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

Learn about Salvation and how to be a part of those who are in Christ.

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

#bible#christ#giving#God#jesus#providence#providing#receiving#salvation#spirit#truth#word