others through us.”
That hit me like a load of bricks.
She didn’t say “Oh, I am so sorry” or “Oh, I hope things work out…” She spoke the truth and showed me that no matter what was going on, the Lord had allowed it to happen, but for a bigger purpose than I could imagine.
As I considered what she said, I asked her to pray for me. I asked her to pray that God would give us clear direction….
God did give us clear direction.
Within a few months, a neighbor called and told us she was selling her home and asked if we would like to speak with her realtor. I agreed to do so but knew that we had to make a certain amount on our home, or it would not make sense.
The realtor came that night and within 48 hours (even before listing on MLS), we had a full price contract.
In that transaction, God provided a way for us to pay off almost all of our debt.
While we do not have a home of our own, he has also provided shelter – through the same friend who gave me those words of wisdom. We needed to sell our home and a place to regroup; she needed house sitters while her home is empty.
God has provided.
His provision was not just for our physical needs; he has also provided spiritually.
I no longer judge how other people mess up their finances and end up homeless and needing food stamps. There are times in this life where things happen because of lessons that haven’t been learned. There are also times when things happen that are completely out of our control.
I am thankful for my friend and her lack of judging me. I am thankful for her love and desire to speak truth.
Most of all, I am thankful for how deeply she loves the Lord.
God has shown His love through His provision for me and my family. I pray He will also provide a way for us to bless others…
I woke up this morning and realized July is almost over. GASP! And my blog is due – double whammy! The topic for this month, “provision,” which is: the action of providing or supplying something. I could easily write about another “pro” word, you know, as in procrastination but such is not the topic this month.
As I prayed and sought the Scriptures, the first verse that came to mind was Philippians 4:19. I’m going to be real honest with you, I usually tend to think about this verse when I’m trying to figure out “how am I going to pay for ‘X’?” I know my God is not a “genie in a bottle,” so I immediately felt convicted that provision must mean more than God making sure I have food, shelter and enough money to pay the bills. As a former pastor used to say, read the Scriptures s-l-o-w-l-y. So, I did. I looked up that verse and read it slowly and this is what I saw.
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
If you recall last month’s blog I was in the midst of a full kitchen remodel that began the 1st week of June and construction / final installation didn’t end until July 11th. We still have items that need to be completed, but the kitchen is fully functional. Praise the Lord!
Being the planner that I am, I had a built-in cushion; all boxes were checked, but the surprises just kept coming…along with the tears. My prayers sounded like this, “Hello God! Do you not see that I have been a good steward with this project? I need you to make this go as smoothly as I planned it.” Me and my list explains why I fell through the ceiling and why things went a bit out of whack during our kitchen remodel.
God needed me to see my need for Him and let Him take care of things because I really have no control. Not having a clue on how things were going to get fixed kept me my attention on the One who is in control. I kept focusing on the “how are we going to pay for it” aspect instead of remembering God’s provision for our needs.
I’ll be honest, I cried a lot and then it was time to balance the budget, where the credits and the debits left us $156 ahead and left me saying, “Wow God, Wow!”
A friend who was going through a kitchen remodel at the same time we were, summarized my feelings so eloquently and she gave me a hearty laugh in the process —
“I feel like I am on a mission trip. I’m in a construction zone; paint all over myself, no plumbing, etc….*except*… no one is getting saved and there’s no plane waiting for me at the end of the week.”
While “nobody got saved,” I was able to have some fruitful discussions with the contractors. As a worldview teacher and pro-life activist, I pray faithfully that God provides me the words needed to speak should I encounter such situations. Interesting to note how I trust Him to faithfully provide for those situations and yet, I “panicked” about what I was seeing as the growing expense of our money pit, (ahem!) kitchen.
Why the panic? Why do so many of us panic over certain situations and not others. It’s different for each of us, but the issue remains. For those areas where we choose not to panic and when we focus our energy on seeking God’s peace and trusting His provision, things always work out better than we could have anticipated. Remember, I don’t have answers, but I do have a lot of questions and those questions keep me close to the Vine. I know all too well that God will be teaching me this lesson yet again. Hopefully next time I won’t fall through a ceiling.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28
This whole process reminded me that I have zero control, and that is a good thing. It also left me weary because I kept trying to control what I couldn’t. I teased that what I now needed was a very long nap, and what do you know God makes provision for my need to rest too! That part about “all my needs” means all my needs. While there wasn’t a plane waiting for me at the end of the remodel, there was a Sleep Number™ bed with my number programmed and ready to receive me.
I was very excited when I saw this month’s topic: God’s Provision. My husband and I have been on a journey of learning about God’s provision in a whole new way. This year has been one of ‘those’ years. One in which we have sure questioned God’s Provision. One in which we have wondered what God was doing. We have wondered why He was not providing like we thought He would.
So as I looked ahead to writing this article, I was excited to share with you the complete story. I thought it surely would all be solved by the end of this month. But, friends, we are still in the middle of the story. We still haven’t seen the ending to these situations we’ve found ourself in. We still have not seen God’s provision come yet.
. . . . Or have we?
Throughout this whole seven-month saga in our life, outwardly, it may seem like God is not providing for us. But, oh WOW! There are many things that our God has provided! Things that go beyond human eye sight. Things that go way deeper than the physical needs we have. Things beyond the very large decisions that weigh on our minds.
In His goodness, He has provided:
Preparation. Though some things can never be prepared for, we have felt prepared. God’s Spirit quietly prepared us to unclasp our hands to the things that rot and decay. God’s great provision!
Teaching. Great lessons, that can only be taught thru life’s hard times. We are being gently taught by God’s Word. God’s great provision!
Wisdom. We are wiser than we were a year ago. Certainly. Not that making any decision is any easier than it would have been a year ago. It might even be harder. Yet all the things God has taught us this year have prepared us to make the big decisions we are facing now. God’s great provision!
Peace. Throughout this whole year, though circumstances are less than ideal, we have felt peace. Peace in the midst of the storm. God’s great provision!
So, friend, if you also find yourself in need of God’s great provision, look around. He shows up everywhere. He may not look like what you think provision looks like. It may not be a physical provision. Yet, His Word, His grace, His peace, His preparation, His teaching. The lessons learned. Are all a part of our God’s great provision.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NLT
He sees the big picture. He sees the emotional and mental provision that we need. More so than all of that, He sees the spiritual provision we need. He knows what we need to go thru in order to come out refined as gold tried in the fire. As clay, molded and shaped, ready for what the Master has for us to do.
Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8 NIV
We are not thru it yet. I don’t know how much longer we have before we can tell the whole story. For now, the story we can tell is that God provides. More than we think. And while he is providing, He is shaping us into the couple, the family, the person, He wants us to be. And because of that, we can praise God for His amazing provision.
Are you someone who enjoys assembling jigsaw puzzles? If so, do you top out at 500 pieces, or are you a glutton for punishment preferring 1000+? I’m not a jigsaw fanatic, but I enjoy working on a good puzzle every now and then. My favorite moment in the puzzling process occurs when I finally locate a piece that has been eluding me, setting off a string of easy matches.
My mother-in-law loves puzzling, and has framed a couple of the beautiful puzzles she’s completed over the years. When we were at the Grand Canyon a few years ago, we purchased a stunning 500+ piece jigsaw puzzle for her as a souvenir. The image was an artist’s rendering of a view from the South Rim overlooking the Canyon at sunset. It was gorgeous! If you close your eyes, you can probably imagine what it looked like; however, I seriously doubt that you would attempt that puzzle without the box right in front of you. Most puzzlers refer to the picture on the box repeatedly to make sure they are headed in the right direction.
So, what if I were to tell you that life is more like a box of puzzle pieces than a box of chocolates? It is. Not only do you “never know what you’re gonna get,” but neither will one bite help you figure it out! You just have to live it. One funky-cut piece at a time.
According to the “Jigsaw Puzzles for Adults” website, the time it takes to complete a puzzle rises exponentially in proportion to the number of puzzle cuts:
It usually takes four-times longer to complete a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle as it does to complete a 500-piece puzzle. This is because each and every time you double the total number of pieces, you quadruple the challenge and difficulty. Before you begin a 4,000-piece puzzle, you need to take into consideration the fact that it’s going to take you 64 times longer to complete it than it would to successfully finish a 500 piece one! 1
When you consider the fact that each life is comprised of a gazillion one-of-a-kind pieces, it’s pretty clear that the only One who has the time to complete it is the Lord! In fact, He’s the only One who knows what the finished puzzle will look like. After all, He is the One who designed it in the first place:
“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16, ESV)
In other words, what feels like a pile of random craziness to us humans—who barely have an inkling what the final picture might look like—is, in reality, a strikingly complex and completely unique masterpiece cut with such precision that each piece locks perfectly into place with ease. Over time, we see more clearly how certain oddly-shaped pieces fit together to create an intricate pattern we almost missed! And when it’s all said and done, the final image should* closely resemble the picture on the box!
Sometimes, when we’re in the middle of a challenging circumstance, we wonder if there is any rhyme or reason to it. God’s timing rarely matches our desired timing, and delays last decades. (Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.) We often struggle to uncover the method behind the madness or simmer internally with frustration until it finally, if ever, makes sense.
What we must always remember—and never forget—is that our Creator is also our Provider. And though we typically experience God’s provision as something tangible (e.g., food, shelter, clothes, money, etc.) or spiritual (e.g., peace, love, joy, discernment, etc.), His provision extends much further than that!
The Lord also provides opportunities for us to acquire knowledge, learn new skills, and explore our world so that we are equipped to make a positive impact in it. He takes our everyday experiences—the good, the bad, and the ugly; the pleasant and the painful; the understandable and the mysterious—and uses them to equip and empower us to fulfill a specific-to-us purpose. Did you get that? He uses EVERYTHING, and in so doing, provides us with exactly what we need to do what we were created to do.
“For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3, AMP)
What seems to be a thankless task at the age of 19 could end up being a necessary skill when turning 50. (Yes, I can testify to that of which I write.) We have to TRUST that our experiences—as mundane, ordinary, and/or frustrating as they may feel—are part of His sovereign plan for our lives. And what we perceive to be delays and detours often turn out to be key pieces of the puzzle which were strategically positioned to add depth, texture, and interest to our picture. In other words, our daily experience is a key aspect of God’s provision for us.
“But what about the ugly and damaged pieces? Or the ones we can’t find?” you ask. “What about them?”
In case you didn’t know, God’s philosophy is: No piece left behind!
Sure, there are tattered and faded pieces we would prefer to keep hidden deep inside; however, God says, “Those pieces are an important part of you. Without them, you would not be who you are. Give them to me, we’ll place them in the puzzle together. We’ll use those pieces to help others find hope and healing.”
And then, there are the missing pieces—except they’re not really missing. They were stashed away in moments of sheer frustration when we could not see where they fit! Out of sight = Out of mind. But when the time is right, the Holy Spirit reminds us where we stored the “missing” pieces, and we can find and place them immediately…completing a part of the puzzle we hadn’t seen before.
Every. Single. Piece. Matters. (Even the ones we haven’t received yet!)
Yes, that’s right: There are puzzle pieces we haven’t received yet. Did I forget to mention that? Okay, so apparently, God keeps some pieces to Himself until it’s time for them to be placed. I think it’s for our benefit so that we don’t become overwhelmed by the unrecognizable patterns or discouraged by the enormous number of pieces still waiting to be placed. But in HIS perfect timing, these shiny new pieces arrive and fit perfectly—filling in a section upon we might have all but given up hope!
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6, ESV)
Shiny and new, tattered and faded, formerly missing, and those not yet received—each puzzle piece contributes to the whole picture. It’s who we are, and eventually, with the Lord’s help, who we were always meant to be.
* I say “should” because there are those who will inevitably reject the Puzzle Maker and His design, choosing instead to forge their own ways by tossing out pieces they don’t like; smashing together mismatched pieces; using glue to stick pieces together; and refusing to give the original plan a chance. Corrupt religious leaders have done this for centuries.
I was so excited. A new school year was starting, and I had all our curriculum in order. With several weeks already planned out, things were going smoothly.
Then it happened.
Now, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Late summer hurricanes are always a possibility when you live in Florida. However, this one caused a few huge trees on our street to fall, bringing down power lines with them. Of course, I can’t complain. No one was hurt. In fact, no one’s home was damaged.
But we had no electricity.
Now, if you haven’t been in Florida during August, you may not realize the intense heat. I know there is a difference between dry heat and humid heat, but let’s just say that the humidity in Florida’s August is so high that you are almost able to swim in the air. We were without air conditioning and were expecting up to two weeks before power would be restored! How could we do school? There was no way we could be in the house during the day, because it was unbearably hot.
I was so frustrated. We had such a great beginning to our school year.
Part of my frustration was with God. I really felt He had called us to homeschool, but it seemed that I never was able to meet MY GOALS for the year. And this year was starting out the same way. WHY did God allow for a hurricane to mess things up? Wouldn’t He want ME to successfully teach MY children according to the lesson plans *I* had carefully planned?!?
Well, you can probably guess what happened. God knew what was better for us than I did.
Really. He did.
In order to endure the heat each day, we would pack up our books, papers, and lunchboxes and go to the local library. On that first day, the librarian noticed how we were camping out, so she came over to ask if we needed anything. I explained our situation and that we were doing our homeschool work there. “What are you all studying?” she asked us.
And that began one of the best two weeks of our homeschooling journey.
You see, once she learned what we were covering, she told my children all about what the library had in the way of books that would go along with our subjects.
The next day, she asked if they would like to go downstairs into the resource rooms and learn about microfiche (for those of you too young to know what that is…it’s an old-school type of projected viewer showing printed materials like newspapers and magazines, many from years and years ago). Each day, she excitedly came up to us to ask if she could help us. Some days we were fine and other days we asked her what she could show us. She set us up with historical videos, educational games, interesting magazines, and even a few crafts they had left over from some summer programs.
After two weeks of that, my children became true library professionals. They could navigate their way around the computer card catalogs as well as the “ancient” hard catalogs, too. They boldly went up to our librarian “friend” to ask questions and also came to realize that librarians REALLY are a wealth of information and (for the most part) LOVE to help.
No amount of Mom-planned field trips would have given them this lesson. They truly learned a skill I wanted to teach them but never could find the time to add it to our “busy” days: how to learn how to learn. Not just memorize things, but how to research and discover information they do not know.
Indeed, the Lord provided.
He set up the circumstances to require us to camp out at the library for 10 days. He knew this was an important skill for my children to learn that would help prepare them for the future.
Now, I know that this provision seems small. I could share “bigger” times of provision with you: a time when my son was horribly injured and had to endure several surgeries, a time when we had to care for my sick father by having him move in with us, and many more. God indeed provides for us in the big things. But this provision came during a time I least expected it. It showed me that my Lord provides even the little things in ways I cannot orchestrate myself.
He cares so much for us that He knows our needs before we know them. Rest on that. Know that the things that “get in the way” of our plans do not take our loving Lord by surprise. It may be our Plan B, but it is ALWAYS His Plan A!
This month we are sharing our thoughts on God’s Provision in our lives. The first verse that came to mind was Philippians 4:19 where as a child of God, I can rest assured that my needs will be met.
“And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
As life comes at me from all directions, it can be a challenge to stay on track. Even the best planned day can go sideways in a heartbeat. I consider it a blessing to know that I am not alone in trying to meet the needs of my family (whether financial, physical, or emotional).
Just think of the promise. My God shall supply every need..according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
When we place our faith in the Christ, God has committed himself to protect, provide, and care for us. The hard part for us is to remember that although God always provides for his children, it is usually not in the way we expect.
Isn’t that the truth? When I am knee deep in life, it is often hard to see His provision and care. I find myself praying for specific results instead of His will. Especially when my needs feel so urgent..I need the help now!
But Isaiah 55:9 tells us that God’s way is higher than ours. God sees the overall picture or forest when we can often only see what is right in our face.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts”.
Don’t feel that you are the only one that feels this way. Even the disciples missed what Jesus was saying and doing..and they were there to witness it! If the disciples missed the point of the miracles and the lessons in the parables, we need to not be so hard on ourselves when we do not understand or see God’s provision in our lives even though we know it is there.
I think it helps to remember that provision is not just physical things.
So how should we look at God’s provision in our lives?
God Provides Differently Than We Expect
Remember the story of how God fed the Israelite’s in the desert? Every day God provided food, for that day only. Not for tomorrow or next week but just what they needed for the day at hand. If God provided daily food for all those people, why do we question that He can’t meet the needs of our small family?
We complain just like the Israelite’s did because we don’t get what we want in the way we want it. Whoa, when I think about how much God did for them and compare my needs to theirs; where do I get the right to complain about anything?
Help doesn’t always come from the direction we are looking. And, unlike the popular saying, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. If we re not happy with our circumstances, we should take steps to improve them but in the meantime, not complain about the situation.
We need to be all in, whatever we are doing. I Corinthians 10:31 says: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”.
God Provides More of Himself
Scriptures tell us over and over that we should make the pursuit of God our main goal in life. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” And Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Have you ever stopped and thought about exactly what God has given to you? I mean really thought it through or even made a list? It is eye opening. It also shows how much God has and is doing in our lives.
The more I spend studying the Word, the more I want to know about and become closer to God. I believe this is what the focus of our lives should be as we mature as Christians.
God’s Ultimate Provision Was Given at the Cross
Salvation and eternity with God is the greatest gift of all. This provision was given to us at the cross. Until we cross into Glory, the gifts that we are given here on earth are just a taste of what is coming in Heaven.
So while we ask God for so many things to make our life more comfortable here on earth, we need to remember that if we are a child of God’s – we already have the greatest gift of all. For me, this puts my daily complaints in another light.
James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
We may struggle while here on earth. We may create a lot of our own troubles. Well, we all create most of our own troubles by our own selfish will. But God is still there, and providing every good thing in our lives. What love comes from our Father in Heaven. He sent Jesus as the ultimate provision for us.
God Provides for Eternity
While we struggle with the day to day, God looks at the forever after. Our heartaches, physical or emotional pain may not be removed in this life. We may not get the healing we have so earnestly prayer for before our body gives out. There will be times that God does not provide or care for us in the way we want in this life. We must however, remain faithful even in these tough times.
The scriptures don’t promise that life will be easy and that we will not suffer but physically and at the hands of others. In fact, it states that we will in fact suffer for the name of Christ as a Christian.
But, if we remain faithful – we will be with God for eternity. We will never suffer or have any pain. One of my favorite songs talks about the fact that there will be no tears in Heaven. No sadness, no death, no pain.
Will we understand it all then? I don’t know. I do know that I want to be with God in Heaven. I would imagine that all those questions I think I want answers to won’t matter a bit when I am with my Heavenly Father.
So while we wait for answers to prayers, we need to keep praising God and doing His will. My grandmother used to say that the reason the things of this earth are so hard to bear are because we get a glimpse of Glory through the Word. That glimpse is so perfect that anything less is not enough.
We are sojourners according to the scriptures. This world is not our home. But we are also a chosen race and a royal priesthood according to 1 Peter 2:9.
When you pray again asking for this or that, stop and remember to thank Him for all the good gifts in your life. When we are truly thankful, it puts the urgent needs into perspective.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (HCSB)
None of us are immune to temptation. It comes at us any time it wants to.
Christian women are bombarded with temptation more often than we care to admit.
Temptation comes in all forms; food, drugs, drunkenness, sexual, rage & anger, discontentment, pride, bitterness, etc. I see it as anything that makes us lose control and sin in the involvement of it. It’s the thing that overrides our better judgement.
Even if we don’t give in, there’s usually shame and a feeling of worthlessness that comes with the thoughts. Please keep in mind, however, that temptation is not sin. Giving into temptation is when we miss the mark.
But when we look at 1 Corinthians 10:13, we see that there is an opportunity to turn away and flee from temptation. We get the chance every single time we feel like we’ll be overtaken.
You may be asking, “But what if I’ve already given into temptation? I feel stuck, guilty, and regretful.”
The first step to renewal and restoration is that you already acknowledged that there is an issue! Ask God for forgiveness. Repent.
You’ll always have a fighting chance. God has absolutely offered redemption and freedom through Jesus Christ. Do not walk around in condemnation, trust His provision.
Do not try to fight a battle without the proper equipment. I want to help you know how to become victorious.
You are not alone. These are weapons that I’m still learning to use also!
It’s time for some heavy lifting and faith muscle development.
Follow His Example
We can study how Jesus was tempted by satan, and how He did not give in to temptation in Luke 4:1-13. He is our perfect example!
Jesus is our compassionate High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses. See Hebrews 4:14-16.
Since we’re His followers, we can ask for guidance in how to walk that out in our overcoming. Now, let’s turn over to Romans 8.
We are given freedom from indwelling sin when we accepted Jesus as Lord of our lives. Sometimes that looks like daily de-throning ourselves (our flesh). It helps to write a portion of Romans 8 by hand as a prayer when we’re being tempted.
These next set of verses can easily be tucked into those, “yeah, I know that Scripture from memory, so I’ll just skim over them” verses. But, God’s Word can never be exhausted!
God has given us every provision for escaping temptation in Scripture, our relationship with Jesus, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
You’re Not Alone
If we’re willing to bring our battle with temptation to light, we can ask a trusted friend (that won’t sell us out) to come alongside and hold us accountable with encouragement, prayer, and standing in agreement with Scripture that we’ve been standing on.
There are times when counseling is needed. Seek out a godly counselor; one that will always point back to God’s word.
My friend, dealing with and banishing temptation probably won’t be a “one and done” encounter. On a daily basis, we lay down our lives, our own agendas, thoughts, and methods, for the life that Christ died for us. We accept His provision, His grace.
I pray that this is a good starting point for you. I strongly encourage you to bathe yourself in God’s Word. True freedom does come. Get in the face of Jesus, seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance and let’s start obliterating that temptation!
Provision. That word has a special place in my mind and soul. So many times in the past, I feared not having enough. Three job losses. New babies. Always fearing that we would not be provided for.
Yet God, in His grace, always, always provided. He always met our needs. He always sent others to bless us. We never went without. And even though we knew that we really needed very little material things to truly be provided for, the fear always remained. What if we don’t have enough?
Over the years God taught me about this word, provision, far beyond the material things. Yes, even in the very lean years we were physically provided for. But what I learned most was that His spiritual provision was far beyond compare.
When you hear the word provision do you immediately think of “things?” Me too. Yet, today I encourage you to look beyond the temporal provisions and look to the spiritual. Those are the things that will matter far beyond this world.
Provision is about so much more than God giving us “things.” Often those things are a tool to either strengthen or hinder our walk. Sometimes though, those things get in the way of seeing what we really need.
In my fear of not having enough, God took away much, so I could see Him more. So the truth is, less physical provision brought about more spiritual provision. Does that make sense?
When we have less things, we can clearly see what is most important for this life.
He already has provided all we really need. The work of the Cross.
That is provision.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13
So ask yourself today, “Do I feel provided for? Do I truly have enough in Jesus? Do I crave more of this world or more of you?”
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.” Psalm 73:25
Father, we pray for provision today. But we pray for provision far beyond what we think we need here on earth, and for our treasure in heaven. Let us purpose to fix our eyes on things above. Help us to grasp the truth of our true provision- the work of the Cross.