"We have had many expenses during the past year, but during no period of my life has the Lord so richly supplied me. Truly, it must be obvious to all that I serve a kind Master." The Autobiography of George Muller.
The text message I received Saturday afternoon as I picked up my daughter's cake for her birthday celebration was long forgotten by night's end. The same request through an email was quickly forgotten to as I settled into bed that night.
Reading a little of George Muller's diaries before I went to bed were prophetic in their words, although I wouldn't have known it that Saturday night. Sunday was filled with a rather powerful inspirational worship service but otherwise was uneventful…… Another text message from the originator of the Saturday text offered encouragement to a prayer request I sent
"Read Psalm 33, then Daniel 10. Help is on the way; God knows where u live & now I have your address too. God bless, my brother!"
"You are the LORD's people. Obey him and celebrate! He deserves your praise. Praise the LORD with harps! Use harps with ten strings to make music for him. Sing a new song. Shout! Play beautiful music. The LORD is truthful; he can be trusted. He loves justice and fairness, and he is kind to everyone everywhere on earth. The LORD made the heavens and everything in them by his word. He scooped up the ocean and stored the water. Everyone in this world should worship and honor the LORD! As soon as he spoke the world was created; at his command, the earth was formed. The LORD destroys the plans and spoils the schemes of the nations. But what the LORD has planned will stand forever. His thoughts never change. The LORD blesses each nation that worships only him. He blesses his chosen ones. The LORD looks at the world from his throne in heaven, and he watches us all. The LORD gave us each a mind, and nothing we do can be hidden from him. Mighty armies alone cannot win wars for a king; great strength by itself cannot keep a soldier safe. In war the strength of a horse cannot be trusted to take you to safety. But the LORD watches over all who honor him and trust his kindness. He protects them from death and starvation. We depend on you, LORD, to help and protect us. You make our hearts glad because we trust you, the only God. Be kind and bless us! We depend on you." (Psalms 33:1-22 CEV)
Daniel 10 was the subject of a bible study I had attended the week before at Berean Bible Church in Livonia.
"In the third year of Cyrus the king of Persia, a message came to Daniel from God, and it was explained in a vision. The message was about a horrible war, and it was true. Daniel wrote: For three weeks I was in sorrow. I ate no fancy food or meat, I drank no wine, and I put no olive oil on my face or hair. Then, on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, I was standing on the banks of the great Tigris River, when I looked up and saw someone dressed in linen and wearing a solid gold belt. His body was like a precious stone, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming fires, his arms and legs like polished bronze, and his voice like the roar of a crowd. Although the people who were with me did not see the vision, they became so frightened that they scattered and hid. Only I saw this great vision. I became weak and pale, and at the sound of his voice, I fell facedown in a deep sleep. He raised me to my hands and knees and then said, "Daniel, your God thinks highly of you, and he has sent me. So stand up and pay close attention." I stood trembling, while the angel said: Daniel, don't be afraid! God has listened to your prayers since the first day you humbly asked for understanding, and he has sent me here. But the guardian angel of Persia opposed me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, who is one of the strongest guardian angels, came to rescue me from the kings of Persia. Now I have come here to give you another vision about what will happen to your people in the future. While this angel was speaking to me, I stared at the ground, speechless. Then he appeared in human form and touched my lips. I said, "Sir, this vision has brought me great pain and has drained my strength. I am merely your servant. How can I possibly speak with someone so powerful, when I am almost too weak to get my breath?" The angel touched me a second time and said, "Don't be frightened! God thinks highly of you, and he intends this for your good, so be brave and strong." At this, I regained my strength and replied, "Please speak! You have already made me feel much better." (SEE 10:18) Then the angel said: Now do you understand why I have come? Soon I must leave to fight against the guardian angel of Persia. Then after I have defeated him, the guardian angel of Greece will attack me. I will tell you what is written in The Book of Truth. But first, you must realize that no one except Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, is on my side." (Daniel 10:1-21 CEV)
The topic of the bible study was that Daniel had to wait for the answer to his prayers, the angel sent to deliver His reply was stopped by the enemy with whom he had to fight before making it to Daniel's side. Three weeks Daniel was in a state of sorrow after receiving a message from God about a terrible war that was coming. I could relate to Daniel's feelings, prayer seemingly unanswered for weeks and weeks…….
As I spent time mediating on the words I had read at the direction of my brother in Christ, the words of George Muller came to me….. "…… during no period of my life has the Lord so richly supplied me. Truly, it must be obvious to all that I serve a kind Master."
God has moved in powerful ways throughout this year past….and it is only October. Surely, as Muller reflected, I should know by now the powerful provision of my Father God in all the needs of my life. Many brothers have stepped up, not just with words of encouragement but also financial support that have kept my family afloat and alive…..
Monday's stresses with my son's call, the cutting of the transmission lines by the coolant fan and the chaos that resulted on the highway with the spewing of trans fluid over a hot engine……typical in their occurrence in my life, it would seem, but I was determined as I was inspired by Muller to 'give it to God so that His glory may be testified through His servant's life.' My actions were to call my brother in Christ and ask for a prayer request be sent out about the car repairs, my son's health and the grace of my sister's bosses to let her leave work to help in the situation. A remark that my brother attached to the email I would see later, a request added that I 'not rely on my own strength but God's'. During the stresses of Monday, my words were, "This is in Your hands Father because I can't do anything about it on my own. You've provisioned me in the past…..You know my need now."
Someone told me later that …. "It's very inspiring how you can have such a hectic day and walk away feeling blessed! I'm happy for you."
Tuesday was not much better as I travelled home to get to Farrand so that I could get my niece and daughter from school. Hitting a trailer hitch (I discovered its identity later) at 70 mph on a busy trafficked highway isn't the best way to end a day…….but even then God provided grace and covering in the travelling over of three lanes to the shoulder and only one tire that needed replacing. Along with a co-worker who saw the accident and called to make sure I wasn't in need of another spare, which he had (driving the same model of vehicle I do). With the typical 'dumping' that the world seemed to be heaving on me, I was determined to ask for nothing from my brothers but prayer and to leave the provisioning to the Lord, in His time and in His way. "It's up to You, Lord…." was my prayer as I read George Muller's inspirational words…
"In my morning walk, when I was reminding the Lord of our need, I felt assured that He would send help this day. My assurance sprang from our need, for there seemed no way to get through the day without help being sent."
I prayed throughout the day much along those lines, speaking to God about the needs I had and had nothing but assurance that provision was made…..either in the gift that the text spoke of….or in other ways, but surely as the crunch time of the needs came, God would provide for there was no other way to make it through. Surely my strength was depleted and only God's would be sufficient to get my family through. As I headed home, jokingly driving off with a flippant remark to my coworker….."At least no matter what happens to me today, God will already be there…"
As I got the mail and headed into the house, I noticed the envelope from a fellow believer; their name scribbled in handwriting on the top……I walked in the house, accepted the embrace of my son and gave him a kiss on the head. Another day completed, with the additional gratitude to my Lord for the uneventful ride home….
I opened the letter. And as I read the post-it-note that was attached to a check, I could hear the angel speaking to Daniel again…the words I've highlighted above…."Jim, your God thinks mighty of you, and He has sent me, so stand up and pay close attention…..don't be afraid! God has listened to your prayers since the first day you humbly asked for understanding and he has sent me here…….."
"James, I believe Jesus wanted me to send this to you and He confirmed it with the following verses……."
"Do all you can for everyone who deserves your help." (Proverbs 3:27 CEV)
"You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand." (Galatians 6:2 CEV)
"Don't get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don't give up. We should help people whenever we can, especially if they are followers of the Lord." (Galatians 6:9-10 CEV)
"Remember this saying, "A few seeds make a small harvest, but a lot of seeds make a big harvest." Each of you must make up your own mind about how much to give. But don't feel sorry that you must give and don't feel that you are forced to give. God loves people who love to give. God can bless you with everything you need, and you will always have more than enough to do all kinds of good things for others." (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 CEV)
"My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don't do anything to show that you really do have faith? Can that kind of faith save you? If you know someone who doesn't have any clothes or food, you shouldn't just say, "I hope all goes well for you. I hope you will be warm and have plenty to eat." What good is it to say this, unless you do something to help? Faith that doesn't lead us to do good deeds is all alone and dead!" (James 2:14-17 CEV)
….Do whatever you feel is best with it. No thanks is expected………just enjoy!"
Over and over in George Muller's journal entries he faithfully reports both the need and its provision by God's faithful servants in detail….some provisioning in abundance, some piecemeal over lengths of time; but each need faithfully met by a God who made the oceans, created the mountains and calls me…..me a redeemed sinner who's covered in His Begotten Son's blood…..BELOVED……God has never proven Himself unfaithful, both in Muller's life or in the life of any believer. This is the truth that He has taught me this year….sometimes the needs are to be spoken to the faithful companions one journeys with, but more powerful is the glory and unresolvable the methods that can only speak of God's movement in our lives when we speak only to Him…….and leave it to Him to deliver.
More than enough to cover the overages of my bank account and a quick repayment of the loan for the car's repair on Monday was written in the check's surface, with some to put into savings towards the eventual home God surely will provide……. Indeed, God has provided much in these times…..and through the hands of a fellow believer who, like many of Muller's provisions, was following the direction of God's prompting…..
The final verse that was written in the post-it-note says it all….and why I'm not shouting the name of the person who moved at God's direction to show His glorious power in my life…..for there is no other way such provision could have been made but through the movement of God……..
"When you do good deeds, don't try to show off. If you do, you won't get a reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to the poor, don't blow a loud horn. That's what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward. When you give to the poor, don't let anyone know about it. Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you." (Matthew 6:1-4 CEV)
No thanks expected……but as I close this note, I cannot help to testify to the glory of a Father who is powerful enough to provide for this humble man in such a undeniable way with a loud proclaimation to His glory and His faithfulness…..
One more step closer to the home I've always wanted but have never known. But until I reach the embrace of my Father's arms, I will journey hand-in-hand with His provisioned Holy Spirit and set my hand overlayed with His to the work that is all about me to be done………
In abundance or in want……..
For the sake of His glory!