VIDEO The Habit of Recognizing God’s Provision

The Habit of Recognizing God’s Provision

…you may be partakers of the divine nature… —2 Peter 1:4

We are made “partakers of the divine nature,” receiving and sharing God’s own nature through His promises. Then we have to work that divine nature into our human nature by developing godly habits. The first habit to develop is the habit of recognizing God’s provision for us. We say, however, “Oh, I can’t afford it.” One of the worst lies is wrapped up in that statement. We talk as if our heavenly Father has cut us off without a penny! We think it is a sign of true humility to say at the end of the day, “Well, I just barely got by today, but it was a severe struggle.” And yet all of Almighty God is ours in the Lord Jesus! And He will reach to the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will only obey Him. Does it really matter that our circumstances are difficult? Why shouldn’t they be! If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we remove God’s riches from our lives and hinder others from entering into His provision. No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests. It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges— always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied. And there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives.

Before God becomes satisfied with us, He will take everything of our so-called wealth, until we learn that He is our Source; as the psalmist said, “All my springs are in You” (Psalm 87:7). If the majesty, grace, and power of God are not being exhibited in us, God holds us responsible. “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you…may have an abundance…” (2 Corinthians 9:8)— then learn to lavish the grace of God on others, generously giving of yourself. Be marked and identified with God’s nature, and His blessing will flow through you all the time.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Am I becoming more and more in love with God as a holy God, or with the conception of an amiable Being who says, “Oh well, sin doesn’t matter much”?  Disciples Indeed, 389 L


“Four Ways God Will Provide for You” with Jentezen Franklin

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Free to Follow

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

My high school cross-country coach once advised me before a race, “Don’t try to be in the lead. The leaders almost always burn out too quickly.” Instead, he suggested I stay close behind the fastest runners. By letting them set the pace, I could conserve the mental and physical strength I’d need to finish the race well.

Leading can be exhausting; following can be freeing. Knowing this improved my running, but it took me a lot longer to realize how this applies to Christian discipleship. In my own life, I was prone to think being a believer in Jesus meant trying really hard. By pursuing my own exhausting expectations for what a Christian should be, I was inadvertently missing the joy and freedom found in simply following Him (John 8:32, 36).

Lord, I’m so thankful I don’t have to be in charge of my own life. Help me rest in You.

But we weren’t meant to direct our own lives, and Jesus didn’t start a self-improvement program. Instead, He promised that in seeking Him we will find the rest we long for (Matthew 11:25–28). Unlike many other religious teachers’ emphasis on rigorous study of Scripture or an elaborate set of rules, Jesus taught that it’s simply through knowing Him that we know God (v. 27). In seeking Him, we find our heavy burdens lifted (vv. 28–30) and our lives transformed.

Because following Him, our gentle and humble Leader (v. 29), is never burdensome—it’s the way of hope and healing. Resting in His love, we are free.

Lord, I’m so thankful I don’t have to be in charge of my own life. Help me rest in You.

True freedom is found in following Christ.

By Monica Brands 

INSIGHT

“Following Jesus” may be the best way to describe the essence of the Christian life. Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2 nkjv), which means He is both the starting point and the culmination of our rescue—a reality secured by the cross. His resurrection is part of this as well. Paul said, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). The term firstfruits reminds us that Jesus secured our restoration to the Father through His death and subsequent victory over death. This victory is at the heart of His call to us: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Peter added of the Savior’s sufferings, “You have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21 nasb).

What better response to His sacrifice could we ever give than to simply and wholeheartedly follow Him?

Bill Crowder

God’s Ultimate Purpose for Our Trials

Romans 8:29-30

Difficult situations are easier to bear if we know that something good is going to result from them. The problem is that our idea of good may not be the same as God’s. Since His ways and thoughts are much higher than ours, we must trust Him to know what is best, even if it causes us pain, frustration, or hardship (Isa. 55:9). The ultimate good the Lord is working to accomplish is our conformation to the image of His Son, and trials are one of the tools He uses in the process.

However, we should never think that God sends affliction into our lives and then sits back to see what will happen. Our loving heavenly Father oversees every aspect of the situation.

The Lord designs our trials. God considers every adversity necessary to achieve a specific purpose in our life (1 Peter 1:6-7). He knows each of us intimately and sees where we need correction or spiritual growth to become more Christlike.

God determines the length of our trials. From our perspective, any suffering lasts too long. But when we depend on the Lord, He gives us grace and strength to endure until His purpose is accomplished (Phil. 4:13).

The Lord limits the intensity of our trials. He knows what we can handle and will not give us more than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Nothing in our life is random or meaningless. Even when we don’t understand what the Lord is doing, we can trust that He will use our trials to make us more like His Son in character, conduct, and conversation.

They Have Their Reward Already

“Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” (Matthew 6:2)

Evidently in our Lord’s day there were individuals who, when they went to the synagogue to give of their money, did so with great show, even having a trumpeter go before them to announce their actions. They also prayed openly “standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men” (v. 5). Jesus called them hypocrites.

The Greek word for hypocrite was used primarily for a stage actor—one who acted as if he were another person, perhaps using a large mask to hide his true identity. In this case, the hypocrite played the part of a generous person or a pious person who, out of a heart of concern for the poor or out of genuine love for God, would give or pray abundantly. But under the “mask” was only a desire to have others recognize and glorify him. Perhaps they received the applause of the onlookers, to which Jesus remarked, “They have their reward” (v. 5), even as the hypocrites in the synagogues and in the streets receive theirs.

The word “have,” an ordinary word, is here modified by a prefix that changes its meaning to “have in full” and was commonly used on business receipts to mean “paid in full.” No payment or service was expected to follow the close of the transaction.

How sad it is when we do “Christian” work today for the praises of men and not the glory of God. Whatever comes of our work will be here; there will be no more reward to follow. Rather, let us give, or pray, or work, in secret, as it were, “and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (v. 4). JDM

The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind

Mark 8:22-38

Mark 8:22

Our Lord was never long without a case of sickness or infirmity to deal with, and if we are wise we shall each one keep him well employed by taking our own infirmities and sins to him. One touch of that dear hand will make us whole.

Mark 8:24

He saw indistinctly, as some of us do now in spiritual things; but when our Lord begins a cure he makes a perfect work of it. Meanwhile it is a great mercy to see at all.

Mark 8:30

Then he desired to avoid notoriety, and had wise reasons for commanding silence, but now we may publish his fame as much as we please; yea, the more we sound abroad his praises the better will he be pleased.

Mark 8:31, 32

In his great love he could not bear to hear his Lord talk of suffering even unto death; but still his affection did not excuse his gross presumption.

Mark 8:33

Satan or thou adversary

Mark 8:33

It was great impudence on Peter’s part to chide his Lord, nor could the Master endure that his servant should put a stumbling-block in his way by urging him to forego suffering and death. He counted even his best friend to be an adversary when he stood in the way of his work of love. Lord, thou wast angry with Peter because thou wast too fond of us to spare thyself

Mark 8:34, 35

Not only must Jesus make a sacrifice of himself, but the spirit of selfishness must be driven out of all who will be saved by him, and they also must be willing to die for the gospel’s sake. Nor need they be ashamed to do so, for in the end he will prove to have acted wisely who gave up all earthly things to gain the heavenly treasure.

Mark 8:36-38

Solemn words. Let us not go forth from this room till we have asked for grace, never to be ashamed of the name, people, doctrine, ordinances, or commands of Jesus.

 

Jesus! and shall it ever be?

A mortal man ashamed of thee!

Ashamed of thee, whom angels praise,

Whose glories shine through endless days.

 

Ashamed of Jesus! that dear Friend

On whom my hopes of heaven depend!

No; when I blush, be this my shame,

That I no more revere his name.

 

Holy Spirit, Is All Divine

It is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. (1 John 5:6)

I wonder if any Christian can ever show forth the transforming radiance of the love of God without a complete surrender to the indwelling Person of the Holy Spirit?

Surely that was in the mind of the songwriter, as he prayed and sang:

 

Holy Ghost, with light divine,

Shine upon this heart of mine;

Chase the shades of night away,

Turn my darkness into day.

 

Holy Spirit, all divine,

Dwell within this heart of mine;

Cast down every idol throne,

Reign supreme—and reign alone.

 

Our world is filled with hatred and conflict, violence and bloodshed. Through the plan of redemption God has dealt graciously with this global problem of hatred in the hearts of men and women. He has sent the source of love and light and radiance to the human bosom; Paul himself testifying: “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us” (Romans 5:5).

 

We Receive As We Give

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” Matt. 5:7

It is not meet that the man who will not forgive should be forgiven, nor shall he who will not give to the poor have his own wants relieved. God will measure to us with our own bushels, and those who have been hard masters and hard creditors, will find that the Lord will deal hardly with them. “He shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy.

This day let us try to give and to forgive. Let us mind the two bears — bear and forbear. Let us be kind, and gentle, and tender. Let us not put harsh constructions upon men’s conduct, nor drive hard bargains, nor pick foolish quarrels, nor be difficult to please. Surely we wish to be blessed, and we also want to obtain mercy: let us be merciful, that we may have mercy. Let us fulfill the condition, that we may earn the beatitude. Is it not a pleasant duty to be kind? Is there not much more sweetness in it than in being angry and ungenerous? Why, there is a blessedness in the thing itself! Moreover, the obtaining of mercy is a rich reward. What but sovereign grace could suggest such a promise as this? We are merciful to our fellow-mortal in pence, and the Lord forgives us ”all that debt.”

 

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