Dear Church, I know you are tired

Tension is part of our life. Tension if not confronted and dealt with will wear your out. If you are a believer, you have tension between right and wrong, good and bad. If you are a believer, you have tension between the flesh and the Spirit.

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit,

and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh,

for these are opposed to each other,

to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

(Gal. 5:17)

Let’s look at the life of Job. in the first couple of chapters, he loses his wealth, his children and his health.

His wife’s advice: “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” (2:9)

Job’s lament: ”After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.” (3:1)

What I find interesting is the word “hope” is used 19 times in 18 verses. Hope is used in both a positive sense and also in a sort of mocking sort of way.

The tension of Job’s life is between

hope and surrender –

belief and doubt –

staying and leaving –

trust and anger –

truth and feelings –

living and dying.

Hope & Surrender

  • Hope – patient endurance with great expectation.
  • Surrender – declaring defeat

Belief & Doubt

  • Belief – holding on to faith.
  • Doubt – second guessing everything.

Staying & Leaving

  • Staying – remaining spiritually grounded.
  • Leaving – looking for something else.

Trust & Anger

  • Trust – resting in God’s hand.
  • Anger – running from God’s presence.

Truth & Feelings

  • Truth – what has God promised?
  • Feelings – emotional responses.

Living & Dying

  • Living – continuing to get up everyday and being who and where God wants you to be.
  • Dying – removing yourself from God’s purpose.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today,

that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.

Therefore choose life,

that you and your offspring may live,

(Deut 30:19)

Loving Father

If I am not convinced that God is a loving father, then I question Him about every circumstance in my life. If I’m suffering, I ask “Why”? If all is good, I feel loved. Yesterday I read a post by Tony Evans.

Trials must first pass through God’s hands to reach you. Trust Him.

I can trust those who am am confident love me. My loving father is always looking out for me even when sickness, hurt, pain, confusion, etc. come into my life. I know I have a loving Father. How about you?

The Right Words

We all have someone that we really want to encourage when they are going through a tough time. Trying to find the right words to say seems to sometimes be the most impossible thing to find. It is like trying to make a sentence out of alphabet soup. The letters are always moving. I know so many people right now that I do not know what to say. The cliches that I have often used, “It will be okay.” “God will work it out.” “This too shall pass.” “You grow in the valley.” (ha) “We live in the valley.” “Roots grow deeper during a drought.” all seem empty. Here is the truth and sometimes the truth is not what we want to hear.

Sometimes there is no making sense of it. There is no understanding it. There is no way to change it. It is what it is.

But then what? There is no hope in that. For the person that does not believe in Jesus, I cannot help. For the believer here is what I have to give.

  • We don’t live as those without hope.
  • Jesus really does love you.
  • Jesus is sufficient in our weakness.
  • Joy trust God even when the circumstances don’t change.
  • Realize when you are confused Jesus isn’t.
  • Heaven is real and life is a vapor.
  • Hold on to Jesus and there will be times when you have to hold on so tight that your knuckles will turn white.
  • Don’t judge the world through the lens of your suffering but through the lens of God’s love.

Reference:

1 Cor 15:57-58; 2 Cor 12:8-9; Gal 6:9; 1 Thess 4:13

 

Your Whisper in Darkness

“To be grateful for an unanswered prayer, to give thanks in a state of interior desolation, to trust in the love of God in the face of the marvels, cruel circumstances, obscenities, and commonplaces of life is to whisper a doxology in darkness.” 1

 

Manning, Brennan. Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2002. Print. p. 37.

What Must I Do?

I was in a meeting yesterday that focused on what to do when someone asks you, “What must I do to be saved?” This is the question that is asked in Acts 16:30.

Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

This is very possibly the most important question a person can asks. Paul & Silas were pretty concise in their answer.

And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31, ESV

Believe in the Lord Jesus. That seems pretty simple, but exactly what does that mean? “Believe here means “to trust” and is an active verb. So, we are called to the action of trusting in the Lord Jesus. If I put my active trust in Jesus, then I trust who He is, what He says and what He calls me to be. He becomes the Lord and Master of my life calling the shots. The same word for “believe” also carries the meaning “to obey”. Obedience is active trust.

But then the question was asked, “What do you think they said next. I had never given this much thought. The Scripture says,

And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  Acts 16:32 (ESV)

Did they tell them everything Jesus had said? Did they speak the whole Old Testament to them? Was it the Pentateuch? I believe it was what we continue to see Jesus call men to. I believe they made the cost clear. It might have went like this.  Continue reading

Trust and Obey

The old hymn comes to mind when I see the word trust.

When we walk with the Lord

In the light of His Word,

What a glory He sheds on our way!

While we do His good will,

He abides with us still,

And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there is no other way

to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.

Last week our message was “Can You Trust God?”. We live in a time of much chaos, uncertainties and diverse difficulties. The issues are as diverse as the people who have them. Worry and anxiety often fill our days and fatigue fills our nights. The mind does not shut down when real issues are at hand, so what do you do?

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19

The feedback from my message was overwhelming. It seems so many people could relate. Three thoughts will help you enter into His rest.

  1. Believe Jesus is God incarnate.
  2. Believe Jesus loves you.
  3. Believe Jesus has your best interest at heart.

Here is a prayer that might help you.

Lord, I do not understand everything going on in my life right now. There are so many uncertainties that scare me and has led me to a life of anxiety. I realize I might never understand all that is going on or why but I trust in you. I have to believe that you care for me and you have my best interest at heart. When I cannot see your hand I am going to trust your heart. So God, here are all my worries and anxieties. I give them to you. I will do my part and I know you will do your part. I look forward to see how you untangle my life. Amen.

I Do Not Trust You!

This week each blog entry has dealt with loving, forgiving, blessing, praying for and giving to those you avoid and who avoid you. These are your enemies, cursers, haters, takers and strikers. If you have not read the previous entries you need to read them before you read this (that alone will probably make you read this first). In the first entry I wrote, “Forgiveness is paramount but it is not the same thing as trust.

Forgiveness is to pardon someone of an offense.

Trust is assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. One in which confidence is placed.

Forgiveness and Trust if related at all are very distant cousins. Let’s be optimistic and say a relationship starts off at 100% trust and then intentional hurt is inflicted. Trust then drops somewhere below 100% but over time might go back to 100%. However, each time intentional hurt is inflicted trust drops more and more and the rebound takes longer and 100% might never be achieved again. Let me give you this simple example about trust. I have a friend who simply made this statement, “I don’t do wicker!”. What he is saying is that he does not sit in or on anything wicker. Why? He does not trust it. This could be due to a previous failure of wicker than landed him on his end. There might be people in your life whom you have forgiven but you do not trust and that is okay. Now, when they come to understand you do not trust them they might say, “I thought you forgave me!”. Well, you did but that does not mean you trust them. I am going to give you a strong example of these two working together and feel free to substitute your hurt in the example.

Example:

A husband has an affair on his wife.

She forgives him.

She will want to know where he is at all times (and should have the right to) because the trust has not been restored. She decided to forgive and stay married, but he has got to earn her trust back.

At this point trust is earned and forgiveness is free.

We see this truth in the parable of the talents. When someone is faithful over a little trust more trust will be given. 

“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” Luke 12:48b