Tag Archives: provision

Thank You For The Tree

Let’s walk with the Israelites for a minute.  We’re still celebrating watching what we saw God do at the Red Sea – we saw the water turn in to two huge walls.  While being chased by our enemy, we stepped onto the bottom of the ocean to find it dry, just as dry as the sand in the desert.  No one but God could have pulled that off and we knew it.  We had ourselves a Holy fit and celebrated what we saw Him do.  That gave us the courage to keep following. We were full of faith at that moment, so we gladly followed Moses on even though we had no clue where our faith (or Moses) would take us.

Now we find ourselves in the Wilderness of Shur (my interpretation…sure enough wilderness).  No food.  No water.  Nothing but nothingness.  We’re tired and our feet hurt.  We’re hungry and thirsty – every one of the million or so of us.  On the heels of one of the greatest miracles we’d ever seen, we start complaining.  We’re in a tough spot.  Everyone knows survival…in the desert no less…requires at the very least, water. Walking out of bondage by faith is one thing but when physical need takes over, faith sometimes takes a back seat to what we feel, doesn’t it?

Can you feel it?  I doubt we can – I’m thinking with everything we want and need at our disposal these days, none of us have been without water – while walking – in the desert – for three days.  The complaints grew louder and they grumbled at Moses so loudly the man could hear nothing else.  Moses did the only thing he knew to do – he cried to the Lord for help.  What else could he have done?  There was water (Marah) but it was undrinkable.  I’m sure to all of them none of this made any sense.

This whole adventure from the beginning to that moment was all about full and complete reliance on God and obedience to Him.  After he cried to God the Bible says, very simply and unmistakably “…and the Lord showed him a tree…”

Allow me to indulge my humanness for a moment, will you?  A tree – this word indicates it was most likely a branch…not even a whole tree.  Can you imagine the look on his face? “OK Lord, you hear YOUR people (not mine) You KNOW we NEED water…and you show me a tree…a tree branch…??”  What?

In the moment of a great physical need (three days without water), I would have cried out, “LORD! What are you thinking?!  We don’t need a tree!! WE NEED WATER!!!!” Not Moses. Not this great man of faith.  He threw the branch in the water which made the bitter water become sweet and they drank.  God met their need – every one of them who drank got their thirst quenched.

We sometimes find ourselves on top of the world after a mighty move of God and for some reason, we think we’re going to stay there!  When something happens to us, we pray specific prayers and God gives or allows something that makes no sense whatsoever: Trees in place of water, a pink slip instead of job security, an illness instead of good health, etc.  In those moments we have two choices:  1) Lean on what we think we know and have an emotional breakdown when things don’t make sense or; 2) Trust God with every fiber of our being, even when it seems He must’ve gotten it wrong.

Thank God for the tree.  Pick it up in faith and apply His word, remembering the promises contained within.  He never fails.

Exodus 15:22-25  Philippians 4:19

Advertisements

Tie IT Down!!!!!!

I have issues.  Deep rooted, core issues, things I wrestle with on a daily basis.

Three years ago after a huge move back to East Tennessee, I had a change in my job which triggered a long term downward spiral in my life.  No money, car broke down, I could go on and on but it was traumatic and took a long time to recover from – every area of my life was impacted.

To this day because of that, I sometimes wake up in a cold sweat paralyzed in fear that it will happen again.  I can’t seem to shake it.  The FEAR of what has happened happening again holds me hostage and like a hostage negotiator with prayer and reading the Bible, God convinces me to “come out” – to believe and relax, relying 100% on Him.

This morning I was reading Genesis 22 pulling a lesson together for Sunday School tomorrow.  I confess to you I was doing this after I had been outside with my dog and seeing that I have a FLAT TIRE!!!!!!!!!!!

Every time I read this chapter, I try to put myself in Abraham’s place, walking up that mountain with his son of promise, the son God promised him in his old age; the son he waited for 25 years for; the very same son God asked him to sacrifice.  The “spiritual” Abraham walked that walk in faith but I wonder what the “physical” Abraham was thinking.

I got to the part where he tied Isaac to the altar, 100% willing to kill him (KILL HIM!) out of 100% obedience to God.  When something’s tied to the altar, it can’t escape.  There’s my problem.  I put things, concerns, prayers…ME…on the altar – totally in my heart giving whatever it is, including myself to God…but I don’t tie it down. In other words, when I get scared or I don’t understand I pull it right back up and walk away with it…then I bring it back…then take it back…then…

Oh God.   Help us TIE IT DOWN!  Help us leave it at the altar; help us have the faith of Abraham to 100% believe You and who You are and act accordingly, believing who You are.  That would mean we can’t act based on our feelings, fears or frustrations.  Help us to believe in You more than we believe in ourselves and even what we see.  Help us to seek the ram!  Help us to live in confident expectation that because You ARE our Provider, You will provide.  That’s who You are!  Forgive us our little faith.  Help us to remember Your promises and to walk in Proverbs 3:5-6.

Whatever your “it” is, take it to God, tie it down and leave it there.

Proverbs 3:5-6; Genesis 22

 

Look Back

Life was falling apart, husband said he wants a divorce.  The very night her husband told her his plan, a member of the family called offering her a job in his business because other family members that worked there got a job and other reasons…and offered her a job.  Feeling like it was a meant to be thing, she accepted and moved to their little town to begin the job and a new phase of her life.  She thought it would be wonderful, family close by, actually working for them.  She needed support and if the truth were known, she needed help.  Her son had many health issues from birth and this kind of support would be a dream come true.

It didn’t exactly turn out like that and after a year or so the family member told her he was closing down the business and she would have to get another job but not to worry, he would help her find one.  Because he was very well known in the little town, he asked someone who knew someone who knew someone at the local hospital who told him to have her apply for a Medical Transcription job.  She laughed out loud.  That’s a skilled profession, she had no experience and hadn’t even worked in a doctor’s office.  Impossible.  Ridiculous.  Just trying to get rid of her she thought. But because he pushed, she applied…and got the job.

She remembers sitting at a typewriter bawling, trying not to throw up because she was sure this was absolutely impossible.  “My God, what have I gotten myself into”, she kept saying to herself.  She couldn’t understand a word the doctor was saying and her very job was to type what he was saying!  To make matters worse, the department head told her, “you’ll never make it, I’ll have you gone in 30 days.” She made it very clear she was pressured into hiring her because a board member recommended me (because of the family member) and in a small town, that’s pretty much the way things went.  Nobody was happy with that situation, least of all the woman at the job.  She didn’t want to be there as much as her boss didn’t want her to be there.  A host of crazy things happened but she persevered…

Almost 30 years later, here I am, working at home as a Medical Transcriptionist.  That job (that I was thrust into because of circumstances beyond my control; the job I hated at first) has provided for me and my son.  Not only that because I work at home, I can work around what Matt needs to do – his work, appointments, and things he enjoys in his personal life.  Because he’s site impaired and doesn’t drive, he’s blessed to have a pretty normal and free life.  The kind of work I do allowed me to move back home to Kingsport, which was my heart’s desire.  I can make a living doing something I absolutely love (even though I hated it in the beginning) for an Australian company that has turned out to be the best, most enjoyable job I’ve ever had.

As I remembered all the details that brought me to this moment, I was brought to tears.  The beginning of how I got here was horrible.  I almost quit several times and in between then and now, a lot has happened, good and bad but I stuck with it, sometimes because I had to; other times because I wanted to.

The word that immediately comes to mind is PROVISION.  See, way back then when I thought my life was falling apart, God had a bigger plan.  Even though He was the last thing on my mind at that time, I was foremost in His.  When all that happened, I was lost and, if the truth be known, thought there was absolutely no hope for any kind of halfway decent life at all.

Your life may be crashing right before your very eyes.  You may think you won’t survive what you’re going through; you may hate what you’re doing and are looking for a way out.  Hang on a little bit longer.  Trust God and let your faith in Him grow stronger.   Do what you can do and trust Him for the rest.

Look back for a minute and see how far you’ve come.  Friend, none of it is by accident or happenstance.  Like me, one day you’ll look back and see His presence, love and provision for you every inch of the way.

Jeremiah 29:11-13; Isaiah 43:10

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.

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)