Greater Future Promises

red chair faviconI have upheld [you] since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:3-4, NIV)

My heart is downcast and I’m not feeling it. Unable to find the words to pray, I pull my little red chair up to God’s throne and wait. I sip hazelnut liquid mercy, desperate for a glimmer of hope. “Jesus, help!” is the only prayer I can manage. I open my Bible to Isaiah 46:3-4, a passage of comfort that never grows old.  Every time I read this passage, God speaks. Today, my red chair revelation could have been an English lesson as God focused my attention of the strategic use on past and future tense verbs.coffee-2Bimage In this passage God issued three past tense phrases:

  1. I have upheld you.

  2. I have carried you.

  3. I have made you.

Then God offered four future promises:

  1. I will sustain you.

  2. I will carry you.

  3. I will sustain you.

  4. I will rescue you.

God mentions “I will sustain you” twice in verse four. God future promises for my situation is greater than His past tense provision.

Hands-by-Dami-Wurtz-Pixabay His future promises are even greater!

Even though His provisions for me have been good; He upheld me, He carried me, and He made me. God reminds me His future promises are even greater and “It is well with my soul.”

~April Dawn White

Photos courtesy of Pixabay

 

He Will Do It

“The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV)
        Who wrote the majority of the Bible? The answer may surprise you: Moses. God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and commissioned Moses on a new adventure. God appointed Moses to return to Egypt, confront the Pharaoh, and lead God’s people out of slavery. Forty years prior to his encounter with the Almighty, Moses was a tended his Father-in-Laws sheep.  Now he would use that same shepherd staff to lead God’s people to freedom. At the burning bush, Moses stood before the Lord and tried to convince God to pick someone else for the job. He repeatedly argued with God about his new assignment. At one time Moses said “O Lord, I have never been eloquent…I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10, NIV). 
            The man, who argued with God about his vocabulary and oration skills, subsequently authored five books and one Psalm. Moses penned 125,139 words, the largest volume of words recorded in the Bible. Thus reminding us that God equips those He calls. 
            While driving the kids to school, I asked “Who do you think wrote the majority of the Bible?” They responded with David, Paul, and Luke.  I shared with the kids how cool it was that God used Moses in this way. This was a guy who claimed to not be good with words, yet God provided what Moses needed to get the task done. In the Christian vocabulary, we call that being equipped. God not only equipped Moses, but He proved to be faithful. Soon after I shared this with the children, this verse was read over the airways of the Spirit FM radio station:
“The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV).
            The dynamic truth of God equipping the called goes beyond the Old Testament. This truth is for all believers here and now. What is God calling you to do? Have you felt God nudging toward something new? What is the one thing God has laid upon your heart to do, that you haven’t done yet? Are you like Moses, arguing with God?
Whatever God has called you to do, He is faithful, and He will do it!
P.S. In case you are curious who else wrote the majority of the Bible the authors listed as follows:
Moses: 5 books, 1 Psalm; 125,139 words
Ezra: 3 books; 43,618 words
Luke: 2 books; 37,932 words
Jeremiah: 2 books; 35,306 words
Paul: 13 books; 32,408 words
The word count is based on the original languages.
* This information was researched and documented by Jeffery and Laura Kranz at www.overviewbible.com
~April 
“We have this hope and an anchor for our soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19, NIV)

You Can’t Out Give God!

Andrew gave all that he had.
The Wade Family Christmas is a large affair, with a gathering of over one hundred, our clan mostly dressed in Wranglers and boots, gather at a local reception hall. Each year, our extended family chooses a family in need. Often we donate food and firewood, and money. This year my parents, and the kids and I packed up our firewood to give to a family member going through a difficult time. After dinner, the monarch of the family announced another collection would be used to purchase new dentures recently lost at the nursing home.
            A few days later, I discover money and a note on the kitchen counter. I counted the money and read the note from Andrew: “New teeth.” I called Andrew into the kitchen to explain. He said, “Well, it’s not a lot, but it’s all the money I have, except for Wal-Mart gift cards. You can’t buy new teeth with a Wal-Mart gift card can you? We know two people who need new teeth and I want them to have my money. I have teeth. Everyone needs teeth, mom.” I cried. I lifted my head to the heavens and thanked the Good Lord above for this boy!
            We spent Christmas Eve with my parents, my sister and her children. After the presents were opened, my mom announced she had one more gift to give. She handed Andrew a crisp twenty-dollar bill and said, “Andrew, I heard about you giving all your money away to help buy new teeth for Wilton. This is for you!”  Andrew’s eyes lit up with excitement, and then he spoke, “But Grandma, this is too much. I only gave away $18 not $20.” She smiled at her only grandson and said, “No, you keep it!” From across the living room cluttered with wrapping paper, I asked “Andrew, what is it I always say about giving?” With a huge grin, he erupted, “YOU CAN’T OUT GIVE GOD!” It’s true; we can never out give God! In fact, the Bible says to test God on this subject.
Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
(Malachi 3:10 NIV)
            I received many treasured gifts this Christmas. However, the most treasured gift was watching Andrew walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s nudge to give; then watching his face light up when he received back more than he gave. That’s how God works. You can’t out give God!


~April 
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God’s Faithfulness

 

God has recently reminded me of this important truth: God IS faithful. Grammatically speaking this is a present active participle meaning He continues to be faithful!

God reminded me of this truth this week while spending some long over due time with a friend. I have known my friend for 6 years and in that time I have seen God allow things (marriage, financial security, homes, jobs and recently heath) to be removed from her grasp. When I saw her this week I said to her (waving my hand over her head and looking heavenward) “Lord, this one’s had enough! Okay enough!” Then she replies “Oh, I wouldn’t trade my situation in for anything, because I get to see the Faithfulness of God everyday! April, our God is so faithful!”

My friend’s words echoed in my heart for days. I made arrangements to spend more face time with her this week. I had to tell her what God taught me in hearing her say “God is faithful!” Honestly, hearing her say that (with all that she has been through) was both a blessing and a conviction.

All year I have been purposefully denying spending money on myself for unnecessary items. I have been challenged over the past 9 months to really discern what is absolutely necessary. Thankfully, God and I agree that spending money on coffee is necessary! All joking aside, I have been in awe by the ways Jehoviah Jireh (The Lord Who Provides- Genesis 22:14) has provided and blessed me though this process.

As my friend shared the details of God’s faithfulness in her life, I began to feel convicted. I am purposefully choosing to deny myself but, sitting across from me is my friend who has not chosen for any of this to occur to her and yet she’s still thankful! Not only is she thankful, she wouldn’t change a thing!

This morning I awoke with song lyrics in my mind based on Psalms 89:1 “I will sing of the mercies’ of the Lord forever, I will sing, yes I will sing….and with my mouth will I make know God’s faithfulness, God’s faithfulness. With my mouth will I made make know God’s faithfulness to all generations!”

Here’s the lesson God taught me this week. Each one of us have different circumstances, different trials, and different obstacles. Some of these are self-induced while other circumstances God has allowed to happen. Regardless of the circumstance and regardless of the cause, God IS faithful! This statement is a present active participle, He was faithful, He is faithful and He will continue to be faithful!

I conclude each post with Romans 1:12. This week God has truly taught me what it means to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith! Below is a list of some of my favorite verses about God’s faithfulness. Be encouraged!

~April

“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” –Romans 1:12

God’s Faithfulness Verses


For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:4
Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Psalm 36:5
But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger,
abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15
I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. Psalm 89:1

O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you. Psalm 89:8

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. Psalm 91:3-6

It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. Psalm 92:1-3

For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalm 108:4

O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Psalm 143:1
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Romans 3:3-4
God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
1 Corinthians 1:9
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Leaning

Abide is an old English word, not commonly found in my New International Version of the Bible. As I began to research this word, the meaning, and the references I discovered an interesting fact. Abide, is found 35 times in the New Testament of the New King James Version of the Bible. Of the 35 scriptures listed in the NT, the John wrote abide 32 times. Obviously abide was a favorite term for John to use it so many times in the book of John, 1 John, and 2 John. I began to wonder, what was it about the word abide and Jesus that made John write about it so much?
My brain began to spin off into a different direction. I want to learn more about the word abide, but first I need to learn more about the author who used this word so much. Just off the top of my head here’s what I know about John:
  • He was one of Jesus closest 3 friends (the inner three: Peter, James & John).
  • He was perhaps the youngest of all the disciples.
  • He was banned to the Greek island of Patmos.
  • He was shown the future and wrote the book of Revelation.
  • He understood the importance of solitude and quiet time.
  • He refers to himself as “The disciple whom Jesus loves” in John 13:23.
I turned in my Bible and read John 13:23-25. Let me set up the story for you. Jesus and his twelve disciples have just finished eating and they were reclining at the dinner table. (At my home this would be the time to serve and dessert). Jesus explains that soon one of them will betray him. John, the disciple whom Jesus’ loves is reclining next to Jesus. When prompted by Peter to ask which disciple will betray him he ….“Leaning back against Jesus, he asked…” John 13:25.
Recently, I sat around a kitchen table with three friends. As we savored our coffee and dessert I found myself leaning towards the table. I wanted my friends to know I was listening as they shared what’s been going on in their life over the Summer.
As my friends shared their stories I thought about John reclining at the table with Jesus. Consider this, John talked about abiding in God more than anyone else in the Bible. John also physically aligned himself to recline or lean on Jesus. The posture of leaning on someone represents a trust, a dependency, and a friendship. To lean in or to lean against someone is an illustration that you want to hear what they have to say. I find John’s approach to Jesus interesting. Typically when I have a important question to ask I find myself sitting up straight, squaring my shoulders, or even standing to ask the question. But look again at John’s posture: “Leaning back against Jesus, he asked.” John 13:25. The image of a Father holding a child comes to mind. I imagine as John rested against Jesus, that Christ placed a reassuring arm around him. This posture reminds me that when I have a question to ask God, I need to lean to him first, then ask!
While praying whether to share this with my Red Chair friends, God placed an old hymn in my mind “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” This song was written in 1887 by Showalter and Hoffman in response to a loved ones death. This song was inspired by Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
Leaning On The Everlasting Arms:
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain: Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
Oh, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
Oh, how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain: Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
God confirmed I was to share this with you when a friend left me a message with the following poem written my an anonymous writer.
Lean Hard
Child of My love, lean hard,
And let Me feel the pressure of thy care;
I know thy burden, child, I shaped it;
Poised it in My own hand, made no proportion
In its weight to thine unaided strength;
For even as I laid it on, I said
I shall be near, and while she (he) leans on Me,
This burden shall be Mine, not hers (his);
So shall I keep My child within the circling
Arms of My own love.
Here lay it down, nor fear to impose it on a
Shoulder which upholds the government of worlds.
Yet closer come; thou art not near enough;
I would embrace thy care so I might feel My
Child reposing on my breast.
Thou lovest Me?  I know it.  Doubt not then;
But, loving Me, Lean Hard.
~April
May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12

Jehoviah Jireh: The Lord Will Provide

I’ve been involved in a secret operation with God.  In January, I made a commitment to God not to spend any unnecessary money on myself for the entire 2013.

I have resolved to deny myself, in order to see God’s provision first hand. I know that God provides my salvation, the air I breathe, my family’s health, my job, our home etc. But do I really rely on Him to provide my wants, needs, and desires? I am fortunate to live in the United States of America. However, I live in a culture of excess and overindulgence. Honestly, if there is something I want, I can purchase it, but where does this leave God? Missionary Otto Konning stated in The Pineapple Story, “God wants to prove Himself strong in our life. But too often we leave God out and don’t give Him a chance. We essentially leave God unemployed.”

Annually, I ask God to provide a specific verse for the year. This year God directed me not only to a specific verse but rather a Biblical Truth: God provides! This truth is powerfully depicted in the story of Abraham’s test of faith. Genesis Chapter twenty-two reveals the obedience, faith, and courage of Abraham to follow God’s request of placing his son on the altar. Isaac nervously looked around for the sacrificial animal and asked, “‘Dad, where is the lamb?” Abraham replies, God Himself will provide.’. A few moments later, a ram is found caught in a thicket nearby. Abraham called that place Yahweh Jireh translated into English as Jehovah Jireh meaning “The Lord Will Provide!” In my covert operation, I believe that Abraham’s Jehovah Jireh, is the same Jehovah Jireh of 2013. By denying myself, I am leaving employment opportunities for God to show me He is the Lord Who Provides.
During these past eight months, I have saturated myself in the study of Daniel. In fact I have read the book of Daniel three times; once on my own, then again with a John MacArthur study guide, and finally with a 12 week in-depth Beth Moore series. With each reading of Daniel, I am reminded of Daniel’s resolve not to be defiled with the overindulgences of the current culture. Daniel’s choice to rely completely on God allowed him to walk out of the lion’s den unharmed. God proved Himself mighty in Daniel’s life and in 2013 I am asking God to do the same in my own life.
I will be honest this commitment has not been easy, but God has used this secret operation to strengthen my faith. I have seen Him provide in ways that truly only He can. Each morning before my feet hit the floor, I pray “You are the God who provides. I too will call this place “The Lord Will Provide!” When tempted to purchase something for myself, I remind myself “If God wants me to have this, then God will provide.” Let me share with you some examples.
In July, I was shopping for a new swimsuit for my daughter. Rachel pointed to an umbrella display. She suggested I purchase a new umbrella since mine was broken, “And get a pink one this time mommy.” I was tempted. I could justify the purchase as necessary since my umbrella was broken, but we have an extra (albeit ugly) umbrella at home. Standing in the accessory aisle of Target, I told my daughter, “If God wants me to have a new umbrella, He will provide.” A week later a friend handed me a birthday gift and hesitantly hoped it wasn’t a cheesy gift. She stated that for reasons she can’t explain, she felt like she was supposed to buy me this gift. Tears escaped my eyes as I opened my gift, a pink umbrella with black polka dots! Only Rachel and I knew the importance of such a gift.  Jehovah Jireh in action!
While grocery shopping I paused at the reusable water bottles. Again, it was a purchase that I could justify. Instead I silently prayed, “Lord, if you want me to have a new water bottle, you will provide.” A few days later, a coworker surprised me with belated birthday gift. One of the items in the gift bag was an insulated athletic water bottle! Jehovah Jireh strikes again!
Earlier this year I was really struggling with wanting new clothes. I didn’t need new clothes, but it was difficult to go back to school shopping with the kids and not spend any money on myself.     Again I prayed, “Lord I’d like some new shirts and a pair of jeans. If you want me to new clothes, you’ll provide.” Since the beginning of this secret operation, a friend cleaned out her closet and offered me three pair of Levis jeans and a few shirts. Then to my surprise another friend gifted me two beautiful shirts for my birthday. I guess the Lord wanted me to have some new clothes after-all!
During the last week of school, I shopped at a local Christian bookstore multiple times for teacher or graduation gifts. Each time I was tempted to purchase the Jesus Calling Devotional and a ceramic travel coffee mug. Earlier in the month, I had given away my copy of Jesus Calling and I had dropped and broken my favorite travel mug. Surly, God wouldn’t consider buying a book about Him unnecessary? After-all I did own the book at one time, but gave it away. Once again, I denied myself the purchase. A few days later the Kindergarten teacher, whom I volunteer for, gave me a gift card to the same Christian bookstore! Jehovah Jireh once again provided and I was able to purchase that book. Months later for my birthday a friend treated me to an afternoon at the local paint-it-yourself-pottery shop. Can you guess what she chose for me to paint? A ceramic travel coffee mug! She had no clue about my secret commitment to God. I quickly explained my Divine Espionage how “The God Who Provides” has once again provided!
Friends, I could go on and on about the very specific ways God has provided! The hinges of my heart  have blown off!  I can’t help but wonder about all the small blessings in life that we miss out on because we don’t rely on Him. Yes, I could have justified purchasing an umbrella, a water bottle, a coffee mug, (but not clothes) but I would have missed the opportunity for God to prove Himself faithful. This experience has richly deepened my dependence of God and my faith in Him! What I love more than the tangible items God has provided is seeing the response of those around me. Knowing my family has heard me say, “If God wants me to have this item, then He will provide.” and then seeing God provide also builds up their faith! And I hope yours too! God knows me, loves me and cares specifically about me. But I am not more special than anyone else. He feels the same way about you too!
~April Dawn White
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