Tag Archives: provision

Like Everyone Else

1st Samuel 8:5:  “and said to him, “Look you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways.  Now appoint us a king to judge us [and rule over us] like all the other nations.””

While driving around town or sometimes talking to old friends, I listen to all their accomplishments and see the fruits of their lives of labour.  Their material possessions speak highly of what they’ve done with their lives. Then I think of mine.  I compare myself to others and what I see and sometimes feel I have nothing to show for my life.  I so want to be like everyone else.  Can you relate?

The Israelites had the same problem.  They compared themselves to other nations and wanted to be just like them forgetting and not realizing the Lord was their King Himself without a go-between.  His intention for His people was to lead them personally but the Israelites wanted to be just like everyone else.  They missed the blessing and significance of what they had and Who they had so granting their wishes Saul was anointed king.

Why can’t we just be satisfied and content with where we are and what we have?  What is it about us that we constantly compare ourselves to everyone else and worse, work so hard to become like everyone else then when we do, find ourselves discontented with trying to be something we’re not and have what may not be ours to have?

Here’s the thing. God didn’t intend for Israel to be just like everyone else (Deuteronomy 14:2)! He didn’t intend for us to be either!

If your life doesn’t look like anyone else’s maybe it was never intended to be. What if everything you’ve gone through – all the hurt, loss, devastation, trials, etc., were all custom designed so you could learn to depend on God and know Him more intimately?  Look back, do you see it?  Do you see His hand in everything and see that what you have had to come solely from His hands?  He helped us survive when there was no one else.  He put food on our tables when there was no other way to have it.   He supplied the clothes on our backs, the shoes on our feet, the cars we drive because looking back, we see there was NO OTHER explanation for it!

I don’t want to be like everyone else.  Although my life looks significantly different than most everyone I know, I know this.  Had it not been for Lord on my side.

Choose to be thankful for where you are and what you have, be it little or much.  Truth is as we’ve seen a lot lately, in the blink of an eye it can all be gone; health can change rapidly and circumstances can, too.  Thank God for His hand in your life and keep walking with Him, regardless of where you are. With Him, little is much.  Believe in the you God created you to be, His child, trusting Him regardless.  He wants you to be who He created you to be – His child, unlike anyone else.

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Provision

 

Just a quick observation.  I’ve noticed that when it’s the hottest and driest the dew on the grass is thicker.  My shoes and feet get soaked when walking Sampson.  I also noticed that in the intense heat things are still growing – because God waters His beauty with the morning dew.  That’s a display of His provision at its simplest.

Amazing.

That should tell us something.  In the most intense “heat” of our lives (circumstances) – if God sends extra dew to take care of the grass (which we often try to kill, at least cut) – if He takes care of things in ways we don’t even notice, how much more will He take care of us.

Worry places a barrier between us and Him.  Take it down and believe He’s going to take care of you and see you through what you face.

Matthew 6:25-31

I Just Want to See

For the past few months I’ve been without glasses and couldn’t afford to get my eyes checked.  Thanks to getting a full time job complete with insurance benefits, when I received my cards I called and made an appointment.  Thank you Lord!

After the exam, I began the quest of picking out frames.  Folks, I get overwhelmed in the cereal isle at the grocery store.  So many choices, too many if you ask me.  If I don’t stick with my favorite brand I get so flustered that I leave without any cereal.

That’s how I felt when I tried to pick out frames.  There were literally thousands to choose from and I was overwhelmed.  I just want to see; I want a little help for my face (it needs all the help it can get) but with all these choices how will I ever choose one pair?  What if I choose the wrong ones?  What if I don’t find any?

I kept searching and found several pairs and another problem arose.  I like them all! I want them all!  My want was out of control which brought on the anxiety of having to make a choice.  I told the lady helping me to pick for me and of course, based on her commission, she chose the most expensive frame which caused me more anxiety because they were way more than I had budgeted to spend!

Two lessons came from that experience:   1)  MAKE YOUR OWN CHOICES.  Sometimes we’re faced with life-changing decisions and the choice we make matters a lot.  Thank God this wasn’t a life-changing decision but it was an important one.  I reminded myself of the fundamental need – I just want to see.  I don’t have to go beyond what God has blessed me with.  He provided for my need with the job with insurance – I just need to be able to see.  Chill.  Get what is best for you – within your means.

2)  WATCH OUT FOR FEELINGS.  While shopping for frames, I saw what I could have even if I had to make some sacrifices for them.  All I needed was what I needed.  Sometimes God’s provision is overlooked in that He always provides for our needs, not necessarily for our wants.  Every day we’re fighting a very powerful foe – ourselves and our feelings.  When we let feelings take over we can make decisions based on how we feel rather than what we need.

I just want to see.  That’s it.  When I calmed myself down and made my decision, lo and behold, I got a pair of designer frames for $12!!!!!!!!! They are exactly what I wanted, they’re perfect for me, and they help my chipmunk-cheek face.  BOOM!  I promptly thanked God for providing my needs and the beautiful frames and for letting me see in all kinds of ways.

Silencing the Lambs

Divorce.  Death.  Natural disasters.  Sickness.  Depression.  Struggling to make ends meet.  Broken heartedness.  Disappointment.  Cancer.  These are just a few things embedded in life.  One would think – especially after something life-changing – and you trust in Jesus that bad things would no longer happen.  I could refer to all kinds of scripture to prove my point, yet I don’t think I have ever seen a time when God’s people seem to be suffering more than they are right now.

Remember where you are.  God gave the enemy this “playground” for a time.  This is his (the enemy’s) domain.  This earth isn’t heaven although sometimes the Father allows us to see glimpses of it here.

Because life is hard at best, so many who were passionate about their salvation have allowed their light and love for him to become dim.  Once so bold with His love, we’ve grown cold and find it difficult to usher a smile, let alone a word.  We’ve become a selfish people (note I said WE), and may I say in a human kind of way, rightfully so.  Life has beat us up. We walk around with all kinds of heartbreaks, disappointments and frankly, things haven’t turned out at all like we thought they would.

The enemy has successfully, in many cases, shut us up.  Perhaps faith has wavered because of what we’ve been through or going through and we’ve grown cold and silent.

Let’s try a different perspective.  Let’s believe that all we’ve been through is so we can help and encourage someone else.  Let’s choose to love and keep growing our faith in spite of how we feel and what we think (Proverbs 3:5-6). After all of this, are you going to stop believing in God now?  So many do; they get mad at God and turn away from Him.

Let’s believe Romans 8:28 – ALL things work together for the good…all means all things – even the bad. After all this, we’ve seen His provision, we’ve had a glimpse of His glory and He’s chosen us to bolster someone else’s faith that although all hell breaks loose He’s still faithful and will do exactly what He says He will:  be with us, never leave us, and see us through whatever moment of darkness we find ourselves in.

Don’t let the enemy silence you.  Remember who you are and Whose you are.  You’re more than a conqueror.  You’re royalty; live like you believe it.  “By your endurance you gain your lives.” Luke 21:19 (NASB)

Shattered and Scattered

John 16:32

The disciples had witnessed many miraculous things and received powerful teaching from The Supreme Teacher. They believed He was the Son of God, the Redeemer and the promised Messiah.  If anyone asked them they were quick to tell who He was, but now He was telling them He was going away – going back to The Father.  Jesus was telling them that in a short while, they would scatter and leave Him alone.  They didn’t believe Him.

How could they leave Him?  How could He leave them? The thought of it sounded crazy but it happened.

Don’t we do the same thing?

We have preconceived notions of God and how He’s going to bless us and work things out in our lives.  That’s as real as our faith is to that point.  That’s what we’re taught and we believe God (and Jesus) are who they say they are and we live based on our faith as we know it.

What if the unthinkable happens, though, do we still believe?  What if your child gets sick, you lose your job, you lose everything you have, your spouse dies.  When God allows you to be shattered, will you still choose to love God and trust Him or will you “scatter”?

Although I have been blessed with my heart’s desire and am physically living in it, it hasn’t been easy or even pleasant at times.  My perception of “trust”…of even who I thought God was and certainly how He would see to me have totally disintegrated.  Shattered, I became scattered and my God – I thought – had failed me.

I think God allows extremes to take us to the “next level” – if we choose to go.  We don’t have to.  Many have abandoned their faith in God when He allows extremes.  When we’re smashed with something we don’t see coming, we’re rattled, and perhaps for a moment, knocked off our foundation.

Many times, all we can do is believe in Him and choose NOT to believe what we feel and see.  I’ve said that many times.  In brokenness and despair when everything around is distorted and we’re shattered to our core, ready to cut and run (or lay down and die) – we’re at a crossroad of giving in or going on.  Will we choose to still trust Him?  Will we muster the strength to take one more step with Him?

The disciples did scatter when Jesus was arrested but something made them remain in the distance to see what happened.  They saw Him tortured, watched Him die and His body be buried. They gathered together in their grief only to see Him return to them more alive than He had ever been.  The first thing He said to them was “PEACE”.

During the shattered times, if we choose to hang on through what we go through He will do the same for us.  He’ll bring us back together, repair our shattered hearts and seal in us a much stronger faith…if we only believe.  He’s done that for me in ways I can’t begin to tell you.  He’ll do the same for you if you’ll hold on just a bit longer.

I’m Positive: I Don’t Know.

 

Good job: gone.  Money:  nonexistent.  Friends:  nowhere.  Money:  none. Refrigerator:  empty.  Eviction notice:  served.  Diagnosis:  terminal.

Lying awake night after night, praying, crying, begging God to help.  Nothing.  The next day is like the last day, spent in the grasp of fear and anxiety.

What do you do when you’re clinging to God with every breath, and He’s silent?  He has certainly not responded like you thought He would…like you think He should. Getting out of bed to do it all again seems unappealing.  Why? Just another day of failure, fear and discouragement.  Why even try, you ask yourself. Isn’t there a story in the Bible where Job’s wife told him, “curse God and die…”?  Maybe that’s the answer.  You tried everything else and it appears that you’ve failed.

There’s some fierce battling going on here.  On days, in situations like that the only thing to do is go on His say-so.  You must muster up enough faith in the Lord to try to convince yourself…despite whatever circumstance…that He is true to His word.  This is a battle for your faith.  The enemy knows what’s inside you and he’s (I believe) concerned that you’ll have an impact in the future so he must defeat you now – he’s aiming for you and this time his aim was very good.  You’re down and your faith is almost nonexistent.  Thus the decision.

Believe that God hasn’t left you.  Believe He’s faithful and His promises are applicable to you, personally.  Believe He will see you through.  How will He do it?  I have no idea.  What will He do to help you?  I don’t know.  I just know He will.  “Lord, because You say you’re with me, You’ll provide for me and will never leave me, I’m getting up out of bed.”  Sometimes we have no other reason other than that to start a new day.  This is faith.

Countless, the times in the past two years I’ve done just that.  I couldn’t see how I would live through the day (wasn’t real sure I wanted to), but I did…by His grace alone.  I could tell you story after story of how He has provided – it hasn’t been pretty and lots of it I didn’t like but He did. Through that, I have seen Him as never before…and I know Him better than I ever have.

How will he help you?  I’m positive of one thing:  I have no idea.  But.  I know He will.

~Philippians 4:19~

WHY Am I Here?

I walked in to another Friday afternoon/evening at the very busy grocery store where I work. I was so tired…kind of wishing I could just have a lazy day.  I discovered my position for the shift would be “the cage” (as we call it).  That’s an odd position with sometimes unusual people frequenting that register.  It’s also kind of isolated from the bustle of the rest of the store as it is kind of an “express” check-out.

I wondered why today of all days, I was placed there.  I mean, what was I there for?  We all do that from time to time…why do this and why do that, the result is going to be the same.  Same, same, same.  Blah, blah, blah…

My very first customers were two young women, both with young children.  One mom had an almost 3-year-old in the buggy.  They both were buying baby food and formula.  While checking the other mom out (which required a manager) the other mom told me her son was “special needs”, blind.  She proceeds to tell me their story – which eerily paralleled mine and my son’s – with all the familiar struggles.  I told her a little of the story of my son’s birth and we both teared up because they were so similar.

She told me she knew her son was her “angel” because it took him having him with all the issues he had to meet God.  I had to fight back tears as I listened because I’ve said that about Matt a thousand times, even way before I was saved.

She shared with me all the never-things she was told her son would experience and I told her to not listen that anything was possible with God, to keep going forward with Him and believing He was in control.  I told her about them saying that if my son lived to be a year old he probably would never walk or talk, that he was now almost 33.  The other young woman jumped in and said her child was developmentally delayed and told me of the negative and bleak picture doctors and specialists had painted for her baby’s future.

Boom.  There it was.

Had I not been assigned that particular position at that particular time I would have missed meeting these women.  I wouldn’t have had the chance to let them “see” down the road what is possible in their children’s future when their present was so bleak and uncertain.  That’s why I was there. Take it back a little further – had my life not fallen apart and I hadn’t applied and got hired there, I would have missed that golden moment where God met us…in the grocery store.

It occurred to me, because one of the managers was there – that I could have…maybe SHOULD have…kept my mouth shut, but I didn’t.  God’s teaching me that EVERY single encounter is not by chance and with every encounter comes an opportunity to speak of what He’s done in my life. THAT is why I’m there.

That’s why YOU are where you are too.  You don’t have to preach, you don’t have to quote scriptures, you just need to speak.  Tell it.  Tell how God has brought you through.  I dare say, every single person I meet when I am behind that register is going through something awful.  Some are hanging on by a thread and others are on their way to giving up and giving in.  You never know what a positive, God-led word will do for someone.  That’s why you’re there!

That’s why on my worst days, no matter how I feel I’m going to choose to believe there something much bigger and grander going on than just working at a grocery store and I look for those precious moments through which I see His hand.  Someone needs to know it’s going to be okay.  Someone needs to just be seen and heard; someone needs to be smiled at made to feel like they matter and someone going through something you have already been through needs to know someone understands.

It’s not about us at all.  It’s about them and showing them who God is and what He has done (Isaiah 43:10, Genesis 50:20).  So if you’re feeling like you don’t know why you’re where you are offer up a prayer to God to be used and watch what happens.  Be an encourager; be a light.  That’s why you’re here!