Truthful Tuesday: Trust Me!

Trust Me

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

And when the mountains ahead seem too high to overcome and our problems loom large and are not solved, He still says, “Trust me”.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 78:22

22 Because they did not have faith in God, and did not trust his ability to deliver them. 23 He gave a command to the clouds above, and opened the doors in the sky. 24 He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Man ate the food of the mighty ones. He sent them more than enough to eat. 27 He caused meat to rain on them like dust and winged birds as the sand of the sea… 32 Despite all this, they continued to sin, and did not trust him to do amazing things.

The Israelites were so forgetful. One moment they would see the hand of God in mighty ways and the next they doubted Him completely. Despite the LORD moving and accomplishing amazing miracles, the Israelites soon forgot and whined about the next problem life sent their way. We could stand in judgment if we did not have the very same plank gouging our eyes.

In this capsule of time, we tend to live in the moment.

God knows this. He knows we are flesh and continues to pursue us in this cycle of failure, conviction, repentance and redemption. Thank God He does!

If we perceive God’s activity in our lives, we enjoy that moment until the next significant distraction comes our way.

Sorry to paint our condition so bluntly. It is not that I am trying to lack grace but instead to display this magnificent grace that is given for all.

We cannot deny it – we all have a short term memory when it comes to acknowledging all that God has done for us, and we tend to distrust Him when troubles come. But in that same moment when we forget who we are in Christ and Who He is, His grace is  greater.

He moves through His word, the Holy Spirit, prayer, and in our circumstances to open our eyes to our blindness and draw us back to Himself. Revealing the counterfeit of the world’s promises that we are looking to, He is whispering all the while, “Trust Me”.

When we breathe a sigh of relief as a speeding car misses ours narrowly, He says, “trust me”. When a check arrives in the mail when we did not know where our next meal was coming from, he says, “trust me”. When our child recovers from a deadly illness, He says, “trust me”. And when the mountains ahead seem too high to overcome and our problems are not solved, He still says, “Trust me”.

We can tend to see our heroic God as the One to solve all of our problems, but He wants a deeper relationship with us than that. Instead of an immature faith that just wants to receive, He leads us to the revelation that we were made for His pleasure and He delights in us.

When the chips are down, He is our Comforter. When we lose something that He gave us in the first place, He is our Healer. In this chaotic fallen world, He is our strength and the One we run to.

We can trust the One who gave us our very breath and every single thing that we have, if we recognize this truth and see we don’t have a right to any of it. When we open our hands and offer it all in worship to Him, we are doing what we were created to do. Our very lives are His, whatever misadventure or adventure they contain – and He is walking through each moment with us.

Lord, help us to trust You more and more with each moment You have given. Grant us understanding and help us to deliver Your faithful message to others so they, too, can trust You!

Mundane Monday: Isolation’s Surprise

isolation

Photo Credit Flickr Creative Commons and loufi.

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

It is in the unlikely places that God reaches His people with His love and grace.

Scriptures of the Day:

Matthew 14:15

When evening arrived, his disciples came to him saying, “This is an isolated place and the hour is already late. Send the crowds away so that they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 15 But he replied, “They don’t need to go. You give them something to eat.”

Matthew 15:33

The disciples said to him, “Where can we get enough bread in this desolate place to satisfy so great a crowd?” 34 Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven–and a few small fish.”

It is sometimes not until we are in a place of want that we understand how blessed we are. Not knowing how the bills will be paid, hoping the debit card works at the register at the grocery store, not being able to afford prescription medication, or even being unable to fix our car – all things I have walked through – taught me lessons I could never have learned when provision was more abundant.

The assumption the disciples made and we often can, too, is that in those desolate places, when we are alone and it seems there is no help, it is not what we have that matters. It is Who we have that makes all the difference.

The disciples did not see how they could help the masses of people. They looked at what they had, they looked at the resources around them and it looked bleak. This makes sense in our practical world. We don’t plan on what might be, we plan according to what is in our hands. While this is a sensible approach when it comes to living on a budget, God’s math does not add up when His children are hurting or in need. In the place of isolation there is a test. A test to see what our response will be. A test of trust.

He loves to demonstrate His care and use us to do so, as well. Jesus looked at their hearts and longed to provide in a way that brought glory to God. No one could take credit for such a lavish feast. People still scratch their heads today wondering how such a miracle could occur, but that is what is so awesome about God’s provision – it always surprises us because it does not seem possible.

Perhaps one of the most overlooked means of God’s provision is us. He blesses us and watches to see how we will be sensitive to see the needs of others. Will we be His hands and feet? God is asking us today, “What do you have?” Phew. humbling. But one of the greatest joys is giving and seeing God at work in the life of the recipient.  Much like earthly parents love to surprise their children with blessings, our God waits to see if we will call on Him and also be used by Him so He can answer in amazing ways.

But perhaps the need and provision are not the most significant aspects of these biblical stories. God is using that need to open their eyes to seek Him, that we might know Him more.

Lord, thank You that You are never far off when we cry out to You. Please help us to be attentive to the needs around us, ready to help, as well.

Truthful Tuesday: True Repentance

True Repentance

Image from Closerdaybyday.org

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

We live in a unique time today in the politically correct society that tolerates all sin, but judges the righteous…

Scripture:

2 Corinthians 7:9-11

“Now I rejoice, not because you were made sad, but because you were made sad to the point of repentance. For you were made sad as God intended, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. 10 For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret, but worldly sadness brings about death. 11 For see what this very thing, this sadness as God intended, has produced in you: what eagerness, what defense of yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what deep concern, what punishment! In everything you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”

While we as Christians are called not to judge one another, for we are all equally sinful, we are also called to gently correct one another when we see sin in our lives. Sin – that death threat to our spiritual walk with God. Who wouldn’t want that gone?

But sometimes we live in fear of offending someone, even though they are trapped in their sin. The message of the Gospel has the power to deliver one from the bondage of sin and bring true joy into their lives, but we often shrink back because it might hurt them or their feelings. Not really. We are afraid in actuality that they might not like us. So, instead of sharing the life-giving message of Christ’s resurrection and the forgiveness of our sins, we often keep the most amazing truth a secret, potentially damning people for all eternity.

I know. That was hard for me to hear, too. Today at a Chick-fil-a, a woman came up and handed me a napkin she had written upon. She wrote to tell me how astonished she was at the patience of my youngest child who sat while I worked for three hours. Divine appointment. Sometimes these moments are not convenient – wait, who am I kidding? They are never convenient. But we are perpetually on a mission, and those around us are the ones we are to reach.

If we dare to love people enough to share both the message of God’s punishment and forgiveness of sin, We just might witness one of the most beautiful things on this earth – true repentance – that moment when a soul recognizes their need of God and submits wholeheartedly to God’s loving rebuke and correction.

True repentance cannot be faked. It is a devastation over our sin and a turning away from that sin.  It is not the emotion of sorrow for being caught, but sorrow for hurting God and grateful for the instruction that opened our eyes in the first place.

Lord, help us to care about the souls all around us and to share Your message of hope and salvation. Bring divine appointments our way and help us to be Your faithful witnesses. The harvest is ripe – send us – and help us to yield, as well, when the revelation of sin knocks on the door of our own hearts, begging us to truly repent.

Mundane Monday: A Higher Purpose

Perspective - Seeing Christ in Our World by Alex Wong - smaller size

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Our blessings and trials are not about us, but about those around us seeing God’s activity in our lives. #SeeingDeep #DenisePass

Scripture:

Exodus 18:9

“Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the LORD had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 He said, “Praise be to the LORD, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.” 12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.”

The car breaks down, home is foreclosed upon, miscarriage, diagnosed with multiple diseases, falsely arrested, hospitalization for pneumonia, a spouse betrays us. Poor us, right? Life’s ups and downs can leave any of us disillusioned, heart broken, in a foul mood or a bona fide well-deserved pity party. Or maybe not. For those who grab a hold of the grace of God are overcomers and are changed forever along with those around them.

What if our perspective on troubles was flipped “right side up” to recognize the hand of God at all times? Assuredly hardships are not something to be delighted in, but they teach us much about contentment and relying on our God, more than good times ever could. But more than that, the people around us get a front row seat and the opportunity to see God sustain us, encourage us and rescue us in evil times.

Jethro saw God’s hand in the life of his son-in-law, Moses. He was overjoyed, and this joy resulted in him worshiping God. Wow. To think that our response and God’s movement in our lives could serve as a catalyst for someone’s salvation and worship of God is humbling.

If we complain and blame, we lose our reward and perhaps the people watching us do, too. If we surrender, God is glorified, His fame spreads and victory is ours. Those troubles at the beginning of this blog? They were all just a few of what I have personally faced. They caused me to cry out to God, despite my need to confront my own lack of trust in Him for the suffering I faced.

Like Jacob, when we wrestle with God and try to understand, we end up transformed. Whether or not we ever fully comprehend, we inherently know our God is good and will use it all for good.

Lord, thank You for Your grace and for showing us the deeper purpose in all of life. Help us to glorify You in everything, for You are worthy!

Worshipful Wednesday: The God Who Notices Us

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Nothing escapes God’s notice; He is sovereignly working out all of the details of our lives for His glory and our good.

Scriptures of the Day:

Psalm 31:7-8

“I will be happy and rejoice in your faithfulness, because you notice my pain and you are aware of how distressed I am.  8 You do not deliver me over to the power of the enemy; you enable me to stand in a wide open place.”

 

Psalm 33:13-18

“The LORD watches from heaven; he sees all people. 14 From the place where he lives he looks carefully at all the earth’s inhabitants. 15 He is the one who forms every human heart, and takes note of all their actions. 16 No king is delivered by his vast army; a warrior is not saved by his great might 17 A horse disappoints those who trust in it for victory; despite its great strength, it cannot deliver. 18 Look, the LORD takes notice of his loyal followers, those who wait for him to demonstrate his faithfulness.” 

This world often holds a deist point-of-view, supposing that a god exists and made the world, but then went on a hiatus.  Maybe he’s too busy, or perhaps he does not care.  Most people can acknowledge that there must be a Creator, but whether or not this Creator is intimately involved in the lives of His creation is where faith begins or dies.

Of all the religions in the world and all the demands of “gods” there is no god like our God. He is the God who “sees” – who saw Hagar and Ishmael, when Hagar thought she would have to watch her son die in the desert.  He is the God who saw Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb; the God Who sees all.

He is the God who notices us and longs to deliver His people.  But sometimes we have to wait and be uncomfortable.  That does not mean He does not see, nor does it mean that He does not care.  What we perceive is “bad” can be a tool used by a loving God who sees what we really need.

As we surrender our will over to the God who really does see it all, we truly are in the best hands.  Our myopic view is self-focused and lacking.  We often see in the here and now and our all-knowing God sees it all.

Now to some this fact of God’s omniscience is comforting – to others it is horrifying.  Each of us could not stand before such a God, unless this all-seeing God would cover our sins. And that is just what our God did.  We do not need to hide or try to attempt to cover over our shortcomings.  We can come before our Holy God, confessing our sins and receiving forgiveness.

Our God Who notices, Who knows every detail of our lives, invites us to trust afresh in Him, even when our circumstances seem dire.  He is able to give grace and strength now and knows the end. He is already there.

Lord, thank You for being so amazing.  I cannot contemplate how You can know all, but I am so grateful that You do.  Help us to trust in You at all times.  You are good!

 

Truthful Tuesday: Our Moral Compass

bible_compass.jpg

Inspirational thought of the day:

Only God determines what is truly right.

Scripture of the day:

Judges 17:5

“In those days Israel had no king.  Each man did what was considered to be right.”

A ship follows the lead of a small instrument no bigger than a stopwatch and the captain of the ship trusts that this small tool called a compass is not leading them astray.

The Creator of this world has left us with a compass, as well.  Not only an instruction manual called the Bible, but the Holy Spirit to influence us toward righteousness.

I myself am directionally challenged and rely on a GPS to point me the right direction.  I will often trust the GPS above my own instinct, because I know the rate of accuracy of the GPS is far greater than mine.

But sometimes it gets confusing when there are multiple compasses and voices crying out, trying to persuade us that their voice is the right one.  Folly cries out but so does wisdom.

Humanism has seeped into every aspect of our culture to the point where it seems odd to not just do what we feel like doing.  That’s because the flesh is very persuasive.  But if our basis for our decisions is founded primarily upon our feelings, we can be led far away from God’s best.

If the heart is deceitful and every inclination of our heart is wicked in God’s sight, how are we then to live?  What compass do we use to make decisions and how can we make our stubborn wills follow God’s way?

In our pride, we tend to think we are right.  All arguments emanate from this reality.  Authority is a means by which god establishes order.  Without it, we drift.  With it, we often rebel, anyway. Using a compass takes humility and trust.

There is hope for those Who would call on the Name of God and seek the counsel of His word.   The Holy Spirit is able to guide us and we are able to exercise our free will to walk in integrity or to walk after the flesh and do whatever we want.

Ironically, what we want is often counter to God’s ways and as much as we think it pleases us, it leads to our ultimate ruin.  The motivation to do things our way would change if we could think the matter all the way through and choose according to God’s law.

Praise God that He has absolute truth in this world of relativity.

God has not left us without instruction nor does He let us remain in confusion if we seek Him sincerely. When we yield our plans to God and filter our desires through God’s word, we find peace.  Gently He leads us like an inner compass to do His will and not our own.

Lord, help us to surrender all to You.  Your will be done.  Your ways are best.  Grant us wisdom to recognize when our flesh is pulling us away from what really matters – living solely for You, Jesus, and according to Your Word.

Mundane Monday: While We’re Waiting

waiting

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Sometimes we struggle to trust God because we base our view of God as if He was like us.

Scriptures of the Day:

Genesis 50:20

“As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people, as you can see this day.”

Genesis 52(b)

“Certainly God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

Exodus 6:9

“Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and hard labor.”

Perspective.  Trust.  Faith.  Hope.  We can say that we have these character attributes, but it is not until we are in the fire that we see what we are made of.

Scripture provides beautiful snap shots of God’s faithful leaders as they faced kidnapping, betrayal, imprisonment, abuse, fear and testing to follow and obey God when the task at hand seemed insurmountable.

God told Joseph ahead of time through dreams that one day he would lead his brothers.  He did not know what it meant at the time, but He knew God had spoken.  Joseph knew his brothers intended to harm him.  He was right, but he did not stop there.  Even while in prison, He credited God with any wisdom that He was given and hoped beyond hope that somehow God would make sense of it all.  It would take two years for the cupbearer to remember his promise to not forget Joseph. While it seemed like Joseph was forgotten and rotting in prison, God’s promises and plan still stood.

God told Moses ahead of time that Pharaoh would be stubborn and hardhearted.  He promised that ultimate deliverance was His plan.  Moses fretted and feared, but he kept on putting one foot in front of the other and doing the next obedient thing God called him to do.  He kept reciting the promises of God and kept on keeping on.  Even though Moses told the people of God that God was going to rescue them, their focus was on their suffering. They could not have hope, for the abuse and hardship extinguished their faith.

God told Daniel what He was going to do ahead of time, too.  Daniel’s example of faith even when it went against the law of the land resulted in beautiful fruit and God’s ultimate deliverance.

God consistently has given amazing promises and prophecies and fulfilled them all.  That is Who He is. Sometimes we struggle to trust God because we base our view of God as if God was like us.

God is not a man that He should lie, yet when we are waiting for His promises to be fulfilled, we often lose sight of His goodness and promises and begin to give in to fear and despair.

But maybe some would say that God’s promises are not for them.  Not according to God’s word.  All of His promises are yes and amen for those whose hope is in the LORD, to those who have been called children of God.  God is able to help us to overcome our discouragement when we feel forgotten.   Those who went before us modeled how we should wait.  Being obedient.  Meditating on God’s promises.  Hoping at all times.  Radical faith.

Maybe you are in the desert right now, waiting for God to deliver you.  He is able to make a bloom in the desert and to make you fruitful in your suffering.  He said it and He will do it as we seek Him in that place and look to our faithful Deliverer!  As we look to Him, we begin to forget our troubles and recognize that the deliverance we seek is not all about us. God’s purposes touch the lives all around us, and as we seek His comfort, a testimony is written to help the ones who come behind us to look to their God in times of trouble.

Lord, help us to wait expectantly for You, knowing who You are and trusting in You at all times.  You are faithful!  You are good!  Thank You for your strength and grace in the fire and please encourage all who are waiting now to look to You, for their hope will never be disappointed.