His Great Wonders
God is looking for ways to do things that will cause His people to know of His wonders.
Our thoughts on God's wonders will be shared in two parts. First there is a personal testimony of how God led in a particular crisis in a real family. Secondly, there is the verse by verse Living Commentary on Psalm 111. We hope all of this will add to the thanks that are given to God for His great works to be remembered forever!
A Personal Testimony
We thought we were finally getting clear of our problems. One day someone freely gave us yeast to make bread with. The next someone gave us a turkey. The following day someone gave us $60. cash. We ran out of toilet tissue and soon had no diapers, not to mention other basic food items. It was gone in a flash!
We trusted the Lord to give more to us the next day, but then things went silent. I have four bills on my desk right now total over $500. US dollars. Things are very silent.
Then we could no longer use our telephone card. It ran out. We had no money for more. But this was especially difficult because our daughter at college got seriously sick. She ended up in the hospital with pneumonia and possibly other things. Just yesterday, the phone company we used helped fix a problem with an account - they hadn't fixed it already for one week. I sent a reminder, and they handled it in such a way that we now have another 4 hours+ we can talk with her long distance. This timing is God's grace.
We remembered that we did not tithe on that $60.! That is, we did not put $6.00 of it aside for the Lord. Whoops! Where were we going to find $6.00?! We started collecting our cash. We only had $1.00 left from the groceries. That was real close! We managed to find the coins to make up the amount but were rather embarrassed to think of dropping a one dollar bill and the rest in loose coins!
This morning we ran out of milk. It isn't easy. As Dad and Mom with so many little children around, we know milk is so important. I then thought an idea. This wasn't going to be easy on the pride. Actually I toyed around with the idea in my mind for a bit.
But I finally did it. We offered up our morning sacrifice. I asked my wife if she wanted to do it or would want me to do it. She usually writes the check. She took the checkbook and wrote out a check for $4.92. This is all we had in our personal checking account. Our savings were long gone. I managed to find $.08 cents and two rolls of pennies which added up to $6.00. Now we have $6.00 to give to the Lord.
We had some change left. We already had gone from the top floor to the bottom searching for all our coins. They were close by in this purse and that pocket. Well, I used up most of the coins left on a gallon of milk. We still have two or three dollars left of change enough to buy one or two small items.
We looked at each other. We know that tomorrow is the special day for Thanksgiving at church. Everyone is suppose to make a meal and share it with others. But we already used up our meat food items. We also are expecting 17 people for Thanksgiving next Thursday. We have that small turkey that someone gave us but are missing out on lots of other things.
God sets us up in difficult times so that we would remember His grace and goodness. He brings us low so that we can feel His abundance when He provides. I have already went from praying for food to praying for deliverance. Right now this is Saturday at 10 in the morning. We ran out of milk.
Next Thursday 11/29 - writing
We Praise God that same Saturday morning we received a gift of $50. in the mail. My wife immediately takes that to the bank and spends it on foods for Thanksgiving meal, always saving a lot from saved coupons. We were a bit wiser this time. We first preserved $5.00 for the Lord. Now we were mostly ready for our Thanksgiving guests. But we still had those bills.
On Sunday we happily put our last cash together - $11.00. We give it to the Lord. We had four bills needing to be paid. We could expect our telephone to be cut off, loss of car insurance so that we could not drive and several other problems happen if we could not pay our bills. It was especially hard because our oldest daughter was away and was in the hospital. She and we depended on the telephone to talk. We were weary of crying out to the Lord. Though we cried out, I had no assurance in my heart that He would hear. Perhaps I was not putting enough trust in His promises and focusing too much on my feelings. On Sunday the treasurer passed me an envelope - anonymous. It had printed on inside "Happy Thanksgiving!" It also had $200. in it! How thankful we were.
On early Monday we went to the bank and paid three bills, got stamps to send them and had some extra Thanksgiving food money. We still had two outstanding bills of $175. and $300. We were happy to pay our telephone bill! Tuesday was fast approaching though. It was scheduled that if I could not send it by Tuesday, then I was to call him. You can imagine how I was constantly praying for provision.
We were pressed hard those days. We were so focused on constant praying that we had not much concentration for other things. We were even watching a few children of another family at the time. That brought the number of people in our house to eleven! How could it work out if we could not drive around because of no insurance?!
The mail came. An envelope came that seemed to have a small card in it. My wife was out. I wondered if this was the gift to help us out. I didn't open it. My daughter wanted to open it. She and others knew how tight we were on money as we have shared these things with them so that we can all grow in faith. She said, "But it is written to you and the family." Yes, but I said I am in charge and I want Mommy to open it. I explained that I do this because I know how much she likes to open such mail and that I love her. She responded, "Yes, I know you love her!" She brought the opened envelope downstairs and left it by the door when Mom came home.
My wife came home and opened the card. A little note wishing our family Happy Thanksgiving and a check for a big sum that not only took care of those bills, but would help us breathe and relax for the first time in four to five months. What a nice couple to give us so much and so freely! All these gifts were immaculately timed and given with love so that we could learn most about God's majesty and care for us.
We had cut back on so many things for so long that many repairs could not be done. Little projects like buying refrigerator light bulbs were just put off. Now we could begin to tend to those things. The sewing machine lay on its side for more than one month. No money to repair.
My eyes were wet with tears many times through these gifts of love but especially on how God wonderfully shaped events in our lives that we could know more of His love. We were so weary from constantly seeking Him. But now that we have found, our hearts are glad. God is not to be fooled around with. He is real and touches where it hurts in life. Like Jacob. We don't want the pain but when we look back we find that there is no other way we would have wanted it done. His love was shown by giving us little. He brought us close to Himself. This is far more important.
We have learned about His careful love. It limits how God might deal with us because eternal blessings are greater than earthly ones. We cannot say, "Because He loves us, then He should ....." No. We cannot manipulate Him. His wisdom far exceeds our own understanding. We can trust His eternal love. We must not ever question it. The Psalmist, I kept reminding my wife, often went through desperate times before He found deliverance. Because of these desperate situations, he could give greater glory to God.
I again committed myself to live for such a God. It is hard. We are weary. I tell Him that His way is always best, but it is most difficult at times. The most special part is that in His infinite love and wisdom, He always knows the ins and outs of every situation. He never comes through too late. He is always on time even when it seems late.
Living Commentary on Psalm 111
One of the most lofty commands is to praise Yahweh! How great He is. But sometimes it is most difficult to do especially when one is in the midst of a trial.
The only way for us to give thanks to the LORD with all my heart is to expose all of my heart to Him and His ways. There cannot be left an inch of my heart that is left untouched. I need to invite Him to explore each sector of my heart and employ His surgeon hands so that there is not one part of my heart that gives praise and thanks to Him.
We understand that God' works are to increase the faith of others and for this reason we have shared the testimony above. God's ways are indeed great.
God's work are indeed GREAT! They are impressionable They are recorded in history and time of men in such a way that they can be noticed, recorded, remembered and passed along. For this to happen, these events must be special. They must be difficult and often require endurance. If we can avoid doubting God, we can be deeply touched in our hearts with regard to these events. They are so precious that our minds will trace back over those days again and again.
Does not your mind bring you back to times when God did great things in your life. It is through these times that God reveals more about His person to us.
God's work is splendid and majestic. This requires God to orchestrate these mighty combinations of moves that make a work clearly recognized as of God. His work is always right. Never does He cross the line into unrighteousness. We personally struggled with allowing some bill due dates to pass. We always would want them paid by due date. But interestingly, if I would call and ask about the bill, the company always did not mind being paid a bit later.
I remember one car job which we did not have the money to pay. Well, would you believe it that they did not have time to finish it either. So they said come back some other time. A month passed and we did not have money to finish fixing the car. I called up and assured the manager that we did not forget. We just did not have the money. In the end, some money did come in, and we found out that the man who started the job and who should finish it was about to go on an extended leave till the next month. He had time to finish it that day. After discovering this, my heart was deeply touched. God knew what was right to do and answered just at the right time. His righteousness endures forever.
In order to be remembered, works must be significant compared to all the other things we experience in life. He designs our trials in such a way that they always expose our lack of faith, ask for more endurance, and bring us through deep pain. Have you ever wondered why God might not seem to answer a prayer? Perhaps you have prayed to glorify Him more or want to know Him more. He is answering your prayers! These answers always seem to be different from what we expected.
God's training periods are never more than we can bear. He is gracious and compassionate He is not sometimes this way. Nor is He only 85% or 95% this way. By nature God is gracious and compassionate. He hears our cries and sees our tears. "Thou hast taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Thy bottle; Are they not in Thy book?" (Psalms 56:8). If we are ever going to learn how to go through trials right, we must never question whether He knows how difficult it is for us. Instead, we should acknowledge He is very compassionate and will never tempt us beyond what we can bear. He will never needlessly extend it beyond what needs to be.
God knows our needs before we ask Him. And yet He requests that we ask. He wants to develop such a relationship that we never presume His goodness. Once presumed upon, there is no more respect. We just demand it. Instead He gives us our needs as we remember how awesome and holy He is. We fear and respect His honored person and ways. With reverent requests, we end up giving thanks. Without it, we have no growing respect for God.
God works with His people according to covenant. God does not break the covenant. It has been sealed with the blood of Christ. So in Romans 8 it says nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. This is not stating our goodness or worthiness to receive such care. Exactly the opposite. God promised redemption by His Son, not our good works. Jesus secured the cleansing from His work on the cross. We are part of His family because of his love. Each time He deals with us it is always through the covenant made through His Son. This is why it says that we are saved in Christ.
God wants to show off His power. This is not to impress Himself. This is silly. He fully knows His glorious ways and needs not us to remind Him. The purpose of revealing His great works to us is so that we can all the more adore Him. As a result of this purpose, God actually creates situations demanding His wisdom and power. We see it in His masterful timing or just the right amount. Remember how not enough came in to pay all the bills? We sure do. He emphasized the need for more. He brought the right amount in just at the last minute. God loves supplying at the last minute.
Just as God's ways are righteous, they are also true and just. They have to be. Although His ways seem to go beyond this self-imposed boundary, you can be sure He has not. Our sense of what is true and just needs to grow in maturity up to His level. He doesn't need to increase His understanding or dealings to meet up with some standard. His ways are the standands. He is the standard. We must adapt to Him.
We can be sure all the things that God has taught us are right and good. They are sure and trustworthy. Sometimes we cry out for understanding as if that will help some. We need to wait some. In the end though, what He teaches us will give us further awe of His Name. But even if we don't understand what is happening and it seems God is so far away, let us remember that His precepts are sure. We just don't know them yet! He is faithful. Usually it is after a trial before we understand a trial's lesson.
God's works and precepts are again referred to here by the twice used 'they.' His works are what He does; His precepts or teachings are what is communicated from them. They are so bound together that they cannot be separated. God does not just do great things. He pays close attention that all His ways reflect His glory.
There was a time that I wondered whether God would be glorified through this trial of ours. It seemed to go beyond this. In this case with the last two bills, as I called to discuss it with them, I could sense how those on the other end of the phone were encouraged. We found ourselves needlessly feeling ashamed. God wasn't. In the end I had to keep telling myself that if God was not concerned with due dates, then I better not either. God does not owe man. If the due date is important, then He will give us what we need earlier. In fact we discovered that many companies have another date by which they consider things to be really late.
When going through trials, our minds are severely tested. Especially when they require longstanding endurance, our minds must rehearse again and again the ways of the Lord. We will be tested whether we think God has left us or whether we have done something wrong and therefore God is judging us.
If it is the first tempting thought, we only need to go back to when we were saved and be strengthened that His covenant depends on Christ. Once in and covered, we are forever insured. The policy has no special clauses. As to the second temptation, we should always see if there is any sin in our lives. If there is sin, confess and repent from it. If not, just keep steady.
Lately I have been seeking His special will as to some future aggressive plans. Do these challenges mean that this is not what He wants? No. In fact, it probably means the opposite. The evil one does not want his plans to be frustrated and will fight any opposition. These same troubles are the crisis in which God does some great and awesome work in us as well as around us to move His heavenly plans accomplished on the earth. We can trust the Lord for grace to bring us through.
Redemption means that we are loss and need to be saved. He has wonderfully accomplished His salvation. Truly, His ways are holy and awesome. His Name is great. Our project is not important but His Name always is.
If a person lacks the fear of Yahweh, he is not going to understand how God works through such times. They will always end up accusing God, getting bitter, rebellious, etc. Wisdom comes with humility. One is able to go forward into trials when we have the fear of God. We are looking for answers rather than demanding our way. We are wise enough to recognize we really want His way and will in the end anyway. The foolish person stumbles on his desires.
We can test our fear of the Lord by how well we obey God's commandments. Step away from all the trials and difficult times. Then simply analyze where you make excuses for yourself. We know that if we shared our circumstances during the trial to some people, they would ridicule us. They would tell us get a regular job that pays. They don't understand that life is more than living. Nor do they appreciate that strategic forays into Satan's territory will always be challenged.
When the money gets low, there are several ways we could sneak out. But we sensed they would go against the Lord's commands. One would be to buy on credit. Credit cards are handy and useful in the right circumstances. But when we don't have money designated for that item, then we dare not purchase by credit. This would be coveting something God had not given.
Or we did not think it right to take out an equity loan on our house. We are thankful for our house. It really is His. We could sell it but that would not bring immediate cash. We could, however, get thousands of dollars by getting an equity loan. Notice the email on the right that I received. This is just one advertisement among many that we received. That we didn't take this avenue is by God's almighty grace. For us, it had to do with obedience. It would seem like what Abraham did with begetting Ishmael. He took things into his own hands.
We can create man made roads, but they do not have the foundation that is required to build God's work. God does not just want to do great things. He can do this without reference to us. He wants to magnify His Name in our hearts so that His praise will always be expressed in our hearts throughout eternity.
Truly the Lord is good to intertwine us in His good will. He is truly to be praised. The question is whether we will go along with His plan of making His great works established in our own lives or resist Him. We admit as said above that it is not easy to go through a time of testing. We know that. But this is the way God creates thankful hearts. All through eternity we will be able to witness to God's great hand in our lives. It had nothing to do with our goodness but everything with His grace to reveal His works in weak creatures as ourselves.
Now, however, His work is recorded for eternity. Our children have witnessed a miracle in their lives that has taken place over many months. They have seen their parents praying to God. They have seen the faithfulness of many saints He has prodded to be part of His work by giving to us. They have a greater understanding and faith in the Almighty God.
What's next? That too is part of God's wonderful plans. We hope to rest for a while in provision. But as the apostle says, His plan is always best.
What does He have planned for you?
Remember that it is our of God's covenant love these storms of trials trace their paths over our lives. By placing the closeness of God to our hearts as the supreme goal of our lives, we well prepare our lives for these times. We want to know God more.
Biblical Foundations for Freedom