November 11, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 346: Giver of What We Need

Giver of What We Need

"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6:7,8 NIV)

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19 NIV)

My family needed something the other day. We didn't actually know what we needed, and, in fact, we didn't even know that we needed it.

But God knew both what and that.

The longer we walk with God, the more we build up a memory bank of times God met needs we didn't even know we had. There is a special kind of power to this provision. Certainly, we are thankful when we know we have a need and we ask God to meet it and He does. But when we come to a place where we realize our need and, at the very same moment, realize God has already met it...this is a profoundly faith-building place to be. These moments become deposits in our trust accounts, to be drawn on in the future. They become ammunition for the thankfulness that fires up the shoes of peace in our spiritual armor.

Gratitude to God is always based on what He has already done. We may say, "Thank you in advance," to show our genuine belief in God's future faithfulness, but even that is based on His past provision. And few things cure a thankfulness deficiency—when we're suffering from that recurring condition—more quickly than to look back on previous chapters in our story with God and reread accounts of the times He's met our needs before we were even aware we had them.

I only have to look a few days in the past to see the need my family had that we weren't even aware of until we were seeing God's meeting of it. Maybe you're remembering something similar: "I didn't even know I needed _____________, but God provided it."

To recount what God has done is to rehearse His goodness. To rehearse His goodness is to refresh our thankfulness. And to refresh our thankfulness is to renew our faithfulness that the next time we get to a place where we recognize a need, we will hear God's voice telling us, "I knew that you'd need this. I knew what you'd need. Here...I've got it waiting for you."

November 10, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 345: Giver of Salvation

Giver of Salvation

"But I pray to you, LORD, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation." (Psalm 69:13 NIV)

Sometimes when I pray for people and don't know how else to pray, I ask God, "Save them in every way they need saving."

I love the power of praying Scripture, but being both memory challenged AND inordinately hung up on whether I'm getting the exact correct wording of the Bible verse I'm trying to recall, I tend to get distracted. I need very short verses, or, better yet, just a word or two.

With all this baggage as background, I've started praying a beautiful word we usually hear only once a year: "Hosanna."

Hosanna means "save now," and when the people shouted it as Jesus was riding into Jerusalem on the young donkey that had been appointed for Him hundreds of years beforehand (Zechariah 9:9), they were asking for political salvation as citizens. But Jesus came to offer permanent saving for their souls.

Jesus only needs to save us once from sin-induced eternal separation from God—which He does when we confess our sins and trust Him as Savior—but how thankful I am that He saves us again and again from ourselves.

From our selfishness. From our natures. From temptation. From who we are in our own strength and power.

I know I need saving from myself "now" about every other minute. I suspect I'm not the only one. So I've started incorporating this one, glorious word into my prayers.

Hosanna. "Save now."

Sometimes, I shout it. Sometimes, I whisper it. Sometimes, I turn it over and over in my mind. Sometimes, I attach a specific name to it: "For __________, hosanna. FOR ________, HOSANNA!"

And for myself, hosanna.

This isn't some kind of magic spell. But if the most powerful prayer is the one we actually pray, then maybe this is another weapon to add to our arsenal.


With your sure salvation, O God, save now.

November 9, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 344: Giver of Seasons

Giver of Seasons

"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away.  A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NLT)

"The sun is a big red ball just coming up. It's really beautiful, because the rest of the sky is cloudy."

My husband delivered this sunrise report the other day when he was just getting back from his morning run.

His observation reminded me of watching sunsets over Lake Michigan at one of our family's favorite campgrounds. We always commented that the most beautiful sunsets were not the ones set in clear blue skies but in skies with enough clouds to provide a backdrop for the sun.

I thought, too, about the road we live on as it is in early autumn. I love the way the first red and orange and yellow colors pop against what's still green. It's the contrast that grabs my attention.

Maybe this doesn't just apply to the weather or nature. In God's appointed times "for everything," our seasons often overlap and intertwine. When a season we enjoy is set against one we're glad to be done with, maybe we appreciate its beauty more. 

Maybe we appreciate health more when it's set against illness.

Maybe we appreciate prosperity more when it's set against poverty.

Maybe we appreciate joy more when it's set against sorrow.

Maybe we appreciate friendship more when it's set against loneliness.

Maybe we appreciate peace more when it's set against turmoil.

Maybe we appreciate laughter more when it's set against weeping.

Maybe we appreciate light more when it's set against darkness.

For everything, a season.