VIDEO Look Again and Think – God’s Provision

Look Again and Think

A warning which needs to be repeated is that “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches,” and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22). We are never free from the recurring waves of this invasion. If the frontline of attack is not about clothes and food, it may be about money or the lack of money; or friends or lack of friends; or the line may be drawn over difficult circumstances. It is one steady invasion, and these things will come in like a flood, unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the banner against it.

“I say to you, do not worry about your life….” Our Lord says to be careful only about one thing— our relationship to Him. But our common sense shouts loudly and says, “That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, and I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing yourself to think that He says this while not understanding your circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things to the point where they become the primary concern of our life. Whenever there are competing concerns in your life, be sure you always put your relationship to God first.

“Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). How much trouble has begun to threaten you today? What kind of mean little demons have been looking into your life and saying, “What are your plans for next month— or next summer?” Jesus tells us not to worry about any of these things. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the “much more” of your heavenly Father (Matthew 6:30).

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

When you are joyful, be joyful; when you are sad, be sad. If God has given you a sweet cup, don’t make it bitter; and if He has given you a bitter cup, don’t try and make it sweet; take things as they come.  Shade of His Hand, 1226 L


Seek First | Don’t Worry | Matthew 6:25-33 | A SHORT FILM About God’s Provision

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Praising God for Us! – Give God Your Best, Not Your Leftovers

Praising God for Us!

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

In his article, “The Human Body—God’s Masterpiece,” Dr. Joseph Paturi wrote, “The body has a chemical plant far more intricate than any plant that man has ever built. This plant changes the food we eat into living tissue. It causes the growth of flesh, blood, bones, and teeth. It even repairs the body when parts are damaged by accident or disease. Power, for work and play, comes from the food we eat.”

The omniscient Engineer has designed our bodies with breathtaking complexity, and we should praise Him for that. Psalm 139:14 says, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous” (NLT).

Have you made an inventory and praised God for how He created your hands, feet, lungs, heart, brain, ears, kidneys, ribs, and eyes? What about your circulatory system, digestive system, nervous system, and immune system? Perhaps if we were more thankful for our bodies we’d be better stewards of them, taking care of them for His purposes and using them for His glory.

The basic chemicals in our body, can be found in the “dust of the ground.” However, these chemicals cannot arrange themselves into cell tissues, organs and systems. This can only happen with an input of intelligence. Joseph Paturi


Give God Your Best, Not Your Leftovers

 

A few years ago, we attended a youth camp in Tennessee where the spiritual theme of the week was the word “FIRST.” The main scripture was Matthew 6:33. (It’s like saving 15% on car insurance with Geico—everybody knows it!) It reads, “But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (NKJV). Simply put, God wants to be first in our lives, not an afterthought. God desires and deserves our best, not our leftovers!

Too often we give God our leftover time, attention, energy, and money. But He should be our first resource not our last resort. Many people treat God like the paramedics—they only call when they have an emergency. Perhaps if we called on Him regularly, we’d have fewer emergencies. The New English Translation (NET) of Matthew 6:33 reads, “But above all pursue his kingdom.” So, the question is what are we pursuing? The word “pursue” means “to follow after in order to overtake, to chase, to strive to gain, or to seek to attain.” TV shows feature people pursuing nearly everything under the sun. Some are chasing big foot, others are chasing storms, UFO’s, sharks, antiques, sunken treasure, true love, etc. Others are chasing dreams of a career in sports, music, real estate, or fortune and fame in some other field. Friend, whatever you are chasing today? Be sure that above all else you are chasing after God.

Psalms 63:1 (NKJV) expresses it this way, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.” Verse 8 (KJV) is the clincher, “My soul followeth hard after thee.” “My soul pursues You” (NET). Of all the vain and valid pursuits in life, we need to pursue God above all else. We should be, to borrow author Tommy Tenney’s term, “God Chasers.” Putting God first is all about setting proper priorities so we don’t get our lives out of balance spiritually. Sometimes we must let go of some less important things so we can focus on the most important things.

Luke 10 tells the story of two sisters who served Jesus supper. I call them scatter-brained Martha and single-minded Mary. Martha was OCD about all the details involved in being a perfect hostess. Meanwhile, Mary selected to sit at Jesus’ feet and feast on His words. Frustrated, Martha had the audacity to interrupt Jesus and complained that Mary wasn’t helping her like a good sister should. Jesus’ response was classic: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Lk. 10:41-42, NKJV). In other words, “Mary is putting Me first and she will be rewarded for it.”

God expressed His desire to be first in Old Testament times too—“You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3, NKJV). Notice the positioning of the Ark of the Covenant, the golden icon of God’s presence and favor in ancient Israel. The Ark was carried on the priest’s shoulders and went out in front of the camp of Israel when they traveled or waged war (Num. 10:33-36). God intervened by rolling back the Jordan River, toppling the walls of Jericho, defeating their enemies, along with other supernatural feats. He only asked that they put Him first and hold Him up high for the world to see His glory.

The location of Moses’ Tabernacle was also symbolic. It was placed in the center of the Israeli camp (the twelve tribes camped around the tabernacle, three tribes on each side). This was similar to how Bedouin sheiks would thrust their spears in the ground and camp would be set up around the chief with his tent in the middle. God was symbolically saying, “I want to be the centerpiece of your life. Every part of your life should revolve around Me.” As long as Israel put Jehovah first and kept Him front and center, they were invincible. God fought their battles for them, no enemy could stand before them, and no weapon formed against them could prosper.

Then there was the Law of the Firstfruits. “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Pr. 3:9-10, NKJV). God set up the tithing system so His people would give back to Him the first 10% of their crops, flocks, or incomes and, in return, He promised to prosper them. A church sign said it well, “Give God what is right, not what is left!”

A desperate, destitute widow gathered sticks to build a fire. She only had a handful of meal left in her barrel and a tiny bit of oil. She planned to make a little cake for herself and her son, eat their last meal together, and then, due to drought, starve to death. Providentially, the Prophet Elijah came by her house. Then he asked for something that on the surface seamed rather selfish, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it FIRST, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth’” (1 Kgs. 17:13-14). Because she put God first, He gave her a supernatural supply and turned her shortage into a surplus.

Friend, are you pursuing after God? Is He first in your life? Does your life revolve around His will? Every other love and pursuit must be secondary to Him or it becomes an idol. He is either Lord of all or not Lord at all. Let’s make sure to give God our best . . . not our leftovers!

By Ben Godwin

https://barbwire.com/give-god-your-best-not-your-leftovers/

Prayer-Based Planning

Luke 14:28-30

In Luke 14, Jesus’ example of building a tower shows the importance of planning and using resources wisely. Otherwise, money may run out before the work is done. As with any plans we make, those involving finances should be covered with prayer. First, ask God for the wisdom to understand His teachings about money and how they apply to your situation. Next, pray for clarity about how much is spent versus how much is earned, as well as all the other details.

One final step is to seek the Lord’s guidance in assessing whether your spending habits are in line with His priorities. In evaluating this, it is helpful to divide expenses into categories, including:

• Giving to the local church, missionaries, and other organizations.
• Basic needs—food, clothing, and housing.
• Insurance, retirement plan, savings.
• Debt, such as mortgages, loans, and credit cards.
• Spending on extras—phones, internet, TV, eating out, vacations, etc.

Some of us will discover that our finances are not in line with scriptural principles, which may be discouraging. If this is true of you, turn to the Lord, confess what has happened, and pray for the strength to handle your God-given resources His way.

Financial discipline is a learned skill. It requires a commitment to live according to Scripture, persistent effort to change bad habits, concentration to develop new ones, and faith that we can learn to live according to God’s priorities. We’re blessed when we practice prayer-based planning.

How We Please the Lord

“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” (2 Corinthians 5:9) 

In this verse, Paul expresses the strong desire to be “pleasing to” (the idea behind “accepted of”) the Lord Jesus Christ. It should likewise be our own ambition—whatever we do and wherever we are—to please Him. This, of course, will make a difference in what we do and where we go!

The Scriptures give us a number of specific ways in which we can be confident of pleasing Him. For example: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1). That is, our criterion should be pleasing Him—not ourselves. Similarly, we are warned that “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). That is, our thoughts and deeds must not be governed by worldly considerations.

By suffering, willingly, for His sake, we can please Him. “If, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable [‘well-pleasing’] with God” (1 Peter 2:20).

“Without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6). We must walk by faith if we would please the Lord. This is not faith in the abstract, but specific truth—faith to believe the revealed Word of God and to act on that faith.

God is pleased with generosity. “But to do good and to communicate [to share what we have with others, for His sake] forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). This certainly includes sharing the gospel, as well as our material possessions. “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

Finally, when our ways please the Lord, we have this gracious promise: “Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:22). HMM

We Need Him Now More Than Ever

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

—John 14:26

I have reason to suspect that many people are trying to give leadership in Christian churches today without ever having yielded to the wise and effective leading of the Holy Spirit. He truly is the Spirit of wisdom, understanding and counsel. He alone can bring the gracious presence of the living God into our lives and ministries.

You may think it out of place for me to say so, but in our churches today we are leaning too heavily upon human talents and educated abilities. We forget that the illumination of the Holy Spirit of God is a necessity, not only in our ministerial preparation, but in the administrative and leadership functions of our churches.

We need an enduement of the Spirit of God! We sorely need more of His wisdom, His counsel, His power, His knowledge….

If we knew the full provision and the spiritual anointing that Jesus promised through the Holy Spirit, we would be far less dependent on so many other things…. I have said it before, and I say it now: We need the Holy Spirit more and more, and we need human helps less and less!   JIV048

Lord, I fear that we are indeed lacking the enduement of the Spirit of God. Send us to our knees, Lord, that we might be reminded that we need Him more and more. Amen.

 

My brethren, count it all joy

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.—James 1:2, 3.

Temptation is surely an assault to be withstood, but at the same time it is an opportunity to be seized. Viewed in this light, life becomes inspiring, not in spite but because of its struggles, and we are able to greet the unseen with a cheer, counting it unmixed joy when we fall into the many temptations which, varied in form, dog our steps from the cradle to the grave. The soldier who is called to the front is stimulated, not depressed; the officer who is bidden by his general to a post of great responsibility, and so of hardship and peril, is thrilled with the joy of his task. An opportunity has been given him to prove himself worthy of great trust, which can be done only at the cost of great trouble.

This is a true picture of temptation. And the result of it all is a nature invigorated and refined, a character made capable of close friendship with God, to say nothing of the unmeasured joy that is the attendant of nobility of soul and stalwart Christian manhood.

Charles H. Brent.

 

Every trial that we pass through is capable of being the seed of a noble character. Every temptation that we meet in the path of duty is another chance of filling our souls with the power of Heaven.

Frederick Temple.

 

With Continual Guidance

 

“The Lord shall guide thee continually.” Isa. 58:11

What aileth thee? Hast thou lost thy way? Art thou entangled in a dark wood, and canst thou not find thy paths? Stand still, and see the salvation of God. He knows the way, and He will direct thee in it if thou cry unto Him.

Every day brings its own perplexity. How sweet to feel that the guidance of the Lord is continual! If we choose our own way, or consult with flesh and blood, we cast off the Lord’s guidance; but if we abstain from self-will, then He will direct every step of our road, every hour of the day, and every day of the year, and every year of our life. If we will but be guided, we shall be guided. If we will commit our way unto the Lord, He will direct our course so that we shall not lose ourselves.

But note to whom this promise is made. Read the previous verse: “If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry.” We must feel for others, and give them, not a few dry crusts, but such things as we ourselves would wish to receive. If we show a tender care for our fellow-creatures in the hour of their need, then will the Lord attend to our necessities, and make Himself our continual Guide. Jesus is the Leader, not of misers, nor of those who oppress the poor, but of the kind and tender-hearted. Such persons are pilgrims, who shall never miss their way.

 

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