February 7, 2018 by Daniel P. Clark

God’s Provision

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

The Bible’s fairly clear on the kinds of provisions God provides, and no it won’t be a Lamborghini.  It largely comes down to simple things.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:25-34

The Word is fairly clear about the importance of putting Christ first.  As the last two verses above indicate to “seek first the kingdom of God” and “all these things shall be added to you” if you look at the context of the scripture the “these things” seem to clearly indicate food, drink, and clothing as to what will be provided.  Clearly not a name it – claim it gospel here.

Jesus gives a parable to illustrate to what lengths he will go to to go after one of His own who has wandered off on their own.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’  I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

Luke 15:4-7

That same chapter goes on to illustrate the same point twice more with The Parable of the Lost Coin and The Parable of the Prodigal Son.

One scripture often used incorrectly by the name it – claim it ideology is:

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Mark 11:24

And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

Matthew 21:22

These two verses are the same thing being said once as recorded by two different people and the context is right after the fig tree which Jesus cursed had withered.  Taking these scriptures without context may lead anyone to believe that they can claim a Lamborghini and it will be theirs.  But that’s not so.  What Jesus said before that was:

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.  For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

Mark 11:22,23

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.

Matthew 21:21

Our self centered nature and our big eyes will emphasize the parts where what we say will be done; only to miss the point that Jesus was making to “Have faith in God”.  For more relevance in the “what can be done by faith” it’s best to further examine scripture.  We can find a parallel to these passages in James 4:2b,3 and 1 John 5:14,15.

Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

James 4:2b,3

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, 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 the petitions that we have asked of Him.

1 John 5:14,15

From these verses we can see that we do not receive things we ask for when we ask for our own pleasure, and that he “hears us” when we pray in accord with His will.  An example of God hearing our prayer when we humble ourselves is given in this parable.

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’  And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 18:9-14

God resists the proud.

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:5-7

It comes down to us to search the scripture to know His will and learn what we may ask for that is in accordance to His will.  Here are a couple of things he gives us promises on which I pray for consistently.

 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 1:5

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

To know what to pray for its best to know what the Lord wants.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:40

Jesus most important commandment to us is to love:

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.  Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:34-40

The law God gave in the Old Testament is encompassed by the first two which are to love.  The rich man asked Jesus about how he may have eternal life and Jesus mentions the law… which love fulfills.

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is,God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’  ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Matthew 19:16-22

Jesus desires what’s best for us all in the big picture.  There is a reward for giving.

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Luke 6:38

You may have seen a pattern here.  The overriding theme is selfless love.  You put others before yourself as the act of love.  It is an act of sacrifice.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

Matthew 16:24-27

You may have noticed this message applies to those who are in Christ.  From the parable of the lost sheep speaking of finding His sheep which was lost, seeking His will, and having faith in God.  And that God’s will is for all will believe in the Son of God and attain everlasting life.  The promises made available to those who are in Christ can be available to those who seek Him on His terms.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Salvation

Before one can be saved one needs to first realize their need.  For that we have the law.

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Galatians 3:24-25

God gave the law to Israel back in Exodus chapter 20.

And God spoke all these words, saying:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;  you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,  but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

And in the New Testament, Jesus clarifies:

But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:28

And in first John:

Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 3:15

And what does that mean for us?

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Romans 3:19-20

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:23

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

Hebrews 9:27

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

2 Corinthians 5:10-11

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

James 2:10

Okay.  So we have the law and we know that when you break the law you stand in front of a judge to be judged by the law.  As we can see from the clarification given after the law that it’s not only actions, but our heart by which we are judged.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

We know that all have sinned and therefore are guilty before God.  And we all will stand before Him on judgement day.  So what are we to do?

This is where the testimony of what Jesus did for us on the cross comes in to our benefit.  From the earliest scriptures God shows the consequence of sin is death and that payment is required for it by blood.  Before Christ the Israelites would sacrifice a lamb as a covering for their sin as God had asked of them.  Jesus the Son of God came down to earth, lived a life without sin, and then offered Himself on the cross to be that sacrifice for us.  He, as it were, has paid the price which is due to be paid on judgement day by the guilty.  We can have this redemption by being saved as His word describes it.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

1 Corinthians 15:3

and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

2 Corinthians 5:15

Jesus asks that we confess our sins and to repent.  The meaning of sin comes from an old archery term meaning to miss the mark of perfection.  Repentance is the act of turning away from what you repent of toward what is right.  Think of it like going the wrong way and repenting of going down that path by turning around 180 degree and walking the other way.

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

Acts 17:30-31

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

1 John 1:8-10

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name

John 1:12

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

John 6:47

After receiving Christ He gives you His Holy Spirit to live in you and delivers you from judgement and hell.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

John 14:26

And Jesus was buried in a tomb and rose from the dead three days later.  After confessing and believing in Him He asks that we get baptized which is symbolic.

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:4-11

Be sure of your salvation by seeking Him first and verifying by His word and His Spirit.  As the parable of the sower illustrates the condition of your heart very much determines if your salvation is genuine or disingenuous.

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Matthew 13:3-9,18-23

Summary

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

John 14:12-14

Asking in some ones name has a meaning often overlooked.  It’s to ask on a persons behalf.  To truly be asking on their behalf you would need to be asking something that was of their will.  Otherwise you aren’t really asking by their name, but rather your own and misrepresenting their name in the process (using His name in vain).  It’s as being an ambassador or an envoy for the person when you do something in their name.  You are extending their will through yourself in the service you perform.

But all this doesn’t strictly limit what we may pray about.  We should pray often on many matters; keeping in mind to be humble and not seeking our own pleasure beyond what God offers.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

My testimony on God’s provision:  One month I was without work and only had half of a months worth of rent.  So I went to my church and I asked them for help.  They agreed to pay my rent for me on the condition that I got a job.  I agreed and later at Bible study I prayed a prayer in faith, without any doubt, thanking God for the job He’d provided me (this is me without knowing anything of it of course).  I prayed this prayer in confidence because the church, also known as the body of Christ, asked me to get a job so I knew it was God’s will.  And whatever we pray in His name according to His will we will have.

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Matthew 18:19,20

About two days later I got a call from my friend Casey (whom I had not spoken to at all about this and wasn’t aware that I was looking for work).  He told me that I had helped him out in the past with getting work and so he put in a word for me where he worked and they already had an interview ready for me that Friday.  I showed up, was hired, and all this because God made it so.  I knew what God would do because He is faithful to His promises and He came through.

Now this job wasn’t what most would consider a dream job and the pay was not amazing, but it was exactly what my soul needed in an amazing friendly/family community kind of way.  It was a very healing workplace and helped in removing persistent fear I had developed in door to door sales.  So God knew what I needed more than I did, and He provided.

And with that I pray God bless you and may you go with peace of heart and mind.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6,7

Image by Koen van Seijen via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License

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