Friday, December 9, 2011

Lessons In Trust

"Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord." - Proverbs 16:20 NIV

My blog yesterday was about trusting in God's will for my life. How He will never give us more than we can handle and will see us through all of life's ups and downs. But, there are times, every day, that I find myself not completely trusting in God. I try to take care of things myself before I turn them over to God. It's one of the aspects of my relationship with Him that I am in constant prayer about. So, today, I'm just going to list verses that have to do with trusting in God - why it's so important as a part of my walk with Him, some of the benefits of trusting Him and some of the consequences of not trusting Him.

Why should I place my complete trust in Him? Because the Bible says so, that's why!
- "Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord." - Psalm 4:5 NIV
- "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." -   Proverbs 3:5
- "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me." - John 14:1
- "Trust in the Lord and do good." - Psalm 37:3a NIV


God will honor me when I trust and serve Him. "Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." - John 12:26 NIV

God will not forsake me. "Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You." - Psalm 9:10 NIV

God treats me as one of His children. "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed {trust} in His name, He gave the right to become children of God." - John 1:12 NIV

God is my rock and my refuge against Satan and the world. "I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress,, my God, in whom I trust." - Psalm 91:2 NIV

God will bless me. "But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him."Jeremiah 17:7 NIV

God gives me eternal life. "For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16 NIV


I will not receive the blessings God has in store for me. "But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 'Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them." - Numbers 20:12 NIV

I will be mislead. "You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, 'No one sees me.' Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, 'I am, and there is none besides me." - Isaiah 47:10 NIV

I will bring unnecessary pain and suffering into my life. "Will not pain grip you like that of a woman in labor? And if you ask yourself, "Why has this happened to me?"' - it is because of your many sins that your skirts have been torn off and your body mistreated....This is your lot, the portion I have decreed for you," declares the Lord, "because you have forgotten me and trusted in false gods." - Jeremiah 13:21b-22, 25 NIV

I will be judged by God. "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when His righteous judgement will be revealed. God 'will give to each person according to what he has done.' To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger." - Romans 2:5-8 NIV

There are so many other benefits of trusting God, along with consequences of not trusting Him. I choose to reap the benefits rather than the consequences. I am faced with decisions and dilemmas every day - I am learning to turn to God and trust Him to lead me in the way I should go. Daily lessons in trust.

"Sometimes the very essence of faith is trusting God in the midst of things He knows good and well we cannot comprehend." - Beth Moore

Dear Lord, guide me today to trust You and be obedient to Your commandments. I confess that I do not always trust You and ask You to change that in me. May I learn to turn to You first in all things and trust You will give me the wisdom, knowledge and strength to face my challenges and see Your blessings. Keep me mindful of the benefits of trusting You but also of the consequences of not trusting You. These things I ask in Jesus' name, Amen. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trusting the Will of God

"The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." - 1 John 2:17 NIV

There are things that happen, in my life and in the lives of others, that I just cannot grasp the reason for. Why do children get terminal illnesses, why do people go hungry and thirsty, why do people murder, why is there so much greediness, why is there so much suffering....why, why, why?! I don't always understand or comprehend God's will. And I never will, at least not in this life. I could spend my whole life questioning God and wondering what His reasons are. Or...I could trust that He knows what He's doing and that everything that happens is under His control. Romans 8:28 NIV tells me this: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him."

The worst thing that ever happened was the death of Jesus Christ. Yet, God used it to bring good to this evil world. Jesus, knowing what He was going to face - the suffering and abuse He was going to endure on my behalf - poured His heart out to God, yet ultimately sought God's will, not His own. I'm not facing anything nearly as daunting as crucifixion, yet there are times I feel like I am. What is my usual reaction? Fear, worry, complaining, asking "why?", asking God to get me out of the situation. Instead of reacting that way, however, maybe I should be seeking God's will for me during these times of trouble and heartache. What is it that He wants me to learn? Do I need to lean on Him more, to have more faith, to be more prayerful, to be more humble and obedient, to be more thankful? THANKFUL?!?! Yes, thankful. God tells me that is part of His will for me: "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).

Instead of praying, "God, get me out of this situation.", I should be asking God to give me the strength & wisdom to see me through. I should turn to Him for comfort and know that He will never give me more than I can handle. He is right there to lead me, guide me, hold my hand and carry me if needs be. I should be thanking Him for bringing me into a closer relationship with Him by putting me in a situation whereby I must rely on Him to bring me out of. By placing my trust in His will, I can live with peace and joy in my heart, no matter what Satan may place in my path. Little does the devil realize how much he helps God when I choose to seek God's will during troubling circumstances. Satan pushes me right into God's arms!! I'm sure it just drives him crazy! But it pleases God.

Trusting the will of God isn't always easy; but it's always right. It's always rewarded. It allows me to endure the most painful things in life with peace and calm. I desire to live a life that pleases Him and to trust His will in all circumstances. God willing, I will.

"The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you." - Anonymous

Father God, I want to trust Your will for me. I desire to live a life that pleases You. Lord, let me trust in Your power and lean on You for strength & wisdom to see me through the hard times. May I not ask You to get me out of a situation, but turn to You to show me what You want me to learn from it. May each hardship bring me closer in my relationship to You and to Your Son. Your will be done in my life, today and each day. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

All Things ARE Possible!!

"Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." - Mark 10:27 NIV

"All things are possible with God." How comforting is that?! I mentioned this a little bit in my blog yesterday and today it's my devotional verse. Coincidence? I think not!! God is definitely reminding me this holiday season that He is in control. That, no matter what I think or feel can't be done, He CAN do it! All it takes on my part is faith and prayer; believing I have received. Mark 11:24 NIV says, "Therefore I tell you; whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

You may be wondering, "Is that really all it takes?" My answer to you is, "Yes, that's all it takes!" The Bible says so and every word in it comes from God. If He says that's all we need to do, then that's ALL we need to do! Maybe you're thinking to yourself, "But you don't know what I'm asking for or what I need to do or what needs to happen in my life. There's no way it can happen!" You're right...not when we try to take care of it ourselves. But, when we allow God to step in, miracles happen!!

I read a story in Sunday's newspaper that made me think of this verse. Ten years ago, a young woman, a pedestrian, just 18-years old, was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The driver was a young attorney out for a night on the town with a friend. The impact was so hard, she was cut in half. And he panicked and ran. He turned himself in two days later and served six years and four months in prison. He lost his wife, his profession and missed out on over six years of his son's lives. But there are a few miracles, a few "impossibles", in this story. The young woman's father forgave the man who took his daughter's life, not years later but almost right away: "What a waste it would be if he didn't have a wonderful life." Impossible, you say? "? "All things are possible with God." The young attorney went on to remarry, get joint custody of his sons and have a daughter of his own. He found another attorney willing to take a chance on him and give him a job. Miracle, miracle, miracle!! "All things are possible with God." He, on his own and not because he is required to by the courts, goes to high schools to speak to juniors and seniors about drinking and driving. He doesn't make excuses for his actions but he is making a difference. And the young woman's father has this to say: "I forgave the right person. I hope that his life and his actions are a testament to my wonderful little girl." "All things are possible with God." 

I tell this story to show you that, no matter what you're facing, God can and will see you through. Are you facing health issues that you feel are insurmountable? "All things are possible with God." Are your bills stacking up and you just don't know how you're going to pay them? "All things are possible with God." Are you holding on to things in your past and think you just can't forgive and let go? "All things are possible with God." Are you feeling alone and miserable this holiday season and just don't see anyway to change that? "All things are possible with God."

My God is a God of miracles, a God who can do the impossible. I've seen it in my own life and in the life of others. From very small miracles to very large miracles, God is able and willing to take care of us. Give Him your "impossibles" today. Turn them over to Him, with prayer and faith and trust in His promises. "All things ARE possible with God."

"Faith expects from God what is beyond all expectation." - Andrew Murray

Dear Heavenly Father, there is absolutely nothing that is impossible for You. Thank You, Lord!! May I have faith in Your power and in Your miracles. When I feel all is lost and there's nowhere and no one to turn to, remind me of this verse, dear Lord. Remind me that You have the power to do the things I cannot do on my own. You are the Almighty God, a God of infinite power, infinite love and infinite possibilities. All praise and glory to You! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Attitude Adjustment

"But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." - Romans 8:25 NIV

Pessimism - an inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome; a tendency to stress the negative or unfavorable or to take the gloomiest possible view; the doctrine or belief that the evil in the world outweighs the good.

Pessimism - just the sound of it is ugly but the definition is even worse. Since I'm usually an optimist, the idea of spending my life expecting the worst possible outcome is not something I can totally comprehend. And believing the evil in the world outweighs the good....NEVER!! That may be all we see and hear about on the news - which is why I don't watch it - but I truly believe that my God is in charge of this world and He outweighs ALL evil!!

However, there are times when pessimism does take hold of me. And it's usually this time of year. My idea of Christmas used to be a tree with presents stacked floor to ceiling (I'm exaggerating a bit here), tons of food, laughter, spending time with family and friends, having fun. Last Christmas was tough. Money was tight so there weren't as many presents as I wanted under the tree. There weren't alot of parties because people didn't feel like celebrating too much. I didn't enjoy the holidays because I was too busy being pessimistic about things not being the way I wanted them to be for the holiday. I wanted things back to the way they used to be (actually, the way I perceived they used to be). But, this year, God has given me an attitude adjustment.

It's not something that just happened. It's been a learning process all year long. It's been prayer, Bible study, more prayer, more Bible study. It's been talking with God and with other people who are or have been where I'm at. It's been a conscious decision to live this verse in Romans and wait patiently, with hope, for what I do not yet have but which God has promised me. It's standing on His promises, knowing that I have a God who can do the impossible, knowing He will take care of me and give me the strength, wisdom, hope and joy to face all circumstances in my life. This Christmas, pessimism has no foothold in my thoughts or my heart.

Jesus IS the reason for this season...not spending money I don't have on a ton of gifts that will be broken or forgotten within days. I've always known that we celebrate Christ's birth on Christmas but this year I KNOW...deep, deep down...that Jesus is the true blessing and gift that I should celebrate. I have felt this so deeply this year that I put up my Christmas decorations in early November because I felt I was going to burst with the hope and joy He brings. My attitude adjustment has brought many blessings worries over not having enough under the tree (whatever God provides will be plenty); so many parties to attend and friends to enjoy; having fun just looking forward to the surprises I know God will provide; and peace, blessed peace, knowing that the person we are celebrating has given us the best gift of all - eternal life.

So I just have to ask: do you need an attitude adjustment? Does this time of year bring out the pessimist in you? If so, ask God to help you and wait patiently for Him to do so. It will happen...I'm speaking from experience!!

"God gives us hopes and dreams for certain things to happen in our lives, but He doesn't always allow us to see the exact timing of His plan." - Joyce Meyer

Amazing God, thank You for the attitude adjustment You've given me this year. You have blessed me with so much...a home when others are homeless, a wonderful family, friends that I love spending time with and the best gift of all - Your Son, Jesus Christ. My hope is in You, Lord, and I wait patiently for Your timing in my life. Thank You for true peace and joy during this time of year. If there are any of my friends or family needing an "attitude adjustment", may they find it in You, dear God. I pray all this in Jesus' precious name, Amen.