Trust

Jeremiah 17:7 (NLT), “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.”

Blessed is the one who trusts in Him. Period. This isn’t rocket science. If we trust Him, we are blessed.

It all boils down to this: How much does He love me? When we are sure He loves us we stop questioning Him and just do what He tells us to do. This is putting our faith on Him and Him alone.

I have been struggling with some trust issues the past few days, feeling like I have bitten off more than I could chew and felt like I didn’t have it in me to do what I had purposed in my heart to do. An old enemy, anxiety, came creeping back, and I am ashamed to say I didn’t toss him out as quickly as I should. After a wonderful encouraging Sunday morning message, and some lengthy prayer, I finally realized that my lack of trust wasn’t in myself, that unwelcome anxiety was the result of placing my trust in ME instead of in Him.

Simply put, it was sin. So, what does a person do when they realize they have misplaced their trust? Repent! I told God I was sorry, thanked my Pastor for the message, and changed what I was thinking.

This morning during my quiet time with the Lord, He spoke these words into my heart, “I LOVE you, let that be your strength today.”

Do I trust Him! You bet I do. Do I sometimes forget He is trustworthy, sadly yes, yet, He is faithful to remind me of His love. And because He loves me, I can put my trust in Him.

Amen!

See Him Smiling

Numbers 6:22-27 (Message Bible), God spoke to Moses: “Tell Aaron and his sons, this is how you are to bless the People of Israel. Say to them, God bless you and keep you, GOD smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face and make you prosper. In so doing, they will place my name on the People of Israel—I will confirm it by blessing them.”

(Verse 25 NIV), “the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;”

I am not sure which version I like better. God smiling on me is a wonderful picture. Who doesn’t like to have someone’s face light up with a big smile whenever you walk into the room? However, the words “His face shine on you” reminds me of the warmth and brightness of the sun. On a gloomy, overcast day, with moods grey as the sky, when the sun bursts forth from behind the clouds, something sings in my heart.

For too long, people have had a vision (a false one) of God being angry, a picture of a stern face and a disappointed Father. It’s not the kind of Father most people would want.

It’s time to get that lie of Satan out of our minds and out of our hearts. He (God, our true Father) is SMILING ON YOU! He is NOT angry, disappointed, or ashamed of you. He loves you, He is there to help you, and He wants only the best for you. He isn’t some distant deity that is watching on high to catch you doing something wrong. He is patiently waiting for you to give Him a place in your heart. He longs for you to return His love, just like a child to a father.

He is not frowning on me, my Heavenly Father is smiling on me!

See Him smiling on you.

Get Up!

Luke 22:46 (NIV), “When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

We all get tired, lazy, under the weather, weary, and lethargic and the list goes on… But God says to us, “Get up!”

Not much good happens while we sit on our backsides. Sure a bit of office work, some reading or computing, but actual work for the Lord, work that wins souls and pleases Him happens when we are up and moving.

Sure Jesus made it through it all without the prayers of the disciples, but perhaps His suffering would have been less, or maybe the real suffering happened to the disciples because they didn’t watch and pray.

We do get down, but make sure you call on the strength of God and get back up.

We feel week and tired, but He promises us rest.

He also cautions us not to grow weary in well doing. That doesn’t mean don’t do good things, it means build yourself up in His most Holy Word and walk in His love and strength.

Get up!

False and Fragile Chains

A inspirational speaker a few months back reminded me of something about elephants in captivity used for entertainment (years ago, not sure if the practice is still used.) When the elephant calves are small they tie a chain around a hind leg and attach it to something solid that can’t be moved. Over the years the elephant learns that it can only go so far, before the chain stops them in their tracks. Eventually a small rope and a tent stake will hold this enormous animal in place, actually it’s the ingrained belief, not the fragile rope at all.

Why did this speaker, Jonathon Thomas, use this elephant story? To point out that what we think, how we train our minds, is very important.

For years, I suffered from anxiety. At one point it almost had me paralyzed. Like those elephants, I believed I could only go so far, with certain “safe people”, and lived a horrible life of fear and bondage. All of this happened while I was a born again Christian! Why did it last so long?

I think mostly because I had to change the way I thought and my expectations. Instead of believing made up lies of the enemy, I should have believed what God said. When I expected God’s best and quit expecting the worst, life got better. Once I sat through a dentist appointment with no pills and no anxiety, the next time wasn’t problem. When I could wait in line, sit in a crowded room, and manage a new situation without the sky falling or the ground swallowing me up, and without fainting or seemingly heart failure, I knew that God had my back.

Whenever feelings of anxiety try to come back, I rebuke them and quote His truth.

What fragile and false chains are holding you back?

Vacation Thoughts

We just got home last night from a ten day trip to Tennessee to visit some family. We are all getting old. We visited with a 90 year old aunt who is cared for by her daughter who is in poor health. They were sweet, spunky, and full of laughs. Then there was the uncle who has beginning Alzheimer’s who just had surgery. He was confused, in pain, and scared. His wife, with knee issues was so patient and caring. We stayed in the home of two cousins who visit us often in Wisconsin. They are some of the most generous people I know. People fed us, talked our ears off, loved on us and were happy to see us.

We were there for some “decoration day’s”, a day where the graves of loved ones are decorated with fake flowers. We visited the ashes of my father in law and the tombstone his Tennessee family put up for him. One of my favorite cousins was buried right next to him, with a spot waiting for his wife. We also participated in a graveside service in a Church cemetery where another cousin was buried years ago, two weeks before she was to be married. She was 19. Life is short.

Family is important. They remind us of where we came from and sometimes of where we are going.

For some of the family we visited, their faith was strong. Some were struggling.  None had given up hope. Hope in Jesus.

This trip was a reminder of how important it is to really know Him! He strengthens us, comforts us, heals us, and gives us hope of a better future.

Come Home

Art work by Charlie Mackesy

Luke 15:20 (Berean Study Bible), “So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still in the distance, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”

In Luke 15 we can read about a man that had two sons. The younger wanted his share of the inheritance before his father had passed. This can tell us a lot about this young man. Normally an inheritance isn’t given until there is a death. In those days the oldest son got a double portion and it is possible he resented this. People who dream of getting their inheritance early usually dream about losing the person early. But this man begs his dad to give it to him now. He was tired of working his father’s land, he was tired of being the second son, and he obviously didn’t respect his father.

The father, in his love, gives the son all that is due him. What does this selfish son do? He leaves everything behind, the work, the family, his social standing, his home. Then he proceeds to fulfill every lust of his flesh. When you have a lot of money, people suddenly want to be your friend. When you are “paying for the next round” or drive the fancy car with all the bells and whistles, when you throw your money around like it will never run out, people use you.

Before long, this young man who was always provided for, who had a family and a home, had an inheritance waiting, had absolutely nothing, and because he had run so far from it all, he found himself alone and starving.

Good thing he finally “came to his senses”. He remembers how good it was back home, he thinks about how his father even treated the servants pretty darn good. It took all of this for him to realize dad wasn’t such a bad guy after all, and his life was a whole lot better than it was at the end of the rope. He began to miss his old life and says to himself:

I will get up and go back to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ (Luke 15:18-19)

Then while he was way down the driveway his father sees him. That means dad’s been watching and he can recognize this son he loves from even very far away. Does he wait for the prodigal to come to him with his tail between his legs, rehearsing the “did you learn your lesson” speech? Nope, he runs to his son and kisses his neck. To this father, it’s like his son had returned from the dead.

What a love. I want that kind of father, don’t you? Well, it’s time we “came to our senses” as well. We have that Father. He recognizes us better than anyone, He is looking for us to come up the drive, He is ready to give us a party in Heaven. He loves us no matter how we have behaved, disrespected, and squandered what He has already given us. He loves you!

Won’t you come home?

I Am Living In Hope

Romans 8:22-25 (BSB), “We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see? But if we hope for what we do not yet see, we wait for it patiently.”

Hope is a wonderful thing. It keeps us from giving up, from throwing in the towel, or tucking tail and running away. In that long dark tunnel, hope is that little bit of light way off in the distance that promises you will come out on the other side. Romans eight tells us that we patiently wait for something we hope for, especially when we can’t see it.

Knowing God has healed us, that He wants us healed, can help us be patient when the symptoms are still there. We can pretty much apply that to any promise God has given us. Just because we can’t see it, or maybe it is only that tiny speck of light, doesn’t mean it isn’t coming. God isn’t a liar. If He said it, it is a done deal.

In I Timothy 1:1 Paul calls Jesus our hope, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.” (Emphasis mine).

Think about that for a minute… Jesus IS hope.

I know that He is in me and I am in Him. So, it isn’t a stretch of the imagination to say that I live IN HOPE.

What will make me lose hope, only me. My wrong thinking, my impatience, my doubt and unbelief, my lack of trust in Him.

I choose hope, I choose Him.