Learning to Trust God More

Why do I do it? I should know better by now, you would think! I have to stop asking for things like patience, building trust, increasing faith, developing a better attitude and other such stuff. Why? Because God, in his love, brings events, circumstances and people into my life that will build those characteristics that I asked for and then I get upset when he does. Good grief!

The good news is that I’m getting faster at recognizing these events as they happen. Ring ring, excuse me, phone call (at 8:24 am?). Talking, hang up. Picture me shaking my head. Perfect example just happened with that phone call. I’ll explain.

For several months I’ve been praying and thinking about moving closer to my daughter’s family. It is a smaller town and she is concerned that I will invade her space. Frankly, so was I but I received this Word from the Lord as I was praying about the possible move. Should I really do this?

March 10, 2013 John Hagee Ministries posted, “No matter what may be happening today, God has good things in store for your future! It may not be easy to see now, but God has already lined up a new beginning, new friendships and new opportunities for you.” Ok, Lord, I’m going to claim this as a promise from you to me.

Once I said that, events, decisions, plans and everything else that could go wrong seemed to do so. It got to the point where I threw my hands up and cried out to God, “why is this getting so hard? I thought this move is what you wanted?” Finally I gave it all up and told God maybe I got everything all wrong. Was I moving ahead of him again? The answer came back “Just trust Me.”

I decided that I would stop trying to make my own plans, stop working on the move and let God do all the work. I would trust that if he really wanted me to move he would make a way. For the next few days when people asked when I was going to move, I’d just say as soon as God works it out.

Remember the phone call I just got? It turns out the people I needed to talk to were in the process of moving to a new location when I was first going to contact them. Now it seems that they are all settled in and ready for my questions and application. Patience rewarded, check, Faith built, check, Trust increased, check, Attitude better, check. Praising God twice checked!

Turning in my thirty-day notice? Not yet, I’m going to wait until all the paperwork is finished and God says to do it. Besides the apartment I want won’t be ready until July first anyway. Trusting, patience and faith are still growing. All will be completed in God’s time, not mine.

Psalm 27:14(NKJ) “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

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Speaking in Silence

Today’s guest post is from Max Lucado

Speaking in Silence

My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak.
James 1:19

You don’t have to speak to encourage. The Bible says, “It is best to listen much, speak little” (James 1:19 TLB). We tend to speak much and listen little. There is a time to speak. But there is also a time to be quiet. That’s what my father did. Dropping a fly ball may not be a big deal to most people, but if you are thirteen years old and have aspirations of the big leagues, it is a big deal. Not only was it my second error of the game, it allowed the winning run to score.

I didn’t even go back to the dugout. I turned around in the middle of left field and climbed over the fence. I was halfway home when my dad found me. He didn’t say a word. Just pulled over to the side of the road, leaned across the seat, and opened the passenger door. We didn’t speak. We didn’t need to. We both knew the world had come to an end. When we got home, I went straight to my room, and he went straight to the kitchen. Presently he appeared in front of me with cookies and milk. He took a seat on the bed, and we broke bread together.

Somewhere in the dunking of the cookies I began to realize that life and my father’s love would go on. In the economy of male adolescence, if you love the guy who drops the ball, then you really love him. My skill as a baseball player didn’t improve, but my confidence in Dad’s love did. Dad never said a word. But he did show up. He did listen up. That’s what your Father God does. His presence may be quiet, but he’ll show up. And he’ll listen.

 

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Living a life of discipline

This is to good to pass up and it fits so well with what I wrote a couple of days ago on Getting alone with God.

This is from Mary Southerland’s article “”Dare to Be Disciplined”  written for Girlfriends in God.

Part of living a life of discipline is learning the importance of rest. Rest is not an option if we are to function at our best. Sometimes we try to feed emotional needs by refusing to rest. After all, the world will surely fall apart without our input – or will it? Perhaps we stay busy because we are afraid to face our past or even the future. Guilt keeps us moving, trying to prove our worth.

For most of my adult life, I have wrongly equated being busy with being productive. I am guilty as charged when it comes to living each day in overdrive. My Day Timer has, at times, been my Bible. The result has always, always been exhaustion, burnout and watered down ministry. Everything looked great on the outside, but God and I both knew that the facade I had so carefully erected was nothing more than a meaningless monument to self. The house built upon the sand seemed like very familiar digs, and I was not alone.

We are masters of rationalizing our way to man’s approval. I am convinced that when we are willing to surrender our lives to the tyranny of the urgent, the enemy will keep ’em coming – people who need you immediately, those who clamor for your attention above your family and personal relationship with God, or the person who can talk to no one but you. The list of ego strokes goes on.

Through the years, God has grabbed my attention with an illness that drove me to bed or a crisis that drove me to my knees. He is a persistent Father who understands the value of rest. Jesus even modeled the truth that it is in Sabbath moments that we will find Him most precious and hear His voice more clearly. After all, He was in charge of the creation process that included the need for rest. Did God need to rest? Obviously not, but by creating a day of rest, He drove home the fact that our bodies were created in such a way that rest is not an option.

Make no mistake – we will rest – one way or another. The psalmist writes, “He gives me rest in green pastures.” (Psalm 23:2, ICB) I know from my own experience, that the word “make” holds worlds of possibilities from God’s hand. Learning to rest demands an understanding of several basic truths.

Rest is sacred. Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is sleep. The human body is programmed for a certain amount of rest. We can cheat it short term but not long term. Rest affects the efficiency rating of this frail body in which we dwell.

Rest is replenishing. While we rest, the Father repairs and restores. We run on “batteries” that must be re-charged daily. When I am tired, it is much harder for me to handle stress, and I know you will agree with me when I say that life can be stressful.

Rest reduces stress. Doctors say that stress can be good or bad, but either way, stress takes its toll. Elijah is a great example of good stress gone bad. One day he was the conquering hero, the next day we find him sitting under a Juniper tree begging God to let him die! The poor man was exhausted. It was stress produced by victory, but stress nonetheless.

Rest eliminates fatigue. Fatigue is not a spiritual gift, but we proudly wear dark-circled eyes as badges of honor and sacrificial service. The enemy loves it! If he can keep us exhausted, we are little threat to him. We must not only learn to rest, but we must learn when we need to rest as well. I have discovered an irritating truth with no escape clause: we need to rest most when we have the least amount of time to rest. I hate the fact that God calls me from my vicious circle of religious activity into His presence. After all, I spent a lot of time getting all of those irons into the fire I built with my own ideas and plans. However, every time I obey His call to “come apart,” He transforms ineffective religious activity into powerful, life- transforming ministry – true ministry. We need to stop, be still and rest.

On the seventh day of creation, God rested; a fact that always amazes me. Did He need to rest? Obviously not, but when God set aside a day for rest, He made a powerful point. Our bodies were created in such a way that rest is not really an option. Rest is a physical reality and a spiritual discipline.

Let’s Pray Father, forgive me for the arrogance that keeps me on the run, trying to prove my worth. Teach me how to rest in You, Lord. Help me learn how to say “no” to those things that keep me from sitting at Your feet. Give me a hunger and thirst for You that can only be satisfied by time alone with You. I love You, Lord. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn Today, make the commitment to carve out a daily time to spend in rest. Sit at His feet. Allow Him to restore, replenish and refocus your heart and mind. Then rise to serve Him and lead others to the “quiet waters” of rest.

  • Define “rest” and examine your life in light of that definition.
  • Why do you feel guilty when you rest?
  • Do you think of rest as unproductive?  Why?
  • Does that thought line up with God’s plan?
  • Find two ways to incorporate rest into your daily schedule this week. At the end of the week, list the benefits that rest has produced in your life.
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Staying Faithful

Joshua 23:15-16 (MSG)“But just as sure as everything good that God, your God, has promised has come true, so also God will bring to pass every bad thing until there’s nothing left of you in this good land that God has given you. If you leave the path of the Covenant of God, your God, that he commanded you, go off and serve and worship other gods, God’s anger will blaze out against you. In no time at all there’ll be nothing left of you, no sign that you’ve ever been in this good land he gave you.”

We all know that it’s easy to trust God when things are going well. Today is a “not so well day”. It is a struggle to say “I still trust you Lord, I still love you, I still know that everything is going to work out for my best, I’m disappointed that things are not turning out like I had hoped they would. Father, did I run ahead of you again?”

There is an old saying that goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him the plans you made for your life!”  I think He is rolling on the floor laughing out loud again.

This last week I enrolled in American Military University (AMU), an all on-line Nationally Accredited school to finish my Bachelors in Emergency and Disaster Management. I’m also in contact with another county to check on funding to move there.  Finally, I thought I was going to see my grandkids on today. Now it doesn’t look like that is going to happen either. Why am I getting the feeling that God is laughing again?

That’s alright, Lord, I’m glad I could make you smile. I’m just going to sit back and see what you make of my mess. I give it all up to you. You know I’m limited in the types of work I can do and the things I can do, no one wants to pay me to do it. They will happily have me volunteer to do the work, though.

I enjoy learning, Lord. I no sooner received my Certificate in Emergency Management than employers now want me to have a Bachelor’s degree.  So I enrolled in AMU. That plus forty years in Disaster Services with the Red Cross should count for something, right? Father, if this is not where you want me please make it very clear very soon so that I can cancel the classes. If you do want me here please have that other nameless University release my transcripts so that I don’t have to re-take the General Education classes again and waste two years.

Father, if you want me to stay in Duluth, please, make that very clear by shutting all doors in the other county. I would really like to move there as I miss not seeing my Grandkids more often than I do.

So, Father, I guess the bottom line is that I know you have a better plan for my life than I do. Please forgive me for getting ahead of you again and not checking with you to begin with. You know that I trust you to have what’s best for me on your mind. Sometimes I forget that all things will happen in your time, not mine.

I’m sorry that I’ve been cranky and depressed lately and I thank you for helping me keep my temper in check. You know the damage I’ve done before as in throwing things away that I should have kept, like my A.A. diplomas. Thank you for staying faithful to me when I’ve tried to go off on my own and thank you for giving me more second chances in a day than I can count! Thank you for forgiving me and for loving me. Amen

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Easter Sunday One Day

He is Risen indeed!

J. Wilbur Chapman                                                                                    Charles H. Marsh

Copyright 1910. Renewal 1938 Ext. The Rodeheaver Co., Owner All rights Reserved. Used by Permission

One day when heaven was filled with His praises,
One day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin—
Dwelt among men, my example is He!

Chorus

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever:
One day He’s coming—O glorious day!

 

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain,
One day they nailed Him to die on the tree;
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected;
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He.

 

One day they left Him alone in the garden,
One day He rested, from suffering free;
Angels came down o’er His tomb to keep vigil;
Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He.

 

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
One day the stone rolled away from the door;
Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore.

 

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,
One day the skies with His glory will shine;
Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing;
Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!

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Get alone With God

Luke 5:16 (ERV) “Jesus often went away to other places to be alone so that he could pray”

Sometimes, I need to go somewhere quieter, by myself, to spend time with God. Women’s weekend retreats are fun and it’s great to make new friends but I still need that time outside to be alone with my Father God.

I need the slower pace to hear the wind in the trees, chipmunks scampering in the underbrush and birds in the trees. I need to see the stars in the sky again. That’s where I feel closest to God. I declare, if I could live in a small log cabin just inside the tree line near a lake I’d be the happiest person in the world. Of course having internet and power are a must but there are ways to work that out.

Jesus felt that way also. The Bible mentions often that Jesus would take off, usually early in the morning, to spend time with his Father. It was his time to refresh his Spirit, to get comfort and to restore himself to be able to meet the demands of the coming day.

Since Jesus felt the need to do this on a regular basis, how much more do I need to do this? I have no strength of my own. I can do nothing without Him and expect to succeed. I’m like a Buck Private going to my Commander to get my marching orders for the day.

It’s not just reading a Bible chapter for the day and mumbling a quick prayer as I head out the door. It’s having a question and searching the Bible for the answer. For example, I’ve heard the words “wisdom and knowledge” bantered about and used interchangeably. I wanted to know what the Bible said was the difference between them. That was a very interesting and instructive hour spend, uninterrupted and without any distractions, with God.

I came away filled with, not only the answer to my question but the sense of joy knowing He was pleased I had chosen to spend concentrated time with Him. That’s what can happen when you take the time to get away.

I know, I know. There’s work to do, kids to chase down, laundry, meals to fix, house to clean, errands to run, yard work, the list never ends. But you can’t do all of this on your own energy. Sometimes you have to get a sitter or send the kids to Grandma’s and get away to replenish your own physical and spiritual batteries. How can you expect to lead your children well in their walk with God if you don’t spend time alone with Him yourself? That’s like trying to bail out a leaking boat with a pail that has half a bottom!

Take the time, make the time, and get a pail that has no holes. Better yet, get a boat and ask Jesus to ride along with you. Do you realize that every boat that Jesus was ever in never sank while He was in it?

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Life without Internet

Sorry this is so late in the day getting out. Hopefully the title tells all!

It’s been three days now without having internet here at home. Seems there is some pesky law that says if you want to drive then you must have auto insurance. The budget says I have $50 to spend and I can have either Internet or Insurance.

Pro and Con time: having insurance means I can come and go when I want and it’s also easier to get groceries home from the store. Con: pay for gas and maintenance, and driving in bad weather. Insurance – including basic coverage and renters insurance – $48.00.

Pro’s for having internet: Of course there is the ability to access it 24/7, sitting in a comfy recliner, coffee, dark chocolate, and a fridge at hand. Con: not having all the above and having to walk where I can access the internet. Internet with its latest $5 increase as thanks for being such a great customer – $55.00!

Actually walking has its own benefits as good exercise, as the Library is literally across the street and Caribou coffee shop is only a thirty minute walk. There is the fresh air and a change of scenery that you can enjoy at your own pace without having to keep your eyes on the road. It also feels so good to be out and about after eight months of being cooped up with Mono!

That reminds me (being cooped up) of a storyline in the movie “The Robe” with Richard Burton. He was talking with a young woman who was a paraplegic. He asked her what it was that she had to sing about seeing that she was stuck in her chair all day. He had been told she was healed. Her reply was that Jesus had not healed her legs but her heart so that others could see that they too, could have joy in their circumstances.

I find joy in my life circumstances because I choose to. I enjoy getting out and walking even if I do have to drag my laptop along. I’m thankful I have a laptop to drag around, and that there is a safe place to walk. I’m very glad that there is good coffee waiting for me at the end of my walk!

I’m very thankful that you have chosen to join me on my journey. May you chose to find joy in your circumstances also.

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