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The Truth About Trust

October 28th, 2015

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Proverbs 3:5 NIV.

Trust rests securely on God’s history of trustworthiness.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the truth about trust.”

There are times when trust is not easy for us, especially in bewildering circumstances when trust is absolutely required. Trust is essential. Trust is integral to the relationship between government and the governed, business dealings, personal relationships, successful marriages, healthy families, and your relationship with God. Trust is more about substance than supposition, more about faith than feelings, more volitional than emotional.

The Apostle Paul considered trust as fundamental, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV. Isn’t that what you desire? Every person yearns to be filled with joy and peace, while overflowing with hope. From the Scripture, the Source and process are clear. You experience those only, “. . as you trust in [the God of hope].”

Trust rests securely on God’s history of trustworthiness. God has been, is, and will forever remain absolutely trustworthy, “the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NKJV. Trust provided the foundation for Paul’s confession of God’s nature and conviction of the truth of His Word. “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV. Read Romans 8:37-39 NKJV.

Without trust, faith is more imagined than real. Trust is the foundation for faith and, “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.” Hebrews 11:1 NKJV. With trust, it is all or nothing. By definition, trust that is conditional or partial includes a mixture of distrust. Solomon’s counsel is this: “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.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV. In these Bible verses, I notice three practical truths about trust.

(1) There are two non-negotiables about trust. Be wholehearted in your trust of God, and make God your first and foremost consideration in everything you do, either great or small. Biblically, the Hebrew concept of trust means, “to lean one’s whole weight upon something in order to rest upon it and be strengthened by it.” Or more simply stated, trust is, “to rely entirely.” That is the truth about trust.

(2) There is one temptation you must avoid in all instances and at all costs. “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23 NIV. Refuse every enticement to trust yourself or others above and before God. There must be an entirety and exclusivity about trust. That is the truth about trust.

(3) Trust holds a glorious promise from God. Trust straightens the unforeseen twists and turns of life’s journey. “Trust in the Lord . . Delight yourself in the Lord . . Commit your way to the Lord . . Rest in the Lord.” Read Psalms 37:3-8 NKJV. That is the truth about trust.

Today, I pray for you to find God trustworthy in all things at all times.

EDL TRUST father and son

 

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Friends

October 23rd, 2015

“A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 AMP.

The wise person knows where and from whom they will receive help and healing.

My thoughts and comments today are about “friends.”

Maybe you would recognize the theme song of Cheers, a television program popular from 1982-1993. “Making your way in the world today, takes everything you’ve got; Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came; You want to be where you can see, our troubles are all the same; you want to be where everybody knows your name.” The odd lot of likable characters found a sense of family and friendship in the iconic Boston Pub.

When life feels increasingly bewildering and unfriendly, you will seek the company of others, “Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.” When you need refuge while you sort out life, where do you go? Some choose a busy, noisy place to drown out their own thoughts and concerns. Others like a quiet place alone where they can reflect and consider. But all seem to appreciate the reassuring company of people who welcome them whatever the time or trouble. See Proverbs 27:17 NIV.

Luke reports a time soon after Pentecost when Peter and John were brought before the prevailing, religious authorities and threatened to cease their bold declaration of the deity and resurrection of Jesus. Read Acts 4:1-21 NKJV. This was a threat of no small concern. “When they further threatened them, they let them go . . and being let go, they went to their own companions.” Acts 4:23/31 NKJV. Their response was to seek out the company of friends.

What is your immediate response when you find yourself in unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or unsafe situations? Gordon MacDonald authored, “Restoring Your Spiritual Passion,” a book of spiritual influence in my life. He proposed that every person needs three things when confusion or conflict comes and your joy of life wanes: (1) a map marking safe places where you find out who God is, (2) a calendar reserving still times when you can hear what God says, and (3) the names of special friends who encourage you to obey what God asks. “A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 AMP.

But let me be clear, it’s not just any friends. The company with which Jesus’ followers gathered were people of like faith – friends filled with the Spirit of God (Acts 4:31), friends of one heart and soul (Acts 4:32), and friends who were selfless, even sacrificial (Acts 4:32). Similarly, en route to imprisonment at Rome, Paul was thankful for friends, “The brothers and sisters in Rome had heard we were coming, and they came to meet us at the Forum on the Appian Way. Others joined us at The Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” Acts 28:15 NLT.

Friends include you in their lives. Jesus elevated the stature and privilege of friendship when He said, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 NIV. Those kinds of friends continue to restore and strengthen my faith every day.

Today, I pray for you to have valued and reliable friends for the best and worst of times.

Christian Communications 10137
Facebook – www.facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

 

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Peace and Quiet

October 21st, 2015

“A gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:4 NIV.

In the stillness of your soul God is known best.

My thoughts and comments today are about “peace and quiet.”

Peace and Quiet. There never seems to be enough of it. The world around you becomes a whirl of activity, busyness, and noise. Any or all of those are distracting and become exhausting. We hear a lot; we listen too little. In already noisy, busy lives, we surround ourselves with more background noise – radio, television, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and social media beguiling our attention for irreplaceable time. All of these diminish your crucial capacity to truly listen. I appreciate the outdated description of such activity as, “hustle and bustle.” Filling the quiet becomes an inadequate substitute for feeling the quiet.

“A gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:4 NIV. Paul’s counsel to Timothy was consistent and is as applicable today, “That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Tim 2:1-2 NIV. Activity is not always synonymous with productivity. Don’t confuse the two. God’s advice is simple, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:1-11 NIV.

In a personally tumultuous season, Elijah despaired of life. Read 1 Kings 19:1-12. He is encountered by God in a strong wind, then an earthquake, then a fire – calamitous and frightening circumstances – “but the Lord was not in [them] and then after the fire [there] was a still small voice.” You can easily become overwhelmed if your heart is not listening for His small, still voice in your heart. ”You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV.

Life sometimes demands a mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual parenthesis. Mark recounts Peter’s memory of a season of ministry from which Jesus drew His disciples aside. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said to them, ‘Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:30-31 NIV. A poem, later to become a Methodist hymn, encourages, “Take time to be holy, the world rushes on; Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.” William Dunn Longstaff, 1822-1894.

Peace and quiet begins within you before you will find peace and quiet around you. Gordon MacDonald, a favorite author of mine, wrote “Restoring Your Spiritual Passion.” His premise was that sustained spiritual passion required: “safe places, still times, and special friends.” I find those remain an essential, enduring truth for a growing knowledge of God. In the stillness of your soul, God is known best. I am learning neither to rush when entering nor leaving God’s presence.

May you experience today what David described on the pacific hillsides of Bethlehem, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the [stilled] waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3 NKJV.

Today, I pray for your tranquility to be a testimony of your trust in Christ.

Christian Communications

EDL pix sheep and verdant hillside stream

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devotionals

Daily Bread

October 16th, 2015

“I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry.” John 6:35 NIV.

External things never satisfy eternal cravings.

My thoughts and comments today are about “daily bread.”

Hunger is a powerful motivation, impossible to ignore completely. God crafted your body to recognize its need for replenishing, whether for nutrition, exercise, or rest. The body responds to its lack by sending a signal and demanding a response. When the body’s need is not replenished, the body redirects the diminishing supply of nutritional resources to its vital organs. To adequately supply the heart, lungs, and brain, the body grows weaker waiting for nourishment, as the process of starving begins.

The human spirit is similar, requiring nourishment and replenishing. Make no mistake; there is a hunger of the soul. People ignore the hunger of the inner man or misinterpret their inner longings, trying in vain to fill a growing emptiness with things that never satisfy – money, possessions, busyness, thrills, amusements, sex, drugs, alcohol – always to excess yet never enough. External things never satisfy eternal cravings.

Too many fail to recognize the origin of the soul’s hunger. Jesus spoke plainly and confidently, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 NIV. Listen to your heart; feed your soul; nourish your spirit; discover full satisfaction. Satisfaction is found only in Christ.

The Bread of Life desires that you know He alone will satisfy your supreme longings. His provision is abounding. Jesus is life exalting and eternal life assuring. It’s simple really; you have to come to Him. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 NIV. Jesus declared Himself to be that daily bread. “I am the living bread which came down from Heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” John 6:51 NIV.

Job got it right, “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12 KJV. Let’s be practical. You receive this life-giving, daily bread through the discipline of spiritual practices: worship (John 4:23-24), prayer and praise (Ephesians 6:18), personal Bible study (Psalm 119:11), meditation of Scripture (Psalm 1:1-3), and meaningful fellowship with others who seek the same Source and satisfaction. (Acts 2:42/46 NIV). Spiritual disciplines provide satisfaction that is much more full and lasting than any and everything else with which you might attempt to appease the spiritual hunger within. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness . . they shall be completely satisfied.” Matthew 5:6 NIV/AMP. In Jesus, your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Today, I pray for you to have an appetite for things that satisfy.

EDL pix basket of bread

 

 

 

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Grace and Comfort

October 14th, 2015

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father.” 2 Corinthians 1:2 NKJV.

Your comfort remains incomplete until shared with others.

My thoughts and comments today are about “grace and comfort.”

In the Bible, there are many descriptions of God’s attributes. Of all the writers who attempt to describe the Indescribable, I love the Apostle Paul’s description best. “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all tribulation.” 2 Corinthians 1:2-4 NKJV. Read those words deliberately – grace, peace, mercies, comfort – and embrace them personally. Were it not for His grace, there could be no peace. And were it not for His mercies, comfort would be elusive. Flowing from God’s grace and peace, mercies and comfort abound.

Life can be difficult and trying times confusing. That is when and where you and I need the One, “Who comforts us in all tribulation.” By New Testament definition, tribulation is, “pressure resulting from a too narrow place.” Maybe you presently feel discomfort in a situation with undesirable options in an uncomfortable context. Such a place is sometimes described as being, “caught between a rock and a hard place.” Tribulation is something more than a brief inconvenience from the antagonism of persons or adverse circumstances.

Paul knew such times and also knew the sufficient grace and peace he found in every experience, “We are hard pressed, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV. You need a powerful God with a tender heart and gentle hand, “the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.” From personal experience, Paul wrote, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NKJV.

Comfort is wrongly assumed as merely kind, emotional support. However, the word’s origin implies a strengthening impartation of courage and fortitude. See Acts 28:15-16 NKJV. For Paul, the Father’s purpose is clear; you are comforted by God to be a comforter of others. “If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.” 2 Corinthians 1:6 NIV. Your comfort remains incomplete until shared with others. “Therefore, comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to be fortified in spirit and confident in every circumstance.

Christian Communications

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