Zechariah 10:1 Ask The Lord

Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone. Zechariah 10:1

The people were seeking false gods and idols for the rain to come. Zechariah tells them to ask God for the rain. He points out that it is God who provides rain for every person. It is also He who provides the plants for everyone.

During the Old Testament times rain was extremely important to the people. It allowed for the plants to grow. The plants provided food for the people and animals. It also provided something to sell for income needed for other things. Without any rain, they people would slowly die off, not having any food or income.

In most places in today’s society, people do not rely as much upon the rain personally. However, when there is a drought it does affect every person. The price of food goes up, because of the lack of it growing and high demand.

Without rain, the farmers cannot grow any crops. Without the crops they have no income, causing many to look for work somewhere else. Which causes a loss of someone else getting a job.

Instead of looking to physical idols today, people often look to the government or other people to provide for their needs. They make the government and other people their gods or idols.

The first place a person should look for provision is from God. God is the One who created everything that there is. He owns it all. He is the One who makes it rain, on both the believers and the unbelievers.

When you are faced with a challenging problem of provision, seek God first. He is a God who loves and wants to give good gifts to every person. The greatest gift He gave was forgiveness and life through His Son Jesus Christ. If He is willing to give that, how much more willing will He be to give you some food or some other thing that you need in this life?

Do not start with looking towards others or the government for provision. Don’t even look at your job for provision. Look to the Lord, who is full of grace, mercy and wants to give provide for you everything that you need. Take time to ask Him for help first.

I pray today that you will know the provision of God in your life; that you will seek God first in all of your needs; that you will trust God for your needs; and that God will show Himself faithful to you. 

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Hosea 13:6 After Being Fed

When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me. Hosea 13:6

God had brought the Israelites up out of Egypt into the wilderness. While they were in the wilderness, He provided for all of their needs. They did not have to work hard to get the food that was required. Later, He gave them the land of Canaan for their possession without extreme hard work on their part. Once they had these things provided they were satisfied. As soon as they were satisfied, they forgot all about God.

When there is a crisis or a great need, it is easy for people to turn to God and seek His help. Every time that there is a major disaster or event in a nation, many people turn to God and start praying. They seek God’s assistance in their time of great need. Those who normally don’t mention anything about God and rarely go to a church service, suddenly talk about praying to God for help for themselves or for others in great need.

Later, when the need is met or the crisis is over, people forget about God. They are no longer talking about praying and seeking God’s help. They are satisfied and happy with themselves and this world.

This occurs with many believers in the church. In a time of crisis, they are constantly praying and asking others to pray, but stop the praying when the major crisis is over. When the belly is full and satisfied, people feel that they no longer need God. They feel that they have everything back under control.

As a believer, this should never be the case. No matter how well things are going for you, you are not the one in control. It is God who provides your every breath. Without your breath, you would be in a major crisis, you would be dead.

Do not make God to be only your 911 God. Make Him a part of your life all day, every day. No matter how good things are going, do not forget about God. It is He who made your day go well. It is God who provided for all of your needs to bless you.

Keep a song of praise and thanksgiving on your heart each day for all that He has done for you.

I pray today that you will know God’s provision and blessings in your life; that you will not forget God when things are going well; that you will give credit to God for all the good in your life; and that you will always seek God and praise Him daily.

Hosea 9:2 The Food & Wine Will Fail

Threshing floors and winepresses will not feed the people; the new wine will fail them. Hosea 9:2

Hosea was telling the people of Israel to not rejoice. They had been found guilty of committing many sins and rejecting God. Punishment was coming to them. Many in Israel felt that because their crops were so good, that they would be able to support themselves and did not need God at all. They are warned that everything will fail them.

Farmers go out and plant huge fields of crops for food. They expect the crops to come in large enough to be able to feed their own family and sell a lot to others for more money, so they can get wealthy and feed more people.

On the surface this looks like it would provide for needs of all the people everywhere to get enough food. However, without God, those crops will not always come through as the farmer may expect. God has to be the one to provide the right amount of water and sunshine for those crops to grow. As people refuse to follow God and give Him all the credit, God pulls His hand of favor away and the crops will not grow as well, which will not feed the people.

Not every person grows food for themselves or for a profit. People use other things to make a profit and provide for themselves. Working many different types of jobs, people strive to have large bank accounts in order to provide for all of their needs. In the same way, if they are not following God and allowing Him to be in control, the bank accounts will fail. There will not be enough money to provide for all the needs one may have.

Life consists of more than just food and drink. One needs the nourishment of God and His word in his life on a daily basis.

As you are going through your life, what are you expecting to nourish you? Is it the food you buy with the money your job provided?

Or is it God providing through your job and His grace and mercy?

Keep your eyes and life focused on God and allow Him to be the one in control. Then God will provide for all of your needs. Your hands will work and be prosperous for your needs and the needs of others. Without God, they will fail.

I pray today that you will know God’s provision for your life; that you will trust in God alone; that God will provide for others through you; and that God will receive all the credit for the blessings in your life.

Independence Versus Dependence

Fourth of July is a time in America in which people celebrate the independence of America. It celebrates when the young nation had broken away from England to become its own country. They did not want to be controlled by or depend upon any other nation in the world. This new country wanted to be self-sufficient, self-sustaining–independent.

Parents push their children for independence. Once a child gets past the initial baby stage, they strive to work with their child to gain independence. The child learns to hold the bottle himself. Later the child is taught how to walk without holding a hand. Learning to eat with a spoon and fork is taught.

Learning to be independent does not end as a person grows up. It continues as an adult. People have to learn how to work a job and manage their money so that they can live on their own. Most do not want to be dependent upon others to supply their needs and desires.

While it is good to be able to work on your own and provide for your own needs, it is not totally correct.

Just working a job for money, means you are dependent upon someone else. You are dependent upon the boss providing the job with a paycheck. You are dependent upon people purchasing the services of  your boss, so that he can provide the job and the paycheck. You are dependent upon the job that the people have that purchase the services that of your boss so that he can provide you a job and a paycheck. And the connection goes on indefinitely.

No one can really survive completely independent of anyone else. The person who lives alone deep in a forest is still dependent upon others to some degree. Most likely he has a gun or a frying pan that he did not make himself. He relied on someone else to make. He was dependent upon that other person.

Most people will not try to live alone in the forest and may say that this illustration does not apply to them. How many people drive a vehicle to work? Each person that does, is dependent upon those who made the vehicle. They are dependent upon those who made and maintain the roads.

The ultimate dependence a person can have is on God. While people can provide some things and can meet some of the needs of a person, only God can provide absolutely everything. He is the One who gives each person the ability to provide something for someone else. He is the One who provides the materials for anyone to make anything.

Think about it, without God there would be no earth or air. Without the earth or air, you could not exist. God provides the very air you breath and the ground you walk on.

God gave you life when you were born. He breathed life into the body you are now using on this earth.

While independence sounds good, it is not a reality. Everyone is dependent upon someone else. No person is truly independent of anyone else, whether they allow God into the picture of their life or not.

Believers know that they are supposed to be dependent upon God for everything. However, many do not live in that dependence. Many try to do things on their own, and only when it gets really ugly do they cry out to God for help and guidance.

How many times do you try to do something on your own, and then after you fail, you pray to God for His help and favor?

It is easy to think that you can do it. That is the way the world has trained you to think. And there is actually an element of truth in saying that you can do it. You can do all things. However, do not forget the reason why you can do all things. It is because God is with you.

In Christ Jesus you can do all things, because it is He who gave you the ability and power to do them. Again, you are dependent upon Jesus, it is not your own doing or power.

Rely on God to give you the strength, wisdom, and power to do what needs to be done. Do this for everything you do. Live this way each day.

Without God you really cannot do anything. As you rely upon Jesus for your forgiveness of sin and your salvation, so also rely on Him to provide you for your daily needs and guidance.

God is there for you and is not kicking you out to have you be independent. He is not raising you up to be independent. He wants you to be dependent upon Him.

As you celebrate, if you live in America, the independence day of America, remember that you, and America, are still dependent upon others. Keep your dependence upon God, the only One who has absolute power in this world.

Isaiah 5:4 What More Could He Do?

What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? Isaiah 5:4

God had built Israel up from a small group of people who were really nobody important. He provided everything that they needed. The nation was very strong and had abundant protection and food. There was absolutely nothing that they needed that God was not willing to provide.

Yet, the people turned away from Him and began to follow idols and other gods.

As God looked down upon Israel, all He could see was corruption and sin. There was no good fruit being produced in the land. This led the Lord to destroy Israel. He would bring destruction and death across the entire nation. The purpose of the destruction was to wake up the people and get their focus back on Him.

Israel was not the only nation that God had provided abundant blessings for, only to be rejected. Nations today are in the process of rejecting Jesus more and more each day, chasing their own sins. Many of these nations had followed God as a whole at some point in their history.

It is easy to look at the nations as a whole and see nothing but corruption and sin. Many try to blame the government or corporations for all of the sin being done. However, each of those nations are made up of individual people. It is the individuals who actually do the sin and promote the sin.

Now the question comes down to the individual. Jesus had died on the cross and rose from the dead for each and every person on this earth. He provided salvation for everyone who would accept it. If He can provide eternal life, the things needed on this earth are small and easy to meet.

Jesus said that you are not to worry about anything, that He would provide for all of your needs. Since God is providing for all of your needs, are you producing fruit for Him?

Is your life one of being a daily witness to this fallen world?

Or is it focused on pleasure and meeting personal needs?

What more can Jesus do for you, so that you will give Him your everything?

I pray today that you will know what Jesus has done for you; that you will know what God provides for you; that you will produce fruit for God; and that you will be His witness to everyone you meet.

God’s Protection And Favor

IMG_1037.JPGWe live in a double-wide manufactured home in the country. We have oak trees all around the house, several within just a few feet of the house. This gives you a slight picture of what our place is like.

This last weekend we had a large storm that rolled through the area. On Sunday evening, at about 7:30pm, we heard a large crashing sound and the house rumbled some. A couple of my boys suddenly noticed that there was a tree laying down on our porch outside.

I went out in the rain and looked at it. Along with that tree on the porch, there was another tree leaning up against the corner of the house. I immediately went back inside to see if there was any internal damage.

At the corner of the house where the tree hit, is a bathroom. Above the bathtub in the corner, the ceiling was partially caved in. Water was coming through in a solid stream. The amazing part in the water coming through, was that it was running straight into the tub and down the drain. This was the first protection of God in this terrible situation, along with that fact that no one was hurt at all.

With it raining hard, I knew that we could do nothing about it that evening. I just praised God that it was draining into the tub.

About one hour later, the power shut down on us. We had no lights and our water supply is from a well with a pump, causing no water available.

As this was happening in the great storm, we lost cellphone reception and all internet connection. We could not look up what was happening or if the power company even knew about the power outage. There was no way of knowing how widespread the outage was or when to expect power back on.

Since it was extremely dark in the house and there was nothing we could do, everyone went to bed around 9-10 pm. I have a family of eight children. All were home at the time this was happening.

Around 1:30 am, I was awoken with a very loud bang that rumbled the entire house. I jumped out of bed and began to head through the house to find out what had happened.

As I was going through by flashlight, the power was still off, I met one of my boys coming towards me with a flashlight, also trying to find out what had happened. I looked outside and could not see anything other than a large tree covering our porch.

I went back in to the bathroom and saw a large surprise…part of the ceiling was completely missing and one wall had a huge hole in it. I could see the sky with no problem through the bathroom.

Going back outside, I went around the porch and the fallen tree to see what had happened. The second tree that had been leaning on the house had fallen the rest of the way. It took out the wall behind the bathtub from floor to ceiling, along with a section of the roof.

The next blessing at this point, that God had blessed us with, was that it had stopped raining.

Four of my children helped me then to start putting a tarp over the hole and roof of the house.

While we were doing that my wife stayed with my youngest children and worked to calm them down. Two of my boys were sleeping in a room right next to the bathroom and so they heard and felt the shake really bad.

It took about 3 hours to get the tarp on the roof and over the missing wall. I knew the plastic that I used was not great, but knew it would be better than nothing. It would at least keep some of the rain out of the house.

At about 4:30am I was able to go back to bed. Since I normally get up around 5am, I was wide awake by about 6:30 and unable to sleep.

I got up and started doing my devotions and normal morning things. At about 7am someone drove up to our house. I did not recognize the vehicle so I went out to find out who it was. It was a friend from our church that had heard of our situation and showed up with a chainsaw ready to work at removing the trees.

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Immediately we set to work at cutting the tree branches down and moving them off the porch. At about 8am two more friends showed up to help. Several more called and said that they would be there at some point in the day. One of the friends that came, had come with two of his friends, who we did not know, to help out. Several people had a chainsaw. Our neighbor allowed us to borrow his tractor to move the parts of the tree to a burn pile area on our property.

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One lady showed up with food and water for everyone to eat. It was enough food and water to feed an army. This provided more than enough food for everyone working. This was the next blessing from God.

By around 2pm, we had both trees completely cut up and moved over to burn piles, the house had two tarps covering the hole in the roof and the wall completely, and the hole inside the house was patched over.

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The amazing thing in all of this was that the weather forecast the entire week was to be rain every day. God gave us the entire day with absolutely no rain at all. It was very beautiful weather to work in, not too hot, not too cold. God was pouring out His blessings on us in the midst of an extremely hard and dangerous situation.

God also blessed us with the fact that during the time of the cleanup, no one was injured in any way.

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Right now we are waiting on the insurance company to get an inspector come out to see what the damage was and how much they will pay. We don’t know how God will get all of this fixed, but we know that He is in control.

Not all of the people who helped us were members of the church that we go to, but they were believers in their own churches. This was a great example of how the family of God takes care of its members, regardless of denominational differences.

Along with this, throughout the entire situation, God helped me to remain calm and not get angry, as I normally would have. I had a peace that was supernatural and a strength that was only from God. God provided help and strength above what I had expected. Without His help and the help of all the friends, it would have taken us several days to get the trees cleared.

I want to encourage you, that no matter what you are going through God is right there by your side. He can give you the strength that you need to make it through your situation. God loves you and I and promised that He will take care of all of your needs. Trust Him today and give Him praise, even in the storms of life.