Tag Archives: trust

2 Samuel 16-18; Positive Thinking Garbage

Absalom wanted to be king over all Israel, and in order to do that he needed to get rid of his dad and his dad’s followers. Absalom wanted David dead. But in the pursuit of his father, Absalom got his hair caught in the branches of a tree, and became a sitting duck for David’s men. The rebellious young son was killed.

Now David had given strict orders that Absalom was not to be harmed. “Protect him,” the King pleaded with his soldiers.

So David sat expectantly at the city gates, waiting for word about the battle and fully expecting his son to be brought to him in chains. But alive. The watchman saw a runner in the distance, and told King David about it.

“If he’s by himself, he brings good news,” David declared.

The watchman saw another runner some distance behind the first. “This one’s bringing good news, too,” insisted David.

The watchman recognized the first runner. “He’s a good man,” said David. “He’s bringing good news.”

But we know neither runner had the good news David wanted to hear. All the positive thoughts David could muster couldn’t change the fact his son was dead.

We’ve all heard there is power in positive thinking, that if you think it you can be it, that negative thoughts bring negative results. David would tell you that philosophy is garbage.

Your thoughts, dear one, have no control over the universe. Positive thoughts might make you feel good, they might even prompt you to take positive action. But there is nothing magical about your thoughts. And anyone who tells you differently is lying.

However, if you direct your thoughts in prayer to God, and allow Him to work in your circumstances, you’ll be amazed at what He can do.

Last year I shared with you my encounter with Hurricane Matthew from the island where I live off the coast of Georgia. We are once again bracing ourselves for Irma. I’m not happy about it, for sure.

I don’t know what will happen. But I can tell you with all assurance I am not going to greet that storm, standing on the pier and thinking positive thoughts. I am not going to “will” the storm away by thinking good things.

But I am praying to the One who has control over the weather, as shown in Scripture. I am going to pray to the One who stood in the fire with three believers who told their would-be murderer, “My God can save us from this fire. But even if He doesn’t save us, we will not serve any other God. Period.” I’m praying to the One who does all things well, even when I don’t understand His ways.

Your positive thoughts going out into the universe are meaningless. Why not pray with me to the God who created the universe, and believe that no matter what happens, He is able to see us through.

My prayer is that, of course, we all will be spared from the devastation this storm brings with it. I pray that lives will be spared. And I pray that through this storm, the Spirit of God will speak to hearts who don’t yet know Him, and lives will be changed for eternity.

I’m asking you to pray for all of us in the path of this particular storm. I’ll keep you posted if I can. May God be praised in all things.

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Samuel 10-12; The Loss Of A Child

I was talking to my pastor a while back and shared my confusion concerning the age of accountability. Scripture doesn’t really give a specific number, nor does it tell us exactly what happens to babies when they die.

But if Jesus is the only way to the Father, if His Name is the only means of salvation, what about aborted babies, or infants and toddlers who die before understanding the need of Him? My pastor pointed me to 2 Samuel.

David’s newborn son was sick. And while the baby struggled to live, David fasted, prayed, and wept believing God could heal him. But after the baby died, David seemed to have peace. He got up, went to church, then ate a meal. Strange behavior for someone whose child just died.

David’s sorrow had been for his sick baby boy, a father’s desire to watch that baby grow up, healthy. His struggle was for the suffering infant, and his own grief. But once the baby died, David had the assurance the boy was in the presence of God:

I will go to him, but he will not return to me. (12:23)

It seems David believed in heaven, and was confident that his son was safely there right that minute. And David believed one day, he would go to the place his son was. David would see his son again. Knowing this, David was able to go to his wife, and comfort her.

I don’t know if you have ever miscarried a baby, or buried your infant or toddler. I can’t imagine the pain that brings. But I can encourage you to rest assured that child is in the Presence of Someone who loves them even more than you do.

And, dear one, if you know Jesus as your Savior, you will see your child again. Not in this life, as hard as that is to accept. But in eternity, standing together before God’s throne, loving and being loved by the One who does all things well.

Father, I want to pray for any who read this post who are carrying the weight of grief over a lost child. Is there a greater loss? I pray that each one will know the assurance that their little loved one is alive, and well, and home with You. God, ease the burden of empty arms. I pray for faith to trust You, even in the loss of a child.

Judges 6-8; Fear and Fearlessness

I live on an island in the Atlantic Ocean, so one of my least favorite movies is “Jaws.” I’d rather not think about what’s swimming around out there. But the movie makers did an incredible job of instilling fear into the audience with the use of music. Well, two notes, really. They’d play those two notes softly at first, then gradually those notes would get faster, and louder, then at just the right moment, the shark would attack, leaving the audience gasping or screaming at the screen. During the movie, hearing those two notes caused heart rates to rise, even if the action on the screen was happy and carefree. Those two notes could make you believe something bad was about to happen.

Fear often causes us to lose control, and we wind up screaming at a movie screen while sitting in a cushioned chair thousands of miles away from any ocean. That’s why I never liked haunted houses, either. The longer I groped my way through darkened halls, the faster my heart beat, and the more irrational thoughts became reality, sometimes causing me to see things that weren’t really there.

So I’m reading in Judges today how Gideon, with 300 soldiers, lamps, and trumpets, defeated an army of 15,000. And I had one of those laugh-out-loud moments.

The night before the battle, Gideon and one of his soldiers, sneaked into the enemy camp. God, wanting to ease Gideon’s fears, told him to go and hear what the enemy soldiers were saying. Gideon learned that the enemy soldiers were telling each other that the Jewish God was going to help the Jews, that the battle was already lost before it began.

Now, Scripture doesn’t tell us this, but when I put myself in the enemy’s shoes, I can imagine their confidence was low. I imagine the more they thought about what could be ahead for them, their level of fear rose. I bet they didn’t sleep peacefully the night before they knew there was a good chance they were going to die in battle. If it were me, I’d toss and turn imaging worst case.

Then, just before dawn, this sleep deprived and fearful army were startled by the sound of trumpets, the crashing of breaking glass, and the sudden light of dozens of torches. You’re going to think I’m a bit morbid, but here is where I laughed out loud.

Because I pictured the Three Stooges, suddenly surprised, and hitting and poking each other in the dark.

These soldiers, fueled by their fear, began thrashing their swords, killing anything that moved, not even realizing they were killing their own.

How often in Scripture do we read, “Fear not?” Or how often are we told by God not to worry? Even when we know God’s got this covered, do we allow our fears and worries dominate our thoughts, causing those sleepless nights, that anxiety, until we begin to see things that aren’t even there?

We’ve got to understand that, at the height of fear, we are apt to think and act irrationally, impulsively, distrustfully. We’re liable to start striking out at the people closest to us. God wants better for us than that.

Gideon was comforted and strengthened when God assured Him of the victory. I believe God would like to do the same for us.

Are you facing something really scary? Do you hear that two note Jaws theme getting louder and faster? Then pray. Read God’s Word. Trust Him. Hear Him assure you He’s got this covered. Then believe Him.

Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you. (from I Peter 5:7). He cares that you have peace in the storm, that you are prepared to face the battle, that you are sober minded and able to act and react rationally, and with confidence in His ability to give you the victory.

I pray that you will live fearlessly as a result of putting your faith in God.

Numbers 5&6; Do You Trust Me?

As a woman, I had a hard time reading God’s instructions for a jealous husband. If a man thought his wife had been unfaithful, he could drag her to the priest who would make her drink dirty water that, if she was guilty, would render her infertile painfully and publicly. If she was innocent, the dirty water would do no harm.

The husband needed no proof of infidelity. He just had to be jealous. Doesn’t seem fair. What if a woman was truly innocent and her body reacted to the poison anyway?

And here’s the kicker: Regardless of the outcome for this woman, “the husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing…” (5:31) Plus, no mention is made of the guy this woman was supposed to have had an affair with. Let’s organize a march on Washington or block traffic or something.

But God doesn’t let me go off on tangents very long before He sits me down and reminds me of the Truth. Today I felt Him ask, “Do you trust Me?” If He gave the order, He’s not about to fail to make it work. So I am absolutely 100% sure that not one innocent woman – not one innocent woman – ever reacted to the dirty water.

And I am reminded that just because the male offender isn’t mentioned here, doesn’t mean God doesn’t address adultery elsewhere. God is very specific about sexual sins in both the Old Testament and the New.

So why institute this public judgment on adultery?

  1. It reminds us God takes marriage seriously. Marriage is a picture of His relationship with His church. And He will not tolerate unfaithfulness.
  2. Private sins have far reaching consequences. How many people do you know who are living with disease, abortion, raising children alone, or even poverty, as the result of sins they thought were private?

Then God reminded me that He is able and eager to forgive. We might bear consequences in the flesh, but God can make us pure in His eyes and able to bear fruit for His kingdom. Yes, He is serious about sin. Yes, the guilty will not go unpunished.

But thank God, through His Son Jesus, we can know the forgiveness of any and every sin we’ve ever committed, no matter how bad we think that sin is.

 

The lesson for me today wasn’t so much about the way guilty adulteresses were revealed, although at first I thought it was. The bigger question for me was, do I trust God to do all things well?

The answer is yes, I do.

Genesis 42-43 Trust Me

Reuben was Jacob’s first born son. So it’s not surprising that Reuben would be the one to take charge, go to his father, and promise to protect Benjamin if only Jacob would let him take the young man back to Egypt. Reuben even swore that if anything happened to Jacob’s precious son, Jacob had permission to kill two of Reuben’s sons.

“We need food, Dad, or all of us will die. Trust me.”

But Jacob refused to let Reuben take Benjamin into Egypt. Even after Reuben made such a demonstrative offer. Could it be that Reuben’s trustworthiness was in doubt, especially after his encounter with Bilhah, Jacob’s wife? Just saying.

Later, when the grain was gone and Jacob’s family was facing starvation, Judah stepped up. His promise to his dad to care for his youngest brother wasn’t dramatic, it wasn’t laced with promises he couldn’t keep. Judah went sincerely and humbly and said, “Dad, I’ll be responsible. If I don’t bring Benjamin back to you, it’s on me.”

What is it that elicits trust in someone? Obviously we look at past behavior. We probably consider the situation and hear what the other person is saying. We weigh what we know about that person’s character, with our need to trust them in the moment.

So today I’m asking myself if God can trust me. Have I been trustworthy in the past? Am I sincere about wanting to follow Him and obey Him? Is my character like that of Jesus, the ultimate example of being worthy of trust?

Or am I all talk? All show? No follow-through? Good intentions that go nowhere?

God wants to entrust me with the eternal souls of people He loves more than Jacob loved Benjamin. Am I up to the challenge? Can I say, “Trust me” and mean it?

Genesis 21-22 I Believe Him

The Father offered His Son as a living sacrifice. The Son, obedient to the Father, hung on the cross, and willingly laid down His life. The Son, the sacrifice, the Lamb that was slain, lives again.

Was God’s instruction to Abraham some random test of faith? Or was it a foreshadowing of what was to come, a beautiful picture of Jesus?

Abraham might have been confused. God just got done telling him Isaac would be the father of nations. But Isaac hadn’t had his first child yet when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son. I love the fact that Abraham obeyed anyway.

For three days he walked with his son. The son carried the wood for the sacrifice. The father carried the knife.

Didn’t Jesus carry His cross? Was it God the Father or the Jews who held the “knife?”

Abraham had time to change his mind, but he kept moving. His faith and God seems to have prevented him from disobeying. “God will provide the lamb,” he told Isaac. And I love how Abraham’s faith was revealed when he spoke to his servants.

He said, “We (Isaac and I) are going ahead to make a sacrifice to God. You wait here. WE’LL be right back.”

Abraham might not have known HOW God was going to keep His promise. He only knew God WOULD keep His promise.

And that’s how I want to live my life. God has promised never to leave or forsake me, He promised to forgive my sins when I repent, He promised to go prepare a place for me to live with Him forever. And I believe Him.

Dear Father, I want to live my life with faith like Abraham’s. I want to go about my day with the same determination to obey You. I want to take those steps of faith even when I don’t see how Your will can be accomplished in and through me. May I be yielded to You, sensitive to Your voice, believing You and trusting You. Thank you for providing the Lamb. Your promises are true. I love You. And I believe.

 

December 29 – Trust

Revelation 6-11

Today as I read these chapters in Revelation the Lord seemed to be asking me a question. Do I trust Him? The events of John’s vision are frightening. War, sickness, storms, earthquakes, devastation.

Satan.

Do I trust God with the events of my life? All of them?

A W Tozer said, “God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible. What a pity we plan only things we can do by ourselves.”

Life is hard. And sometimes God wants to do great things in and through us during our darkest moments. Sometimes He wants to reveal Himself through our storms, our diseases, and our wars. But He can’t if we hold on to control, not believing He really can do the impossible.

As John is telling the horrible things that occur in his vision, one thing stood out to me.

God.

At the end of it all, God will still be standing in all His holiness, power and majesty. And not just at the end of time. At the end of my battles in this life, God is still on the throne.

I think of my nephew, encouraging his four-year-old son to jump into the pool and into his waiting arms. I see the little one, frightened and cold, shivering poolside. But then I see determination in those young eyes as he fixes his gaze on his daddy’s face, and jumps.

Do I trust God? Absolutely.

Now to take that leap.

Dear God, I do trust You. But I have to confess there are times when a little doubt creeps in, or I tell myself I should be able to handle things on my own. Forgive me. Help me to pray like Jesus prayed, Not my will but Thine, and mean it. I want to face whatever life hands me firmly holding Your hand, completely trusting You, and obeying You. And, God, accomplish the impossible in me today if You want to. I’ve got my eyes on You. And I’m diving in.