You don’t trust who you don’t know!

In the bible, there is a story about a man named Job. Most of the time when we think about Job we think about the guy who lost everything but his wife. God described Job as a fair and upright man. In fact, in the beginning of this story, there is a conversation between satan and God.

God asks satan “What have you been doing?” and satan replies ” roaming about on the earth”. This reminded me of the Scripture where God warns us to, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

As the story goes on God is telling satan what an amazing guy Job is and says ” Have you considered my servant Job”, Satan tells God that He thinks if God would remove his protection from Job and his family he doesn’t think Job would be such a devoted follower.  It was almost as if satan issued God a challenge. God trusted Job so much, He says, go ahead do whatever you want, you just can’t kill him. Read the book of Job for more details.

 

Job isn’t the only one God trusted, In Numbers, we see God so angry that He comes down in a cloud and calls Miriam and Aaron out of their tent because they were talking bad about Moses.  He informs them that Moses is the one I trust! (Numbers 12:7)  This story reminds me of a friend coming to defend his friend who he sees is being picked on, and I have to say, if you are gonna have a best friend. God is the one to have, I  mean picture it, God is up in heaven listening to Miriam and Aaron complain and gossip about Moses and it makes Him so mad He comes down out of heaven in a cloud and calls these guys out of their tent to basically tell them to leave His friend alone! Because He trusts Moses! 

We all often wonder if we can trust God, but time after time here in the bible we see that God talks about trusting.

Did you ever ask yourself if God can trust you? Can He trust you that if your world falls apart and you lose everything, you will still serve Him like He did Job?  Can He trust you like He did Moses to speak to you face to face and allow you to see His shadow?

Or are you like Simon Peter where God told Him in Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan desires to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, you will strengthen your fellow believers.

I am not much of a farmer, but I know that if someone says, they want to sift me as wheat. That isn’t a good thing. Satan wants to take us out. But Jesus says here He prayed for Simon. Does Jesus have to pray for you, that you won’t fail?

God, has warned us over and over again in the bible, that trouble will come, and satan is after us. So why are we so surprised with trouble comes our way. In John 16:33 He tells us ” These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

He says here “In Me, you will have peace”  and “In the world, you will have tribulation” God wants us to focus on Him because the more we focus on Him the more we will trust Him and the more we trust Him the more He can trust us. God wants to trust us so much that when satan temps us He will know that you will stand against satan,  and you won’t be tempted by his tricks.

You know it is hard to trust someone you don’t know. I mean if you are attending a big event in a giant arena, in a city where you don’t know anyone and you decide to sit down next to a stranger, you aren’t going to ask that stranger to hold your purse or wallet while you go to the bathroom. No! especially if all your money is in it. The bottom line is we don’t trust people we don’t know.

God talks about not knowing someone. In the book of Matthew, He tells us that not everyone that calls Him Lord will enter heaven. There are people who when they stand before Him will say “Didn’t I cast demons out in your name? Didn’t I prophesy in your name? Didn’t I do many wonders in your name?” And God is gonna look at them as say “ I never knew you; depart from Me,” Matt 7:23. 

See in the same way God wants to trust you,  He wants to be your friend because you don’t trust a stranger, So can God trust you today?  Don’t just say you know Him. Don’t just claim to be His friend. If you haven’t been to church in a month if you haven’t read His bible and spend time with Him if you aren’t doing your best to live a life that He would be pleased with?  Because all these things are how we get to know Him.  Oh! no one is perfect, but let’s strive to be a person that God can trust. Because you don’t trust, who you don’t know? So, do you really know God?

 

 

 

 

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It Just Jumped Out of My Pocket!~

It Just Jumped Out of My Pocket!~

Last week we celebrated my youngest 20th Birthday. It’s time like these that always have me reminiscing.

One of my favorite stories I remember about Chad as a little boy is, the time when we were eating dinner at Pizza Hut in De Soto KS , I don’t think we had lived there very long so Chad could not of been more than 3 or 4 yrs old, The restaurant was fairly empty and so we allowed Chad out of his seat to play one table over, in a children’s section they had available, well within our view. As he played, we looked on. If I remember correctly I think we were entertaining some prospects for our potential church we were preparing to pioneer, so we were hoping everyone would be on their best behavior.

Chad came to the table and requested a quarter for the little ball machine over by the door. Chad has always loved taking the chance of putting some denomination of money in a machine only to see what comes out. He is much like his father in that way, they both love to take chances. I on the other hand, am the play it safe kinda person who likes to know what’s ahead.

Jeff agreed, and gave Chad the quarter since he also loves the idea of the mystery of what will come out of the machine or maybe it was so Chad would leave us alone to visit with our guest, whatever the reason it doesn’t really matter now. Because when Jeff said yes to that simple little quarter he failed to think ahead of the outcome that would come from his decision. Once Chad had the ball in his hand he wanted to bounce it all over the restaurant, in between the tables and booths following the ball all over and the more he bounced it the higher it went. Which doesn’t bode well when you are trying to impress someone. So Jeff  immediately tells Chad ” Put that ball in your pocket and I don’t want to see it out again!” Chad obeyed and carefully squeezed it away in his front pocket of his little jeans then went back to playing in the children section, it was only a few minutes later we suddenly saw the ball fly through the air  over the table where we were sitting with our guests. The whole table turned to look at Chad,when he looked up at us with a straight face and eyes as wide as saucers and said,

“It just jumped out of my pocket!”. The table roared in laughter!

To this day Chad loves what we call at our house “bouncy balls” we will never be able to look at one again and not think of that story.

All that got me thinking………

Jeff and Chad rarely ever hesitate to take a chance to put a quarter in a machine so they can see what surprise will come out. It must be the anticipation of what is to come.  I admire their since of adventure. I guess that is one reason why it is so easy for them to step out in faith.

The bible says that,  Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Heb 11:1) Jeff and Chad don’t hesitate to put a quarter in one of those machines, in fact they look forward to it. They look forward to it because they believe something good will come out of it.

Shouldn’t we have that same kind of faith in God? I mean His word promises us so much, if we say we believe in Him, why wouldn’t we believe what He says? One of those things God tells us in His word is that He is working all things together for our good. (Rom 8:28)

Now that doesn’t mean we may always like His decision, or we can use Him like a vending machine. If we think at any time, we can just pray hard enough or if we work hard enough to do everything to please Him then we will get what we want, we will be sadly mistaken.

What Christ does for us is simply from the pure grace that we receive from Him. We don’t have to work or earn our salvation or anything else we pray for. God is our Heavenly Father who loves us with an every lasting love. (Jer 31:3)We don’t have to earn His unconditional love.  But it should be because of that unconditional love that He shows to us, that we out of our pure gratification for that unconditional love,  in return does what His word tells us.

It is because of that trust  for Him, that we can accept that if we ask Him for something and it doesn’t happen the way we want or expect, we can trust Him that it is for our own good. Not because He is some mean Judge in heaven sitting behind his desk with a gavel ready to hit us over the head with it when we miss up.

We have to remember when things don’t happen the way we expect or plan, it isn’t a punishment for what we “didn’t do” or because we weren’t “good enough” more then likely it is for our own protection. Now don’t get me wrong there is consequences to our actions as we learned about in my previous story “Where there is a will there is a way”

What are you hoping for today? As easy as it is to believe if we put a quarter in a machine something is going to come out. It is with that same faith we can stand on the promises of God and believe that whatever He says will come true. Because true faith doesn’t “just jump out of your pocket” but it has to be put into action by our trust in Him.

I am Here, Keep Walking!

I am Here, Keep Walking!

Chad about 4 yrs old.

I am Here, Keep Walking!

Have you ever wondered, “Where did the time go!”? That is what I was wondering, the morning my youngest started his first year of college. Oh, I was good. I wasn’t going to cry! I was prepared, and, actually, kinda happy that I was so close to the empty-nest season of my life.

 

In the weeks prior to this day, I had kept warding off all my son’s questions because they made me realize he was not alone in being scared about this new adventure. I had discounted his comments, indicating hesitation about the subjects he has struggled with. However, down deep inside there was fear and anxiety concerning what the future would hold for my struggling learner with severe dyslexia, who is also somewhere on the autism spectrum.  How would he handle a full day of classes, then head to work for four hours, and still try to get everything else done?
But I was good. I kept reminding myself, “It’s going to be OK. God’s got this!” But deep, deep, deep down under, somewhere by my gizzard, I still felt that little flicker of fear for him; and his constant hesitation was not helping me build my faith! Still, I was determined to put on a brave face, even though the unknown was still so unclear.
And now, it was the morning he was heading out. I opened up my Facebook page as his breakfast cooked and he finished getting dressed for his first day of classes. Then, Then, It Happened; and I just had to ask, “How did Facebook know that he starts his freshman year of college today? Why was this picture (see picture above) the first picture I saw in my memory box? Why did every post in my memories box today talk about how we are to be looking ahead, forgetting the past, trusting God? Why did today’s devotional talk about the fact that we don’t always know where we are going, or what we are going to do, until we get our feet where they need to be? Were these accidents? Or appointments with God?

 

I choose to believe it was God. I choose to believe that He loves me enough to remind me that this little guy is in the palm of His hand and as much as I love Him, God loves him more.

See, this isn’t the first time God has showed up – for us, or for others. One of my favorite parts of the Bible includes the stories surrounding the birth of Jesus and the early years of His life. Maybe it’s the fact that I am a mom, and I am always looking for direction from God so that I am in His will when it comes to guiding my children, that I relate so well to these stories.
Think about it.  An angel shows up to tell a virgin girl that she is going to be pregnant. And just when she is thinking there is a strong possibility that she will be killed for her “sin” of being pregnant out of wedlock, the angel shows up on the other side of town to confirm to Joseph the truth that she is still a virgin, and this is a God-thing!
Now fast forward. When Mary goes to her cousin’s home for shelter from the gossip, the first time these ladies are together there, Elizabeth’s baby leaps within her. Neither Mary nor Elizabeth had any idea, at the time, how their two sons would be joined together in the future, but God did! And He was reminding these ladies that He had a plan, and they were to just keep walking in it.
Then came Jesus’ birth, after a long, tiring ride on a donkey, who knows how many hours of labor, and in a barn no less!  Perhaps Mary and Joseph were questioning even more, “How did this happen? Is this really the Son of God? What are we going to do next?” Out of the blue, some angels show up, along with some shepherds to worship Jesus! Then, when Jesus was about two years old, three kings appear with gifts, to worship Him as their King! Somehow, I have a feeling Mary wasn’t feeling like the mother of a King that day! Sometime later, Joseph and Mary are told to run away with Jesus in the middle of the night to save his life. And every mother of a two year old will tell you that, at one time or another, she needed some confirmation that God is in control.
There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that tells me for sure they were thinking these things, but if these people were human, just like you and me (and they were), I have to believe that if I sometimes have doubts and fears, they could have them as well! If I needed that song on the radio at just the right time to encourage me, couldn’t God provide an angel to show up for them? Or, if I need a financial miracle in my life, or just a reminder when life gets hard and I begin to question, “did I really hear God?” (like when He told me to pick up my family and move for Him!) If God can show up with a unexpected check in my mailbox, or a post on my Facebook, can’t God show up at His Son’s house with a few kings and some treasures?
See, God doesn’t change. He is still working in all of our lives. His methods may have changed a little with the inventions of electronics, but God still hears every cry, knows every fear, and is watching over His children.
My point is that He loves and cares about us enough to show up! He shows up every day if we are only looking for Him. That is why, no matter the fear or anxiety that comes (to either of us), there will be NO dancing with the devil on this first day of college! We speak LIFE and are excited about what God has planned for this man! We will not look back, but we look forward to the things that God has in store! Today we choose to TRUST instead of FEAR. Even though we do not know what the future holds, we know who holds the future!
Ask God to show up for you today! Perhaps, you are like me and can look back over the years and see where God was faithful even with the little things. If you ask, I promise you will see. Just open up your spirit eyes and look for those ever so small, but ever so special, reassuring gestures, when we hear God whisper in our ears, “I am here, keep walking!”

CRUSHED!

CRUSHED!

crushed pictureI silently prayed, I wished, I hoped, and I dreamed. It was so close! And, for about a week or two, I actually had the thought “I must be one of God’s most favored children if He has granted me this wish.”  I literally felt like I was walking around on air for a while. I was ecstatic with excitement! I thought my innermost desire that I had been praying for most of my life was actually going to come to pass. I thought God had heard my prayer and one of my greatest hopes and dreams was going to come true. I thought maybe, just maybe, it really would come true. I was scared to hope, but I allowed myself to do so anyway. I would shrink back and try to calm myself; then I would allow myself just a little more hope, afraid to believe but full of hope at the same time. And then, once I allowed myself to believe completely, it happened!

…………………. It all fell through at the last minute, and I was crushed. Crushed because I now wondered if it had been just a silly idea. Crushed because I had wanted it so bad; how could I have believed it would not come true? Crushed because I was crazy enough to believe.  Crushed because it didn’t happen. Crushed because, wasn’t I His favorite child??? Crushed with shame that I even believed. I knew I was silly to even think it was important enough for God to care about.

Have you ever been there????

Boy, I have! And, I have to tell you, it isn’t any fun! The mixed emotions can leave you speechless and somewhat in a state of shock. So what do we do at points like this in our lives???

Well, we have a choice, a cross roads per se. We can choose to be offended, and blame God, like a child who doesn’t get their way and stomps off and decides they never want to have anything to do with this God because, after all, “if He isn’t here to answer my prayers what is He here for?” Or, once all the dust settles and we come out of the shock we are in and pick ourselves up off the floor from fainting (Ok! so maybe that doesn’t happen literally, but it happens to us figuratively!), we can remember that God knows best; He knows our every thought, and He sees what lies ahead.

It all really comes down to, “Do I trust Him?” Or, are we looking for a God who will be our “genie in the bottle” and provide our three wishes? Do we want a God we can explain or do we want a God who is bigger than what we can comprehend?

Do we want a God we can explain or do we want a God who is bigger than what we can comprehend?

For me, I don’t want a God who jumps at my every command.  I want a God who I serve, not one who serves me, I want a God who watches out for me and keeps me from harm’s way.  I am thankful that I serve that kind of God. I am thankful that God cares for me enough to tell me “no” when what I want isn’t in my best interest; even when I have hoped and dreamed of it for years. Yes, it hurts and it is disappointing, but it comes down to the question: do I trust Him to know what is best for me, or do I want to hold on to control myself?  As long as I am in control, I will continue to make the same bad mistakes I always have! But when I have surrendered my will to His, sometimes (no, most of the time!) that means I will be disappointed, if I think things are going to work out the way “I” planned.
The Bible says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

So how do we avoid disappointments of this magnitude? Ultimately, we have to know and trust that God is in control. I don’t think it was wrong of me to hope and dream. In fact, it was just the opposite. See, by hoping and dreaming, it showed the faith I have in God. The Bible says, in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see”.  If I didn’t have faith that my God is big enough to make my hopes and wishes come true, I wouldn’t have any faith. But I am wise enough to know that if something doesn’t happen, then God’s plan is better and I have to say, “I can’t wait to see what is better, because my dream is pretty awesome!” And yes, after I picked myself up off the floor and dusted myself off, I still think I am His favorite child. The truth is, He, like our youngest when he was three years old, when asked who he loved more, mommy or daddy, would respond, “I wuv you all the same!” Christ does love us all the same, and I am so glad that He calls me friend and I always trust my friends!

Won’t YOU trust Him today??

Get A Life!

John 10:10 (KJV) says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

John 10:9-11 (NIV) puts it this way:

9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

God wants us to have life to the full, or as the KJV says, have it more abundantly.

The question is, “What do you consider to be abundance?”

For some it may mean a lot of money and material things. For others it may mean good health.  But the real question is, “What does God mean by abundance?”

The scripture in context is talking about a shepherd in the literal sense. If you study shepherds you know that at night when they are ready to rest for the evening they will usually back their sheep up against a wall or cliff in the corner of some mountain somewhere and then they will build a fire in front of the sheep and will sit there during the night guarding their sheep from any predictor.  Therefore the shepherd makes himself the gate of entry to his sheep.

Jesus is our gatekeeper and whenever we feel like our backs are against a wall and the world is closing in, we don’t have to fear because our God (the gatekeeper) is with us. He is watching over us and, just like the shepherd does for the sheep, he supplies all our needs.

Who is your shepherd today? In what are you putting your trusting? I believe God promises not the abundance of riches or things, but the abundance of His care and provision to supply all our needs. He is our provider and our protector; the gatekeeper of our life, if we allow Him to be. … Are you allowing Him, today?