During a time of prayer early Tuesday morning, I was reminded of an encounter with the Lord from many years ago, and I knew I was supposed to share it. I knew that God wanted to encourage His people to expect great blessings to come our way—blessings we have not earned.
It was a quiet Sunday morning in September of 1991 on the campus of Zion Bible Institute in Barrington, Rhode Island. Students and staff had gone off campus to attend various church services. The campus seemed especially calm and serene that morning, and I decided to take advantage of the tranquil situation by going to the chapel and spending time in prayer.
As I lied on the floor, I presented to God my concern about finances. Sue and I had accepted an offer to teach and write at Zion and had just made the move from Tulsa, Oklahoma, the previous month. Being a missionary school, Zion paid us $62.50 each per week and provided housing on campus. We were expected to believe God for everything else we would need.
We had been there about a month and it had become obvious that $125 per week did not cover the car payment, car insurance, food, toiletries, clothes and all the necessities of a normal life. It was a stressful situation. But as I lied on the floor lifting my concern to the Lord, the numbers "8/9 and 9/8" were strongly impressed on my mind.
I reached for my Bible and noted that it was lying open at 2 Corinthians. I then turned and read 8:9, which says,
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that through His poverty you might be rich" (2 Cor. 8:9).
I then turned to 9:8 and read,
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, so that you, always having enough of everything, may abound to every good work" (2 Cor. 9:8).
The parallels in the two passages were immediately obvious. Both speak of God's abundant financial provision for His people and both speak of His provision flowing from His grace. It is not something earned. It is blessing flowing from His marvelous grace.
I knew God was speaking to me and decided to write the date in the margin of my Bible. I was astounded as I wrote, "9-8-91."
This is the story—from 28 years ago—that came back clearly to me early this morning. Maybe it is for someone who thinks, "I don't deserve God's blessing." You are right! None of us deserves His blessing. That fact, however, should not stop you from expecting His blessing, since it flows from His amazing grace that Paul says He has lavished on us (Eph. 1:7-8).
It is the sort of blessing of which God spoke to the people of Israel as they were going in to possess the land of Canaan. God said that they would possess:
" ... great and fine cities, which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant" (Deut. 6:10-11).
So, let's expect unearned blessings, flowing from God's goodness and grace, coming our way today. Now, that is something for which to be thankful!
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