When We Doubt and Wonder, Can God Fix This?

According to Webster’s dictionary, sufficient means to meet ones needs, or adequacy, as opposed to inadequacy.  When we sometimes feel hopeless, or when bad times come, we may wonder and doubt if God is able to meet our needs.  Can God fix this?

In his book, How Can I Know, Dr. Robert Jeffress discusses we are not alone in that struggle, as many people have struggled with doubt and uncertainties about God.  He goes on to describe how that is natural, and gives us numerous evidences of God’s sufficiency and existence, with one of my favorite being creation itself.  With over hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe, we are seemingly but a spec of sand in the Milky Way galaxy in which our whole solar system exists.  How did such a universe come into existence without a divine creator?  We are given just a small glimpse, or hint of the beginning of our earth when God spoke it into being. (Genesis 1:1-3).  Did you catch that?  How can we doubt a God so omnipotent who simply speaks creation into being?AugustBeverly

Sometimes, even though I know how very powerful God is, I don’t like to wait.  I want to fix it now, especially when it is something I want resolved for my family.  Never mind if God is working in their lives and has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11), I just want to fix it now!

Is it my foolish pride, in that I think I can do better than God?  How many times have I rushed ahead of God in my own decision making, like Saul did in the beginning of his reign over Israel (I Samuel 13:2-14) eventually costing him his leadership?  Or worried about problems when statistics prove over 90% of the things we worry about never happen.

In the New Testament, Paul encourages and reminds us:

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.  (Phil. 4:19-20)

What a precious promise, He will supply ALL our needs, not just some!  Numerous other precious passages note God’s care for us, not the least of which is Psalm 23 in which our Lord is described as our caretaker, provider, protector, and comforter.

Lord, teach us to:

About the writer:
Beverly has been an educator, administrator, and educational sales representative, Sunday school teacher, and mentor; but most importantly is a wife, mother, and grandmother with a passion for sharing Christ.

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Finding My Life

There are many things I have come to be happy without, or with for that matter.  There are a few things that I would still prefer to have.  And there are even fewer things that, without fail, make my heart ache when they are missing.  I miss people.  I miss friends that are no longer close by.  I miss family that is serving as missionaries in another country.  I miss fellow brothers and sisters in Christ from past churches that I’ve been part of.  Most people who know me well, know that I am somewhat reserved about letting “new” people into my life.  Though I love to know others, I sometimes idealize the emotional island where I am untouched by the inevitability of death, separation and sin.

However, God called His children to a different life—one of fellowship with one another (Acts 2:43-47), seeking the good and edification of one another (Ephesians 5:19-21), and fully committed to sharing the hope of Christ with others (1 Corinthians 9:19).  If it weren’t for these verses, and the Holy Spirit, who continually pulls me out in my weakest moments; I would gravitate towards living alone in a hut or cave somewhere meditating in quiet isolation where I am not saddened by the loss or absence of those I care for.  And actually, Meditatethat was the plan at one point in my life when I “hid out” with monks in silent meditation without verbal interaction for periods so long I couldn’t remember the last time I spoke with someone.

 But what a unique design God proposes instead:

 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  Hebrews 12:1

 The following verse (Hebrews 12:2) says that we are to keep our eyes on Jesus.  We are also to think about all He endured so that we don’t become weary and give up.

Revolutionary!  Die to self and live for Him.  It’s not always easy to give up desires for emotional security and allow for impermanent relationships with others.  If my ears are tickled by the lie that I am actually giving something up by choosing to serve Him and others first, God encourages me with a promise of even greater value.

“He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”  (Matthew 10:39)

 When God’s reassuring promises are fresh on my mind; it is much easier to lay aside sadness, grief or insecurities. They fade away as I trust that He will help me “find my life” as I “loose” it.  To me, that is what it means to hold up the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16) against lies of Satan that might declare that I “my” needs won’t be met by a loving God, who is, and has at His command, everything I need.

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

Only a Penny

PennyThis caught my eye as I was walking into the office this morning.  I wouldn’t have noticed it; except today, I was looking down at the pavement.  It stood out to me because I could relate with that little penny.  It looked like how I feel these days:  scarred and dirty, worn out and worthless, discarded and left outside to weather in the elements.  It was only the faint imitation of a new penny, what it had once been.

I wonder if other people ever feel like that pitiful little penny I found, not worth much to begin with, but after being out in the world even less valuable.  Like a penny, they are trampled on, used carelessly, discarded, and left alone.

As I pondered my little discovery, God reminded me of a familiar passage. Even though I may not feel very valuable, God tells me in Psalm 139:14 that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He tells me in 1 Peter 2:9 that I am chosen. I am a royal priesthood belonging to God so that I can declare the praises of Him who called me out of darkness into His wonderful light. I am a daughter of the King.

You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Psalm 139:13b-14a 

God is intentional in every detail of your life.  There is nothing accidental or mistaken about how He created you.  God knows you better than you know yourself, and yet still loves you with an everlasting love.  He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb and He knows you completely.  You are His masterpiece, and He made you for His purpose.

You have enclosed me behind and before; and have laid Your hand upon me. Psalm 139:5 

The Lord of your past has hemmed you in.  He wants to redeem what is behind you. He longs to take the mistakes and pain of your past and use them to strengthen you. The Lord of your future goes before you to prepare the way.  He knows what each day holds for you and longs to give you the manna you need for the things each day brings.  The Lord of your present keeps His Hand upon you and walks beside you through every moment of your life.

So today, look for pennies.  When you see one, pick it up and let it remind you of your value to God.  As you put the penny in your pocket, breathe a prayer thanking God; and reflect on your value and worth to Him who created you just the way you are!

I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to bring you harm. Plans for a hope and a future.’  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

About the Writer:
Teri is a wife and mother of five.  She is passionate about teaching, writing and ministering to fellow sojourners.  She and husband, Ken, spend their days working in ministry and their evenings and weekends raising their youngest child, a fifteen-year-old son.

The Sufficiency of God

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3) (NIV)

peace“My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes”,  says one of my favorite fictional characters, Anne Shirley, in LM Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables.  If we are past ten, most of us have felt the same way, though perhaps we’ve not expressed the thought as charmingly as our quaint heroine.  In a film adaptation, Anne asks her guardian, Marilla, “Can’t you even imagine you’re in the depths of despair?”  To which Marilla replies, “No I cannot, to despair is to turn one’s back on God.”

During a particularly difficult season, I too, felt the sadness of buried hopes.  Through a series of unfortunate events, my life suddenly took on a bleak and somber filter, tempting me to despair.  However, the truth of the Scriptures reminded me that if I chose to travel far into the realm of despair, I really would have to turn my back on God.  Two small words, one in each of the aforementioned verses, became anchors to the hope that seemed destined to be blown away in the winds of adversity.  That word is “all” in Philippians and “everything” 2 Peter above.  With the prayers and encouragement of many family and friends, I began to take back the ground covered with fear and discouragement caused by my circumstances.  No matter how dark the days seemed, the light of the truth of God’s Word never went out.  I began to see God’s provision in my physical, as well as emotional being, in ways I had never experienced even during more pleasant seasons.  Words I had quoted to others became the very breath of God to me, sustaining me with confidence that God really would supply all my needs, and He has given us everything.

As I clung to the very Word of Life since all scripture is from God (2 Timothy 3:16a) as revealed in the Word of God (John1:1-4), His sufficiency for all my needs became apparent.  Where I felt fear and anxiety, He supplied peace, as I made my requests known to Him (Phil. 4:6-7).  He was true to His Word, in that everything I needed, I saw Him provide.  One of His most precious gifts to me during this time was the confidence that His power has given us everything we need (2 Peter 1:3a) past tense, in the Person of Jesus Christ.  Because I have Christ, I have everything I need, “according to His riches in glory” (Phil. 4:19b). Those hopes, once buried, are living again.

About the Writer:
Nan is so grateful to belong to God’s people.  She loves getting to know all kinds of people and enjoys discovering new places, which is a good thing since she’s moved twenty five times.  She has been married to Jim, a pastor, for 34 years, and together they have four grown kids, a son in love, and three grand puppies.

Prayers of My Daughter

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3 ESV)

My two-year-old daughter is ever changing, learning, growing, … and sometimes disobeying.  It’s a tiring, but fun age because we are beginning to see the fruits of pouring God’s Word and love into her.  Praying childShe loves to pray.  She very seriously presses her hands together right in front of her nose, furrows her brow and says, “Dear God” and ends with a loud “Amen!”  It is sometimes followed by clapping.

In most of her prayers she says, “Thank you God for mommy, daddy, my carrots, and my fork”.  I think it’s important to start by teaching our children to pray with a heart of gratefulness and rejoicing (Phillipians 4:4).  But God clearly showed me when it was time to teach her more about prayer.  A family that is dear to us recently found out that their two year old has a potentially life changing eye condition called macular degeneration.  A perfectly healthy and precious little girl may experience deterioration in her sight leading to blindness.  My heart ached for her parents.  I began to internalize the questions and fears I would have if I was in their shoes.  I wanted to be faithful in praying for miraculous healing, and then it hit me that my daughter could pray too.

I explained to her in very simple terms what was happening and told my daughter this little girl’s eyes hurt, and that we were going to pray for God to make them better.  She nodded and paid attention in a way that is rare for her.  God Himself had clearly put empathy in her heart.  My daughter regularly, and without prompting, remembers to pray for her friend.  She prays, “Thank you God for making my friend’s eyes feel better”.  Oh, to pray like that – trusting fully.

I could easily dismiss her prayer as rote memorization, but I believe it is a reflection of the childlike faith Jesus asks us to have.  Our prayers are not heard because they are well formed, but because we believe and the Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26).  We are not miracle workers – Jesus is.  He has worked in my young daughter’s heart to make her a prayer warrior, and I believe He will perform a miracle for her young friend to protect her vision.

About the Writer:
Caroline is a wife and mom who loves Jesus.  She also has a career in commercial real estate investing.  God has given her a heart for encouraging other women.  She and her husband, Eric, are the directors of the Fellowship Class, a young married Sunday School class, at First Baptist Dallas.