OUR GOD INVENTED FREEBIES

August 8, 2016

Who doesn’t love a freebie? Dozens of freebie websites – legit or not-so-legit – prove that there’s a trend towards “if it’s free, I’m all in.”

Getting something for nothing isn’t new; God invented the concept. Everything we have is a freebie from God. If you are breathing, that is proof! In his famous speech on the Areopagus, The Apostle Paul stated that God “gives to all life, breath and all things.” (Acts 17:25). Thank God, He never sends us an invoice for “life, breath and all things.” They are free!

But there’s more. In Romans 8:32, Paul wrote that “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” That includes free peace, free forgiveness, free wisdom, free grace, free love and countless other freebies.

And there’s still more. God doesn’t limit free gifts to our time on earth. The most important free gift He offers is “eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Next time you see the word “FREE” in an advertisement, on a website or TV ad, remember that “FREE” isn’t a new concept. Our God invented freebies; let’s thank now Him for that! We certainly will thank Him forever as we enjoy His greatest free gift: eternal life!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 as I share more discoveries on my quest to know God better)

Advertisements

OUR GOD IS GENUINELY GENEROUS

July 18, 2016

Recently I discovered that a “baker’s dozen” didn’t start out as a gesture of generosity. It was a safeguard implemented by British breadmakers around 1260, because they were being accused of shorting their customers with skimpy loaves.

Our God – unlike those British breadmakers – is genuinely generous, and we find evidence of that truth all throughout the Bible. Here are some examples:

God’s love has been poured out in our hearts. (Romans 5:5)
God made the riches of His grace abound toward us. (Ephesians 1:7)
God is abundant in mercy to all who call on Him. (Psalm 86:5)
God abundantly forgives all who return to Him. (Isaiah 55:7)

The greatest proof of God’s generosity is found in the word “whoever”. In John 3:16 we read: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” No person is outside the “whoever” group. God’s generous love for all mankind motivated Him to offer eternal life in Jesus; because His invitation is also generous, whoever believes in Jesus can enjoy our God’s generosity forever.

Maybe your local bakery doesn’t give you the 13th donut; that’s OK. (They aren’t very good for you anyway…) You can be sure of this undeniable truth: our God is genuinely generous. He gives us much more than an extra donut, and we are eternally thankful for that!

(Join me each Monday of 2016 as I share what I’m learning on my quest to know God more.)


OUR GOD KNOWS OUR NEEDS AND HAS THEM COVERED

April 11, 2016

Our needs don’t take God by surprise; He knows all about them. God even has his plan in motion to cover all of our future needs. Take Jacob’s family, for example. (Genesis chapters 37-50) God knew that a future, severe famine would ravage the land, and also knew that Jacob and his family would have no food, but He had them covered.
– Jacob didn’t know about his future needs when he held Joseph’s blood-stained tunic in his hands, and weeping, “…refused to be comforted”.
– Joseph’s brothers didn’t know about the future famine when they threw him into the pit.
– Joseph himself didn’t totally understand God’s plan when his brothers sold him to the passing traders, or when he was unjustly accused and imprisoned in Egypt.

But God knew; His plan was in motion. Before Jacob’s life-threatening need for food, God already had it covered. Following his imprisonment, Joseph was put over all of Egypt, and God used Pharaoh – the pagan ruler – to give Jacob and his family not only food during the famine, but also the best of the land.

In Matthew 6, Jesus specifically mentions material needs just prior to assuring His audience that “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things”. (v. 32)

Maybe you have tremendous material needs right now; or you may have needs in the future that you are unaware of now. Jacob’s story and our own experiences confirm Christ’s words: our Father God knows what we need. Trust Him. He’s got them all covered!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 in my quest to know God better)


GOD – OUR PROVIDER

April 28, 2013

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink;
nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

So why do you worry … O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry… your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

(Matthew 6:25-33)

This part of Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount” is very convicting. I can never read it without feeling several things: overwhelming gratitude that God values me, knows every one of my needs and provides for them, and simultaneously I feel shame for being so quick to forget that.

So to exercise my memory and boost my faith, I dug into the Word to pinpoint specific people and events where God proved Himself to be The Provider in unimaginable ways. There are countless examples, but I want to share just a few of them here:

Can you imagine that God provided for generations of a family after a young man was sold by his evil, hate-filled brothers as a slave to foreign, pagan merchants? That horrific event, followed by decades of pain and separation is exactly what God used to prove Himself to be their Provider. (Genesis 37-50). He turned Joseph’s very painful situation into a historic display of provision.

Can you imagine food falling down from heaven daily, water springing from a rock, and footwear that endured 40 years of trekking the rough desert terrain? That’s how God dealt with a grumpy, complaining, disobedient and rebellious group of people- His own chosen people – because He is a merciful Provider! In Nehemiah 9:20,21 we read “You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.
Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out.”

Can you imagine the grandson of a former king being hosted at the reigning king’s table every day of his life? Mephibosheth had every reason to fall on his face before King David, because according to ancient Middle East traditions, he could have been executed so that he wouldn’t retake the throne. Yet David showed mercy to Mephibosheth, restoring all the lands to him that belonged to his grandfather Saul, and hosting him at the royal table for the rest of his life. (2nd Sam. 9) High ranking authorities can even be part of God’s plan to provide for the needs of His people!

Can you imagine the astonishment the helpless, poverty-stricken widow felt when she kept pouring oil into all the empty vessels her neighbors loaned her? God was very much aware of her need. Because of her obedience to do something bordering on ridiculous, (“Hi! Can you loan me as many jars as you can spare? I’m starting a new business and will need all the jars I can get…”) God provided not only for the moment, but a lifetime income for her! (1st Kings 4:1-7)

Can you imagine God commanding birds to carry food to his servant when the country was suffering severe drought? Can you imagine God commanding a widow to provide for him?…or an angel suddenly appearing with food that filled him enough to last 40 days and 40 nights? (1st Kings 17:4,9; 19:5-8) Those are some of the ways God proved to Elijah that He is The Provider. Elijah had no reason to think that he would starve to death!

An evil act; years of pain; daily, miraculous provision; the summons of a kind and generous king; multiplication of a meager supply; birds, widows, angels…God used unimaginable ways to prove to people of the past – and to us – that He is The Provider.

So if we have no resources, or what we have is not nearly sufficient; if we’re trying to figure out how all of our needs will be met, let’s remember this: GOD IS OUR PROVIDER! Just as He used unimaginable ways to provide for His people in the past, He CAN and WILL do it again! AMEN!


“THE DONUT MAN”

February 10, 2012

At my place of employment, it’s quite normal for the vendors who supply components and materials for our industry to come in with goodies: candy, chocolate, snacks, donuts, and sometimes even lunch for the entire office! One supplier in particular has the habit of visiting us every Friday around 9 am with a few dozen donuts, which sure don’t last long!

We got used to this vendor’s weekly visits and his generosity; he became known as “The Donut Man”. This week, for some reason, he visited us at the beginning of the week…without donuts. Most of my co-workers didn’t even realize he was there.

This morning, Friday, around 10 am, someone yelled out, “Hey, where’s the donut man?” Because I opened our locked door to let him in a few days ago, I replied, “He came in earlier in the week.”  From one end of the office to the other, several more got involved in the conversation, which continued within everyone’s hearing. “Why did you even let him in if he didn’t have any donuts?” “He should know better than to come without donuts” “How are we supposed to get through the morning if he doesn’t bring donuts?” The remarks were made jokingly, but it seemed that they forgot that we didn’t earn or deserve the donuts! The comments fizzled out after our insightful receptionist declared: “That’s OK, I told him we like him if he brings donuts or not.”

Immediately I thought: Sometimes we treat God like The Donut Man. As long as He’s there, bringing us “donuts” (whatever gift or blessing that might be that we want, or are used to) everything’s good! But when He DOESN’T show up with what we expect, how do we react? Do we think we deserve what He so graciously gives us?….that He owes it to us?…are we disappointed? How about if we follow the receptionist’s example and love Him if He gives us “donuts” or not?…


LEARNING TO “DO WITHOUT” IS GOOD

November 4, 2011

The year was 1954. There were six children in our family between 15 and 3 years of age when Dad was laid off at Firestone. Thankfully, he didn’t see it as the end; he saw it as a new beginning. Being tired of the daily grind in the “rubber shop”, Dad took a leap of faith and started his own business, “Pavkov Sand and Gravel”, doing grading and excavating. Times were tough as he built his reputation and clientele. Not only did he have to provide for himself and mom, plus six growing kids; he also had to pay his employee/s and was buying machinery for the business, very often covering the expenses of costly repairs on the machines. Dad worked hard, putting in long hours to pay the bills and meet all of our needs. Under these circumstances, we grew up learning that there were things that we could “do without”; that was good!

Looking back on those years, I can see that God used them to train me for the future. As Jorge and I raised our family of three children in Argentina, we saw lean times and often had to “do without”. Just like in my childhood, our life was simple and God always met our basic needs. By the generosity of many family members and friends (to whom we are forever grateful!), God showed us His faithfulness over and over. Our children also learned to “do without”; and that was good!

And now?… We can appreciate that He used all those years of training to get us where we are now. There were a lot of things that we “did without”, but God never failed us; we never had to beg. Because we’ve learned to “do without”, out of necessity, we are choosing to continuously apply that wise principle of frugality and simplicity to our living. We realize more and more that everything we have is a gift of God’s grace, and we can totally agree with the Psalmist who wrote: “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed” (Psalm 37:25,26)…and THAT IS GOOD!


TWICE AS MUCH AS I ASKED FOR!

October 6, 2010

We’ve outgrown our front office parking lot at work. There are days when it’s all filled up by the time I get there, and I have to park behind the factory in an unpaved lot, then trek through weeds and pass through the manufacturing plant (with safety glasses and the appropriate footwear) to get to the office.

But yesterday was different. It was chilly and drizzly as I pulled into the last parking place in the front parking lot a few minutes before 8 AM. With a quick “Thank you, Lord!”, I wondered if I’d still have a place after going to the Post Office to pick up the mail at 9 o’clock. I reluctantly pulled out of my place at 9, concerned that a visitor would come take my place. I envisioned myself lugging a USPS mail bin through the rain, the weeds and the factory upon my return….and nursing a sore shoulder from cleaning my horizontal blinds so enthusiastically a few weeks ago.  So I prayed: “Lord, I’d sure appreciate a parking space here in the front office lot when I get back from the Post Office…” Of course, I thought, if He wouldn’t have a place for me, and I would have to park way in the back, I wasn’t going to lose my joy over that!! But it sure would be kind of nice!

Twenty minutes later, returning from the Post Office, not only was the very same place that I pulled out of vacant, but the space beside it was, too! Two empty parking places when I only asked for one! I almost laughed out loud at how God answered my prayer! Twice as much as I asked for! I was SO grateful as I unloaded the mail bin, I nearly skipped and danced all the way into the office with it! While going in, I was thinking what an amazing God we have! He not only answers prayer, but He does MORE than what we ask for! He is proved to me again that He hears and answers EVERY time I pray to Him, no matter what the “size” of my request. And those answers to “little” prayers motivate me to pray even more, and trust HIM for big answers to the big prayers He’s chosen not to answer yet.  

One of my favorite promises that God left for us in His word is found in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and might things, which you do not know.” He proved it to me yesterday with twice as much as I asked for!


THE GUARANTEE OF GOD’S PROMISES – Part 2

September 17, 2010

Time passed, and the day came when Jorge and Adriel packed the car, the trunk and luggage rack with Adriel’s belongings, and they left for Cordoba. Totally by faith….They took all the money we had to make the trip, find an apartment for Denise and Adriel, set up housekeeping for them, and leave them enough money to live on for at least a month. They took it all. All $700 dollars we had! We all knew that it wasn’t nearly enough, but it’s all we had. We didn’t know how God would work this out, but we trusted in His promises to provide for all our needs. Those promises were our guarantee.

Just a few hours after the lasts hugs were hugged, the last recommendations were given, the goodbyes were said and my tears were wiped away as we waved them off, God brought us the guarantee of His faithful promises right to our door. The mailman brought an envelope with the biggest monthly offering we had ever received in our 20-some years of missionary service! It was $2,400. Immediately I called Jorge, who was as awe-struck as I. We agreed that Dino (our youngest son) and I would catch the overnight bus and meet him the next morning in Cordoba.

Our hearts overflowed with thanksgiving to our ever-faithful God as we found an apartment for Denise and Adriel, paid the down payment and first month’s rent, furnished it with the bare essentials, filled their cupboards and refrigerator and left them enough for their daily needs for the first month! Not only that, but God faithfully provided for their financial needs every day during their entire college careers! God emphatically showed us that His promises are the only guarantee we need, and we praise Him for that eternal truth. He is faithful! He is good! His promises are the ONLY guarantee we ever need in any situation! Praise Him for His faithfulness!


BETTER THAN A FREE SANDWICH!

September 1, 2010

In the past few days, I had two incidents where I found myself inwardly disturbed about two different people who expressed absolutely NO acknowledgement or appreciation for very important things I had done for them. Although the first one was HUGE, and I was disappointed with the attitude of the person involved, I want to share today’s episode with you.

I went to the lunch room at work this morning shortly after the factory’s 9:30 break. As I glanced from the multiple vending machines to the tables, I noticed a zippered, bulging black canvass bag on one of the tables. Curious, I picked it up and noticed the name of the company that services our vending machines on it. It was heavy, full of money. Realizing that the person who serviced the machines earlier negligently forgot it there, I turned it in to HR. The vending company was called, and before long the gentleman who forgot the bag of money returned to pick it up. Witnessing this, and realizing that he had expressed no appreciation, I told him that I was the person who found his money bag, and jokingly suggested he reward me with a free sandwich…. Instead, he walked off with a simple “See ya”. Surprised by his reaction, I thought to myself: “It’s OK if he didn’t reward me with a sandwich. I don’t need it anyway and probably wouldn’t like it, either. But at least he could have thanked me.”

Immediately I wondered how many times people go out of their way to help me, or do something nice for me that they really didn’t have to do, and I don’t acknowledge it. I wonder if any of them ever thought that I was ungrateful, or if they were surprised or disappointed because I didn’t express my appreciation to them. Ouch!

Then my mind turned to God. He pours out His blessings on me every minute of every day, and yet I’m often negligent in thanking Him for them all. Don’t I thank Him? Of course I do! But certainly not enough and not “in everything”! I remembered Paul’s advice in 1st Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks” and realized that I don’t do that in the measure that I should! I’m thankful God reminded me to always have a grateful attitude towards others and towards Him, and to express that appreciation. Now tell me…isn’t that lesson better than a free sandwich?


The Grocery Cart Was Full

August 1, 2010

“Just be happy!!”

The pouting teenager immediately responded to her mom’s harsh rebuke with two words emphatically whined loud enough for everyone in the check-out line to hear: “I aaaaaAAAAAAAAMMMmmm!” Just seconds earlier, as I was approaching the check-out line, I noticed the disgruntled teen, and observing the expression on her face, I thought “Uh-oh…looks like she’s not getting her way…” Her squinted eyes and lower lip stuck out, betraying the fact that all was not well. It looked like she was with her mom and grandma, and no doubt they were doing the weekly grocery shopping. The grocery cart was full. The teen would probably eat from what was in it.

Not being able to resist, I peeked out of the corner of my eye after the explosion. The young girl had turned her back to her mom defiantly crossed her arms, heaved a long sigh, and stuck her lower lip out farther than before. “That must be how she expresses her happiness”, I mused. Mom conversed with Grandma in a normal tone; for her, life was back to normal. The grocery cart was full.

It took only a few seconds to realize that I am often guilty of the same behavior as the teen. I saw a reflection of myself. My grocery cart is full, too. My Heavenly Father fills it every day. Not only with groceries, but of a myriad of incredibly beautiful gifts that He has for me, yet I whine and fuss when I don’t get my way. Sometimes I complain and heave that long sigh, too. Sometimes I just don’t get it right, and I’m not always rejoicing. ..and to my shame, even when the grocery cart is full.

I never thought that God would teach me such a valuable lesson at Wal-Mart. But, thankfully, He did. I hope I never forget that HE is the One who filled my grocery cart, and will always fill it. But most of all, I hope my expression of happiness shows Him just how grateful I am. My grocery cart is full!

“Blessed be the LORD, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation.” Psalm 68:19


%d bloggers like this: