I STAND AMAZED                                                                                                                  Andy Hollifield 9-28-17

Matthew 6:8 “….for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Matthew 12:23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?

Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Mark 2:12 And immediately he arose, and took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

Mark 6:51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.

Luke 5:26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today.

Luke 9:43 And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered everyone at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,

John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

James 4:2 & 3 “…..yet ye have not, because ye ask not. (3) Ye ask and ye receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your own lusts.

Amazed——greatly surprised; astounded; suddenly filled with wonder:

Amazed. On dictionary.com there is only one definition for amazed. It is also only used as an adjective and I believe at times as an adverb, as in our title. Amazed is only in the bible 21 times with 16 of them coming in the New Testament. Of those, 13 pertained directly to Jesus and his activities, 2 times in Acts the word is pertaining to the disciples at Pentecost, and the final time in Acts is speaking about Paul. I also found out that the words amazing, amazingly, and even amaze aren’t even in the bible. Just in case you like numerology as I do; 3 times 7= 21. The number 3 represents the trinity and 7 is God’s perfect number. I just thought I would throw that in there.

Over the last 4 weeks, give or take a few days, I have been amazed to see how that God is moving and supplying the needs for my latest project. Before I get to far let me explain that all the verses I listed above are not really intended to be an indictment on anyone except me. If you noticed in reading them, they are in the order they are in the bible and also they all pertain to “asking” and being “amazed.” As I was saying, I want to start at the beginning so that maybe you will get a great blessing out of this story. I hate to even call it a story because it is actually a first hand eyewitness account. Just a few days after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas coast, a pastor friend of mine, Eric Sams, called me and said, “let’s go to Texas.” My response was, “ok, what for?” He told me that the Lord had put it on his heart to take backpacks to those kids in the affected areas. He wanted to do this project as part of H.O.P.E. Ministries since we were already a 501C3 charity and also because I had some experience working disasters and coordinating stuff. To start with, I told him that would be fine and I would run it by my board. This is where it starts getting good. We had our quarterly board meeting and I asked my board what they thought about the ministry chipping in on the expense if necessary. There response was “I assumed that’s what we were doing!” I told them that we would need to vote on it and they approved it. Let me stop and say that the Lord has blessed me with some wonderful and dedicated people to work with and I don’t know how I could do near what we do without them. Just the idea that they had that kind of confidence in me is humbling and a great honor. As Eric and I began to plan this trip, we decided that we would rent a truck from Enterprise just for the sake of having any mechanical expense to fall on someone else and also if there was a mechanical problem, we could just offload the truck onto a replacement and not lose too much time on the trip. After just a few days, Eric called and told me he had already got a couple of donations, and what he had collected was enough to cover the rental and fuel. That in itself was a pretty good indication that we were right on track with what the Lord wanted us to do. We managed to get a PSA put on the radio and then things really started happening. We also posted it on the ministry’s Facebook page. We told everyone what we were doing and that we would like to take maybe a couple thousand backpacks down to the kids. We started getting calls wanting to know where to send donations and some of the ministry’s supporting churches really went above and beyond anything I would have ever expected. Some helped financially, another one has their youth doing backpacks and they also support us regularly, some have got their youth writing letters to the kids there for us to put in the backpacks. We have 2 area AM stations running PSA’s for us and even have some kids from the schools we help locally are also writing letters for the kids in Texas. We have had at least 6 businesses allow us to post flyers, and 2 of them are serving as drop-off points for the items we are collecting. We have also had a couple of retailers give us unbelievable good deals on merchandise and also give us gift cards. We had 1 business to donate 300 drawstring backpacks, and another one provided various school supplies as a donation. We are asking anyone that will, to solicit their dentist offices for toothpaste and/or toothbrushes. I will gladly promote the businesses that have helped us at a later time and with their permission of course. We even had another ministry to donate so far around 200 backpacks and various school supplies with more on the way. One local nursing home is doing a collection drive among their staff and patient families. The retailer that gave the donation of supplies, was just getting them ready to donate to someone the day I went in to try to get a deal to purchase a lot. Only God can orchestrate those kind of “divine coincidences” as I like to call them. God has also put me in touch with some wonderful Christian folks down there to arrange the distributions. We have still got plenty of stuff that we will have to purchase so if you read this letter, please don’t stop giving.

I wanted to write this for one reason, because I am amazed at what God has already done, and also because I am ashamed that I am amazed. That may not make sense but I made the statement to my mom that one thing that happened just blowed my mind. If the truth be known, if my faith was what it ought to be, why would I be amazed? I don’t have a bit of trouble believing that God created this world in 6 days but yet I doubt that he can fill a truck with school supplies and other necessities and cover the expense of the trip. Something is wrong with that picture! As you read in the verses above, the only reason we don’t have these things we need is because we don’t ask. We have prayed from the start that God would provide because my ministry has our Christmas projects starting in late October and I knew we couldn’t foot the bill and still do them. Yet, when God starts giving us stuff and sending in the funds to buy the stuff he hasn’t give us, we stand amazed! “Oh me”, is all I can say. If faith the size of a grain of mustard seed can move a mountain, how much do I really need for God to fill a truck? That is why I am ashamed that I am surprised by all that God has done. There is also another way to look at it though; if we got used to God pouring out his blessings on us like that all the time, we would probably take it for granted. God knows what we have need of before we ask.

I know this has been a little long but we all sit and watch TV or read the paper or Facebook longer everyday than what it will take to read this. Besides, this is better than those other things because this is good news from a far country. This should be as refreshing to us as cold waters to a thirsty soul (Proverbs 25:25). By the way, if you add 25 and 25 you get 50 which in the bible is the number of jubilee, or 50th year celebration of God’s blessings. That may be reaching a little but if you are looking for a blessing in God’s word, you will find one. I don’t know about you but living this account for myself, it has put a little pep in my step! In John 16 Jesus said “ask and ye shall receive that your joy may full. I have to tell you, “my cup runneth over!” The folks in Jesus day said “we never saw it on this fashion.” I say, “yeah we have; the last time God done it. And we’ll see it again the next time he does it and he will do it if we ask believing.”

I don’t know what your truck is; you know, that thing that don’t seem rational to expect and may even look impossible. I do know this; God is no respecter of persons so if he will load my truck, he will put a load of blessings on you too if you ask believing. He can provide where it don’t seem like there is a way. Don’t be like me and be amazed when he does it. If we ask God for something, why should we be surprised when he does it? I hope this will just run your cup over and flood your saucer! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

PS…Check out our Facebook page, H.O.P.E. Ministry Candler, for a list of items we are collecting and info about our upcoming trip.

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