1. MIRI BIBLE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 19TH ANNIVERSARY 2. GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND PROVIDER
Dear Members in Christ,
Miri Bible Presbyterian Church 19th Anniversary
We praise and thank God for preserving and watching over the work of the Gospel in the last nineteen years. We remember Miri in the early years, how the mission at that time started in the town of Miri. It was in a second-storey shophouse near what was then the bus station in the center of town. Thank God for watching over this ministry and may God continue to bless the work in this mission station. Herewith is a testimony from Sister Marilyn Nanta for the 19th Anniversary, giving thanks to God for His preservation and provision over the years.
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2.
We share with you all the joy of celebrating the 19th Anniversary of our Church Calvary Miri BP Mission. Praise the Lord, for indeed He is our keeper who neither slumbers nor sleeps but preserves and protects His own. The Lord had done great things to us with the ministry that he had given to us.”
Let us all pray that God will strengthen and grant wisdom to the people in the church at Miri as they continue this work for the glory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
God our Heavenly Father and Provider
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11
Dearly beloved, with the enhanced restrictions on the MCO announced, we observe kindly reminders from friends and family members to ensure that we have adequate provisions. While we frown on panic buying and hoarding, we acknowledge that provisioning is an important part of human responsibility in these times. We do it for the health and well-being of our loved ones and family members. We conduct ourselves wisely as Christians, not hoarding in excess lest we deprive others who may be in greater need. At the same time, there are those who are anxious over the continuity of their livelihood. They may ponder, if the economic woes brought about by this pandemic wears on, what will be of our income, our daily provisions? For all who have these thoughts, the Lord has taught us in His word to pray to our heavenly Father, “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)
Acknowledging that the Omnipotent God provides for all His Creation
When our Lord Jesus taught the disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” He also assured the disciples that the birds of the air labour not, yet “your Heavenly Father feedeth them.” (Matthew 6:26).
Firstly, this prayer is an assurance that God’s omnipotent hand can and will always provide. Our Great God is able to provide sustenance to all His creatures. God, our Heavenly Father is omnipotent. He has the ability to provide for all His creation. Even the littlest of all creatures, of two farthing’s worth is fed and cared for by God. How much more will He care for us who are called His very own sons and daughters. Without doubt, God has the power to provide, and the Lord Jesus assures His disciples of this fact by drawing an illustration from nature. The birds of the air neither gather nor sow, yet the Almighty power of God sees to their sustenance.
Therefore, we ought not to fret or to be anxious for our daily needs and livelihood. By praying to God to give us our daily bread, we acknowledge that God is our provider. While we may toil and labour to maintain our employment or business income, ultimately, our provider is our Heavenly Father.
Think about this, it is God who grants the opportunity for our employment or our business enterprise. It is God who grants us good health to maintain our employment or business income. So let us be reminded to be grateful to God our provider. We may show our gratitude by offering praise to Him, with our lives and testimonies. Remembrance is the hallmark of gratitude.
Depending on God’s Constant Provision
Dear brothers and sisters, we thank God that we live in a land blessed with plenty. Truly, have you at any time experience starvation or the lack of food over an extended period of time? Very unlikely, for we are blessed in a land of abundance, unlike some arid places where trees and vegetables are not productive by nature of the poor soil and harsh climate. In such places, the populace suffers from the scarcity of food.
God has provided very adequately for us. Quite surely, thankfully, most of us do not have to experience the sorrow of hunger or continued starvation. In fact, for some of us, missing a meal is a major deprivation, let alone going hungry for a day or several days.
The verse (Matt 6:11) reminds us of our daily dependence on God’s gracious hand for all our needs. Why does the Lord Jesus bring up this aspect of provision – the frequency of our needs? You see, our heavenly Father knows our bodily needs. While it is true that the human body can survive for some days without food, it is not a desirable condition. To maintain good physical and mental health, growth and repair, the human body requires daily sustenance. Some may argue that occasional fasting is a healthy practice but that is precisely the point, voluntary deprivation should be “occasional.” Under normal conditions, the human requires daily replenishment of food and vital nutrients. When a believer prays, “Give us this day our daily bread,” the prayer acknowledges the need for God’s provision, and at the same time the prayer also acknowledges the need and continued dependency upon God day by day. So while you go about your labour or enterprise to supply your monthly or weekly income, do not lose sight of the constancy of God’s provision. We are totally dependent on God for continuance of His supply.
Therefore, whilst going about your jobs and business, the Christian does not go about with a grievous burden or a fearful spirit for his daily needs. And why? For we know that our Provider is gracious and Almighty. Although the birds of the air do not gather into barns (Matthew 6:26), they do not have to lay store for a rainy day. The fowls do not maintain a 5 year or 10 year savings plan (as a figurative expression), yet the Heavenly Father keeps and sustains them. God provides for the little birds on a daily basis, God provides for them constantly. Brothers and sisters in Christ, just as God is able to provide for His creation, surely He is able to keep and sustain us in these times. I remember my days in industry when the economic cycles will bring anxiety upon many who fear retrenchment and loss of income. Dearly beloved, do not be overly anxious during these times. The Lord Jesus has taught us to pray to the Father in heaven, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and trust in God’s faithfulness.
Divine provision and human responsibility
Does trusting God mean that we do nothing? Does praying absolve us from the human responsibility of doing that which is a matter of necessity? Does it mean that we pray to God to provide and do nothing? No, that is not the message in the scripture. On the contrary, it would be negligence and slothful not to provide for one’s very own as Paul says, in 1 Timothy 5:8 “… if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith....” Paul in his epistle to the Thessalonians speaks of the need to do productive work and to shun those who are slothful and disorderly (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
The Christian is exhorted in the Bible to do that which is necessary for livelihood. Sloth or laziness is a sin that the Bible warns against. That means working for the livelihood, seeking employment or business income in an honest way is the Biblical way. In fact, that is what the late Rev Timothy Tow would refer to as “human responsibility.” As Christians, we have a responsibility to labour in that which is needful. We do not pray and do absolutely nothing – citing divine provision as an excuse for laziness. What the bible teaches is – to firstly walk close to God, and to exercise our human responsibility at the same time. Having prayed and sought God’s grace, the believer has to exercise human responsibility – which may be to prayerfully and actively seek opportunities for business or employment if that is your need. Remember our loving heavenly Father knows our needs.
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
The Christian is urged to seek the kingdom of God above all things, which means seeking God in communion and prayer, reading and knowing God’s word, living a holy life. For indeed these spiritual things must come first in the believer’s life. Obedience to God’s word also means putting our hands to work where it is necessary as a matter of human responsibility. The Lord Jesus assures that all these things shall be added unto you. May God’s Word be our comfort and strength. Let us be exhorted not to be anxious, for our heavenly Father knows our needs, and we as His children ought to trust and put our faith in Him. Amen.
Dn. Lim Seh Beng