Tag Archives: God’s provision

Hold Fast

2 Timothy 1:13-18

13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

It’s easy for me to lose my grip on things these days. During my cancer battle I developed neuropathy on the outside of both of my hands. This includes my outside two fingers on both hands. There is some feeling on the ring finger, but little on the pinkie. Just a numbness That still persists. This numbness makes it very difficult to grip things tightly and to hold on for a long time. It is very frustrating and I am believing God for healing.

But how do we hold onto words? They are not things that we can grip with our hands or fingers. They are not solid objects that have a handle on them. They fly through the air and land on our ears. If it is a language we understand than we do our best to comprehend what is said. We don’t always get the whole message correct, but we usually do our best. Sometimes we completely misunderstand and get frustrated and upset at the words that have come our way. Words are powerful things.

That old adage that says “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is so wrong. The hurt of words can last a lifetime and can destroy a soul. They can also lift us up and edify us to greater things. They can break our souls or heal our spirits. They can make us believe or they can deceive. James talks a lot about the tongue. He says we should not bless and curse out of the same mouth. He says we are known by what proceeds out of our mouth. Jesus said we will give account for every word we speak. How careful we should be before we let words leave our lips.

Paul tells us to hold fast the sound words that he has spoken in faith and love. He wants us to know and understand everything he has said and then stay with it. Holding fast means that we follow those words, that we live those words. When someone loses their tamper or just gets frustrated beyond control, we tell them to “Get a grip”. When we just can’t seem to understand something, we tell others we just “can’t get a handle on it.” Some times when I ask people how they are doing they say “I am hanging in there.”

We all want to hold fast to something. It is so ingrained in us that we use these cute sayings to demonstrate the fact that we need something to hold onto. We can’t go through life in a freefall with nothing to cling to. There has to be something we can reach out to in times of trouble, something we can grab when we are about to fall. The words of the Bible provide that.

Think about it. When we are in a difficult situation, what is it we can hold onto? John 14:27 says “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” When we have a tough decision to make, we can turn to Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trus in the Liord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct your path.” I can not begin to tell you how many times I held onto that scripture in my life. In times of anxiety, Paul says “be anxious for nothing.” In Philippians 4:6. He tells us God is able to complete the work which He began in us (Philippians 1:6). When we are not sure if we are capable he tells us we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). When we can’t make ends meet, he says “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

These and many more verses are things we can hold onto even in our most desperate times. There is nothing too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:27). Everything we are going through and all that comes our way will work out for our good (Romans 8:28). God loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) and He will hear our cry (Jeremiah 33:3). If you’re going through a rough time and don’t know where you should turn, Get a Grip! The Word of God is something you can hold fast and never let go, because it will always be true!

I Know Whom I Have Believed

2 Timothy 1:8-12

8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

AM I as affective a witness as I should be? That is a question I ask myself almost every day. I walk by someone on the local bike trail while walking my dog. Shouldn’t I tell them about Jesus? I see someone in the grocery store. Shouldn’t I ell them about my Savior? The mail man delivers a package. I must tell him about Jesus! Why do I not speak up more often about my Lord?

It’s pride that keeps me from saying more. Pride makes me fear rejection. I want to be loved, or at least liked. What if they just don’t want to hear it or had a bad experience with religious zealots at some time? What if they decide they just won’t come near me anymore if I am going to talk that way. What if they yell, or snub their noses at me? I don’t want to be rejected!

Pride makes me ashamed to speak out about the one who saved my soul. It makes me ashamed to say that I could not do it on my own. It makes me ashamed that I had to have Jesus to take away my troubles. It makes me ashamed to speak out about my Savior and friend. Pride is an evil master!

But I should not be ashamed! I should be willing to endure all these things for His names sake. I should be willing to face persecution, or backbiting, or turning away so-called friends. Those things should not matter to me when it comes to my witness for Jesus Christ. Jesus should have that kind of preeminence in my life that he rises above all else and I am just his humble servant. A humble servant will do the will of his master regardless of the perceived dangers.

And why should I be willing? Look at what He has done for us, for me! He saved me. Saved me from the pit of hell. Saved me from sin and shame. Saved me from pain and misery. Saved me from sorrow and guilt. Saved me from the storm and the waves. Saved me from the trials and tests. Saved me from all my enemies and most importantly saved me from myself. He saved me!

What should I be willing? He called me. He called me to be His disciple, wretched sinner that am. He called me out of darkness into His glorious light. He called me out of the put and set my feet on the rock. He called me out of weakness and gave me His strength. He called me out of ignorance and gave me wisdom and knowledge. He called me out of sin into redemption. He called me away from wandering aimlessly around and gave me a purpose. He called me!

To think that He did all these things according to His purpose and His grace is beyond my ability to comprehend. To think that He had a purpose for me when I was lost in sin, using His name as a curse word, and denying His existence is beyond me. To think that He had a purpose for me when I was an alcoholic, a drug addict, a pervert and a wretched person is beyond me. To think that he would have grace on such a soul as I is beyond me. It just goes to show me how much further I have to travel on this journey to the perfection he calls me to. His grace. His amazing grace that brought me to the cross. His amazing love wrapped up in that grace. I am so undeserving yet He loved me just the same.

Paul says he was appointed to be a preacher, an apostle and a teacher unto the Gentiles. He was appointed by the one who saw that purpose in Him and moved by His grace to bring that purpose to fruition. Paul was a willing vessel, a vessel ready to face any persecution that might come his way. I know that God has appointed me to be a Psalmist, a songwriter, a preacher, a teacher, a worship leader, a writer and a trusted advisor. He has appointed me! The King of Kings and Lord of Lords has appointed me! There is no authority higher than Jesus and he has appointed me! No one can take that away, or dismiss it as worldly, or say it is not so. It is true in every way. The world can mock me and torment me and persecute me but it does not change my appointment. What has he appointed you to do?

You see, I know whom I have believed. I have believed the one who raised the dead, who opened blind eyes and deaf ears., who made the lamb to walk and the leper to be cleansed. I have believed the one who taught the multitudes who the Father was and brought down the religious ruler for not following him. I have believed the one who was beaten and scourged and mocked. I have believed the one who was crucified for my sins and who rose from the dead. That is who I have believed.

And because I believe Him, I am persuaded that He will keep those things that He has committed to me, those appointments He has put into my life. He is able to move me further ion those appointments as I continue to draw closer to Him. He is able to give me the words to write, the melodies to sing, and the avenue to got the words out. He is able to bring the right people along to read or hear the words He has given me. I do not have to worry about a thing. I just need to continue to do as he asks me to do. He will do the rest.

What has God committed into your care? What have you committed to Him? He will keep it all. He will uphold His promise to you as you uphold your promise to Him. The best position we can take is to commit ourselves, in our entirety, to Him. Give Him your all. Don’t hold back. He promises that the more I give, the more He will give. He promises top always be with me and to walk through the valleys with me. He has committed to keeping His promise. I pray we will all keep our promises to Him!

Honoring Widows

1 Timothy 5:3-7

3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day..
6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

In our society today more and more children are caring for their elderly parents. Because most businesses now do not offer the pensions they used to, seniors are finding it harder to afford living on their own. The cost of living keeps rising and the social security checks just don’t rise as fast. This poses big problems for those who did not do a good job saving up during their lifetime, and that is the majority of our seniors today. Fourteen percent of adults living in someone else’s home are the parents of the homeowner, up from seven percent in 1995.

At the same time, more and more adult children are living with their parents due to various reasons. Lack of jobs, affordability of housing and coping skills are all causing young adults to move back home. And in many cases, grandparents are taking custody of their grandchildren due to a lack of social structure in the home of their children. This is the case with my wife and I. We have our fourteen year old granddaughter living with us because our daughter was in a situation that defied all sensibility and put our granddaughter at risk. We are thrilled to have her and she loves being with us but it does put a strain on our household budget.

I bring all this up because we now live in a society that doesn’t really see its widows. We rarely use that word – at least I hardly ever hear it. It seems there is a negative connotation associated with the word widow and that is so wrong. Women live much longer than men on average so it is very likely we will have a lot of widows around, But the fact that women are aging much better and looking very good well into their 80’s leads us to think of them as still vibrant and able to care for themselves. They just don’t look like widows, if you know what I mean. I know a lot of ladies who are widows that lead very god lives and seem to be doing very well in society. I know they are hurting deep inside, but they do well to rise above that and be active in the community.

In Jesus day, it was a different picture. The woman was a housekeeper and her husband provided everything for her. There was no social security or welfare she could fall back on if her husband died so she was left to fend for herself and it was very difficult. People felt sympathy for them, but most households had enough to do just to keep their own house running smoothly. It was hard for them to give of their sustenance to help someone else out. So, the widows had to trust God to provide for them.

We read a couple stories in the Bible about widows that really show God’s provision and faithfulness. In 1st Kings 17, we can read the story of Elijah coming to the widow of Zarapeth. She was fixing bread from the last bit of meal that she had. Elijah asked for the bread she was making. She felt that once this bread was eaten, her and her son would die because they were out of food. But Elijah blessed the bread and the widow found that her meal never ran out. The widow was provided for.

In 2nd Kings 4 Elisha went to a widow’s house and she was about out of oil. She just had a cruse of it left. Elisha told her to go get all the vessels she could find and bring them to the house. She did that and the cruse filled every vessel she brought into the house so she did not run out. Again, the widow was provided for.

Throughout the Bible we read that God cares for the widows. Psalm 68:5 tells us that God is the Father of the fatherless and the protector of widows. Psalm 146:9 says God upholds the fatherless and the widow. Jeremiah 49:11 says the widows should trust in God. And James 1:27 says it is pure, undefiled religion to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to stay unspotted from the world.

It is fascinating to me that widows are so often mentioned along with the fatherless. And they are both mentioned as ones whom God has a special heart for. What intrigues me is that God is our heavenly Father and he is also the bridegroom waiting for His bride. To me this is not mere word play, but a truth that we should all pay close attention to. The fatherless can be seen as those who do not have Jesus Christ as their Savior, thus never becoming adopted into His family as children and heirs. And the widows can be seen as those who have not married the bridegroom after they have divorced this world. They have not come under is authority and become obedient to Him. These are people in desperate need of attention. They need provision from the word of God to help sustain them and lead them in the right path.

It would be easy for us to overlook these scriptures about widows because the landscape of our society has changed. But God always has a purpose and a vision for the future and He wants us to pay close attention to everything he has to say. We cannot ignore this charge to care for the widows. Whether they be true widows who have lost their husbands, or whether they be spiritual widows who have left this world behind and married the Bride. Both need our attention and our help.

On the other hand, Paul writes if a widow is living in pleasure then she is dead while living. In Paul’s day, this would be looked upon as slandering her husbands name. Today we often see widows go on to remarry or lead very good lives after their husband dies. So once again the picture has changed. But if a person who has died to this world by accepting Christ and lives a life of fun and games that are not spiritual, they face the same fate. They have not come under the arm of a protective Savior, but rather have decided to turn their backs on the one who saved them. This is a very dangerous place to live. Once we turn our backs on this world, we should never return to the ways of the world. Christ calls us to come out from among them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). We are to have no part of that former life or of a life filled with gaiety. We are to become obedient to Christ and His commandments if we expect to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21)

Do you know any widows who are struggling in their faith? This is a call to all of us to provide the truth to them. The bread of life and the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness. Just as Elijah and Elisha provided for widows in their day, so we should bring the word of God to those who are trying to find their way once they have died to the world. We are not to condemn them, just as Christ did not come to condemn (John 3:17). We are to love them and nurture them, bringing them alongside so they can taste and see that the Lord is good. This is our calling!

Let Them Eat Meat

1 Timothy 4:3-5

3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

There are some who believe the clergy and those in spiritual authority should not marry. In fact, they make it their doctrine. They use the verse where Paul says those who remain unmarried care for the things of the Lord, while those who are married care for things that are of the world, how they may please their wife (1 Corinthians 7:32-33). Paul says this because he sees from his own lens, where he is unmarried and is able to put the gospel first in all things. Earlier in 1 Corinthians, Paul says he wishes all men were unmarried like him (1 Corinthians 7:7). I’m sure even Paul knows how ludicrous a statement that is if taken literally. If it were, there would be no children! Another thing we see in 1 Corinthians 7 is that Paul goes back and forth between writing what he says the Lord commands and what he believes is right and profitable. Verses 32-33 come in a section which carries Paul’s thoughts and not necessarily the Lords.

God instituted marriage for several reasons. First, man needed a helpmate. He needed someone alongside to help him through life. A wise pastor I once had told me God gave a wife to man so that she could help him see his faults. It took me years to discover this truth. My wife is very good at seeing when pride is rising up within me and she is quick to point it out. Until I learned that she was there to help me in this area, I ignored her. In fact I argued with her that I was not prideful at all (one of the surest signs that I was!). Jealousy, anger, sorrow, fear – all of these can be seen by a woman much easier than a man will see them, or acknowledge them. She is my helper to make me into the man God wants me to be.

God gave a woman to man so that he would not be alone. Man needed companionship and God knew that. After all, He created man. If God gave woman to man, why would He ever say they should not marry and be together? God did not see a problem with man getting married. He did not think this would take man’s mind off of His creator. If God had thought that., He would have come up with a different plan! After all, God still came to the garden to fellowship with man after the fall, and woman was with him then.

Marriage was also instituted so mankind would continue. This is an obvious one. Without the two, none of us would be here. God told man to leave his father and mother can cleave to his wife, and they would be one flesh. They become one in spirit and soul when they are married, and all kinds of hurt and trouble come about when divorce comes up, which was only agreed upon by God because man’s heart was hard (Matthew 19:8). God intends us to stay together. Marriage was given by God and is a blessing to Him. Any who say man should abstain from marriage should go back and study this out. They are not following God’s true calling for man. I agree that some are called to chastity. If that is their calling then they should by all means fulfill it. But I do not believe the scripture condones dictating chastity.

Abstaining from meat has become very popular in our culture today. Many will tell you that meat is dangerous to your health and you should eliminate it altogether, replacing it with other proteins like nuts and beans. Others warn against eating too much meat or that we should only eat lean meat. Their reasons vary, from the fact that it will increase green house gases to the possibility there will not be enough to go around in 30 years. Whatever the reason, science has turned to a platform of little or no meat as the dietary norm. Too bad God disagrees.

The truth is that God said “It was good” from the moment He made it. He said all the animals, plants, insects, fish, birds and anything else on this earth was good for mankind to use as he sees fit. We have dominion over all of it. Should we treat animals with respect? Of course, but not to the point that we forbid to eat them. Should we be humane? Certainly. People who do not treat animals with respect or proper care should face consequences.

But when we start to put the animals before the humans, we turn God’s word upside down. When we start to think that we know better than God, we become fools in His eyes. The problem is that the world has fallen into the devilish doctrine of evolution. This doctrine says that we should praise the creature more than the creator, or His creation. Evolution says that man is no more important than a spotted owl or a lowly lizard. God says we are made a little lower than the angels. Evolution discounts God’s hand in anything. Evolution says the word of God is wrong and man is right. What a foolish thought that is!

Everything God has put on this earth was put here for the express purpose of providing for mankind. Why do you think the water came before the plants? So the plants could be provided for! Then the sun and moon came so the plants could grow and reproduce. Then the animals were created, and they were sustained by the plants. Finally mankind came and they were sustained by it all. All of this was created by His Word for the profitability of the only creatures He molded with His hands, Adam and Eve. Nothing else in all of creation was made by God’s hands except Adam and Eve. Mankind must be very special indeed!

The last note Paul makes about this is the importance of blessing our food. He says it must be received with thanksgiving, and that it is sanctified by prayer. This cannot be stressed enough. We should raise our voices and our hearts to our wonderful creator for giving us all these blessings. We should not neglect blessing our food and asking it to bring nourishment to our bodies. We should always be grateful for what the Lord has provided from the beginning of time. He is Jehovah Jireh, our provider and His grace is sufficient for me!