The following is a part of our weekly devotional series, which is a companion to the 2013 Foursquare Life Journal. This week’s Bible reading comes from Ps. 124; 2 Cor. 11-13; and Matt. 1-19.
During the past 18 months, the Lord systematically rearranged almost every detail of our lives. Our address changed (twice), our children changed schools (twice), and we are now transitioning to our second place of ministry. Oh, and our income dropped to a record low! The only constant is that things have changed.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Matt. 6:25-27, NKJV).
One day, I was having a particularly hard time understanding what the Lord was up to, and I went outside with my Bible, seeking insight and peace. As I read these verses in Matthew, I saw with fresh eyes the simple beauty of our feathered friends gracefully flitting through the air. The Lord revealed to me that He was bringing us back to the basics of trusting Him with every detail of our lives, including, but certainly not limited to, food, shelter and clothing.
I am always eager to trust God with the big things, the optional, low-risk things that—should they not pan out—well, I’ll still get by. But having to trust Him for the basic needs of life? Now that is a different kind of faith altogether!
I also realized that I so often idealize a simpler life; but as I observed the birds, I realized that they have problems to deal with, too. They must search for food, gather materials for their nests, and stay safe from predators. Yet, every morning and throughout the day, their joyful singing can be heard. Clearly, a problem-free life shouldn’t be the goal.
Matt. 6:33 says my goal should be to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” During the past many months, in the face of some big challenges, the Lord has taught me that the secret to seeking first His kingdom is to be grateful for everything. Even the challenging, I-don’t-understand-this things.
As I have learned how to apply this to my daily thoughts, I have found myself thanking God multiple times throughout each day, both for the good and the not so good. My prayers have gone from long lists of wants and desires to simply stating my requests, and then “thanking God for the answers that He set into motion long before I can discern the results” (Jesus Calling, Sarah Young). This one change has revolutionized my thoughts.
As I take a more gratitude-based approach, it automatically shifts any stress, worry or fear off my shoulders and into the capable hands of my heavenly Father. It is the ultimate statement of trust, and ushers me into an awareness of His presence. Trusting that He is entirely good covers every need I will ever have.
Several times in the past six months, I told my husband that we would run out of money in a few weeks and that I didn’t know how we’d pay our bills. Now, here we are, and we have seen the Lord provide literally thousands of dollars in unexpected income, and all of our bills are paid. We still do not have a lot, we are still waiting for breakthrough, and our lives are far from problem-free, but knowing that our provision is straight from the hand of God is priceless.
Trusting that our future is absolutely assured frees me to live abundantly today. He has provided for our needs, just as He said He would. Just as He does for the birds. Thank you, Lord.
By: Heidi Sheldon, a Foursquare credentialed minister in Chaska, Minn.
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