All You Need

Psalm 23:1

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

Sometimes when I sit in silence, listening to our Lord, I hear something clearly. Sometimes not. Last week, I heard a clear message in sentence form, and it was this:

“You have all you need, all the time. You just don’t always see it, because you have so much more than you need.”

By the “more than you need”, I understood it to mean the stuff that serves as blockage to my view of my real needs which are bountifully supplied. “More than you need” is the surplus that can be a veil to cover the gold which I already possess.

This “stuff” goes even beyond mere physical items. Not only I do have more food than I need, more clothes, more cars, etc.–all serving as cloud covers for gratitude–there’s also the many friends in various places, for which I am crazy grateful, but can easily take for granted in the midst of God’s plentiful goodness. How many deep people I know to whom I can go to for very wise counsel! Thank you, Lord, may I always be mindful of them and Your goodness..!

Whatever we have an abundance of, we tend to take for granted. Like Oxygen.

As odd as it may sound, I also have more health than I need. Most of us do, I suppose. Therefore it is something that is easy to not think about or be thankful for.  Countless studies have shown that those who have less are more thankful than those who have much. We can only keep track of, and be mindful of, so many things or people, I guess. The less you have, the easier it is to remember what to be thankful for.

The Lenten season is such an appropriate time to purge and peel away those things which block our view of God’s gracious provision, the stuff we have in such surplus, that it spreads us thin to the point of not noticing, then forgetting, those things which we already have that we most truly need.

To cope with plenty as we live in the land of plenty means to refrain from excess. We keep only what we truly need, use and can manage well…When people have more than they need, they’re weighed down, distracted and distressed.

~Jan Johnson Abundant Simplicity  [pages 75 & 77]

Just to be clear, I’m not advocating you purge some of your friends or health.

Pray–Even Poorly–Just Pray!

Romans 8:26

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

A preacher at a church we attended years ago use to say, in the context of the kingdom of God, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing even poorly!”

He said that because he knew that the Holy Spirt meets us in our feeble doing, and takes it, and turns it into something marvelous and more powerful than we can imagine.

But we do need to do something.

We need to offer up something so that the Spirit actually has material to take and use. If we do nothing, the Spirit has nothing to work with.

Now God, being the Mysterium Tremendum Ac Fascinosum that He is, can obviously make something out of nothing. But that is not how we see (in the NT) He has chosen to work through His church, which is the continuation of Jesus’s work here on earth.

Think of this co-laboring concept, not only with regard to helping others in the various beautiful ways we are called to as Christ followers, but with regard to prayer. We don’t even really know what to pray for, but the Holy Spirit takes our prayers, even the pathetic ones, and translates them into harmony with God’s will, and gives the almighty Father something He can work with, so to speak.

Perhaps this shines some light on that “mustard seed of faith” thing Jesus talked about. Maybe He was thinking/telling us that, “My Father can and will work so many things that’ll knock your socks off, and bring about His kingdom here on earth. All you need to do is give Him some material to work with because He has chosen to co-labor with you to bring it about. He chose this way out of love and relationship, to work in union for His glory, which is the greatest attainment for you if you will but trust Him. The ‘material’ He asks for is your faith. He only needs a tiny amount, as long as it is sincere.”

So please, for the love of God, pray! Pray everyday, pray constantly, pray for everyone you know, and give the Holy Spirit something to take to our Father for use in His glorious kingdom. Sometimes I don’t know how to pray for someone, so I just repeat their name to Jesus and trust the Spirit will do with it what needs to be done and maximize it beyond my abilities.

So many of these writings I’ve put out there are pathetic, poorly written, or ridiculous–but they’re something.  And I trust that Ruach Elohim can take one throw-away sentence from one low quality writing and change someone’s heart, bringing it closer to Him. Praise God!


Today’s Ripple comes from my deep brother, Justin Wedges. Justin and I did two tours together in the trenches of Outreach, Inc. (a ministry for homeless youth ages 14-24) from 2010 to 2012. When you’ve done that type of work alongside someone, you are forever bonded in blood. He, like so many I’ve worked with, has much to offer the world, and I am profoundly grateful to him for the blessing of his writing.

We bought a car! Well, the bank did most of the buying, nonetheless there is a very respectable Mini Van in our possession! We needed it. The last one started falling apart about as soon as we got it home… I think it was a lemon. “Lemon – an oval citrus fruit, – a pale yellow color, – a person or thing, especially an automobile regarded as unsatisfactory, disappointing or feeble.”

Am I a Lemon?? The old van’s list of shortcomings sounds a lot like mine: Doors that stay closed when they should open, Lights that stay dark when they should illumine, Alarms that go off when all is well, Just won’t start on cold mornings, Noisy rattling and complaints when we’re going uphill, and a persistent unwillingness to keep straight along the road… that all adds up to a pretty low trade-in value to a dealer. But thanks be to God there’s one Private Party who sees this Lemon and will pay any price to get him!

“if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature”—“you died and your real life is hidden with Christ in God”—“and such were some of you. But you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

 “Look!” Jesus exclaims, beaming, “Look what I bought! It’s a 1982 Justin Wedges! We only made one of these and he’s all mine!”

“You bought THAT?” someone replies, “hope you didn’t pay much!”

“Only my life” Jesus says with a grin, “but he’s totally worth it, I work on him daily and he’s actually getting newer!”

When I seek the Lord, and trust what he says, I realize he does love this ol’ 82JW. Brethren and sistren, Jesus is obsessive about his fleet of would-be Lemons. He died for them, lives for them and is awfully proud of what they are becoming. He’s using them…us…you…me, to show the whole world “what is true and noble and just and pure and praiseworthy.”

“You were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and spirit which are God’s.”

What is Lent?

Lent can be a good time to clear away those obstructions which tend to block our view of God.

To purge our lives from the distractions which we find so easily addictive, and which serve to turn the heart, the soul’s gaze, away from Jesus.

To cut off the superfluous things which cut off the power supply line of the Holy Spirit from filling our lives.