Trusting in God Who Supplies All Our Needs

578459E1-36BA-471E-BAD3-5BBA53DC76C5“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 ESV

Shopping and spending has never been so easy than in the consumerist world we live in today.  We can buy a new pair of shoes in an instant and have them delivered to our doorstep in less than 48 hours and charge it on credit to pay later.  Wives, having a man to oversee our spending is a blessing in disguise.  Often, we “feel” things are needs when they really are merely masked wants.  We live in a culture that tells us that if we want something, we need to get it now at all costs.  Yet, God’s wisdom teaches us otherwise.

Being full of thanks for what has been supplied for us is God’s revealed will for us.   Paul sates this in 1 Thess5:18, and coming from a man who endured beatings, shipwrecks and persecution for the sake of spreading the gospel of Christ.  “Paul knew how to rejoice in every circumstance and be free from anxiety and worry, because his heart was guarded by the peace of God, and the God of peace.  His example is especially relevant to our utterly discontent culture.” (John MacArthur)

God promises to supply our every need, not necessarily our wants.  Thus, if we do not have something right now, it’s because God in His wisdom knows we don’t need it now.  In our humanity we tend to never be fully satisfied with what we have; but in reality we have all we need in Christ.  God has been teaching me this week that when hit with a loss, it may feel like God took something essential to our well-being from us.  However, if we say God took something we need so much, then He can’t be trusted as good.  We must choose to trust that God will not take anything from us that he knows we don’t absolutely need, even when it doesn’t make sense to us.  The truth is he sees the finished canvass.  “Think of the self that God has given as an acorn.  It is a marvelous little thing, a perfect shape, perfectly designed for its purpose, perfectly functional.  Think of the grand glory of an oak tree.  God’s intention when He made the acorn was the oak tree.  His intention for us is, ‘…the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.’  Many deaths must go into our reaching that measure, many letting goes.  When you look at the oak tree, you don’t feel the ‘loss’ of the acorn is a very great loss. The more you perceive God’s purpose in your life, the less terrible will the losses seem.” Elisabeth Elliot

When we chose to look at our present circumstances with eyes of faith, we have peace—not because we believe God has given us or will give us with what we want, but because we know he is faithful to provide us what we need today.   If we take a step back and take account of all the ways God has pulled through for us in the past, we will be reminded that God can be trusted.  He provided the most costly and needful of all in salvation through Christ.  We have been given so much through him in the immense debt we owed that He canceled out on our behalf through faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

Have you ever been given something so amazing or valuable that you knew you could never pay it back? That is what Christ did for us and is continuing to do for us in every aspect of our lives.  In the past year, many of you have lovingly poured out an abundance of financial resources, meals, gifts, cards, time and support to our family. God has used the Church to meet our needs and beyond in tangible ways.  While, I may never be able to pay everyone back, I can confidently say with Paul that God will repay your every need richly in Christ.

Heavenly Abba, our good good Father, you are worthy of our all our trust.  You have given us everything we need–you have mercifully not withheld your only son.  Please forgive us for so many times we fall short of seeing you for who you truly are.  Move in our hearts to experience you as enough in the mist of the trials you graciously grants for our growth and reliance on you alone.  May we come continually come to Christ–the fountain in which is found the living water that alone can satisfy a thirst and weary soul.  In Jesus’ name.

A Love Story Worth Dying For

794705E9-381F-452E-943E-71F75D024FBD“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim3:16-17

People throughout history have risked their lives to obtain or translate the Bible. In 1536, William Tyndale was burned at the stake because he fought to translate the Bible into English so you and I could read it. This verse was written while Paul was awaiting execution and martyrdom. He was very courageous; he didn’t fear for his life—his concern was for the spread of the gospel, which is the Word.  Some may wonder why the Bible was so important to these men that they would give their life for it.

The Bible is God’s breathed out love story that extends to us salvation and binds the very words of life!  The very idea of us being able to take in the breath of God should entice us to not only read His breathed out words, but to treasure it in our hearts. In 1 Peter 2:2 it is says, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow up in respect to salvation—.” Wow, how often do newborns feed off milk? New mothers often complain on not being able to get anything done—even sleep, because a newborn baby wants to nurse all day and night long. Do we constantly feed on the Word?

The Word of God is essential for truth and protection against the enemy’s lies. Teaching happens at every level. Even a new believer can teach an unbeliever. Parents teach their children.  Mature Christians then teach the younger in faith. Teaching others carefully actually helps us learn more ourselves. The word rebukes or convicts of our sin or error. Correction is defined as the bringing back from error to truth. Paul warned of Judaism-like false teaching and charged the church of Galicia not to turn away from the gospel. Scripture is meant to cure faults and bring reconciliation between us as sinners and our maker God. Next, training in righteousness is how we grow and are sanctified. We are to be clothed in righteousness to combat the persecution and accusations of the world. Living godly lives produces persecution itself; but we are called friends of God when we are obedient. This is how we abide in the love to God that he has gracious given us in the cross through faith in Christ. Ps85:10 says it beautifully, “Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.”

Many people think that they don’t know enough to be able to evangelize or share this wonderful good news. However, Paul says that the Word makes one adequate—in sharing the gospel to others, serving, ministry… and every good work. As a brand new believer I use to go to the streets of downtown San Diego to do homeless ministry and at first I felt incompetent but I soon realized that the people in the streets were not just starving for physical food but they were really in need of the spiritual food that is the word. I would take my Bible and just offer to pray for them and several were receptive and thankful.   Man of God in the Old Testament was a phrase for “messenger of God.” Every believer has a message to tell to another…our message is the Word of God—the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We tend to be held captive by thoughts of things of the temporal world. Why? Sometimes we don’t have a clear vision of time. This life is but a vapor! We don’t know when the Lord will return or take us home to account for our days on this earth. While the world is in constantly in chaos, God is unchanging and his Word stands forever. There are so many theological shams that only threaten to move us backward. The Bible is our offensive weapon against the enemy. We weaken the lies of Satan with the truth of God’s Word. We’re called to feed on the Word on a daily basis and work together to build each other up as a beautiful bride adornding herself for Christ’s return. The church is in dire need of being rooted on the Bible or deceivers lead us astray.  I’m thankful to be part of a local church committed to expository preaching.  By God’s grace, he has gifted us with the all-sufficient Scriptures.  In them we hold truth that is God-breathed, desperately needed for church edification and grants us competence. May our soul sing these words of an old hymn, “My faith has found a resting place, not in device nor creed…. I need no other argument, I need no other plea. My heart is leaning on the word, the written Word of God!”

Photo credit: Abigail Larson, Ordinary Joy Photography.  Thank you for the amazing family Christmas pictures!

Moved by Precious Faith in the Promised One

4A4F310E-CA55-4163-BB16-57494E33F9A1“By faith he (Abraham) went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.  By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore, from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” Hebrews 11:11-12 ESV

Moving is not fun. It requires leaving people and things behind; on top of the emotional turmoil, it takes time and physical effort packing, traveling and hauling stuff.  Living out of a suitcase and constantly on the move can be even more taxing.  However, if we were to do so while on vacation or on a journey to an amazing destination—it’d be worthwhile!  I’d gladly live out of a suitcase if it meant getting to spend time all over Europe! I would sign up for another move in a heartbeat if it meant getting to live in Hawaii! So it was with Abraham that he endured living on the move, in tents, awaiting a final glorious destination.  It was with spiritual eyes of faith of one day reaching the heavenly city, that enpowered him to beileve while never physical seeing the full fulfillment of the God’s promises.

It’s all about perspective.  The death of my husband has been one of the most tragic events in my life; yet at the same time it has been an incredible gift in the way it has changed my perspective on life.  Heaven does not seem so far away having witnessed my beloved at age of 37 reach the celestial city already.  It changes the way that I live as I think of the brevity of life and the reality of each day holding the possibility of being the last.  It motivates me to press on for the upward call when days are rough.  “In once sense it is possible ‘to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.’ But in a much deeper sense, it is impossible to be of any real earthly good unless we are heavenly minded.  Only the heavenly minded will have the patience to continue faithful in God’s work when it becomes hard, unappreciated, and seemingly unending.”  MacArthur

Despite knowing God’s heavenly perspective, I still struggle to not hold on the alluring things of this world.  I can relate much to Sarah and her example gives me hope.   She was graciously commended for her faith even in her failings.  Sarah was more earthly than heavenly minded on her noteworthy days.  She laughed when an undercover angel told her by next year she would bear a son.  She was inpatient and took matters into her own hands by sinfully practicing surrogacy in her own effort of trying to rush God’s plan to bring about the promised heir.  Moreover, the story of Sarah’s lack of faith serves not as a recipe, but as a lesson for us to learn without having to reap the repercussions.

We are to relentlessly cling to God’s promises when all around us the world gives way, the clock seems to tick ever slowly, and all hope seems to crumble.  When we act in faith, it proves powerful and real.  Just like love is shown in actions and not merely words, so does faith cause us to courageously act upon it.  MacArthur gives a stunning description of faith, “True faith is deaf to doubt, dumb to discouragement, and blind to impossibility.” He goes on to say, “Faith sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, touches the intangible, and accomplishes the impossible.  Unfortunately, some faith is all talk, and never gets down to action.  True faith is active, powerfully active.”.

If we love Christ, we will not just be unable to stop talking about him—our love for him will be evident in the way we live out our love for him in faith.  True saving faith is expressed in obedience.  It is displayed through repentance–the turning from serving sin to serve the living God.  When God unbinds our eyes to see the depth of our sinful condition and need for a Savior, he also empowers us to trust in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and follow suit.   It is a call to leave everything behind, and no longer live for this world.   It is the beginning of a pilgrimage and the journey toward a new heavenly city, even while still residing in the old one.  Our earthly ambitions die, in light of the weightier call–to reach lost souls.  What is God calling you and me to do in faith?  Whatever that looks like and however big or seemingly insignificant the sacrifice, may we be joyfully willing and intently focused on looking to a heavenly city that will soon be sight for us who believe.

Heavenly Father, king of the universe—you alone are the author of life and the giver of genuine faith.  Lord we believe, help our unbelief.  Thank you that through saving faith in Jesus we have citizenship to a heavenly city not made with hands.  Please move us places unimaginable, with faith that is alive, active and animated.  We ask for real faith that expresses itself with obedience, sacrifice and selfless love.  In Jesus’ name.

Giver of Life & Everything Else

 

 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23

As soon as I turned 15, I was eager to go out and work.  The desire for independence surged.  I was anxious to get behind the wheel and drive myself places, like work I argued.  I wanted to work for freedom.  We learn to work to receive something—most often wages.  Although, often work is done not to get any monetary value.  Some work for the mere experience, others freely work to promote an organization or advance a cause.  Many of us moms labor at home seeking to earn strong grounding for our children.

The Bible says that the wages of sin is death.  If anyone could ‘brag’ about their sins…it is me.  I’ve earned enough wages to throw me deep into the bottomless pit.  If we are all honest, we all have a rap sheet that is shameful to even speak of.   I’m ashamed of the thought of my former life before Christ.  Yet I’m thankful it magnifies the grace that God demonstrated in saving the worst of sinners.  Every one of us has earned wages deserving of eternal death.  Sin doesn’t have to be overt.  It is basically crossing the line of what God expects from us.  In James chapter two, God says that in breaking one point of the law, we are guilty for breaking all of it.  Unlike, our feeble human judgments or justice system; God is the perfect judge.  He renders the just penalty for the treason we have committed against Him.

Working our way to eternal destruction is the path we are on, unless God, the creator of the universe, intervenes.  God out of His rich love sent a Savior to die on the cross to win our souls back to His presence unashamed.  Jesus took our shameful rap sheet, suffered the due penalty we had earned; and when we look to Christ, he exchanges it for His perfect righteousness and life as a free gift.  In this way, God alone is worthy of all the glory!  There is nothing we do to earn free gifts.  On the same token, there is nothing we can do to revoke them either.

With saving faith, God also freely gives us all kinds of other gifts—spiritual gifts, friendships, marriage, children, ect.  “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) In the same way that we are freely given salvation; God freely gives us all things.  This is profound when thinking about the possibility of losing our salvation or any of the other gifts we enjoy.   Salvation is a wonderful gift we can be assured will never be taken from us if we are found in Christ.  Any gift God grants in this life, he has the right to take it away.  We don’t own rights to anything given to us on earth.  Nor can we ‘earn’ the right to hold on to them.  They are freely given to us as gifts.  Can we praise God and bask in His loving-kindness in that the greatest gift of salvation along with every other gift, is not dependent on us?  Can we trust that as a loving Father, He graciously gives only the best to His children, and has eternally bestowed upon us the most precious gift in Christ?

Heavenly Father, we praise you for your unfathomable love for us when we have thoroughly transgressed your perfect law.  You alone are worthy of glory and worship.  You are perfectly holy and pure in light and your mercy shines into the dark crevasses of our hearts of stone.  Forgive us for our the ways our wicked hearts wage war against You.  Thank you for Jesus, the only Savior, who lived a perfect life atoned for our devastated one, and gifts us with new life.  Fill us & our children with a fresh awe, worship, thankfulness and love for all your wonderful gifts.  May we cease working in our own effort to accomplish what only the power of your Spirit can do.  Work mightily in our new hearts of flesh–to be eager to respond with sincere appreciation and whole surrender for all you have done and given to us.  In Jesus’ name.

Family Update: The boys are doing very well.  We are all so thankful and blessed with the opportunity for me to work at home during this difficult season.  The boys and I love our shared home situation.  Life is settling into a new normal.  Noah is doing well in school.  We home school and he has made new friends with kids at church.  We are plugged into a Bible study that has other kids their age. Nathan is growing in stature and wisdom–his vocabulary continues to grow.  I’ve been working on the book project with some delays.  I am having to wait and trust in God’s perfect timing.  Please continue to lift our family up in prayer if you think of us.  Blessings!