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The Gift of Supply

Praise be to you, Lord, for your great and gracious heart. Praise you that you look down and see every single person on this earth, all at the same time, and that you are aware of each one’s needs, motives, desires, suffering, rebellion and anger.
I praise you that you work in the life of each person–believer or not–to supply their needs in an ever-flowing river of good: “… your Father in heaven…causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45).
You bring each one help on every level: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psa. 34:18).
And most importantly you offer the opportunity for all to enter your Kingdom: “when he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world [everyone] of sin, righteousness, and judgment…” (John 16:8-10) and “…whosoever believes should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16b).
 
Romans 8:32-34 sums this up beautifully: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
 
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
 
“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
 
Whoa! What a flood of Supply. This is the God we can fully trust, by offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving every day!”
May be an image of nature, body of water and tree

The Gift of Faithfulness

The Gift of Faithfulness
 
Psalm 146:6b “The Lord who remains faithful forever.”
[You, Lord, are the persistent God of Hope, forever pouring joy and peace into our lives as we trust in you (Rom. 15:13)–so that our lives may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit and that we may live lives worthy of you.
For this I praise you, Lord Jesus, I exalt you, heavenly Father, I honor you, Holy Spirit, for your consistent, continual commitment to Truth, to Righteousness, to your Promises and, most importantly, to your rich and beautiful Character.
In the garden of Eden you promised a Savior who would crush Satan’s head. You prepared the way for His coming, choosing Abraham, protecting him and his off-spring through many years of danger, oppression and difficulty. Through Joseph you saved Judah from whence came the Christ.
And at the right time you arrived, Lord Jesus: in weakness and vulnerability, a helpless babe born to inexperienced parents in a dirty and sickness-filled society where infant mortality rate was high and enemies abounded.
You lived among sin-warped people, in evil systems, under oppression by Rome and rejection by your own. You willingly suffered unjust condemnation, torture, death and seeming defeat that you might save all who were willing to come into your shelter of faithful forgiveness and family, of love and new life.
You are the ultimate in faithfulness and therefore we can trust you fully each day to carry us through whatever will come, granting us opportunity to work with you in your plans and to give you honor by offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving in each difficulty, disappointment and discouragement.
Help us to take up your out-poured grace, Lord Jesus, to live in the light of your love and to rest in the fact of your faithfulness, so you may be honored today before all human beings around us.
May be an image of flower and nature

More from Nancy’s life in Pakistan

More from Nancy’s life in Pakistan
Fingerprint – Part Three
 
On February 24, 1992, we stood before the house of veteran workers Dave and Synnove Mitchell. Much to our relief they were home and they helped us through the new crisis in our lives.
 
Two days earlier, in Layyah, we had gotten a phone call telling us that a “Baby boy born at 4:45 pm.” Still clutching Dr. Luke’s note telling us this was the baby for us, I leaned into the receiver and asserted myself as a mother, “His name is Christopher.”
 
The following day, after a nine-hour drive to Islamabad, Don and I trudged into the “Mother Care” baby store. Snapping up an array of baby items, we shuffled back to the jeep with our bags.
 
We left the parched capital the next day and climbed three hours on spiraling roads amidst terraced hillsides. Closer and closer to our baby. I studied the faces of the locals we passed on the roadside, wondering if Christopher would look like them.
 
When the nurse placed Christopher into Don’s arms at Bach Christian Hospital, like newlyweds, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Unlike newlyweds, however, there would be no honeymoon.
 
Cloistered in the Cutherells’ bathroom that evening, no one was happy. Not the howling baby. Not me, all thumbs. Urine-soaked bandages from Christopher’s recent circumcision had to be changed, and well, we were his parents. Don, white and faint from the sight of blood, was also not happy. The night passed, listening to baby sounds.
 
We began the 327-mile trek back to our desert home the following day. Blankets wound around Christopher’s tiny body like bumpers in the used car seat. His head bobbed along in time to the bumpy, curvy roads. My body swirled backward and forward as if on a swivel, checking on our son.
 
Just seventy-five miles into the trip, Christopher was the only one who had it together. Our minds worked overtime. Were we keeping the circumcision wound clean enough? Would Christopher’s staph infection respond to the medicine? Were we mixing his milk formula correctly? Was he wet? Was he cold? Who did we think we were?
 
Finally, when it was evident that our drinking water would never last the journey, the last of our brave efforts at parenting deflated like a balloon. In 1992, in Pakistan, you could not buy bottled drinking water. You sterilized your own or went without.
 
Like disheveled refugees, we huddled on the Mitchells’ doorstep and rang the doorbell. Dave and Synnove welcomed our bedraggled family and delivered us. From ourselves.
 
When we loaded our 4 ½ day-old baby back into the jeep the next day to resume our journey, we were standing on the shoulders of ordinary people who did brave things. Fragile people in the hands of God. Fragile, like a fingerprint.
 
Today Christopher himself is happily married and functioning very well.
 
“but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world
to shame the things which are strong,”
1 Corinthians 1:27 nasb
 
Picture: a road like the one Nancy and Don drove up to get their new son, Christopher.
May be an image of mountain, nature and road

Psalm 11:7c

Psalm 11:7c “[Blessed is the man] whose hope is the Lord his God”
[Jacob kept calling you, “the God of my father” rather than his own God. It took a whole lifetime of self-imposed suffering, fear and loss before Jacob, on his death bed, finally bowed before you and worshiped you as “my God,” making you his personal hope. May we not wait so long to surrender! ]
Psalm 146:6 “[Blessed is the man whose hope is the] maker of heaven”
[You made both the throne room of Heaven where you dwell, and the great expanses of space where all the starry hosts dwell: zillions of stars (and you know the name of every one!) placed in trillions of galaxies, spread across billions of light years of space]
“and [maker of] earth, the sea and all that is in them”
[You spoke the earth into existence with its mountains and valleys, rivers and streams, the seas with all their great expanse. And you created the astounding myriad of plants and animals, ranging from the single-celled, up through insects, cats and dogs, to elephants, walrus and whales–plus the unseen spiritual creatures around us.]
You, Lord God, are amazing and awesome: powerful and creative, wise and all-knowing, all-seeing and all-present–the Creator, the Victor, our Savior and King.
From you alone comes real, sure, enduring hope, giving us the great certainty of having salvation from sin, a surplus of significance and security, and the assurance of a sinless eternity with you. We can know that all which comes to us in this life will be for your glory, our good and the outworking of your triumph over evil.
To you be glory, honor and praise forever: may you be lifted up, esteemed and exalted today, in my life, in my motives, in my thoughts, words and actions.]
May be an image of flower and nature

Psalm 11:7b

Psalm 11:7b “His countenance beholds the upright.”
[ In your love and goodness, you Lord, consistently look after us, your children–we who now stand in the righteousness of Christ. You are aware of every event that comes to us, you filter out what is truly evil and harmful, and you have equipped us to deal with whatever you allow into our lives.
You have qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of Light! You are carrying us forward on to glory, honor and praise as we respond to your direction in faith!
 
Your love is wonderful, rich, pure and powerful, and it is a great privilege to live in it!]
Psalm 146:5 “Blessed is the man whose help is the God of Jacob”
[You work with us, as you worked with that rebellious rascal Jacob. You are patient and persistent, providing consequences to bring us up short, penetrating our lives at the right time with conviction and wisdom, and pointing us the way to full surrender.
 
You, Lord are everything we need. May we never forget this!
May be an image of nature

Psalm 11:7

Psalm 11:7 “For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness;”
[Praise you, Lord God, that in you there is no evil, no darkness, no sin, no wrong doing. You are righteous and love what is right. You cannot be corrupted and you corrupt no one. You cannot be tempted and you tempt no one. Instead, you call all to righteousness.
When we believe your Word, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us. Then we get to grow in righteousness as we walk in obedience to what we know to be true:
–loving your Word by reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on it;
–listening to and obeying the conviction of the Spirit, that most often comes through the Word;
— working by and through prayer, living the truth that without you we can do nothing;
–participating in fellowship, knowing that in your church we will learn to give and receive, help and be helped; we will both enjoy and be irritated by others, repent and forgive, love as Christ loves us.
Help us to be faithful in participating in your righteousness, Lord, living worthy of you, as sons and daughters of the Most High King, the Creator and Sustainer of all. May our central and deepest goal today be to glorify, honor and please you.]
May be an image of flower, nature and tree

Psalm 11:5b

Psalm 11:5b “But the wicked and the one who loves violence, His [God’s] soul hates.”
[Here is one of those seeming paradoxes of the Bible: God loves all yet hates the wicked. Here are three possible understandings among several, all of them true:
–He hates what they do, but loves them as His creatures;
–He loves them, but when they refuse to come under His protection by surrendering to Christ, they fall under His hatred for sin;
–or here He is speaking of Satan and his hoard of demons.
All of them are true. The certainty is that, in God’s character there are no contradictions: He hates sin and will punish it yet found a way (an extremely expensive one) to redeem sinners within this context.
Psalm 11:6 “Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.”
[As part of your plan to eliminate evil, you, Lord God, will in your justice justly punish rebellious evil doers–those who refuse your gracious forgiveness and instead love violence, those who hate what is good, those who refuse to believe you and accept Truth.
This is what you did in Sodom and Gomorrah, what you did in Canaan to those who rejected you, and what you will do to all those who refuse your offer of goodness and grace. There can be no justice without the punishment of evil.
 
But this does not negate your gracious and good heart, Lord, wanting every man to come into your family, your Kingdom, your plans. Thank you for including us. May we never forget your undeserved, counter-conditional, illogical and unimaginable forgiveness and love and rest in it.]
May be an image of flower and outdoors

Psalm 11:5

 
“His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The Lord tests the righteous,” Psalm 11:5
[You watch every person, you follow each one, giving opportunities for belief to the not-yet-sons and daughters.
 
And to your children, who have been granted the righteousness of Christ, you give tests that are possibilities to grow, to give you glory and to display grace.
Ah, Lord, help us to remember that difficulties, disappointments, danger and discouragement are tests, each one an opportunity to take up your grace, rise up in praise and defeat the enemy on his own ground.
Help us to follow you on the path that you have laid out for us. May we not fail in these tests but cooperate with you and join you for your glory!
 
Help us today to live in the light of your lavish love, trusting in your great and glorious goodness in each trial, fulfilling the purpose of our lives by offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving in all.]
May be an image of flower and nature

Fingerprint 2

Nancy’s Story
 
FINGERPRINT – PART TWO
 
Dr. Luke scribbled out a note between surgeries on February 21, 1992. He stapled it closed, sealed it in a Bach Christian Hospital envelope, and gave it to his colleague, Naz. After a journey on rugged roads, Naz would deliver the envelope with its explosive joyful contents twelve hours later.
 
As Naz began his journey, 15-year-old Razwana was on her own journey. She crept home from Bach hospital through a crowded bazaar with her aunty, Surat Jan. She clutched a woolen shawl around her to cover her pain and shame. A full-term baby had just been pulled out of her by forceps. A baby unwillingly conceived through rape.
 
Blood from the placental site in her womb was soaking through the cotton wool pad under her baggy pants. Strips of cloth bound around her to conceal her swollen breasts restricted her breathing. Thirsty and dazed from blood loss, she stumbled and grabbed for her aunt’s arm.
 
The plan concocted by Razwana’s mother and aunt to survive the dishonor of the pregnancy was a masterpiece of deceit. They would blame the girl’s ill health and hospital stay on high blood pressure and a urinary tract infection. Her mother would conceal bloody pads in plastic bags and carry them to Surat Jan’s for burning. Despite her wretched condition, Razwana would do her house chores so that things appeared normal.
 
The long game involved snaring a husband inexperienced in sex for Razwana, one who would be oblivious to her lack of virginity. Her Muslim groom would not see her before the wedding, so Razwana’s depression and neurotic behavior would be unknown to him. Her terror at the prospect of sex was irrelevant. A son, a second one, would solve all their problems.
 
Three hundred twenty-five miles away from the drama in Razwana’s home on the Karakoram Highway, my husband and I were teaching the Bible to Pakistanis in the Thal Desert region.
 
After five years of marriage and a long season of infertility, Don and I had opened our hearts to the possibility of adoption. We had added our names to lists at a couple of Christian Hospitals in Pakistan, lists of those wanting to adopt babies.
 
When our screen door slammed shut on the chilly evening of February 22, 1992, we were about to learn how good and generous God is.
 
Don walked into the front room, locked eyes with me, and pressed a small envelope into my hand. It was unopened. “This just came with Naz from Bach.”
 
Standing together in our living room, we opened the envelope and eased the staple off the letter. Hunched over the small note written by Dr. Luke one day earlier in anticipation of a birth, we read, “Baby due sometime in the next few days…they say they will not keep it…available to you…Can you care for it? “
 
In our joy, a verse came to mind: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result,to preserve many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20 NASB)
 
To be continued…
 
Picture: the new born boy
 
May be an image of person and baby

Taste

Yesterday ended with a dissatisfying taste, an emptiness which I tried at first to banish with reading and popcorn. But then you, Lord, led me in the right path, reminding me to praise you for this unpleasant sensation, as this emptiness was a reminder that my soul finds rest in you alone—and the right response is to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving!
Therefore I praise you now, Lord Jesus, for this emptiness that reminds me of the wonder and stability of knowing you, of being a child of the eternal living God. You give us all we need for life and godliness and I can praise you for both the pleasant and the painful, no matter what comes.
As it says in Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?”
[When everything seems to fall apart, we can look away to you, Lord God, the only sure foundation in all of existence. We can rejoice in your character, rest in your love, live in your wisdom. The instability of the world only serves to highlight the surety of your character: Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever!]
Psalm 11:4-5 “The Lord is in His holy temple, The Lord’s throne is in heaven;”
[You, Lord, are ever ruling, ever awake, ever alert. Nothing escapes your notice and you always act in inexorable positive power at exactly the right time. You rule wisely, wonderfully, willfully. You are moving events to the great conclusion of history, sweeping as many as are willing into your Kingdom and taking us with you, while giving those who aren’t willing multiple opportunities as well.]
 
Help us today to join you in this great plan of redemption and restoration. Help us to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving in all.