Ask, It Will Be Given to You

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matt. 7:7)

George Muëller, a 19th-century evangelist, philanthropist, and man of incredible faith, established five orphanages in Bristol, England. One morning his matron came to him and said, “The children are all ready for breakfast, and there is not a thing in the house to eat. What shall I tell them?” Muëller replied, “I’ll take care of it. Come and see what God will do.” Inside they found 300 children standing behind their chairs. Set on the table in front of each child were a plate, a mug, and spoon, but there was no food whatsoever to be seen. As the children bowed their heads, he simply prayed, “Dear God, we thank You for what You are going to give us to eat.”

Muëller looked up, smiled at the children, and told them to be seated. He had no idea where the food he had just prayed for would come from. There was a knock at the door. In the doorway stood the baker, holding a huge tray of delicious-smelling bread. “I couldn’t sleep last night,” said the baker. “I kept thinking that somehow you would need bread this morning and I was supposed to get up and bake it for you. So I got up at two o’clock and made three batches for you. I hope you can use it.” Muëller smiled broadly. “God has blessed us through you this morning,” he said as he took the tray. “There are two more trays out in the cart,” said the baker. “I’ll fetch them.” Within minutes, the children were all eating freshly baked bread.

Muëller’s fundamental goal was to demonstrate that God hears and answers prayer. He completely depended upon the providence of God. How about you? Do you trust in your own resources, or in God’s plentiful bounty?

Lord Jesus, we’re often afraid to trust in Your provision because we forget that You are not like undependable, limited men. But we realize that You are indeed a good God who desires to give us the Kingdom. Give us the same unshakable faith as George Muëller—that we may completely rely on Your supplying our needs. Amen.

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The Earth Is the Lord’s

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. (Ps. 24:1)

Texas billionaire Edward Bass financed the Biosphere 2 Project—an artificial closed ecological system built in the early 1990’s. Bass had the notion that he could construct from his own resources a materially-closed dome in Oracle, Arizona, which would be self-sustaining.

At a size comparable to two and a half football fields, it was the largest closed system ever created. It contained representative biomes: a rainforest, an ocean with a coral reef, a mangrove wetland, a savannah habitat, and a below-ground technical infrastructure. Heating and cooling water circulated through independent piping systems and passive solar input through the glass space frame panels covering most of the facility. Electrical power was supplied to Biosphere 2 from an onsite natural gas energy center through airtight penetration.

Bass had scientists evaluate the ever-changing chemistry of the air, water, and soil contained within. The mission was going well until the eight-member crew discovered that the carbon dioxide levels were fluctuating wildly, causing most of the vertebrate species and all the pollinating insects to die.

The second mission got off to a good start on March 6, 1994. Seven people were sent in to grow food. The crew reviewed the food production of the previous mission and noticed something unusual. Apparently after the first wheat harvest, they had all of the ingredients to make a pizza; but unfortunately, this process would take four months. At three a.m. on April 1, 1994, the crew deliberately compromised the project by ordering an unauthorized pizza, opening the door and violating the closure. A $200-million-dollar project was compromised because the crew wanted pizza.

The very best human efforts to sustain and resupply life’s natural gifts cannot be humanly re-engineered. Yet, one of the most intriguing images of God in the Bible is that of a Host providing resupply for those who belong to Him.

Lord Jesus, we confess that with this natural world we’ve tried to “play God” so many times, and all of our feeble efforts have proved fruitless. We acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes from You, and there is no shadow of turning with You. Forgive us, Lord, for our prideful arrogance that attempts to act independently of You. Amen.

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God Supplies All Our Needs

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)

In Ephesians 3:21 (KJV), Paul declares with the utmost finality, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” In other words, God covers you beyond your request, which is but a tiny thimble that can be easily filled by an ocean. When you grow old, God leaves you with His Word: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Ps. 37:25 KJV). Furthermore, when Death grips its bony fingers around our necks and we move from one dimension to the next, God says that He not only provides us with our blessings, but our sons’ and daughters’ blessings as well. After they pass on from this earth, He then bestows blessings from His hand to our grandchildren.

Likewise, God can bless you with an incredible oversupply. Don’t fall into that all too familiar trap of naming how you want God to bless you. This is the time to say, “Lord, since I know that You know how to bless me exceedingly abundantly above what I can ask or think, I’m going to sit down and say with the songwriter, Vanessa Bell Armstrong:

Anyway You bless me Lord
I’ll be satisfied.
Any way You bless me Lord,
I’ll be satisfied.

Feed me Jesus, ‘til I want no more,
Fill my cup, let it overflow;
Any way You bless me Lord,
I’ll be satisfied.

Lord, just as little children trust their fathers to take care of them, so we trust in Your abundant goodness to provide for our needs and the needs of future generations. We give You complete freedom to supply in whatever way You see best for us. We thank You in advance for all that You’re going to do. Amen.

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Above What We Can Ask or Think

“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…” (Eph. 3:20 KJV)

Paul was a scholar: a Hebrew of Hebrews (Phil. 3:5), a Pharisee of Pharisees (Acts 23:6), and a student in the house of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). He spoke 14 different languages, seven of them fluently. He proved in verse 20 that he knew how to use words.

Being a grammarian, he knew that he did not need to use the phrase, “exceeding abundantly above all.” The verse could actually read, “Now unto him that is able to do ALL.” “All” means “the sum total of itself.” Nothing more needs to be added for emphasis. Paul could have stopped, but God told him that readers might think it would be the extent of His breadth. More was added because someone would need more than the extent of God’s breadth; someone would also need the eternal duration of length.

Now unto Him that is…
Able to do all—who needs the extent of His breadth
Above all—who needs the divinity of His height
Abundantly above all—who needs the humanity of His depth
Exceedingly abundantly above all—who needs “fullness”

The verse continues beyond supplication: “. . .that we ask.” Whatever your need is, ask God. No need that you have will eclipse all, go above above all, reach the depth of abundantly above all, or go beyond the vastness of exceedingly abundantly above all.

Not only is it beyond supplication, but also cognition: “. . .that we ask or think.” Your finite brain does not have the means to ask something that the Lord cannot provide. Whatever you ask or think will not go past all, above all, abundantly above all, or exceedingly abundantly above all. Regardless of what you ask or think, God has you covered on every level and dimension.

Lord Jesus, we take comfort in knowing that no need of ours is too great for You to satisfy. Indeed, we don’t even know how to adequately pray for our need, because we cannot truly comprehend Your overwhelming generosity. Stretch our faith, Lord, to believe for the impossible. Amen.

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God Makes All Grace Abound

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)

In essence, we try to contain the uncontainable in many facets of our lives. For example, we like to compress everything. We even compress air by centralizing it in pneumatic tubes, and then use its power to transport certain objects from one place to the next. We compress cotton, cans, glass, and paper. When the apostle Paul said, “that you might be filled with all the fullness of God,” he was referring to God compressing Himself to fit into our limited capacity. Some of us can wrap our minds around this. We can visualize the comparative image of futilely using a thimble to contain an ocean or easily climbing a molehill versus conquering Mt. Everest. If a person should take a glass to the Gulf of Mexico, fill it with water, and bring it back saying, “This is the Gulf of Mexico,” he would be right because the content of the water is from the Gulf of Mexico. Even though the glass does not contain the entire Gulf, it is, indeed, the Gulf.

When Christ fills you with all of His fullness, God puts all of Himself into you. He gives you all that you need. There is much more of Him, but you can only handle a limited amount. Oftentimes, we want to reverse this order with our desire to contain God. Whenever we do this, however, our God is too small. Instead, God wants to fill us with His fullness. In a higher, heavier, and holier sense, you can’t contain the uncontainable.

Lord Jesus, we humbly ask that You forgive us for trying to put You in a box. Because of our limited capacity, we often have a hard time understanding the reality of Your unlimited supply. Increase our faith so we can, in turn, expand our ability to experience Your fullness in every respect. Amen.

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