Wednesday, July 19, 2017

He Will Meet All of Our Needs

In Paul's closing words to the Philippian church, he writes some challenging words:
"And my God will meet all your need according to the glorious riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, emphasis mine)
These words are a powerful declaration of truth. But they're also sometimes hard words to live by.

There are two small, but incredibly powerful words in this verse:


WILL


ALL


Paul doesn't say that God might meet some of our needs. He says that God WILL meet ALL or our needs.

I think we sometimes struggle with this because we don't see God giving us what we want in the moment, or providing for us in the way we think He should. In those times, it can be hard to believe that God is doing what this verse says.

God will meet our needs, but maybe not the way we expect or the way we want Him to. We may see something as a need, when God sees it as a want and know it's better for us if He doesn't supply it.

These words challenge me: Do I believe them? Even when it doesn't look like I expect?

We can be sure that God will never leave us without something we need to live the life He has for us.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Promises from God

Philippians 4:4-9 has long been a favourite passage of Scripture of mine. It's also a fairly well known passage to many:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned from me, or seen in me - put into practice. And the peace of God will be with you.

I've heard sermons and read thoughts on lots of different things in this passage before. As I was reading and reflecting on these verses recently, I noticed something I don't remember noticing before. I love how God highlights things we've seen often in His Word before at the time we're in a place for that truth. It was there all along, but now is when we notice it.

These verses contain two promises. One is said only once, but the second is repeated twice:

  • The Lord is near (vs. 5)
  • The peace of God will guard your hearts and minds (vs. 7)
  • The peace of God will be with you (vs. 9)

We're told that God is near and that we can experience His peace. We don't have to go looking for God because He is near. We just have to look up from our circumstances and look at Him. We don't have to search for an elusive peace, when we realize God is near because we've shifted our gaze, we will experience God's peace.

As I saw this, I realized it changed my perspective on everything else in this passage. All the words about not being anxious about anything and thinking about things are no longer a means to trying to find God and an elusive peace. They become a way to live because I'm living with a God Who is near and has given me His peace.

We can rejoice because God is near and His peace guards our hearts and minds.

We can let our gentleness be evident to all because God is near and His peace guards our hearts and minds.

We have no need to be anxious about anything because God is near and He gives us His peace to guard our hearts and minds.

We can bring our requests to God and trust His answers because God is near and His peace guards our hearts and minds.

We can live with thanksgiving because God is near and His peace guards our hearts and minds.

We can think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy because God is near and His peace guards our hearts and minds.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Redemption in Abundance

          "Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
                    for with the Lord is unfailing love
                    and with Him is full redemption."
                                                       -Psalm 130:7


Psalm 130 is a psalm about God' forgiveness of sin. It is a cry to God for mercy and a declaration of hope in the truth of God's Word.

As I read it recently, I was struck by the thought that God offers "full redemption." Another translation I read said it this way: "redemption in abundance." (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

They all convey that it's something complete. God doesn't just sort of redeem our past our sin when we turn to Him. He redeems it completely and He does it abundantly.

I've been working through Beth Moore's Bible study on the Psalms of Ascent recently and she said something about God's work of redemption that really stuck with me in part of the study for this psalm.

"Allowed to do so through our confession, invitation, and cooperation, God can restore our identity, our purity, our ability, and our sanity! He not only diffuses our past of all power to harm and haunt us but He infuses it with power to help others." (Stepping Up, page 129)

God's work of redemption in our lives is so much more than just forgiving our sins. He also takes our pasts and uses them for His glory and His purposes.

This is where I think the translation that used the phrase "redemption in abundance"  really challenged my thinking on this. God doesn't just redeem our pasts, He does so abundantly! As we allow Him to do His work, He creates something beyond what had been stolen by sin. He is generous with us in His redemption. He doesn't just barely redeem us; He redeems abundantly.

The lyrics to the chorus of a song I've been listening to lately have made me continue to think about what this looks like in my life.

The song is called "You Redeem" (by Aaron Shust)

You redeem, You redeem
You restore what's been stolen from me
You reclaim, You release
You rebuild with the words that You breathe
You redeem

You can listen to the whole song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boV5ER7O90o