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Consider The Sparrows

Title: Consider The Sparrows
Materials: Watercolor Painting
Artwork by: Godsfingerprints.co
Description: Have you ever wondered where birds find food and shelter? Matthew 6:26 tells us that even though they do not store up food for the future, the Heavenly Father takes care of them.

What more us? We are His children made in His own image. Let us learn to trust in God’s provision for our lives and remember that our eternal treasure is in Heaven and not where we are now (Matthew 6:21). Perhaps it’s time to stop chasing after good grades, that promotion or that relationship. Look up to see where your treasure is (1 Corinthians 7:31) and we can experience true freedom in our lives (Psalm 118:5). Just like how the lives of the birds are in His mighty hands, our lives are in His too. As we run after eternal treasures, the faithful LORD establishes our steps for us (Proverbs 16:9) and guides us.

 

 

 

 

 

God Answered My Prayers with 2 Potatoes

Illustration by Lara Sim
Written by Diana Yemima, Indonesia, originally in Bahasa Indonesia

Prayer can be answered in many small ways. For me, it came in the form of two precious potatoes.

I come from a relatively poor family. With my father’s meagre salary as an administrative staff, we struggled to feed ourselves after paying the utility bills. To help with the finances, my mother sold snacks—plain sugar “doughnuts” made out of potatoes—around our neighborhood.

Because of my mother’s weak constitution, she could not work every day. So, for three days each week, she would sell her doughnuts by the roadside. On the other days, she would do the household chores and visit the market to buy the ingredients for the doughnuts. Selling doughnuts only three days a week, my mother said, was her “strategy” to keep the demand high.

The Lord blessed my mother’s business. Her customers would buy plenty—some more than five doughnuts at a time. The doughnuts would always be sold out by the end of the day, providing us enough money to buy food for the family.

On one occasion, however, we didn’t have enough money to pay the electricity bill as my father had used some of his income to pay off some debts. Desperate, my father tried to take a loan, but he didn’t succeed. To help, I decided to draw out all my savings. I was reminded of Luke 3:14, where John instructed the soldiers to be content with their pay. This verse reassured me that God would provide for all of our needs.

I remember holding the money in my palm and praying: “Oh Father, you know that this is all the money we have left and this money will be used to pay the electricity bill. I leave this money in Your almighty hands. With this money, we shall be able to afford all our needs until the end of the month. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”

With my savings and the money meant to buy the ingredients for my mother’s doughnuts, we just had enough money to pay the electricity bill.

Then came Monday, the day my mother was supposed to make doughnuts for sale the next day. Knowing that we had used up the money to pay off the electricity bills, I asked my mum, “Are there no ingredients left in the kitchen?” There were two potatoes, she replied, but she needed two more to make the doughnuts. Not believing her, I rushed to the dimly-lit kitchen to check. She was right—there were only two potatoes left.

I knew that if my mother didn’t sell any doughnuts the next day, we would not have enough money to buy food for the family. So I went to my room and prayed: “God, thank You for blessing us so that we could eventually pay the electricity bill without borrowing any money. But, God, my mother has run out of potatoes to make doughnuts, even though we need the money to buy our meals for tomorrow. Father, I believe that You will never neglect Your children or let them starve. You will have a solution to our problems. We leave everything in Your almighty hands. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

After I had prayed, I left my room and saw my mother approaching me with a big smile on her face. My father had found two more potatoes hidden underneath the stairs! At first, my mother was worried that those potatoes had rotted since they were left over from last week, but surprisingly, they were still in good condition.

I was moved to tears when I saw God’s provision. I knew that the potatoes were from God. God had answered my prayer with two potatoes. I realized that God’s help is never too early or too late—it is always on time.

When we face a difficult situation and it seems like there is no way out, God has the best solution for His children. My experience with God was proof that He will always provide.

Since then, God’s promise in Luke 12:22-24 has always assured me greatly. He promises to care for us, His children, and to provide for our needs. The Lord Jesus told us that the ravens do not sow or reap and still, God cares for them. So if God cares for even the ravens, what more us, His children?

God will never renege on His promises, but we also need to do our part. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). No matter how big our problems are, the Lord Jesus is always walking alongside us, and He will even carry us when we feel weak. It is only when we admit our weaknesses and humble ourselves in front of Him, that we will feel His presence in our life.

No matter how unsolvable our problems might seem, do not give in to the situation—give in to God.

ODJ: Every Kind of Gift

August 4, 2016 

READ: James 1:12-18  


Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father (v.17). 

Recently I’ve had to intervene in several blowups between my two sons. The result of such events inevitably leads to their losing the privilege of spending time with friends, loss of their allowances and more. They’re learning that the failure to work out their differences peaceably can be costly. Thankfully, I’ve also had opportunities to lavish generosity on both boys, to surprise them with a gift they would never have expected. I’m trying to teach them that both my correction and my generosity are gifts from me to them. Both emerge from my love towards them and for them.

James says something similar about God’s way with us. “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father” (1:17). In other words, if it’s good, then it comes from God. While James tells us that everything God gives is good and generous, I believe he’s saying something even more profound. With these words, he reveals that every kind of generosity we could ever encounter (every beautiful sunset, act of friendship, encounter with grace or loving correction) can be traced back to God.

For James, then, the question isn’t whether we’ll encounter God, but whether or not we’ll recognise Him whenever we receive the many gifts that pass through His loving hands to us. This is one of the reasons James encourages us not to “be misled” (v.16), because God is the source of every good gift; and this gift-giving One can be trusted to always operate with generosity towards us—His “prized possession” (v.18). He “never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (v.17). Every kind of gift comes from God— the gifts that we easily embrace as well as the gifts that we struggle to recognise at first glance.

—Winn Collier

365-day plan: Luke 11:33-54

MORE
Read 2 Cor. 9:10-15. What do we learn about God’s generosity from the farmer and the bread? 
NEXT
Where have you encountered generosity recently, and how can you trace it back to God? When have you received a gift from God that you didn’t initially recognise as a gift? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODJ: Possible

May 16, 2016 

READ: Psalm 23:1-6  


The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need (v.1). 

When my sister left a high-paying government job after 14 years, many people were surprised. I believe God led her to the job (a long story), used it to train and equip her (another long story) and called her away from it (yet another lengthy tale). In fact, she had to leave her work with no new job in place. There wasn’t time to ponder, because she had loads of projects to finish and hand over. Yet, by God’s grace, she didn’t fret. She was fully convinced that God her Shepherd would provide for her (Psalm 23:1).

During her first few weeks as an unemployed person, she enjoyed some much-needed rest—sleeping, reading and exercising. God began renewing her strength (v.3).

Then He opened the door for her to start her own forensics lab in Singapore! She couldn’t have foreseen that this would be possible, for setting up a lab requires huge capital investment and she had neither the money nor knowledge of any financial backers.

But with God, “everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26). And one day, through a casual conversation with a friend, she discovered that there was a lab available at an academic institution. The school had already inquired into possible collaboration. So, through God’s divine providence, she and her business partners rented the lab at a special rate and—to their amazement—the institution also allowed them to use their equipment!

While God may not always provide in such spectacular or immediate ways, He continues to work out His perfect plans in our lives. Just as the psalmist David and my sister Poh Ling have discovered, the good and merciful Shepherd is with you, and His unfailing love will provide for you “all the days of [your] life” (Psalm 23:6).

—Poh Fang Chia

365-day plan: Psalm 103:1-22

MORE
Read John 10:11-16 and consider what Jesus does as our Good Shepherd. 
NEXT
What does it mean for you to know that Jesus is your Shepherd? Why is it vital for you to bring your fears and questions to Him today? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)