To the Ministry Family Waiting for Daily Bread

waiting-for-daily-breadI’m talking to ministry folks who may be on the poor side of life right now. Those who are hungry and wondering where their next meal or week’s worth of groceries is going to come from.

Paul’s words in Philippians 4:12 express how so many of us feel, “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Our journeys through ministry life bring us to those hungry places.

To you who have a bare pantry and nothing but condiments in the refrigerator. Don’t be tempted to rush out and solve this problem yourself! Psalm 37:25 tells us David’s testimony of God’s work for His children.

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Psalm 37:25

Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God

Lack of food can be a worry when you feel responsible and your kids are asking for something to eat. The Bible teaches us all Christians should make God and His Kingdom our first priority. Relying on God for food requires the rubber meeting the road and helps us practice what we preach/teach by living in faith.

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink?for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6: 31-33

You fill in the blank for what seeking the kingdom of God is for you. You know your own personal need for Bible reading, the ministries you have (including your family), and the opportunities God places for you to be a witness for Him. If all of your monetary resources are dry stop panicking and stay busy doing God’s work. Be satisfied with that obedience and, as stated many times throughout this article, wait on Him to take care of you.

Ask and ye shall receive

Luke 11 gives us a great explanation from Christ about how God gives to His children,

 “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; … If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:9-13

Simply ask, “God, you know we don’t have food for the week, will you please give us the next meal?” Then, wait in faith.

Give and it shall be given unto you.

My single mother worked hard cleaning houses and had just enough money for us to make it. Once I watched her go into our pantry and fill a box with food leaving our shelves nearly bare. She gave the food to our next door neighbor,  she was mean and hateful to her kids and had rejected my mother’s friendship with her.  Mom, in the middle of the night, left that box of food on her porch. Mom had the kind of faith that God would provide for us because we were His children. She taught me these verses:  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38. God always rewarded her generosity and we never were hungry.

God happily blesses those who give, especially those who give in His name, to His people in their time of need. Allow your heart to stay soft toward others. Even in your “poverty” it is good to be in the practice of giving.

A Side Note: One danger in ministry is we may have knowledge at times about who the givers and non-givers are in our church because we are involved in the church finances. Guard your heart against becoming bitter at other families that may not be giving and are faring better than you while you may be struggling to feed your family. God takes care of His servants, so keep your eyes on Him!

Expect only God’s daily provision.

In the account of Elisha’s life in 1 Kings God directs him to the brook of Cherith. He provides him daily meat from the ravens. Then, as the brook dries up He directs him to lodge with the widow and her son. Miraculously her empty containers fill daily with meal and oil with just enough for them to eat that day.

In the account of Israelites’ journey in the wilderness God provided manna for them to eat daily for 40 years!  There’s no question God can accommodate you, it’s a matter of when. In the Lord’s prayer it says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Daily bread, is what we are to pray for, nothing more, nothing less.

Fred and Christine, a couple we know, spoke about how when they were young Christians living in a tiny apartment on a tiny income. They met friends who lived downstairs and regularly both couples would be down to simple items in their pantry. Together they found out they could combine their resources and have a meal, one would bring a loaf of bread, another would supply tomatoes or meat and they would eat simple sandwiches and feast on fellowship. A little humility (admitting to a friend you only have a little) and a bit of creativity may create something delicious.

Don’t beg or broadcast, just wait in prayer.

Reading George Muller’s biography is a help to anyone needing encouragement in trusting God’s provision. He saw prayers answered for daily bread for the orphanage he owned in Germany. The food for the children would run out and each time they would pray specifically for that meal, God would uniquely give to them. When times were tough he would not beg or broadcast to anyone, he would pray. The best way to ask for what you need (like mentioned above) is to do it in your prayer time. Devote time you would ask others to pray for you into asking God instead.

Earlier I mentioned speaking with a friend about your situation in humility. Remember, that is not the same as purposefully dropping hints to other people expecting that they will hand you some cash or invite you over for dinner.  Worry often catapults us into asking others to take care of our needs instead of expecting God will. Always use your manners and courtesy, because ministry people do not need to be known as mooches. Prayer is most effective in these situations! When God answers your prayers, you cannot doubt His love.

Be wise with your money.

If you have ever gotten into the money pickle that leaves you with only pickles in your refrigerator then think about your money decisions that lead you to the money pickle… Making wise money choices can still leave you with no money at the end of the month to buy the last week’s worth of groceries, but being an unwise steward can also leave you with empty pockets to pay bills and buy food.

If you struggle in wisely managing your money:

  • Ask God for help!
  • Learn Biblical principles of money stewardship, do a Bible study or take a class.
  • Don’t stop tithing or giving in your local church.
  • Budget your funds.
  • Limit your splurges and stop spending needlessly.
  • Use what you already have.
  • Run from the temptation to use credit!

We err, as Americans, often in temperance (self-control) in this area of our lives and sometimes we suffer for our extravagance and make ourselves suffer needlessly. Dedicate some of your time to helping yourself become a wise steward.

In Conclusion

I cannot promise how God will feed you. If and when He does, praise Him and thank Him! Share your story of provision with others. AND I would love to hear your story, send me an e-mail and tell me what God has done!

psalm-37-25

 

The Ministry Mama’s Life Story in a Nutshell

For those of you who have not heard my life story before, I just wanted to share it in a different way…in a nutshell. In light of the current events for a woman’s right to choose, I challenge that thinking with the question, “What if I had never been born?” I celebrated my 34th birthday this week and my birthday always reminds me of why I love what God has done in my life.

My mom was a Christian and although single when she found out she was pregnant with me, she decided that instead of abortion or adoption she needed to keep me. She decided that in her realm of influence she had the assurance I would be growing up in church, listening to the Bible and being told about Jesus Christ and His salvation. I was born on a blizzardy Sunday in Texas.

life-story-testimony

Because I was in a Christian home and in church at an early age, my heart was tender toward God. At four years old the He began speaking to me about my sin and my need to accept Him as my Saviour. On one evening as my mom cooked spaghetti on the stove for dinner I asked her what I needed to do to be saved. She took time to talk to me about it and it was then that I accepted Christ as my Savior…Almost 30 years ago! We went through some hard times in my teens as she was divorced and then lived as a busy single mom. One comfort I always had was in knowing God was with me all along the way. He never left me or forsook me.

At twelve years old God spoke to me at summer camp about becoming a missionary and I surrendered to full-time service then. It was probably my junior or senior year of high school when I began to realize that saying you’re going to be a missionary when everyone else is choosing their ideas of what they wanted to be for their vocation was not the popular answer. I began to doubt my choice and stray away from the Lord in my heart and actions.

Despite some bumps in the road and some special miracles the Lord did on my behalf, I became a student at Bible College in the fall of ’01. The Lord began teaching and growing me in new ways although we were faithful church attenders all the way through my childhood. I studied missions and church education for 3 years before I was distracted enough by my husband in 2004 to quit school and go get married in a whirlwind of a weekend. It was 3 years (while I was having our boys) before we completed college in 2009 together. Those years were hard years on our marriage but we always had enough hope to keep on going.

A photo of my husband and I at a church event in 2010.

In the fall of 2009 the Lord led my husband to his first full-time ministry position and we served there for 5 1/2 years. Now we are serving in a new church plant while my husband works a secular job and does the same thing of leading music and teaching Sunday School as he did before.

I never became a missionary to little children in a foreign country like I expected to when I surrendered at 12, but God has allowed me to minister to not only our children but to hundreds of children through the years, as well as women, and families.

When I was 30 years old I met my father for the first time, you can read about it here. He and I have been able to build a good relationship together in the past few years when we had spent most of my life apart. I never expected that would have ever been true, but God has blessed us both despite having missed out on years of relationship time.

You know I’m not perfect and I can truly say after 34 years, the hardships and the things that I didn’t understand when I was a little girl or a troubled teen really have been situations where God took those broken pieces and circumstances and has turned them around for good, just like He did in the Bible story of Joseph.

I don’t know where this year is taking me but I hope that I can be as faithful to God as He has been to me.  Trusting Christ was the best gift I ever received because it has been the gift that has kept on giving in my life. Anything and everything I am is not only because my mom chose life, but because Christ has given me eternal life. Being a Christian is as much a part of me as taking my husband’s last name has been to me for the past 12 years. Having a relationship with Christ has made me who I am and who you know me as, The Ministry Mama, today. I hope that as you read this blog you see glimpses of Him.

Thank you for taking the time to read this as it just felt necessary to share why my birthday and my life is so important to me. It causes me to ask questions like this, “Who is the world missing out on?” an”d, “Who would God have used to do His work out of the millions who have been aborted? Only God knows. I hope and pray that if a mother who is expecting a baby and is unsure of whether or not to keep that baby that you will see my life was not easy but it has been blessed. It has been God who given strength, direction, and purpose to my life just as He has for yours. Choose life, it’s the best gift you could give to your child!

The Ministry Mama’s Goals for 2017

The New Year is a unique time to reflect on the past and create dreams and goals for the next year. Our family was in a transitional year the past year while living with my in-laws and helping in a new church plant. Only six weeks ago we moved into our own house again. God has taught me many things this year through the journey and processes of our waiting for Him to work things out for us to be a one-family household again. After learning those lessons I am wanting to continue, Lord willing, in changing some things in my own personal life.

These are not in any particular order, just a list. Nothing to analyze too critically, I just wanted to share with you what’s been on my heart and mind.

Becoming More of a Minimalist 

We lived for one year in two bedrooms, one closet, one section of a storage shed at my in-law’s house, and the rest of our belongings in a storage unit with the large furniture in front so we could not access even our extra winter clothes last year. We learned to live with less. We regularly went through our things and rotated them into the smaller storage tubs and back around again when we needed them. I learned to have a capsule wardrobe and remained sane by sending the kids to go play outside.

The house we’re living in now is about 600 square feet smaller than our previous home and all of our boxes filled our garage to the max when we first moved in- talk about looking like a hoarder! Going through the boxes has been an overwhelming feat for me to make a decision of getting rid of things or keeping them.

(I just read this article today, what a help and motivation to keep going!)

God showed me in the past year that I do not need things to live and be happy, while they may make things convenient, all the items I had (and still have) are not necessary. Materialism has been a weight upon my shoulders and although it’s taking time and effort, including letting go, it has freed me to have a place for everything. It has given me more time to focus on the home we have without the guilt of knowing I always have unfinished business cleaning something somewhere. Our garage is still a work in progress but with dedication I believe this is a goal that can be realized within the next six months.

Focusing on Exercise and Healthy Living

Five kids later my body has given me those aches and pains and I have struggled with losing too much weight (yes, some people actually have that problem!). God is helping me learn more about a good diet and the kind of exercise I need to strengthen my body. Our family has been wanting to grow some type of garden this year of organic herbs and vegetables. You know, I believe in helping our bodies be healthy so we can serve the Lord longer!

Growing in the Lord 

They say if you’re not growing in the Lord you’re backsliding. My Bible reading and prayer life must improve and has some areas to grow. I cannot pour out to others what has not been first done in my heart. This is a necessity! It is the most important item in this list.

Reading Books to Encourage 

Reading books helps you gain wisdom and understanding about life and ministering to others. I want to read more this year than I did this past year… with our situation I’m not sure if I finished any books in 2016 but rather dabbled here and there and was highly distracted like a metal ball in a pinball machine. I’m also planning on reading books aloud with our children during our homeschooling, which always has helped us grow together in heart and experience.

Writing More Articles for The Ministry Mama

We moved into my in-law’s home in November of 2015 with a six-week old baby and our other four children. My husband began a secular job and does his ministry work in his “free” weeknights and Saturday time. The burden was on me to make sure that our kids were living and doing right in someone else’s home as well as nurturing our baby and homeschooling, cleaning and making meals, etc. My time was devoted to keep the peace so that we were still welcome at my in-laws during the duration of God’s allowing us to live there, that is why my writing articles was very slim in 2016.

Lord willing, (it seems every time I make plans for doing more here other things intervene or something crazy happens) I will be back to writing regular weekly posts in 2017.

Making Friends and Extending Hospitality

We are still in a “new” to me city, my husband grew up here, but all of our married life we lived elsewhere so besides a couple of friends we do not have a large group of people our age that we know and spend time with. All around us are ministry families in different churches in this city and the suburbs surrounding us and it’s time we make new friends and grow some relationships! Hospitality helps you grow in servitude and friendships build you up when you find faithful friends, and this is an area I need to improve upon. It may be difficult at times because my husband does not always have a lot of free time now but when we do open our home and have good theological conversations and even laugh with people then we are always doubly blessed.

I hope you’re thinking of those things you want to do, it’s good to dream and plan, have goals and want to create. If you’re not sure of what you want to do, then simply ask the Lord to help you. I believe He will show you or put a desire in your heart to accomplish some special things in 2017 if you’ll let Him.