Tag Archives: trusting God

June 23; As Surely As I Live

2 Chronicles 24:17-25a, 25:1-40; 2 Kings 12:17-21, 4:1-44, 13:4-11, 8:1-2

It spoke to me this morning when I read about the Shunamite woman. She had treated Elisha with kindness, and as a result, God blessed her with a son. But years later, the boy died suddenly. The Shunamite woman, without hesitation, went straight to Elisha.

When Elisha heard her story, that her son had died, he immediately sent a servant with specific instructions. Then the woman said this to the man of God:

As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.

So often we hear of people facing hardship and loss and their response is to get angry with God, and walk away from Him. The woman had the opposite response.

And that’s the response I want to have myself. Whether good times or bad, I never want to leave God. I’ve lived long enough to have gone through some hard times. I’ve had loss, and faced giants. I can honestly say I’ve never been tempted to walk away from my Lord. In fact, I will say I was probably the closest to Him during those hard times.

As surely as You live, I will not leave You, Lord.

June 15; It Keeps Coming

I King’s 17-19

The more I read the Bible the more I realize people haven’t changed all that much since the beginning. Take the widow woman, for example. During the famine God miraculously provided her with flour and oil so she and her son, and the prophet Elijah, could eat. She didn’t do anything to earn God’s provision – except obey. She obeyed, and God kept it coming.

But then her son got sick. What did she do? She blamed Elijah and, in turn, God. “Is that why you’re here?” she asked. “Did you just come so you could kill my son?”

Elijah’s not any different than the widow, really. He asked the same of God (who had just spared his life, too, with the never-ending flower and oil). The son did not die. And the miracle came through Elijah.

Later Elijah, who had demonstrated great faith in God, who watched God do amazing things, unexplainable things, who was protected by God, fed by ravens and angels, had doubts. King Ahab was out to get him, and Elijah felt all alone. It was too much. He wanted to die.

Can you relate? We are so blessed by God. We see evidence of that every day. Some of us have witnessed extraordinary ways God moves. But when tragedy, or hardship comes, the first response of many of us is to blame God. Or question Him. Or at least give Him the cold shoulder for a time. It’s so much easier to recognize God’s blessings in the good times. It’s a bit of a challenge to see those same blessings when we are hurting

But I am reminded today about God’s great love for His children. The flour and oil kept coming for the widow and her son until the famine was over. God encouraged Elijah by assuring him he wasn’t at all alone. In the midst of trouble, God was still keeping His blessings coming.

And that’s His MO still today. I don’t know what life is like for you right now. You may be going through a really hard time. Maybe you, like the widow find yourself striking out at God. Or like Elijah, you might be feeling abandoned by everyone including God. But hear God whisper in your ear, “I’m right here.” Open your eyes to the ways He demonstrates His love for you right now while you are struggling.

Because I know, as evidenced in Scripture and in my own life, even in the darkest nights, God keeps His blessings coming.

 

 

 

 

June 10; Walk By Faith, Not By Sight

Ecclesiastes 11-12; Psalms 73, 88; I Kings 11:41-43, 14:21; 2 Chronicles 9:29-31, 12:13-14

Solomon tried so hard to find meaning, contentment, and happiness. But he was looking in all the wrong places. Asaph almost lost his religion because he, too, was looking at the wrong things. He admitted he was jealous of evil people who prospered while he couldn’t catch a break.

“…in vain have I kept my heart pure…” (Psalm 73:13)

If we walk by sight, if we keep our focus on other people and circumstances, we will be as frustrated and depressed as Solomon, and as ready to give up as Asaph.

We who know the Lord, walk by faith in Him who is faithful. We keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We live to love Him, instead of living to have Him make our lives easy.

Solomon himself said that fearing God and obeying Him is everything.

And it is.

June 9; Good, Bad, and Trust

Ecclesiastes 7-10

Bad things happen. Good things happen, too. We have successes, and we have failures. Some days the sun shines, and some days the sun hides behind clouds. Let’s face it. There are just some things that are out of our control.

Solomon says, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.” (Ecc 7:14)

We who have placed our faith in the Lord know that He works all things for the good of those who love Him. We count on that with assurance.

Some people question why God allows sin, or tragedy, or hardship. Honestly, I don’t see how He could have done it any other way. If it wasn’t for the night, would we even notice the day? If it wasn’t for sickness, would we appreciate health? If it wasn’t for bad times, we’d take good times for granted. If it wasn’t for sin, how could we understand grace?

Solomon seems to be saying, let God be God. “Who can straighten what he has made crooked?” Quit fighting against God, or wasting your time being mad at Him. He is God. And He’s got this.

King Solomon has a dismal view of life. I don’t. And you don’t have to, either. Do you trust God? He absolutely can be trusted with every detail of your life. You can rest assured that, whether the sun is shining, or if you are in the middle of a storm, God wants to show you what He can do, He wants to draw you to Himself.

Good things happen and bad things happen. Trust God in every circumstance. He can be trusted.

May 19; What if?

I Kings 2:13-3:28; 2 Chronicles 1:1-13; Psalm 72

How would you describe God? What do you believe about Jesus and the cross? In your experience, would you say the Bible is absolutely true, mostly true, a book of suggestions for living, or a book of fiction? The answers to those questions will determine your answer to the following:

If God promised He would give you anything you asked of Him, what would you say?

Solomon heard God say, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Can you even imagine? Solomon replied, “Give me whatever I need to accomplish Your will.”

Solomon understood who God is. He understood that nothing is more important than being a servant God deserves. Solomon not only wanted to do what God asked of him, he wanted to do it well, with his efforts empowered by God.

What if God told you you could have anything you want? Would you ask for health? Happiness? World peace?

Or do you love Him enough, fear Him enough, desire to serve Him enough to make your request about Him? Not my will, but Thine be done.

How would you describe God?

 

May 5; Answers Worthy of Praise

2 Samuel 23:20b-39, 8:15-18, 7:1-29; I Chronicles 11:22-47, 18:14-17, 17:1-27

Like many of us I think, the first thing I did when I woke up this morning was to reach for my phone. I did a quick scroll through FB, checked the weather, and opened my email. I was pleasantly surprised to see a notice that a blogger I follow, posted something today. She has not done that for a while, so I took time to read what she wrote. It’s a thoughtful, honest look at prayer, especially those prayers that are answered with a “No.” If you get a chance, check it out at karinasussanto.wordpress.com. It’s entitled, “When The Answer Is “No.”

Anyway, I was already thinking about prayer when I read today’s Scripture and was once again challenged by David’s. The king wanted to build a home for the Ark of God. David wanted to give God a dwelling place He deserved. But when God clearly said, “No,” David prayed, “Ok. Thank you for blessing me in other ways.”

We Christians pray. God wants us to bring our requests to Him. Our prayers are a sweet perfume to Him. However, prayer is not something we do to get what we want. Prayer is something we do to get what God wants for us.

As a parent, did you always give your children everything they asked for? If you say you did, shame on you! Sometimes a parent just knows giving in to every whim is not what’s best for a child. Like a four year old wanting a 22 shotgun. A parent probably knows that isn’t the best gift for the child. A child who loves alligators, and wants a pet alligator, should probably hear Mommy and Daddy say, “No.” Even if a tantrum follows.

It’s hard to accept when we lay out our requests and hear God say, “No.” I can’t think David liked hearing that he would not build that temple. It had been his heart’s desire. But David thanked God anyway.

And so should we. God really does know what’s best. And He really wants to give us His best. We just need to trust Him, and praise Him when He blesses us in other ways.

And He always blesses us in other ways.

I am reminded that God doesn’t deny our requests because He doesn’t want us to be happy. If He denies our requests, it’s because He has something better in mind for us, something more wonderful than we can know at the time. We can thank Him for the “No” because we can trust Him.

So pray. Ask God for you heart’s desire. He might give it to you, or He might say, “No.  But know this: His answer will always be worthy of your praise.

 

April 25; Choosing Our Thoughts and Feelings

I Samuel 30:1-31:13; I Chronicles 10:1-14; 2 Samuel 1:1-27, 4:4

When you read the Bible chronologically you can’t help but see that there are two different accounts of the events surrounding Saul’s death. I know I’ve addressed it in years past, but let me just say here that what we read is what God said happened to Saul, and we read what an Amalekite said happened, believing he’d get a reward.

In the past I have tried to meld both accounts into one. Like maybe Saul fell on his sword and lay dying. His armor-bearer, assuming the king was dead, falls on his own sword. Then, while Saul is slowly bleeding out and begging for an end to his suffering, the Amalekite hears and obliges the king by dealing the final blow. I’ve even seen the irony in the fact that it was an Amalekite who killed Saul, considering that years earlier God had told Saul to eliminate the Amalekites completely, and Saul disobeyed.

But I am so thankful God is still growing me, still teaching me after all these years. Today He seems to be pointing out the fact that, as the Author, He can speak for Himself. What He said in Scripture is that Saul killed himself that day. So why do I think He meant something different?

Sometimes I am guilty of trying to figure out what Scripture means, when God just wants me to just look at what it says. I’m learning He’s pretty good at saying what He means. And if I read things into it, I’m not reading what He wrote. Yes there are times when I need to dig deep in order to understand some things. But I don’t want to be guilty of putting words in God’s mouth.

Actually, I wrote much more on that than I intended. What really spoke to me today was how David reacted to the news of Saul’s death. Saul had made David’s life miserable for years. Yet David was truly grieved over Saul’s death. There was no victory party. David went into mourning.

In fact, he even wrote a song to remember all the good Saul had done, never mentioning the awful way Saul had treated him. David chose to let some things go, and concentrate on the good.

We have the ability to make that same choice every day. We can choose bitterness, hate, jealousy. We can think about and hope for a measure of satisfaction, or revenge. Or we can choose love. We can choose forgiveness. We can choose to see ourselves and others through God’s eyes.

You might think the person who is making your life miserable doesn’t deserve your forgiveness, that they deserve to be hated by you. Did Saul deserve David’s forgiveness? Wouldn’t Saul have deserved it if David hated him even after death?

Did the Jews deserve Jesus’ forgiveness? Wouldn’t Jesus have been right to hate them instead of dying for them?

Don’t think you can’t help what you feel. You absolutely can. You can choose every day to be joyful, forgiving, loving, encouraging. Or not. Maybe being forced to live in a cave, running for you life for years would have been too much for you. I think it would depend on what you told yourself about that.

Maybe your circumstances today are too much for you. But I think it depends on what you are telling yourself about it. Because your circumstances might be too much for you. But they are not too much for your Father.

How often did David say that his circumstances were crushing him, that he was frustrated and discouraged? And how often do those psalms expressing his deep pain end with the declaration that He trusted God anyway. That’s the choice I hope all of us make when our circumstances seem unbearable.

I honestly believe that when we get our eyes off our circumstances, and off our selves, when we think about the ways God has blessed us in the past, when we meditate on His attributes, our feelings change.

The Bible tells us so.