Wants, Needs, and God

August 13th, 2019


God’s Supply is Unfailing.
“My God will meet all your needs according to
the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV.

Most of us seem to be a bundle of needs. More realistically, we are a bundle of wants. However, Google search lists only five basic needs for physical survival: oxygen, water, food, shelter, and sleep. Needs are less numerous than wants. Often wants will pose themselves as needs. Wants are about personal preferences. Needs are about necessary provision.

Wants are your responsibility to provide. Needs are God’s delight and promise to provide. When it seems I need a lot of things I don’t have, I discover most of those are things I want more than things I lack. Invite the Holy Spirit to examine your heart.

God promises to, “supply all your needs according to His riches.” Be cautious about wanting more things than you are willing to expend the effort and expense they would require. Yes, you and I have needs. We always will, because none of us are self-sufficient.

True needs, as contrasted with wants, are fewer than you might suppose them to be. God’s Word assures that you can always trust your needs to His care because we can trust His benevolent generosity. I love this Bible verse. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV. ”So do not worry, . . your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33 NIV.

Across my lifetime, I have found God’s Word true. “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV. That is His promise from Heaven’s never depleted resources. But please notice that our Heavenly Father promised to meet all your needs, not all your wants.

God will supply your lack or provide your needs in both normal and miraculous ways. God also works through people to provide the help you lack. And God wants to use you as a channel of His blessings and provision to others and use others as the delivery system from His heart and hands, becoming deposits of His grace and provision to your life. The stark reality is this. Without the sufficiency of God and generosity of others, we will be incomplete, limited, and inadequate. You need God. Every person needs God. God needs you and people need you.

You and I were designed for interdependence. God will provide what we lack. Through you or others, God will supply what I need but lack. You and I were never created to be independent of God or one another. However, or by whomever your needs are met, God is the Source.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17 NKJV. God’s blessings and gifting in your life and God’s blessings in others lives are for mutual benefit, spiritual edification, and Christian witness. Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-31.

Here is my summary of this matter. ”Now, to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 NIV. Yet the measure of what God gives is not limited to natural sources. Are you inviting God and allowing others to be God’s channels of His love and provision for your daily needs?

His promise is sure. “[Do not] have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek [a]the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” Luke 12:29-30 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is to be confident in God’s promise and provision.

EDL Communications 2019
Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

The Ways of God

August 7th, 2019

God’s Way Is the Right Way.

“Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may live
according to your truth!” Psalm 86:11.

My thoughts and comments today are about,
“the ways of God.”

Have you ever presumed that your way of doing things is the right way? Of course, you have. I have as well. Maybe you have considered your way was even the best way. Hopefully, you have lived long enough to know that your way is not the only way and often not the best way. On some occasion, most of us have presumed that, without even thinking about it.

In marriage, as well as friendships, such assumptions are soon challenged. As is typical of most marriages, my wife’s family and my family celebrated birthdays and holidays similarly, but just a little differently. A couple or a family’s behaviors are not necessarily better or worse, just different.

Gayle and I soon learned to consider together the best of what was familiar to us individually, then find what could become distinctive to us as we constructed our marriage and family together.

But my thoughts today are not about past history, previous experience, or personal preference. My thoughts and comments are about a holy passion to learn fully, value highly, and obey readily the ways of God. I am considering what the New Testament described as the old man and the new man in Christ.

God holds up His thoughts and ways and compares His with ours. You and I do not come out well in that comparison. God’s ways are these, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT.

Reflect on God’s comparison of His, “ways and thoughts,” and your own. God’s ways and thoughts are always higher and well beyond anything you or I could imagine or achieve without Him. It’s really this clear and simple. “As for God, His way is perfect.” Psalm 18:30 NIV. What is left to compare? Every other comparison must fall short and be found inadequate.

Here is where you begin. Bring your heart and thoughts to Him with this humble request. “Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to Your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor You.” Psalm 86:11 NLT. Moses promised Israel, ”For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do – to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him – then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves.” Deuteronomy 11:22-23 NKJV.

This is not complicated. Be assured. God promises that, “A man though a fool will not err therein.” Isaiah 35:8 KJV.

My prayer for you today is for you to know, choose, and walk in the ways of God.

EDL Communications 2019
Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

Love Never Fails

July 31st, 2019


”Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:8 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are that,
“Love Never fails.”

We are imperfect people, a work in progress. We all need to grow in grace where the Bible is clear, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” At one time or another, each of us fail to love. Even so, we expect other imperfect people to behave perfectly. Extend that same grace to others that you expect from God for yourself.

If your love and patience for others are not perfect, why would you demand that from others? Be prepared. The best of people will disappoint. Imperfect people behave imperfectly. Love never fails but people fail to love.

Incorrectly, we assume that love is an emotion. In truth, love is much more. Love is a decision with a corresponding commitment. When you don’t feel loving, you can still choose to love. The Bible is clear. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you MUST love one another.” John 13:34 NIV. Not a suggestion. Never optional. Non-negotiable. Jesus is our inspiring, enabling example. Yet still we struggle to achieve obedience.

Emotions parade themselves as love every day. Much of what is assumed to be love can be diminished by our hurts and history. Emotions change with our moods, whims, and circumstances. When someone fails to love you, you feel hurt. Similarly, you diminish others when you fail to love them. When you fail to love you diminish yourself in the process.

When a person feels betrayal of trust, hearts and homes are broken. A person, hurt and disappointed, can find it hard to trust or love again. This month will have been 56 years since Gayle and I stood at an altar in a pretty, little Nazarene Church in Soquel, California. There, we pledged our love and lives to one another, “Till death do we part.”

I am embarrassed to confess that despite my best intentions then and now; I have not been always as considerate and loving as I meant to be. Ofttimes, I speak with less than loving tones, in less than loving ways, or less than selfless as I could and should. So, by a person’s own experience this claim of Scripture may seem hard to accept at face value. With what you may have been or seen or, you might struggle to confidently say or believe that, “love never fails.”

Love doesn’t fail. People fail to love. In that statement, God promises that His love can never fail. That is true of God’s love. but you have seen people’s feeble attempts to love. It also may sound like love will never let you down or disappoint you, but you may have been disappointed by someone. I think it might be more accurate that God’s Word is promising that God will never fail to love, and God’s love will never fail to be loving, as is true of His own essential nature.

How can that be said so confidently? Because love is not something that God feels, or expresses, or does. Love is who God is. “The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8. God has promised, “I will never fail you or forsake you.” Joshua 1:5. If God never fails, God’s love can never fail! Your love and mine are imperfect. Our best efforts will fail unless we learn to fully embrace and express God’s love unselfishly.

Love that never fails is evidenced by these qualities: “love is patient, constructive, not possessive, not anxious to impress nor with an inflated sense of importance. Mannerly, unselfish, not touchy, never keeps account of wrongs, finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices when truth prevails. Love knows no end to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope: it can outlast anything. Love is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 JBPhillips.

To be authentic, love must be practical and observable. Those qualities of moral character and relational integrity are the true expression of God’s eternal nature. Can you learn to be more like God? “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God … dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also must love one another.” 1 John 4:7/11. You can have, and give, a love that lasts. “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” 1 Corinthians 3:14 NLT.

Today, I pray for you to know and give the true love that does not fail.

EDL Communications 2019
Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

Making a Difference

July 25th, 2019

The Smallest Light Will Pierce the Greatest Darkness.

“You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.”

Matthew 5:13-14 NIV

My thoughts and comments today are about,
“making a difference.”

Inherently, every person wants to make a positive difference. In our hearts, we want to leave a footprint in our world and our fingerprints in the lives of family and friends who knew us. Every person wants to believe that their life matters and that it matters to others, as it should. You can and should live a life that matters.

Jesus taught that your influence is invaluable in the Kingdom of God as you impact the circle and circumference of your world. With purpose and anointing of the Holy Spirit, you can make an eternal difference in others lives with the beneficial influence and righteous impact that you can have.

With the example of ordinary salt and light, Jesus described the DNA of a life that eternally matters. “You are the salt of the earth . . 14 “You are the light of the world, like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:13-14 NLT. Salt and Light will produce a life that has eternal impact.

Salt makes a difference. Its purpose is to impart flavor where it is lacking and enhance flavor where it exists. Does your life do that? Do you make people and situations around you better than they would be if you were not there? Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth! What good is salt if it has lost its flavor?” Matthew 5:13 NIV. Then be salty without apology.

Just remember that sometimes less is more. God forbid that you are content to be bland and blend in, indistinguishable from everyone else. You were never meant to be forgettable. You are unique. You are meant to make an eternal difference.

Light makes a difference. John wrote of Jesus, ”In [Jesus] was life, and that life was the Light of all mankind. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Read John 1:4-6 NIV. And Jesus also said said, “You are the light of the world . . ”In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIV. The light and life in you and me enlightens everything within its reach making other things more beautiful than they would otherwise appear and some things noticeable when they might not otherwise be seen.

My wife, Gayle, enjoys and uses lights from the soft glimmer of candlelight, the focus of accent lights, the beauty of decorative lights, and the brightness of lights needed for a particular task. All make a difference; all have their purpose; all are beneficial.

Stand out in the crowd; don’t blend in. It is challenging and affirming when you recognize who God made you to be, and you become that to the best of your ability for the glory of God. Let it be spoken of us that “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also . . they also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” Acts 17:6 NKJV/Acts 4:13 NLT. Being with Jesus makes you different in the best of ways.

Paul wrote to his young protégé, Timothy, “Take Mark and bring him with you, for he is profitable to me for ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:11 NKJV. My thoughts are captured by the Apostle’s assessment of young Mark,“he is profitable to me.” That’s what I want to be true of my life – profitable for ministry! I pray that you would want that to be said of you as well.

My prayer for you today is to live so others can see Jesus better.

EDL Communications 2019
Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

Addidng Value to Others

July 11th, 2019

God values others. So should you.

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
John 13:34 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about,
“adding value to others.”

Everyone longs to be valued and loved. That desire is innate, original to how God created you and me, as well as all others. We long to be loved for who we are, rather than what we do. The Bible is clear, ”God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV. While we were yet sinners! Loving others is your primary response to God, which you then extend to others. To the extent that you understand how beloved you are, you are enabled, even empowered, to love others more freely.

Love is mandatory, not optional. Jesus was very direct and clear. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV. I read that phrase, “as I have loved you,” to describe both the measure and manner of the love we are commissioned to share with others. You are to give what you have been given.

Loving others as much as you love yourself would be far easier to obey if everyone were as easy to love as some others are. I think that is why Jesus did not make the command about the other person’s worthiness; He made it all about you. God knows that you were created with a healthy self-esteem, and though that is a bit complicated because of everyone’s natural condition, which theologians call, “fallenness.” Everyone has a good dose of appreciating and preserving themselves, some a little too much.

This is the practical aspect of loving others. “You truly love others when you add value to their lives.” Isn’t that what you are trying to do for yourself, adding value? In your better, nobler moments you want to be better and do better. I have been blessed to have so many others who loved me and cared enough to add value to my life. They continually invested something of themselves to assist me to realize more of what God intended for my life.

They spent time with me. They offered their wisdom, gathered from experiences of both successes and failures. They shared what they had learned. They related their lessons from life that they had learned the hard way. They expected better of me and held me to a higher standard than would have been natural to me.

You invest in a good education for yourself so that you will have more options and fulfillment in what you do, with a greater chance for success and financial security. You choose a spouse that will enrich and enhance your life and theirs. You select a neighborhood and schools for your children that will better ensure their safety and academic achievement. You try to eat wisely and exercise to insure better health and longevity. Isn’t all of that about adding value to your life?

How then can you love others and add value to their lives? Simply stated, you can do so by placing a higher value on them, the way you value yourself – thinking of them as highly as you think of yourself – treating them as well as you treat yourself – speaking of them as kindly as you speak of yourself – wanting the best for them as you desire the best for yourself – and rejoicing with and for them when they rejoice.

The Bible is clear, “That the members may have the same care for one another. And if one suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with them.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 NAS. When you rejoice for others success as you would for your own and when you empathize with their sufferings as you struggle with your own, then you will, “love others as much as yourself.” You add value to others when you recognize how highly God values them. When you are persuaded of that you will treat all others accordingly.

Jesus stated this principle practically and plainly, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, as I have loved you. so, you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples.” John 13:34-35 NKJV. Love is God’s command, not suggestion. Loving others is an obligation, not an option. Jesus said, “Give as freely as you have received!” Matthew 10:8 NLT.

You are asked to give others what God has given you, to regard others as God regards you, and to behave toward others as is God’s manner toward you. Early in ministry, God put an understanding in my heart, “Love to be authentic must be practical and observable.” Is the result of your regard and relationship with others practical and observable?

Today, I pray for you to invest yourself in others in beneficial ways.

EDL Communications 2019
Website and archives: allenrandolph.com