Tag Archive | trust

A Psalm for this New Year

 In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 

Psalm 139:1

Psalm 139 is where I head for New Years, birthdays, and any day I need a reminder that someone Greater than I is ordering my life!

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Psalm 139 

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 

 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 

 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 

 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 

 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 

 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 

 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.a Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!

They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain!b

Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?

I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

~~~

Assurance for the Journey

Someone may have made this point already, but my husband says that each day is a lifetime.  We wake up/are born, we move through the day/live, and go to sleep at night (sometimes)/a mini-death.  So resolutions shouldn’t be limited to New Years, birthdays, anniversaries, etc;  everyday we should resolve to surrender to the Lord, and trust His guidance… moment by moment.  God’s promises are for each day (give us this day..), so too, should be our reliance and trust.

Spurgeon offers this assurance for today’s Journey, and every Today:

And the LORD shall guide thee continually. ~ Isaiah 58:11

“The Lord shall guide thee.” Not an angel, but JEHOVAH shall guide  thee. He said He would not go through the wilderness before His people, an angel  should go before them to lead them in the way; but Moses said, “If Thy  presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” Christian, God has not left you  in your earthly pilgrimage to an angel’s guidance: He Himself leads the van. [yes, he said ‘van’ :-)]

 You  may not see the cloudy, fiery pillar, but Jehovah will never forsake you. Notice  the word shall–“The Lord shall guide thee.” How certain this makes it!  How sure it is that God will not forsake us! His precious “shalls” and “wills”  are better than men’s oaths. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Then  observe the adverb continually. We are not merely to be guided sometimes,  but we are to have a perpetual monitor; not occasionally to be left to our own  understanding, and so to wander, but we are continually to hear the guiding  voice of the Great Shepherd; and if we follow close at His heels, we shall not  err, but be led by a right way to a city to dwell in.

If you have to change your  position in life; if you have to emigrate to distant shores; if it should happen  that you are cast into poverty, or uplifted suddenly into a more responsible position than the one you now occupy; if you are thrown among strangers, or cast  among foes, yet tremble not, for “the Lord shall guide thee continually.”

There  are no dilemmas out of which you shall not be delivered if you live near to God,  and your heart be kept warm with holy love. He goes not amiss who goes in the  company of God. Like Enoch, walk with God, and you cannot mistake your road. You  have infallible wisdom to direct you, immutable love to comfort you, and eternal  power to defend you. “Jehovah”–mark the word–“Jehovah shall guide thee  continually.

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Dear Father and loving Guide, Thank you for the assurance of your Presence and the promises you give.   Help me to trust you more.  “Trust in the Lord with all you heart, lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”  I’m so blessed to be your child, and I trust you as my loving Father.  In your son’s precious name, Jesus, Amen. 

~~~

Perfectly Weak

“For my strength is made perfect in weakness…”  2 Corinthians 12:9

[Travels, transitions, family times, grandparenting, border crossings, and more…my excuse for a big, bad case of blogger’s block.  But I can’t wait to share of God’s grace through all this…in between our routine days, like Titus 2sday!]

Last time we ‘met’ for Titus2sday, we were discussing sin, control and being out of control{!}  This sense of being out of control, whether in marriage, parenting, emotions, family matters, health, the work place, finances, or  ___ [fill in the blank], generally makes us feel pretty weak. Or perhaps, like me, perfectly weak!

But this awareness of our weakness brings us to a better place than perceived strength or control ever could—to pure reliance on Him.

These excerpts from Spurgeon (my fave) encourage us in our utter and perfect weakness:

Are you mourning over your own weakness?  Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you a victory.

Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust in; therefore, he is compelled to cast himself on God alone.

There is no moment of our lives, however holy, in which we can do without His constant upholding.

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I am SO weak.  I come to the Lord with empty hands…therefore…

“…I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me!”
2 Corinthians 12:9

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Dear Lord,  We are all so weak.  We rejoice in the day when our faith will be sight, and we shall be like him, for we shall see him as He is! (I John 3:2) But until then, our weakness weighs us down, it interferes with our relationships and daily lives.  We need you, Lord, we need Your strength to be made perfect in our weakness..whatever that looks like.  Help us let go of the controls, and trust in the power of Christ that dwells in us.  In His Strong Name, Amen.

Sin in Control

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”      Psalm 51:4

I’m not a theologian, I don’t read Hebrew or Greek, and I’m not a subject-matter expert about much of anything. There.

But sometimes I’m burdened about something so much, that I’m compelled to step out of my comfort zone (as a warm-fuzzy encourager), and share my heart. It’s my sincerest prayer that through today’s post and future Titus2sdays, you may grow in the Lord, pleasing Him in every respect, and His name would be glorified.

Even though it’s quite clear that the desire of  human nature is to control and be in control, I think women struggle the most with this battle. I  know—I am one.

Genesis 3:16 reminds us why we’re so encumbered:

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

When boundaries are set, we instantly to try to step over them, climb under them, or reason our way around them.  The apostle Paul discusses this inclination extensively in Romans 7.  Specifically, verse 7 says,

For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”

So, just as the Word revealed Paul’s coveting as sin, we too face an uncomfortable fact:  Our desire for control is sin. We don’t want to be ‘ruled’ by anyone, God or man.  Perhaps because we don’t trust others to make the right decisions on our behalf.  Or, we don’t trust God.  And that equates to sin.

But desiring to control is more than not trusting God, it’s attempting to be God.  One of my favourite authors, Paul D. Tripp, discusses this dilemma:

  • The desire to be God rather than to serve God lies at the bottom of every sin that anyone has ever committed…. Sin is rooted in my desire to live for me. [1]
  • Self-sovereignty is the dream of every sinner. It’s hard for us to trust ourselves to the wisdom, power, and control of another. We want to write our own drama, and we want to be the central character of the story. But the spiritual reality of the universe is that we are not authors of our own story. Our story is a part of a larger story written by the Lord. In this story we are never on center stage. That is a position to be occupied by the Lord alone. [2]
  • You and I can change no one. Ultimately, personal change comes from only one source: the gracious act of a powerful God. When people try to change one another, typically the focus is on behaviour. Yet behaviour is not really the issue…the root problem is the heart. When we attempt to do God’s job and change someone’s heart, we only cause frustration to ourselves and pain to the other person. [3]

So try to control others according to our limited wisdom or for our benefit, we become self-serving, we hurt others, and, we’re sinning against God.

“Against You only, I have sinned.”

Thankfully, the Lord is gracious. He is compassionate, wise, understanding, and above all, forgiving. He is able to help us. We can and must depend entirely on Him, yielding our hearts and minds to His control.

What a wretched woman I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!!  Romans 7:24

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Let’s pray together about this during the week and ask ourselves:

Where do I need the grace of God to say no to the temptation to step over God’s boundaries and control?

How have I sinned against the Lord by trying to control others?

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Dear Lord, Thank you for the victory we have through Christ! We are incapable of living out this Christian life apart from you.  Sometimes it’s so difficult, we feel like quitting. Please meet us first thing each morning and all day long, with your mercy and grace, to enable us to relinquish our behaviours, thoughts, and words to You. Your kingdom come, Your will be done…not ours. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen

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[1]  Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy

[2]  A Shelter in A Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble

[3]  Broken-Down House

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Join us next Titus 2sday for more discussion on control, trust, and the help available through Jesus!

Sweeten Every Fear

“From my distress I called upon the Lord.  The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.  The Lord is for me: I will not fear; What can man do to me?”  Psalm 118:5, 6

Fearless Friday.  And what did I awake to?  Fear!  No surprise.  But the more important question is, where do I go with that fear?

David went to the Lord:

From my distress….I called upon the Lord.

What does the Lord do?

He answered me and set me in a large place.

I understand “answered me”, but what is this ‘large place?’ 

According to Biblical scholars (ie, those who can read Hebrew), a large place is actually a clearing, a bright spot that has been freed of foes, holes and corners (where we go with our fears) and all manner of enemies.  Like a clearing in the woods, the Lord brings us to a place where we can breathe, get a fresh perspective on our surroundings and be warmed by the sun!

“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”  Psalm 18:5

So in the midst of our distressing thoughts, we can be assured that the Lord answers us, and will set us in a clearing, where we can get His perspective, rather than being muddled or weighed down.  And, then He reminds us–again and again, because we’re so forgetful–that He delights in us and He is FOR us.  I’ve posted on this before, but it bears repeating:

“The Lord is for me: I will not fear.”

We need the reminder.  And that’s what God’s Word is for (and Fearless Fridays :-)).  When we’re in distress, anxious, fearful, or any number of synonyms that describe that pit we feel in our stomachs, we must turn to God’s Word. 

And we need to pray, taking our fears directly to God.  We’re not supposed to hide them or pretend they don’t exist.  David shows us how to pray in the Psalms, where he constantly and honestly shares with the Lord his sins, weaknesses, fears and doubts.

Another example of honesty in prayer is found in Valley of Vision, a Collection of Puritan Prayers.   This is my prayer today and, perhaps, could be yours: 

 

Sovereign Commander of the universe,
I am sadly harassed by doubts, fears, unbelief, in a felt spiritual darkness,
My heart is full of evil surmisings and disquietude,
        and I cannot act faith at all.
My heavenly Pilot has disappeared,
        and I have lost my hold on the Rock of Ages.
I sink in deep mire beneath storms and waves,
        in horror and distress unutterable.
Help me, O Lord,
        to throw myself absolutely and wholly on you,
        for better, for worse, without comfort, and all but hopeless.
Give me peace of soul, confidence, enlargement of mind,
        morning joy that comes after night heaviness;
Water my soul richly with divine blessings;
Grant that I may welcome your humbling in private, so that I might enjoy you in public;
Give me a mountain top as high as the valley is low.
Your grace can melt the worst sinner, and I am as vile as he;
Yet you have made me a monument of mercy,
         a trophy of redeeming power;
In my distress, let me not forget this.

All-wise God,
Your never-failing providence orders every event,
        sweetens every fear,
        reveals evil’s presence lurking in seeming good,
        brings really good out of seeming evil,
        makes unsatisfactory what I set my heart upon,
        to show me what a short-sighted creature I am,
        and to teach me to live by faith upon your blessed self.
Out of my sorrow and night, give me the name Naphtali,
        “satisfied with favour,”
        help me to love you as your child,
                and to walk worthy of my heavenly pedigree.

 

Through God’s Word and prayer, may you find that He hears, answers, delivers, and is for You!  Knowing this can “sweeten every fear” and bring you out of darkness, into His clearing and marvelous, comforting Light!

And please come back every Friday when we seek God’s Word to remind us that we are to Fear Not!

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Trust Your Shepherd

“Fear not, little flock… 

…for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32

 

So much of our fear comes from trying to figure things out.  We look at the checkbook and try to figure out how to turn the red to black, how to make more time in the day for our family, or desperately wonder, based on world events, if we’re in the last days.  And the more we try to fill in the blanks of our agenda and faith, the more we find unbelief creeping in, replacing trust with doubting questions, rest with anxiety, and love with fear.

We question our journey and with the disciples, say “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going, and how can we know the way!?”

Shouldn’t the Lord fill us in?  He knows the way.  Won’t He enlighten us…a little?

Instead He says, compassionately, “Fear not.” 

Why?

~~Because He’s given us His enduring Kingdom.  “I give to you eternal life, and you shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck you out of my hand.  My Father, who gave you me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck you out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).

~~Because, He is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).   HE is our journey and our life.  We can trust Him fully.

This assurance is driven home in a brief post by Jon Bloom at Desiring God.  I recommend reading the entire post, but here’s a comforting excerpt:

Frequently, Jesus doesn’t share our urgency for us to know exactly what he’s doing or where he’s leading us. His reasons for withholding that information are always good. His will for us is our sanctification.  And what that usually means is some form of “believe in…me.”

Jesus is your Good Shepherd. A benefit of being a sheep is that you don’t need to know the way.

You just need to trust your Shepherd.

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Dear Lord, Help me to trust you more.  My doubts and fears grieve you.  Each day I have to learn to trust you all over again.  I give my questions back to you, for you alone know all things.  You are my shepherd, and I lack nothing.  Truly, ‘your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.’ I do believe, Lord.  Help my unbelief, in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

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To complement today’s post, I just uploaded  “I Will Follow” by Chris Tomlin, in the Music Box.  Please join us every Fearless Friday, as we learn from God’s Word how to grow in God’s perfect love.

Titus 2’sday

I wonder why I thought I could write for TWO blogs when I have a difficult time maintaining one? Some of you may know from my New Year’s goals, that I wanted to invest time into another blog, specifically for women, to encourage, train, and minister according to Titus 2:3-5:

Older women, likewise, are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 

With honesty and personal candor, I realize that I can’t maintain two blogs.  I’d rather do ONE thing well, instead of two things mediocre! 

Therefore, I’m closing up shop on Titus2U, and instead, designating every Tuesday at this site as Titus 2’sdays [groan], where we can discuss and encourage one another on how to love our husbands, love our children, be kind, sensible, responsible at home, and bring glory to the Lord and His Word! 

For starters, here is my first, and only, post from Titus2U:

Contrary Mary:

 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?

 

I always think of this nursery rhyme when I find myself being argumentative with my husband.  You know, it’s those days when he might say the sky is blue, and I say it’s gray. He wants to wait, I want to move forward, etc.  Have you ever found yourself being ‘contrary Mary’?

Maybe some cues of what contrary ‘looks like’ will help out:

From Webster:
“being so different as to be at opposite extremes : also,
being opposite to or in conflict with each other;  unwilling to accept control or advice

From Rogets:
Anti-  [anything!]
hostile
unfriendly
opponent
adverse
repugnant
negative
opposite
conflictive
alien
uncooperative
obstinate
clashing
discordant
competitive
hindering
disagreeable

From Vine’s:
against
accuser
antagonistic
adversary
set against
oppose
resist

This is convicting!  And now I know I don’t want to be Contrary Mary…standing there, with hoe in hand, pointing out why I am right, my husband is wrong, and “what’s more…yaddi yaddi yah”.

How can I keep from being this little controlling, contrary, anti-everything woman in my home?

1.   PRAY!!  Ask the Lord to change ME….not my spouse.

2.   Seek the Lord’s righteousness and kingdom, not My own kingdom of one.

3.   Take my cues from God’s Word.  Ephesians 4:30-32:

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice

                   Be kind to one another

                   tender-hearted

                   forgiving each other,

                  just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

4.  Remember, I am a sinner saved by grace, married to another sinner saved by grace. *

 

A little prayer for today:

Dear Lord, I don’t want to be a contrary Mary, but something rises up in me, seeking control, and wanting things to go my way.  Grant me the strength and grace this day to seek first Your will and your kingdom.  Help me to think first before I speak, to weigh my words against Your Word, and to be submitted to your Holy Spirit.  I need you and trust you, Lord.  Thank you, in Jesus’ name.  Amen

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* Taken from Paul D. Tripp’s book on marriage, What Did You Expect?    We will discuss more from this book in the future.