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Archive for the ‘trust’ Category

If you had a several kids in your car and, because of recurring nausea, you weren’t able to finish driving the curvy, mountainous roads between your destination, would you pull into a restaurant and ask just anybody to get behind the wheel while you rode with eyes closed and stomach in knots?

Of course not. If you had to resort to such a desparate move to get home for the evening, you’d certainly be careful to make sure that the person was a competent driver who took instructions well.

Failure to be careful could lead to tragedy for all.

You see, we have to be careful about how our lives are steered.

If we’re not, bad things can — and sometimes do — happen.

This is particularly true with respect to who is steering our hearts.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Who influences your heart?

Who do you allow to steer your values on issues of morality? Of theology? Of patterns for emotional intimacy?

Who do you turn to for advice on family relationships?

Who is your mentor when it comes to workplace attitudes and behaviors?

Is there a role model for you who is plugged into the Word of God?

You’ve heard the phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

This is absolutely true with respect to the heart.

We’ve all seen it in others’ lives and we’ve unfortunately experienced it periodically in our own.

Let’s be careful to allow only those people surrendered to the Lord to be on the list of those allowed to give us directions for the journey of life.

Test everything.

If it’s something Jesus would allow into His heart, then it’s something that we can allow into ours.

If He wouldn’t accept an idea or behavior because it’s ungodly, then we shouldn’t, either.

How can you know what Jesus would allow into His heart?

Read the gospels.

It will do your heart good.

And the course of your life just might change for the better.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Here’s what I posted on Facebook earlier this morning:

I will………………….never forget.

Innocence attacked by evil.

But the effort to weaken did the reverse.

May this be true for our nation.

And may this be true for us as individuals.

There are a variety of things that are counter-intuitive when it comes to Christianity.

The power of weakness is on that list.

Evil, blinded as it is, thinks carnally.

It thinks that more bad conquers more good.

Bad never conquers good.

Good sometimes just gives up.

When Christians recall the power of weakness, though, the victory has already been won.

It just might take some time for the delivery to show up at the door.

This is the promise of the Bible.

This is the pattern of history.

This is the principle that has sustained and blessed you just as it has sustained and blessed me.

In today’s reading from the One-Year Bible, the Apostle Paul reminds us that we should boast of our weaknesses.

Why? Because such boasting actually exalts the strength of God poured into us through our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

“For when I am weak, I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10)

As Zechariah wrote some 2,400 years ago, it is not by our might that we have hope for this life and the next, but instead by the Spirit of the Lord.

A dozen years ago, evil men thought evil schemes against the innocent would stir and steer our nation toward isolationism and abandonment of foreign friends.

Evil did not succeed.

There has been suffering, yes.

Particularly among many in the military and their families.

But our resolve to resist terrorism is greater than ever.

Evil miscalculated.

Let’s always confess our need for faith in God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the power that flows into us through the Holy Spirit.

That way, we’ll always have all the strength we need to claim the victory that is already ours.

As always, I love you
Martin

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We’ve all seen the movies where the bad guys are attacking a walled city containing good guys. And we’ve seen how the bad guys break through the first line of defenses, killing countless good guys in the process.

The movie moves toward a climactic conclusion as the chief villain and his bad guys press further into the city past walls and gates and lines of good guy warriors.

The showdown scene is found at the final wall surrounding the structure where the hero’s girlfriend or family is hiding. The hero and the villain battle to the death while their subordinates do the same immediately outside that final line of defense.

Since this is a Hollywood production and not real life, the hero and his closest good guy warriors end up victorious and the girlfriend or family is saved.

There is incredible satisfaction in knowing that evil did not triumph over that which one holds most dear.

Our lives rarely follow a movie script but we can experience that same satisfaction of not allowing evil to triumph over that which we hold most dear — our Christian faith.

The Bible character Job endured a terrible sequence of tragic losses and then was emotionally brutalized by his wife and three alleged friends.

In quick success, he had lost everything he held dear… except for one thing.

“At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One.” (Job 6:10)

When it comes down to what really matters in this life, it is what we do with the promises of God.

If we trust them and never give up on loving and trusting God to protect our souls — even in the midst of emotional and/or physical torment — we can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that evil did not triumph over that which we hold most dear.

Hebrews 11 contains a long list of faithful people whose lives demonstrated this belief.

Your years of Christian life likely contain memories of people whose lives have randomly experienced living hell yet their souls were expressing a loving faith.

You might know somebody now who is suffering Job-like turmoil yet their souls are comforted by deep trust in God’s Word.

Perhaps that somebody is you.

Let’s pray for wisdom and character and intimacy with the Bible so that when the bottom falls out of our lives, we can take comfort in the fact that we’re holding fast to Bible promises and will NOT deny faith in the God who made them.

As always, I love you
Martin

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The general thinking is that intimacy with another person, be it a spouse or other close friend, is the fruit of emotion, a common nature and a shared set of experiences.

It is typically understood as something that develops apart from a specific strategy of intent. For if such were the case, the thinking goes, many people could have intimacy with certain people whose hearts they have long desired.

We know that human intimacy is not an equation to be manipulated, however.

Just because we want it does not mean it is going to happen.

Spiritual intimacy with God is another matter, though.

If we want it, and we do things in certain ways for certain reasons, we can have it with God.

Guaranteed.

Here’s the reason for my comment above:

And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work.” (II Chronicles 28:9-10)

Hmmmm…….

King David’s statement inspired by the Holy Spirit makes clear that intimacy is learned, not just found. It is a fruit of servant-hearted emotions, efforts and thoughts.

If we seek Him, we will find Him.

So how do I seek intimacy with God?

Worship Him with all of my heart.

Serve Him with all of my heart.

Utilize my mind as a computer to plan ways to honor God, serve His people and reject the schemes of Satan.

Understand that the God of my spiritual ancestors is the same God who desires a relationship with me.

Strive to have as good — or better — of a relationship with God as did they.

Take every thought captive so that it might be a servant of the Lord.

As God sees our minds guiding our steps and our hearts guarding our steps, the intimacy we share with Him will grow.

Why? Because of the growing trust we have toward Him and Him toward us.

It is that trust that provides the foundation for intimacy.

The wrap-up? Let’s learn to do the things that build trust and we’ll be learning the things that build intimacy.

With God. And with each other.

As always, I love you
Martin

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If you’re like me and are usually the one behind the steering wheel, it’s a bit uncomfortable at times riding in the passenger seat.

Especially when you’re on a trip and you don’t know how to get to a certain place, the weather is terrible and the traffic is intense with all sorts of lousy drivers.

Logically, we can surmise that the person driving will get us safely to our destination because he or she has gotten there safely before and, in other respects, has demonstrated responsible behavior.

But who says our emotions are always logical?

We’re not in control and sometimes we don’t like it.

We want to know why somebody is driving this direction and how long it’s going to take and what the person will do if thus-and-such happens and perhaps other questions.

Why? Because our trust level is not what it should be.

The older the person behind the wheel, the less worried we’re typically tempted to become.

Why? Because we typically associate age with wisdom and wisdom with good decisions.

So when it comes to trusting our God who existed before time began, we never have doubts about how He is steering our lives, right?

Wrong.

This deficit of trust has always been a challenge for believers and Proverbs 3:5-6 speaks to our need to trust how God is leading our lives rather than grab the steering wheel ourselves.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Okay, so we Christians have heard this verse and we know that we should abide by it as we abide in God.

But then a tough time comes along and God doesn’t jump when we say “Jump!” and we start listening to the lie that we need to fix our problem ourselves rather than fix our hopes of God, the author and perfecter of our faith.

We start disliking how God is driving the bus of our faith and in true backseat driver form, we start peppering Him with questions and complaints and ultimatums.

This, of course, pains His heart but it does not surprise Him since every believer has done the same at one time or another.

We’ve got to remember that God is everywhere and sees things from every angle. We can only see a situation from our spot on the road of life.

We’ve got to remember that God sees things from a historical perspective and from a future knowledge perspective. And we can only see with certainty things as they are now.

We’ve also got to remember that God promises to bring good things to us even when bad things are allowed to happen (Romans 8:28-37).

That being the case, we’ve just got to trust how He’s driving and not annoy Him with nagging, doubtful words.

“The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” (Proverbs 20:24)

Listen, David was right when he described God as the Shepherd. We are the sheep of His pasture. Let’s do our job of being good sheep and trust that He’ll do His job of being the Good Shepherd.

That way, we’ll all journey together until we dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

As always, I love you
Martin

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For most issues in life, we trust in the competency of those with whom we’re dealing, whether it be a medical professional or a banking associate or restaurant chef or an auto mechanic or any other service provider.

But when push comes to shove and it seems like we’re teetering on the precipice of physical or emotional or financial disaster, counting on a professional — or even ourselves — is not enough.

There are some deliverance levers that people aren’t big enough pull.

That’s when we need God’s help in a most defining way.

I was reminded this morning of how God has repeatedly helped me in ways that people could not.

In deeply personal and painful situations that I could not resolve on my own or with human help alone, God was my everpresent help in times of trouble.

He did for me what I could not do for myself.

His intervention was not always according to my timetable, but when intercession occurred according to His timetable, it was all good.

And it continues to be.

I trusted Him and He did not disappoint me.

This compelling truth has sustained me during several episodes of extended and uncomfortable “waiting on the Lord.”

True to His Word, He has not left me nor forsaken me.

This is the promise that comforted King David during a terribly difficult time of his reign. Though his earthly prospects were quite gloomy at the time, David knew that God wasn’t done working in his situation.

He knew that God had rescued the children of Israel during their tough times in the wilderness and that the same God loved him and, in His time, would deliver him into a better situation.

“…in you they trusted and were not disappointed.” (Psalm 22:5)

This is what David remembered.

This is what comforted him and strengthened him.

And this fact of history can comfort and strengthen us.

Listen, trust in God NEVER disappoints as long as we remember that it is God’s timetable that counts, not ours.

Keep trusting God in the storms and in the deserts and in the darkness and in the conflicts, my friend.

You won’t be disappointed.

As always, I love you
Martin

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If you’re like me, you sometimes find it hard to sing or whistle when you’re discouraged.

I suppose that’s one of the reasons that Blues music is so popular — it gives a vicarious voice to people who want to express their sadness but just don’t have the emotional or mental readiness to do so.

You and I see this musical constriction demonstrated at our church services on a regular basis. Somebody comes in who looks visibly sad or troubled and they just don’t sing out as they have in happier times.

When the sadness is replaced by gladness, though, the voice of worship returns for the believer.

It’s true in my life and probably in yours, too.

This linkage of emotional status and devotional worship was something that King David was able to transcend.

Thank God for David’s depth of faith that allowed him to sing in the storms.

I want to be more like him.

Check out this passage from Psalm 57:4-8.

“I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among man-eating beasts, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.

“They spread a net for my feet— I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path— but they have fallen into it themselves.

“My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.”

My goodness. When I’ve been surrounded at work by people who were attacking me, I haven’t spontaneously begun praising God as I should have. I’ve prayed to Him, all right, but I don’t know that I’ve praised Him to the extent that I should have.

I should have done better.

Listen, the next time that hassles from others are attempting to drag down your faith, lift up your voice. Praise the God who blesses you in far more ways than the world stresses you.

Don’t allow worries to steal your sleep, Instead, declare your trust in God with morning praise that awakens the dawn!

Singing praises to God while you’re in the shower will put the spirit world on notice that “No Vacancy” exists in your mind for bummed-out thinking.

As always, I love you
Martin

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