Tag Archives: trust

Where Our Hope Is

Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
for our hope is in you alone.
Psalm 33:22, NLT*

How often can we honestly say our hope is in God alone?

We rely on what He’s given: jobs, doctors, physical strength and mental abilities. It would be silly not to make full use of them—after all, isn’t that why He provided them?

But let’s remember to look deeper and see where we’re really anchoring our hope. If some or all of our resources are taken away, God will still be God, still here, still loving and powerful.

Father, help us remember to put our hope and trust fully in You and not in what You give. Teach us to recognize Your hand at work, and give us grateful, praising hearts for all You’ve done.

Robin Mark’s song, “My Hope is in the Lord,” is a good reminder.

*New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

butterfly

Trust

My friend Jan Cox has dubbed this the Year of Trust.  I’m focusing on relentless gratitude, and there’s a definite cross-over. Gratitude to God reinforces trust in God.

Here are some links I’ve found helpful:

Carolyn Watts’ posts at Hearing the Heartbeat often bless me.  Here she offers a simple reminder of what trust can look like.

At Something About the Joy, Ginny Jaques shares Four Things About God that Make Life So Much Easier.

At Dreaming Big, Heather Boersma encourages us to let our words affirm our dependence on God and speak life, not death. That sounds like trust to me.

At Promises for All Who Are In Christ, Natalie Gidney lists several promises from God that define who we are in Christ. Good to memorize for when the doubts fly.

And Janice Dick reminds us of God’s protective hold on us.

Trust

My friend Jan Cox has dubbed this the Year of Trust. I’m focusing on relentless gratitude, and there’s a definite cross-over. Gratitude to God reinforces trust in God.

Here are some links I’ve found helpful:

Carolyn Watts’ posts at Hearing the Heartbeat often bless me.  Here she offers a simple reminder of what trust can look like.

At Something About the Joy, Ginny Jaques shares Four Things About God that Make Life So Much Easier.

At Dreaming Big, Heather Boersma encourages us to let our words affirm our dependence on God and speak life, not death. That sounds like trust to me.

At Promises for All Who Are In Christ, Natalie Gidney lists several promises from God that define who we are in Christ. Good to memorize for when the doubts fly.

And Janice Dick reminds us of God’s protective hold on us.

Trusting God’s Love

Immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us.
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it.
Ephesians 2:4, 5a, 7, 8 MSG*

What amazing love is this, that “where God wants us” is close to Him, in restored relationship! And that in patience and grace He will take the time to train us, heal us and shape us into the potential He’s set within us.

He saved us, He is saving us, He will save us.

The “all we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it” is that simple and that hard. Choosing to trust God’s love, and that He’s shaping us even through the things we don’t like, is a hard obedience. It’s “a long obedience in the same direction.”

God who is Peace, the perfect peace of completeness when we’re in relationship with You, thank You for a love beyond what we can imagine. Thank You for rescue and for renewal. Help us, deep in our spirits, to know and rely on Your love and to trust You enough to let You work in us.

Let Matt Redman’s song, “Never Once,” remind us to trust.

*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Careful to Remember

Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied … then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Deuteronomy 8:11, 12a, 14, NIV*

A quick search of Bible Gateway turns up 31 instances in Deuteronomy when the Israelites are warned to be careful not to forget Him and His decrees.

After everything Israel saw God do to rescue them from Egypt and bring them to the Promised Land, someone from another planet might ask how they could be in danger of forgetting Him.

As humans, we know better. We still do the same thing.

We start off well, depending on God and walking closely with Him. Especially when times are hard and we see the need.

But it’s so easy over time to rely more and more on our own strength and understanding. We slip into trusting what we do instead of trusting He who made us. We start fighting our own battles with the universe. We forget to pray and to do our battle in His name and strength.

Father God, our Saviour and Deliverer, forgive our forgetfulness and draw our spirits nearer to Your Spirit. Grow us in dependence on You, teach us to walk closely with You and to be careful to stay near Your side. Help us remember how You brought us out of slavery to sin. Help us to love, honour and worship You and live in Your light.

The Newsboys’ “We Remember” is a good song to get stuck in our heads.

*THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

When God Says No

At that time I pleaded with the LORD: “Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan—that fine hill country and Lebanon.”
But because of you the LORD was angry with me and would not listen to me. “That is enough,” the LORD said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.”
Deuteronomy 3:23-26, NIV*

This is part of Moses’ final address to the Israelites, and he’s referring to the incident where he lost his temper with disastrous results.

Moses is blaming the people, who surely tried his patience, but he was the one who acted in a way that didn’t honour God.

He tells them he asked God to relent and let him into the Promised Land. But God said no.

Not just “no”. “Don’t ask Me again.” Period.

There are other times in the Bible where God gives the people what they want when they insist on it, even though it’s not in their best interests. Psalm 106:15 says in the King James Version, “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.”

Romans 1 talks about people continually turning away from God until He “gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts” to all manner of wicked living.

We’re called to persist in prayer. I think it comes down to trust: God is good, and He knows best. And He has the right to make choices—from His greater wisdom—that we may not like.

It’s about persisting until we get an answer—not until we get the answer we want.

Silence may be a sign to keep praying. “No” is an answer.

Mighty and holy God, You are all-wise and You love us. Help us to pray with praise that You listen and answer. And help us to hear Your answers, be they yes or no. Grant us faith to trust Your goodness, and obedience to not push for our own ways when You reveal them to be against Yours.

I love this song from David Meece: “Things You Never Gave Me

*THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Handle With Care

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15, NIV*

Don’t you love it when God takes a verse you’ve known for years and shows you something new in it?

What does it mean to correctly handle the word of truth?

Well, if we prayerfully study the Bible, mindful of context and culture, looking for what God really says instead of for ways to justify our own opinions, we’re learning to handle it correctly. We can learn to live by its precepts and to trust God’s character. (And we need to learn how to share it appropriately as God leads, in a loving and non-aggressive manner, but that’s another blog post.)

This week I’ve seen another layer of meaning. Although it may be blindingly obvious to everyone else, my Wednesday posts are where I share what God is teaching me, so here goes:

To correctly handle the word of truth, we have to believe it.

Not just believe intellectually that it’s the inspired, inerrant Word of God, but believe the promises God whispers to our hearts and spirits.

Believe God instead of believing the lies.

If I’m feeling scared, am I going to believe the fear and its many whispered lies about inadequacy and failure, or believe the truth? God is with me. In Christ I can do all things. And if I fail, He can do something with the pieces and He will still love me.

Feeling down, will I believe what that insinuates about my worth or will I receive the truth that God delights in me?

Last week’s post was about not believing the lies. And I’ve posted before about not believing our feelings. I don’t think I’ve clearly seen until now that not only do the feelings often lie, but that we have a choice over which source we’ll believe.

Promise-keeping God, thank You for Your written Word. Help us recognize Your truth, and help us to use that truth in defence against the lies of the enemy, of the culture around us, and our own feelings and misunderstandings. Help us believe You, not just in our minds, but in our hearts and spirits. Help us act on the truth You give, so that others can see the difference You make.

 “You Shine” by Brian Doerksen asks why we should be afraid or discouraged when God is Who He is.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

How Irritating Are We to God?

The LORD said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.” Moses did just as the LORD commanded him.

The Israelites said to Moses, “We will die! We are lost, we are all lost! Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the LORD will die. Are we all going to die?”
Numbers 17:10-14, NIV*

Do you ever think about how irritating it is for God to put up with us?

Yes, He loves us. He wants to rescue us from the mess we’ve dug ourselves into—even at the cost of His own Son’s life—but so many times we just don’t get it.

I’ve been reading the account of Moses, how God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt to bring them into the promised land: a place of peace and safety where they won’t be slaves anymore.

All they do is grumble and complain and wish they were back under Pharaoh’s thumb. The context of today’s passage is that some of the people accused Moses and Aaron of taking too much authority, of elevating themselves as better than the rest.

God settled it in dramatic fashion, destroying the usurpers. The people hurled more accusations, and God sent a plague. You can read the whole account in Numbers 16.

So God told Moses to get a staff from each of the tribal leaders, including Aaron. “The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.” (Numbers 17:5, NIV*)

Next day, when Moses collected the staffs, Aaron’s “had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds.” (Numbers 17:8, NIV*) The others remained inert sticks of wood.

All this to give the people an enduring sign of approved leadership, so they’d quit complaining and would not die. And what do they immediately do?

God’s trying to protect them and they yell, “We’re all gonna die!” And they exaggerate: “We can’t even go near the tabernacle now!”

What if they’d trusted and obeyed?

What if we trusted and obeyed, instead of misunderstanding and overreacting?

Holy and patient God, how simple life would be if we’d just let You shepherd us, instead of trying to be in charge of our own lives. You tell us to trust You and not rely on our own understanding. But like sheep we’ve all gone astray. Teach us to seek You first, to trust You. To stop ascribing frightening motives to You and instead remember You are the only trustworthy one. Help us believe You instead of trusting our own fallible understanding.

Todd Agnew’s song, “Shepherd,” speaks to where we too often find ourselves.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

God Has Plans for Us

The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Psalm 138:8a, NLT*

I love David’s quiet assurance in this psalm. There’s danger all around, he’s calm in his confidence that A) God has plans for his life, and B) God will fulfill those plans despite circumstances which give evidence to the contrary.

The psalm says nothing about what God’s plans for David are, or even whether David knows them or not. I don’t know if this psalm was before or after he became king, because he definitely knew that plan.

God has plans and purposes for each of us, sometimes large-scale leadership roles, but also smaller ones in the everyday.

And we don’t need advance notice of what they are, although we try to insist on it. It’s enough that He knows, and that we be ready and recognize them when it’s time.

Father God, help me be content with the step I’m on. Help me trust You to make the next step clear when I need to take it. Forgive me for those times I’ve strained to see ahead and felt entitled to know what’s next. You know. Let that be enough.

Here’s a song of trust in God from Robin Mark: “All is Well,” from his Year of Grace album. It’s a long one, but it’s beautiful.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Dependence on God

Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.
Psalm 138:6, NLT*

This reminds me of the psalm where the writer would rather be a gatekeeper in the Lord’s house than to dwell (presumably in luxury) in the tents of the wicked.

Why do we get so caught up in wanting it both ways? We long for closeness with God, but at the same time we want to be powerful enough to handle things on our own.

We’re not God, we can’t do it all, and in the grand scheme of things we’re pretty insignificant. But He loves us. And He cares for us. And He works His strength through us for far greater impact than if it came from us.

Dependence on Him doesn’t diminish us. It completes us and lets us live in close relationship with the One who embraces us as His sons and daughters.

Father God, help me quiet myself in Your care. Help me remember to live in confidence in You instead of wanting to put confidence in myself. Help me delight in what You’re doing.

Our song this week is from Steven Curtis Chapman: “God is God,” from the album Declaration.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.