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Showing posts with the label Trust

Whom have I?

Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. (Psalm 73:25-26) How's your health? If you are anything like me, you answer that one with 'fair to midland' - you aren't ailing really, but you have a few aches and pains that get you down from time to time. Physical health may fail, our bodies may grow weary, and our minds fatigue with age, but God's gift to us is that our 'spiritual heart' will never grow weak or weary. When the desire of our heart is God first and everything else after that, our hearts are going to be pretty 'healthy'. God's spiritual strength can abide with us even when our physical strength wanes. We might not be up to winning any hundred-yard dashes at our age, but one thing is for certain - we aren't going to succumb to the pressures of our enemy, either! We have God on our side and that

My troubled emotions

Fear is a powerful emotion that some say can actually paralyze you - putting you in total "stall mode" while the world moves on around you.  If you have ever experienced that heart-pounding, sweaty palms, shaky legs kind of fear, you know just how many scenarios run through your head making it almost impossible to exercise clear or rational thought at that moment.  Fear produces an anxiety response physically - it just isn't the emotional upheaval going on inside our heads.   When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. I trust God, so I am not afraid of what people can do to me! I praise God for his promise to me. (Psalm 56:3-4) Scripture comes complete with stories of men and women in positions of great peril, emotional upheaval, and even life-threatening circumstances of both their own and others doing.  We all struggle with similar emotions and the physical responses which come along with them.  We don't stand as uniquely "different" when it comes to the lif

Tested Faith

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. (James 1:2-3) How do we fair when things are a little bit too difficult or different from the 'ordinary' in our lives? If there is uncertainty looming, where do we turn? The answer to those two questions can show us a great deal about where it is we place our trust and on whom we 'rely' when the times are a bit challenging. Panic setting in, or a peace that seems to envelop you - which one best and most often describes you?  When our faith is being tested, it is an opportunity for God to demonstrate his power and grace. If we face difficulties in 'panic mode', we frequently take things into our own hands. In other words, we jump right out of God's arms and attempt to take control of the situation, leaving God somewhere 'back there'. Get out ahead of God's p

No bridge - no worries

I am the one who cut a path through the mighty ocean. (Isaiah 43:16) What 'mighty ocean' do you need God to cut a path through this year? Like it or not, there are times when insurmountable obstacles lie in our midst, begging to be crossed, but seeming to be without a way. The 'way' is made by God. There was no 'bridge' for the Israelites to cross when the Red Sea stood in their way. There were no 'steppingstones' across the rushing waters. There wasn't even a 'shallow' crossing point. The waters were their barrier between where they had been and where they needed to go. Some of us are standing right there today - between where we have been and where we need to go. I don't know about you, but I am not much good at 'building bridges'.  Maybe we need to trust God with making the way across instead of trying to build the bridge on our own! Too many times we attempt to 'fix the fix' without waiting on God to see how he will

Leaving that comfort zone

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan, Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. There he set up camp beside the oak of Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites. (Genesis 12:1-6) Most of us would admit to having some form of a 'comfort zone' in which we live, work, relate, or drive. We just don'

Do we really trust him?

And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:17-19) The Apostle Paul had been instructed to take the gospel message to the Gentile nation (those who were not part of the Jewish faith). He was told to teach them about the work of Christ on their behalf – to tear down any dividing wall between Jew and Gentile and to welcome all into the family of God. To this end, he asks God to help those who have welcomed Christ into their lives to know the intensity and integrity of God’s love. Intensity because God’s love is deeper than any human form of love. Integrity b

Despair, Desperation, and Disgrace

When we have lost everything, including hope, life becomes a disgrace, and death a duty. (W.C. Fields) Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced. (Psalm 22:3-5) Who would have ever thought a comedian like W.C. Fields would have been so wise? When we have lost hope, life leads us into despair, desperation, and eventually disgrace. Before long, we honestly think the only way to overcome these three haunting difficulties is death. When God is truly enthroned in our lives, we don't need to settle into despair - because God is our hope. We don't have to imagine the worst, leading us into places of deep desperation - seeking all those solutions to the problems our mind's eye can imagine. We aren't subject to disgrace because God ensures that all things are possible with him and him alone.  Despair is really the absence of hope -

Our mission

I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. (John 17:14-19) Be assured the hatred flung upon believers is not 'ill-placed' - they are just showing their rejection of Christ and his provided way into right relationship with his Father. Jesus could have taken all who believed out of this world with him when he ascended into heaven, but their work was only beginning. Although they no longer conformed to the ways and customs of the world, they were 'left behind' to carry forth this message of hope and restoration. Instead o

A two day delay

The story of Lazarus is one of those 'memorable moments' we see throughout scripture. Jesus' friend, taken by some form of illness, and his sisters beckon Jesus to come to him so he can be healed. Two days pass before Jesus even begins the journey back to Judea to be with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Two days! If I was waiting for my brother's healing, knowing Jesus was 'dilly-dallying' in his response to my request, I might get a little miffed about the delay - especially when the delay ended in my brother's death! How many times do we find ourselves in a place where there is a tremendous need like this one, asking Jesus to come quickly, but realizing there will be a 'delay' in what we hoped to happen? If you heard, "Hey, just chill, I am coming, but just not right now," how would that make you feel? My trust would be tested to the max - how about yours? A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. Thi

What can you do?

We all have those moments when Jesus doesn't 'give us what we want', don't we? The people following Jesus this day were intent on him showing them a miraculous sign of some sort. While they didn't stipulate the exact sign, they wanted one as 'grand' as the manna that came down from heaven in the wilderness and they are so bold as to say so. Jesus told them if they wanted to perform 'God's works', then they would believe in him. Their response - show us something 'more grandiose' and 'amazing'. Gotta ask, but what is more amazing than the God of the Universe standing right there in your midst? They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? (John 6:28-29) If you want us to believe in you, show us what you can do! Heartbreaki

Rowing way too long?

If you have heard that old saying, "all in the same boat together", then you know it means we are all in the very same precarious situation. For some, the situation is that you are caught in a rapid of sorts, being tossed out of control, with little to know strength left to fight the 'current' of life's woes. You aren't in that boat alone - there are others there, too. Others are in the boat that seems to be taking way too long to get to where you are all going, growing wearier by the day as you endure the challenge of 'rowing' forever. Some might even feel like they have lost their oars and are adrift, being taken wherever the current and winds would take them. Regardless of who you are, you are not in the boat alone - there are others in similar situations, rowing, fretting, tiring just like you.  That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and he

Not impressed with our arguments

The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home. While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well. He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!” Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” And he and his entire household believed in Jesus. This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea. (John 4:49-54) Come now! Have you ever asked God for something so desperately? This father was earnest in his request, knowing his boy's only chance for surviving whatever illness had overtaken him was for the healing touch of Jesus. I imagine if I had of wanted Jesus to come with me to my house, lay hands on one of my sick children, a

A melding process

Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart. (John 3:23-25) Have you ever been guilty of acting one way, but 'feeling' totally different than you were acting? It is like the little kid that sits down because he is told to, but everything inside of him is 'standing up'! Many believed Jesus just because they saw the miracles - the good stuff attracted them to him. Yet, despite the overwhelming proof that he was 'no ordinary carpenter guy', they didn't place their 'trust' in him. Is it possible we can 'see' and not 'believe'. The old adage that 'seeing is believing' may not be 100% accurate - many see, far fewer believe! As a matter of fact, Jesus would show himself 'post resurrection' to some who didn&#

Just right

Sacrifices and offerings are not what please you; gifts and payment for sin are not what you demand. But you made me willing to listen and obey. And so, I said, “I am here to do what is written about me in the book, where it says, ’I enjoy pleasing you. Your Law is in my heart.’” (Psalm 40:6-8 CEV) In the Old Testament, sacrifices and offerings were expected. The people would bring lambs, goats, bulls, and even birds or grains to the temple to offer to God. These would be prepared in a particular manner and either consumed on the altar, or parts of the offering would be consumed on the altar, and the remainder would be enjoyed by the priests who served in the temple. Jesus declared this "form" of worship no longer necessary when he offered himself as the "perfect sacrifice" for our sins. Yet, in our worship today, we often find we are still all actively trying to bring some "gift or payment" for sin, thinking God "demands" this of US . We hav

In the ditch?

God’s eye is on those who respect him,   the ones who are looking for his love.  He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad times;   in lean times he keeps body and soul together. (Psalm 22:18-19) Have you ever needed to be rescued? I remember running off the side of the road on a snowy day and needing someone to help me get my car back up onto the roadway. It took some pushing and pulling, a whole lot of wheel spinning, and a bunch of strength, but we finally did it. When life gets you in the ditch, what do you do? I was fortunate enough to have a couple of kind guys stop on their way to work, willing to get thigh high into the snow, and with a whole lot more muscle than I had. Sometimes we just need to utilize a strength not our own, with know-how better than ours, and see what can happen when we do! What does respect for God mean? I think it is a combination of us giving up the right to control everything in our lives and then being willing to do what he says, when he says it, as he

Argue less, trust more

I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above. All of us who are spiritually mature should think this way, too. And if there are things you do not agree with, God will make them clear to you. But we should continue following the truth we already have. (Philippians 3:12-16) If any of us were what God wants us to be, we'd be perfect, and I haven't met one 'perfect' person yet! There have been some I'd say were 'pretty close to perfect', but nobody is perfect on this earth - especially apart from having Christ in their lives. Perfection is

Beyond Words

So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus.   For the power of the life-giving Spirit—and this power is mine through Christ Jesus—has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death.   We aren’t saved from sin’s grasp by knowing the commandments of God because we can’t and don’t keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours—except that ours are sinful—and destroyed sin’s control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins.   So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us. (Romans 8:1-4) Obedience is never by our own effort, but we are told to 'follow after' certain things. There are things we need to leave alone, while there are others we need to fully engage in. What do we 'leave alone'? Most will say we leave behind things like smoking, chewing, running with those that do, but it is more tha

Toiling or Trusting?

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4:6-7) If you are anything like me, you have those moments of worry or doubt that plague you from time to time. As much as you want to trust God for the outcome, you just find it hard to let go of the worry. You mull over the stuff until it is a constant nagging in your brain and your heart. A sense of God's wholeness is the furthest thing you are experiencing at that moment, but it is the one thing you long for more than anything. So, how do we go from being so overwhelmed by the circumstances of life to the place where we sense his wholeness in our lives? Maybe it comes when we are finally willing to let God know our concerns, not hol

Knock, Knock, Open Up

We all live extremely busy lives, experiencing some level of a lack of "togetherness" in our days, but it is not to be the "norm" for us. In fact, God wants us to learn to rely upon him bringing things "together" FOR us rather than us having to do all the work ourselves. We "enter into" what God has for us - in turn, he enters into us and begins to set things in right order which are kind of helter-skelter within us. In the end, he begins to effect changes to the things in our days we cannot handle apart from his grace and action helping us to "get through"! By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the

My WHOLE heart?

The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts . Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) All of scripture is filled with principles meant as "safety guides" for our lives as much as they are meant to point us toward the heart and mind of God. The Ten Commandments - the basis for evaluating if we are "keeping" God's intention for our lives in an honorable manner. There are times when we are unaware of the dangers which lie right in our path - but if we will remain consistently faithful to the truths (principles) we are given, we should know safety as we travel these path