When I first started writing for this site, I made a list of topics in my phone. I would try to brainstorm every couple of days to add to the list. I wrote on things I knew, but each day I was writing out of fear. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t have anything to say or that I’d run out of topics. As I shared my fear with an author, he told me I was approaching it all wrong. He said, “You need to go to God each day with an empty bucket and say, ‘Here i am, Lord. I need a fresh word. Will you fill up my bucket with enough for today?’” That conversation changed how I write and how I approach writing. It’s forced me to quit trying to use my knowledge, and to go to God each day seeking to hear Him.
In Exodus 16, the children of Israel had crossed the Red Sea and were on their way to Mount Sinai. They were hungry and began to glamorize their slavery. They complained that at least they had food in Egypt. God heard them and decided to supply them with what they needed. Each night, quail would fly into the camp and rest on the ground to provide them with meat. In the morning, the dew would turn to a thin bread like substance called manna. They were to take their buckets out in the morning to collect about half a gallon of it per person as food rations. They did this every day while they were in the desert.
In Exodus 16:15-16 Moses said, “This is the food that the Lord has given you to eat. The Lord has commanded that each of you is to gather as much of it as he needs, two quarts for each member of his household” (GNT). I believe the same is true for us. To move from a head knowledge of God to a heart relationship, we must go to Him each day seeking Him. Sunday’s sermon wasn’t meant to feed you all week. God is looking for you to meet with Him daily to feed your spirit. It’s time we started getting fresh manna from above each day. If you’re not sure how, pray, “Lord, I need fresh manna from you. I open my heart to hear from you today. Show me what you want to hear from you today.” Then open your Bible and read until you hear from Him. It’s not about the quantity as it is the quality. God will speak to you through His Word and fill your bucket daily.
In the early 2000’s I became a NASCAR fan. I had watched several races with some friends and fell in love with the strategies involved in winning a race. After watching several races, my friend told me I needed to pick a driver and a team. I decided I like the number 16 Roush-Fenway Ford driven by Greg Biffle. A while later we got tickets to a race weekend and enjoyed the spectacle that was put on. They said Biffle was going to sign autographs on race day, but you had to get there early to get tickets. Traffic prevented that. I watched him sign autographs with several others who didn’t get tickets. I then positioned myself behind the trailer he was signing in. When he came out, I was the only one back there. He signed my hat, got in his golf cart and drove away. None of those other spectators got his autograph because they stayed out front.
1 Samuel 3:1-3 says, “The word of the LORD was rare and precious in those days; visions [that is, new revelations of divine truth] were not widespread.Yet it happened at that time, as Eli was lying down in his own place…and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was” (AMP). I love this story because it points out a truth we so often miss. Eli stayed in his own place and Samuel was staying in the sanctuary. Samuel knew where the presence of God was at the time, and he positioned himself to hear from Him. When God spoke to Samuel, it took Eli a while to understand what was going on because he had been more concerned about his own comfort than hearing from God. He was waiting for God to come to him instead of positioning himself close to God.
James 4:8 tell us, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you” (NLT). There are many times when I wonder where God is and why I haven’t heard from Him. I think we all go through that. Instead of questioning where God is, I’ve learned to question where I am. Have I positioned myself to hear from Him? Am I doing things that draw me closer to Him or am I just sitting around waiting on Him? If it’s been a while since you’ve heard from God, look at where you’ve positioned yourself. Are you in a quiet place in silence waiting on Him? Are you spending time digesting Scripture? God has promised to draw close to us after we draw close to Him. Think back to the things you were doing when you felt His presence most. Are you doing those things still? If so, have they become routine? God’s desire is to meet with us and to speak with us. We must be willing to get in a position and place to hear from Him though.
When I started writing devotions back in 2012, it didn’t take long before I started to have a problem with fear. Each day I was afraid that I wouldn’t have something to write about. I started to keep a list of topics that I could write on in case I couldn’t think of anything. Still, each night and morning I had trouble wrestling with the fear of not having something to write about. I expressed this fear to another writer and asked them how they dealt with it. He replied, “You’re looking at God wrong. You’re approaching Him as if He is a well, and they run dry. God is a River always flowing and always fresh. He is the all creative One. If you will take your bucket to Him each day, ask Him to fill it with fresh, living water, He will fill it.” I have done that for over 8 years now, and God has never failed to meet with me and fill my bucket.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites has left Egypt and were headed to the Promised Land. It was about a month and a half into their journey when a similar fear came over them. In Exodus 16:3, they complained to Moses that they didn’t have any meat. They wished God had just left them in Egypt where they were slaves, but at least they had food. God replied, “Now I am going to cause food to rain down from the sky for all of you. The people must go out every day and gather enough for that day” (GNT). God provided fresh manna each day, but the people had to gather it and only get enough for that day. God continued to meet their need each and every day until they entered the Promised Land.
Fast forward to the New Testament in John 6. Jesus fed 5,000 people with a few pieces of bread and some fish. The people ate, were filled and had leftovers. The next day they were asking for more food and a miracle again to prove that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus referred to God providing the manna, and the people asked Jesus to do the same for them. In verse 35 He replied, “I am the Bread of Life. Come every day to me and you will never be hungry. Believe in me and you will never be thirsty” (TPT). Jesus reiterated to them, and to us, that if we will come to Him each and every day, He will supply our need with more than enough. However, each of us must seek Him daily, spend time alone in prayer, hold out our buckets and ask Him to fill it. He’s providing fresh manna for us every day. We just have to go get it.
I was recently speaking with a high school student about their college plans. They said they didn’t know what they were going to study yet because they were waiting to hear from God. I encouraged them to at least enroll in the basics and begin the process of college. I explained that with the Great Commission each one of us have already been called to go into all the world. It honestly didn’t matter what degree they chose because God would use them in whatever field they went into. Plus God requires that we take the first step of faith before He moves.
So many Christians sit around their whole lives and waste decades waiting to hear from God before they do anything for the Kingdom. The truth is that if you’re doing Kingdom work, God will bless it. He can’t give an increase unless you sow some seeds. In the parable of the sower, he was throwing seed everywhere hoping some would stick. The ones that fell in good soil produced a hundred times what was sown. Imagine if he had waited on God to tell him where to throw. Those seeds may have stayed in the bag forever.
Proverbs 16:3 says, “Ask the Lord to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out. (GNT)” You have to make plans before you can commit them to Him. You cannot sit and wait for God to give you plans. Make them, commit them to Him and then ask Him to bless them. This is another example in scripture where we act first and then God moves. We make the plans and then the Lord blessed them. We carry out the plans and He makes them successful. The verse clearly says, “You will be successful in carrying them out.”
We can spend a lifetime planning and waiting, but God is looking for those who will carry out their plans. So much potential goes unrealized because we are waiting on God when He is waiting on us. He already gave us the command to go. Why do we then sit and wait for Him to tell us exactly where? You can pretty much go anywhere, spread the seeds of the Gospel by doing whatever for the Kingdom and God will bless it. All the world includes your job, where you live and the people you interact with. It doesn’t have to be to so where on the continent of Africa.
Not everyone is called to go to a foreign country, but all of us are called to go somewhere. Not all of us will be in full time ministry, but we are called to be ministers wherever we go. Not all of us can preach, but all of us can say something about what God has done. Don’t let waiting on God become an excuse that keeps you from doing something for God. Don’t sit around wasting your life waiting to hear from God for exact directions. Abraham was told to go and then he would be told where. It’s the same for you and I. If you step out, God will provide the direction. He can’t guide and direct you if you’re not moving though.