TRUST….

Psalms 56:3 – “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.”  NASU

Isaiah 12:2 – “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.”  NASU

Spiritual Blog - Trust

As I study Scripture I sometimes find statements by different people that seem diametrically opposite and yet are so intricately linked it is amazing.  I find these two passages fascinating.  David, the man God described as being ‘after His own heart’ and the prophet Isaiah who gave us a prophetic picture of the Messiah that is incredible both spoke on FEAR and TRUST.  Yet, it was David that said, “when I am afraid, I will trust’ and Isaiah that said, “I will trust and not be afraid.”  I would have thought it would be the exact opposite but both provide some valuable insight.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “All who get on board Heaven’s train will arrive in heaven, but those who join David in this incidence will ride third class and those who walk with Isaiah will ride first class.”  I didn’t say that Spurgeon did and it opens the door for us to examine FEAR and TRUST.   If you can accept it I suggest that ‘Trust is not a product of fear; it is a preventative.’

Spritual Blog - Trusting

Let me give you a couple of illustrations I heard years ago that helped and help me.

There was an airliner flying in a terrible storm and the passengers began to panic in fear.  The stewardesses were reaching for air bags for terror had gripped all the passengers. Some cried, some cursed, and some prayed but everyone but one lady in first class was terror struck.  When asked why she was not fearful she replied, “My husband is the pilot of this plane and he is well qualified to get us to the airport.”  She trusted!

It is reported that Stonewall Jackson and his sister-in-law were in a small boat crossing the river below Niagara Falls and his sister-in-law became fearful and began questioning the ability and decisions of the boatswain.  Jackson informed her that unless she felt she was better qualified to handle the boat than the man she was to sit down and be quite.  He trusted!

            TRUST – – According to Webster’s is ‘assured reliance on the character, strength, or truth of someone or something and lists confidence and dependence as synonyms.’  Isaiah was saying, “I will have assured reliance on the character, strength, and truth of the Almighty and will not be afraid.”  Therefore, FAITH in the general usage of scripture is ‘trusting God’s testimony.’  It is ‘receiving all that God has revealed to us.’

 FAITH is not an Old Testament word it is used only twice but TRUST is used over 140 times and yet Hebrews 11 credits many Old Testament characters with faith and lists them in Faith’s Hall of Fame.  They had ‘complete reliance’ on God and that affected their attitudes and actions demonstrating FAITH of the highest order.

I want to delve into this a little deeper and will pause now and pick this up on the ‘morrow.  Blessings as you go through your day!

FRUSTRATION BECOMES VICTORY….

Habakkuk 1:1-4 – “The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw.  2 How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save.  3 Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness?  Yes, destruction and violence are before me;  Strife exists and contention arises.  4 Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.”  NASU

Spiritual Blog - How Long Lord

Have you ever looked at what is happening in this world and wondered, “What is God doing?” Have you ever been perplexed about injustice, war, murder, drunkenness, drug addiction, abortion, etc.?  Have you ever been deeply concerned because of the world you are living in?  THEN, let me introduce you to the prophet Habakkuk for he shared those sentiments and concerns.

Habakkuk lived about 600 BC in a time when the Jewish nation of Judah was declining at an alarming pace.  Injustice, immorality and violence were prevalent like today’s world.  If you read the newspapers you realize that crime, sin, and injustice are rampant in our world.  Continually we have reports of ‘bad things, happening to ‘good people,’ and sometimes want to just throw up your hands and cry out, “Why isn’t God doing something?”  That is exactly how Habakkuk felt.  He was watching the disintegration of his nation a nation he loved.  He was in a position to see the enemy Babylon developing and becoming more and more of a threat.  His nation was oblivious to the danger reveling in ‘selfish absorption’ like today.

Jehoiakim was King in Judah and he had burned Jeremiah’s scroll.  As the Word of God was read to the king he took his knife and cut it to pieces then burned it.  This transpired at the time Nebuchadnezzar was about to take Judah captive.  Habakkuk saw this transpiring with a heart full of grief.  He could not believe that God was allowing this to transpire seemingly inactive.

            Campbell Morgan said of this – – “Men of faith are always men who have to confront problems. Those who are not believers do not have to worry about these problems. If there is not God, then whatever transpired cannot be blamed on or attributed to Him, so why worry or fret.  War is war and crime is crime.  But those of us who have faith in God, who believe in Jesus Christ, have to wrestle with some very difficult problems.  How can a God of love permit those things to happen?  How can a God of justice and holiness not judge those who are committing such evil and heinous acts?”

The name Habakkuk means ‘to wrestle or to embrace’.  He certainly reached out to embrace God and without question wrestled with some very difficult problems in his day.  How do you explain evil in this world if we believe in a God of love, mercy, and justice?  Habakkuk did what many do today he tried to rationalize God for a human perspective and ultimately leveled three accusations toward God.

1.  He Accused God of Being INDIFFERENT – – (v.2)

      Basically saying, God I’m praying but you are doing NOTHING!    Therefore he assumes that God is       indifferent.

  1. He Accused God of Being INACTIVE – – (vv.3-4)

       Spiritual Blog - HabakkukGod answered him in verses 5-11 by telling him – I am working and in fact I’m doing things so great and wonderful that you would not believe if you were told what they are.  He then acknowledged that He was going to use the Babylonians to chastise His people for their sin. 

  1. That Resulted in Him accusing God of being INCONSISTENT – – (vv. 12-17)

       How could a Holy God use a wicked nation like Babylon to chastise Israel?  Habakkuk faced a dilemma and became despondent, discouraged, and depressed.

             Before you criticize the prophet to vehemently realize that we sometimes fall into this trap and I have heard people say, “How long do I have to pray about this?”   I often have to deal with people questioning God over evil’s existence.  So what did Habakkuk do?  In Chapter Two we find him going to his ‘watchtower’ or place of prayer and there God opened His eyes and heart to see what was going on.  God gave Habakkuk three assurances that we need to hear and heed.  In Chapter 2:4 we find the promise of God’s GraceIn Chapter 2:14 we find the promise of God’s Glory and in Chapter 2:20 we find God’s Government.  God tells the prophet, “I’m on the throne and I’m still God.”

So when the temptation to fret over wickedness in this world presses upon your mind lift up your eyes and lift up your heart knowing that God’s Grace is sufficient, His Glory will radiate, and His Government will rule.

            Blessings as you go through your day!

DEFENDING GOD….

Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God…”  NASU

 Spiritual Blog - Defending God

I was challenged recently by a person telling me that I needed to DEFEND GOD.  I won’t go into the entire conversation or situation but this individual felt it was incumbent upon believers to DEFEND GOD.  That set me to thinking and examining my theology and core beliefs regarding God, my relationship to Him, and my responsibility as a believer.  I did not and have not finalized my thoughts on that front but let me share something that did come to mind as I examined this.

I AM HUMAN…

Therefore, for me to presume that I can or even need to ‘defend God’ causes some problems in my thinking.  God is infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotentHow am I a finite human being to defend God?  I may well need to ‘defend’ my faith or the reason for my faith.  I may well need to ‘give answer’ for the reason of hope that is in me.  I may well need to ‘defend’ my right to believe and worship according to the dictates of my heart following the biblical directives but DEFEND GOD?   He is all powerful and I am mortal with limited might.  He is all knowing and I see in part and know in part.

Please understand, I am not saying that there is not a need or time to ‘stand up’ for our faith but I am asking does God need defense.  The entire question caused me to reflect on God’s encounter with Job and the questions asked of God by the INFINITE GOD of all creation.  It became a comedy and my feeble attempt to ‘defend God’ would likely result in the same.  Defend Him, no!  Stand for Him, yes!  Declare my devotion, my faith, my understanding of Scripture, and my hope in Christ, absolutely!  To try to do a clinical defense of God would, in my mind, attempt to elevate me to His status and I would never presume to do that.

GOD NEEDS NO DEFENSE…

Creation speaks for itself for design implies a designer.  For me just a casual glance at the creation of God in the universe is so staggering I can have no response but to believe HE IS.  Having experienced the ‘new birth’ spiritually, witnessed the transformation of my life, and the testimony of others about the that transformation I can only say HE IS.  Having experienced and witnessed His miraculous work in my own body, circumstances, and in the lives of others I can only respond HE IS.  When I open my Bible the first words I read are, “In the beginning God…”  When I go to the last book of the Bible I read the statement of Jesus, “I am the Alpha and the Omega… who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”  HE IS.

I do not need to defend electricity for it to be useful or real I just need to allow it to function.  I do not need to defend aerodynamics for it to be real or benefit from air travel I just need to get on the plane. I do not need to defend oxygen to breathe I just need to inhale and exhale.  I know I’m going beyond what some would deem necessary but instead of trying to DEFEND GOD why not just respond to Him and allow Him to demonstrate His existence, power, and love through our lives?  That would be the best defense of God I can think of.

        God bless you as you go through your day!

 

WHY DO WE LIMIT GOD?

Spiritual Blog - God in a Box

Mark 16:15-18 – “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  16 ” He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.  17 “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;  18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”   NASU

 

I have never understood limiting the Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent God of all creation but many do and by my inaction or doubt I have.  Some limit Him through their theological beliefs and others their actions.  Yet most all of us would say, “With God all things are possible.”  If all things are possible why are so many things, in our minds, not probable when it comes to God, His power or willingness to act on our behalf?

I have been told that God no longer heals today because we have doctors, science, and medicine and that the miracles of healing were only to help establish the fledgling church in the 1st century.  Where does it say that in the Bible?  Some quote the verse about tongues passing away and omit the rest of the quotation that ‘knowledge’ also passes away.  If God is the SAME yesterday, today, and forever why do we not expect Him to perform His works in our present day?  Yes we have science, doctors, technology, and many modern advancements but He created us and has the power to touch ALL DIMENSIONS of our lives does He not?

Spiritual Blog - Limiting God

Sometimes we pray, ‘If it be Thy will’ and too often that is a prayer of faithlessness rather than submission to His will.  It is often a prayer with no expectation.  Of course, anything MUST be in His will to be realized.  I readily acknowledge that and do not mind that addendum to a prayer if it is submission but charged with faith and expectation.  I am not trying to be critical and know I’m treading on thin ice with some but suggest that along with that addendum we might add, “Unless it is not your will I will eagerly await the answer with expectation.”  I have had people say, “Well we can only pray” and hear others asking, “Has it come to that?” as if prayer were a last resort in a hopeless cause.

We do not get everything we ask for but that should not stop us from asking and seeking for God is God and He always will be God.  We have, as Hebrews tells us, a Better Covenant established on Better Promises and the Old Covenant was not too shabby!

            May God bless you as you go through your day and provide for you whatever you need from Him!  Blessings!

WHATEVER HITS THE FAN…..

Luke 13:1-5 – “Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate?  3 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.  4 “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem?  5 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”  NASU

Spiritual Blog - Hits the fan

Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.  Life is not equal or always fair in the sense of our human understanding.  Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.  We cannot control every event of life and accepting Jesus as our Savior and living an upright life WILL NOT make you immune to trouble and inequity.  It will give you a solace, and hope of eternity that is steadfast but will not eliminate all your problems in life.

If you live expecting all your troubles to disappear because you are a Christian you are going to be extremely disappointed and disillusioned.  James even advised that we were to ‘count it all joy’ when trouble comes and we are told not to consider the fiery trials that come our way ‘strange’ or ‘unusual’.  Trials in and of themselves are not necessarily good but all the events and experiences of life are ‘working together’ to mold us for good. It is the finished product that is in God’s heart not the immediate or temporary.

If you are one given to asking, “Why me?” maybe you should begin asking, “Why not me?”  We have all experienced or witnessed good people facing bad things and bad people enjoying good things come their way.  Some people seem to be able to fall into cesspools and come out smelling like roses.  Stop trying to analyze and rationalize everything and turn your heart and mind to God.  Rejoice in His gift of salvation.  Be thankful for what you have and determine to live above and beyond all the negative becoming stronger and more resolute in your faith. There will not be an ‘even distribution’ in life but there is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE that never ends.

May God be with you as you go through your day.  Be blessed! Be free!

AS MAN FOR MAN…

Hebrews 2:14-18 – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”  NASU

 Spiritual Blog - The Cross

             The writer of Hebrews speaking by inspiration of the Holy Spirit pulled back the veil for us to see a truth of possibility and redemption.  He makes it crystal clear that humans experience temptations and trials as depraved creatures.  He further illustrates that as a lost creature under the domain of darkness man could not satisfy ‘divine justice’ and need one to come who was ‘sinless’ and yet functioned as man to be a sacrifice for sin.  Adam lost the purity of life in the Garden and through sin became a slave of the devil.  Satan gained a legal claim on the human race as the ‘god of this world’ through man’s disobedience.

There had to be one who could operate, live, feel, think, and experience the temptations and trials that are common to man and to do so without sin.  No flesh or could meet that requirement so God chose the Incarnation of Jesus to come as man’ and ‘for man’ experiencing and subject to all the temptations as we.  Jesus came and satisfied the divine requirement of being without sin and qualifying Him as the ‘Lamb of God’ to atone for man’s sin.  He was made like us ‘in all things’ yet did not yield to temptation or sin.  He, as the LAST ADAM did what the FIRST ADAM could not do.

When Jesus died on the Cross the ‘Son of Man’ paid the price to buy us back or redeem the race from the devil’s clutches and legal dominion.  That did not and does not mean that ‘all were or are saved’ it means that the door was and is open for their salvation.  The debt has been paid, divine justice satisfied, and through this incredible demonstration of unconditional love the Door to Salvation has been opened for ‘whosoever will’ as per John 3:16.  If you have not received Him, today is the day of salvation and now is the accepted time.  As the Holy Spirit brings conviction to your heart repent and believe!  He is still calling today!

            May God be with you as you go through this day!

INSTANT CHRISTIANITY BUT PROGRESSIVE RIGHTEOUSNESS….

Spiritual Blog - Saved

Colossians 3:1-11 – “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him — 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”  NASU

 

I readily accept that as we receive Christ we are instantly transferred from the domain of darkness into God’s kingdom, born-again – SAVED!  However, I know from scripture and experience the process to maturity and righteousness is not instantaneous and is sometimes difficult and painful but worth it.

Paul speaks to his listeners saying, “IF” and that is critical!  If you have been raised with Christ (Salvation) there is something for you to do that will not be done for you but in you!  You must keep seeking.  You make the decision, choice, and commitment to keep seeking the things of God. You set your mind on heavenly or spiritual things. You do it because you have been born again and in order to develop, grow, and mature.

Paul tells them to determine that their bodies and fleshly desires are DEAD!  Dead to immorality, evil desire, greed, and idolatry.  You, he says, put aside anger (it is a choice), wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech.  You, stop telling lies.  You must realize that IF we are in Christ, regardless of sectarian background or ethnicity we are brothers and sisters in God.

If we are to become that which Christ died for we MUST receive His forgiveness.  There is no step two without step one but after we receive His forgiveness we move into the process that requires action on our part.  Some people want God to do it all and justify things in their lives saying, “If God wanted it gone He would remove it.”  NO!  He has instructed us to participate in our spiritual development.  So while we are instantly saved we do not automatically become mature spiritual adults any more than an infant becomes a mature adult upon birth.  It is a process that is progressive we move by little and little, line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little as we grow in grace and relationship with the Lord!

            May God be with you as you go through your day!  BLESSINGS!