God Answers Our Prayers

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“Thank You God!”

In the past few weeks, there have been four significant events that cause me to pause and remember and give thanks for all that God has done for me and for my family.  November 11th is known in America as Memorial Day, but in Canada we call it Remembrance Day.  November 24th was Thanksgiving Day in the United States.  It also happened to be the 1st year Anniversary of this blog, The Listening Post.  And November 27th was my birthday.  Each of these events have given me reason to look back at the last year.

There is another reason for me pausing in my blog writing to think back and be thankful.  There are so many people who read these articles and the email updates and prayer & praise reports that we send out, that I am receiving wonderful and encouraging responses which help me to see my own life through the eyes of another person.  And one of them that I received fairly recently is worth sharing with all of you who are reading this article.

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The following message came from a good friend of ours:

Remember the first list of prayer requests you and Jill sent out when you were asking for special prayer partners? If I remember right, they have all been answered now. The condo sold, for less than you wanted, but it sold. Glen is now in the military, took time, but it happened, Eric has a job, you have been doing really well health wise most of the time, Jill is working full-time and doing well in school.

You have had good health to preach when you needed it. I don’t know how your Partnership Development has gone, but praying well, and praying that you can get some translation done for Papua New Guinea. I am praying for Jill while she is by herself. Eric and his wife live there in town don’t they, so if she needs to talk to someone, she can call him or you or if it is the right time even Glen. All in all I think that the Lord has really answered the prayer requests that your friends have been praying for you.

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In just two short paragraphs, our friend has been able to summarize well all the events that have happened in the lives of our family members over the past four months.  And in every case, we can see that the things that we were all so anxious about and fervently praying about this last summer have all been answered.  It really is amazing to step back and see from this perspective how everything we were concerned about most has been addressed, and for the most part we can say have turned out quite positively.

Now this does not mean that life is a breeze and we have nothing else to worry about.  On the contrary, we find there is plenty of things for us to get concerned about.  I am doing well physically, but it has meant being away from Jill and the family for most of the last four months.  Jill has been doing well at her schooling, but it has been a constant pressure nearly every day since June to get her assignments done, even when she wasn’t sure if she was understanding the assignment but had to do it anyway.

Yes, it is good that Eric has a job.  But as most jobs go, there are good things and some not so good aspects to the job that will drain his energy.  And it is not in the field he just got trained in, Graphic Arts Design.  And then with Glen, of course we are happy that he got into the Army after having a shut door in front of him for over a year.  But you can also believe that our prayers for Glen have increased for him since he joined the Army, not lessened.

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So what am I trying to say?  “Gee, I wish God had not answered our prayers.  Or at least not this way.”  Of course not!  As my friend has reminded me, and as I practice stepping back and looking at the big picture, I am amazed at how God has truly answered all of our prayers.  And in each of the specific answers He has given us, I can also truly say that there is definitely more good than not good in the situation.

What I am trying to say is that even when we are right in the center of God’s will and we see answers provided for the things we pray about, that there will always remain in our lives more questions and more concerns as we go through life.  That is life!  But that is not meant to be discouraging to us.  On the contrary, it provides an opportunity for us to  return to God and lay down our worries and our cares before Him and see what next He will do for us in our lives.

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And for me, that is exciting.  If every question I had was answered, if every problem had already been solved for me, then in many ways, I would not need to come to God and ask for a fresh experience of His mercy and grace.  And because He loves us, He is quite willing to have us come again and again to Him with our problems and our questions.  And then once again, as our Loving Father, He will provide just what we need, even if it might not be what we expected.

And in this life of dependence upon God, I have learned that in all things to offer back this response to all that happens, “Dear God, I give You thanks!”

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God Wants The Best For Us

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What Is Faith – Part 5

In our study of “Faith” so far, we have looked at some important foundational truths such as that faith comes from hearing, specifically hearing the Word of God, that faith is a matter of the heart not of the head, and that all Christians possess faith. The issue with many Christians I think, is whether they exercise their faith and what they believe they can do by faith.

Let me say this in another way. On the one hand, there are some Christians who after they have accepted Christ by faith, live their lives by the strength of their own hands and the power of their own intellect rather than calling upon God in faith to deal with the issues of this life. On the other hand, there are some Christians who “use” their faith to deal with everything in life.

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It is my opinion that the former group of Christians have not really understood the words of Romans 1:17 which state, “The righteous will live by faith”. That is, we are to exercise our faith on a regular basis involving the daily activities of our lives. But the latter group of Christians I believe, will many times inappropriately apply the promise given by Jesus when he says, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Surely there must be a middle ground between these two positions. And after listening to the next sermon about faith delivered by Leon Fontaine, I have found some very helpful points that I would like to pass on to all my readers. My hope is that we could all share the belief that is expressed in the title of this article, namely that “God wants the very best for us.” What amazes me and even distresses me is that there are still many people who believe God is a vindictive God or an uncaring God. But I will have to wait to address this in a future article.

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So let’s begin with this premise that God is a loving God and in fact does want the very best for us. Does Scripture support this idea? Two verses that immediately come to mind are Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” and John 10:10 where Jesus says, “I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness.” We must be careful though, in how we interpret these two verses.

The promise given in Psalms is not to be taken as a blank check to allow us to wish for and get anything that our heart desires. We must put the stress on the first half of this verse and realize that our primary activity is to “take delight in the Lord”. When we do this, we will find that our heart aligns itself with the heart of God and the mind of God. And so we will find that the things that we will desire will be the same things that God desires. So the emphasis in this verse should not be on our physical or material well-being, but must be spiritually oriented in its application.

The caution on the other side though, is that we may over spiritualize the promises of Scripture. And so some people will interpret John 10:10 as only referring to our spiritual life, and think that this verse is just talking about the wonderful life that we will share with God in heaven throughout all eternity. The truth is that in this verse Jesus is most certainly talking about the quality of life that we will experience here on earth.

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What I especially liked in Leon’s third sermon about faith that I listened to was the idea that “every Christian gets a measure of faith to start with from God.” We then have a choice to either exercise this faith, which will cause it to be strengthened and to grow, or not to use this faith and allow it to lay dormant and possibly even to wither away. It would be like the parable of the Talents, where those who used well the resources given to them by their master would receive more, and the one who buried his Talent lost even the one that he had.

Let us tie this in to another important topic in Scripture. In Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12-14 and in Ephesians 4, Paul talks about the gifts that God has given to every believer. And then in Ephesians 2:10 he writes, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

It would seem to me that whatever God has called us to do, and gifted us to do, God will have also granted us sufficient faith to be able to fulfill all that he has asked us to do. The example that Leon gives is that of young David. God had planted faith within him, and David had nurtured it and grown it to believe that his God could do great things through him. And when he encountered the giant Goliath, that faith within David rose up to meet the challenge, and as we know he was victorious.

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And so, what about you? Do you believe that God would want you to experience a better quantitative and qualitative life right here and now?  What helps me to believe that this is possible is to picture God’s nature and his resources for us are like a flowing river, always fresh and never depleted. This goes against the picture that some have that God’s nature and resources are like a pie which is cut up into small slices and carefully distributed to some individuals until it is gone.

I challenge you then  to read the New Testament and see whether or not my picture of God is contained there. And if God is truly a loving and generous God as I suggest, then align your thoughts with Him, rise up in faith, exercise your “faith muscles” and see what great and mighty things that he will do in you, for you, and through you.

God’s Little Detours – Part 1

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Expect Detours – Part 1

The last two articles in this series on “Hard Road Journey” gave us some hope and showed that we can expect some periods or moments of refreshment, even through the most difficult experiences of life.  I’ve touched a little on the difficulties we experienced when our oldest son went through the 30 moths of chemotherapy for his leukemia, in the article “It’s Not My Fault“.  But when I get to writing more about that period, you will also see that those three years also contained many moments of blessings from God.

We must treasure those good moments and count them as blessings.  That does not negate the fact though that life has thrown us a curve-ball.  We find at those moments that whereas we may have been counting on having a smooth, straight road, instead, we find that we have all of a sudden found ourselves on a major detour and we don’t know what to expect ahead of us.

Now if a detour was simply that, a detour off of the main course we have charted for our lives, then all we need to do is to get back as quickly as we can to the main path of our lives.  But what if that detour happens to come while we are slowly making our way through a difficult period.  Now that can really get us discouraged.

The book we have been following on this series is called “Walking With God on the Road You Never Wanted to Travel“.  Our author, Mark Atteberry, has this to say about detours on page 114:

Few experiences are more disheartening, especially when you’re already growing weary.  Just the thought of a longer road with even more challenges can break your spirit.

I would compare it to the idea of having a major paper cut on your hand, and then just before it heals, you get another paper cut right on top of it.  Yowwee!  The first cut was bad enough, but the second one is even worse and  makes the healing process take that much longer.  Atteberry recognizes the danger of this.  But he advises us to expect detours.  They are a part of life.  And so to help us, he gives us four facts to think about that will help us when we encounter a detour in life.

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1.  Detours Can Trick Us

Probably the most dangerous aspect about a detour in life when we hit one, is that they can trick us into thinking either one of two possible incorrect conclusions.  We may think that we have done something wrong and God is punishing us for our bad behaviors, our “sins”.  Or we might think that God has abandoned us, which really says we believe that God does not care about us.

The first conclusion may have some truth in it seeing as it is also true that there are always consequences to sin.  But to assume automatically that when something goes wrong that it must be because we have done something wrong, is to assume the wrong thing about the character of God.  God is not a vindictive God who sits up there somewhere with a big stick in His hand, just ready to hit us and punish us if we step out of line.  If you believe this, then you have not understood the Good News of His great love which is written all through the pages of the New Testament.

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And as far as the second conclusion goes, the idea that God has abandoned us, I think is often the result of us not waiting long enough to let God move and work out a wonderful solution to our situation.  Or put it another way, I believe that there is always something else going on, and maybe many things going on, that we are not aware of, and so because we cannot see the bigger picture, we start to lose our faith in God.

I think that Atteberry has a very good point when he says on page 116:

Isn’t it interesting how quickly we can go from blaming God to praising Him?  One little fact–one little nugget of truth suddenly revealed–is all it takes to completely transform our feelings and show us how wrong we were to assume the worst.

Don’t let your circumstances fool you into believing the wrong things about God.

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2.  Detours Can Teach Us

It follows then, that if the detours we encounter are not mistakes or punishments from God, that there must be some purpose to them.  It is quite true to say about me that I am an optimist.  And so I embrace a verse like Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  This does not say that all things are good (because bad things do in fact happen), but it does say that God can bring good out of every situation,

The question here is: do you believe this or not?  Actually, I can be even more bold as to say “Do you believe the Bible to be true?  Do you believe God to be a good and loving God as presented by the New Testament passages or not?”  If you say yes to these two questions, then you will have to also believe that God can teach you something very important in life, and often it is through detours that He can teach us the most.

If you are still not sure about all this, then I ask you to go back and read my last two articles about my personal journey in life.  The first one is “Humbled by God” and the second one is “God Restores My Passion For Missions“.  Talk about a major detour.  But also, talk about God’s tender care to teach me something important.

The next two facts about detours will be in two weeks from now.  So stay tuned.

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Remembering The Works of God

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What Are You Remembering?

Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people—where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them… Isaiah 63:11

“Recalled” is a powerful word. Especially in this situation, the recollection of what God had done in the past led to a revival among the Lord’s people. It is so easy to forget the amazing works of God. That’s never more true than when we get caught up in our own desires and ways. Forging ahead in our self-centeredness and sin, we forget all God has done in the past. So it was with the nation of Judah in Isaiah’s day.

Now, however, God stepped in to punish their sin. Disaster ruled the day. The presence of God seemed far away. Sin didn’t seem so fun. Bit by bit, they began to remember that things used to be different. There was a time when God had led them through the godly leadership of Moses. There was a time when the Holy Spirit was present and made a real difference in their lives as individuals and as a nation.

Remembering past moves of God can be powerful. It can stir us to repentance and longing for a renewed sense of the presence of God. What are you remembering today?

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Father, thank You for the gift of memory, and for stories that have been passed down through the generations about the ways You have moved in the midst of Your people. Thank You for stories of revival from the Great Awakening in the United States and beyond. Lord, would You use those stories to stir within our hearts a desire for similar awakenings? Help us, Lord, to remind each other of Your work in days past, and of our great need today. May we recall those things that You would have us meditate on and pray over.

–adapted from HeartCry for Revival devotional 2011 by David Butts, author of Asleep in the Land of Nod (Thirty Days of Prayer Toward Awakening the Church)

The devotional thought above comes from my email subscription to

Connection! Devotions for Every Day Life“.

Posted: 16 July 2011

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I must agree with my friend, David Butts.  It is so easy to get all wrapped up in the events and the affairs of our daily lives that we forget about God.  It seems to me that the older I am getting, the more complicated my life has become, and the more distant God seems to be from me at times.  But of course, the real truth is that God has not moved away from me, as much as I have moved away from God.

The second thing that I agree with is that it is good to remember.  In fact, as we get older, our lives get replayed more and more in our minds and in our conversations.  We often say, “Do you remember….”  Our lives are like a super long highway.  It stretches from a dim past (our infancy) to a distant future (when our life will reach an end) and it contains innumerable check points or posts that mark interesting and significant events.  The closer we are to the end of our road, the more memory signposts that have been erected.

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Many of these signposts mark events that we have accomplished or experienced by ourselves.  Such as the day we hit a home run in our neighborhood ball game, or when we graduated from high school, or we experienced our first kiss, or had an employer say they were proud of our work.  But there are also many signposts that have been planted in our lives by the very hand of God Himself.

My life was spared when I didn’t drown as an infant, or when I landed on a flat spot after falling off a mountain cliff, and when I was held up at knife point by a mugger.  And God spoke to me through a song at a Youth Conference and began melting my heart.  He smiled on me and filled me with His Spirit when I was baptized.  And he empowered me to fight off the demon within a prostitute who stood in my way, and used me to cast out an evil spirit from someone who was demon-possessed.

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As I remember these kinds of incredible experiences, I do realize that many of these events took place while I was much younger, in my teens up through age 30ish.  Now I am over 50, and I feel more tired and worn out some days, and it is not just because of my muscle disease.  Life simply seems to wear us all down.

And yet, I think we should try to resist this.  Has God changed?  No, of course not.  It is said of Jesus, who is just as much God as the Father is, that He does not change; He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  (Hebrews 13:8).  Therefore, we should expect that the God who impressed us with His holiness, amazed us with His acts of power, and infused us with such joy and His overwhelming love when we were young ought to still be able to do that in us today when we are much older.

And for the most part, I think I am still in that same space.  I love to think back and remember what it was like stepping out in faith and going for the first times as a young missionary to different countries of the world.  I will soon be 51, and to be honest, I still get excited when I tell people that I am about to head out on another mission trip somewhere.  I’m getting older in body, but am still that small child who in faith has trusted God so many times to take care of me.  I now extend that to be me and my family.  And you know what?  I am sure that I won’t be disappointed.

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God is To Be Praised!

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The following devotion comes from my email subscription to

Connection! Devotions for Every Day Life“.

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I will tell of the kindnesses of LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us—yes, the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses. Isaiah 63:7

All too often, our faith is man-centered, rather than God-centered. We think it’s all about us, when it always has been and always will be about Him! In this verse, Isaiah is focused upon God and His kindness to His people.

Isaiah demonstrates for us a marvelous way of staying God-focused. He committed himself to speaking of the kindnesses of the Lord. God had been good to His people as His deeds demonstrated, and Isaiah was going to make sure that the Israelites were aware of this fact.

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Are you telling others how good God has been to you? Are you aware of the “many good things” he has done for you? Speak it out! Let yourself hear yourself telling others of the kindness of God. This will keep your focus in the right place.

Father, thank You for your loving kindness toward me. You are so good. You have blessed me with Your Presence and awesome love. Give me both the opportunity and the courage to let others know how You have worked in my life. I want to speak of Your loving kindness with clarity and boldness.

–adapted from HeartCry for Revival devotional 2011 by David Butts, author of Asleep in the Land of Nod. Click on the link for more information on this resource.

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Tonight I am sitting in my hotel room and I am reflecting on the devotional thought that my friend David Butts has written above.  It is wonderful to be able to pause and to think about the “many good things that God has done for me.  Actually, there are so many wonderful blessings I have received from the Lord over the years, that I would not be able to write them all out in one article, or even in 100 articles.

That, in fact, is a big reason why I write articles three times a week for The Listening Post.  There is just so much that God has done for me.  And when a memory of some outstanding experience comes to me, or when I read devotional thoughts from others, or when I read a passage from the Bible and the power and the joy of His Word comes through to me, I find myself now quickly jotting down the thoughts and then going to the computer to write up another blog story.

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One line that catches my attention from David’s devotional above is the one, “[Father] give me both the opportunity and the courage to let others know how You have worked in my life.”  Up until this last year, I was very reluctant to pursue this idea of writing down “my story” with others.  Part of me felt that this was rather egocentric and arrogant to talk about me.

I have had to get over that feeling.  I’ve come to realize that in most cases (as long as I am writing carefully and prayerfully) that when I do share stories about me, that in fact I am really sharing stories about God who is the One working in and through me.  I must admit though, that even as I seek to honor God and be a blessing to others through my blog writing, that I am being blessed by the feedback I get after an article is published, and just knowing that many hundreds of people are visiting my site.

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One other thing that I would like to mention in this article in which I am wanting to lift up God and praise Him for His goodness is in regards to my health.  I do talk in many stories about my muscle disease (a mitochondrial myopathy) and I want to be careful that people don’t think I am complaining or that I am upset at God for Him “giving” this disease to me.  Even if I used milder words such as “God allowed this to happen,” people might think I am still upset at God.

On the contrary, I have many reasons to praise Him for His goodness, especially with regards to my condition.  Normally, this muscle disease shows up in puberty and the person’s muscles and body strength and energy do not develop properly.  My sister had this disease (it is a genetically inherited condition from mother to children) and she was weak from the time she was 12.  Due to health complications, she died of congestive heart failure in 1992.

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But consider how gracious God was toward me.  I had a very active and healthy life until the disease hit me three years ago at age 48.  So I consider it an act of His grace that He allowed me to have 36 years of good health from my teenage years till now.  And this disease could have flared up in 2007 when our family was still in Africa, but God waited and held it off for 8 more months.  Then I lost my ability to walk normally while living at home in Calgary, which is also where my geneticist works who diagnosed me and is a world-class specialist for this muscle disease.

No, I am determined to remember always that God is good and shows his loving kindness to those who love Him and obey Him.  So if I keep things in proper perspective, specifically if I can remove the focus away from me and turn the focus on God, then I will gladly “be bold and courageously tell others” how good God has been to me.

Are You Longing For His Return?

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The following devotion comes from my email subscription to

Connection! Devotions for Every Day Life“.

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Are You Longing For His Return?

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 12:00 AM PDT

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.

That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (2 Peter 3:10–14)

The passage says, “…as you look forward to the day of God.” Are you looking forward to the return of Jesus? I think a lot of Christians are afraid to say no to that question. They instinctively know that the answer should be “yes, of course I’m looking forward to His return.” But in our heart of hearts is that really so? Are we longing for His return?

If we are not looking forward to the Lord’s return, we will not be serious about prayer that prepares us for that great event. We will never make the effort to give ourselves to the awesome issues of intercession that can usher in His appearance again on planet Earth if we are not looking forward to it. We must move into a place of eager anticipation and expectation.

–Taken from Prayer and the End of Days (Praying God’s Purposes in Troubled Times) by David Butts. (Click on the blue title for more information about this resource).

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This devotional raises some good questions?  Are we really ready for the return of Jesus to earth?  I feel similar to the author here, that I’m afraid that even Christians might not be ready for that day.  I’ve been in conversations with other believers and talked about Christ’s return, and jokingly they have responded by saying things like, “But I want to get married first!” or “Oh, I’ll never see my grandchildren.” or even “But I want to see the world first, like go to Tahiti or Fiji or…”

Now I think that these people, when they stop to think about it, will see just how ludicrous it is to want to experience what they deem to be a “great event”, when the greatest event of all of Time itself will be the return of Jesus.  When Jesus comes back, true justice will be established; pain, sorrow and suffering will never be experienced by those who are followers of Jesus; and we will have all of eternity to enjoy every possible experience that we want to pursue, and many more that we have never even thought of yet.

But the greatest joy of all will be to see Jesus face to face, and to be able to come into the very presence of God.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”  It is truly beyond words to express the completeness, the wholeness, the pure joy it will be, to be there with the God of the Universe, and to hear Him call us by name and tell us how much He loves us.

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In a recent article, I examined Matthew 24:14 and spoke about how our mission work of translating God’s Word into the languages of the world could very well be a key instrument in bringing about the return of Christ.  I really do believe this to be the case, and that is why I am so committed to being involved in the Bible translation ministry.

But whether our work will speed up Jesus’ return, or is independent of that great event, I want to always be prepared in my heart to meet my Lord.  And whether I die while I am engaged in doing this translation ministry, or if He should return before I die, I want Him to see me hard at work at expanding His Kingdom here on earth.  As cowboys used to say, “I want to die with my boots on.”

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There are two more verses that motivate me to be working hard for the Lord.  How wonderful it would be if Jesus came back while I am doing his work and to be told, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21)  And then in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, it talks about those who have done nothing with their lives for the Lord and those who have served Him well.

It says the work of the former is like wood, hay or straw, while the latter person’s work will be like gold, silver and jewels.  So not only is it a joy to be serving the Lord, but we are given the promise of a heavenly reward when we offer our lives in service to Him while we are living here.  So what will your choice be?  Why not serve Him well now, and work towards His coming back, and be rewarded in eternity for your faithfulness.  That’s what I plan to do with my life.  And so can you.

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God Will Provide

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Trust God to Meet Your Needs

This article will finish off our study on Strategy #6, “Trust God to Meet Your Needs”, that Mark Atteberry gives us in his book “Walking With God on the Road you Never Wanted to Travel“.  (You can click here to read the article on the first half of this chapter in the book.)

I believe that this may be one of the most important strategies to adopt for any of us who are caught walking along a difficult path in life.  We must believe that God can and will meet our needs.

Certainly there are plenty of Scriptures to back up this belief, aren’t there?  Let’s name a few:

  • And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:19)
  • And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  (John 14:13-14)
  • Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”  (John 16:24)
  • Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  (Matthew 7:7-8)
  • So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  (Matthew 6:31-33)

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These are just some of the verses that might come to mind for a Christian when we talk about God meeting our needs.  Notice that I do not say “wants”, but “needs”.  You can be sure that pretty much everyone would say that they want things which they think would be good for them.

Even if that is true, we still need to be careful to distinguish true needs from just our wants in life.  And when using Scriptures, we need to be careful not to take a verse out of its context and make it say something more than it is intended to say.

Take Philippians 4:19 and the two passages in John mentioned above.  I’ve seen people who have their “want” list and they quote these verses like a shopping list handed to God, with the expectation that of course God will grant them whatever they want.  (Oops, notice the word is “needs” and not “wants” in Philippians?)

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Looking at Philippians chapter 4 though, we see that the church in Philippi had been tremendously generous in how they had met the needs of Paul, whether that was material help or financial help.  And Paul is promising these believers that God notices the sacrificial giving of the people and that God will in turn repay their kindness.

And the passages in John, within their context, are referring to the disciples’ desire to understand who the Father was and Jesus’ words about Him having to leave them for a while.  They were lacking in spiritual knowledge and wisdom, but Jesus is promising to “fill the gap” of their understanding.  Thus Jesus says, “ask me for anything and I will do it.”

So let us put these three verses to the side, seeing as it is quite possible that there is more here than just us asking God to give us something.  Let us look at the Matthew verses.   Jesus’ words are pretty clear that God loves us even more than the best loving parent could, and as such, He will supply our basic needs in life and He also does desire to give us some good things in life.

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I have seen this to be very true for me in recent days.  Many of you know that I just came back from a week in Dallas where I helped teach the new missionary recruits who are interested in our mission.  The invitation has been given to me to move down to Dallas in August until December to teach more in-depth some linguistic courses to our new missionaries.

Due to my muscle disease, I told our office staff there that I could only live and work down there if I had a very comfortable chair.  In my situation, a comfy chair has become a necessity if I am to live and work with minimal pain.  And to get around the large campus, I have had to rent an electric scooter in the past.  So meeting these needs for one week would not be too difficult, but how about for 4 months?  Would God provide for my “needs” in order for me to do His work in Dallas?

Well….Praise God!!  He has once again shown that He can do “immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).  Not one, not two, but three comfy recliners have been made available for me to use in the Fall months.  Take a look at the picture of me enjoying this “gift from above”.

And regarding the scooter?  Guess what?  The company that has helped me in the past to rent from them had bad news; the competition has been so tough that they have gone out of business.  But before they did, they made a special offer to sell a very good used scooter for 1/5 the price of a new scooter.

If ever we have had doubts about me heading down to Dallas by myself to teach this Fall, this gift from above tells us that God definitely can and has met my needs.  And so I go forward by faith, and often, I find God is already there ahead of me.  Praise God for His goodness and His faithfulness.

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