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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

 

Christian Communications

 

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Identity Theft

October 2nd, 2015

“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8 NKJV.

Your identity can be fully rediscovered in redemption.

My thoughts and comments today are about “identity theft.”

Identity is the core of everything about a confident and successful life, yet many people struggle with a confused identity. You will not discover your identity by looking in the mirror or recounting your achievements and accumulations, nor by the compliments or criticisms from others. Authentic identity comes from knowing who you are in Christ.

Identity theft is a growing problem in our increasingly technological society. Nationally, a new victim of identity theft occurs every two seconds. In 2014, there were 13.1 million victims resulting in thefts of $16 billion. As numerous and disconcerting as those statistics seem, there is a vastly more devastating theft of identity occurring within the hearts and souls of men. The enemy of your soul is relentless in trying to deface the image of Christ in whomever it is found. Nowhere in Scripture is the devil’s tactic to deface one’s God-given identity clearer than in the story of Daniel.

Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, invaded and conquered Israel. Please read Daniel 1. In the first of three invasions, he took young men of royalty and nobility back to Babylon, removing the best and brightest of Israel. Four attempts were made to ultimately remove and replace their Godly identity. Every move was strategic, changing their Godly identity by removing their Jewish heritage and practices while replacing those with the ways and worship of Babylon.

(1) Isolation from previous experiences – nation, faith, family, history, and spiritual heritage and practice. Vs 3. Separation from Godly reinforcement – family, Godly fellowship, church, and spiritual practices of prayer and God’s Word – initiated his devilish scheme to displace their previous dependence and trust.
(2) Indoctrination by replacing their beliefs, convictions, and language with “the language and literature of the Babylonians.” Vs 4. Be advised; culture today is a powerful tool of conversion, shaping your thoughts, desires, beliefs, behavior, standards, mores and morals.
(3) Influence by reorienting their appetites from kosher dietary practices to a “daily provision of the King’s delicacies and the wine he drank.” Vs 5. Jewish practice included a kosher diet. Babylon’s purpose was to create a new taste for what they could not provide for themselves, becoming dependent on the King’s good will and benevolence.
(4) Identity theft was the devilish strategy all along. The final scheme was to change their Hebrew names to foreign names attributed to Babylonian gods, discrediting who they were and persuading who they were meant to be. Vs 6-7. When I was a teen, I rarely left the house without my Dad reminding me, “Allen, don’t forget you are a Randolph.”

“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8 NKJV. A devious king could not steal his identity. Daniel knew who he was because he knew Who was the Source and Sovereign of his life. Your identity cannot be confused or compromised if you know who you are in Christ. Read Ephesians 2:3-6 NIV. For all who are “in Christ,” your identity can be fully rediscovered in redemption. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Read Ephesians 1:3-9 NIV. “[Nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Read Romans 8:37-39 NIV.

Today, I pray for you that your identity is assured and secure in Christ.

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Today’s EveryDay Life is a continuation of the previous devotional, “History and Destiny,” from a recent Sunday ministry. You can listen to that teaching at the following link by clicking on “Identity Theft.”

Christian Communications 1653

EDL PIX identity fingerprint

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Irrepressible Joy

July 8th, 2013

“I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles, my joy knows no [boundaries].” 2 Corinthians 7:4 NIV

When you reside secure in Christ, His joy becomes resident in you.

My thoughts and comments today are about “irrepressible joy.”

Without some redeeming measure of joy, daily life can be drudgery. Life can be soul-wearying if circumstances are allowed to preempt joy. I think the problem is a misunderstanding of joy, settling for similar emotions that offer some respite from life’s burdens but fall short of joy. Joy abides; emotional substitutes don’t. God’s intent for you is bigger and better. “I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles, my joy knows no [boundaries].” 2 Corinthians 7:4 NIV.

How would your life be different if you had a joy that was undiscourageable? “You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 NIV. Jesus wants real joy to be your experience permanently not periodically. But how is that possible and practical? Jesus said, “If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:10-11 NIV. Jesus explained from His personal experience and example, “. . just as I have obeyed and remain in His love.”

The Bible consistently connects joy with love, and love with obedience. Jesus sets the order this way: obedience evidences love; love establishes the source and substance of joy. Joy resides naturally in Christ. When you reside secure and continually in Christ, His joy becomes resident in you. John understood Jesus to promise, “. . that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” Imagine! His joy becomes your joy, full and complete, indescribable and irrepressible. “You believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” 1 Peter 1:8 NIV. What the Bible calls “inexpressible,” I call “irrepressible joy” – joy you cannot keep to yourself.

Happiness is wonderful, but do not confuse its fickle emotion with joy. The derivation of the word, “happiness,” relates to “happening, circumstance, or happenstance – a chance occurrence.” Joy has little to do with chance or circumstance. Those things vary from moment to moment and situation to situation, as will your happiness. Joy is directly related to your security in Christ – unshakable and unchangeable. Joy does not come because good things are happening, nor leave when difficult things happen. Read Romans 8:37-39 NIV. Your mood and emotions may suppress joyful feelings for a moment, but joy resides in the heart occupied with Jesus, whatever its present surroundings or circumstance.

The Apostle Paul’s life was neither predictable nor trouble-free. See 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 NKJV. To the Christ-followers in Philippi who were suffering persecution, Paul wrote a letter that is all about inexpressible joy that is found in Christ. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! . . Be joyful always.” Philippians 4:4-8 NIV/1 Thessalonians 5:16 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you live with irrepressible and inexpressible joy.

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Overwhelming Victory

September 21st, 2012

“This is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” 1 John 5:4 NKJV

Jesus’ victory removes the illusion of this world’s invincibility.

My thoughts and comments today are about “overwhelming victory.”

The world is not always an easy place to live. Temptations, trouble, threats, terror, and so much more are challenging for any sane, reality-loving person. Jesus spoke of “tribulation and persecution,” troublesome circumstances and trying people. See Matthew 13:18-23 NKJV. Both are troubling and you will most likely experience a bit of both from time to time. But there is good news, very good news. The Psalmist knew of such times, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to that Rock that is higher than I. You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy . .” Read Psalm 61:2-4 NKJV. In an overwhelming world at times, there is a place of overwhelming victory all the time.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but whoever believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4-5 NKJV. Between whatever happens and whoever believes is where your faith and His victory must connect. The problem is simple: your faith does not offer an exemption from common trials and trouble. The promise is also simple: steadfast in Christ Jesus, you can overcome every opposition and hindrance. If the process were simple and easy to do on your own, it would be called “getting by” rather than overcoming. I find the words of Jesus encouraging, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV. Jesus’ own victory is the precursor and promise of your own.

When you understand that, every trouble is less fearsome. Jesus’ past and present victory removes the illusion of this world’s invincibility. God’s ultimate triumph over all that opposes His will and purpose is beyond question. “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 17:14 NKJV.  Called, chosen, and faithful! The battle is His; the victory is ours. “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ . .” 2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV.

When a once triumphant foe is soundly defeated and publicly shamed, his further boasts and bravado are nothing more than empty sound and fury. Paul writes of this public humiliation, “Having wiped out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us. [Jesus] has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to His cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:14-15 NKJV. The enemy of your soul and life is persuasively disarmed, publicly disgraced, and permanently defeated.

In his pastoral letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul catalogues the full range of human experience, both good and bad (See Romans 8:38-39 NIV), and concludes, “Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, Who loved us . . [nothing] will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37 NLT. Overwhelming victory is yours.

My prayer for you today is that you walk in Christ’s victory with courage.

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Love Without End

January 19th, 2011

“He showed them the full extent of His love.” John 13:1 NIV

“The dimensions of God’s love are immeasurable, but not unknowable!”

My thoughts today are about “love without end.”

Love is powerfully strong, as described in the Bible. See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8/13 NIV. But the love that we often give and receive can be rather fragile and fairly fickle. Our attempts at love bruises easily and changes unpredictably. That’s because our love seems to be conditional, dependent on the circumstance and the behavior of others – more like a relational thermostat merely registering the surrounding temperature, than a thermostat regulating temperatures. Imagine if God loved you, as you and I often love God and others.

The incredibly good news is that God’s love is nothing like your own, not fragile or fickle but enduring. Our love should be more like His! The disciples were not always an easy crowd with whom to spend one’s time. Like us sometimes, they often missed the point, struggled to keep up, substituted their agendas for His, were competitive with each other, had tempers and sensitive feelings, promised more than they could deliver, failed miserably on occasion, and bailed out on Jesus when everything was at stake. Sometimes, the only predictable thing about most people is their unpredictability. And still Jesus loved them in unimaginable, life-changing ways.

John marveled, “Jesus showed them the full extent of His love.” John 13:1 NIV. His love took the time to explain the Kingdom of God again and again; His love understood when they questioned, contradicted, denied, and even betrayed; His love endured when they fled from Him in fear for their own safety; His love brought Him from a grave and into a room where they huddled in fear, and to a lonely road when they returned home to Emmaus to resume their lives without Him, and to a seashore where men’s past experience and best efforts left their nets and lives empty. As you read the Old and New Testaments, you will find God modeling, in real life situations, the kind and quality of the love He also has for you today. See Romans 8:37-39.

Paul celebrated such love, “We were by nature objects of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ . . I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power . . to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 2:3-5/3:17-19 NIV. There is nothing you need more than a love without end.

The dimensions of love are immeasurable, but not unknowable! God’s love is without end; love that reaches to your lostness, perseveres through defiance, pursues in spite of waywardness, heals your brokenness, redeems your purpose and destiny, and prepares a place for you with Him eternally. And what does such love ask in return? He asks for your love, as He did with Peter, “And Jesus said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’” Read John 21:15-17. Is Jesus waiting for your answer?

My prayer for you today is that you welcome the love of God to fill and thrill you.

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