Posts Tagged trust

God Knows

 

9363_10034_5“And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse . . . that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat and die.” I Kings 17:12 (King James Version)

The barrel that was once filled with meal was now touching bottom.  Only a few morsels remained.  For days she stretched the crumbs as far as she could and was finally at the point of giving up.

Habitually, her son would listen to the sound of the spoon as it scraped against the sides of the barrel as she gathered enough meal for the little cake they shared each day. But today the sound of the spoon against the barrel was different. It was hollow and piercing and seemed to re-echo throughout the barrel and bounce off the walls of the house.1219053_untitled

His mother had cried for days, but when she left the barrel this day her tears seemed more sorrowful and her cries more unsettling. He walked over to the table where she was sitting, wiped her tears and said something that you and I would do well to remember: “Mother, don’t cry because God hears the scraping” What a wonderful reminder when the faithful lose heart.

407355_barrelsLife is so hard sometimes that we easily forget. We come to our wit’s end and the ends of our ropes and roads. Situations many times seem hopeless and we feel we have nothing left to give.

In this economy, with so many facing bankruptcy, home foreclosures, job security, mounting bills, emptying bank accounts and maxed out credit cards, it’s understandable to feel helpless and alone.  But we must never forget our God is ALWAYS faithful and:

No matter how bleak things may seem.
No matter the state of our hearts, health, or heads.
No matter whether we  have  jobs or the jobs have us,
No matter whether we are homeless, helpless, or hopeless
No matter whether we have friends, fans, followers, or are all alone
NO MATTER WHAT WE ARE GOING THROUGH:

Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear: Isaiah 59:1

GOD “KNOWS THE WAYS THAT WE TAKE” AND IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL. BEFORE WE EVER NEAR THE BOTTOMS OF OUR SITUATIONS — GOD HAS ALREADY HEARD THE SCRAPING!!

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Faith Crises

531885_10152737558830548_698060325_nBut without faith it is impossible to please Him . . . .”  Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)

FAITH is utterly important to God and, if the truth be told, we have all experienced, are experiencing, or will experience many faith crises in our lives. Crises of faith can be momentary, seasonal, or long-lasting, but for certain they will come.

Faith Crises are those despairing moments when we  navigate life’s storm-tossed seas unmindful of the Master’s presence.

They are times when we earnestly need Jesus’ Prayer that our faith will not fail us.

They are those critical instants when we can only say, “Lord, I believe, but help thou my unbelief.”

They are the crucial moments after suffering great losses, when we must know that GOD IS ALL WE NEED!!

They are times when it is good to remember our “God Moments .”

Faith Crises are TESTS. They are TESTS to trust God’s plan and God’s timing  for our lives and they must be taken until passed. 

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As we walk our paths of faith, we soon discover that we are placed in situations to need miracles and only God can perform them. And many times, as Alicia Britt Chole submits, sometimes we are “cornered into helplessness,” where NO ONE can help us but God! When we appear down for the count, it is important for others to witness the glory of God in our deliverance.

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What do you do when you do not know what to do? What do you do when you are at the proverbial “Red Sea,”the enemy is on your heels and the impossible is stretched before you? How will you navigate  these critical crossroads of faith? God says, “Be still and KNOW that I AM GOD–Either you trust me or you don’t!”

Beloveds, these are challenging times that test our spirits, our sanity and most of all our faith. Times will come when we are pressed on every side, with nowhere to run and nowhere to look but up. How will the Lord respond to us: “O ye of little faith . . . ,” or  “I have not seen so great a faith. . . .”

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” We must Believe because God is faithful even when our faith waivers or wanes. And the Best News is, God has promised “NOTHING is impossible to those who believe.”

PRAYER:  Father, thank you for the Grace to live past my moments of despair. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3

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These Times

These Times“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12-NIV)

“It was the BEST of times and the WORST of times. It was the age of wisdom. It was the age of foolishness. It was the epoch of belief. It was the epoch of incredulity. It was the season of light. It was the season of darkness. It was the spring of hope. It was the winter of despair.” — Pride and Prejudice

These are the days of Elijah, Moses, Ezekiel and David. They are prophetic times. Times to make our callings sure. Times to come out of our comfort zones. Times to risk all for the Kingdom sake. Times for better or worse. Times to love for richer or poorer–in sickness and in health. Times when God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. Times when our weaknesses are our strengths.

Times to live what we profess. Times to seek and to serve. Times to reach and to teach–to watch and to wait. Times to trust and to obey–to fast and to pray. Times to love and to lift–to speak and to witness. These are times of change, challenge and choice. Times of hope and help. THESE ARE TIMES THAT TRY OUR SOULS!!

These are the times for which I was being prepared from my mother’s womb. I am one of “the called according to His purpose,” and “I am confident that He that has begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

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Beloveds, trust with me that our times are in God’s good Hands (even times like these). Believe with me that we need never fear what a day may bring forth. Realize that God is in control of our days and our destinies.

May these words of Charles A. Tindley, encourage and strengthen your faith in the days ahead,

Harder yet may be the fight
Right may often yield to might
Wickedness awhile may reign
Satan’s cause may seem to gain
There is a God that rules above
With a hand of power and heart of love,
And if (we) are right, He’ll fight (our) battle
(and) (we) shall have peace some day.

485605_450563531700504_526398939_nPRAYER:  Father, sometimes it’s hard to see the rainbow through the storms. It is difficult to fathom the silver lining behind the dark clouds of this life. Saturate us with your immeasurable strength for the living of these days. Give us Holy boldness as we try to faithfully move forward. Make our feet as hind’s feet for our mountains. Help us to stand tall in our high places and give us peace through every valley. Empower us as we strive to be the salt and light you have called us to be “for such a time as this.” For thy Son’s sake we pray. AMEN

I would love to hear from you today.  Let’s start a conversation. Are you concerned about the future? What comforts you when you watch or listen to today’s troubling news? What goes through your mind? How do you help those close to you during these disturbing times?

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On Trusting God

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. . . .” Job 13:15 (King James Translation)

Job (pronounced “jobe”) was a man who was wise, wealthy and good. He lived a sinless life before God and was greatly blessed. He did “justly, loved mercy and walked humbly with his God.” God was so pleased with Job, that God boasted of his faithfulness to Satan, and allowed him to test him. Almost immediately, Job’s perfect life vanished. He lost everything — his wealth, his children and his health. Taunted daily by his wife and friends, he became discouraged and angry at those who suggested that his suffering was because he sinned and was God’s punishment. Throughout his trials, Job’s trust in God never diminished, as shown by his confession of faith above. Still, he didn’t understand why God allowed his suffering. Despising himself in moments of weakness he questions God and is reminded that the greatness of God can never be understood through the lens of human frailty, and that trust in God is not dependent upon circumstances. Job and his friends mistakenly justified his circumstances by condemning God and later incurred God’s wrath. They dismissed God as always faithful and good whether we understand what is happening in our lives or not.

What about our faith? What about our trust in God? How do we react to a devastating report from the doctor? What do we do with God when the bills are due and we have no money? Do we trust God when friends have turned their backs on us? Or when the years have sapped our youth and  beauty? In other words, where is our trust in God when we are in the midst of life and living and everything falls completely apart – do we walk by faith or by sight? Do we trust or doubt God? Do we instantly reason and question? Reasoning, questioning and doubt are human frailties, and unfortunately, they are not faith or trust in God! Tests and trials remind us that apart from God we can do nothing and that we must rely on something greater than ourselves.

We are not required to understand God’s ways and timing – only to trust that whatever God is doing, it will ultimately work together for our good and for His Glory. We must say without a doubt, “I don’t understand what’s going on, but God I trust YOU.”  It is that simple. Even more, I have discovered when the struggle is the hardest is when the need to trust is the strongest. That’s when it helps to remember the promises and faithfulness of God and that “God is not a man that He should lie.” (Numbers 23:19)

In the end, Job was greatly Blessed. He received double for his trouble and proudly proclaimed,“God knows the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

Prayer: Father, please give us the capacity to trust you fully in all things, never doubting and without reservation. For thy Son’s sake. Amen


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Wilderness Experiences

“And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.” Deuteronomy 8:2 (King James Version)

Wilderness ExperiencesEverything in our lives happens for a reason. Sometimes, without warning, we find ourselves in a dry place best described as a spiritual wilderness. It is not a physical location, but a spiritual space that at various times and seasons in our lives plagues us with feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, abandonment, restlessness, fear, and many times, the temptation to give up. That is where I was when I discovered that these times are invitations to be alone with God and to see another side of Him. They are times to experience new strength, new peace, and spiritual growth.

For months, I found myself wandering and wondering in this barren place, hungering and thirsting for the presence of God. I was in search of what Alice Walker calls a “Healthy Soul.” I was seeking a place to rest in God and to allow Him to do through me what only God can do. I desperately needed this place of solitude and meditation where I could humbly say, “Father, I need you!”

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes, God beckons us to this “no frills” environment for what Bishop Walter Scott Thomas calls,“contextual remembering.” That is, to remember the context of our past deliverance – remembering how bad things were before, yet we were delivered. Wildernesses teach us the faithfulness of our God and while situations and circumstances may change, the presence, promises and power of God are changeless.

Where I’ve been has prepared me for my purpose and here’s what I know: Life’s journey is all about faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. We must trust God with all of our heart. We must trust God’s ways and God’s timing. And if we are obedient to His Will, we can rest assured that God will take care of us. No matter how things seem; all things will work together for the “good for the called according to His purpose.”

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The wilderness is not a burden, but a Blessing that “allows us to end all activity that wears us out and empowers us to be our best selves” before an audience of “One.” It is an humbling experience that reminds us without God, we have and are nothing, but with God, we have and are more than enough!

These months of spiritual retreat have taught me to trust God’s love even when I don’t understand His purpose. There will always be crooked and rough places in this life. Struggles and challenges will come, but in the wilderness or in places of plenty — God is always in control and is everything we need.

Take courage. We walk in the wilderness today and in the Promised Land tomorrow. — D.L. Moody

Prayer: Father, “for every mountain you have brought me over and for every trial you have seen me through — for this I give you praise.” In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

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Tests

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

These are indeed testing times in and out of school settings.  During this season, the young people are stressed–everything they have learned since the beginning of the school year will decide their next move.  Even the brightest students seem concerned.  On this day, the building is eerily quiet as the students complete their examinations.  Shortly after, they learn their grades.  One group of  students asks a young man his grade. He replies, “a 70” and they laugh. He immediately responds, “at least I passed.” Isn’t that really what’s important?  That you make the grade.  That you recall everything you have learned and have done your best?

Admittedly, these are difficult times for everyone everywhere, but why are we surprised?  Jesus warned His Disciples that times would be hard and that their faith would be tested.  Tests, even for Christian believers are hard, but they are necessary to check and assess our spiritual growth and to measure our faith.  In essence, to prove whether we truly believe what we profess or simply profess that we believe.

Through the years, I have discovered that God works best in difficult times. I have found too, that no matter what I am going through, God has already made a way for me.  I have no doubt that I have been anointed to finish my course and I will never quit.  In fact, I have been through too much to give up now.   Friends, storms will come, so you might as well prepare.  I am sure we would prefer they didn’t, but it is not our destiny for God to remove obstacles from our lives.  That’s our desire.  Grace is our destiny.  The One who allows our tests also proctors and grades them. And one thing I can tell you with assurance is that not only is our God fair but is faithful!

Tests, trials, and especially storms, are to strengthen our faith in the One who controls all things.  Strangely enough, there are lessons in every painful circumstance, situation, and trying moment. Life is a grand classroom of learning experiences. We must be attentive and study, study, study because there will be no makeup exams or “do overs.”

Once we know something, we become accountable for what we know and at various points in life we will be tested on that knowledge.  The grade will not matter. What will matter is that we have done our best on the test.  “Testing times” are times to realize that the God who brought us through one test, if God wills, can bring us through the next and the next.  And if we have faithfully done our very best, then we can look for the greatest passing grade — Well done!!

The “enemy of our souls” told Job (one of God’s great men of faith), “I am going to break you with your test,” but God said, “No, I’m going to make you with it.” Job excelled to the end, graduated with Honors, and assures us with his enduring testimony, “He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10 (NIV)

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