God wants the very best for us. This is something that some people cannot fathom because they do not truly know God. Often it is because we think we know what is best, that we grumble at things that are placed before us or we complain as we journey on a path that simply doesn’t make sense. But God wants the best and wherever we are and whatever we have is all a part of His plan. Trust in Him.
If you are scrambling right now, attempting to gain something you consider good, think twice about this goal. If it’s difficult to reach, is it because you are supposed to grow as you walk in faith? Or is it difficult to reach, because God has something different (and better) for you? Rest in Him.
The Psalmist understood that God will “withhold no good thing.” God is good and He will pour out His goodness upon us in abundance. If you wonder where the good is at, first look at where God is at in your life, and then look at where He is leading. Consider the way you view things in your life; sometimes we see something as not-so-good because our perspective is skewed.
Life is a journey, not a race. His timing. His plan. His way. He will withhold no good thing.
“For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” – Psalm 84:11 [NLT]
I will admit I am forgetful. As a crutch, I use my Google calendar to remind me of everything both at work and at home. I make a grocery list to remember what food to buy, and then cannot even remember the list. I kept losing my prayer lists; my prayer list is now on my phone. If I don’t write something down, it is likely it will be lost in my memory bank. I would not call it a memory bank – it’s more like a black hole.
This morning while I was on the usual walk with my dogs, I soon realized as we changed directions that I forgot my sunglasses. The whole way home I was squinting because my oversensitive eyes could not face the beautiful morning light. I even grumbled a bit considering the headache that might follow as a result. All because I forgot my sunglasses.
What a surprise when I got home only to realize my sunglasses were in my pocket. I had my sunglasses the entire time!! The sunglasses I own are magnetic and when I grabbed for my keys, they unbeknownst to me followed along. I spent all that time wishing for the solution, when it was right with me. Sadly, that is how many of us are in life from time to time. God has the answer but we look elsewhere. God has provided what is needed but we are too blind to see (2 Corinthians 9:8, Philippians 4:19). God has a perfect plan but we only see the struggles, the pain, the heartache. God is with us through it all but we so often feel alone (Deuteronomy 31:8, Hebrews 13:5). My friends, let us open our eyes. Let us look at what He has blessed us with and embrace what He has for us. Let us remind ourselves of what He has done, what He has said He will do, Who He is, and His promise to never leave. We each have all we need to accomplish what God has called us to do in life!
“For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.” – Psalm 33:4-5 [NIV]
When Elisha gathered around with the sons of the prophets, there was a famine. Barrenness, sickness, affliction and famine were seen as judgment from God for sin. As we read again and again, the curse of sin is judgment and death.
These people were in search for food. When they went around to gather something to eat, they gathered wild gourds. From the text, it did not seem that they knew what the food would bring. They simply wanted to fill their need for food. But when they added this unknown item into the stew, it became deadly. They cried out, “There is DEATH IN THE POT.” Elisha had to add flour to the stew for it to become safe to eat.
We often try to add things into our daily lives to fill voids. We are facing a famine – the curse of sin. Through Christ alone the curse is no longer. We grab anything we can to fill our needs; however, we do not always understand what we truly need. Elisha poured flour into the deadly stew. In the same way, we can seek to eat from the Word of God, and become blessed by the “meal” of Christ. Through prayer and God’s Word we are sanctified. In 1 Timothy 4:4-5 we read: “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer” (NASB). It doesn’t matter how deadly the stew of your life has become; nothing is too dead for God to raise back to life. He will repair. He will revive. He will restore. He will redeem.
“One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, ‘O man of God, there is death in the pot!’ And they could not eat it.” – 2 Kings 4:39-40 [ESV]
Circumstances change. Situations are not always the same. There are moments in life when you may be “on top of the world.” There are also moments when you are at your lowest point. But in any circumstance, in any situation, at any point in life, you can be content. It does not matter where you are at or who you are with or your circumstances. Paul said that he was content in any situation.
I know people who are never happy. They can only list the negatives in their life, yet if I examine their situation I find many blessings I could list. For some reason or another, some people feel dissatisfied, unhappy, broken, or lacking. For me it is hard to understand. I have grown to understand this same contentment as Paul mentions. Life is really different when you can be content in all situations.
Today I challenge you to look around and thank God for your blessings. Did you have at least one meal today? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have a job? Do you have family? Think of what you have—look at the blessings around you. When you focus on them and thank God for them, you aren’t living with your eyes fixed on your lack. If you can look at the situations that come your way in a positive light, you’ll discover this contentment that is only possible through Christ.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” – Philippians 4:12 [NIV]
Elijah came on the scene with no introduction and announced the Word of God. He told the people there would be no rain, upholding what was said in Deuteronomy 28:24 for those in disobedience. Ravens brought him food and when the brook dried up, he went to the widow of Zarephath and God provided.
Elijah then had a showdown with the prophets of Baal. As Elijah watched, the prophets could not get Baal to produce fire. Elijah poured 12 jars of water in a trench and God produced fire that drank up all of the water and burned the surrounding stones. It was an amazing display of God’s power, but then Elijah ran in fear and hid himself in a cave.
God approached Elijah and asked him – What are you doing here? There was incredible wind, an earthquake and fire but God was not in any of them. Then came a gentle whisper. Elijah was reminded of God’s greatness. There are moments when we need to be reminded of God’s greatness – when fear and doubt creep in and try to discourage us. Today, ask yourself how great is our God? How great is our God! Step out of the cave.
“When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” – 1 Kings 19:13 [NIV]
When the Israelites were in the wilderness, there came a time when they wanted some meat. The Bible says that the people who were with them traveling “began to crave the good things of Egypt” and they joined in with this desire. They were slaves in Egypt. They were treated harshly in Egypt. Yet they shifted their focus from what they now had to what they lacked.
When you focus on what you do not have, you will find that you act very differently than you would with your focus aligned on God and His blessings. These “good things of Egypt” included nice food, but it also came with poor treatment in slavery. It also included living in a sinful area surrounded by people who did not follow God. The Israelites focused on what they lost—the little good that they had in Egypt—instead of looking at what they now had thanks to God.
We do this as well. Next time you find yourself complaining—next time you are grumbling in the wilderness—shift your focus. Remember what you have thanks to God.
“Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed.” – Numbers 11:4 [NLT]
“Amaziah asked the man of God, ‘But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?’ The man of God replied, ‘The LORD can give you much more than that.’” – 2 Chronicles 25:9 [NIV]
Amaziah, king of Judah, was preparing for battle. He gathered the people together to get them assigned to their commanders. He even went and hired a hundred thousand men from Israel to help with the battle. Then he got a visit from a man of God telling him that the Lord was not with Israel and if the Israelites showed up for battle, it would ensure a loss. Then Amaziah wanted to know about all the money he had given the Israelites. He did not want to lose his investment. The man said that God can give more.
Today remember that God can give more. We don’t take enough time to consider how God has already blessed us or how he can bless us. Many times when we experience a loss, we do not think of the good that could come out of it. Amaziah was losing his investment, but wasn’t that better than losing the battle? It is important to look at what truly matters in life—to remember the purpose of life. God can give so much more. He already has.
As I entered the hotel with the remaining items from the car, I heard the rattling of my dog’s tags. My children had accidentally left him sneak pass them when entering the hotel room and he was out searching for his mom. He was in a strange place and he wanted only to be with his mom, for she was his master.
In this same way, we are to seek the Lord. We should be wandering around to find Him at all times. The thing is we don’t have to wander around to find Him. If we reach out to Him, He will do the same. We have been given His Word and we have the opportunity to also have His Spirit. There is no need to wander around trying to find God. He’s right here. We simply need to have the desire.
Many people spend years of their lives wandering around the earth in search of something. Many times they don’t even know what they are searching for at all to fill a void, or they may call it “love,” or “success” or “a future” or “happiness.” There are many words I could list, but each one points to God. What are you seeking for today? No matter what it is, it can only be found through God. There’s no need to wander any longer. Take the time right now to reach out to God—He will reach back.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8
As I was reading the blessings and curses in Deuteronomy, something jumped off the page in Chapter 28 of the book. It says, “They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendents forever. Because you did not serve the LORD your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the LORD sends against you” (v. 46-48a). The words “joyfully” and “gladly” are words we do not always see with “serve.” Sometimes the word “serve” gives us a bad taste in our mouths. The very thought of serving is to perform a duty for someone else. What about us? So we are to serve joyfully and gladly? As if we are happy to do it? As if we like doing it?
The number of church members who serve the church is simply sad, with studies showing that about 20% of the members are serving the Lord. If we consider the people who are serving the church, which is a small number of the actual congregation, we then should consider how many of that small group is serving “joyfully” and “gladly.” To serve in this way, means that the person’s heart is in this service. To serve in this way, means that the person is not doing it because it is what a person does, but because the person desires to serve the Lord out of love for the Lord.
Today, consider if you fall into the 20% category at your church. Are you serving the Lord? If yes, consider if you are serving “joyfully” and “gladly” at the church. Is it a burden or a joy? If it isn’t a joy, perhaps the area you are serving in is wrong. Whether or not you serve, seek out the talents God has given you and see how you can use them to serve Him. When you find that place at the church that you were meant to serve, the joy will come. It is important to serve the church, and it is important to have that joy to spread around to others. We all need more joy in our lives.