Category Archives: trust

How Fickle Is Your Trust in God?

dandy31 And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.”  ~ Exodus 14:31

At the surface, this verse is about God’s incredible power being displayed against the Egyptians as God rescues His people out of Egypt, which inspires awe in his people as they put their trust in Him.  Upon closer examination, when you study out the history of Hebrew slaves after they escape Egypt, you will see that their initial awe in God was as capricious as the waves of the sea.

Is your trust in God as fleeting as beauty (Proverbs 31:30), strongly felt only under certain circumstances? What happens to your trust long after God performs the miracle in your life? Do you then forget God’s faithfulness and repeat your cycle of complaints as the Israelites did?

32 In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God, 33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.

34 When the Lord heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: 35 “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.”

~ Deuteronomy 1:32-36

Trust = following God WHOLE-heartedly = Obedience without question

Despite God’s promises delivered through Moses’s mouth, the Israelites still did not trust. God tried to show them the way to go. God tried to guide them, but as stubborn sheep, they refused to follow.

Is there anything you’re UNWILLING to do right now (e.g., relocate, let go of a relationship even though you know it’s bad, repent of a certain sin that you keep repeating, etc.)?

Imagine this: some random guy, who appears out of nowhere, promises to deliver you and your people out of slavery, and leads you into the wilderness where there are no amenities. He also claims to be sent by God and if you want out, you’d better follow his lead.

The Israelites felt extremely vulnerable in the wilderness. Even though their situation in Egypt was bad, it was what they were familiar with. They had grown comfortable with their Egyptian master’s harshness and cruelty. Day and night the Hebrew slaves cried out for deliverance and when God finally delivered them, they certainly did not expect the wilderness.

The Hebrew slaves depended on their masters for food and shelter. Now, they had to depend on their Invisible Master who used Moses to lead them. And they didn’t really know Moses — after all, he was MIA for 40 years before God called him to go back to Egypt to lead His people!

As hard as it sounds to follow a random man who claims he will deliver you, God demonstrated numerous miracles for the Israelites that Moses was their chosen leader.  Witnessing this man depart the Red Sea and watching the ocean wipe away the millions of chariots, warriors and horses was not a big enough sign that this man came from God. They still wanted more.

We are not that different from the Israelites. We still forget God’s faithfulness and then we complain. How quickly we forget!

“Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.” ~ Deuteronomy 4:9

We fervently beg God day and night to be delivered out of a bad situation, but when we are called to step out of our comfort zone and be vulnerable and naked before God, we don’t really “see” the deliverance, but only our apparent lack of resources.  To me, being vulnerable means that I have to constantly rely on God for support because I don’t know where my resources will come from.

Is there an area in your life that never works out no matter what solution you try?

“I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass, that you forget the Lord your Maker, who stretches out the heavens and who lays the foundation of the earth…?” ~ Isaiah 51:12-13

At the end of the day, all God wants is for us to trust in Him, no matter what is going on in our lives.  He may have delivered you out of a bad situation into something totally unexpected (and undesirable), but you never know what God is doing for your benefit.  Look at the evidence of miracles in your life.  Would God bring you this far only to disappoint you in the end?

#trust #pray #musingz4life

 

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An Open Door No One Can Shut

open-door“I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” ~ Isaiah 22:22

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” ~ Rev 3:8

 

If God has something in store for you, no forces in hell or heaven can stop it.

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” ~ Philippians 4:13

God’s will + your efforts = unstoppable

“…because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.”  ~ 1 Corinthians 16:9

No opposition can shut the door that God holds open for you.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. ~ Proverbs 19:21

God’s will prevails.

Do not worry about your future. What’s meant to take place will take place!

It’s not the walk but the way you walk that will determine if you receive what’s meant for you. Example: The Promised Land was given to the Israelites but they had to pass through the wilderness. They lacked so much faith and provoked God to anger again and again that only 2 people made it to the Promised Land. Not even Moses himself made it!

#GodsWill #fate #destiny #QueSeraSera #sovereignwill #meanttobe #dontworry #opendoor #musingz4life

Following God unto Unknown Tomorrows

transform“Everywhere, people wish to be settled, but Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us that only insofar as we are unsettled is there any hope for us,” said Pico Iyer, essayist for Time magazine and professor at Chapman University, in one of his Ted Talks.

I can speak from personal experience that feeling unsettled is one of the most uncomfortable experiences of humanity.  One wanders the earth in search for a place called home, and it could be in the form of a relationship, a safe haven where we reside, or a community group such as a church or common interest group.  We cannot stop until we find something in which we can anchor our soul, and unfortunately sometimes we anchor our souls in transient things rather than the Eternal.

There is nothing greater than putting your hope in God, the Overseer of our souls.

“The Lord is good and does what is right.  He shows the proper path to those who go astray.  He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way.  The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his commands.” ~ Psalm 25:8-10

The mark of a believer is his ability to follow God’s lead, especially unto areas of the unknown such as his future – whom he will marry, where his career path will go, and if he will have children.  The future is scary, and if things haven’t been going as planned, the unknown seems full of darkness, uncertainty and gloom.

We can use this time of uncertainty to draw close to God, for “[m]ost of the time we’re in the dark, and that’s where real intimacy lies,” as Mr. Iyer put it.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” ~ Psalm 23:4

As we move forward to the future every time we wake up, we get an opportunity to start fresh with God as our Shepherd.  Even in dark valleys, you do not need to fear what will happen to you because God is right there with you, walking beside you, comforting you with His staff, which for us today is the Word of God.

“You are my strength, I watch for you; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” ~ Psalm 59:9-10

If you have been disappointed many times by others, it’s understandable that your ability to trust in God may also be shaken because you can’t really see Him and you’re not really sure if He will come through for you.  However, the scriptures testify that God is indeed reliable, and if you put your trust in Him, you will not be disappointed.

“To You they cried out and were delivered.  In You they trusted and were not disappointed.” Psalm 22:5 (NASB)

Nestled in our comfort zones, we don’t fully know who we are until we’re pushed unto the darkness where knowledge gives out.  When you don’t know what to do next, do you rely on your own understanding or do you pray and let God lead you?

Self-described as a full-time writer for the past 30 years, Pico Iyer said that the one thing he’s learned is this: “Transformation comes when I’m not in charge…We’re reminded of the first law of travel and, therefore, of life: You’re only as strong as your readiness to surrender.”

#trust #surrender #followGod  #picoiyer #tedtalk #wisdom #prayer #Christ #knowledge #ignorance #illusionofknowledge #relyonGod

Trusting God: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

promiseWhen you say you trust God, how do you really know you trust Him?  Church is like a school where you learn all the theories about trust, and life is the school of application where you put these theories to the test. The true litmus test is when you are called to put God first even when it conflicts with your personal agenda and/or it makes no sense at all.

Look at the areas where you wish you had more success. Are you putting God first in those areas?  Consider the following scenarios:

Marriage

  • Fighting with your spouse all the time
  • Not applying scriptures to your marriage, such as submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21) or considering your partner better than yourself (Philippians 2:3-5)
  • Not spending enough time praying together
  • Neglecting your spouse
  • Nagging your spouse

Career

  • Putting in overtime hours instead of spending time with family
  • Missing church services for work
  • Calling in “sick” when you just want the day off
  • Being dishonest in your work habits
  • Compromising your work ethics

Money

  • Spending money on yourself rather than tithing
  • Anxiety and worry instead of trusting in God’s provision
  • Harboring the wrong perspective about tithing (i.e., “the church is run like a business”; “all they want is my money”; “who knows where all the money is going?” etc.)
  • Living beyond your means
  • Choosing between paying bills and tithing (oftentimes, we pay “bills” outside of utilities and rent that we don’t really need to pay)

 Health

  • Neglecting self-care
  • Weak boundaries between self and others
  • Lack of exercise and a good diet
  • Shouldering all your stress instead of casting your anxiety upon God (1 Peter 5:7)

 Relationships

  • Looking for love in all the wrong places
  • Compromising your sexual purity
  • Linking up with non-Christians who can turn your heart after other gods
  • Marrying a believer too quickly as a gateway to guilt-free sex

As you may recall, Abraham went through a series of tests, from uprooting his whole life to an unknown land to sacrificing his firstborn, for whom he waited 25 years.

“By faith Abraham, when called to a place he would later call his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8

By faith, will you still obey even if you don’t know what will happen tomorrow?

“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son…” Hebrews 11:17

Do you embrace God’s promises when you need to make the tough (and righteous) decisions?

“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:3

In the verse prior to this, the Scripture says if Abraham was justified by works, he’d have something to boast about.  If we were brought up in a household where we only received recognition when we did well in school, it would be tempting to get validation from our acts of obedience.  We’d only feel like “good Christians” if we are 100% obedient, never straying, never deviant from the Word.  We can point to our acts of obedience and say, “Look, God! Look at all the things I’ve done for you and all the ways I served!”

But time and time again, the Scripture highlights Abraham’s faith.

If faith is not the primer for your obedience, you will become short-sighted and blind (2 Peter 1:9). You will grow spiritually weary and lose sight of what’s truly meaningful.

In closing, I leave you with one of my favorite verses:

“Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” Joshua 21:45

#Godspromises #promisesthatneverfail #Christ #trustGod #musingz4life #obedience #faith #belief

How to Keep Asking When the Answer Is “No”

dont-downgradeWhen the answer is “no,” do you give up or keep going?

Rejection is one of the main sources of angst for most people. They get so caught up in their frustration with the results that they don’t see past the present moment. Instead of knocking on more doors or trying a different course of action, they dwell on feelings of defeat and continue on a downward spiral of rationalizations about why they “can’t do it.”

Let’s examine, first of all, the reasons why people give up. The following list was derived and adapted from another blog post:

Top 10 Reasons Why People Give Up

  1. “You can’t do it!” If you have been told that over and over, you begin to believe it and internalize it as though it were truth.
  1. Your life is already good enough. You don’t want to leave your comfort zone.
  1. Lack of self-confidence. You shoot yourself in the foot before anyone else does.
  1. Lack of focus. You get too easily distracted by social media, phone calls, etc. that you lose focus and forget to go after your goals.
  1. You don’t see immediate results. We live in an age of immediate gratification but real results require real persistent, consistent and diligent effort.  Long-lasting results are not produced overnight.
  1. Lack of motivation, enthusiasm and inspiration. When things slow down and are not going as smoothly as you thought, it’s tempting to lose motivation.  Remember your initial zeal and passion when you started your project.  Don’t let your fire die out but keep it going until you bring it to completion and fruition.
  1. It’s not your dream. Have you been trying to make someone else’s dream happen rather than following your own passion?
  1. You miss your comfort zone. Remember what initially prompted you to step out of your comfort zone.  Don’t live a life of stagnation and mediocrity.
  1. People think it’s a stupid idea! Don’t let other people’s opinions sway you. 
  1. You think it should be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, but the sacrifices you make will be worth it in the end.

What do we gain from giving up? Do we just chalk it up to “It was not God’s will,” or do we keep on going?

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

Feeling depressed and alone? Afraid to move forward

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 – Emphasis on “at the proper time.” God only knows when that time will be, but the harvest will be plentiful if you don’t give up.

Imagine the harvest that nine celebs would have missed out on if they gave up too soon!  Click here to read their full biographies.  Here’s a little excerpt:

  • JK Rowling, author of Harry Potter, was on government aid and was so poor she could barely feed her baby before she got her big break
  • Stephen King lived in a trailer with his wife and they were so poor they had to borrow clothes for their wedding and they couldn’t afford a phone
  • Jim Carrey bombed his first stand-up gig but remained determined to cash in on his dream. He wrote himself a fat check and visualized his success every single day and night until he fulfilled his dream.
  • Tyler Perry was physically and sexually abused as a child, and he attempted suicide twice. In 2011, Forbes named him the highest paid man in entertainment.  Tyler is a big-time overcomer!!

Even when the odds are stacked up against you, God can still make it happen. Nothing will be impossible for you, as long as you trust in God who makes all things possible.

“With man this is impossible but not with God. All things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

#persevere #persistence #PersistencePaysOff #trustGod #NothingIsImpossible #believe #musingz4life #faith

 

Go in the Strength You Have

strengthSometimes you are not meant to have all your ducks in a row.  Being slightly unprepared or underprepared gives God a chance to work in your favor.  When Gideon was called to defeat the Midianites (Judges 7), God told him:

“You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.  Judges 7:2-3

The Advantage of Being Underprepared

I am not trying to undermine the importance of preparation.  As a professional, you have to be prepared for anything that comes your way, whether it’s in the form of giving a presentation, going to an advisory board meeting, having your report ready for your boss, getting ready to give employee evaluations, etc.  No matter your station in life, it’s important to be prepared to bring something to the table.

There are times, however, when you feel under-prepared.  This is a struggle for many perfectionists, for no amount of preparation is ever adequate enough to meet their expectations.  On the day before the big meeting with a client or the boss, you rack your brain for any contingencies you might have forgotten.  When your boss calls you to do something you’ve never done before and you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, remember how God used Gideon to deliver his people from the Midianites:

  • Fear Factor – God told Gideon he had “too many people” so He wanted to disqualify any fearful men from Gideon’s army. About 22,000 left.  (Judges 7:3)
  • Water-screening Test – The 10,000 men that remained after the first screening now had to pass the second screening, and God said, “Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go” (Judges 7:4).
  • Gideon was ready with an army of men, but God whittled his army down to 300, to be exact – to fight against the Midianites and their people, who were as “thick as locusts” and whose camels “could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore” (Judges 7:12)

The Appearance of Improbability Amplifies God’s Power

If there’s any occasion to feel inadequate, this would be it for Gideon.  He already felt small about himself, full of self-doubt and doubt about God’s faithfulness and power.  Throughout Judges 6, you can hear the sense of inadequacy and powerlessness coming from Gideon when you listen to the way he speaks about himself and his family.  Being a man who already felt small, imagine how he felt when God shrank his army from 32,000 men to only 300!  But God’s plan is always perfect, if you allow His ways to unfold before your trusting eyes.

Just Say the Words

Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. 10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp. Judges 7:8-9

We humans need words of affirmation.  We could be the greatest, most competent person on Earth, but we still need to know that someone else believes in us, even if those words are coming from an enemy.  God knows where to send us to hear those words, even in the strangest situation, like hearing your competitor’s feelings of fear about you rather than a friend’s encouragement and faith in you.

Go in the Strength You Have

When the angel of the Lord first approached Gideon under a tree, He commissioned him, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12). “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.  Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14)

What is God calling you to today?  Has your boss appointed you to tackle an impossible task?  Have you been given new responsibilities for which you have little or no experience?  Are you called to do something that raises the hair on your arms and causes your heart to jump out of your chest?

You are where you need to be, whether you have one duck or all of them in a row.  Do what you can, and God will handle the rest.  Don’t panic, fret or worry how you will appear to others, because at the end of the day, you’re not here to impress anyone but God.  God has placed you in this position because He, first of all, believes in you, and you have all you need to succeed for God’s glory.

#success #God #strength #trustGod #RelyonGod #musingz4life #overcome #movingforward

 

Even If Your Mother Forgets, God Will Never Forget You

breastfeeding“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Isaiah 49:15

I am not a parent, and my relationships with my parents are at best, distant, and at worst, abusive. Still, if you have ever been in love, imagine that feeling and multiply that by infinity, and that is God’s love for you.

Trying to understand God’s love when you have never received it in its appropriate form from your parents is an excruciating ordeal. I’m not saying that dysfunctional parents are incapable of love; however, because they are broken themselves, they do not have the tools to love their children appropriately.

If things worked out between you and your first love, I am happy for you. If they did not, remember only your own feelings for the other person. They were always on your mind, day and night, and spending the rest of your life with them would have been a dream! Complete acceptance for who you are — the good, the bad and the ugly — makes you feel utterly desired and safe. Mutual acceptance and vulnerability breed trust, and trust creates a safe space wherein you can make mistakes and be forgiven because you KNOW you are loved.

With God, you can be open with Him anytime, anywhere. The best thing is that He won’t judge you for what you’ve done because that’s what Jesus died for. The challenge for many is that He’s invisible; you can’t tell what He’s thinking or feeling, but you have the Bible, which is full of God’s promises and saturated with declarations of His love for you.

If you open your heart when you read the scriptures, you will see that it is SAFE to trust in God. He’s got your back and He always promises to NOT disappoint.

“Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” ~ Isaiah 49:23

“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.”  ~ Isaiah 43:4

My point is this: if you are like me, someone who is out of touch emotionally for the most part, you can still reach deep inside your heart somewhere and remember a time when you loved someone, like truly loved someone. Then you can begin to understand the depth and height of God’s love for you:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

~ Romans 8:38-39

When relationships don’t work out, it’s because of someone’s (or both parties’) unhealed wounds. But God is PERFECT, and His love for you is unending, unlike human love, even a mother’s love.

#Godsloveisperfect #NothingLikeGodsLove #Christ #NoCondemnation #unfailinglove #safelove #love #relationships #broken #soul #heart #musingz4life #acceptance #trust