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.

The Most Difficult Trial

While reading my devotional this morning, it asked this question: “What is the most difficult trial you’ve gone through? How can you use your pain to impact someone else?” My first thought was that I’ve had so many, how could I choose a “most” difficult? If you’re familiar with my story, you’ll understand why I say that. I know I’m not unique in having had a difficult life, and for many of us choosing one “most difficult” is, well, difficult.

Reflecting back, though, it would be losing my husband, Ron. Our life together wasn’t easy, but we had much to be thankful for. We were in our “forever” home, we had a thriving business, we were active in the local church, and we were content. When he lost his health, and began losing the battle with addiction, our life together became difficult at best and untenable at worst. The day I left him was one of the worst days of my life. I was a failure as a wife, and a failure at marriage – I hurt, bone deep. He was in unimaginable physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, and I couldn’t fix it. His rage at life became all consuming, until nothing (especially me) was safe from him.

I was active in the church before it all fell apart, and I thought I had a strong faith. Friends from the church took me in and protected me until I could live the area. My family rescued me. All of these wonderful Christians came together for me, and they reached out to try to help him, too. How did I react? I got back on my feet, new job and apartment, new church, and new friends added to my life, I thought I was good. I was angry, though, and began to blame God for Ron’s behavior and the destruction of my good life with him. My behavior over the next few years was full of denial, and I was determined to “fix” the world. Needless to say, it didn’t end well, but it did get me back to church and connected with strong Christians who showed me the path back to God.

Through those people and the program, I worked through a lot of my issues, and was able to assist other women going through difficult trials. No one’s life is the same, and we cannot judge anyone by what they are going through. I know this: if we can help someone find the courage to open themselves to Jesus Christ, we are blessed right along side them. He is the Comforter, full of Grace and Mercy and Forgiveness like we can’t even imagine.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3‭-‬4 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/2co.1.3-4.NASB1995

Listen to the song Scars by Casting Crowns. https://youtu.be/qCdevloDE6E

Got Questions?

Going through a rough patch? Frustrated, maybe even angry that God has allowed a certain situation in your life? Remember these encouraging words from the LORD.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.”
Isaiah 43:2 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/NASB1995

What JOY we have to look forward to! We may not receive His promise in this life, but, Oh, how glorious the new earth will be! That is His promise, and if you forget everything else about God remember this: He ALWAYS keeps His promises. I forget that fact because I live in the now – and I want it (whatever ‘it’ is!) right now. God’s timing is His timing, and His timing is perfect…. Even when I disagree! God’s Grace and Mercy are perfect. They are here for you to pick up and hold and to make your own.

GOD has answers! Search the Scriptures. Pray daily. Find a church and attend regularly, so that you can hear what God has to say.

“You have put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.”
Psalms 4:7‭-‬8 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/NASB1995

My Shelter

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” … For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.”
Psalms 91:1‭-‬2‭, ‬11‭-‬12 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/psa.91.1-12.NASB1995

Who do you rely on? Who do you trust? I mean really trust? There are a few people in my life whom I trust, but there is a caveat. As much as I love them and trust them, I recognize that in spite of that love and trust, they will put their wellbeing over mine. That’s okay, too. They are human. Their immediate families should be their focus. I don’t expect them to put themselves into harm’s ways to protect me. I love them in spite of that, and I don’t judge them for it. There is one upon whom I know I can always trust, always lean on, and always depend on. His name is Jesus. Name above all names.

Do you know Him?

“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

He doesn’t require anything from us. He offers us a gift. A gift that is without obligation, at no cost to us. We use our own free will to either accept it or reject it. There is no in between; no place for indecision. He is reaching out to you. Will you take His hand and accept Him?

What Am I Doing???

It’s your responsibility to lead yourself well by knowing exactly what you’re good at, what bothers others about you, and what your blindspots are. So ask someone today:

1) What am I good at?

2) What is holding me back?

3) What are the blind spots in my life?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalms 139:23‭-‬24 NASB1995

What am I doing to add value to my family, my team at work, my friendships?

Jesus said to the disciples “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13:13‭-‬17 NASB1995

If you are are a Christian, you know that Jesus is God. As God, He is immutable, incomparable, incomprehensible. As man, He is subject to everything that we feel and experience. He felt the weight of responsibility to obey and satisfy His earthly parents just as we do. His ministry was a huge responsibility, to teach His followers the Truth. He experienced hunger and thirst. He got hot, and cold, and was physically uncomfortable. He knew His “job”, and didn’t shirk from it. He spent hours in prayer with the Father, leaning on His relationship with Him to clarify what to say, where to go, what to do. He knew what He was good at, and He wasn’t above doing the lowest jobs. (Think: washing feet) I think He talked to His disciples and listened if they had any criticisms about Him. I don’t think Jesus had any blindspots like we do, and even though we know that He was perfect, He still suffered.

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 NASB1995

The bottom line is this. When you are struggling with these questions of what am I doing, what am I good at, what is holding me back, and what are my blind spots, take council from someone who will honestly help you, and pray. Jesus has experienced everything we have, plus more. He has the answers!

His Grace

I need His Grace every day, every minute. What is it I am talking about, this Grace? Grace is the forgiveness we receive with our acceptance of Jesus Christ. Recognizing, acknowledging, that He is the Christ, Messiah, Son of God. He is of God, and He is God. He is the manifestation and personification of Grace.

“The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.” John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ That’s exactly what I saw happen, and I’m telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God.” ” John 1:29‭-‬34 MSG

“Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet! Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.” ” John 1:50‭-‬51 MSG

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5‭-‬6 NASB1995

Have you opened your heart to Him? Just like James says, ask. Only a tiny bit of faith will open up a whole world of Grace.

“And now I commend you to God and to the Word of His Grace – the GRACE of the LORD Jesus Christ – which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Acts 20:32 NASB1995

AMEN.

Starting Anew

For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.

But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows….. that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:5‭-‬6‭, ‬9‭-‬11‭, ‬13 NASB1995

It’s a new day; a new year! Embrace it!

What Is Important To You?

“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace ….” Romans 8:6 NASB

My thoughts and desires – my “needs” (okay, my WANTS) often consume my thoughts so that nothing else seems to matter. That is death. Lord, help keep my mind on what’s REALLY important, especially when it seems to be impossible.

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro said “I don’t have to tie myself to an imaginary, unrelenting cycle to produce more, make more or try to outdo last week’s numbers. I have just so much time in the day, and I want to do what I can with all my heart involved. When the clock runs out, then I’ll say, “Come back tomorrow, and I’ll have more.”

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NASB

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:15‭-‬19 NASB

Trust In GOD

“Who out there fears GOD, actually listens to the Voice of His servant? For anyone out there who doesn’t know where you’re going, anyone groping in the dark, Here’s what: Trust in God. Lean on your GOD! But if all you’re after is making trouble, playing with fire, Go ahead and see where it gets you. Set your fires, stir people up, blow on the flames, But don’t expect ME to just stand there and watch. I’ll hold your feet to those flames.” Isaiah 50:10‭-‬11 MSG

I wonder a lot about why we have to suffer so much; why people have to go through so many hardships. I’m reading a devotional by Elizabeth Elliot, called Suffering is Never for Nothing. If you are going through a period of suffering, it’s well worth your time to read. Even if you are in a good time of your life, it’s very insightful. She refers to this verse from Psalms 34:1, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Then she says this:

“Just start thanking God in advance because no matter what is about to happen, you already know that God is in charge. You are not adrift in a sea of chaos. So, what is there to be grateful for in the midst of suffering? Well, God is still love. Nothing has changed that. God is still God. He’s sovereign. He’s got the whole world in His hands.”

Just think on that for a minute. Is your world falling in on your head? I know how that feels, and how utterly helpless and hopeless it can feel to be in the midst of it. But think on that verse.

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”