Posts Tagged ‘trust god’

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Worship Wednesday (Francesca Battistelli)

December 16, 2015

I love sound theology in worship songs.  This song is a wonderful reminder that we rest because God never sleeps, never slumbers, is never lost, is never surprised, never doubts.  In worship, I put all my hope in God with the restful soul of a child who can trust his Father.

He never sleeps, He never slumbers
He’s been awake at every hour
No tear catches Him by surprise
He’s never lost, He never runs out
He never lives in the shadows of doubt
No fear catches Him by surprise

Find rest my soul
Put your hope in God
Put your hope, put your hope in God

He always is, He always will be
He always has been everything I need
How can this be catching me by surprise
He’s ever strong, He’s ever faithful
His love is real, now nothing is impossible
‘Cause nothing catches Him by surprise

Find rest my soul
Put your hope in God
Put your hope, put your hope in God

I close my eyes, and I can see
The arms of mercy holding me
I close my eyes, and I can see
The arms of Jesus holding me

Find rest my soul
Put your hope in God
Put your hope, put your hope in God

Put your hope in God
Put your hope in God

Francesca Battistelli – Find Rest Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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“THE WAR OF TRUSTING GOD” – Mar. 6

March 6, 2013

“He trusted in the Lord the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.  For he held fast to the Lord, but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses.” 2 Kings 18:5-6

True statements can lose their value in the simplicity of their delivery.  Many of us have been encouraged when slogging through a difficult time with the words, “trust in the Lord.”

“Trust in the Lord” can seem so insufficient against the weight of an oppressive reality.

“I have stage 4 cancer.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“I lost my job” – “Trust in the Lord”

“My child has been hit by a car and is in the emergency room.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“My spouse left me.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“My unborn child is deformed and I am told to abort.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“My brother is addicted to meth.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“I am bankrupt.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“My child has turned her back on us.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“I am in an Iranian prison for the gospel.” – “Trust in the Lord”

“Trust in the Lord” can seem trite but it most certainly is not.

“Trust in the Lord” may sound easy but it most certainly is not.

Trusting the Lord in our time of greatest need may be the most significant act that any of us will ever to do.  Trusting in the Lord beneath the oppression of despair may be the most glorious act of our faith.  Trust is the sharp tip of faith in a spiritual war.  Trust is an action that reveals faith.  The battle to trust God is a faith battle that must be won.

Trusting in God demonstrates our faith because it displays our conviction that God can handle whatever we are facing.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

This does not mean that trusting in God is easy or effortless.  It is the direct opposite.  It is a war against our flesh and our flesh fights dirty.

We need to comprehend that placing our trust in the Lord may be one of the hardest things any of us will ever have to do.  We are engaging the horrible reality of the “seen” with our conviction in the “unseen.” That is going to conflict with every fiber of your natural flesh.  It is a conflict that must be engaged in all seriousness in order for us to be victorious.

King Hezekiah is a great example of what trusting in the Lord looks like.

The King of Assyria came up against Judah and had defeated all of their fortified cities.  The Assyrians were known for their brutality and torture.  They were the military superpower of the time.  They taunted Hezekiah’s trust in the Lord with the reality (seen) of their military conquests.  Hezekiah faced an enemy that had destroyed more powerful nations.  An enemy that had already dragged Israel into captivity.

However, Judah’s most important battle in their war with the Assyrian Empire did not occur on any hilltop or in any open plain or from behind any fortified walls.  The greatest battle for Judah occurred in the heart and mind of King Hezekiah.  I think it is insightful to consider how King Hezekiah fought this battle of faith.

He grieved and was distressed but immediately went to the Lord and sent for  God’s prophet:

“As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord.” (2 Kings 19:1)

“They said to him (Isaiah), “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth.” (2 Kings 19:3)

King Hezekiah did not deny that he was in a battle.  He acknowledged that the situation with the Assyrians was distressing.  He did not try and act like nothing unusual was happening.  In the same way as Hezekiah, we need to be real with our grief and distress and not try and hide if from our brothers and sisters.  It is foolishness to erect the facades of normalcy when we are being rocked to our core.  No battle has ever been won by ignoring the fact that it is happening.

King Hezekiah called for reinforcements.

He immediately went to the house of the Lord and called for the prophet Isaiah.  The Lord gave Isaiah a prophecy that encouraged Hezekiah to continue in his trust of the Lord.  Hezekiah used the sword of the Word of God to engage the enemy in this battle of his faith. In the same way, we need to humble ourselves and seek out our Pastors and teachers and fellow believers and allow them to speak words of truth into our darkness.  We need encouragement that we are doing the right thing when we place our trust in God.  We need to be reminded of our source of strength while we are at our weakest.  We need to take these words of truth and fight back.

The war for the heart of Hezekiah was not won in one battle.  The Assyrians did not pack up and march away at the pronouncement of the prophecy of Isaiah and the resolute stand of the King of Judah.  They came back and once again challenged Hezekiah’s trust with an affront of their accomplishments.  King Hezekiah once again engages the spiritual battle but this time in prayer:

“And King Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said…So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.” (2 Kings 19:19)

This time King Hezekiah did not call for reinforcements.  God just sent them.  Isaiah, led by the Lord, prophesied, “Therefore thus says the Lord concern the kind of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mount against it…For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” (2 Kings 19:32,34)

Prayer is the natural response of a person who is engaging in the spiritual battle of placing their trust in God.  That is how it is done.  Trusting in God is not some mindless metaphysical state.  It is an active seeking of Him in whom we have our conviction.  It is intense intercession with God because we know He is our true and only hope.  Trusting God is a conscious commitment to set our mind on the things of the Spirit through prayer.  Our response to challenges, suffering, grief and distress is prayer.  We fight our enemy with the scriptures and prayer.  Prayer is our act of faith that demonstrates our trust in our Lord and Savior.

Also, there is no need to wait for an invitation when we see a brother or sister struggling in their faith.  Just as the Isaiah sent word to Hezekiah without being sought out, we need to be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit and seek to be a constant source of encouragement to those who are burdened.  Their challenge to trust in the Lord is typically not an afternoon event.  It may endure for weeks, months or even years.  Encouraging our brother or sister to continue to trust in the Lord is not merely a Sunday pat on the back and speaking a brief, well-worn, Christianized slogan.  That child of God is in a war.  We should act like it.  Encouraging someone to trust in the Lord is holding their hand in the darkness, it is helping with other burdens, it is surrounding them with love, it is speaking truth to them, encouraging them to pull the truths from scriptures, engaging in prayer with them, and lifting their eyes up to their Savior.  It is picking up our sword of the Spirit and engaging the enemy on their behalf while they are getting back to their feet.  We need to be ready to encourage our struggling brothers and sisters in real and practical ways through their entire crisis and help them persevere to the end.  We don’t want to leave anyone behind.

“Trusting in the Lord” is not easy and it certainly is not trite.

 “Trusting in the Lord” is spiritual war. 

There is nothing trite or easy about a spiritual war. “Trusting in the Lord” is gritty and messy.  All battles will have set backs and miserable lows.  It will often be grinding, arduous, and confusing. It will require a perseverance and fortitude that you never thought that you had.

However, it is a war that must be won; it will be so worth it.

The Lord is the only place to put our confidence.  As Hezekiah prayed, “O Lord the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.” (2 Kings 19:15)  Our conviction in the Lord God of Israel is a hope well placed.  There is no better.  The victory is already ours as long as we persevere to the end.

Trusting in the Lord is how our faith is refined.  It is often through our suffering when our faith grows in magnificent ways.  We will see the Lord work in miraculous and unexpected ways when we place our trust in Him. Our faith in God is what sustains us through those difficult times when God is pruning.  Mighty servants of the Most High come from battles in which they are pruned into beautiful heirs of the King.

Trusting in the Lord shows to the world around us that our Lord is God alone.  It is when we put our faith on display through difficult times that people see God and that brings all the glory back to him.  Everyone can recognize a victory and know its source.  Trusting is the Lord is so worth it.  It is one of the most significant acts of faith a follower of Christ can do.

Therefore, brothers and sisters trust in the Lord;

MAKE WAR. 

PRAYER: Lord, you are God; you made heaven and earth; you can bridle and turn nations to whatever direction that you desire; nothing is too hard for you.  In you O Lord I place
my trust.  Lord, I know that days of trial are on my horizon.  I know that I will be challenged to trust in you.  Lord, may you be my strength.  Prepare me now for those days of trials.  Help me to trust you well to your glory and praise.   Father, give me eyes to see those brothers and sisters who are now struggling to trust you.  Lord, use me to encourage them to make war and to fight the good fight.  Thank you for the victory; bring us home Lord in a mighty way.    Amen

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“LIMPING ALONG” – Feb. 19

February 19, 2013

“And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”  1 Kings 18:21

A while back I strained my knee.  I was training a little too hard and my knee was informing me that I should tone it back a bit.  I don’t like being injured.  It makes you tentative.  While my knee was sore, I did not trust it.  I limped around and tried not to put too much weight on it.  It was weak and I was afraid that it would fail me if I put my full weight on it and forcefully pushed off.  I did not fully trust my sore knee so I limped around.

I wonder how many of us are limping around in our faith. 

Elijah got after the people of Israel because they were limping between two faiths.  They were hedging their bets.  They were not committing fully to either the God of Jacob or the gods of Baal.  They were limping between two opinions.  How many times have we been caught doing a similar thing?

How many times have we avoided the hard things in our faith?

How many times have we moved tentatively for Christ?

How many times has fear prevented us from giving what we are moved to give?

How long have we just limped along in our faith?

I think that one of the main reasons why we limp is due to trust.  We don’t really trust God so we move tentatively.  We are afraid of putting all of our eggs into God’s basket and pushing off.  What if it goes bad?  What if I have read the signs wrong?  What if …?

Ask yourself, “If the Lord is God, can He handle your what if?”  If the Lord is God, there is nothing that we need to be afraid of.  There is nothing that should make us tentative.  If the Lord is God, we can courageously and actively do God’s will.

I read a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer,

“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.”

Avoiding sin is a very important part of our faith.  Avoiding sin is a commendable and indispensable part of every believer’s faith.  However, I wonder how many are limping along in a faith that is entailed entirely of sin avoidance.  We can become preoccupied with the nurturing of our own souls.  We move cautiously through this life for fear of our soul being damaged or challenged.

God has called us to a faith that is more than sin avoidance.  God has not called us to a tentative faith.

God has filled us with His Spirit.  His Spirit is our source of strength, confidence, and power.  Through His Spirit, we can follow Him actively and with courage.  There is no need to be tentative.  We can put all of our weight, all of our hopes, all of our concerns, all of our cares, all of our dreams on Him and through the Spirit, we can forcefully push-off in full confidence in God.

We can do that because the Lord is God.

Since the Lord is God, there is nothing we have to fear.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for showing me through your word that you are God.  Thank you for being faithful and trustworthy.  Lord, I know that I can rely upon you in all circumstances and that there is nothing that I have to fear.  Forgive me for losing sight of that at times.  Forgive me for being tentative because I misplace my trust.  It seems so foolish to place my trust in myself when I have you.  You are so much better than I am.  Father, fill me with you Spirit; enable me to walk in your Spirit.  Give me the confidence to boldly and courageously follow your will.     Amen

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