Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Give Us This Day

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I’ve seen people lose their souls over the curse of wealth. It makes me think that perhaps poverty really is more of a blessing than most of us ever realize. 

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, October 22.

Are you content today? Or is your day marked more by busyness and worry? Nancy will help you understand how to grow in contentment as she continues a series called, The Lord’s Prayer, Part 2.

Nancy: Last week, we received a message from a woman who said something that I thought fit perfectly with this part of the Lord’s Prayer, as we’re talking about “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt.  6:11).

She said,

I recently spent time in an impoverished village in a third-world country. From my American perspective, the residents in this village were definitely in need. The thing that impressed me, though, was the contentment in the hearts of the Christians in that village. [This was a series that I was teaching on contentment, and she was responding to those programs.]

With virtually no material possessions, these Christians pointed out the natural vegetation that God had blessed them with. I was looking around, and they were looking up.

Isn’t that a great line, by the way? People who worry are people who are looking around. People who are confident, content, and trusting in the Lord are people who are looking up.

One woman told me that her squatter family had lived on this land for 225 years, and they’ve never gone to bed hungry [in a poor, third-world country].

Prior to my going on this trip, I was telling God that I needed a new bathroom floor. I needed a new bathroom floor. [Been there? Done that?] The shacks in this village had no bathrooms and no floors. I returned home thanking God for His provision of food and clean water.

Well, that’s a good reminder as we consider this petition, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I think in teaching us to pray that way—teaching us to live and to think that way—Jesus is teaching us to distinguish between our needs and our wants. Do I need a new bathroom floor, or do I want a new bathroom floor?

He’s teaching us to be content with our needs being met. Here’s a woman who is getting God’s perspective.

When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” that petition implies a contented spirit, a contented heart, the willingness to be satisfied with what God provides and not to crave more than God provides. Discontentment, complaining, and worry, ultimately, are a reflection on our heavenly Father. Other people determine what God is like based on the way that we respond to His provision.

I want to spend a few moments here talking about a passage that I think is a good cross-reference to the Lord’s Prayer and “Give us this day our daily bread.” It’s a passage that perhaps you’ve heard before from Proverbs 30:8-9. In this passage, we see the writer praying for God to meet his needs.

He says, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.”

Now, we started out the Lord’s Prayer by saying that our goal is for God’s name to be hallowed, for God’s name to be reverenced. And this writer is saying, “I don’t want any circumstance in life, whether abundance or lack, to put me in a position where I would do something other than honor the name of God.”

He realized that we can dishonor the name of God as a result of having wealth or poverty. So this writer prays for God to meet his needs. He recognizes his dependence on God, and he recognizes that God is the source of his provision. He says, “Lord, feed me with food that is needful for me. Give us this day our daily bread.” He’s recognizing God is the provider.

He realizes that both poverty and prosperity come with unique challenges and temptations—and the potential for pride. There are unique challenges and temptations that go with being poor, and there are unique challenges and temptations that go with being wealthy.

And we sit here, truth be known, and we think, “Well, I’d prefer the challenges and temptations of being wealthy.” You know, I’ve seen people lose their souls over the curse of wealth. It makes me think that perhaps poverty really is more of a blessing than most of us ever realize.

Not that we would say, “Lord, give me poverty.” He says, “Lord, please don’t give me poverty. But also please don’t give me more than what I need.”

What are the challenges or tests of prosperity? This writer says, “Don’t ever let me have so much that I forget You.”

That’s what we read about in the last session from Deuteronomy chapter 8: “When you’ve eaten and are full, be careful that you don’t forget God” (vv. 11–14 paraphrased). He said, “Don’t ever let me have so much that I forget You, that I forget how much I need You, or that I’m tempted to live my life apart from You.”

Isn’t that what happens when we have everything we want? Are we as inclined to cry out to the Lord? Do you think your prayer life would flourish as much if you had no conscious needs that you were aware of? He says, “I don’t want to be put in a position where I’m tempted to live my life apart from You. Protect me from any prosperity that could produce pride, where I would deny You and I would say, ‘Who’s the Lord? I don’t need Him.’”

That’s the test of prosperity. What’s the test of poverty? This follower of the Lord, this wise man in Proverbs 30, says, “Lord, I want you to provide enough to meet my needs so that I won’t be tempted to try to get those needs met in unlawful or ungodly ways. I don’t want to be poor so that I will be tempted to steal and profane the name of my God. So, Lord, please meet my needs.” But again, he’s doing it for the glory of God.

We see in the Lord’s Prayer that these requests are for the sake of God’s name, God’s reputation, God’s kingdom, and God’s will. That’s exactly what this writer is saying in Proverbs: “Lord, just give me enough so that I won’t be tempted to steal, to profane Your name, to get my needs met in ungodly ways.”

He’s talking about a life of moderation, a life of temperance, a life of simplicity, a life that is not given to excess, and a life that is content with God’s provision of basic necessities. And when we live that kind of self-controlled, moderate, temperate life, that’s really a means of guarding our hearts. I’ve prayed so many times over the years, “Lord, please guard my heart.”

And one way to cooperate with God in the protecting of my heart is to say, “Lord, just give me what I need. You know what is too little or too much for me to be able to handle. So make me content with that.”

When I have that heart that seeks to be moderate and temperate and content, that protects me from the perils of prosperity, and it protects me from the perils of poverty. It’s a means of preserving my relationship with God. Isn’t that what this writer in Proverbs was most concerned about? “I want to be right with You, and I want to give the world a right impression of You.”

So when we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we’re asking God for the basic, simple necessities of life. He asks for bread. He doesn’t ask for luxuries. Now, God may be pleased to give us luxuries. God may be pleased to bless us with far more than we need. But we’re told to ask, “Lord, give us what we need.”

Again, that requires that we distinguish between necessities and luxuries. God has not promised to provide the latter, though often He does. And we’re saying, “Lord, I just want as much as is sufficient for each day”—not hoarding, not worrying about where tomorrow’s supply will come from.

I often quote Charles Haddon Spurgeon, and he has many wonderful things to say about this concept of trusting the Lord and God’s provision. In one of his devotionals, he references the verse in Psalm 119 that says, “Thou art my portion, O LORD” (v. 57 KJV). It’s a wonderful verse. Lord, You are my portion.

Here’s what Spurgeon had to say about that verse. He said, “Thou hast God, and in Him thou hast more than gold or riches ever could buy. When thou hast God for thy portion, thou hast more than all else put together. With God for thy portion, thou art rich indeed.”

Now that’s quaint, old language, but it’s great contemporary theology. When we have God—if we have nothing else but God as our portion, our allotment for this day—we are still rich.

The person who has houses and lands and vacations and cars and money to blow—and money to spend and inheritances and lottery winnings and all this stuff—that person is poverty-stricken if he doesn’t have Christ. But Spurgeon is saying, “If you get reduced to that place where all you have is God Himself, you are still incalculably rich.”

Now, as we petition God in relation to our daily basic needs, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we do it in the context of God’s promises. God has promised to meet all our needs. So we’re praying according to His will when we pray this prayer. We can ask in faith that God will provide.

The psalmist said in Psalm 37, “I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread” (v. 25). I’m going to expand on that concept a little bit in the next session and say that there are times when God may allow the righteous to go hungry. But God never forsakes the righteous. God never forsakes His children.

And when we ask, because we have the promises of God as the basis for our asking, we can ask in faith. In fact, one of the reasons God wants us to ask each day for daily bread is because that’s how faith grows. We ask God in faith, based on His promises, trusting our heavenly Father to meet our needs according to His will.

Again, remember that the key to the Lord’s Prayer is that we’re talking to our Father, our heavenly Father. We have a relationship with God. We have a basis on which we can come into His presence and ask Him to meet our needs.

Children don’t generally worry about what they’re going to eat three months or three years from now. I mean, your three-year-old is not thinking, “What am I going to eat three months from now, or what am I going to eat when I’m six years old?” They assume, rightly, that their parents will take care of that. Certainly, in most families that would be the case.

All that matters to those little ones is that they have something to eat today. And even that, in most cases, they don’t have to fret about or strain themselves to make it happen. Parents don’t generally consider it the three-year-old’s responsibility to figure out what he’s going to eat that day. That’s the responsibility of the parents. The children just know that the food is going to be there when they get hungry, when it’s time to eat.

Now, I know that analogy breaks down. There are some hungry children in the world. But in God’s family, Christ calls us to live as trusting, dependent children, knowing that our Father knows what we need and that it will be there when we need it.

Psalm 145, a great psalm of praise, says, “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food.” When? “In due season.” When they need it. “You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing” (vv. 15–16).

God opens His hand. He’s the source; He’s the provider. We look to Him. We ask Him to provide, and He gives our food in due season.

Now, if we did not have a heavenly Father, then there would be every reason for us to worry and to be stressed. But to be anxious about how our needs are going to be met is to live as if we were orphans, spiritual orphans, with no spiritual father to provide for us—to worry, to stress, to fret about how our basic, practical needs will be met. It’s very natural to worry and stress, but it’s also dishonoring our heavenly Father to live as if we didn’t have anybody who cared about our needs.

It’s like that three-year-old whining and whimpering and worrying about, “Where’s my next meal going to come from?” How would that make their parents look? I mean, if that child were going into preschool and saying, “You know, I haven’t had anything to eat for days. I don’t know what I’m going to eat,” the teacher would be getting some social services people out there to see what’s going on in that family. It would reflect negatively on the parents.

How does it reflect on our heavenly Father when we verbalize to others the stresses and the worries about where our basic needs and provisions are going to come from? That’s what happened to the Children of Israel. They did dishonor their heavenly Father. They did not hallow His name.

Psalm 78 says, “They spoke against God saying, ‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness?’” (v. 19). They spoke against God.

Do you ever speak against God? Maybe you don’t mean to. But when we verbalize discontent, fretting, worry, fear about the future—

  • What’s going to happen next year?
  • What’s going to happen when this money runs out?
  • What’s going to happen when my job runs out?
  • What’s going to happen when I hit retirement age?
  • What’s going to happen when I can’t work anymore?
  • What’s going to happen when my husband’s disability pay runs out?
  • What’s going to happen when I get old?”

When we verbalize those things, when we express those things, aren’t we really speaking against God? Aren’t we saying, “Can God provide a table in this wilderness?” P

Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Prayer: Telling God our needs. And then faith: trusting God to provide what we need. Those are the antidotes to worry and anxiety.

You want to get rid of worry? You want to get rid of fear and anxiety? Instead of just concentrating on, “I won’t worry. I won’t be anxious”—that’ll probably make you more worried and more anxious—concentrate on telling God your needs and then expressing faith. Faith grows as you express it. Faith grows as you pray. Tell God your needs. Be sure to thank Him in advance for His answers. And that, you will find, is a cure for worry and anxiety.

Let me just tell you, as I’m saying this, that I’m preaching to myself. I’m preaching to myself, under conviction, because I think about all the aspects of our ministry—not just materially, but in other ways—where my mind can just get so far out in the future and think, “What about this and what about that? How will this happen?” I can get very uptight about those things.

I’m just counseling my own heart as I’m saying this: “Nancy, tell God your needs. Thank Him for His answers by faith, and then wait for God to provide.”

You’ve heard me talk on Revive Our Hearts about one of my heroes of the faith, George Mueller, who was a man years ago in England who cared for hundreds—ultimately, thousands—of orphaned boys and girls. He received from God’s hand all the provision that was needed to care for the food, the clothing, the workers, the housing—all that was needed for those orphans—without ever asking a human being for a dime. He would just take his needs to God.

I’ve read before in this program some of these quotes from his autobiography. But I think they fit in here so perfectly, and I want to read them again. I think it’ll encourage your heart to see this man of prayer and faith. Let me just read you several. These are excerpted from his autobiography.

He kept copious notes, by the way, in his journal about what they needed, how they prayed, and how God provided. And I would encourage you, perhaps, to journal some of your prayers and requests: “Lord, here’s what we need, and we’re asking You to provide.” And then, be sure and jot down God’s provision as well.

Listen to some of the things George Mueller wrote in his journal. He said, “I have not one penny in hand for the orphans. In a day or two again many pounds will be needed. My eyes are up to the Lord.” And that is the way this man lived.

He says in another place, “Today I was again penniless, but my eyes are up to the Lord.”

Here’s another entry: “The Lord in His wisdom and love has not yet sent help. Whence it is to come need not be my care. But I believe God will in due time send help.”

On another occasion, he wrote, “There is no money in hand for the orphans. I am waiting for God.”

Then he wrote this day, “Today two pounds seven shillings three pence was needed for the orphans, but we had nothing. How to obtain the means for a dinner and for what else was needed I knew not. But my heart was perfectly at peace and unusually sure of help, though I knew not in the least whence it was to come.”

No idea where it was going to come from, but my heart is at peace because I’m trusting in the Lord.

Again he wrote, “We had never been lower in means than yesterday and today. Yet my soul, thanks to the Lord, was also yesterday and today in perfect peace.” We’d never had less, but my soul was in perfect peace.

Another time he said, “My heart is not troubled. I am sure that in the best way and time, God will send help.” In God’s way and in God’s time.

And then here’s one specific illustration of a time when God did provide specifically. He said, “During the last two days there came in only about the twentieth part as much as had been expended.” The expenses were twenty times greater than the income.

He said, “When I thought of the greatness of the outgoings”—that is, the bills they had to pay—“and the smallness of the amount which had come in, I remembered the words of Isaiah 26:4: ‘Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength’ (KJV). And my heart responded: In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength, and in Him I will trust."

I mean, that is a simple life of faith. God said it; I believe it. God said, “Trust in the Lord, for in the Lord is everlasting strength.” And my heart said, “In the Lord is everlasting strength, and in Him I will trust.”

He said, “A few minutes after, I received a letter from Canada containing a bank order for eighty-one pounds nine shillings.”

Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, the peace of God—which is far greater than the human mind can begin to comprehend—will keep your hearts and minds at rest as you trust in Him (see Phil. 4:6-7).

Leslie: Doesn't that sound like a peaceful way to live? Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing us how to develop a life of contentment.

We’ve been looking at the example of George Muller. He has a powerful life story, and you can hear more about by listening to a program from the Revive Our Hearts archives. Our team created a moving documentary about George Muller, and you can hear it ReviveOurHearts.com.

Those archives are so valuable to so many of our listeners. One of them wrote to Nancy not long ago.

Nancy: I love this email we received from Trish. She told us she’d been downloading archives of Revive Our Hearts programs and listening on her MP3 player. She said,

I listen to like four messages a day while I do chores! And I just want you to know that I made a cool spreadsheet of all of the messages, so that I could check them off as I listen to them!

I’m encouraged by Trish’s enthusasium to hear the Word of God all day long. I believe that when a woman like Trish meditates on bibilical truth, she won’t approach those chores the same way.  Her mind will be filled with the truth, effecting her attitude, her relationships and her actions. And I suspect those chores will go a little faster and seem a little easier.

We’re able to continue bringing God’s Word to Trish and thousands more like her thanks to listeners who support the ministry financially. We would not be on the air or make these programs online without your support.

If you are ministered to through Revive Our Hearts, if you are getting a lot out of it—it is helping you with your chores, or with some relationships, or helping you grow in your walk with the Lord,would you consider how you could give to support the ministry financially? It’s an investment that could pay off in powerful ways as God’s Word spreads in lives, families, churches, and communities. Thanks so much for your prayers and your financial support.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. When you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of $20 or more, we’ll say "thanks" by sending you a book of Puritan prayers that has meant a lot to Nancy over the years. It’s called The Valley of Vision.

I’m confident you’ll pray with new perspective and insight as you read these Puritan prayers.  The book’s binding is beautiful, too. For all the details, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

You can also call 1-800-569-5959 to make your donation of at least $20 and ask for the book.  Again, it’s 1-800-569-5959.

The Old Testament tells us about a prophet who had food delivered in the desert by ravens. Do you believe God could provide for you in such a dramatic way? Nancy will help us imagine the greatness of God’s provision tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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