God caused the Israelites to hunger and then gave them manna to teach them to hunger for God and rely on God’s provision and to teach them to obey Him. Deuteronomy 8. I’m not too sure what to make of all the world is going through now, but I know God wants us to trust in Him for provision and to be obedient to Him. Neither of those are easy or natural to do, but they are well worth doing! Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

In the healing of the paralytic man, there is an intriguing phrase in Luke 5:17—“And the power of the Lord was present for [Jesus] to heal the sick.” Even Jesus needed the power of the Lord to be present in order to heal the sick. I’m reminded of Mark 6:5 where Jesus could do no miracles except heal a few sick people. The Pharisees and teachers of the law missed out because they only came to find fault with Jesus. May the power of the Lord be present among us and may we be ready to receive it.

The last couple days have been filled with thoughtful emotion as the old church has been demolished. It was so wonderfully built—and strong! The detail in the craftsmanship you rarely find today. The boy in me that loves demolition was excited one moment and the next moment grieving over the arched window above the doorway that no one would take time to build today. You think of the Sunday school lessons taught, the Word of God preached, the people that were saved and nurtured in the faith in that building. Those are the things that remain for eternity.

II Peter 1:3-8 is encouraging and challenging. First, everything we need for life and godliness has been provided by God’s power. It is available; we must access it. Second, because God has made godliness possible, we are to work hard at adding challenging characteristics to our life—faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Third, we are told the result of this hard work is that our knowledge of Christ will not be wasted. To be productive as a Christian is a joint effort—God’s provision and our choice to put it on and walk in it.

Yesterday I came across one of my favorite OT passages (Exodus 35:30-35). God chose Bezalel, filled him with the Spirit of God, filled him with capability with all kinds of crafts including designing, stonework, woodwork, and embroidery, and then to top it off God gave him the ability to teach it to others! As a result, the sanctuary was built as God desired it to be built. You have abilities and gifts that God chose for you. They may not all appear spiritual at first glance, but they all can be used by God for His purposes!

This month God is leading me to focus on prayer in ministry. I’m not a good role model for prayer, but God is not done with me. Oswald Chambers said that for as long as we are self-sufficient, we will not pray. John Bunyan wrote, “You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” God is making us aware in numerous environments that we are not self-sufficient, and we can’t accomplish anything until we have prayed. Let us pray for revival, our churches, our nation.

Today is the anniversary of the U.S. House of Representatives passing the 13th amendment abolishing slavery in the United States in 1865. How horrific that it took us that long to figure out enslaving another person is wrong. We haven’t really learned. Sex trafficking is an epidemic. Drug dealers work to make others a slave to the addiction. Greedy desires can lead to debt that enslaves people. Worse yet, we sometimes choose to enslave ourselves until we lose the freedom of possessing self-control. Christ came to set captives free. Let us be part of that mission!