I used to have an insatiable appetite for good coffee, not so much bad coffee. Thankfully, I’ve had an intervention so I’m not quite the junkie I once was. But this journey has started me to think about some things in new ways. It seems like the human experience suggests that we can never get enough – not enough money, not enough time, not enough recognition, not enough care or attention, not enough . . . .
I think our perspective on the idea of “enough” gets warped because we focus on the provision more than the Provider.
Somehow we’ve swallowed the poison that provision can replace Provider & we chase the illusion of enough.
When I was a coffee junkie, I could never get enough. I believe that the enemy of our soul would endeavor to perpetuate this illusion through the continuous acquisition but never sustaining pursuit of provision rather than Provider.
Indeed, let us seek first the kingdom of God & everything falls into divine order.
Jesus miraculously fed thousands of people on two occasions because of availability. On each occasion, everyone was in dire straights, but Jesus came through with a miracle of plentiful provision based on the simple principle of using what was available. Jesus used a meager few fish & loaves of bread, the provision that they had, along with His disciples as distribution agents. I would speculate that maybe one or two of the disciples thought it was crazy to be sent to feed thousands of people with such a paltry provision & yet because they were available, Jesus worked His miraculous provision through their available hands & feet. Jesus prayed for the provision & then told His disciples to go & give.
Seems to me that the same principles apply to us today. Jesus merely asks us to be available & then to go & give.
Watch this video of some magnificent peeps recently who did exactly what Jesus said & multiplied His love by being available:
Do you ever worry about stuff? Some people say they never worry & I’m happy for them. Other people, like me, we can sometimes get worried about various things. Seems like some common stuff that gets worried about includes finances, job / education things, relationships & health issues. Of course there are more things, but my point in bringing up the worry stuff is related to Jesus’ teaching about worry in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says that the birds have food provided for them & the flowers are beautifully appointed in their various displays. Furthermore, each day has enough challenges to keep us attentive to the present rather than borrowing worry for the future.
Jesus tells us to look around & see how well our Heavenly Father manages the world in which we live. We can certainly trust our loving Heavenly Father to take very good care of us, as His children. Nestle into the Holy Spirit when you get tempted to worry 🙂
“Mom!” When my kids call for me, I often reply, “I’m listening.” When I say this, rather than “yes”, it seems to give them a micro pause & I find that the quality of our chat improves. I think that when I say, “I’m listening”, there’s a sense that I’m giving them a better quality of attention than a perfunctory “yea”. And getting to have some quality interaction with my kids is always platinum for me.
I was thinking about this as I read Genesis 22 this morning where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Three times in this chapter Abraham says, “Here I am” – once to God, once to Isaac & the last time to the angel getting his attention for divine provision. In my thinking, when Abraham said “Here I am”, he was saying my version, “I’m listening”.
Seems to me from Gen 22 that the quality of our listening just might have an affect the abundance of God’s provision in our lives. This is important not only for us as individuals, but also for the succeeding generation. Selah
I’ve been thinking lately about Abraham & how God told him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, in Genesis 22 – what an absolutely horrible thing to ask from Abraham! And yet Abraham obeyed God, set out early in the morning, complete with supplies, servants & his son (I would have conveniently forgotten something, like my son, oops!). Abraham’s journey to the place where he was to sacrifice Isaac was a 3day journey & I am quite positive that every step he took closer to the place of sacrifice became increasingly dreadful in anticipation of such an overwhelming sacrifice. When we read this chapter, we learn that God is our Provider, with the ram in the bush provision / substitute for Isaac.
Nevertheless, the longer & more that Abraham was obedient to do what God had required, the more he became aware that he needed God.
The greater our obedience to God, the more we become aware of our need for God, full stop.
Our culture tells us that “more” isn’t enough. We need more money, more time, more status, more popularity, more followers, more friends, more activities, more education, more clothes, more muscles, more fitness, more image, more contacts, more influence, . . . . . . . I’ve been thinking about “more” in light of what the Bible says about the demands of our culture for more & increased provisions.
In the Bible, God is revealed as God our Provider / Provision in Genesis 22, when Abraham discovers the “ram in the thicket” as he’s about to sacrifice his son Isaac. Our culture thoroughly affirms the truth that God is our Provider and we revel in experiencing God’s provisions (in an already abundant country). But Abraham’s journey to experience God as his Provider was on the path of sacrifice. The whole journey that ended up with Abraham experiencing God’s provisions was the preparation and journey of obedience & sacrifice. Maybe what we really need is more sacrifice 🙂
Ever feel like there’s more month than money or more stress than supply? If you’ve decided to follow Jesus, there’s a good chance that you might have some seasons that seem sparse, challenging & even stressful. I was reading about Elijah this morning in 1 Kings & how there was a drought in Israel. During the drought, God spoke to Elijah to go into the wilderness by a specific brook & God would make a provision for Elijah. The provision was the brook & ravens bringing him breakfast & dinner. After the brook dried up, God instructed Elijah to go to a particular town & that a widow was there who would take care of Elijah. When Elijah obeyed, he learned that the widow was preparing to fix the last meal for herself & her son.
I find that both of these provisions (ravens & starving widows) were highly unconventional. In our world, let’s not limit our obedience to God to conventional provisions. Perhaps Elijah’s unconventional provisions were directly linked to his unconventional obedience to God – just something to think about ,)
There are lots of things that I think I need but what I continue to experience in almost a daily way is that God’s provisions are perfectly timed for my exact needs. I have been seeing this reality for several months now – from things related to having more time, achieving things really efficiently, financial provisions & strategic wisdom, just to name a few examples. So I feel that God is really challenging me in a couple of ways:
*trust God more & better
*maybe if there’s something that I think I need that I’m not getting, maybe I don’t really need that “something”
*provision has lots of different expressions & aren’t just financial (wisdom, efficiency, time, etc)
*God’s provisions are perfectly crafted & timed for each need in our lives 🙂
Greetings! This is just a quickie thought that could possibly help you during those seasons that seem insanely busy. Last night, I took a walk after dinner & was talking with God about the sermon that I’m giving tonight. I was hoping that on my walk God would give me some direction for tonight’s topic because I was feeling that this preparation was getting ENTIRELY TOO LATE!!!!!! Despite my recurring requests, I didn’t feel that God was giving me any direction for tonight’s topic and at the end of the walk, I let Him know that I was disappointed in His “poor performance”. To my frustration, I felt He replied with 2 answers:
in my conversations with God (some people call this prayer), I don’t always get to control the agenda or topic for discussion. Indeed, when God seems to not be answering a question or a request, I need to consider that He has a different purpose or agenda for the time that we are sharing
the timing for God’s answers is in His hands and I can rest assured that God is never late – this has certainly been confirmed to me this morning since the preparation for tonight seemed to be compressed into possibly the most efficient sermon prep time I’ve ever experienced
Recently, I’ve been thinking about the various needs in my life. Sometimes I just think about them, but sometimes I get discouraged, sometimes I get frustrated and sometimes I get excited about them because I know that God has something good for me in these various needs. We all have needs – be that finances, emotional things, health, relationship areas, energy, wisdom, humility, etc. I think that part of being human means that we are designed to have needs.
Here’s what I feel like God has been speaking to me about on the topic of the various needs in our lives: needs are nothing more than God’s invitation to take a journey with Him to explore His provisions in all their different facets. I’ve been thinking about this in relation to Abraham in Gen 22, when God told him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Abraham took a multi-day journey in obedience to God’s direction, regardless of whether he understood God’s directive or not. Furthermore, he had confidence in God’s ability, provision & direction, as we can see in how he replied to Isaac’s question about the sacrifice (God will provide a sacrifice). Here are a few quick take aways that God is showing me from this chapter:
deficiency is often God’s test to show us what’s in our hearts – Gen 22:1
the journey to God’s provision requires our obedience – sometimes we have to get moving even if we dread where it seems like we might be going
keeping our eyes on God will help us to keep moving regardless of how we feel
God’s provisions are uniquely timed to meet the exact time of our need & often not before, even though this can make us super jittery
I’ve had some interesting experiences of late that deal with the issue of needs & provisions. Here are a few areas where I’ve experienced some needs (see if you can relate to some of these): car problems, time shortages, some people issues at work, money shortages, kid concerns and more. As I’ve thought about these, there are many different ways to address & resolve these things by money, more time, wisdom, work efficiencies & more.
Sometimes I think we get a little too narrow on how we want these needs to be resolved. Sometimes our prayers are about having more money, or more time, or more help. But maybe these provisions are nothing more than the observable results of God’s immense love for us. Maybe the real issue isn’t about resolving our needs but rather trusting in God & His love. If we leave our life in God’s hands, He perfectly matches every need to His perfect provision.
There are times that I’ve prayed for more:
time & He has made me more efficient
money & He’s given me a creative idea on how to cut some expenses
help & He’s decreased some of my work
friends & He’s worked on me to be a better friend
Jesus said to seek His kingdom 1st & everything else will take care of itself. With God’s help, lets be sure that we’re going after God & resting in His outrageous abilities to provide for our needs 🙂
Enough is an interesting word. It makes me think of other words like, full, satisfied, adequate and others. I’ve been thinking about this word in many different ways – one of them related to rhubarb 🙂 You see, when I was growing up, we had a few rhubarb plants & my mom would make these really tasty rhubarb desserts. So over the last 5 years, I’ve tried to remember to buy some rhubarb plants to plant in the Spring. I’ve failed because I always remembered too late & the stores were all out of rhubarb plants. But this year is different 🙂 I bought a few plants over the Easter weekend & I’m really excited to plant them – now I’m just trying to figure out where. I want to make sure that I get them in a place with enough sunlight – enough being the operative word.
Of late, the word “enough” has been interrupting all kinds of thoughts – making me think that I don’t have “enough.” Maybe you’re like me & perhaps you wish you had more time, more energy, more wisdom, more money, more sleep, more sun, more friends, more help, more love, more rhubarb ,) more patience, more . . . . . just plain more. God & I have been chatting about this dilemma – maybe I would be more accurate to say that we’ve been wrestling about this topic.
So its interesting to note that yesterday in my Bible time I read Ps 107:9, “He satisfies the hungry and fills the hungry with good things.” Furthermore, I’ve been studying about God’s grace this morning & He tells me that His grace is “enough”. Perhaps my challenge is that I’m looking to my own resources more than looking to God as my provider. When I see God as my provider, then I can trust that whatever He gives me is “enough.” But when I get my focus off of God & onto myself or something else, then I easily fall into the lack trap – never enough.
Ever struggle with keeping your focus on God? What are some things that you’ve found helpful in keeping your focus centered on God? Would love to hear your thoughts 🙂
I really like the story about Abraham being obedient to God to sacrifice Isaac in Gen 23. I like it for lots of different reasons: it shows what determined obedience looks like, it shows me Abraham’s heart, it shows me some of God’s methods, among many other things. The culmination of the story is when Abraham is about ready to slay his son & God stops him & shows him the ram in the thicket – perfect provision in the nick of time. Which brings me to some thoughts related to our daily living.
There’s a difference between want, need & imminent need. Unfornately, we often get the definitions of want & need mixed up. Thankfully, God helps to clarify that difference from time to time 🙂 We all have needs & ultimately we need to see God as the answer to those needs. But here’s something to consider: a regular need is different than an imminent need. Abraham needed a ram to sacrifice instead of his son, from the minute he set out to obey God. The further he continued on the obedience path, the greater the need for a ram became. Nevertheless, he was committed to obey God even to the point of believing God could raise Isaac from the dead. But Abraham’s need became critical & imminent when he had tied up Isaac & was ready to plunge a knife into him. That is the moment when God gave Abraham the provision that he needed.
Here’s my point: we can not only trust God to be the provision for our needs but we can also trust in His timing. If He’s not providing something that we feel we need at this moment, the possibility exists that He thinks we don’t need that provision at this moment. And if this is true, then we can trust Him to provide what we need, when we really need it. Trust would be an operative word 🙂
i recently had a fun conversation w 1 of my friends who has recently had her 3rd child. she was lamenting the fact that it always seemed like she was behind, late, sleepy, etc. We were laughing because even before i had children, i was often late, running behind & felt like i was always trying to catch up. Now that i have children, well, let’s just say that i’m occassionally on time & frequently feel like there’s not enough of me & in some ways, i’m ok with that. Maybe you think that i shouldn’t be ok with that & that i should consider managing my time, energy, resources better to avoid these feelings. Seems reasonable to me.
However, if i live life within my margins, it seems to me that i’ll always be limited by my margins. I’m ok with running out of myself & having to rely on God (being irresponsible doesn’t fall into this category). I’m ok with God organizing my time for His purposes, while challenging me to keep my feet fully planted in daily living & its demands. On some days, I’m ok w feeling inadequate as i learn to trust & rely on God more. Somewhere, there needs to be some grace between “should” & “is”.
Ever find yourself asking God for more time, or more money, or more energy, or more wisdom, or more abilities, . . . . . ? At some point in all of our lives, I think we’ve all asked God for at least one of these things.
In my Lord’s Prayer experiment, I’ve found these kinds of requests interesting in light of Jesus’ instructions to ask our Father for “daily bread” – sustenance, essentials necessary for this day, etc. Here’s some of my thinking: if Jesus teaches us to make this request in praying to our Father, then because of God’s character of goodness & provider, He supplies our needs. To me, this means that He gives us what we need for each day, when we bring this request to Him.
As such, I’ve concluded that my heavenly Father does give me what I need for each day: enough time, enough provision, enough money, enough patience, enough talent . . . . In Ps 84:11 it says,”For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. NKJV
So given this understanding, when I ask our heavenly Father to give me my daily bread, I can trust Him to give me exactly what I need for this day.
Do you ever have trouble trusting our heavenly Father to provide what you need? What helps you trust Him?
Bridges are used to connect to things that would not otherwise touch or connect. This reminds me of spitting off the bridge of the isthmus of Corinth to see how far it was to the bottom – but that’s a different story.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAzCDOxMuSE]
Anyways, we use lots of things for bridges – ropes, wood, cable (consider your most recent zip line experience), cement, communication, etc. While we generally understand & are grateful that Jesus is God’s bridge to connect with humanity – I think that our Father has some things in our daily living that serve as bridges to connect us to Him.
Consider: in Philip 4:19, Paul tells us that God supplies all of our needs according to His riches in glory. This verse is often taken to mean that God meets our needs (He provides for the things we need in life). The context of this verse supports the idea that God gives us the things necessary to match the needs we have. However, given my simple mind, I also read this verse to say that God gives us needs. The reason I bring this up is because if you’re like me, I’m more motivated when I have a need than when I’m “content” or in a satisfied state. I find that often I am more drawn to God when I’m in a state of disequilibrium than when life is smooth. Could it be that God can use the needs in your life as a bridge for you to use to come to Him? Don’t shoot the messenger (me), but this is something to consider. 🙂