Extra Portion

35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36 And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.

Genesis 41:35-36

We often say at work that it is either a feast or a famine. We either have more work than we can do, or we have nothing to do. The same is often true in the writing life. I either have so many ideas I don’t know what to do with them, or I am drawing a blank. The key is to follow Joseph’s suggestion to Pharaoh about storing up during the feast time for the famine.

There have been several times over the last 6 months that I have had almost an overwhelming number of ideas and concepts for books and articles rain down on me. I was blessed with having a chunk of time and opportunity for multiple Bible studies and for listening to podcasts and sermons. I was also blessed to take a writing seminar that jump started my writing practice. Suddenly I had all of these breakthroughs with projects that I had been stuck on for ages, plus ideas for even more. What was I going to do with all these ideas whirling around in my brain?

I decided to start an idea box, project notebooks, and a journal. When I have an idea for an article or blog post, I put it on an index card or sticky note and put it in a little decorative cardboard box. I also write down ideas for novels on sticky notes and keep all the related notes in a notebook for that project. The other things God shows me I write in a journal every night to clear my mind and get ready for rest. I store these revelations for times of famine.

And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. 24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. 25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. 26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.

Exodus 16:22-26

Right now I am under a couple of writing deadlines, and usually I spend most of Friday morning coming up with an idea for my blog posts and working it out for submission. I really don’t have that kind of time for the month of October because I need to work on other projects. Last week as I was listening to podcasts and reading God gave me enough rough ideas for five blog posts. He gave me enough ideas ahead of time that I could meet my deadlines and still get some much needed rest.

God knows what is coming, and He provides the extra portion that we need. Instead of eating until we are sick at the feast put some aside for times of famine. Then we can call upon the storehouse to maintain us. For the same reason we should study the Bible and memorize scripture when we have the opportunity so that we will have a supply to draw from during seasons of spiritual famine. So, when God gives you a double portion, store it in your heart (or idea box) so that you have a source of inspiration come the next dry spell.

Heart’s Desire

Why doesn’t God answer my prayer?

How many times have you heard someone ask this question? How many times have you asked this question? The Bible says in Psalm 37:4 that he will give us the desires of our heart. Usually, the request is for something good, so why isn’t God fulfilling our heart’s desire?

Many times we take verses or phrases out of context without looking at the complete picture. We see the promise, but we don’t look at the requirements for the fulfillment of the promise, or we don’t look at the specifics of the verse in its context.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Psalms 37:4-5

The first part of Psalms 37:4 says “delight thyself also in the Lord.” What does it mean to delight thyself in the Lord? It means to make God your greatest desire and, like King David, be a person after God’s own heart. If we want what God wants, then we will have the desires of our hearts. While what we are asking for may be good in and of itself, it may not be the best or it may be for the wrong reasons.

So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire; 30 They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, 31 The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.

Psalms 78:29-31

The Israelites were wandering through the desert and cried out for meat. So, what’s wrong with meat? They were hungry, so why shouldn’t they ask for meat? First, they weren’t starving. God had been providing food for them each day. Second, manna was considered food of the angels, the best of the best. The issue wasn’t so much their request as it was their attitude. They were ungrateful. God had provided more than enough food on a daily basis, and they didn’t even have to go find it. It magically appeared each morning. They also were asking for common meat when they were getting the food of the angels.

The results are very different as well. When we commit our way unto God and trust in Him, he will bring about the best for us. The result of asking for desires out of our sinful nature is destruction. The phrase “be careful what you ask for” is very appropriate in this situation. How many times have you begged and pleaded for something only to find out what you wanted had negative consequences? You wanted to stay up late, so you woke up tired and grumpy. You wanted to have another doughnut, so you ended up sick and uncomfortable. The Israelites wanted meat, so they ate until they were sick, and then suffered the wrath of God for their ungrateful attitudes.

You see, it wasn’t that they asked for meat. God had rescued them from the hands of Egyptian bondage through signs and miracles. God had parted the waters so that they could cross on dry land and watch their enemies drowned in the same water. They had been given water out of a rock and manna from Heaven on a daily basis, but it was never enough. The sinful nature is never satisfied, but a spiritual nature that makes God’s desires their own is content. The truth is we don’t know what is best for us. We can’t see what the future holds, but God can. He only wants the best for us, so if we delight in him and let Him have His way, then we will have more than we ever dreamed possible.

Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.

Psalms 78:41

Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37), but we can get in the way of God’s blessings when we try to tell Him what to do and how to do it. Someone sang a song at church recently that said I pray that you would “keep me in your will so I won’t be in your way.” When we delight in God, we will be given more than we ever thought possible.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Ephesians 3:20

He wants so much more for us than we even can imagine. So, delight yourself in the Lord and be a person after God’s own heart, and then watch what He will do.

What do you see?

setting tableSometimes I like to make a game of cooking something with just what’s left in the pantry. Sometimes it is for fun, sometimes it is because I’m too lazy to go to the store, and sometimes it is purely from necessity. Trying to find an appetizing meal out of random ingredients can put your creativity and problem solving skills to work. I had been doing this for years when I saw a similar challenge on a cooking competition show. The chefs must create a meal using only the ingredients given to them. There submissions are judged on taste, creativity and use of ingredients. I’ve come up with some very unique and tasty recipes myself that way. Necessity really can be the mother of invention.

In Luke 9:12-17, the disciples come to Jesus with a problem: it’s late and the people haven’t eaten. They tell him to send the people away, but Jesus tells the disciples tBreado feed the multitude. The disciples look around but they only had five loaves and two fish, so they said we need to go buy more food. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish and multiplied them so that there was enough to feed everyone with food left over. The disciples were amazed because all they saw was what was in their hands.

Switch scenes to the Old Testament. In I Samuel 17, David hears Goliath defying God and is incensed. He offers to fight Goliath while all the others are shaking in fear. All they see is the giant in front of them. Instead of looking at the giant, David points out how God has always come to his aid. So, he picks up five stones and his slingshot and defeats the giant. On top of that, he only needed one of the five stones to get the job done. Why, you might ask? David knew that God was bigger than any giant. He saw what God could do.

The difference between David and the disciples is their focus. The disciples saw a lack of resources and their inability to remedy the situation, while David saw a situation that needed to be resolved and believed God would help him win the battle. The difference is in how we look at the situation.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

We can’t feed the multitude or defeat the giant alone, but when we give the situation to God and offer ourselves to His will, He will make it more than enough. We become conduits for God as He works through us, allowing us to have a part in His ministry. It’s not what you have but what you do with what you have that counts. So, when we are faced with a job that seems too big for our meager resources, whatever they may be, if we give it to God, He will make it more than enough.

5 + 2 = More than enough #LessonsFromGideon

This video takes it a step further:

It Depends on Whose Hands It’s In.