Abundance in the Father’s House (Pt 3)

Daily Devotion | Day 324

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry” (Luke 15:22-24, NKJV).

Today we continue our study of “Abundance in the Father’s House” by highlighting an important point in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Before we do so, let us make some observations to reinforce the point we are making in this series. What you expect from God is an indicator of who you think He is and what you think He can (and will) do. If you are convinced that He is a God of abundance, you will expect nothing but abundance. And you will receive what you believe. God’s desire is not to bless you a little. That would be against His nature. His aim is to overwhelm you with blessings and to leave you speechless.

Read the Bible attentively from Genesis through Revelation. What you will notice is a pattern of God lavishing His people with an overflow of mercies, favor, goodness, wealth and prosperity. Take Isaac, for example. Once upon a time there was drought in the land where he lived. So, he moved and settled as a stranger among the Philistines in Gerar. This is what happened next: “Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundred fold; and the LORD blessed him. The man [Isaac] began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous” (Genesis 26:12-13). Lack, scarcity and stinginess are foreign to the Father. Therefore, when you are dealing with Him, expect abundance only and leave unlimited room for Him to surprise you.

Now let us look at the prodigal son. His life was a mess. But he had one thing going for him. Having lived with his father, he was familiar with life in that house. He knew his father’s house was noted for lavish living, abundance and overflow of good things. This awareness gave him hope. Listen to what he said when he had had enough of hardship, “How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father . . .” (Luke 15:17-18). Even the hired servants in the father’s house enjoyed abundance. Knowing he had lost his position as a son, all he wanted was to be hired as a servant and that would have sufficed for him. To his surprise, however, the father restored him as his son.

In our opening Scripture (15:22-24), notice how the father lavished the son with abundance and royal treatment. He put on him the best robe. He put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. Then he ordered the servants to prepare a party (with the fatted calf) to celebrate the return of his son. The rest of the day was spent in merry making: eating, drinking, singing and dancing.

When all hope seemed lost for the prodigal son, a single thought made the difference: the thought that his father’s house was a house of abundance. This thought fueled his expectation. And from how the story ended, the prodigal son was not wrong in what he believed about his father. Christians can learn a lesson here. That lesson is this: Whatever you desire to see, that is what you should expect. Expectation drives hope. And sooner or later, your expectation will become your reality.

The Father wants to celebrate you with abundance of good things: wisdom, wealth, favor, provision, divine protection, success, peace of mind, joy and overall prosperity. Do not resist abundance. Give God a chance to celebrate you. The state of your life has a lot to do with the state of your mind. Therefore, fill your mind with thoughts of abundance, provision and divine favor. Our Father is still in the abundance business. Expect nothing but abundance.

To be continued tomorrow, God willing.

For further studyIsaiah 55:1-13 and Deuteronomy 8:1-18

Abundance in the Father’s House (Pt 2)

Daily Devotion | Day 323

“You [God] crown the year with Your goodness, and your paths drip with abundance” (Psalm 65:11, NKJV).

This is a continuation of our series on “Abundance in the Father’s House.” As we go through this study, I hope you recognize that you are in the Father’s house now. Paul had this to say to the Christians in Ephesus, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). The Church is God’s household and you belong to this house. Therefore, when we speak of abundance in the Father’s house, keep in mind that the abundance in the house is for everyone in the family, including you.

Our opening Scripture from Psalm 65 tells us that God crowns the year with His goodness, and His paths drip with abundance. Yesterday, we saw how Adam and Eve went from a sense of abundance and provision to a sense of lack and insecurity. Today, we will focus on rejecting thoughts of lack and replacing them with thoughts of abundance. We will do so by drawing one lesson from Jesus’s teachings: His message to the disciples regarding the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod (Mark 8:13-21).

In His ministry, Jesus taught the disciples to expect abundance of good things from the Father. He demonstrated this in His own life. And when His disciples entertained thoughts of lack, He did not hesitate to correct them and redirect them to have confidence in the Father’s provision. Thoughts of lack are thoughts of doubt. If allowed to persist, these thoughts become the breeding ground for unbelief. Soon, they will become an obstacle to our experience of the Father’s blessings.

One day Jesus was on a boat with His disciples. The disciples realized they had forgotten to bring bread with them. At the same time, Jesus told them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. When they heard this, they started thinking of their lack of bread, for they assumed Jesus was speaking to them about bread. He wasn’t. Jesus was disappointed that they entertained thoughts of no bread. Part of His response was, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened?” (8:17). Jesus used this occasion to (re)teach them about the Father’s provision and abundance.

What He did was remind them of the feeding of the five thousand and of the four thousand. For each incident of provision, Jesus asked them “How many fragments did you take up?” (8:19, 20). They took up 12 baskets and 7 baskets of fragments respectively. Then Jesus said to them, “How is it you do not understand?” (8:21). What was Jesus’ point? He wanted them to stop thinking of lack and instead think of abundance and provision. That was one lesson He was hoping they had learned when they saw Him multiply bread for thousands.

And it is the same lesson Jesus wants us to learn once and for all. Abundance is all around us. If we cannot see it with our naked eye, it does not mean it is not there. With the eyes of faith we can see and access the invisible, for faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

Don’t limit yourself with thoughts of lack. Glorify God by entertaining thoughts of abundance. And watch the Father’s goodness overflow in your life.

To be continued tomorrow, God willing.

For further studyLuke 12:22-34 and Psalm 23:1-6

Abundance in the Father’s House (Pt 1)

Daily Devotion | Day 322

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights” (Psalm 36:7-8).

The lifetime project of every Christian is to know the Father more and more. The Scriptures show us a picture of the Father’s heart, His mind and His ways. Paul understood that knowing the Father is crucial for a meaningful Christian spirituality. As a result, he prayed that “the Father of glory may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17, NKJV). When you understand the Father and His ways, Christianity will be a liberating experience for you.

In this teaching series, we will discuss one of the truths about our Father, that He is a God of riches and abundance. He thinks in terms of abundance, not lack. And He wants us to operate with the same mindset. Our Father’s house is a house of abundance, and His riches are ours to enjoy in Christ Jesus. We will start today’s message by returning to the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. As we do so, keep in mind what the Psalmist says in today’s opening passage.

When Adam and Eve were created, they were greeted with abundance. The Garden of Eden was already prepared for them (Genesis 2:8-15). Everything was ready and plentiful for them to enjoy. Their first impression of life was one of abundance. This was no coincidence. God wanted to impress upon them the reality of abundance.

At the same time, He did not want them to entertain the thought of lack. Abundance creates security, but lack leads to insecurity. God did not want Adam and Eve to feel insecure. He wanted them to live with full assurance of provision. Therefore, everywhere Adam and Eve looked, they were met with images of wonder, beauty, riches and abundance. They had no sense of lack.

But someone was not happy about this state of affairs. The devil is his name. He devised a plan to introduce Adam and Eve to the experience of lack. He convinced them that they were not like God, i.e. they were not deity (Genesis 3:1-6). Up to this point, Adam and Eve had no feeling of lack. But the enemy sold them the idea of lack and they bought it. What they did not realize is that the enemy was envious of their secure position and their sense of abundance and completeness.

The interesting thing is, Adam and Eve were like God already. Recall that they were created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). If you are the likeness of God, it means you are like God. But Adam and Eve did not realize this. And the enemy succeeded in making them feel insecure.

Notice what happened after they took the devil’s bait. The Bible says, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked . . .” (Genesis 3:7; see also v. 8-11). For the first time in Adam and Eve’s life, they experienced a sense of lack. They experienced a sense of nakedness. This sense of nakedness represents insecurity. It represents a sense of non-provision.

But more importantly, it is a reflection on the Father because it makes Him look like a father who does not provide for his children. This state of affairs broke the Father’s heart. You can sense this in His reply to Adam’s statement that he was naked: “Who told you that you were naked?” (3:11). To restore their sense of divine provision and abundance, “for Adam and His wife the LORD God made tunics of [animal] skin, and clothed them” (3:21).

Your Father’s house is a house of abundance. Keep your mind away from lack. Focus rather on the Father’s riches and provision. He cares about you more than you care about yourself.

To be continued tomorrow, God willing.

For further studyPsalm 65:1-13

Why Jesus Did Not Fall for Luke 4:7

Daily Devotion | Day 289

“All things that the Father has are mine. Therefore I said that He [the Holy Spirit] will take of Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:15, NKJV).

Jesus had many things to teach us when He came into the world. Of the things on His agenda, one was central to His ministry: to give us an accurate knowledge of our heavenly Father and how our relationship with Him should look like. Consequently, in the four Gospels you will notice that He spent a lot of time teaching us about the Father. John’s Gospel is a perfect example of this.

In John the word “Father” (referring to God) occurs about 124 times (a simple word search based on the King James Version). Compare that to the remaining accounts of the Gospel. In Luke the word “Father” occurs about 23 times, 5 times in Mark and 44 times in Matthew. There are more occurrences in John of the word “Father” than the other three Gospels combined. It would be no exaggeration to rename John’s Gospel as the Gospel of the Father.

Why the long introduction?

 In the Gospels, you see Jesus’ relationship with the Father on full display. He was showing us how we also ought to relate to the Father, because Jesus and we have one and the same Father and God: “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God” (John 20:17). Look at today’s opening Scripture. Jesus says the Holy Spirit will take what belongs to Him (Jesus) and declare it to the Apostles. But our focus today is on Jesus’ first statement: “All things that the Father has are mine.” Now compare this with what satan promised Jesus when he tempted Him: “Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours” (Luke 4:7).

By making this offer, satan was suggesting that Jesus didn’t have everything He needed, i.e. Jesus was in lack. When you’re offered all the kingdoms and glory of the world, that is tempting. But Jesus didn’t fall for it. Why? Because of what He said in John 16:15. He was fully aware that all things the Father had belonged to Him as well. As a result, Jesus was confident and secure in Himself. He had no sense of lack. He had no sense of an unmet need. Satan’s temptation was intended to trigger in Christ a sense of lack. He failed.

Jesus wants us to have the same sense of security He had. He wants us to know that all that the Father has are for His children as well. It is the sense of lack that drives people to anxiety, fear, depression and other harmful emotions. When you know that all that the Father has is yours, you will not envy others. Envy is the fruit of insecurity. When you know that all that the Father has is yours, you will not worry. Worry is a child of insecurity. When you are confident that all that the Father has is yours, you will not use dishonest means to get ahead in life. When you are confident that all that the Father has is yours, you will not fall for satan’s lies.

It’s important to remember that you are not your circumstances. In Christ, you are greater than the sum of your circumstances.

Confess with me, “By the grace of God, I am not my circumstances. I am joint-heir with Christ. All that the Father has is mine. Abundance is my inheritance. I do not worry and I am not moved. My heart is glad and my spirit rejoices. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.”

BlessingMay the Lord open your eyes to see that all that He has is yours. And as you become aware of this truth, may blessing after blessing manifest abundantly in your life. Amen.

For further study1 Corinthians 3:21-23 and Luke 15:22-32

Expecting Abundance: The Table, the Oil and the Cup

Daily Devotional: Day 232

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over” (Psalm 23:5, KJV).

About three years ago, there was a TV commercial about pizza. A customer came to pick up his order with a small car. The attendant (a young woman) packed the delivery in the trunk. And just before the customer rode off, she had a word of advice for him: “You’re going to need a bigger car,” implying that the customer’s car was too small for the big pizzas they made.

God is great. When you walk with Him, expect great things. Expect big favors. God’s does not entertain small-mindedness. It is not in His nature to be stingy. He is infinitely kind and utterly generous. His plans for you are big, not small. As you walk closely with Him, you will realize this. God our Father “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3, NKJV). Oftentimes, it is we who make ourselves small. We think small. We imagine small. We expect small. And we live small. When you have a limited vision of God, it limits your own blessings. But with an accurate vision of God, you will realize that God is El-Shaddai (i.e. All-powerful), and with Him all things are possible (Luke 1:37). Take off all limits and think in terms of abundance.

Today’s opening Scripture is a well known passage. In it, David is declaring the great things the Lord has done (and does) for Him. He mentions three things. Let’s take it one by one.

First, he says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” The key word in this statement is “You.” According to David, it is God who prepares the table. Now this is very important. God is a ‘Chef,’ if you will. He prepares the best meals. And we know He is a God of abundance, too. When JEHOVAH prepares a table for you, prepare to be filled beyond your imagination. God’s plan is to make you fat, not skinny (like someone I know). As a bonus, He will make sure your enemies are watching as He blesses you. As you are reading this, I pray that faith will rise in your spirit to expect great things from God. Enough about the table. Let’s move to the oil.

David said, “You anoint my head with oil.” When God anoints you, He sets you apart, makes you special, and He empowers you. God’s oil is oil of joy; it is oil of approval; it is oil of favor; it is oil of wellness. Your head is the place of thinking and intelligence. When God anoints your head, there is a supernatural influence over your thinking. Your mind is sound (see 2 Timothy 1:7). Wisdom, insights, vision, clarity, originality, and groundbreaking ideas will flow in your thinking.  See 1 Corinthians 2:6-16. Ask God to lay His hand over your head even as you are reading this.

Next, David said, “My cup runs over.” “Cup” refers to the measure of what belongs to you. It refers to your portion. Your cup will run over. God will not bless you any other way. When you come to God, you’re going to need a bigger cup. Peter needed a bigger boat (see Luke 5:1-11). With God you are going to need a bigger expectation than you currently have.

Remember these three things: the tablethe oil and the cup. Expect big.

May the Lord overwhelm you with blessing upon blessing, and with favor upon favor! If you receive this, say a big “AMEN.”

For further studyIsaiah 55:1-13