Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God's Amazing Provision

Leslie Basham: When Holly Elliff was pregnant with her fourth child, she found herself wondering if God would provide. What would her family have to give up in order to feed four kids?

Holly Elliff: We have to get on the same page with God about what really is a blessing and what isn’t, because in my vocabulary, that was not necessarily a blessing. But God knew that it was.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, October 25.

Nancy’s been in a series called The Lord’s Prayer, Part 2. If you missed any of the program over the last couple of days, I hope you’ll visit ReviveOurHearts.com and hear what Nancy had to say about the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

The teaching will affect the way you view income, bills, careers, children, and the future. It’s been powerful.

We’ll hear from Nancy Leigh DeMoss in a few minutes. First, a group of women have been listening to this series with us. We’ll hear how this teaching has been affecting them, beginning with Holly Elliff.

Holly: I started thinking about the fact that there is more said in Scripture about what we would call “maintenance” issues in life—finances, our possessions—than about heaven and hell. So, obviously, Jesus was very intentional when He included that line in this prayer because He knew so much of our life was going to be consumed with the acquisition of those needs, of things.

I was thinking about the fact that it’s the number one cause of divorce. The number one thing listed in divorce is financial pressure. Even among Christians, that statistic is the same.

In marriage counseling that’s the number one issue that is a pressure. People are struggling with the whole concept of not thinking they have daily bread, even as believers.

Nancy: I know you women have seen God provide. We talked about Elijah and the ravens, and that’s an Old Testament story.

People don’t think of that as being very contemporary or current, but as I’ve been around you women, I know that you’ve had your own encounters with God’s ability to provide in supernatural ways. You’ve seen Him give daily bread as you’ve needed it.

Kimberly Wagner: When you mentioned that, so many memories flooded my mind that I know I couldn’t begin to sit here and tell you all the times He’s provided.

One three-week stretch, we were in Bible college, and we had no money for meat, no money for anything. We were living off canned vegetables that my husband had received from a country church where he’d held a revival.

For three weeks we kept waiting and waiting until we could have enough money for meat. I remember being invited over to a pastor’s house. They had just barbeque beef sandwiches, and they didn’t know me very well.

I’m sure they thought I was the biggest glutton in the world! When I saw that meat, I ate three of those barbeque beef sandwiches, one after another.

But in that semester, as we kept crying out to God and asking for Him to provide, I remember at one point when we did receive some extra income, God made it very clear that we were to pass that on to another couple there that was having a difficult time also.

I remember a little bit of struggle, in my heart at least. For my husband it didn’t seem to be a problem at all. “Are you sure you’re hearing from the Lord? You know, we’ve been asking for this money, and He gave us this money.”

“No, I know we’re to give this.” It was a $100 bill. He took it and a sack of potatoes to their house to give to them. It was within the week that we went to our mailbox and there were two $1,000 cashier’s checks that were sent to us from another state.

To this day we don’t know who it came from. We don’t know where it came from, but we knew it was from God’s hand of provision. I could tell you story after story after story of how He’s provided for us in that way.

Holly Elliff: We have so often seen God provide miraculously. Probably the most recent thing that happened to us concerns our second daughter, who is getting married in a few months.

We were looking for a wedding dress. We had no budget for a wedding dress, but I had spoken at a women’s retreat, so I had this small amount of money.

I said, “Okay, we will designate this for the dress.” Someone had told us about a bridal place to go to, and we went. They gave us a little form as we went in that had these amounts, starting with $6,000 to $9,000, and you checked the little box you wanted, the price range you wanted your dress to be in.

Nancy: Like someone would actually check $6,000 to $9,000?

Holly: No, actually, there’s a whole floor for people who check $6,000 to $9,000!

Our budget was not on this little form, so we checked the lowest box. I think your salesperson is designated by which box you check.

As we were given our salesperson, I said to her, “We’re probably going to need to see if you have a sales rack or something.” She totally did not respond to that at all, and she took us to the least expensive dresses on the first floor. ($6,000 to $9,000 is on the fourth floor.)

As the salesperson sensed that we were getting ready to leave, she said, “You’re not going to purchase any of these?”

I said, “Well, unless there’s a sales rack you forgot to show us or something that we missed, then probably not.”

She said, “Well, just a minute.” She proceeded to lead us up the stairs to the attic, and in the attic there was a roomful of dresses Becca’s size, regular bridal dresses, but the price was half of half.

Kimberly: It was probably last season’s.

Holly: Long story short, Becca found a beautiful dress for just slightly less than our budget. The Lord provided a beautiful dress for her that fit perfectly, and it was as if the Lord said, “I’m going to take care of what you need, even for this wedding.”

To Becca, who is marrying a seminary student, it said to her, “I’m going to provide what you need; even as you walk into this marriage without a lot of financial support. I’m going to be there to give you what you need, to supply and be the provider for every need.”

Maria Johnson: I have a ham and a turkey story. I’ll tell you the ham story!

I have a step-brother that had a relative from another state die, and they were going to have the funeral in the town we live in. No one in the town knew these people.

I didn’t know these people, but my brother came to me and said, “Could we use your house after the funeral for the family to gather?” I was centrally located.

It was in a time of financial loss, a slam time for us, and I did not know what I was going to do. I started praying, “Oh, Lord, this is Your home. I want to receive these people as if You were coming, but I have no food to feed this crowd.”

I thought, “Well, I have potatoes, so I could do potato salad.” I had sugar, flour, and eggs, so I could make some dessert. But then my brother called me the morning of the funeral and said, “Someone at my work brought in this huge ham. Can you use it for after the funeral?”

I thought, “Oh, Lord!” We ended up just having a simple meal, but it was plenty. More importantly, the people from out of town felt welcomed and comfortable.

My brother never knew that that had put me on the spot, but God knew. I just gave it to Him, and I love how the Lord provided, not just a tiny bit but this huge, huge ham. Then there were leftovers for us, too! He cares about the little things, too.

Kimberly: He does, He does. It delights Him to do that.

Maria: One thing that came to my mind as Nancy was teaching about asking, and the importance of asking for the right things and being specific. When we ask—whether it’s God or a child or a friend—to do something, we’ve got to leave the option open that the answer might be no.

Sometimes I think we have it in our mind that just because we’ve asked, then God is obligated. So what do we do when we ask, and it’s a good thing, and God either says nothing yet, or the answer is no? What do we do with that?

Kathy: We trust in His unfailing love. Our hearts will rejoice in His salvation, and we’re going to sing because He’s been good to us.

Kimberly: We trust in His character, not in His answer. It’s the character of who He is.

Kathy: And that comes from a history of walking with Him, don’t you think? Of trusting Him. The more we trust, the more we love Him, the more we get to know Him. It’s a wonderful cycle.

Maria: So no one ever frets and fusses and stews when the answer is no.

Nancy: Oh, none of us! (Laughter)

Holly: All of us, if we’re going to be honest, we have to say that all of us, at some point, walked through that. I think it’s part of the process that we’re in as believers, remembering that whole thing of perspective, of what God’s will is.

I started thinking about the whole issue of gratitude vs. an ungrateful heart, humility vs. pride, dependence vs. independence, as we wrestle with what God provides for us. I think so many times that’s where we are as believers.

We have to wrestle with who’s going to win. Is it going to be our will or God’s will for us? So yes, I think we do struggle with that because we have a heart that says, “I want my will.”

Kimberly: I remember last year when I was struggling with an area of surrender in my life. Holly, I remember that I said, “But I’ve surrendered this to the Lord. I’ve surrendered this! But I’m still struggling.”

And you said, “Surrender is not a one-time thing. It’s a continual process.”

I think that as we do grow in the Lord and get to know Him more and more, it’s a process of remembering how He’s worked in our lives before. That trust factor grows deeper and deeper the longer we walk with Him, the more we give over those struggles to Him.

Surrender is much easier the next time. I’m not still struggling with that same area of surrender that I was last year. That’s not to say that I don’t struggle with things, but that area, that issue, although that issue has not changed, it’s easier to trust, and I’ve surrendered that area now.

Jane: When we started in today on “Give us this day our daily bread,” I thought back to when I was first saved. It’s a little bit of a different perspective than what I’m hearing everyone say here, because I’m hearing you share stories about when you’ve already known the Lord and you’re in a situation.

I started reading in Matthew, so it might have been day one or day two when I got to where I was to ask Him for my daily needs, and my question to Him was, “Why? Why do I need to ask You for my food?”

Nancy: You had a job at the time?

Jane: I had a job. I was living in a home. Why did I need to do this? That seemed strange to me.

But it said to do it, so okay. I thought about my day. "This is what I’d like to have for breakfast; this is what I’d like to have for lunch." I was a flight attendant with a major airline at that time.

I was commuting to work. I needed a seat on the airplane to get to work, and no, those were not just provided for us. There had to be an empty seat.

I watched Him time after time provide me with the last seat left on the airplane to get to work, and in thanking Him then for my daily provisions and the food that He was giving me, I began to see that it was His hand that was providing.

I didn’t see that before. It grew my faith. When I look at that now, to ask for our daily needs, I think back to that time and how much my faith grew just from asking Him for things that it had never dawned on me before to ask Him for.

Nancy: Now that you’ve known the Lord for a number of years, do you still ask Him for your daily needs?

Jane: Yes, I do.

Nancy: And what keeps you doing that and not taking for granted that it will just be there?

Jane: I guess what keeps me doing it is because it says to.

Nancy: That’s one thing I love about you, Jane—you have always taken God’s Word very seriously, ever since you came to faith in Christ.

Jane: Well, you know, Nancy, I did not know how to live. I knew how to live as I was before.

Holly: In the other kingdom?

Jane: Yes. I had no idea how to live as a child of the King. I had no idea how to live with a Bridegroom that actually loved me and didn’t want to beat me.

So I went to God’s Word to see how to live. And I still have to go there, because still today, the world and even the church will tell me differently and treat me differently than what God’s Word says about me.

Holly: As we were thinking earlier about God as the provider, about asking God to bless us with right things, the Lord took me back to a point in my life where God began to convince us that He wanted to bless us with more children. At the point where He convicted us about that in our life, that was not necessarily a good thing to me.

My husband is a faith-filled man, so when God said to him, “I want to give you more children, and I want you to trust Me with that,” my husband said, “Sure, that’s great! We’ll just do that.”

I am a problem solver, so I move from A to B to C, and I did not really see how God could do that. We were living on a pastor’s salary. I was pregnant with our fourth child at that point, and we were already struggling.

I thought, “God, if you give us more children, how would this happen? Can I love them? Will You provide for them?”

I realized that sometimes we have to get on the same page with God about what really is a blessing and what isn’t, because in my vocabulary that was not necessarily a blessing. But God knew that it was.

I think so many times as believers, even in the realm of our children, sometimes if we’re not careful, we just don’t want to get on the same page with God about that. We might miss some of the greatest blessings that God could possibly give us just because in our framework, that is not really a blessing.

Kathy: When we go through something like that, as Nancy said earlier, we need Him more than any thing He could give us. So, Jane, your refreshing take on going to God’s Word and trusting Him like that as a new Christian . . . I think we can all go back and remember how it seemed like no matter what prayer you pray, when you’re a new Christian, it gets answered.

He wants to grow us in that faith. But as we get older in the Lord, sometimes, like Maria said, the answer is no. Well, we wait, or we just trust. He draws me to Him with my petitions and my selfishness and my self-centeredness.

He says pray about everything, so you do. But the surprise is when you come to Him, especially now when we come to Him praying the Lord’s Prayer, we get more of Him, and it doesn’t matter so much what was in His hand to give us, although we probably end up getting it and more.

Nancy: Realizing that God in His wisdom and sovereignty knows what things really would be blessings. Holly discovered that. You didn’t think that more than four children would be a blessing.

But God knew they would be. Can you imagine which of your fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth children you could bear to live without?

Sometimes the things we think would be blessings, that we demand or insist on or throw a temper tantrum to get, God knows in His wisdom would not be a blessing to us in the long term or to His kingdom or for the glory of His name. So with the asking has to come a trust that God knows what really is best.

Holly: The bottom line really is the heart, because I know Kim made the same choice I made, to allow God to bless her with children, and she had two kids; that’s what God gave her. But the heart was there to say, “God, you know what is best.”

I think so many times that’s what we’re missing because we don’t realize that God is the one finding us the airplane seat, that God is the one providing the meal or the money or the bread or the children, whatever is best in our life.

If we don’t realize that it’s coming from Him, our hearts are not going to be tender, and we’re going to miss what God is showing us.

Kathy: Like those Israelites; forty years was mentioned today, that God provided that manna every single day, and look what happened to them.

I thought of that Psalm 106 passage; all that God had done for them, and they whined and complained. When they were in the desert and they wanted something—I don’t know what it was—they were putting God to the test.

It says, “So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease [or leanness of soul] upon them” (v. 15 NIV). Isn’t that a scary thought!

I’d always kind of condemned those Israelites, saying, “You fools! Look what all He did for you.”

Holly: “Why couldn’t you see the big picture?”

Kathy: Yes; and yet, look at me and all He’s done. I look at my track record, being on staff with Crusade for thirty years and how He’s provided. We raised our financial support. Not once has He ever let us down.

Having a child with autism and going through all the stages and all the pain, and now another phase is coming of young adulthood, and what are we going to do with Stephanie as she grows older and we grow older—who’s going to care for her?

But you know, the track record on both of those things . . . as I just mentioned, I’m at a place in my life right now (maybe it comes with being over fifty), but it’s really the track record with God, seeing how He’s provided again and again.

I don’t have to fear. I might slip into it, but I don’t have to, because I just know He’s going to be faithful.

Holly: And if you do get fearful, you don’t stay there, because you know who God is.

Kathy: I love that promise in Deuteronomy 31:8 (paraphrased) where it says, “I am the Lord your God. I go before you, and I am going to be with you, and I’m not going to leave you or fail you or forsake you. Therefore, do not be discouraged or afraid” because I know He’s such a loving God.

He goes before me; He comes back to get me. He scouts the way; He holds my hand. He doesn’t mind if I’m going to be discouraged or afraid. In fact, He knows I’m going to be!

That’s why He tells me not to be, so I don’t have to be down on myself if I get discouraged or afraid. But there’s a choice I can make not to be, because I know the truth of His Word, the bread of life.

(Be sure to continue studying The Lord's Prayer in part three of this series.)

Leslie: That’s our friend Kathy Helvey, who modeled God-given joy through a prolonged illness that eventually took her life.

On that recording, she and a group of Revive Our Hearts listeners were discussing the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been teaching through that phrase all week in a series called The Lord’s Prayer, Part 2.

Today’s the final program in that series.  Make sure to hear the Lord’s Prayer, Part 3, coming up November 7.

Throughout this series, we’ve been offering you book of Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision. Reading through and praying through these prayers will give you a new perspective.  You’ll approach God with a refreshing break from a 21st century, plugged-in, digitized mindset. 

We’ll send this beautiful volume, Valley of Vision when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Ask for it when you call with your gift. The number is 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Afghanistan has been called “the most dangerous place to be born a woman.”  Kate McCord decided to live in Afghanistan, visiting women in their homes and getting to know those who usually remained hidden behind their blue burquas. Hear the story, beginning tomorrow, on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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

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