Encouragement for Today - July 20, 2006


July 20, 2006

Encouragement for Today


Principle 1


“Exceedingly More”

Rachel Olsen, Co-Editor of Online Devotions, Proverbs 31 Speaker




Key Verse:   
Ephesians 3:20, “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.” (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 but I haven’t always fully believed Him.   

I have no trouble imagining 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 prolific imagination could keep up with God’s ability to bless me. 

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.  A few years ago, as Rick’s 40th birthday approached, I began to suspect this little, blue (dare I say girlie) car did not make Rick feel like the manly and successful guy he is.  So I started to pray for God to make a way for Rick to get a car that he would enjoy driving.  I prayed with great expectation.   

Not long after, 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.  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!).  

While I’d been praying for a different car for Rick, I assumed God would first cause some big windfall of money to come in that would make taking on a second 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 a few thousand “early inheritance money” toward whatever car we chose.  Rick’s mother did the same.  We didn’t ask either of them to do this!  Also, our credit union made a great low interest rate available to us. 

Next, we followed God’s prompting to a certain dealership where we fell in love with a brand new model completely loaded with options.  Looking at the sticker price, I immediately thought, “That is not doable!”  The dealer, however, 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 easily doable. 

It all seemed too good to be true.  Though I had prayed with expectation and looked for God to an answer, I didn’t recognize the answer when it came – just as the Jews didn’t recognize their long-awaited Messiah when He came.  I worried something must be wrong with this vehicle for the dealer to sell it so cheaply.  Don’t we sometimes fret that God’s grace can’t be offered us so freely?

I 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.  As I stood baffled at this great deal on a terrific car when Ephesians 3:20 came flooding into my mind.  It was then I realized God had answered my prayers with a car exceedingly better than I had hoped for, and He had done it in a way different than I imagined. 

We headed back to the dealership and signed the papers.  To top things off, they further reduced the price of the vehicle for financing through them rather than our credit union, and we got the same low term and rate as our credit union offered.  Now, each time I climb into Rick’s shiny black SUV I remember that God can do exceedingly more than my overactive imagination can dream up.

What are you dreaming about today?  What are you praying for?   Are you expecting an answer from God?  Remember it might not come quite how you expect.   God is able, however, to exceed your expectations.  Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:47).

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 Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Application Steps:

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

Reflection points:

How much faith do you have for answers to your prayers?

Do you have a “blessable” attitude and spirit?

Are you open-minded enough to recognize blessings when they take a form different than you expected?

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:

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_radicallyObedient.htm

Good to Meby LaTonya Mason



What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst


Originally published Thursday, 20 July 2006.