Better Days Ahead—Part 3
November 2, 2021
by Peter Amsterdam
Better Days Ahead—Part 3
—God’s Abundant Supply
When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, He instructed them among other things to pray for the supply of their daily bread (or sustenance). Jesus experienced and understood the fragility of our earth lives and the importance of the supply of our needs. There is a wonderful verse in the Bible about God’s supply that says, “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NASB). God loves us so much that He has promised to care for us through the ups and downs of life. He will also help us learn to find His joy in whatever situation we find ourselves, in both the abundant times and the lean times (Philippians 4:11–12).
If you have experienced or are currently experiencing a time of financial difficulties, it can be very stressful, especially when you don’t know where the money will come from to meet your financial commitments. As you work to do all you can to be able to pay your bills and take care of your family, financial insecurity can produce a burden of stress and anxiety. There is also “vicarious stress” that you can experience when hearing about the difficulties of other people. Even just reading the news about financial woes and economic downturns and the sufferings of others can affect your spirit and peace of mind.
During difficult times, I believe we can find encouragement for the future by looking to the blessings of the past, as the authors of the Bible so often did in their writings. God has never failed us! It has not always been an easy journey, and we have all experienced times of testing, pain, and loss. But we can trust that God has worked all things together for good in ways both seen and unseen, and we can look back and gain courage as we recognize His mighty hand at work to provide for us again and again.
When I was thinking and praying about financial challenges, I was reminded of the principles in God’s Word of believing in and following God and trusting that He will supply for His children. It’s all about God’s unfailing promises and His care for us. I also am encouraged by reading messages in prophecy from Jesus that speak to our situations today. Here is one such message:
Nearly everyone in the world experiences financial pressure at one time or another, but some people deal with it better than others. The difference is often not so much these people’s circumstances, but to whom they turn for help. The secret to overcoming financial problems is actually the secret to overcoming any problem: Do what you can, and then rely on the “God factor.”
I told My disciples long ago, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”1 The God factor can change everything! When you apply the God factor, all things become possible for you, too, because faith in God and His promises overrides all impossibilities.
Here are some promises you can bank on: “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.”2 “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”3 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”4
All that the Father has is Mine, so I have all the riches of the universe at My disposal, and I am concerned about your happiness and well-being. So start by doing what you can and then apply the God factor, asking Me to step in and do what you can’t.
When you’ve done all you can and have exhausted your usual means of supply but still struggle to make ends meet, don’t despair. I can provide by other means. When others fail in their financial responsibilities toward you, or you are adversely affected by others’ decisions, don’t despair. I remain true. When disaster strikes and unforeseen bills follow, don’t despair. I can pick up where your insurance policy leaves off. When the economy is tight and jobs are scarce, don’t despair. I am able to supply even in seemingly impossible circumstances.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”5 That is a promise I made long ago, and it still holds true. Tell Me your needs, and ask Me to supply them. Do your part—the asking, seeking, and knocking—and I will do Mine.
When money is scarce, your faith in My ability to supply for you is often tested. You are tempted to believe that My promises are not reliable, that I won’t supply for you as I said I would. But don’t succumb to those doubts, because I will come through for you.
Many factors affect how your prayers are answered and the means I use to provide for you, including the choices that you and others make, so don’t become discouraged or impatient or think that I don’t care or won’t supply. Sometimes you have to wait till the conditions are right.
In the meantime, count your blessings. Thank Me for what I’ve already done for you and given you. Reflect on the things that are to be treasured above material comforts, things that money can’t buy, such as the love of those dearest to you, true friendships, peace of heart and mind, and the fulfillment and satisfaction that come from knowing and loving Me. Value those things, and you’ll find joy in Me, no matter what your physical circumstances may be.
Speaking of counting your blessings and thanking the Lord for what He has already done, a friend shared with me about a new personal project she started, in which she is creating two lists. One list, called “Outstanding Miracles,” is a compilation of all the amazing things the Lord has done in her life over the years. The other list is called “Everyday Grace and Loving Kindness.” It’s a day-to-day accounting of the Lord’s touches of love, open doors, and answers to prayer—the little things that show that God is present in her life and taking care of her. She started these two lists recently when she was experiencing a particularly difficult time in her life to remind herself that the Lord has never failed her!
I’m sure you’ve had conversations in which someone says enthusiastically, “Remember when…” and then goes on to tell an amazing testimony of the Lord’s supply, open doors, healing, or intervention. It’s good for our spirits to bring to remembrance the ways the Lord has led and guided us in the past and how He has blessed our lives. It reminds us that what has happened before can happen again. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).
We can count on Him and His promises to provide for us today and every day. As Matthew Henry said: “An active faith can give thanks for a promise, though it be not as yet performed; knowing that God’s bonds are as good as ready money!” This principle is illustrated well in the following testimony:
In its early days, Dallas Theological Seminary was in critical need of $10,000 to keep the work going. During a prayer meeting, renowned Bible teacher Harry Ironside, a lecturer at the school, prayed, “Lord, you own the cattle on a thousand hills. Please sell some of those cattle to help us meet this need.”
Shortly after the prayer meeting, a check for $10,000 arrived at the school, sent days earlier by a friend who had no idea of the urgent need or of Ironside’s prayer. The man simply said the money came from the sale of some of his cattle!6
This brought to mind once again the blessing of remembering God’s goodness to us in the past. I have a dear friend who frequently refers to Psalm 50:107 as she says, with a twinkle in her eye, “Okay, Lord, You own the cattle on a thousand hills. It’s time to have a cattle sale—again!”
Another principle that is important to remember is the principle of giving. Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38 NIV). As Christians we are called to give as we are able of our time, our love, and our finances to God’s work and to help others in need. We pray that as you continue to give, the Lord will give back to you abundantly!
Sometimes our struggles can seem so difficult, so monumental. In fact, sometimes they are difficult and monumental. Life is certainly not easy for any of us! But the thing to remember is that we have Jesus. When compared with the heartbreaks, devastating loneliness, frustration, hopelessness, and lack of love and purpose that many people have to face without the promise of an eternity with God, our problems can start to shrink!
The Lord wants us to have great concern for others and to sympathize with them. We all have, at times, experienced some kind of turmoil, confusion, and hardship. We can share the Lord’s comfort with others, as He has comforted us. (See 2 Corinthians 1:4.) We can also help meet their deepest needs by sharing God’s love and Word with them. The Lord promises great returns if we’ll give unto others. “Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”
What a marvelous cycle! As we give to others, the Lord promises to give to us—strength, faith, and joy.
May we all take courage in the Lord’s promises, knowing that God has always come through for us in the past, and His promise still holds true that He will “supply all our needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Keep praying, knocking on doors, trying new things, and trusting that He will make a way. We have His promise that “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:10 ESV).
Sometimes I like to think about the lives of Christians from times past. One person whom I draw a lot of encouragement from is George Müller.8
George Müller (1805–1898) was a Christian missionary evangelist and a coordinator of orphanages in Bristol, England. Through his faith and prayers (and without asking for money), he had the privilege of helping over 120,000 orphan children. He also traveled over 200,000 miles (by ship) to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 42 countries and to challenge believers about world missions and trusting God. In his journals, Müller recorded miracle after miracle of God’s provision and answered prayer.
That’s an amazing legacy! I’d like to highlight one such miracle:
One morning, all the plates and cups and bowls on the table were empty. There was no food in the larder and no money to buy food. The children were standing, waiting for their morning meal, when Müller said, “Children, you know we must be in time for school.” Then lifting up his hands he prayed, “Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.”
There was a knock at the door. The baker stood there, and said, “Mr. Müller, I couldn’t sleep last night. Somehow, I felt you didn’t have bread for breakfast, and the Lord wanted me to send you some. So I got up at 2:00 a.m. and baked some fresh bread, and have brought it.”
Mr. Müller thanked the baker, and no sooner had he left when there was a second knock at the door. It was the milkman. He announced that his milk cart had broken down right in front of the orphanage, and he would like to give the children his cans of fresh milk so he could empty his wagon and repair it.9
We can also admire the great faith of Charles Thomas (C. T.) Studd (1860–1931). He was an English missionary who faithfully served his Savior in China, India, and Africa. His motto was: “If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”10
C. T. Studd describes a miracle of the Lord’s supply in China as follows:
My own family knew nothing of our circumstances, only that we were in the heart of China. The last of our supplies was finished, and there was no apparent hope of supplies of any kind coming from any human source. The mail came once a fortnight. The mail man had just set out that afternoon, and in a fortnight, he would bring the return mail. The children were put to bed. Then my wife and I looked facts in the face. If the return of the postman brought no relief, starvation stared us in the face.
We decided to have a night of prayer. We got on our knees for that purpose. I think we must have stayed there 20 minutes before we rose again. We told God everything we had to say in those 20 minutes. Our hearts were relieved; it did not seem to us either reverence or common sense to keep on talking to God as though He were deaf or could not understand our simple language, or the extremity of our circumstances, or the weight of the words of His Son, Who said that God knew everything before we told Him, or as He said Himself, “Before they call I will answer.” And verily He did.
The mail man returned at the appointed time. We were not slow to open the bag. We glanced over the letters; there was nothing, and we looked at each other. I went to the bag again, took it by the corners and shook it; out came another letter, but the handwriting was totally unfamiliar to us. I opened it and began to read. We were different after the reading of that letter than we had been before, and I think our whole lives have been different since. This was the letter:
“I have,” he said, “for some reason or other received the command of God to send you a check for 100 pounds. I have never met you. I have only heard of you, and that not often, but God has prevented me from sleeping tonight by this command. Why He should command me to send you these 100 pounds I don’t know—you will know better than I. Anyhow, here it is, and I hope it will do you good.”11
You don’t have to be a longtime missionary for the Lord to be concerned about your needs. All of us who have followed the Lord, either for a short period of time or for decades, know that He is faithful to provide what we need! We know that God can open the windows of heaven with miracles of supply, and He can demonstrate His concern for the smallest details in our lives. God never fails! Let’s not forget what He has done for us in the past and let’s allow our experience of His faithfulness to strengthen our faith for what He’s going to do in the future.
Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else?—Romans 8:32 TLB
1 Mark 10:27.
2 Philippians 4:19.
3 Mark 11:24.
4 Matthew 6:33.
5 Matthew 7:7 ESV.
6 Today in the Word, MBI, January 1990, p. 36. https://www.sermonsearch.com/sermon-illustrations/4796/cattle-on-a-thousand-hills/
7 “For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10 NIV).
8 You can read an accounting of the Lord’s miracles of supply on the George Muller.org site here: https://www.georgemuller.org/devotional/trusting-god-for-daily-supplies
11 Norman Grubb, C. T. Studd: Cricketer and Pioneer (Christian Literature Crusade, 1982).