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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this?  For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You. – 1 Chronicles 29:14

– For it is in giving that we receive. – St. Francis of Assisi

We cannot receive anything in this life, unless it is given to us from heaven first (John 3:27).  It does not matter what we may give or offer to others – either time, love, money, materials, etc. – you name it and it came from God to begin with.  Freely we have all received from the One who richly gives us all things to enjoy – freely and willingly we are to give it away (lead verse, Matthew 10:8, 1 Timothy 6:17).

Not with tight fists, not grudgingly, nor out of any personal want or need, but cheerfully and fervently out of hearts purified by obeying the Spirit of truth within us (Psalm 23:1, 2 Corinthians 9:7, 1 Peter 1:22).  Giving as purposed in our minds out of what we have – not out of what we do not.  Not so anyone is overly burdened or eased, but so there is equality among all people (2 Corinthians 8:11-14).

We brought nothing into this world – and it is certain we can carry nothing out (1 Timothy 6:7).  Therefore, in the time between the cradle and the grave, our lives do not consist in the abundance of things we possess (Luke 12:15).  We are not to spend our short time here seeking our own wealth – but the wealth of others (James 4:14, 1 Corinthians 10:24).  Sharing – for the profit of this earth is for all (Ecclesiastes 5:9).

If we have this world’s good, and see a brother in need – and shut up our bowels of compassion, how can we say the love of God dwells inside us (1 John 3:17)?  If we have two coats, and see one who does not, we are to give them one.  If we have extra food, we are to share it with those who are hungry (Luke 3:11).  Not telling others to come back later, if we have the ability to help today (Proverbs 3:27-28).

Always making sure we don’t sound a trumpet touting our well-doing and giving – for doing such signals we are searching for glory not belonging to us (Proverbs 25:27).  It’s not truth.  When we do our alms, we are not to let our left hand know what our right hand is doing.  So when we give like this, only God notices – and rewards us openly (Matthew 6:1-4, James 1:27). Otherwise, our intentions have to be questioned.

We will not fool God if our inner motives for giving and doing good things are not pure and unfeigned before His eyes (Hebrews 4:12-13).  God is always pleased when we do good (Hebrews 13:16) – but not when we go around calling attention to our charity. Christians have been given the mind of Christ, and we are to always mind the example Jesus set before us (1 Corinthians 2:16, Matthew 9:30, 1 Peter 2:21).

If we are following Jesus as we claim, then God promises to supply all our need according to His riches in Christ (Philippians 4:19).  We are to be content with our wages, so we won’t needlessly spend time trying to exact more than what God has already appointed us (Luke 3:13-14).  This way, we can spend such time doing unto others as we would have them do unto us – even if they haven’t (Matthew 7:12).

If we bring all our tithes into the storehouse, so there is always food in God’s house – then He says “Try Me now in this.  If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing there will not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10).”  If we’re hoarding all our stuff and money as some sort of earthly reward for our work – or as protection against future uncertainties, God has warned us.

The grounds of a certain rich man brought forth a plentiful bounty.  He did not have room to store it all. His solution?  It was not to share it.  It was to pull down the barn he had – so he could build even bigger barns to hold it all.  So, he could then say, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for years; take it easy – eat, drink, and be merry.”  However, all he had could not save him later that same night (Luke 12:16-20).

The man was rich towards himself, and not towards God (Luke 12:21).  The hoarding of his harvest was a personal reward for all his hard work in sowing and growing.  So he could sit back, relax, and take a break for a couple of years.  Why should he give away some of the bounty to people who had not toiled for it?  What was so wrong with stashing it away for personal use in case of future crop failures?

Because God’s economy is one of giving, not getting. When we do good and distribute to others with the right heart motivations, we can communicate this message to others.  So others start to see Christ in us (Ephesians 4:20-32).  When we give to all others out of a good conscience towards God (1 Timothy 1:5), with charity flowing from humble hearts established with grace (Hebrews 13:9) – it will be given back.

With good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, men shall give into our bosom.  For with the same measure we give it out – it will be measured back to us (Luke 6:38).  By doing so, and considering the poor in the process, God will deliver us in our times of trouble (Psalm 41:1).  Laying up in store a good foundation for the times to come, so we may lay hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6:18-19).

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

– There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever. – Gandhi

Ann Voskamp once wrote, “Worry is faith gone wrong, because we don’t believe God will get it right.”  Worry is mental anxiety and unease – allowing our minds to dwell daily on difficulties or troubles.  Bringing forth brooding about future days we may never see – often accompanied by much over-thinking.  Worry saps our emotional and spiritual strength, and sabotages our joy (2 Corinthians 12:9, 1 John 1:4).

Our next days in life may never come – and if they do, they don’t promise us anything but another day to live by faith (Romans 1:17, Hebrews 11:1).  Still, as Carly Simon once sang “we think about these days anyway” – and we worry about them.  We tend to preface worry with “what ifs?” about days down the road – when we never know what a single one will ever bring forth (Proverbs 27:1, James 4:14).

“What if we don’t have enough money for our kid’s education or retirement?  What if we outlive money we have saved up?”  Or, “What if my fiance – the one I truly thought was my forever, develops cold feet and backs out of our engagement?”  We can even worry whether the person we may be with now is truly the right mate for us.  Even when we sense they might be wrong, we’re worried about being single – so we stay.

Then, there is always thought of what happens if we get sick and have to lose a lot of work – even having to quit.  We worry about how we’re going to cover sometimes huge medical bills without any income – or who is going to take care of us if we are single or widowed.  Worry begets more worry – and ends up with us fretting, a state of constant and visible worry. Fretting makes it hard to rest in God (Psalm 37:7).

Whatever the worry is about – we can carry it out to the utmost extremes – creating worst-case scenarios of near catastrophe.  Even Christians who may fear God and eschew evil are not exempt.  Such a calamity happened to Job after he got caught up in his own self-righteousness and pride.  Satan knew all about it and God allowed the devil to take everything from Job short of his life and wife (Job 2:6-9).

The thing he worried about and feared the most – took place within the space of 24 hours (Job 1:6-19, Job 3:25-26).  However, Job had become the focus of his own worship – wearing his righteousness and judgement like a royal robe and diadem (Job 29:14-25).  We too, should worry about His wrath if we get wrapped up in searching for our own glory (Proverbs 25:25, John 7:18).  God will not tolerate it.

Despite all our worries, anxiety over future finances can keep more people worked up – and staying awake at night than any other subject.  Still, many submit total trust to their fellow-man’s wisdom in regards to money (Proverbs 3:5, Jeremiah 17:5).  So-called financial experts everywhere try to predict how much money other people they don’t know – require for retirements they have no idea how long will last.

We are worth more to God than many sparrows.  We are not to fear the future, or worry about it (Matthew 10:31).  Worrying as Christians is not wise.  When we do, we’re saying we do not believe He knows all our future needs.  Not what we want down the road as a reward for all our earthly work, or need what the world says we need, but what He knows we require according to His Word (Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:8).

As Joyce Meyer once said, “Worry is like us sitting in a rocking chair – and rocking in it.   We’re always in motion, moving back and forth between one worry to the next – but going nowhere.”  However, worry is a very serious spiritual problem.  It signals a feigned and very weak faith.  We may pretend everything is fine in front of others – so they don’t add worrying about us to their own worries.

If we do tell them we’re worried about something, they may say “It will all be okay” – but how do they know it is?  It’s not wrong to encourage people and make them feel better about their worries – but the best we can offer is an extension of hope.  “I  hope you get that job, I hope you find the right person, or I really hope things get better.”  For all faith is based on hope – to futures only God knows (Hebrews 11:1).

We can’t fake worry with God – He knows all the thoughts coming into our mind (Ezekiel 11:5).  What matters to us, always matters to the Almighty – and our worries are continually manifest before His eyes (Hebrews 4:12-13).  We only make our worry matters worse, when we do not cast all our cares upon Him. Claiming faith in the Word while worried in the world – is not worship.  It is distrust – and it annoys God.

It is impossible to please Him without faith, and His soul takes no pleasure in us if we should ever draw back from it (Hebrews 10:38, Hebrews 11:6).  God promises to supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ (Philippians 4:19).  We’re to be careful for nothing, but every thing by prayer and supplication, let our requests be known unto God (Philippians 4:6).  We let Him do the worrying.

If we cast our burdens upon God – He will sustain us (lead verse, Psalm 55:22).  Therefore, we are to take no thought of our life, what we shall eat, drink, or put on for clothing.  Worry causes nothing but strife, and it won’t add a single day to our life (Matthew 6:25-34).  Worry may even subtract days we could have spent serving the Lord – had we not spent so much time worrying about things He promises to handle.

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KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving – let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God – which passes all understanding – shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

– We pray not to inform God or instruct Him, but to beseech Him closely.  To be made intimate with Him, by continuance in supplication; to be humbled; to be reminded of our sins. – John Chrysostom

Supplication seems to be a word not attached much anymore to how and why we pray – or who and what we pray for.  It is the action of asking God earnestly (serious in intention and purpose) out of our humble hearts.  It is not presenting Him a list of demands as if He has to keep proving and demonstrating His love for us – over and over again – by giving us what we want (Psalm 23:1).  Once was enough at the Cross.

God promises to supply all our need according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).  Therefore, supplication isn’t trying to get more for ourselves.  It is learning to love others more and transgress less ourselves – how and why God commands us to (1 Peter 1:22, Acts 17:30).  So our intent and purpose in prayer becomes seeking His constant help in keeping our hearts pure and purged from sin.

So, when God shows us compassion in forgiving our sins according to His truth, we can then show the same compassion to others in forgiving their sins against us (1 Kings 8:46-50).  Our Father’s mercy towards us in this regard – not giving us what we deserve each time we sin (Hebrews 2:2-3) – is to be our motivation for showing mercy to all others.  If we cannot, He will judge us without mercy (James 2:13).

Therefore, we have to keep our hearts purified from sins like haughtiness and pride (Proverbs 16:18, 1 Peter 1:22) through abiding side by side daily with God.  So He can keep burning bitter spiritual roots away (Malachi 3:2, John 15:1-6, Hebrews 12:15) – allowing better fruits to be brought forth.  So they grow to maturity and remain as a steady and ready supply to others (John 15:16, Galatians 5:22-23).

So when we pray each day with supplication, we go into a closet (Matthew 6:6), so nobody else but God can see or hear us.  Then, we begin presenting our proper requests to Him with thanksgiving – without thinking about getting any personal thanks from Him here on earth (Luke 17:7-10).  Then, confessing our sins and humbly asking for His help in keeping our hearts clean through His heavenly correction.

Not instructing Him to give us material things we may think we want or need – as if we know long before He does what such things are (Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:8).  This is just asking amiss, making requests for money or materialistic items to consume upon our own lusts (James 4:3).  This still shows worldliness – and keeps us enemies with God – who considers us adulterers and adultresses for such (James 4:4).

All so our prayers don’t start sounding fake or feigned to others, or start feeling mechanical and empty to ourselves.  As if praying to God is just something we’re “supposed” to do.  So prayer doesn’t wind up becoming a part-time practice – because it seems to be ineffective for the most part.  For we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – because Satan preys the same way (1 Peter 5:8-9).

When we practice praying with supplication as we walk in abidance with God’s ways – without trying to guide Him into ours – we shall ask what we will, and it will be done unto us (John 15:7).  We learn to start praying for others to walk worthy of God – and His ways as well.  So they increase in their knowledge of Him, and are strengthened with all might according to His power (Colossians 1:9-11).

We begin seeking the wealth and welfare of all others through our prayers and supplications (Ecclesiastes 5:9, 1 Corinthians 10:24).  Or we ask only for godly wisdom and judgment to be given unto us, without ever asking for anything personal for ourselves (2 Chronicles 1:10-11).  So we stop leaning on our understanding of prayer (Proverbs 3:5-6), and start experiencing a peace surpassing all understanding.

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