The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

God Always Meets our Needs

Philippians 4:19 - And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

God always meets our needs. This is the promise of God in Philippians 4:19. God has promised to supply, sufficiently, by His grace, for all our needs (2 Cor. 9:8-10). We may not get what we want. But we will always have our needs met in Christ. God’s promise is that the righteous will not have to beg for bread (Ps. 37:25). If we are lacking “bread” we need to do an inventory and prayerfully come before the Lord to search us to see if there is any outstanding issue in our lives or reason for such a condition. Many times our definition of a “need” is God’s definition of a “want.” God is rich and He is generous. But God is not frivolous. God owns everything. “The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). If you are missing something make sure it is a “need” and make sure you haven’t overlooked God’s way of providing for you. God also says we need to work and He provides work for us to meet our needs (2 Thess. 3:10). Examine yourself and your situation and be content with God’s supply.

Jesus watched a widow make a less than two cents donation and said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” (Luke 21:3-4). God’s way of figuring finances is different from ours. This widow expressed her faith with her money. She gave not on the basis of what she had, but on the basis of what she knew God had. The rich gave larger offerings. But their giving required no faith. Their giving cost them nothing. Their giving was safe. Her giving cost her everything. Her giving was risky. The widow gave her meager best and trusted the Lord for the rest. She gave in faith trusting God to support her. How we deal with finances tell us a lot about our faith.

The economies of the world are in shambles and on life support. An age of sought after ease is bringing us to our economic knees. Citizens regardless of economic status have been caught up in an evil spirit of entitlement. We are in a national debate over stimulation packages filled with pork and false promises of renewed prosperity. At the root of this dilemma is a love of money; greed. America is amongst the richest nations on earth.  Money is our true god. Money is what we live for. Money makes our world go round. We feel safe or scared based on our savings or pension plans. Our attitude is determined by how our investments are doing. Our moods swing with the mortgage rates. Our heart beats to the rise and fall of the dollar. We are running after riches.  And what really exposes our human bankruptcy is that these things are too often found in the Church.

When we run after riches we run away from God (1 John 2:15-17). Money and the things of this world pose a great temptation.  The Christian is called to trust God and invest in heavenly wealth (Matthew 6).  Money is a means to an end. But it often becomes the end. Money is a powerful tool in ministry but not the aim of ministry. The great danger is being compromised by currency.

Biblical accounts help us avoid the pitfalls and sins of our predecessors (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:6). Abraham and Lot give us a good example of the dangers of running after riches. In Genesis it states, “And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere . . . . And he [Abram] gave him a tithe of all” (Genesis 13:10; 14:20). The context here is that Abraham, (the uncle of Lot) and Lot had to part ways because of the growth of their flocks. These two verses contrast how Lot and Abraham determined to move. Lot lusted after wealth. Abraham walked in faith.

Lot moved according to the wealth he saw before him.  Lot walked by sight not by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). He made decisions without consulting God (Genesis 13:11). He pitched his tent near Sodom (Genesis 13:12-13). Then he actually dwelt in Sodom, an exceedingly wicked place of sin (Genesis 13:13:14:12). He was willing to put his family at risk for the sake of wealth. His race for riches resulted in being caught in a war and captivity (Genesis 14:11-16). Even after this dangerous encounter Lot never took sin seriously. His preoccupation with wealth led him to a prominent part in the sinful city of Sodom. When Sodom was judged by God Lot barely escaped with his family. His children had lost respect for him. His wife was turned to a pillar of salt because of her lust for luxury in Sodom. After his escape Lot got drunk, committed incest and impregnated his two daughters (Genesis 19). He had run after riches and run down his faith. This is an ugly story. Lot shows us the ragged end of running after riches. What are you running after?

Abraham ran God’s course. He acted in faith and based his life decisions on his relationship with God (Genesis 14:17-24). He wasn’t perfect (Genesis 16). But Abraham was a man of faith. He trusted the Lord to provide as He guided him (Genesis 15; 17; Romans 4). Abraham knew all that he had was from the Lord. Evidence of this is seen by his tithing to the Lord after victory (Genesis 14:20). Notice this act of tithing (“tithe” means giving a tenth or 10% of gross income) was before the Law was given. Those who excuse themselves from giving a tenth of their income to God based on a supposed imposition of the Law are mistaken according to Abraham’s example. Jesus encouraged tithing (Matthew 23:23). Abram demonstrated his faith by living the motto where God guides God provides.  He tithed by faith. Do we?

We can guard against running after riches by keeping a few things in mind.  Running after riches will make you forget God (Deuteronomy 8:13-14; 1 John 2:15-17). Running after riches hinders your spiritual growth and journey to heaven (Matthew 19:23; Mark 4:19; 2 Timothy 2:4). Running after riches leads to many temptations (1 Timothy 6:9). Running after riches leads to disappointment (Matthew 6:19; Mark 10:17-27; James 5:3). Realize everything is from God (Deuteronomy 8:18; 1 Chronicles 29:12; Ecclesiastes 5:19; Hosea 2:8; James 1:17). Realize what we have belongs to God;  we are merely stewards of it (Genesis 14:20-24; Psalm 50:10-12; Malachi 3:7-12; Luke 16:1-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; Revelation 3:17-18).Rely on God to provide for your needs (Psalm 34:10; 37:25; 84:11; 105:40-41; 145:16; Matthew 6:19-34; Philippians 4:10-19). Stewardship is the management of material, human, and spiritual resources. God speaks a lot about it in His word. For those who doubt God cares about material things, or worse, doesn’t care about how we buy, sell, earn and spend, read the sample of scriptures on this topic laced throughout this study.

God will always provide for our needs. But when we confuse wants with needs Satan our enemy and our fleshly sinful nature will use this confusion in priorities to skew our view of God and His loving care for us. When we think our wants are our needs and find that God does not support our indulgences, the enemy and our flesh will whisper in our ear, “See, God isn’t true to His promise. See, He really doesn’t provide for you. See, He can’t be trusted. He doesn’t love you as much as He states in His word. You can’t trust His word!”

Good stewardship and rightly separating essential needs from things we merely want will free us from the bondage of things as well as clear our spiritual ear to hear from the Lord. God always meets our needs. He sometimes will grant a want. But more often than not He will save us from our wants. Like a child who thinks a diet of candy and ice cream is best, God sets the sweet temptations aside and puts the solid food of His word on our plate (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12, 14). Where God guides, God provides. If you lack provision, maybe you have faulty stewardship vision. Learn to live simply in relation to the things of this world. Jesus said, “Life does not consist in the abundance of things” (Luke 12:15). Be “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21). God always meets our needs. “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (Prov. 10:22). Remember that.

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