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

Designated Provider

DAILY DEVOTIONAL: DAY 211

“For the poor shall never cease out of thy land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land” (Deuteronomy 15:11, KJV).

God is a provider, and he has designated you as a provider, too. How is that? Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (cf. James 1:17). He can do all things by Himself. He doesn’t need our help to function as God and Provider. However, being a God of fellowship, He calls us to work with Him so that He can work through us. It is in this sense that He has made us providers like Himself, so that we can be there for one another – in His name – when a need arises. 

Living as a Christian is about manifesting in our lives the good and holy character of our Father in heaven. One major way we do this, is by providing for the poor and needy. If you claim, therefore, to love God, but you neglect the poor and needy, your ‘Christianity’ is vain. The Apostle John put it best, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17, NKJV).

In Deuteronomy, chapter 15, the Lord instructed His people that after every seven years, they should manifest generous love for the poor and needy. Today’s opening Scripture is taken from this context. God says that there shall always be poor people among us. That’s interesting. Jesus said the same thing (cf. John 12:8). Immediately after stating that the poor shall never cease from the land, God says, “therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thy hand wide unto thy brotherto thy poor, and to thy needyin thy land.” This is as clear as it can be.

Just as He commanded the Israelites, He commands us today to open our hand unto the poor and the needy in our land. For God, it is not enough to open your hand. He wants you to open it wide. Why is this important? It’s important, because God wants you to be like him – generous. Some people don’t have a problem opening their hand; they just have difficulty opening their hand wide. All poor people are needy, but not all needy people are necessarily poor. Anyone can experience need at any time. Either way, God’s instruction remains.

Where there are poor or needy people, God has designated other people to provide for them. Don’t think this message is exclusively for your rich neighbor. The message is for us all. At one point in the life of the prophet Elijah, he was in need, because there was famine in Israel. Listen to what God told Elijah, “Arise, get thee to Zarephath . . . behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee” (1 Kings 17:9). God commanded, not a rich woman, but a poor widow, to provide for Elijah. As you follow the story, you’ll discover that Elijah, too, had been sent into the widow’s life to be meet a need in her life. Everyone qualifies to be God’s designated provider.

From today, accept that you, too, are God’s designated provider, appointed to provide the answer to a need in someone’s life. Don’t neglect this sacred duty. It’s your opportunity to show that the good God indeed is your Father, and that you are like Him. Don’t talk about love. Show love.

May God richly bless you and use you to richly bless others. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: 1 Kings 17:1-24

The Father Knows

Daily Devotional: Day 147

“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you” (Luke 12:29-31, NKJV).

If you worry, you can’t rest. And, when you can’t rest, it’s hard to please God. But if you believe in God, you will be calm. Faith in God causes you to rest. A stressful (anxious) life is one of the chief enemies of the spiritual life. You need to come to a point where the Lord’s presence is enough to make you rest like a baby in the arms your Father in heaven. When you reach that point, anxiety, stress, panic and temper issues will be gone from your life. When the Lord repeatedly tells us not to worry, we need to pay attention. Worrying is symptomatic of a lack of faith.

Worrying impairs your spiritual vision and your ability to discern the will of God. It further impairs your ability to recognize the provident Hand of God in your life. Worrying is characteristic of people who do not know the Father God who provides. That is what Jesus is telling us today. Your Father in heaven knows that you need food and drink and other necessities of life. But the question is: Do you know the Father knows that you need these things? This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s loaded with meaning. When you know that the Father knows about what you need, then you have no reason to worry. This kind of knowledge – knowing that the Father knows – is a source of great peace and calm for your soul.

People get agitated because they don’t know the Father. And, because they don’t know the Father, they don’t know His love and provision. If they knew Him, they wouldn’t be agitated. Jesus warns against having an anxious mind. Based on the Greek word meteorizomai, an anxious mind refers to a mind that is unstable, easily tossed about like the waves of the sea. It describes what happens in a person’s mind when he is not sure that the Father will provide.

Jesus never worried about His needs. His secret was that He never took His eyes off the Father who provides. Learn from Jesus. Fix your eyes on the Father in heaven, and your worries shall cease.

The Lord’s blessing be upon you today! Amen.

For further study: Luke 12:22-34

God Provides in a Time of Obedience and Trust

Daily Devotional: Day 133

“And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?” Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest” (Leviticus 25:20-22, NKJV).

In Leviticus chapter 25, God commanded the people of Israel to keep a sabbath for the land they were about to occupy (Canaan). They could sow and reap for six years, but the seventh year was to be a year of rest for the land. During the seventh year, they were prohibited from all farming activities on the land. This commandment was to be observed – as in a cycle – every seven years, for as long as they remained on the land.

Obviously, this commandment presented its own opportunities and challenges. On one hand, it afforded them the opportunity to rest; but on the other hand, they were left with the obvious question: “What shall we eat during the seventh year?” What God was asking them to do required radical trust and obedience. Recall that once every week, on the sabbath day, they did no work. It is one thing not to work once a week; but no farming for an entire year was a completely different story. This brings us to today’s Bible text.

God allayed the fears of the people with the following promise: “I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years.” This blessing ensured that the Israelites had food provision for the sixth year, the seventh year, and the eighth year. What we can learn here is that God is not limited in His ability to bless you. Oftentimes obedience to God requires a sacrifice. Not sowing or reaping, for the Israelites, was a huge sacrifice. But today’s Bible reading assures us that when you do what God requires of you, He will not leave you without provision. Our God is a dependable provider. Dare to trust Him.

May the God of Israel command His blessing upon you and your family today! Amen.

For further study: Genesis 22:1-18