Encouragement 07-01-04


July 1, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Exceedingly More
Rachel Olsen, Member of Speaker Team
Key Verse

Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.  Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)


I've often read Ephesians 3:20, which assures us that God is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever ask or think.  I guess I didn't fully believe Him.  

I have no trouble thinking I am soon going to realize my dream of landing a book contract.  Nor is it hard to imagine moving into in a beach-side home and hiring a twice-a-week maid!  I often think any day now science will make a remarkable face cream that makes me look gorgeous with no make-up on.  I can also envision my two children receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for their future missions work.  Yes, I was fairly confident my imagination could keep up with God's ability to bless me.

Years ago, when our first child was born, my husband drove a pick-up truck with no back seat for baby.  So we traded the truck for a minivan and Rick began driving my old car: a powder blue, sub-compact, Plymouth Colt.  For years, he drove that car to the university, watching his students pull into the space beside him in their shiny new or late model Jeeps, Durangos and even Beamers.  As Rick's 40th birthday approached this spring, I began to suspect this little, blue (dare I say girlie) car did not make him feel like the manly and successful guy he is.  I started to pray for God to make a way for Rick to get a car that he would enjoy driving.   

A few weeks ago, summer temperatures ascended upon the southern town where I live, and our little blue car refused to blow cold air.  I took the car to a trusted mechanic while Rick was out of town.  The prognosis: it needed a whole new AC unit, costing $1,000 and four new tires, costing several hundred more.  The car had been paid off well over a decade ago and was now only worth about a $1,000 (when everything was in working order!).  I had the shop hold off on the repairs until my husband returned so we could discuss it. 

I had assumed, while praying for a different car, that God would cause some big windfall of money to come in - a book contract, or maybe a big raise - that would make taking on a car payment easier.  Here we were, however, test-driving cars on faith with no windfall of money.  After a few days of shopping, I looked at our financial statements and saw that we had more in savings than I thought.  Furthermore, my father surprisingly offered us $3,000 "early inheritance money" toward whatever car we chose!  Rick's mother followed suit and graciously offered about another thousand.  Our credit union also made a great low interest rate available. 

Next, we followed God's prompting to a certain dealership where we fell in love with a brand new, black 2004 model that was completely loaded with options.  Looking at the sticker price, I immediately thought, "That is not doable!"  The dealer, however, willingly reduced the car price by nearly 20%.  Then, to our amazement, they offered us another $800 for our trade-in with the busted AC and balding tires.  Combined with the money freely offered us by family, this made the car price completely doable. 

It seemed too good to be true.  I began to worry that something must be wrong with the car.  I went home and checked Consumer Reports which gave the car excellent reviews.  I ran the vehicle's VIN number through every car history report and lemon check I could find, with no ill results.  The car had never been sold and only had 12 miles on it!  I stood in my kitchen baffled at this great deal on a terrific new car when Ephesians 3:20 came flooding into my mind.  It was then I realized that God had made a way for us to get a new car that was exceedingly more than I had hoped or asked for ... and He had done it in a way different than I ever would have imagined. 

We joyfully headed back to the dealer and agreed to purchase the car.  To top things off, they further reduced the price of the vehicle for financing with them rather than our credit union, and we still got the same low term and rate as our credit union offered!  God was still blessing us!  Now I believe God can do exceedingly more than my overactive imagination can dream up, and I smile each day as I see my husband eagerly climbing into his shiny new car to drive to work.  God is good, ladies, all the time.

My prayer for today:

Dear Lord, thank you for your provision in my life.  I choose today to believe that you can do exceedingly more than I ask or think.  I will expectantly look for your blessings as I walk in obedience to your word, in Christ's name I pray. 

Application Steps:

Identify the places in your life and your family where God's provision is needed and pray for it to come about.

Reflection points:

How much faith do you have that God desires to bless you, just as much as me or anyone else in his kingdom.

Do you have a "blessable" attitude and spirit?

Think of some times in your life when God did exceedingly more and write them in your journal for future reading and encouragement.

Power Verses:

Matthew 22:29 Jesus replied, 'Your problem is that you don't know the Scriptures, and you don't know the power of God.'"  (NLT)

"The truth is, you can go directly to the Father and ask him, and he will grant your request because you use my name.  You haven't done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.  "I have spoken of these matters in parables, but the time will come when this will not be necessary, and I will tell you plainly all about the Father.  Then you will ask in my name. I'm not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf, for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God."  John 16:23b-27 (NLT)

Luke 1:45 "You are blessed, because you believed that the Lord would do what he said." (NLT)

Luke 1:47 "For nothing is impossible with God." (NLT)

Additional resources:

P31 Woman - Our Monthly Magazine

A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life by Sharon Jaynes and Lysa Terkeurst

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst

Originally published Thursday, 01 July 2004.