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God Our Provider Pt 5

Matt 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

In this account Jesus says that the nations chase after riches and wealth but the disciples are not to do this but are  to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and He will  add to them what they need.

Many have taken this scripture and applied law to it’s outworking. It goes like this: I must make sure my speech and actions are holy and righteous; I must eliminate any hidden sin from my lifestyle otherwise it will block the channels of God’s provision; and I must spend prolonged periods of time in prayer seeking God’s purpose for me in His Kingdom.

This approach puts the emphasis for God’s provision upon us and what we have to do and if things don’t work out we must have made a mistake, missed God’s intentions for our life.

But when we pass this scripture through the cross we see that it is fulfilled ‘In Christ’:

1) When we became born again, God gave us the gift of righteousness (Rom 5:17). We did not have to earn it or work for it, we simply received it when we invited Christ into our lives. We are now the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor 5:21)

2) When we became born again we were born into the Kingdom of God (Jn 3:3,5) Everything in the Kingdom is righteous (Rom 14:17) which is why God gave us His righteousness; without it we couldn’t get in.

We sought first God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness and now we have them both. Therefore, when we need God’s provision, we ask Him for what we need and then stand in His righteousness and trust Him to meet that need. This puts the emphasis on God to meet our need. Hence when He does, He receives the honour and glory.

Meditation Point: Father, teach me how to stand in your righteousness and trust you to provide for me.

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God Our Provider Pt 4

Phil 4:6 Don’t fret or worry. (TMB)

In Mt 6 (Pt 1) Jesus is teaching His disciples to trust Him to provide for their livelihoods and highlights the biggest threat to trust: ‘WORRY’.  In fact Jesus exhorts them 5 times against worrying. So let’s unpack worry.

In the Greek language the word worry means: To be anxious, to be distracted, to care about, to take thought for, to be troubled about. And the reason Jesus exhorts against worry is because at it’s root, worry is a work of the flesh, it’s dead works and is self righteousness.

Why is this? Because worry is us taking our eyes off Jesus and trying to work things out by ourselves, eg: What if this happens and what if that happens and how can God possibly meet this need etc; such thinking is trying to project into the future by working out what will happen, thus it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. Which is why the last time Jesus warns against worry in v 34, He says, ‘Do not worry about tomorrow‘. (NIV)

When we worry about tomorrow our minds become distracted, filled with vain imaginations and our thoughts lead us into unreality; satan rides on the back of such thinking and kicks us from pillar to post, draining us emotionally, mentally and spiritually. So how can we stop worrying?

The key is to trust God using His Word so that we replace our thoughts with the thoughts of God’s Word; Eg Let’s apply Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

This Word tells us not to worry but to pray about our problems, commit them to God and thank Him for resolving them. The burden of our problems has now been transferred from us to God. The battle now begins to leave our problems with God or to take them back in our minds and worry about them again.

This is where every time we are tempted to take them back, we confess God’s Word over ourselves, ” No! I will not take my problems back. I leave them with you God. You have said not to be worried or anxious or distracted and have promised to resolve my problems for me”. In so doing we are replacing our thoughts with the thoughts of God’s Word.

This is a battle we must win and can win if we are determined enough. Why do we have to confess God’s Word over ourselves; it’s because confessing God’s Word releases the faith and power that’s locked up inside that Word, enabling us to overcome. The result being that our hearts and minds remain at peace which is the daily birthright for every Christian.

Meditation Point: By confessing God’s Word over myself, I can win the battle of the mind and be at peace.

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God Our Provider Pt 3

Prov 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. (GNB)

Before we can trust God to be our provider, we must be convinced that it is His will to do so. Let’s first look at the cross. When Jesus died on the cross, as the last Adam, He won back everything the First Adam had lost; one of which was prosperity.

God provided everything Adam needed in the garden of Eden. Food to eat, protection and work to give man focus and fulfillment. All man had to do was obey God and look to Him and all these things were guaranteed; but we know Adam disobeyed God and gave his allegiance to the devil. Thus Adam fell into sin and was banished from God’s presence (Gen 2:8-10, 15-17; Gen 3.)

He now had to provide for himself through painful toil and the sweat of his brow (Gen 3: 17-19). The channel through which Adam could trust God to provide for him (his relationship with God) was now broken; but at Calvary Jesus as the last Adam, repaired this relationship and reconciled man back to God. Thus man can now look to God once more to be his provider.

As Christians we now have to move away from the mindset that says I must rely on myself to provide and develop a new mindset that says, God is now my provider and I must trust him and keep my eyes fixed firmly upon Him; We trust God through His Word and the promises He has given in His Word.

Phil 4:19 And with all his abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, my God will supply all your needs. (GNT)

Matt 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (NKJV)

These are just 2 of the promises God has spoken to us assuring us of His will not just to provide but give us an abundance so we can build the Kingdom of God.

The No 1 reason why we fail to trust God is worry which is why Jesus addresses this problem and shows us how to overcome it and put ourselves in the place of receiving God’s provision; We will look at this in our next Blog.

Meditation Point: Am I assured through God’s word that it is His will to provide for all my needs.

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God Our Provider Pt 2

Money Money Money

Deut 8:18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth. (NIV)

In Pt1 (Mt 6:19-34) Jesus spoke about not making riches (mammon) into a God and having a divided heart, that is we can’t serve God and mammon at the same time (v24). So how can we tell if we have a heart that covets riches; Jesus gives the answer in Matt 6:32 For the pagans (unconverted) ‘run’ after all these things. (NIV)

We can so easily come under the pressure of the world system (Rom 12:2) and find ourselves running after riches, position or status. Working our fingers to the bone in order to provide for ourselves or our families. Our low self esteem feels inferior to others without designer labels, flashy cars and big houses.

Stop and think for a moment! Is this how God wants us to exist, stressing over material goods, overstretching our health, denying ourselves the ‘me time’ of rest and play. As D.L. Moody used to say, “No, a thousand times no”.

God’s way in life is always found in trusting Him. He is our provider, from Him comes our finance, strength, ability and vision for life. Phil 4:19 And with all his abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, my God will supply all your needs. (GNT) ; Many have turned God’s promises into trite phrases that trip off the tongue without ever putting them to the test. This is because they are fearful that God will let them down or they’ve never experienced God’s provision before and don’t know where to start.

In our next Blog we will look at how we can trust God as our provider.

Meditation Point: God has given Himself names to show mankind how He wants to relate to them in life. One of these names is ‘Jehovah Jireh’ which means, The Lord our provider (Gen 22:14. Read this story).

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God Our Provider Pt 1

Matt 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (NKJV)

In Mt 6:19-34 Jesus gives a general discourse regarding our use of money and things and whether we will pursue them and make a god of them or whether we will trust God to provide. Matt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. The word ‘mammon’ is an Aramaic word speaking of worldly wealth and riches  with a strong negative connotation thus pointing out the dangers of wrong use.

So let’s look at some points in this story. In v 19-21 Jesus warns against the accumulation of riches. There is nothing wrong with storing up wealth; many people invest in pension funds, stocks and shares, property, inheritance for their children or as a fall back when times are tough; but as Jesus points out, are we storing up riches for riches sake or are we doing it to put it to good use.

Jesus exposes our motive for riches by asking us where our heart is. Is our heart a covetous heart that lusts after riches or is it a heart that wants to use riches for the promotion of the kingdom of God; He links this with v 22 which is a Hebrew idiom regarding our use of riches: The eye is the lamp of the body. So if you have a good eye (that is, if you are generous) your whole body will be full of light; but if you have an evil eye (if you are stingy) your whole body will be full of darkness. (JNT)

In other words, are you stingy or generous with money and things. Are we givers or are we hoarders. Prov 11:24-25 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.  A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

In this verse, God is showing us that to selfishly hoard riches will bring us to poverty but if we use our riches to meet the needs of others it will bring even greater prosperity. Giving is God’s antidote to a selfish heart, giving forces us to look outside ourselves toward others. God gave His Son as a sacrifice, He sowed Him as a seed to meet the needs of sinful mankind and now He is reaping the harvest with billions of sons coming into His family.

Meditation Point: We are freed up to give when we see God’s purpose for our lives. His purpose is to grow His Kingdom.

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