Posts Tagged ‘Trust’

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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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QUOTE (Richard Baxter) – Dec. 8

December 8, 2015

220px-Richard_Baxter_Colour“You come hither to learn to die, I am not the only person that must go this way: I can assure you, that your whole life, be it ever so long, is little enough to prepare for death. Have a care of this vain deceitful world and the lusts of the flesh: Be sure you choose God for your portion, heaven for your home, God’s glory for your end, his word for your rule, and then you need never fear but we shall meet with comfort.”
~ Richard Baxter

In honor of Richard Baxter, an English Puritan Theologian, who died on this day in 1691.

“O what a blessed day that will be when I shall . . . stand on the shore and look back on the raging seas I have safely passed; when I shall review my pains and sorrows, my fears and tears, and possess the glory which was the end of all!”
~ Richard Baxter

Resources:
This Day in History for 8th December
Goodreads > Richard Baxter Quotes

 

 

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QUOTE (C.S. Lewis) – Nov. 29

November 29, 2015

lewis“Ever since I served as an infantryman in the First World War I have had a great dislike of people who themselves in ease and safety, issue exhortations to men in the front line. As a result I have a great reluctance to say much about temptations to which I am not exposed.”
~ C.S. Lewis

In honor of C.S. Lewis , a British novelist, poet, academic, Christian apologist and one of my favorite authors, who was born on this day in 1898.

Resources:
November 29 in Literary History
Exhorting Syrian Refugees to Stay and Fight from the Safety of the Recliner

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QUOTE (C.S. Lewis) – Nov. 22

November 22, 2015

lewis“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose that you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it? Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.”
~ C.S. Lewis
In honor of C.S. Lewis , a British novelist, poet, academic, Christian apologist and one of my favorite authors, who died on this day in 1963.

Resources:
November 22 in Literary History
C.S. Lewis Quotes

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TOMORROW’S STRESS – Jan 19

January 19, 2015

“But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:16

enr 500I was recently reading the Engineering News-Record (ENR) 2014 listing of the top 500 design firms.   The recognition of the top five firms lists some of the largest engineering corporations in the world.

  1. AECOM Technology Corp., Los Angeles, Calif.
  2. Jacobs, Pasadena, Calif.
  3. URS Corp., San Francisco, Calif
  4. Fluor Corp., Irving, Texas
  5. CH2M HILL, Englewood, Colo

Sadly, my engineering firm did not make the list.

It was not a shock. I did not politely applaud while being overlooked. My firm was not even nominated. We have less annual revenues than most branch offices of these large engineering companies.

I perused in amazement the annual revenues these organizations require. My stomach turns at the scale of those numbers.  I know well the effort to feed revenue to a small consulting organization and I am daunted by the appetite of these mammoth firms.

The engineering profession has not fared well over the last six years. My firm, like many, is only a fraction of the size it once was and we have lost important clients in a hyper-competitive marketplace. We no longer have the backlog of work waiting patiently for us. We no longer have the confidence that shaking the marketing bush a little harder will yield more contracts.

I know well the pangs of a company hungry for revenue. It was not fun. It is not something I want to experience again. Ironically, the desire to avoid one pang can increase what one was trying to initially avoid – stress.

In the business world, we do not identify stress by its origins.

Many business people take pride in their ability to manage stress. It is characterized as strength. It would be an acknowledgment of weakness to actually discuss the origins of stress. Therefore, we cloak our insecurities in a generic category.

When I analyze the burden of my job stress, it reveals that the majority of what I generically call stress can more specifically be described as worry. I worry about how to keep an engineering firm operating. I worry about where the next client will come from. I worry about renewing contracts of existing clients.  I worry about retaining employees.

I am encouraged in the remembrance of Jesus feeding the five thousand. The people needed to be fed. The disciples had no practical way to feed that many hungry mouths. It was a startling lesson of faith.  Jesus gave thanks for what they had and multiplied it to what He knew they needed.

The last few years have proven that I cannot feed enough work into my engineering firm.  However, God can. He knows what we need.  He knows what it takes to keep me and my colleagues employed. He has proven that by keeping us in business when many other firms had to close their doors.

I am reminded by Jesus’ example that I need to be grateful for what I have.

Today, I have work to do. In fact, we have enough work to keep us busy through this coming year. God has been faithful. He has given me continued employment. He has brightened the future.

I am no longer worried about daily allocating a meager workload or weekly finance reports. Now, I find myself worrying about long-term projections – what will happen next year and in three years – what will happen when I need to retire.

How faithless is that?

God knows what we need.
We do not need to be anxious about our lives.

We do not need to worry about what we are going eat… what we are going to drink…what we are going to wear (Matt. 6:31) …how we are going to maintain our lifestyle…how we are going to manage our reputation…or whether our retirement be enough.

God knows what we need. All of those worries are manifestations of unbelief.

English: Jump! Deutsch: Spring!

Yet, those in the first world are among the most stressed – worried – people in the world.

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Mathew 6:32-34)

So, how are we supposed to live?

We all have decisions to make. We must make decisions about careers, employment, and retirement. We must make decisions about what we should spend, save and share. We must respond to changing economics of the world we live within.

However, we do not need to stress – worry – about those decisions. We are not to allow our decisions to be governed by worry.

There are many considerations associated with making a good decision. Stress should not be one of them. A decision made for the primary purpose of alleviating the stress of worry is often a decision made in unbelief. Worry should never have a place in our decision making. It should be a foreign consideration in the life of a believer.

If your decision making revolves around the relief of tomorrow’s worry, then you might be making a decision based in unbelief.

The followers of Christ are supposed to make their decisions based on the kingdom of God and His righteousness. We have been given a wonderful promise. God promises to add all that we need when we seek first His kingdom. It is beyond our control to secure the future. God owns the future.

Many jump from one opportunity to another in an attempt to control the uncertainties of the tomorrow. The sad reality is worry always finds them. We cannot outrun worry.

The unbelief of worry has to be confessed.

J.C. Ryle said:

He offers us a gracious promise, as a remedy against an anxious spirit. He assures us that if we “seek first” and foremost to have a place in the kingdom of grace and glory, everything that we really need in this world shall be given to us. It shall be “added”, over and above our heavenly inheritance. “All things shall work together for good for those who love God.” “He withholds no good thing from those who walk blamelessly.” (Romans 8:28, Psalm 84:11)

The challenge for today is to walk by faith in God’s promise for tomorrow. Today, we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Tomorrow, we trust God to handle.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me of my unbelief.  Forgive me for not trusting in your promises.  Forgive me for trying to control the future.  Thank you for the blessings that you have given me.  Thank you for watching over and caring for me.  Help me to walk in your Spirit and to set my eyes on you and you alone.  You have given me a bright future, because you have made me your child.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

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PATIENT BELIEF – May 7

May 7, 2014

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.” Psalm 37:7-9

Everyone has to wait. I don’t know of anyone who seeks to wait. We are forced to wait. We wait for the doctor; we wait in traffic; we wait in the grocery line; we wait for results; we wait for opportunities; everyone is confronted with the necessity to wait. Therefore, we get a lot of practice in how to wait well.

Alone on the train

The advent of Smartphone game apps makes waiting a little more bearable for me. I play solitaire on my Smartphone to pass the waiting moment. I will settle myself into a comfortable waiting chair and occupy my mind with a game of solitaire as I wait.

The particular solitaire app that I play has two game options. One option is a random dealing of digital cards. Cards appear on my screen from a random number generator with no reason or intention. It is  purely a matter of chance as to whether the cards will fall in such an order as to allow you to win the game. The other option is a dealing of a winning set of digital cards. In this case, someone has designed the order and placement of cards so that the hand can be won. It is a matter of stepping through the cards and discovering the design hidden in the stacks.

Patience

I noticed a pattern in my playing the last time I waited for my wife and daughter’s hunt for the elusive prey of fitting jeans. I noticed that I am rather impatient with cards randomly dealt. I am quick to abandon the game and move on to another because I know that chaos rarely allows a win.  A misplaced card will frustratingly block a stack that contains the link to successfully win the game and I will quickly give up.

Alternatively, I will patiently try to find the secrets of a game that I know to be designed. The knowledge that the game is not randomly driven, results in a surprising degree of patience. I will patiently flip through the digital cards long after I would have abandoned a random game with similar apparent barriers, because I know that chaos does not reign.

I realized that this pattern of patience in the simplicity of solitaire might hint at a wider truth. Waiting becomes difficult when we begin to lose hope that all will work out well. We are prone to act rashly when we sense the powerlessness that comes from waiting. The temptation to give up, grows proportionately to our belief that chaos reigns.

We are told to patiently wait for the Lord. There is a belief inherent in that command. Patient waiting only makes sense if there is a design behind the circumstances we find ourselves in. The knowledge that life’s circumstances are not randomly driven should result in enduring patience.

Because God is in control…

…we don’t have to fret about all that has gone wrong.
…we don’t have to fret about those who cheat to get ahead.
…we can refrain from anger.
…we can refrain from revenge.
…we know He will deal with the evil of the world.

Because God is in control, we can wait patiently for Him.

PRAYER: Father, you know that I don’t wait well.  Forgive the unbelief inherent in my impatience.  Lord, teach me your patience.  Teach me to trust you.  Teach me to wait upon you in faith.  Thank you for being in control.  Thank you for giving my life and this world a plan.  Thank you for the design that your hand has made in all things.  Open my eyes to the work of your hand in this world and my life.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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“GIRL WITH THE CROSS TATTOO” – Feb 3

February 3, 2014

“Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.”  Mark 1:6

While worshipping Sunday morning, I noticed the back of a young lady.

Female Cross Back Tattoo

I noticed it because she was making what I presumed to be a statement with her clothing.  She wore a blouse that had a strategic bit of fabric missing in the back.  The  small hole in the blouse revealed an oval of her back between her shoulder blades.  It is a type of shirt that I see many young fashionable ladies wearing. However, the absence of fabric is not what drew my attention.  My attention was caught by what was framed within that oval frame of fabric.  She had framed a tattoo within the center of that oval.

Tattoos are prevalent.  They are a much more commonly accepted mode of expression than when I was growing up.  They are so common that I am now more surprised by the ink-free athlete than by the inked.  A trip to Wal-mart will make one wonder if tattoos have now become adulthood’s right-of-passage.

I find tattoos an interesting case study of expression.  I am fascinated by the images people are willing to associate the remainder of their lives with.

Most images are frivolous and nearly meaningless.
Some images are purely evil.
There are images that appear to have hidden meaning.
Others are just an attempt at being cool and hip.

The choice that caught my attention at this Sunday service was that of a tattooed cross revealed by a fashionable blouse.  It was a statement.  I do not know how many blouses this young lady tried on in order to find one that framed her chosen expression but I assume that it was not mere coincidence.

Wei Tchou / Foter / CC BY

I realize that tattoos elicit strong opinions.  Regardless of the debate on tattoos, I appreciated the statement of this young lady.  She had selected a cross as the image she wanted the world to associate with her person for the remainder of her life; a solitary, simple, beautiful cross.

Ann Althouse / Foter / CC BY-NC

John the Baptist was clearly identified by the clothes that he wore.  Clothes of camel-hair and a leather belt associated John the Baptist as a classic type of Old Testament prophet.  John the Baptist chose the clothing of a prophet and then backed it up with the actions and lifestyle of a true prophet even to his death.  His life confirmed the statement of his chosen clothing.

Tobyotter / Foter / CC BY

I hope that the young lady with the cross tattoo chose it with as much intentionality as John the Baptist selected his garments.  My hope for this young lady is that her actions and lifestyle confirm the statement on her back throughout her life.  May her life be such a statement to the glory of God that when people see the cross on her back that they will know it is more than just a tattoo.

I hope it is a statement.

I hope that we all make similar statements in our lives.
I hope that we all live in such an intentional manner:

That our clothing makes a statement,
That our language makes a statement,
That our joking makes a statement,
That what we value makes a statement,
That our business practice makes a statement, and
That even our tattoos make a statement.

PRAYER: Lord, I lift up the young lady who I saw in church.  Father, I hope that what I saw was a statement of a child of God telling the world that she is yours.  I pray that you have captured the delight of her heart.  Lord, help her to learn to live in the strength of your Spirit to be a woman of God to your glory.  Father, help me to look beyond my own proprieties to see the true statement that my brother or sister is trying to make.  Help me to be gracious to the freedoms in Christ that other may choose.  Help me to be less concerned with other people’s statements and more intentional about the statements that I am making.  Lord, may those statements be consistent with the life I desire to live for your glory.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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