Fully Trusting God
Why do I question God? When am I going to fully trust Him—on my deathbed? The second saddest thing I can think of is finally realizing on the last day of my life that God was fully trustworthy and always had my best interest in mind. The only thing sadder is never realizing it…never fully trusting God. I’m absolutely convinced that when I stand before God I’ll at last see there were an infinite number of things I could have believed about Him while I was on Earth that I just didn’t. First and foremost, I could have believed that every situation I ever found myself in was ultimately designed for my good. But I don’t have to wait for my final day, I’m standing before Him right now. “God, I trust You!”
My Sin Problem
The longer I live and follow Jesus, the more I realize that my sin problem is far more serious then I’m capable of understanding. Like Paul the Apostle, because I know my sin best, I know deep down, I am the chief of sinners! My sin is ever before me. But the astoundingly good news is, God’s solution for my serious sin problem is far more glorious than I could ever imagine. Though I can obsess over what I’m not, I can likewise focus my attention on who God is and who He created me to be. One perspective keeps me looking backward at where I’ve failed and the other inspires me to look forward toward a loving Father who’s always wanted me to succeed. I like my Heavenly Father’s perspective best!
God is the Great Initiator
Our prayers never initiate God moving in our lives or in those around us. NEVER! It is His heart that awakens us out of our sleep and His Spirit that compels us to pray. We are never the initiator! We only have a faint interest in prayer because He has persistently been shaking us out of a deep sleep. God is always the author and finisher of everything that is eternal, everything that is good, and all-powerful prayers that shake Heaven and transform Earth. What God begins, He always finishes! The gifts that we each have been given are far more than any of us have asked for or could have imagined. “God, awaken me from my slumber, what would you have me pray?”
Authority To Succeed
Our authority on Earth is never based on our successes. None of us have the credentials to complete the mission God’s planned for us. Therefore, our success or failure will not be because we pulled it off. It will be based on how we respond to our lot in life. Only God knows the way for us to be successful. All attempts to succeed in our strength will fail. But all efforts to obey God will, from His perspective, succeed. Why? Because that’s when He pours out His grace and power: when we fail and look to Him. He is the great difference-maker, a gracious Father who wants us to succeed in Him infinitely more than we do. “God, You have given me authority to succeed as I do Your will!”
Going Forward, Not Back
All of us want to live victorious lives, but frankly, no one wants this more for you than God. If we really believe our Heavenly Father always desires what’s best for us and if we believe the promises in His Word, then we know that He wants our lives to be victorious. But there is one pattern that has been most prevalent in keeping people from receiving all God has for them. It’s the same tendency that kept the Israelites from going in to conquer their Promised Land, and it’s trying to seduce us right now. At some point in your journey you will think that going back to Egypt, the world, is better than the wilderness you are wandering in. It’s a tragic mistake! Better than both options is going forward into God’s Promised Land for you.
The Names of God
The Hebrew names of God give us perhaps the clearest glimpse into who He really is. You will notice that there are no names for God that go against His true nature such as Jehovah Santa’s meaning, “You are the one who will give me whatever I wish for,” or Jehovah Scrooge, “I wish to be left alone. Life is a humbug!” Consider these genuine names of God and their meaning put forth in God’s Word: El Shaddai, the Lord is God Almighty; Adonai, You are Lord and Master; Jehovah Rapha, You are the Lord Who Heals; Jehovah Shammah, You are the Lord Who Is There; Jehovah Jireh, You are the Lord Who Will Provide; Jehovah Shalom, You are the Lord our Peace. The Bible says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13, NIV)
Obeying God is not an overbearing “Have To!” It is a liberating “Get To!” A misconception of God’s heart will cause us to obey out of performance, trying to please Him—leading only to a religious obligation. A proper understanding of God’s heart will draw us into an intimate relationship with our Creator and an obedient, fulfilled life, knowing He is already “head-over-heals” in love with us, and there is nothing I can ever do to get God to love me more. He is doing everything He can to bring us closer to Him. I don’t bless my wife Suzie because I want her to love me. I bless her because I am madly in love with her! We must never forget we can only love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
Gathering The Fragments
All of us will at times feel fractured and fragmented. So broken we wonder if our hearts and lives can ever be repaired and made whole. But once we understand God’s heart, we realize that He will never discard us, but instead will gather us to Himself. After Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, He said to pick up all of the fragments, the broken pieces, because they were important and not to be discarded. The Bible says, “And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.’” (John 6:12, ESV) That nothing may be lost! WOW! That comforts me, as I often feel lost. But He is my compass…my rescuer! He is the lover of my soul, who promises to never leave me or forsake me.
Love of Money
In his book, Perelandra, C. S. Lewis, speaks of the ‘love of money as the root of all evil,” an “…itch to have things over again, as if life were a film that could be unrolled twice…” Was this the root of all evil, craving the false comfort of repetition, rather than the creative unknown, birthed in the heart of a safe and all-wise God? Lewis suggests that the chief reason people love money is “…a defense against chance, a security for being able to have things over again, a means of arresting the unrolling of the film.” This begs the question, is our pursuit of money and things at times an attempt to restrain our Creator from initiating something brand new and fresh in our lives? And is this done because we really don’t trust Him?
Offended With God
Are you offended at God? The truth is: God has done nothing to hurt you! Our disappointment with God comes from a false expectation—that He did not do what we thought or imagined He was going to do, or should do, for us. Unmet expectations can lead to disappointments. Being offended was Adam’s original sin—an offense at trusting God. The Bible says, “…as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.” (Romans 5:18, NKJV) God’s love and mercy can set us free from any offense! All we have to do is humble ourselves to receive it.
Boundaries Bring Fruit
Are you stressed out? It might be because you don’t have clear boundaries in your life? Paul the Apostle wrote, “We will not boast about things done outside our area of authority. We will boast only about what has happened within the boundaries of the work God has given us…” (2 Corinthians 10:13, NLT) The word for boundaries here is the Greek word: ‘metron.’ Paul is talking about the ‘metron,’ the sphere of influence that the Lord gave him. It implies “a field to plow in.” What is our business, and what is none of our business. God gives each of us a field to plow, and if we remain within it, He’ll provide all the resources needed to produce fruit that lasts. Find God’s boundaries and you’ll reap a harvest that lasts.
Comforting or Callous
All of us are probably busier than we’ve ever been; and that can cause us to feel overwhelmed by the needs around us. When Jesus was surrounded by crowds of needy people the Bible says, “…He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” (Mark 6:34) When we see people’s needs, are we compassionate or cold? Are we comforting toward others or callous toward their needs? Unless we first let Jesus heal our hearts, we’ll become hardened by life. I want to be a softhearted, tender man! I want my heart to be so filled with compassion that when I feel overwhelmed by the needs around me, I let Jesus take me deeper into His compassionate heart. “Jesus, give me Your heart for this hurting world.”