Robert Ketchum tells of a Sunday School teacher who asked a group of children if anyone could quote the entire Twenty-third Psalm. A golden haired four-and-a-half year old raised her hand. A bit skeptical, the teacher had her come to the front of the class. The little girl made a perky little bow, and said, "The Lord is my Shepherd, thatīs all I want." She bowed again and sat down. What a marvelous interpretation!
Wouldnīt it be awesome if we could remain as idealistic as that small content child? Scripture ensures that we not only can, but advises we must, to receive abundant life.
Is this hard to believe and accept? It used to be for me. Even though I truly believed, all the way down to my toes, that ībecauseī the Lord was my Shepherd, I would not have lack, there was a limit to even my faith. Especially since my life radically changed back in 1991 when my husband and I were embezzled and therefore lost everything we owned. Our lives radically changed because the related circumstances led to our income being reduced permanently by about 75%. We needed to learn in a hurry how to live without a great deal of stuff. Especially the bells, the whistles and the perks.
I must be a slow learner because it did not take very long to max out one credit card, and then another and another. Iīm ashamed to say I became panic-stricken, then tormented. Where was it going to end? The enormous faith I had prior to this turn of events, flew right out the window. Sadly, I lost all hope. I was certain we were going to suffer lack in spite of the fact that my Shepherd promised to supernaturally provide for me, just as He clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the air.
I recalled a story about a devout Quaker who leaned on his fence one day and watched a new neighbor move in next door. After all kinds of modern appliances, electronic gadgets, plush furniture and costly wall hangings had been carried in, the onlooker called over the fence, " If you find youīre lacking anything neighbor, let me know and Iīll show you how to live without it."
You can live without a lot of things, but you cannot live without hope. Eventually, we maxed out our sixth credit card. I became hysterical and called my good friend Sue. She asked me why I didnīt listen to my own advise and reminded me of what I had told her twenty years ago when she was going to apply for a credit card. I had said that God was her Provider, not Master Card nor Visa nor anything else and that all she needed to do was trust Him. This is why, 20 years later, after raising two kids on her own, she owed no man anything.
Definitely an easier sermon to preach than to live, but I did not have much choice, so very hesitantly I agreed to put away the credit cards and put Godīs word to the test. Iīve never looked back! The Lord provides supernaturally, again and again and again. Miraculously. Not just my every need but the very desires of my heart.
Let me tell you the latest. A friend came to church, looking radiant and much slimmer in an exquisite, new, cranberry-red outfit. She said, "The sale ends today, get over to the mall." Not having any cash on hand, I started to negotiate with God, especially since cranberry-red was my favorite color and since I certainly needed to look slimmer. I reminded Him how many years I had gone without using my credit card and also how big a dent I had made in my debt. He reminded me of my commitment. I concluded that I would have to remain true to my word and continue to live according to Godīs precepts and leave the outcome in His hands. If I didnīt have the money, I would not go near the mall.
Just hours later, this same friend Annette invited us to her house for dinner. She took me to her closet and presented me with five very expensive, very spectacular designer dresses. Two of them were cranberry-red! My way, I would have one lovely dress, His way, I had five.
When He becomes all we want, and His will becomes our ultimate desire, we end up with everything else. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."
Copyright Donna Martonfi www.psalm40ministries.com