Trust

Trust into myself? I don’t think so….

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.”
Proverbs 3:7 NASB1995

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6 NASB1995

Trust in God. We hear that from the pulpit, from Christian leaders, and in Bible studies. Be vulnerable, humble, helpless. The Scriptures are full of instructions on trusting God rather than man – or yourself. Society says trust your gut. Who – or what – do you believe?

“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.”
Proverbs 28:26 NASB1995

“He only is my Rock and my Salvation, My Stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my Salvation and my Glory rest; The Rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
Psalms 62:6‭-‬8 NASB1995

In ALL ways trust God. Not just the big things, but the little things, too. God says in ALL things. He will not let us down. The Hebrew word for heart means our mind, our body, our soul, our life. We owe God our full trust, no matter what is happening in our lives. Solomon uses the most personal form of the word for ‘LORD’. He emphasizes “Don’t lean on your own understanding!” Our desire for self sufficiency came into being when Adam believed the serpent’s lie. He became convinced that he could discern truth without God’s guidance. It is deception of the deepest kind, and it is the enemy’s goal that we believe it. We are infatuated with relying on ourselves. Sin leads us to believe that we can believe ourselves and lead ourselves and rely on ourselves.

“…. being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; ….”
Ephesians 4:18 NASB1995

“There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. …. Those who contend with the Lord will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; ….”
1 Samuel 2:2‭, ‬10 NASB1995

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
Isaiah 55:8 NASB1995

Ralph Wardlaw, Scottish preacher, said that “leaning on our own understanding is essentially practical atheism… we are not relying on God, we are denying Him.” That grabs my heart! The thought that I have been denying God, and practicing atheism in my life, stops my breath. Claiming to be a Christian, yet practicing atheism, because I think I can determine my own life.

“In ALL our ways acknowledge Him.” To “acknowledge” is “to know, learn, experience, pursue.” Am I doing that? Am I studying, learning, and pursuing God? The more I invest in God, the more I know Him. He never takes a break from leading me (us) and caring for me (us). We are to submit in every area of our lives. Focused on the LORD.

“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.”
1 Chronicles 28:9 NASB1995

Remeber what Joseph went through? It would be my worst nightmare to have to experience what he did, yet hear what he says about it. For myself, I struggle with forgiveness for those who have wronged me, but Joseph forgives his brothers. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
Genesis 50:20 NASB1995

“God writes straight with crooked lines.” – Portuguese proverb. Are we fully trusting in the LORD? Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you let the Scriptures overrule your own thinking?

2. Do you believe that Jesus the only path to heaven? (i.e. Do good people go to heaven?)

3. When was the last time you took a risk to follow Jesus, placing everything in His hands?

LORD, I pray that I can overrule my thoughts with Your help. I know that Your Son, Jesus Christ, is the only way to eternal life with You in heaven. Help me as I daily struggle to to place my entire life in Your hands. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Foundations for Good

“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in His Holy Temple; the LORD is on His heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; His eyes examine them.”
Psalm 11:3‭-‬4 NIV

https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.11.3-4.NIV

The very foundations of our world are being destroyed as we sit back and watch. Morals are in the gutter. People are standing on the streets chanting “Up with Satan”. Children are being murdered with society’s blessing. Men and women are marching to celebrate perversity, and dancing naked and nearly so in the streets. Politicians lie with impunity, and live a blatant double standard. Eugenics is alive and well in these United States. Racism is promoted as being “progressive”. Corporations push transgenderism on our children through toys and clothing lines. Christians are persecuted and murdered in many countries. “Entertainment” is actively anti-Christian.

Where do you stand? The very foundations of Christianity are being challenged and watered down to suit the enemy’s agenda, while we – at least, for many – stand by and watch.

“When all that is good falls apart, what can good people do?” (Max Lucado)

I’ve already run for dear life straight to the arms of GOD. So why would I run away now when you say, “Run to the mountains; the evil bows are bent, the wicked arrows Aimed to shoot under cover of darkness at every heart open to GOD. The bottom’s dropped out of the country; good people don’t have a chance”?
Psalm 11:1‭-‬3 MSG

https://bible.com/bible/97/psa.11.1-3.MSG

Run straight for GOD. Don’t pass go; don’t collect $200. Don’t pause for breath. Stand firm in His arms!

Speak of the devil…. Nah….

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,”
Ephesians 6:18 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/eph.6.18.NASB1995

This verse hit me. The enemy of GOD and all His Children. The leader of the fallen angels. The devil. Satan. Lucifer. Old Scratch. He’s out to get us. Me. You. Any and every person. He only wants to win, and he can’t do that when we pray. I really like the way The Message presents the verse.

“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”
Ephesians 6:13‭-‬18 MSG

https://bible.com/bible/97/eph.6.13-18.MSG

We are not on our own anymore! When we accept the Gift of Salvation from our LORD Jesus Christ, it’s like painting a bull’s eye on our backs. But see, here’s the thing. Satan may have painted on that bull’s eye, but we have a mighty shield to protect us! Not only has GOD assigned His angels to watch over us, but we have the Holy Spirit on our side. We have GOD’S Word and we have prayer. How’s this for a mental image: if you are leaning against GOD, your back is against Him and the enemy can’t even see the target! If he does get in a shot, we know it can only penetrate us and do damage if we aren’t protected.

Bottom line: Pray. Pray while driving to work or school. Pray while cleaning the house and cooking the meals. Pray (silently) for the person in the store or restaurant who is helping you. Pray before you go to sleep and pray when you wake up. Pray while walking. Pray while waiting. Mess up the enemy’s day! Go through your day with a high hedge of protection from the LORD.

It doesn’t mean that nothing bad will happen. In fact, it will spur the enemy to try all the harder to hurt you and discourage and destroy you. So why pray? It will keep your mind where it belongs, on Jesus, and on what is to come – not what’s happening here. It’s the only way to live.

I Can’t Keep Up

I’ve been texting with my “little” brother this morning. He’s sending pictures of their place. The garden and greenhouse he built for them. My attempts are so feeble compared to his. It’s not that I don’t want to do better and have better, I just can’t keep up. There was a time when I could. My body has betrayed me, and I hate it. I look at my yard, and I can see how I want it…. and that’s where it remains. In my mind.

Then I opened my devotional by Max Lucado to today’s selection. Tears came. God knew I would be upset, and He arranged this for me to read today. It’s in God is With You Every Day, for May 22, titled Your Best Days. He tells the story of a little boy trying to keep up with his family in an airport, until he plops himself down on his bag and shouts, “I can’t keep up!”

That’s how I feel. “GOD, I can’t keep up!”

Max Lucado goes on to say this: “Sometimes the challenge is just too much. You want to keep up. You try. It’s not that you don’t. Life has a way of taking the life out of us. When you run out of fight,remember that the promises of God are your to claim. God’s Word dares you to believe that your best days are ahead of you. God promises you a Promised Land.”

Thanks, Max. I needed that today. My Promised Land is coming. I know that, and I need to be reminded sometimes. It may not be on this earth, but someday, I’ll have a garden that defies anything I can imagine now. Remember that. Whatever your dream is. Your Promised Land may not be on this earth. Are you confident that you will reach it? Are you a Child of the King, to claim your inheritance?

“You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your GOD gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”
Joshua 23:14 NIV

https://joshua.bible/joshua-23-14

What I Deserve…

Satan is devious. He wants us to question God and rebel against Him, but if we forget God, that’s even better. He wants us to succumb to the lusts and pleasures of the flesh. He knows how dark and depraved our human nature truly is. BUT he doesn’t “make us” do things – he can’t force us to do anything, ever … it is OUR choice. “But God,” made us ALIVE. We DESERVE death, but because of God’s Mercy we have LIFE instead of hell and damnation. 

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.
Micah 7:18 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mic.7.18.NASB1995

But GOD Who pardons our sins and rebellion, Who is limitless, unending, and Who loves us in spite of who and what we are.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But GOD, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of GOD; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which GOD prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:1‭-‬10 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/eph.2.1-10.NASB1995

Compare: Buddha’s dying words, which were to “strive without ceasing” to the dying words of The CHRIST, Jesus, whose words were “It is finished.” By Grace and through Faith in JESUS we can receive Salvation …. Both of these are gifts of and from God; there is nothing we do can earn them. Because He died…. it was never because of anything I could say or do. No justification.Just like the thief on the cross, it is always just because “the Man on the middle cross told me to come.” We are HIS workmanship; we are HIS Masterpiece!

But GOD demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/rom.5.8.NASB1995
All you have to do is take His Hand…..

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

O LORD, GOD of my salvation, I cry out to you by day. I come to You at night. Now hear my prayer; listen to my cry. For my life is full of troubles, and death draws near. I am as good as dead, like a strong man with no strength left. They have left me among the dead, and I lie like a corpse in a grave. I am forgotten, cut off from Your care. You have thrown me into the lowest pit, into the darkest depths. Your anger weighs me down; with wave after wave You have engulfed me. You have driven my friends away by making me repulsive to them. I am in a trap with no way of escape. My eyes are blinded by my tears. Each day I beg for Your help, O LORD; I lift my hands to You for mercy. Are Your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead? Do the dead rise up and praise You? Can those in the grave declare Your unfailing love? Can they proclaim Your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Can the darkness speak of Your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about Your righteousness? O LORD, I cry out to You. I will keep on pleading day by day. O LORD, why do You reject me? Why do You turn Your face from me? I have been sick and close to death since my youth. I stand helpless and desperate before Your terrors. Your fierce anger has overwhelmed me. Your terrors have paralyzed me. They swirl around me like floodwaters all day long. They have engulfed me completely. You have taken away my companions and loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend.
Psalms 88:1‭-‬18 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.88.1-18.NLT

If you stop reading here, you’ll probably be filled with hopelessness and despair. This Psalm was written by Heman the Ezrahite, a Temple musician, song leader, and a wise and worshipful man. This psalm shows that anyone can suffer from depression. Even the great scholar and preacher Charles Spurgeon suffered terribly from depression. No matter how strongly you believe in God and salvation, depression can be a serious issue. There are many possible causes: situational, systemic (chemical imbalance), physical issues, satanic, or spiritual, but there are things God can teach us in the darkness that we cannot learn in the light. Like in verse 7, it can feel as though God is pouring out His wrath on us, even though we know He doesn’t do that. This Psalm shows that God truly knows how we feel.

Did you know that depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.? Statistically, we are the saddest, most depressed nation in the world. There’s plenty to be depressed about. Man made viruses, abortion on demand, war and rumors of war, violence threatened against conservatism, out of control inflation, food shortages, the highest gas prices in decades (ever?), and the utter confusion our kids and young people are dealing with with multiple genders and the LGB+ agenda being crammed down their throats from every side. Christians are constantly being attacked, in print and in the news as being bigoted. Being white or light skin automatically labels you as racist. It isn’t okay to be patriotic for our own country or to want our own country safe from invaders ….. but you’d better support sending billions of dollars to other countries to defend their borders! (It’s kind of depressing to me to even write about it!)

What can we do? How do we deal with depression? Keep talking to GOD! Tell Him everything. Cry to Him and with Him. Even our hymns show that other Christians struggle with depression and understand our needs from being depressed: “I need You, Oh, I need You….” “I must tell Jesus”…. Be reverent, but also be honest with God. Be persistent in prayer, even if you are being repetitious. Let the Spirit speak when you can’t form the words. We deserve the darkness because of our sins, but because of JESUS, we don’t have to dwell in it! “No pit is so deep, that He is not deeper still” – Corrie Ten Boom. Don’t be ashamed or let anyone embarrass you for needing antidepressants to help you out of the pit of depression. God gave us doctors for a reason. Let the LORD set you free from the darkness!

I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.
Psalms 89:1‭-‬2 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.89.1-2.NLT

And GOD…..

“But when the fullness of the time came, GOD sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, GOD has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “ABBA! FATHER!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through GOD.”
Galatians 4:4‭-‬7 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/gal.4.4-7.NASB1995

For His Name’s Sake

For the sake of Your Name, LORD, Forgive my wrongdoing, for it is great.
Psalms 25:11 NASB2020

https://bible.com/bible/2692/psa.25.11.NASB2020

For HIS Name. Not my name. His Name.

In 50 years (or probably less), no one outside of a few family members will remember my name, or any of my so-called achievements. I won’t be in any history books, and there won’t be any statues or streets named for me. No holidays to remember my life. My reputation and my relationships won’t be of any consequence. That’s okay. I’m not looking for fame.

Here’s what is important. GOD’S Name. His Name is eternal, and immortal. His Name is Holy. David is asking God to for his, David’s, wrongdoing for the sake of the Name above all names, the Name of God Himself. When we call ourselves Christians, everything we do reflects on God, reflects on the Name of God. Going forward, maybe we should be more concerned about the way people see GOD’S Name in us, rather than how they see our name.