During the Wednesday night service, Pastor Randy made this statement and I can’t get it out of my head.
“Watch my life and see how I trust Him.”
As he began his message on faith, he explained that he wasn’t going to be teaching us anything new or telling us something we didn’t already know. But as I listened, I was so encouraged to believe God. It’s not that I’ve been disbelieving Him, but I think there is a level of trusting God that I have never experienced. And this is the life that causes people to take note that there is something different.
When I can learn to REALLY cast my care upon the Lord and to leave it there – they will see how I trust Him.
When I no longer complain about things that are not fair – they will see how I trust Him.
When I can truly experience His peace that passes understanding in the midst of the most difficult trials – they will see how I trust Him.
“My faith in God is not just about me, but it is a testimony to others of His goodness and faithfulness.”
I want to be able to endure in faith and obedience, trusting God completely even when the situations I am trusting Him in haven’t changed.
Israel continued to march about Jericho even though the walls never showed any sign of weakening.
The priests stepped into the overflowing waters of the Jordan although the water had not receded.
Rahab hid the spies, believing that Jericho was given to Israel even before they had crossed the Jordan and while the walls of the city were still strong.
There was no evidence to prompt their obedience. But there was faith. So believing God, they were obedient, and in one moment God changed everything.
As the apostle Paul was aboard a ship on his way to Rome, in the midst of the tempest as the storm beat violently against the ship and all hope was lost that they would reach safety, he speaks these words:
“For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.” Acts 27:23-25
The storm rages, the men were hopeless, and yet he says “I believe God.”
When I look back on my life (not to mention in the word of God) there is ample evidence of His faithfulness and trustworthiness. It is scandalous that I should not trust Him always.
I long for a radical faith that just trusts God like crazy in everything. What would be the outcome if I could really live like this?
Maybe they could watch my life and see how I trust Him.
“For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” John 12:43
From the beginning God created us for fellowship, both with Him and with each other. After creating Adam He said it was not good for him to be alone. So he created Eve and Adam now had human fellowship. And civilization from that time has enjoyed fellowship with others. But this fellowship was never intended to supersede or replace our fellowship with God. But our fellowship with each other was to be enriched and deeply satisfying because of our fellowship with Him.
Our creator knew that within each of us was a desire for acceptance. This was a desire that He intended to be met in Him. However, just as sin has distorted everything else, it has distorted this as well and we have looked to any number of places and people to find acceptance.
While we are exhorted by Scripture to live at peace with all men, we are never told to seek the acceptance of men. Many times, obtaining the acceptance of those around us will require compromise and this is a dangerous thing. Once we have begun down this path it is hard to find our way back, for then we risk losing the approval of those we have worked so hard to please.
The glory that comes from man is fickle and fleeting. It is never worth the price of obtaining it. Much greater and commended by Scripture is seeking the glory that comes from God. This is the acceptance that is the inheritance of those who belong to Christ.
Accepted in the Beloved.
Not because I did it right, but because He did it right. For those of us who have experienced many failures and rejections in life, this is a precious promise.
1 Samuel 23:16-17 “And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.”
This is an amazing passage. Jonathan should have been the next king. Certainly he had been raised with this expectation and trained to fill that position after his father Saul. Yet he was aware who God had chosen for that role and it wasn’t him; and that was okay. He was able to see the bigger picture – who God had chosen and anointed. He didn’t feel threatened. He knew that he would be near the king and that was enough for him.
Saul on the other hand, although he also knew God had chosen David to be king, was tireless in his efforts to hunt down and kill David.
I have heard a term used for what there seems to be so much of in the church these days – “spiritualized ambition”. So many people are waiting for their world wide ministry to materialize. Not content with the ordinariness of now, we waste today by always looking off into the dreamed of tomorrow. Oh that we would turn our focus on what is truly important – not our ministry, but our King – Jesus. Whatever our role is to be in serving Him on this earth, it is enough that we shall be next to Him.
In 2 Kings 5 we read of the miraculous healing of Naaman from leprosy. The prophet Elisha refuses to accept any money from Naaman and sends him on his way. But Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, secretly goes after Naaman with this request:
“Please give me a talent of silver and two changes of garments.”
Gehazi, as the servant of Elisha, occupied a coveted position. Surely he was not unaware that Elisha had once been the servant of Elijah. And now he was in that relation to Elisha. One has to wonder if Gehazi’s position would have made him Elisha’s successor. And yet, Gehazi’s desire, which he was willing to lie to obtain (“My master has sent me” v22) was for a talent of silver and 2 changes of garments. Going to request these from Naaman in secret, he may have thought he would be able to have his stash of worldly goods and have his position with Elisha remain unaffected. But because he clung to the treasure of Naaman, the leprosy of Naaman clung to him.
Going after the things of this world will not leave us untainted. Chasing wealth will create in us a miserly greed to have more for ourselves. Chasing success will cause us to neglect the weightier matters of life. Chasing entertainment will leave our soul corrupted by the worldly things we entertain ourselves with. And we may obtain all these things….and find we have lost our place in the kingdom.
We read of Gehazi one more time in 2 Kings 8 and he is not with Elisha. But he is recounting the stories of the things he witnessed as Elisha’s servant. One must wonder if his voice was tinged with regret and longing for what he has lost. He still has the title “servant of Elisha”, but it is only a title.
I set Gehazi before us as an example of what not to do. Let us not be those who are led astray by the sparkle of silver or any such thing. But let us rather be like Moses “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” Like Moses, let us “look to the reward” – that great day when we will stand before the Lord Jesus, clothed in His righteousness, having invested our lives in knowing and sharing Him. This is the blessing that makes one rich and adds no sorrow with it. There are no regrets to a life spent pursuing Jesus and making Him known.
World, you can keep your silver. I have found a better Treasure.
After the 70 years of Babylonian captivity had been completed and Babylon had been captured by the Persians, the Lord stirred the heart of King Cyrus to send the Jewish people back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. A large group returned to begin the work and they all rejoiced when the foundation of the temple was completed.
But not everyone was happy about this development. There were others living in the land, adversaries of Judah and Benjamin, who wanted the work to stop. Eventually there was a new king who was not sympathetic to the Jews and he caused the work to be stopped. Those who opposed the work “went up in haste to Jerusalem against the Jews, and by force of arms made them cease.” Ezra 4:23
Approximately 15 years passed and still the temple rebuilding had not been resumed. Into this scene comes Haggai the prophet with these words:
“Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins? Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!”” Haggai 1:4-5
The work that they had begun with such zeal had been abandoned in the moment of opposition. The years passed and they started building their lives there and going on with things. Nothing they did really prospered, but it was life without the confrontation of enemies. Much more comfortable. They were lulled into complacency.
However, in the kingdom of Persia things had changed and a new king was in power. And God sent His word to wake His people up to the work to be done.
Do you hear that word today, for He is surely speaking it? Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.
Of a certainty the world is more wicked than it has been at any time in history. The end draws nearer every day. And there are many, so very many, that do not know our wonderful Jesus. I must ask myself, how does this affect my life? I must hear these words to me – Consider your ways.
“that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19
Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and Friend
Who would have thought that a Lamb
Could rescue the souls of men
Oh you rescue the souls of men
Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way
Oh, we’ve hopelessly lost the way
You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for
Almighty, infinite Father
Faithfully loving Your own
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne
Oh, we’re falling before Your throne
“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.” Hebrews 2:1
We live in an age of communication gone crazy. Television, telephones, video games, Ipods and a multitude of other devices compete for our attention. We can hardly focus our attention on one before we are distracted by another. We seem to be a society of distraction. But there are some things we cannot afford to be distracted from. The writer of Hebrews warns us of this.
The words of Jesus are more than just words. They are life. And unless we heed those words, by listening to and obeying those words, slowly we will begin to drift, like a ship that isn’t anchored. We will become leaky vessels, unable to contain what has been entrusted to us.
In America we are so very fortunate to have the freedom to own as many Bibles as we want. I can take my Bible to work, I can read it in public places. Yet this liberty is worthless if we do not pay attention to these words of life and let them penetrate deep into our souls. This is no mere religious book. It is the revealed truth about who God is, what He has done for us and what He requires of us. Nothing in this world deserves more careful attention than this.
Let us be like Samuel – “Speak Lord, for Your servant hears.”