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Posts Tagged ‘Hebrews 13:8’

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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Simple Faith

March 17th, 2014

“Your faith and hope can be placed confidently in God.” 1 Peter 1:21 NLT.

The truest expression of your faith is obedience.

My thoughts and comments today are about “simple faith.”

By some, faith is considered intangible, maybe less than real somehow. According to the Bible, faith is tangible, and very real. It touches God; it releases God’s power to accomplish what He wills to do. Real faith is simple, not complicated. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 NKJV.  Substance and evidence are tangible. And those are what faith produces. Jesus observed of some, “You have little faith,” and asked others, “Where is your faith?” Matthew 8:26/Luke 8:25. Faith is essential for God to work as He wills.

God looks for faith where He desires to work powerfully. It is not a question of whether or not you have faith. “God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Romans 12:33 NASB. Everyone has and expresses faith daily in the most ordinary and common ways. The issue is, do you have faith in God and His Word? Peter, who had a few struggles of his own, later wrote, “Through Christ, you have come to trust in God. And because God raised Christ from the dead . . your faith and hope can be placed confidently in God.” 1 Peter 1:21 NLT. Faith is confidently placed upon the truth and power of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. If your faith is placed in someone or something that can change, your faith is misplaced and will fail. Your assurance can be that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8 NIV.

Jesus warned people who build their life “on sand” the instability of opinions that change, easily affected by circumstances. Read Matthew 7:24-27 NIV. The result is disastrous, leaving in shambles everything that person works to achieve. Jesus compared that to hearing the Word of God, but not building your life upon its sure and strong foundation. The Bible teaches, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing [comes] by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17 NKJV. Be diligent; give time each day for God’s Word. It is essential to a living and growing faith.

You have faith; God has given you faith. Trusting God does not take a lot of faith, just all the faith you have. “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed . . nothing will be impossible for you” Matthew 17:20 NIV. See also Matthew 13:31-32 NIV. Your faith can lay dormant and unused, or can be active and applied. You choose. Real faith is believing that in any situation God will do what He said He would do when you rest all your faith in His character and Word.

Obedience is the truest expression of your faith. “[Abraham] was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to do. His faith was made complete by what he did – by his actions.” James 2:22 NLT. Obedience, to simply do what God says, is the simple expression of faith. Faith cannot be described more clear or sure than this, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4-5 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that God finds confident faith in your heart.

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Farewells and Faith

December 19th, 2011

“I have not seen the righteous forsaken.” Psalm 37:25 NKJV

“You may struggle with daily life’s realities, but be sure of your faith’s certainty.”

My thoughts today are about “farewells and faith.”

Later today, I will say farewell to a friend. I have known him only a few years, but found him a man who loved and enjoyed life. He dressed impeccably, was always considerate, and seemed confident in who he was and what he was about. He laughed readily and made friends easily – those two attributes seem to go together. More recently age and health restricted what he could do. A few days ago, I called to talk with him but the hospice worker said he was resting. Barely a day later, I learned he had died.

Saying a final farewell to a friend makes one’s plans seem more like mere assumptions. You do not feel a friend’s passing without facing your own mortality. Every lifetime is limited, however brief or long. I find comfort in today’s Bible verse, “I have been young, and now am old; but I have not seen the righteous forsaken . . and his descendants are blessed . . the Lord does not forsake His saints.” Psalm 37:25-28 NKJV. I think that faith affirmation would be my friend’s testimony. This recent year was not an easy one for him; he struggled with daily life’s realities, but stayed sure of his faith’s certainty and God’s faithfulness.

I am not far from my seventieth year and recently stepped aside from the responsibilities as senior pastor of the congregation where we have served a little more than three-fourths of our years of pastoral ministry. This change was not a matter of age, or health, or weariness, or loss of interest; it was simply obedience to God’s will and direction, as I have tried to live my life.

I am often asked about my “plans in retirement.” That’s a bit awkward to answer because though a lot has changed – such as title, position, and familiar schedules and responsibilities – a lot has not changed. The inner calling to ministry I felt as a young teen is the same. My desire to serve God through service to others does not differ. I don’t know the particulars of how or how long I will walk out my calling of ministry, but I know I am committed to being faithful to God and staying invested in others’ spiritual well-being. I do know this: “My times are in (God’s) hands.” Psalm 31:15 NIV. Always have been; always will be! As a boy, I often heard my mother singing, “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand. But I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know He holds my hand.” She was right; God does.

I have learned that whatever else changes in life and much will, God declares Himself the eternal constant, “I am the Lord; I do not change . . the Father with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning . . the same yesterday and today and forever.” The season ahead for me is not as known to me as the past, but God will guide and guard my appointed days as He has the days already spent. I do not know the measure of my years; only God knows those. With that, I am comfortable. I read this practical advice: “Instead of trying to add years to your life, try adding life to your years . . pour every day and every ounce of energy into it.” Your life or mine will not be measured by length of years, but by the personal quality and eternal impact of those years.

My prayer for you today is that you will fill every day and live every year fully for God.

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Change Happens

October 11th, 2011

“I am making everything new.” Revelation 21:5 NIV

“As you are, you are incompatible with God. God will not change; you must!”

My thoughts today are that “change happens.”

When you are eager for something – or yourself – to change, there are times that it feels like change will never come. Other times, change seems to be happening faster than you can cope. Whether you are eager or reluctant, change happens! Where there are no changes, there will be no growth, development, or increasing fruitfulness. And God is the greatest initiator of change in an individual’s life; maybe the only truly effective enabler for lasting change. In the Kingdom of God, change happens naturally unless you resist, not because you wish it so but because God wills it so and works to achieve your “being changed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” See 2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV.

Genesis opens with cosmic change and Revelation concludes with eternal ones, where God is described as, “He who was seated on the Throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” Revelation 21:5 NIV. God’s story is the story of irrepressible change to restore a fallen creation to its original intent. God is committed to that redemption and restoration, of Whom it is written, “For I am the Lord, I do not change . . the same yesterday, today, and forever . . in Whom there is no variation nor shadow of turning.” Malachi 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17 NKJV.

Am I the only one amazed that God, who is eternal and never changing, is always effecting change in all of us? This is exactly because, as you are, you are incompatible with God yet He desires fellowship with you that would otherwise be impossible. How does God accomplish this you may ask? By every means possible, I would reply! “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose . . to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” Romans 8:28-29 NIV. God will not always cause the things that happen to you, but He will use any and everything that happens to you as His opportunity to impact your life with necessary and positive change.

The best and most enduring change begins with your personal relationship with God. That’s where the first and most consequential changes must occur. Your best efforts to change will be merely cosmetic and temporary, apart from a current and vital relationship with Jesus. “Let us examine our ways and turn back to the Lord. Let us open our hearts to God in Heaven and pray . .” Lamentations 3:40-41 TEV. All change requires the power of God to accomplish and demands your letting go of the past. What you cling to, when contrary to what you know to be right, has the power to control and shape you in ways you might not anticipate.

My prayer for you today is that you embrace any change with God’s fingerprints on it.

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Past Dependencies

April 29th, 2011

“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:8 NIV

“Dependencies keep you what you’ve been, preventing what you could become.”

My thoughts today are about “past dependencies.”

Everybody is leaning on something – maybe past experience, charm and personality, excuses and explanations, wealth, education, social circles, reputation, others’ charity, government assistance, even religion. None of those, nor all of them together, can give you the life you really want to have. There are seasons when anyone may have to lean upon something to get through a crisis; the problem is when dependencies become a lifestyle. Dependencies keep you what you’ve been, preventing what you could become.

Paul addresses this strange dichotomy this way, “Carry each other’s burdens . . each one should carry his own load.” Galatians 6:2/5 NIV. Both are true, but not at the same time. The reality is there are times you depend upon another’s consideration and kindness, and other times that someone is depending on yours. It is only a problem when either of those becomes exclusive of the other.

John told the story of a man who had every reason to lean on others; his weakness made him dependent on others in one way or another. John 5:5-15 NKJV. John describes him as having ”been in that condition a long time.” Whether he got to the Pool of Bethesda with help or by his own painful, struggling efforts, he got there hoping for a miracle of healing and recovery. The effect of his own efforts had been unsuccessful; the help of others had not been as helpful as he hoped. But he was still there, and he was still trying. That is important!

Without knowing that Jesus, the greatest worker of miracles, would be there that day, his hope and efforts put him in exactly the place for his life-changing moment. The mat upon which he laid could represent any number of past dependencies upon which people learn to rely, all ultimately ineffective and unhelpful. Your entire history changes when you recognize Jesus invites and empowers you to step free of every past dependency. The past gives way to your future.

The question is always the same, “Jesus . . asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’” No one can answer that but you, and it is not your words but your actions that provide the honest answer. The first step for lasting change is a passion demonstrated by real effort to be different than you’ve been. What do you really want, improvement or life-change?

“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’” You cannot make lasting change without God; God does not effect eternal change without your willing, whole-hearted involvement. When your want engages your will, God’s power is released. “At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” An almighty God makes possible what you could not do on your own. What weaknesses of excuse, habit, or history keep you from your full potential?

Does God still do those kinds of things today – healing physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually? Jesus would be the One to best answer that: “My Father is always at work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” John 5:17 NIV. Sounds to me like being rid of past dependencies is still possible with a God Who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is: refuse yesterday’s limits, comfortable as they may have been.

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