Tag Archives: provision

Exodus 27; John 6; Proverbs 3; Galatians 2

He already knew what He was going to do.

Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. John 6:5-6, NLT

Philip looks around at what they have–a boy’s lunch of loaves and fish, and a crowd of thousands.

I glance at my calendar, empty grids awaiting my pencil to fill in the tasks–a lot of unknown, and it all feels too big. I know these days will move fast and powerful, and in my own strength, my limited sight and wisdom, I look around at what I have and at what needs to be done. I am thankful and clinging to peace: He already knows what He is going to do.

The people wanted proof and proof, even after their bellies were filled. Miracles are marvelous morsels, but they don’t sustain–only Jesus can.

26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”

29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” John 6:26-31, NLT

I don’t need the miracles in order to follow Jesus. I know that by following Him, the miracles will come.

Spending time at His feet today, I find peace and rest. He calls me His child, and I am quieted. When urgency and unknown press against me, I fix my gaze upon Him. I listen and there is deep joy. These were the first words I read this morning, in Proverbs 3, Trusting the Lord.

My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
    Store my commands in your heart.
If you do this, you will live many years,
    and your life will be satisfying.
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
    Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
    Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
    and you will earn a good reputation.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
    Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
    and strength for your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth
    and with the best part of everything you produce.
10 Then he will fill your barns with grain,
    and your vats will overflow with good wine.

11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline,
    and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
12 For the Lord corrects those he loves,
    just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

13 Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
    the one who gains understanding.
14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
    and her wages are better than gold.
15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 She offers you long life in her right hand,
    and riches and honor in her left.
17 She will guide you down delightful paths;
    all her ways are satisfying.
18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
    happy are those who hold her tightly.

19 By wisdom the Lord founded the earth;
    by understanding he created the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth,
    and the dew settles beneath the night sky.

21 My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.
    Hang on to them,
22 for they will refresh your soul.
    They are like jewels on a necklace.
23 They keep you safe on your way,
    and your feet will not stumble.
24 You can go to bed without fear;
    you will lie down and sleep soundly.
25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
    or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
26 for the Lord is your security.
    He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. Proverbs 3:1-26, NLT

Thank you, Jesus.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 16; Luke 19; Job 34; 2 Corinthians 4

For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, “who has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:5-6

2 Corinthians 4 is a warm Spring breeze blowing through the open window of a house that has been closed up for the winter. It brings life and renewal, song and sunlight. There’s a new fragrance coming into the house that pushes away the stale air.

This gospel is not about me; it’s not about me clenching my jaw and willing myself to be good enough, effective enough and (the Lord knows) busy enough. This gospel is about Him and his goodness, his love. The gospel transforms the humble and broken; it brings them to life:  life in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I can breathe again.

Here’s my manna from heaven, what feeds my soul: God has deposited within me this eternal weight of glory. It is not of my making nor because I deserve it. It is God’s idea and by his good grace that he invites me to put aside my sorry attempts at self righteousness to be dressed in the very glory of his Son.

For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

It’s been the Father’s desire that his people know and enjoy this glory throughout history. He wants us to know and enjoy the peace that only He can provide. In Exodus, God longs for the Israelites to be satisfied, but too often, like me they insist on having their way and refuse his command to honor his provision (they gather too much or too little manna) and don’t embrace his Sabbath rest. This human rebellion grieves Jesus so deeply that he weeps over Jerusalem saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!” Luke 19:42.  And then he enters the very city and ministers to those of us who are so insistent on our not needing him; we end up crucifying him.

But anything I throw at Christ has been conquered by his love for me. This is the love that breaks the power of sin and death over me. This is my eternal weight of glory.   When I accept his love for me and rest in it, I am changed. The peace that he longs for me to possess is mine.

O Lord, may I respond to your transforming love with a full and grateful heart. Help me to recognize on this day the things that make for peace. Thank you for your love and kindness towards me, an undeserving sinner who rejected you. But here I am, and you call me yours. You are my glory and joy forever.  Amen

Kathy

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Genesis 20; Matthew 19; Nehemiah 9; Acts 19

Abraham and Sarah devise a plan. They’ll call each other sibling instead of spouse. This led them to the unanticipated; the plan worked–sort of–until “sister Sarah” caught the eye of Abimelech.

Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his palace. Genesis 20:2, NLT

God intervened.

But that night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, “You are a dead man, for that woman you have taken is already married!” Genesis 20:3, NLT

***

The disciples sit with Jesus and want to know the “what-ifs” of a situation. Because, what if there’s a sin committed, then what?

The rich man says he’s kept the laws, and whether this is a humble admission or a boast, he wants to know what else he can do to obtain eternal life.

21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Matthew 19:21-24, NLT

***

In Nehemiah, the people remember all the things that God has done. His patience. His provision. His deliverance. His mercy. His love. His grace. He is great. He is mighty. He is a truth speaker, promise maker and covenant keeper.

And the people remember their sins. Their pride. Their disobedience. Their idols. Their praises of God are sung alongside their wails of repentance. Oh, they want to make a promise they can keep too.

38 The people responded, “In view of all this, we are making a solemn promise and putting it in writing. On this sealed document are the names of our leaders and Levites and priests.” Nehemiah 9:38, NLT

Planning man who has it all figured out. Rich man holding onto his possessions and dreams. Slave man who returns to habits and history that kept him bound after he was set free. In these scriptures, God is right there with man, but man still wants to do things his way.

Oh, God, how we need you.

25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.

26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:25-26, NLT

Father God, help me to be mindful, always: I need you. Always.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 13; Matthew 12; Nehemiah 2; Acts 12

God’s provision.

14 After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. 15 I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. 16 And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! 17 Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” Genesis 13:14-17, NLT (emphasis mine)

***

11 And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. 12 And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one! Matthew 12:11-13, NLT (emphasis mine)

***

I also said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah. And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me. Nehemiah 2:7-8, NLT (emphasis mine)

***

11 Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!” Acts 12:11, NLT (emphasis mine)

A place, a people, food, restoration, equipment, protection. And that’s just a sampling of these four chapters. (How many of these acts ended in exclamation!)

He is generous. He is merciful. He is gracious. He is strong.

21 And his name will be the hope
    of all the world. (Matthew 12:21, NLT)

Amen!

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Ezra 5-6; Psalm 95; 3 John

13So, Tattenai, the governor west of the Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai and the others obeyed. They carried out King Darius’ order quickly and carefully. 14So the Jewish elders continued to build. And they were successful because of the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished building the Temple as the God of Israel had said. It was also done to obey the kings Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes of Persia. 15The Temple was finished on the third day of the month Adar. It was the sixth year that Darius was king. Ezra 6:13-15 (ICB)

Many years had gone by since King Cyrus had given a special order for the Temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. At the urging of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, Zerubbabel and Jeshua picked up the work again to complete the project so that God’s people could worship Him in the Temple once again.

But the governors of the land were not pleased. They approached the men demanding to know who had authorized their project; and sent a letter to King Darius to confirm that the men were telling the truth.

They were (of course) and King Darius not only enforced King Cyrus’ ruling, but raised the stakes, issuing a decree saying that anyone who hindered the progress of the temple construction would be severely punished. The temple was completed in record time with the help and finances of the king.

So many years before God set the rebuilding of the temple in motion, even before the Israelite returned to Jerusalem, and put protection in place so that no one would be persecuted for following God’s instructions.

This story makes me wonder about how many different ways God sets up and provides for my own journey and the successes I find well before I am even near those moments.

I am reminded of an instance a few short month after I was married. I found that I needed to leave India unexpectedly due to a change in visa laws. When looking at my pre-purchased plane ticket, I realized that the departure date was three days later than when I needed to be out of the country.

In a whirlwind, I was forced to cancel my ticket and book a flight on the only airline that had seat available in that short notice. I was frustrated because the flight would take me through the middle east and that made me nervous.

Throughout the trip God provided “angels” in the form of flight attendants and seat mates who made the journey much easier than it could have been.

The following day after I arrived stateside, I learned that all of the flights from my original airline had been grounded because of the volcanic ash plume in the atmosphere coming from Iceland. Because the middle eastern flight took a much lower flight pattern, my plane was not delayed at all, and therefore I was still able to honor the visa stipulations.

1Come, let’s sing for joy to the Lord.
Let’s shout praises to the Rock who saves us.
2Let’s come to him with thanksgiving.
Let’s sing songs to him.
3The Lord is the great God.
He is the great King over all gods.
4The deepest places on earth are his.
And the highest mountains belong to him.
5The sea is his because he made it.
He created the land with his own hands.
6Come, let’s bow down and worship him.
Let’s kneel before the Lord who made us.
7He is our God.
And we are the people he takes care of
and the sheep that he tends. Psalm 95:1-7a (ICB)
Often times, this kind of provision and protection is recognized only in hindsight.In the remembering, I’m able to give God His due praise and my faith is strengthened in the difficult times, understanding that He is there for me and will never leave me nor forsake me.
Yesappa, Thank You for having a plan for my life. Thank You for looking toward the future with provision and protection in mind. Thank You for caring for me as your own sheep. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings, Julie
(juliet2912)

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2 Kings 7-8; 2 Chronicles 21; Matthew 6

We are just over two weeks into my daughter’s Celiac diagnosis. I’ve spent that time researching the disease, joining online groups, reading (lots of) books from the library, cleaning out our kitchen, and removing foods we can no longer eat. I got a few cookbooks and was looking forward to relearning how to bake–but when I went online to price the cost of gluten-free flours, I was shocked. As much as I wanted to restock our pantry, it wouldn’t happen overnight.

A friend texted me, “”Listen, the verses that talk about not worrying about what we eat, etc. apply here to (this situation) too. It’s a learning curve and very stressful I know but God is going to direct your steps and He cares so much about (her) health and well being.” I wasn’t sure what verses she was talking about specifically, but they had a ring of familiarity to them. I admit, I was worried–especially when I went to get a loaf of bread and it was $8. I didn’t buy it.

One day, a friend showed up with a bag of gluten-free (GF) products for us–brownie and cookie mixes, crackers, pasta. I was completely taken off guard by her thoughtfulness. Another day, another friend showed up with GF energy bars, a dinner mix and a pasta. A few days later, a neighbor gifted us with almond and coconut flours. Another friend showed up during a thunderstorm with GF waffles, a variety of boxed cereals, pastas and tortillas. And even yesterday, I had been at the grocery store to get corn pasta to make a quick dinner with meat sauce, I thought longingly of a garlicky bread that would be perfect with the dinner. I eyed a little GF loaf, at least a third the size of its wheaty cousin, for $7. I didn’t buy it. But later in the afternoon? I received a package in the mail with boxes full of gluten-free muffins, cookies, and two loaves of bread–purchased for us by a loving relative. (I made garlic butter and put it on one of the loaves.)

My husband and I have been repeatedly amazed at the outpouring of love and generosity.

My heart has been for hospitality–spending time with others and feeding them. But under the new diagnosis, I worried about cross-contamination and cost. How would I keep up?

The same friend who texted me early on in this journey sat at my house last week and said, “If God has put it on your heart to offer hospitality, he will provide. Keep doing what he has wired you to do.” I thanked her for reframing my thoughts.

I am not surprised to read verses today on God’s sovereignty and provision.

Elisha replied, “Listen to this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost only one piece of silver, and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost only one piece of silver.”

The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!”

But Elisha replied, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!” Kings 7:1-2, NLT.

And it was so.

And Gehazi was telling the king about the time Elisha had brought a boy back to life. At that very moment, the mother of the boy walked in to make her appeal to the king about her house and land.

“Look, my lord the king!” Gehazi exclaimed. “Here is the woman now, and this is her son—the very one Elisha brought back to life!”

“Is this true?” the king asked her. And she told him the story. So he directed one of his officials to see that everything she had lost was restored to her, including the value of any crops that had been harvested during her absence. Kings 8:5-6, NLT.

Shazam!

And the verses my friend texted me about? Matthew 6–the verses waiting for me this morning.

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34, NLT. (Emphasis mine.)

Thank you, God, for your constant reminders that you’ve got this. The whole world. In your hands. Thank you for these scriptures, that I can come to you and you already know.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Kings 19-21; 2 Chronicles 17; Psalm 129; Matthew 1

Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. 1 Kings 19:5-6, NLT.

June was a stressful month with a doctor, a specialist, a hospital. When I brought my child home, I was humbled and grateful at the provision of friends–dinners that lasted us for days. I felt refreshed, and in no time at all I was back to my old Superwoman ways of thinking. Having a child’s health problem removed (so I thought at the time) was a weight lifted. I was already making plans.

A Monday diagnosis put a halt to them. “Celiac disease … schedule with the nutritionist … bring (her) to see me at the end of the month.”

Two kids in the car looking at me.

“What’s for lunch?” one asked.

“I’m not sure,” I said.

I reached out to a few friends I knew who were gluten-free. It was a bit overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start and couldn’t get in with the nutritionist or the specialist until weeks later. Websites. Books. Cookbooks. Friends emailed me some recipes to help me along. I found online support groups for parents and caregivers–and even more information: get rid of your bread machine, your muffin tins, your scratched skillets, your wooden spoons. Read the ingredients of your soaps and shampoos. Clean out every inch of your kitchen.

I was vacuuming crumbs out of my freezer. I bagged up pastas, soups, cereals, and mixes and gave them away. Some friends came by with gluten-free food gifts the kids would like: brownie mix, mac and cheese, spaghetti, crackers. I researched flour blends and other ingredients I would need in this new kitchen. Friends gave me names of stores where they find good deals. A neighbor gave me packages of coconut flour, almond flour, corn flour.

Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”

So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. 1 Kings 19:7-9, NLT.

When I read of Elijah sleeping against the broom tree, I slowed down. I thought of the whirlwind and stress that beat down on me those weeks in June. I thought of the food gifts and support from friends. I thought of the tasks laid out before me and how daunting the road appeared–of managing the myriad responsibilities and also relearning how to cook. Where was the pause button?

I read of the windstorm, the earthquake and the fire. I read of God’s voice in the whisper. Elijah was afraid, likely overwhelmed, navigating a wilderness, and God met him where he was. (No one is out of his reach.) When Elijah told Him how he felt, God told him what to do.

Lord, thank you for this diagnosis so we have a starting place to bring healing to my daughter. Thank you for your generous provision through friends with food gifts, advice and support. Thank you for pioneers who have gone before us on this path, making it easier for us to follow and giving us good recipes to enjoy. Thank you for meeting me that morning on the bench and hearing me. Thank you for answering my prayer for direction and help, so that I can get our home in order. Thank you for caring about the details of our lives.

Courtney (66books365)

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