READ Philippians 4:1-23
SITUATION Paul expressed joy and thanked the Philippians for their support. In addition to earlier gifts, they willingly sent financial support with Epaphroditus for Paul during his imprisonment.
OBSERVATION God knows our needs and promises to provide for them. We are to trust him with an attitude of thanksgiving and find contentment in what we are given.
INSPIRATION There are times when the one thing you want is the one thing you never get. You're not being picky or demanding; you're only obeying his command to "ask God for everything you need" (Philippians 4:6). All you want is an open door or an extra day or an answered prayer, for which you will be thankful.
And so you pray and wait.
You pray and wait.
You pray and wait.
May I ask a very important question? What is God says no?
What if the request is delayed or even denied? When God says no to you, how do you respond? If God says I have given you my grace and that is enough," will you be content?
Content: That's the word. A state of heart in which you would be at peace if God gave you nothing more that he already has. Test yourself with this question: What is God's only gift to you were his grace to save you? Would you be content? You beg him to save the life of your child. You plead with him to keep your business afloat. You implore him to remove the cancer from your body. What if his answer is, "My grace is enough"? Would you be content?
You see, from heaven's perspective, grace is enough. If God did nothing more than save you from hell, could anyone complain? If God saved our souls and then left us to spend our lives leprosy-struck on a deserted island would he be unjust? Having been given heavenly riches, dare we bemoan earthly poverty?
Let me be quick to add, God has not left you with "just salvation." If you have eyes to read these words, hands to hold this book, the means to own this volume, he has already given you grace upon grace. The vast majority of us have been saved and then blessed even more!
But there are those times when God, having given us his grace, hears our appeals and says, "My grace is sufficient for you." Is he being unfair?
In God Came Near I've told how our oldest daughter fell into a swimming pool when she was two years old. A friend saw her and pulled her to safety. What I didn't tell was what happened the next morning in my prayer time. I made a special effort to record my gratitude in my journal. I told God how wonderful he was for saving her. As clearly as if God himself were speaking, this question came to mind: Would I be less wonderful had I let her drown? Would I be any less a good God for calling her home? Would I still be receiving your praise this morning had I not saved her?
Is God still a good God when he says no? (From In The Grip of Grace by Max Lucado)
APPLICATION Make a mental list of how God has provided for you in the past. Use that as the basis for recognizing how he will provide for your needs in the future. Instead of complaining or worrying, taking your requests directly to the Lord.
EXPLORATION Contentment --
"The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need." Psalm 23:1
"So I tell you, don't worry about the food or drink you need to live, or about the clothes you need for your body. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. Look at the birds in the air. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. And you know that you are worth much more than the birds. You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it."
"And why do you worry about clothes? Look at how the lilies in the field grow. They don't work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that even Solomon with his riches was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers. God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today but tomorrow is thrown into the fire. So you can be even more sure that God will clothe you. Don't have so little faith! Don't worry and say, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' The people who don't know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. The thing you should want most is God's kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you. So don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34
"Serving God does make us very rich, if we are satisfied with what we have. We brought nothing into the world, so we can take nothing out. But, if we have food and clothes, we will be satisfied with that. Those who want to become rich bring temptation to themselves and are caught in a trap. They want many foolish and harmful things that ruin and destroy people. The love of money causes all kinds of evil. Some people have left the faith, because they wanted to get more money, but they have caused themselves much sorrow. But you, man of God, run away from all those things. Instead, live in the right way, serve God, have faith, love, patience, and gentleness." 1 Timothy 6:6-11
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus, Max Lucado General Editor, New Century Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers