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Posts Tagged ‘Philippians 4:19’

Contentment and Confidence

October 18th, 2018

The important things in life are not things.  

“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Contentment and  Confidence.”

Contentment is not found in how much you have, nor in how much of a surplus you enjoy. However much you have will never be enough, apart from God’s generous provision. Contentment is found in your full confidence that God is your ample provider, Jehovah Jireh. The Apostle Paul was assuring, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NKJV.

Years ago, I was challenged by a quote attributed to Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher. Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.” How much must a person have to be content? That is a sufficiently important question that every person needs to answer honestly and accurately. When is enough enough? Usually, the answer is,  just a little more. Answered correctly, your answer can counteract a latent insecurity and subtle greed that conflicts with your desire for contentment. Insecurity whispers to all of us that we need enough, and then defines enough as more than what is truly adequate.

And even when you acquire what you think are necessary resources and gather more than enough stuff, greed still suggests that you require a little more while falsely reassuring that you deserve the extra you desire. So, a never-ending cycle is created, wanting more while trying to have enough. You work to feel secure, then reward yourself with more than you need. And, the result is a futile search, a never-ending quest for more.

Otherwise, your quest reduces your joy and pleasure for what you have and dampens your gratitude for what you have already received. Striving to accumulate and store more, becomes an insufficient goal for life, ultimately exhausting to the human spirit. Such a limited, material goal misdirects your heart from seeking true wealth which is always spiritual not material. Jesus said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also..” Matthew 6:20-21 NKJV.

It is better to have the best of what lasts, than simply more of what is only good for the moment.  More is never enough! My wise and dear friend, Campbell, advised me years ago, The heart cannot desire what the eye has not seen.” Be selective about what holds your gaze too long, lest it fills your vision and captures your desires.

God’s Word is clear, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV. What God provides will always be enough. And what is the personal reward of having enough? Gratitude. Contentment. Sufficiency. Satisfaction. Freedom from the tyranny for more. Appreciating things that money cannot buy.

“Godliness with contentment is a great gain.” Read 1 Timothy 6: 6-11.  I read a sign today that said, “The most important things in life are not things.” That is good to remember. God offers you a greater return, and much more enduring, than the biggest bull market on Wall Street.

“For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – through Him Who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13. It is never your wealth or possessions that provide true security and contentment. Those are found only in God.

Today I pray for you to trust God, reassured that He is your source of sufficiency.

Christian Communications 2018

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Use What You Have

July 25th, 2018

Doing all you can requires using all you have.

“God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.” Romans 12:6 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are, “use what you have.”

It is easy to imagine all the wonderful things you could do, if only you had more to work with. Ever felt that way? More of what? More opportunities? More help? More resources? More education? More skills? More experience? More advantages? Fewer challenges? Less difficulties? The list is endless and excuses continuous, while successes remain unaccomplished.

You have more than you realize. You have more than you use. Use what you have. Doing all you can first requires using all you have. It’s simple really. Inventory what you have rather than what you lack. Then God will provide what you need. Paul was confident, “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV.

The Bible is a reliable history of God at work through His people. God’s Word is filled with people and instances when they used what they had and God did what they could not have done alone. Everyone loves the story of David and Goliath. David had only a shepherd’s sling and God beside him. That was enough. King Saul tried to equip him with his own armor, helmet, and sword. See 1 Samuel 17:36-49 NKJ. What you don’t have is not the issue. In God, what you do have is enough.

The Bible spotlights individuals that rose out of obscurity to achieve something others did not dare to try. Have you ever heard of Shamgar? Probably not. His name appears only twice in the Bible, and very little is known about him, except his name, his origin, and the very difficult national and personal times in which he lived. See Judges 5:6-8 NKJ.

Danger and desperation made daily life difficult. Israel’s men were disarmed and defenseless. Because of his fearless exploits, his fame was included in people’s songs and Israel’s oral history years later. What did he do? Well, first consider what he did not do. He did not dismiss the possibility of courage against unimaginable opposition by first calculating the odds and then doing nothing at all. But here’s what Shamgar did. Single-handedly, “Shamgar struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. He too saved Israel.” Judges 3:31 NIV. One man, unarmed, against six hundred seasoned Philistine warriors.

He used what he had, a common ox goad, just a wooden stick tipped with bronze that a farmer used to prod his work animals. A simple ox goad was enough for God to provide a decisive victory. A common farm utensil was not much at all, except in the hands of a determined and courageous farmer, whose valor brought about a rousing victory that emboldened the heart of a nation to stand bravely and proudly against its enemy.

An unusual story? Yes, but not an uncommon one in the Bible. Has God changed from Shamgar’s time and yours. He is, “the same yesterday and forever.” Does His story sound familiar to you, like Moses and a shepherd’s staff, or Gideon and his trumpet, or Samson and a jawbone, or David and a slingshot, or a boy with a small lunch of bread and fish? God’s story is about using ordinary people in extraordinary ways, when they choose to use what they have for God’s purposes and glory.

You may not have what you need; you may not have everything you want; you may not have what others have. He does not promise all your wants, but He does promise all your needs. Trust Him to know the difference when you do not. You have something that God can use.

“God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability . . do it well.” Read Romans 12:6-8 NLT. Remember, the key to doing all you can is trusting all you have into God’s hands. The saddest thing at the close of a day, a year, or a lifetime, is to regret not doing all you could when you could.

My prayer for you is to see God supply all you need and multiply all you have.

Christian Communications 2018-73010

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Your Clock and God’s Calendars

September 23rd, 2016

Our clocks do not often match God’s calendar.

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“No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments are about your clock and God’s calendar.”

I think anyone who knows God fully believes this truth: “No good thing will God withhold from those who walk uprightly.” A loving and giving God would not choose to withhold what is good. The problem lies in determining what is good for you. God promises to provide what He deems good for His purposes in your life and at the time He knows will be best.

The most bountiful giving can never impoverish God. God is no poorer for however much He gives. With our limited resources, you and I might desire to give what another needs, yet lack the ability to do so, but that certainly is not true of God. God has desire, capacity, and ability to give. And His gifts will be, “good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.” Luke 6:38 NIV.

Describing a child asking their father for good things, Jesus explained, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will he give him a stone? . . If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him.” Read Matthew 7:7-11 NIV. In Jesus examples, a son was asking what the father desired to give – good things.

There are times when life seems to trample on the truth. Painful realities intrude into daily life, and even worse, they linger longer than you feel you can bear. Most people can manage slight pain for a lengthy time, or even severe pain briefly, but who can bear the greatest of pain for the longest of time? Our clocks do not often match His calendar. Pain and delay challenge your belief until you cry out, “Where are the good gifts the father gives . . where is the good thing God will not withhold?”

The Apostle Paul wrestled with that kind of physical and emotional pain from an undescribed, “thorn in the flesh,” and physically languished in a Roman prison, while what would appear to any of us as being “a good thing” seemed to be withheld. The answer Paul received is also God’s answer to you and me, “My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness.” See 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV. God’s abiding and abundant grace will be far better than momentary relief. Confidently, Paul wrote to the Philippian Christians, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV. I want to live with undoubting confidence and tenacious faith.

Here’s the challenge. When the real need of your moment remains unmet too long, you will wonder or ask why. The unwanted, unanswered question will press its way into your thoughts. Emotionally, there is a progression from wondering how your need will be met to worrying if and when the need will be met. Your heart knows God will provide, but you struggle when you don’t know when.

Those questions are emotionally difficult when God appears to remain silent. There is only one answer for the times in life when all you know about God doesn’t match the reality you are presently experiencing. We measure life by moments, minutes, and hours; God measures our lives by eternity. That’s when you must look up into the face of a loving and gracious God and say with all your heart, “My times are in your hands!” Psalm 31:15 NIV. Know this; either God has something far better when you would settle for less right now, or your need is not what you really need at that moment. When you don’t know when, God does. He is always on time, never late. He is ever gracious and giving.

Today, I pray for you to be sure your clock and God’s calendar agree.

Christian Communications 2016

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Needs and Wants

May 4th, 2016

“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV.

What God withholds, you are best without.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “needs and wants.”

We all have needs and wants. Our difficulty is distinguishing between those; our insistence on satisfying both makes those feel ambiguously similar. God has promised to supply your needs. “And My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus . . Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Philippians 4:19/Hebrews 4:16 NKJV. Sometimes, your wants incorrectly masquerade as needs. But God never promised to provide all you want; wants are forever changing, and many times could be unwise for you. With your wants, you must trust God to know and choose what is best for you.

I have heard it said, “It never hurts to ask.” With God, there is no constraint about your asking. In the context of persistence in prayer, Jesus encouraged, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10 NIV. Read Luke 11:5-13 NLT. “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4:2 NIV. How sad it would be if your needs were not met merely because you didn’t bother to ask God.

Beyond the fact that God relates His generosity to your request, asking is a healthy expression of humility as well as an honest confession of reliance upon God rather than yourself. But be advised; God’s promises are not blank checks you can fill in and cash whenever you want. The Bible is clear about times when God does not respond to your requests as you wish. In fact, James also addressed times when you ask but God does not provide, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:2-3 NIV. What God withholds, you are best without.

God is both loving and wise, a Father who delights to meet your needs, and more. But He is not a doting Father who gives you what you want rather than what is best for you. Having God’s attention is not complicated. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 NIV. God’s liberality is forever aligned with His will. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7 NKJV. Soak your heart and spirit in the Word of God.

In addition to being persuaded of the will of God, Jesus said, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22 NIV. Believe that what God wills to do, He will do. “If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.” 1 John 3:21-22 NIV. Your needs are provided by the One described as, “. . Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to trust your wants to His love and place your needs in His hands.

Christian Communications 2016

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Providence

April 19th, 2016

“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.” Philippians 4:19.

In the sovereign plans of Almighty God ample provision awaits.

Lauren and Cody, my comments for you today are about, “providence.”

Life does not always happen as you planned. You assume life will give you what you earn, and to a great degree that is true most of the time. But there will be other times when what you receive is disproportionate to the effort you gave. It’s not always your turn or the time for your expectations to be realized. In such a time, be steadfast, “I trust in You, O Lord. I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands.” Psalm 31:15 NIV. Life will take some twists and turns that you will not have expected. But none are apart from God’s attention.

In the Old Testament, the story of Ruth recounts a remarkable instance of divine providence, “the foreseeing care and guidance of God.” It is my opinion that we often view as random occurrence what becomes truly providential. Because of a famine in Bethlehem, a Jewish couple, Elimelech and Naomi, with their two sons, moved to Moab. Read Ruth 1:1-3. Their misfortune is summarized in those few verses. Naomi’s husband died. Across ten years, her two sons married Moabite women. And then, her sons died.

Still, providentially, God was at work. “In the country of Moab, Naomi had heard that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread.” Ruth 1:6 NKJV. Behind the scenes, God’s presence and providence are at work in your moments of disappointment, even despair. The best of life is not behind you because you experience reversals. God can reverse your reversals. Naomi and Ruth, “. . came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.” Ruth 1:22 NKJV. Harvest. God’s timing is impeccable – “the beginning of harvest.” Coincidence? I thing not. Divinely fortuitous? Definitely. God’s providence offers new beginnings for you.

After the years of famine in Bethlehem and the untimely family deaths while in Moab, Ruth and Naomi had nothing left.  They had come in the time of harvest, but they had no fields to reap. What would they do? How would they live? Are you asking questions like that? They accepted that they would be at the mercy of others’ kindness, but they did not yet realize their future was safely within God’s divine providence. After the reapers had harvested grain from the fields of Boaz, Ruth and others were allowed to glean what was left over, bringing home the meager result of their efforts. No longer leftovers, Ruth received what was providentially blessed by God and provided through Boaz’ generosity.

Ruth could not have foreseen the provision Boaz would release into her life. Boaz and Ruth soon married and a child was born, Obed, father of Jesse, father of David who would be, “a man after God’s heart,” and greatest king of Israel. Nor can you know all of the grace and blessing that God purposes for you – to give you something extra, providence beyond your efforts alone. “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV. God can bless you in the most natural, everyday ways. God places people in your life through which He supplies your need. In the sovereign plans of Almighty God ample provision awaits.

My grandfather was a pastor. As a young boy, I was intrigued by a series of books in his study titled, “Handfuls of Purpose.” When I inquired, he opened his well-worn Bible and read me the story of Ruth, where this phrase is found. Boaz instructed the men harvesting grain from his fields, “Let fall some of the handfuls of purpose for her.” Ruth 2:16 KJV. What you might consider fortunate coincidence or the random kindness of others may just be the “handfuls of purpose” God intends for your life and happiness.

God’s provision is always, “handfuls of purpose.” He has the same for you; “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NIV. That is God’s wondrous providence. Our God is “Jehovah Jireh – the Lord who sees and provides.”

Today, I pray for you to know what comes from God’s hands will be enough, with extra.

Christian Communications 2016/EDL website and archives allenrandolph.com

EDL Ruth and grain

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