trusting God

Does God Really Meet All Our Needs?

Does God Really Meet All Our Needs?

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." 1 Phil. 4:19 Have any needs in your life? Me too..

Ever seem like those needs aren't being met? Me too..

So when we see a passage of scripture like Philippians 4:19, we have to stop and ask a few questions. If we don't  dig in and find the deeper connections, we might easily think the Bible isn't true because we've got needs that aren't being currently met.

That's a very dangerous conclusion.

But if we stop and ask God to help us understand, God loves to help those who are humble and lean on him. (1 Peter 5)

8 Birthdays and 5 Years of "Unanswered" Prayer...

8 Birthdays and 5 Years of "Unanswered" Prayer...

Recently we posted on our Facebook wall,

“We’ve prayed for adoption to reopen in Guatemala and for us to adopt Selena for 5 years now…”

That is literally true and to be more accurate, we’ve prayed for Selena in some way every day for the last five years. A few years ago when we lived in Lewisville, at our first house, we were so confident this process of adoption wouldn’t be too long. We only had Nathan at the time, so we imagined the extra spare bedroom would be Selena’s. We painted it girly colors, used a girly bed cover, etc. And every morning before I would go to work I would kneel right by the bed and pray for Selena. And I don’t think this is uncommon. Most Christian parents probably pray for their children like this, but Selena was 2,000 miles away.

Is God Withholding Good From Me?

Do you ever feel like God is withholding something from you? And I’m not talking about a new car or some bling-bling. What about legitimately good stuff (not that cars and bling are inherently evil). Like what about desiring to be married or maybe a pregnancy that won’t happen, or maybe someone you’ve been praying for to be saved? I think about this a lot. I think every Christian struggles at some level with this feeling, if they’re honest. In our family’s context it’s adoption. Giving someone a family that doesn’t have one is an amazing thing. So why would God shut down a whole county’s International adoption system? We can only presume upon the particular, detailed ‘why’ of life circumstances like that, but we have pointers revealed to us in the Scriptures that help us not to make shipwreck of our faith, as we walk the difficult road of feeling like God is withholding good from us. Here are a few scriptures that help us when we feel this way. Psalm 84:11

 “For no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you.”

God does not withhold good from His children. If we are walking uprightly with the Lord then God is not holding things back from us that would be good for us. We are called to trust Him, and in that we will be blessed.

James 1:17

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

Sometimes it is easy to forget the good that God has done to us already. It’s so easy to take those things for granted and focus on what we are not getting in the moment. God does not change his disposition towards us. He doesn’t give us good, then hold some back, then give it again only to withhold it later. That is not our God. God is the same. He has given us good gifts and remembering that should help us in our perspective.

Romans 8:32

 “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

Because God did the most difficult thing in sending us his only Son, everything else is easy for God. That means that when he doesn’t give us what we think He should, we can trust His wisdom and Fatherly provision. One day we will rule the world with Him. We will own everything. This should help us trust Him more.

You can literally go all over the Bible to read passages about God’s sovereignty over what he brings and does not bring into our lives. When you take those passages, and combine them with others that talk about God’s character and wisdom, it becomes solid ground to stand on in the midst of waiting on good things in our lives. God is after one thing most of all, namely His glory. All of life will be consumed into that goal. And because God’s glory is not at odds with our joy, let us press in to trust Him when we feel like there is good that He is not giving us.

This is not easy. I admit I fall often, sometimes daily, and have to come back to these verses. And through the testimony of Scripture and prayer I find comfort and peace.

Behind the Hymn: It Is Well With My Soul

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THE SONG

It Is Well was probably one of the toughest hymns to re-arrange. I think the more popular, and engrained into memory, something is, the harder it is to change. This hymn is so well-known, and already has so many different arrangements over the years, that it felt daunting just considering it for this record.

The brief history of this hymn is that it was written by Horatio Spafford as he traveled by boat across the Pacific Ocean. The same spot where most of his family had drown. He had sent them ahead of him to England. He stayed behind to wrap up some business things. Their boat hit another ship and capsized killing Horatio's four daughters.

His wife sent him a message immediately..."saved alone," she said.

So it's very heavy. It's very much reminiscent of Job experiencing all the pain and suffering only to say, "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but blessed be the name of the Lord."

"LOVE ME MORE"

My wife, Angela, volunteered for a long time at the Denton Crisis Pregnancy Center. It was great because she was able to share with these young mothers the truth about being pregnant and share the good news of the gospel with each client. She told me one day that her mentor at the clinic, an older lady that my wife looks up to, encouraged her to think of the worst thing that could happen. For most of us, that involves the loss of our children, or a spouse or something similar. She said when you let your heart contemplate that, and think through that happening, it will bring out whether or not it truly would be, "well with your soul." Not saying it would be easy or trite, but that in devastation God would still be your rock to stand on. I'm pretty convinced that's why Jesus had to say things like,

"If any of you loves mother or father more than me, you are not worthy of me."

Jesus isn't saying don't love your family. He's just saying, love me more. That's the only way it will ever be "well with our soul:" If we love Jesus more.

JILLIAN AND DAVID SMITH

@Jillian Smith is the lead for this beautiful hymn. She helps lead worship at the Village with her husband, David, who plays electric. We really love Jillian. She and David were in our inner circle in Dallas. I can't say enough about their friendship. Just to show you how much they care about Selena and us, they decided back a few years ago to go with us on one of our annual trips to visit Selena.

DSC01682

A couple of funny things about this picture:

a. That is David's excited face.

b. Selena is in the back right being held by someone else :)

We miss them so much. I hope this hymn continues to encourage us to put our idols on the table, and to tell Jesus we love you more than these: It Is Well. 

 

 

Behind the Hymn: Standing On The Promises

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TEST OF TIME:

You can research and find tons of information online regarding this hymn. Like, that its author is Russell K. Carter and he wrote the song in 1887. But for me the beautiful thing about the message of this hymn is not its creation but why it has stuck around in the church for over a century. Songs, just like books, that stand the test of time usually mean they are great. Carter was a Methodist minister, but this song in particular wasn't included in the Methodist hymnal until 1956. It was included then only because it was one of the most popular hymns the Methodist church was singing in the 20th century. It's obviously not just a Methodist thing because growing up in a southern Baptist church myself, I remember singing this hymn a lot. I didn't appreciate it then, but I do now.

THEOLOGY AND SINGING:

I was studying Wayne Grudem's systematic theology book (and still am...that thing is huge!) when I read one chapter about the authority of the Bible. At the end of each chapter Grudem has a hymn that correlates to what the chapter is about, and if you listen to his podcast you know they sing a hymn after each one of his teachings. This hymn, in particular, really stood out to me in a powerful way after I had just read about how the Bible was our absolute authority and we can trust that it is God's very words.

John Piper, as well as Grudem, has really helped me understand this idea of trusting God's promises. It helps build faith, and it destroys sin. Piper has a whole series of teachings from 1988 called Battling Unbelief (which has really been helpful to my wife and to me) that talks about this Biblical teaching that we are to trust God's promises which are built on past grace (the cross), but are also fundamentally future oriented. It's what eventually led to his book FUTURE GRACE.

GOD"S WORD:

STANDING ON THE PROMISES' main message is that we have God's word. We have the Bible. We can rest secure in what God has written for us in the Bible when trouble comes (verse 2), and we can overcome our sin by His Word (verse 3), and we can rest in Christ because we know He cannot fail (verse 4).

This has been so encouraging to my family and to me. I get so unsteady sometimes when I think about Selena and the distance that is between us. I have to rest on God's promises to secure my heart. Not that he promised in the Bible that we would adopt Selena, but there's a greater promise to hold on to. It's Psalm 84:11.

"No good thing does He withhold from those who fear him."

This is the most common place I go to when I battle being impatient. He knows what's best for me. He knows what's best for Selena and the Echeverrias. He is completely wise and sovereign over every minute detail. I must stand on that.

I hope this hymn is encouraging to you in that way too. When I was teaching at Vista Academy of The Woodlands I met ,through a friend, Alan Lisenbe. Alan is the lead singer of a band called AFTER THE WELL. Alan is a new, good friend who loves the Lord very passionately. He was so eager to come on board and be a part of this project, and he sounds great on the hymn. His passion and energy really made the song for me. Mike Thompson from Ivory Tower Studios produced the vocals and that team, Alan and Mike, nailed it. The bridge, to me, is kind of like an anthem I can hear being sung in our hearts,

"Standing, I'm Standing, Standing on the promises of God,

Standing, I'm Standing, Standing on the promises of God!"

Let's stand on God's word. Trust Him for what's He's said. He has spoken.

You can download the full album now at on Noisetrade by clicking here. Consider leaving a tip. All tips will go straight to Selena and help with her daily needs.

Grace and Peace.