The Cushions of Life

by Carolyn Newell

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11 NKJV

As we walked down the sidewalk, Iva, my guide dog, swerved to avoid something. “Great job, Iva!”

We continued our walk, but my curiosity began working overtime. What was on the sidewalk that Iva avoided? I considered going back, but that might tell Iva we need to rework a mistake.

The next day, I slowed our pace as we neared the same area. When Iva swerved around the obstacle again, I stopped. “Great job, Iva! What a good girl!” Plenty of praise told her she didn’t mess up. I could see a white square on the sidewalk behind my left shoulder. I knelt down and carefully touched it with my index finger. Styrofoam. It looked like the type of styrofoam that cushions electronics in a box. Mystery solved.

Whether we purchase a computer or a toaster, we don’t want it banged up before it gets home. If we order something from Amazon, we find bags of air to keep items from moving around. Styrofoam packaging and air pockets cushion our stuff to keep it safe. But we have other types of cushions in life, and I’m not referring to the throw pillows on your sofa.

If possible, we like having a nest egg, some money saved up for an emergency. Sometimes, we like a little extra in our checking accounts to protect us from an overdraft. Also, over the past couple of years, stocking up on household items like toilet paper and groceries has given us some cushion. Having extra things on hand has become the new norm for many.

But what happens when the cushion is removed? What if we use that last roll of toilet paper, and the shelves at Walmart stand bare? What happens when one emergency wipes out our entire nest egg? What if the stock market drops and our 401K takes a major hit? We panic! Our hearts pound as we grab our heads. “What are we going to do now?”

Friend, we have one cushion that will never flatten or let us down. Jesus Christ! Nest eggs and stockpiles have limits. Jesus knows no bounds. He will provide our every need because He is our Creator. Would He bring us into existence without the means to sustain us?

Did our calamity catch God off-guard? No. In fact, He saw it coming because He has already been in our tomorrows. He knows no limits in time. Our perfect Father provides for all His children. As sovereign Lord over every aspect of our lives, He will never leave us emptyhanded.

Lord, we thank You and praise You that the righteous will never have to beg bread (Psalm 37:25). You are our provider, Jehovah Jireh, and we trust You. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Carolyn Dale Newell is a speaker and the author of five books, including her series, Guide Dog Tales, where she includes devotionals just like this one. Carolyn knows what it is to live with blindness, but she calls her disability a gift from God. She shares her stories of vulnerability and conquered fears in a vast buffet of topics suitable for retreats or conferences. She is accompanied by her beautiful guide dog, Iva, a black lab who is adored by all. Carolyn resides in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with her husband, Tim. She loves reading, pizza, and discovering new independence with Iva. You can connect with Carolyn on her website, https://amountainoffaith.com/.

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/carolyndalenewell/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC126VS7qlK8MFwJgdyiqCQQ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/carolyndnewell/en

Join the conversation: On what “cushions” do you depend?

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Impossible Faith: Powerful Provider

by Pam Farrel @PamFarrel

 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. Psalm 111:5

One of the prayers I often pray is Lord we look to You for your power, protection, and provision. I know we can ask this because God offers his character to back up his promises.

My favorite name of God is Jehovah Jireh, meaning “the one who will see to it.” When God provided a lamb for Abraham’s sacrifice on Mt. Moriah, rescuing his son Isaac from death, Abraham called that place Jehovah Jireh: the Lord will provide (Genesis 22:14). He not only provides for us in the present but will provide in the future as well. It is a part of His character.

And if God sees, he also foresees. In Names of God, Nathan Stone writes: “As the One who possesses eternal wisdom and knowledge, He knows the end from the beginning. As Elohim, He is all knowing, all-wise, and all-powerful. From eternity to eternity He forsees everything. But another word for seeing is vision, from the Latin word video—to see. So, it’s like God has the video for your life! Not only does he have the video, he is the director!”

Our actions in life directly reflect our view of God: A.W. Tozer says in his classic book, The Knowledge of the Holy, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

What we think about God will determine how willing we are to step out in faith. Abraham knew God keeps His promises. Hebrews 11 tells us God had previously told him, “In Isaac, your descendants shall be called.” Abraham knew God was able to raise people even from the dead. So, he willingly walked Isaac up that mountain, fully expecting God to keep His promises.

And in doing so, Abraham discovered another character trait of God: that the Lord was Jehovah Jireh. The God who provides.

Henry Blackaby and Claude King agree. In Experiencing God, they write, “How I live my life is a testimony of what I believe about God.”

I like to say, “Show me your God, and I will show you your ability to achieve. Small God—small life. Big God—big opportunities and potential await.” His character never changes. We can trust Him for provision because He is the God who provides.

God has never let us down. We married young and followed hard after God to complete our education and go to seminary, all while working in a ministry with the youth. And God unfailingly met our needs. He sent groceries when our cupboards were bare. He sent a car for under $100, after we rode bikes for a year. He sent supportive families to contribute toward our seminary education, because they were thankful we were shepherding their teens. He sent wise mentors to help us think through the buying of our home, and faithful families who jumped in and helped build the one we built when we moved into the senior pastorate.

God provided every step of the way, both in small and large ways. We worked hard, yes, very hard. But when our compensation fell short in providing for our needs, He moved circumstances or the hearts of people to accomplish many answers to prayer—in ways that were pretty miraculous.

God does not change. He will always act in ways that are consistent with His character. He will always be Jehovah Jireh: the God who will provide. You can trust Him to do that for you. His actions will always be within the context of His grace. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11 NASB).

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Impossible Faith: Powerful Provider – insight and encouragement from @PamFarrel on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

pam ferrelAbout the authorPam Farrel. author of 50+ books, is an international speaker and co-director, with her husband, Bill of Love-Wise.comHer newest book is Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament: A Creative Bible Study Experience (co-authors Jean E Jones and Karl Dornacher) from Harvest House.

Join the conversation: How has God provided for you recently?