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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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EDL Phil 4.19 

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Diligence

February 25th, 2013

“The desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” Proverbs 13:4 NIV.

Life does not regard your wants; life rewards your work.

There is a very important lesson you must and will learn. Life does not regard your wants. Life rewards your work. And God honors those whose efforts reflect His nature and Name. Some learn that reality early and prosper; to their loss, others learn it late. Obtaining your wants apart from your work is unlikely apart from spiraling debt, demoralizing dependence on others’ charity, or resorting to dishonorable and dishonest behavior.

Paul’s personal example and clear instruction was, “. . this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.” 2 Corinthians 3:6-12 NIV. My father was a kind and generous man, but he strongly believed that principle and taught me early that reward came from responsibility.

As a child, I had family responsibilities in our home suited to my age and ability, then worked through High School and College for the extra things I wanted but the family could not afford. I am grateful I was taught the connection between contribution and compensation. The comparative affluence of more recent generations allows parents to lavish children with their wants but, in the process, impoverish their understanding of the practices contributing to future success.

The Bible warns, “The sluggard craves and gets nothing. .” Proverbs 13:4 NIV. There is a reason. No harvest can be expected where no seed was sown in preparation. Proverbs 20:4 NIV. The Bible corrects those who will not provide for themselves, not persons who cannot. This is a Biblical standard useful for self-evaluation of your effort and diligence, not for judging others.

The Bible also promises, “. . the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” Proverbs 13:4 NIV. Diligence is defined as, “the constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.” How would you personally define diligence? For my spiritual and everyday life, I think diligence is best expressed by attention to duty and detail. Diligence requires a “second mile mentality,” doing the extra any situation requires from a success attitude of “whatever it takes.” Jesus taught, “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” Matthew 5:41 NKJV. Rather than the mandatory minimum, do the unanticipated; contribute more than required.

Success with satisfaction relates to one’s maximum effort and contribution, not marginal or normal. See Proverbs 12:24/22:29 NKJV. For God and man, as well as yourself, do more not less; give your best not least; be excellent not ordinary; be an example not exception. Your part is to give your best effort and abilities every time; anything less is unworthy. God’s part is to prosper the work of your hands. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart . . Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Psalm 37:4 NIV/Colossians 3:23-24 NIV. See 2 Peter 3:14 NKJV.

My prayer for you this day is: whatever you do, do joyfully and wholeheartedly as unto the Lord!

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My Wants and God’s Will

August 10th, 2012

“If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:14 NKJV

God gave you a free will; God will respect your will but not be subject to it.

My thoughts and comments today are about “my wants and God’s will.”

Life is rarely on your terms. You might think you would like for life to work that way but it doesn’t, and life gets lonely if you persist in that. Self-centeredness is relational suicide. As a two year old, most of us learn that temper tantrums are not a socially accepted device for getting your own way. However, some never outgrow their insistence on total self-determination; they just change tactics. Badgering, bargaining, arguing, griping, pouting, blaming, door slamming, bullying, sulking, and oh yes, tears are a common strategy.  How has that ever worked out for you?

As the comedienne, Lily Tomlin, said, “I’m not bossy; it’s just my ideas are better.” That’s not a healthy strategy for relating to others. For a while, you may finagle a way for others to comply with your wishes, but relationships do not thrive in an unhealthy climate. “My way or the highway” is not an effective relational philosophy, unless you plan on a lot of time alone.

Now let’s talk about how this relates to your relationship with God. “He who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:17 NKJV. Sometimes a person insists on their own way even in their relationship with God. You can try to assert your will for God’s approval. And God will respect your independent will; He gave you that free will, but that does not mean God will be subject to it.

You finally begin to grow and mature spiritually when God’s will becomes more important than your wants. The Bible says, “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.We wish that read this way: “If we ask anything . . He hears us . . and we know that we have what we asked of Him!!” Now any one of us can get excited about that. But that leaves a glaring omission, a very important qualification – “according to His will.” There are no boundaries to what you may ask, but only when God’s will is preferred above your wants. “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 15:7-8 NKJV. When you abide in Him, anything else is secondary.

It is important to notice that your requests must be centered in a willing, trusting submission to His benevolent will. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2 NKJV. Good, acceptable, and perfect will of God! That conviction is fundamental to your trust and obedience.

God welcomes your bringing your needs to Him. Read Philippians 4:19 NLT. The difficulty is one’s confusion over needs and wants. Your wants always exceed your needs. God wants your needs to be met, but you are responsible to filter your wants and subjugate them to His will in every instance.

How can you know the will of God? God’s will always agrees with God’s Word and is compatible with His character. “Ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:9-10 NKJV.e hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask

My prayer for you today is that you ask freely of God and live in the center of His will.

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Contentment

May 12th, 2011

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11 NIV

“If you do not have what you want, learn to want what you have.”

My thoughts today are about “contentment.”

Contentment is not easy to come by in a world where people always want something more, something else, or something they don’t already have. If it’s small, we want it big. If it’s old, we want it new. If it’s theirs, we want it ours. A man of vast wealth was asked, “How much money does it take to make a wealthy man happy?” His answer? “Just a little more!” And then people wonder why they are not happy! The reality is that most people’s wants far exceed their needs. Contentment is knowing when enough is enough. Why are we not happy with what God provides?

Long ago I heard some simple advice expressed this way, “If you do not have what you want, learn to want what you have.” “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with what you have. For He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5 NKJV. Wouldn’t you be happier if you could do that, or maybe it’s more like, if you would do that?  That would suggest to me that covetousness is the seed of discontent. When you strongly want what someone else has even if that would leave them with less, you become discontent with what God gives you. Jesus never taught against wealth; He did, however, teach against greed and ingratitude. See Luke 12:15-21 NKJV.

I confess; I grew up in simpler times. As a child, we didn’t have a lot of things wrongly considered necessities today, but we didn’t seem to know that. Maybe that was because few if any people we knew seemed to have much either. We had enough, not much extra, but certainly plenty. More importantly, my Mom and Dad never talked or acted like that was inadequate. Our family was happy and content.

Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances . . I have learned the secret of being content in any and every circumstance.” Philippians 4:11-12NIV. Notice Paul’s accent? “I have learned . .” Those verses tell me several things about contentment. (1) Contentment is a process. It doesn’t just happen; it isn’t learned overnight. Each day you can learn a little more about how to be content, but along the way there are tests so you can gauge whether or not you are learning.

(2) Contentment is independent of circumstance. Paul wrote some of his most joyous words from the confinement of a prison cell. Settle this once and for all: you don’t have to have more to be happy. “Now Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8 NKJV.

(3) Contentment accepts the rhythms of life. There will be times when you have more and times when you have less. Both are valuable. In times of plenty, you learn to be thankful and share; in times of less, you learn to trust and appreciate.

(4) Contentment is confidence in God’s provision. “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength . . and My God will supply all (my) needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:13/19 NIV. With God, you will always have enough; enjoy all God provides and be thankful to Him and others.

My prayer for you today is: let living better, rather than having more, be your goal in life.

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Wants and Needs

August 12th, 2010

“God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches.” Philippians 4:19 NIV

“The wise do not spend before they earn, or more than they earn, nor all they earn.”

My thoughts today are about “wants and needs.”

It’s not a pleasant thing to have less than you feel you need. The problem is that too often your own estimation of how much you need is cushioned on the side of having extra. In general, we all want more than we probably need. It seems so obvious, but let me state my position clearly: the Bible does not promise that God will supply all your wants; God does promise that He will meet all your needs. Wants do not determine need. “God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV.

God’s promise is not a license for you to put yourself in need from excessive spending or improper stewardship, and then bring your voluntarily assumed obligations to God for payment. Of course, you cannot knowingly get yourself in debt unwisely and then expect that God provide what you lack. The promise to meet your need applies to the necessities of everyday life, not the niceties. Necessities are food, drink, clothing, and shelter. Jesus said, ”So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing . . Your Heavenly father already knows all your needs.” Matthew 6:25-33 NLT.

Let’s consider excessive spending. Easy credit has put more people in financial jeopardy than any other single thing. It is not the borrower who benefits from credit; it’s the lender. Solomon wisely wrote, “The borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 NIV. It is simple practical wisdom that you cannot spend more than you have without getting into trouble.

God has a promise to Israel and a goal for you: ”The Lord will bless you . . you will lend money to many nations, but you will have no need to borrow from any; you will have control over many nations, but no nation will have control over you.” Deuteronomy 15:6 NLT. Borrowing forfeits control to someone other than God. Having no need to borrow; that’s God’s hope for you.

Credit is fueled by financial impatience to have what you want, the seed of which is often a lack of trust in God to know what you truly need and provide it when you need it. People often have the process reversed, bringing to God the needs they have created, when God wants to bring to you what you need. And then people wonder why the promise doesn’t work the way they wish it would.

My Dad quoted to me what became a basic, financial understanding for a young teen, “If your outgo is more than your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.” I do not assume that was original to him, but it was how he lived and taught me to live. I’m the better for it.

Stewardship has four dimensions to balance: earning, spending, saving, and giving. Care for the first two properly, then saving and giving are much easier to do; fail the first and the others are less possible. The wise do not spend before they earn, or more than they earn, nor all that they earn. That is how God meets your needs, and provides you the extra for saving – to bless you family’s future, and giving – to the Kingdom of God, and others. See Proverbs 11:24-26 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you trust God to provide all you need.

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