trust

Believe Again

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believe: accept something as true; to accept the evidence of; to have confidence in the truth; to be persuaded; to trust; to expect with confidence

Have you ever wondered why certain things hadn’t happened in your life yet?  While I was praying one afternoon, I got my answer.  ‘You stopped believing.  You gave up’. 

It is hard to receive anything from the Lord when you don’t believe.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man think that he will receive anything from the Lord  (James 1:6-7).

I didn’t have a problem believing that God heard me when I prayed for others, but I started feeling like God didn’t hear me when I prayed for myself.  That doesn’t make sense, does it?  Aren’t Christians called ‘believers’?  What happened to me along the way?  Was I upset because I asked God for something and He didn’t give it to me?  Did I think God was punishing me for something I did in the past?  Have I been disappointed so many times that I stopped expecting anything good to happen to me?  Or was I just impatient?

Jairus only had one child.  She was 12 years old and she was dying.  He went to Jesus, fell at his feet (worship) and made his prayer request known.  My little daughter lies at the point of death: I pray you, come and lay your hands on her, that she may be healed and she shall live  (Mark 5:23).

Jesus heard him and began walking towards his home.  Jairus believed that Jesus was going to answer his prayer, but then Jairus had to do something that we all don’t like to do.  He had to wait.  As they were walking, a woman, who was diseased with an issue of blood for 12 years, touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9:20).

That’s right.  Jairus had to stand there and watch someone else get what he prayed for.  And according to the scriptures, Jesus doesn’t keep walking after the woman touches him.  He stops and begins talking to this woman.  I can only imagine how Jairus felt.  It is during times like these that we feel God is taking too long and that He has forgotten about us.  You feel like you’re running out of time and you wish Jesus would hurry up.

We are never told that Jairus celebrated this woman’s healing or that he rejoiced with her.  You would have thought that witnessing someone else’s healing would have built his faith, but then he gets some bad news.  There came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Your daughter is dead: why trouble the Master any further?  (Mark 5:35).   He was basically telling Jairus that it was too late and that he ought to give up.  Jesus must have known that he was discouraged because He immediately said to him, Be not afraid. Only believe  (Mark 5:36)Do you know what Jesus was really saying to him?  Despite what has happened, believe Me again.  Trust Me again and I shall do what I said.  And guess what? Jairus did just that.  When Jesus resumed walking to his home, Jairus followed him.

Jairus and this woman were very different.  Jairus asked Jesus to touch his daughter.   The woman, on the other hand, didn’t wait for Jesus to touch her.  She touched him.  She mixed faith with works.  For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole  (Matthew 9:21).  What you tell yourself is important.  If there’s anybody who should have had low self-esteem or felt rejected, it should have been this woman.  She should have been somewhere alone, isolated from everyone, embarrassed about her condition, feeling unloved and unwanted.  It had already been twelve years now and that’s a long time, but she didn’t give up.

It is also very important that you’re careful about what you think on.  Not every thought is from God.  What the woman said to herself started as a thought.  Some of you right now are thinking that you will never get married or have children or be who God has called you to be.  It seems like things are happening for everyone else except you and the moment you get discouraged, you say things like, ‘I guess I’ll be single for the rest of my life’ or ‘Maybe it wasn’t meant for me to have children’ or ‘Nothing will ever change’. I loved the fact that when Jairus got the news his daughter died, Jesus never allowed him to open his mouth and speak against the very thing he was praying and believing.  One of the reasons why the enemy attacks the area of your belief is because he knows that ALL things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23) and he doesn’t want you to get everything God has promised you.

Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole  (Luke 8:50).  Jairus only wanted his daughter to be healed from one thing, but Jesus wanted her to be whole (healed in every area of her life).  This is another problem we have.  A lot of times, we become angry or bitter because we didn’t get the one thing we prayed for, but God wants to do exceeding abundantly above that which you are asking.  I’ll give you a good example.  A friend of mine had a sick grandmother.  For months, she prayed for her grandmother to be healed, but her grandmother died shortly thereafter.  The good news is that before she died, she received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.  Please understand that there was nothing wrong with my friend praying for her healing, but God wanted to give her grandmother something better.  God didn’t want her healed physically, but sick spiritually.  He didn’t want her grandmother to live apart from Him – not here on earth and not for an eternity.  Although we don’t always understand why certain things happen, we must always remember that His plan for us is good.

Do you remember the father who had a demon-possessed son?  When Jesus told him that all things are possible to him that believe, the father said, Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief  (Mark 9:24).  I love how honest and humble this man was.  This is what he was really saying:  Lord, I believe in this area, but I’m having trouble believing in that area.  Please help me in the areas that I don’t believe.  Help me to trust You.  I want us to be like the men and women described in Hebrews 11:13.  Some of them didn’t receive the things God promised, but they still  believed God.  In fact, they died believing God.

I’ve heard stories of people who went through a painful divorce and swore they would never get married again, but one day they gave love another chance.  They trusted again.  They didn’t allow a bad relationship to keep them from a good relationship.  So, I’m going to give Love another chance.  I’m going to pray the above prayer as many times as needed.  I’m not going to let bad experiences separate me from Christ.  When I first got saved, I was like a little child. Trust wasn’t an issue.  I believed everything God said…and I want that again – for me as well as for you.

Believe again.

 

[Scripture references: Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:41-56]

Become Someone God Can Trust

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When someone has bad credit, it’s not the end of the world for them.  They can learn how to build their credit.  Paying off credit card debt and paying bills on time are just some of the ways you can build your credit as it shows others that you are responsible and that you can be trusted with more (a home, a car or more credit).  There are classes and seminars on how to build your credit, but how do you build trust?  How do you regain it after you have lost it?

To answer those questions, I’m going to use the parable of the unjust servant in Luke 16.  Jesus told his disciples about a rich man who had a steward.  I don’t know how well he knew him or if he knew him at all, but the rich man trusted him to manage what belonged to him.   The first verse tells us that the steward wasted the rich man’s goods.  I’m not sure if he was stealing money or making foolish decisions with what he was given, but what we do know is that he was dishonest.

Jesus never said how long the steward had been doing this, but I’m sure he did it multiple times thinking he would never get caught.  The rich man had no idea that he was being taken advantage of.  In fact, someone else brought it to his attention.  When he learned of what was going on, he called his steward and told him what he heard.  He didn’t want to just take someone else’s word so he told his steward to give him an account or a report of what he was doing with what he had been given, but in the meantime, he could not be his manager because he could no longer be trusted.

This man allowed a good opportunity to pass or to be lost.  The scriptures never stated that the steward admitted to the accusation, but apparently he knew what he was doing was wrong because he wasted no time trying to make things right.  He started thinking about his future.  What was he going to do next? I cannot dig and I am ashamed to beg  (verse 3).  I think he probably could have digged for a living, but he just didn’t want to.  He probably looked at digging as a menial job.  It was beneath him.  He was too smart for that.  He had managerial and accounting skills, but to dig ditches seemed more like a demotion than a promotion.  And he was too proud to become a beggar, but he knew he had to do something – and fast.

Since it seemed like he was about to be fired, there was a possibility that he was also going to be homeless so he came up with a plan to befriend his lord’s debtors.  A man that has friends must show himself friendly (Proverbs 18:24).  The steward called everyone who owed his lord and made a deal with them.  He basically cut their bills in half.  I can only imagine how grateful they were to this man.  They didn’t have to pay all the money owed. The steward knew that if he needed a place to stay that someone would remember what he did for them and open their home to him.  Smart, huh?

When he reported to his lord what he did, the rich man commended him – not for being unjust, but for being wise (vs 8).  We don’t know if the rich man fired him or allowed him to continue to manage his goods, but this parable teaches the just how we ought to be regarding our relationship with God and with people.

Take responsibility for what YOU did.  So, you messed up?  Don’t be angry at others or blame THEM for something YOU did.   Like David, acknowledge what you did (Psalm 51:3).  Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that you may be healed  (James 5:16)Apply this scripture to your life so that you may be healed – emotionally (heart), spiritually (soul) and physically (body).

Building will take work and time.  Sometimes an apology is not enough.  The foundation is very important so you want to build on what will stand and what will last.  Trust must be built on truth, not lies – so be honest.  The servant immediately started working.  I don’t know how many hours or weeks or months it took, but he didn’t stop until he collected from every debtor (probably in hopes that his lord would change his mind).  Now, there is a possibility that the individual(s) involved may not forgive you or give you another chance, but no matter what happens, make up in your mind that you are going to do to others what you would have them to do to you (Matthew 7:12).  And don’t worry about what others are doing to you.  You are only accountable for what you do with what God has given you.

Do what you do for the Lord rather than for men.   Sometimes we do the right thing for people, but with wrong motives and sometimes we do the right thing only when we know someone is watching us, but do it even when no one is watching.  Show that you can be trusted at all times – no matter who is watching.  People don’t see everything we do, but the eyes of the Lord is everywhere. Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the Lord  (Jeremiah 23:24).

Respect what others have.  It is not yours.  What the steward took or wasted belonged to someone else.  It was not his and he was not entitled to do whatever he wanted to do with it.  Let’s examine how you are in the workplace.  Do you take personal items from work?  If so and your manager doesn’t know about it, you’re a thief.  You are getting paid to work, but are you spending more time on social media or on your phone or taking breaks?  Would you hire you?  Would you give yourself a promotion?  And if you have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?  (vs 12).

Love in deed and in truth.  If you are really sorry, don’t just say it.  Show it.  I know none of us are perfect, but please stop using that as an excuse not to change or to do whatever you want to do.  I pray that we all get to the place where we truly love God again because when we love Him, we will obey Him.  And this is love, that we walk after his commandments  (2 John 6, KJV).

Judas didn’t betray Jesus by himself.  He made a covenant with some of the chief priests and captains, but we hear more about Judas than the others.  That’s because Judas knew better.  He walked with Jesus.  They didn’t.  He betrayed Jesus for selfish reasons, but when he realized what he did, he probably thought, What have I done?  Judas tried to make things right.  He tried to return the thirty pieces of silver.  I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood  (Matthew 27:4).  The same people that he sinned with no longer wanted anything to do with him.  They got what they wanted and they had no more use or need for Judas.

Judas saw Jesus forgive others yet he didn’t believe he would be forgiven so he hung himself.  Some of us are the same way.  We think that what we’ve done is unforgivable.  Some of us still walk in condemnation and shame over things that we did, but God is not disappointed in you and He is not ashamed of you.  He still loves you.  People may never forget what you did, but God remembers it no more.  Take the truth, which is the word of God, and build your trust in what HE said about you and not what people said about you.  Trust God to turn things around.  Trust God to make everything beautiful in His time.  Trust that all things will work together for good.  God didn’t hurt you nor did He fail you.  The only reason why some of us have trust issues is because we trusted the wrong people.

Sometimes when people get mad, they give what is called the silent treatment, but God isn’t like that.  Think about all the things you and I have done to God or to His people, yet He still speaks to us.  If God is dealing with you and He is sending people to encourage you, it’s because He loves you and He wants to do what He promised. He wants to prove Himself to you.  Maybe certain people will never trust you again – maybe they will never speak to you again, but if you ask God to forgive you, He will forgive you.  Let what happened draw you closer to God, not further away and let it teach you how to value the things and people God has gave you.

Become someone who God can trust.

Let It Be

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Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her (Luke 1:38, NJKV).

God sent an angel to Mary.  Gabriel told her she was going to become a mother.  You shall conceive in your womb  (vs 31).  He also told her what she would carry and who He would become.  He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest  (vs 32).

All of this sounded good, but Mary had one question.  How can this be?  (vs 34).  How was she going to have a baby?  She was a virgin and she wasn’t married yet.  The angel explained to her who would do the work – the Holy Ghost (vs 35).  It wouldn’t be by her power or by Joseph’s might.  It would be by HIS Spirit.

The angel knew that what he told Mary sounded impossible so to build her faith, he told her about her cousin (vs 36).  Elizabeth was barren and too old to be a mother. No one ever thought she would have a child, but in three months she was going to have a son.

The impossible is possible – with God.

The angel said what God told him to say.  Now, Mary had to make a decision.  According to Luke 1:38, she decided to serve the Lord.  I am the servant of the Lord.  Mary had no idea what she was about to go through.  She didn’t know that she would have to leave her home, leave their families and flee to Egypt during the night to protect her son.  Even though Simeon prophesied that she would suffer as though she had been stabbed with a sword, she didn’t know that meant watching her son being mocked, beaten, spat on and crucified.  My point is this: Even though she didn’t have all of the details, she surrendered.  She trusted God.  She wanted what God wanted and she was willing to do whatever He commanded.  Her response to God was, Use meDo what You want, not what I want.

Maybe God has told you what you are going to do for Him and who you are going to become and just like Mary, you either looked at your past or your present condition, and wondered how.  How is this going to happen?  I don’t have a college degree.  I don’t have a spouse.  I don’t have that much money in the bank.  I don’t know anyone who could help me. I don’t speak very well in front of people.

But I will tell you what Gabriel told Mary.  The Lord is with you  (vs 28).  You don’t have to be afraid.  You were chosen for this.  What you are carrying and will bring forth is great.  What you must go through is going to save and deliver many.

Stop running.  Stop resisting.  Stop fighting God and let it be – according to His word.  Let it happen.  Stop trying to figure it out.  Stop thinking about yourself and think about those who are hurting.  Think about those who are bound.  Think about those who are not saved.  This isn’t about you.  Forget about your plans and find out what His plan is.  Make a decision.

Mary’s mind was made up. 

It didn’t matter that Elizabeth was old or that Mary wasn’t married.  God is able to perform what He promised.  No word from Him will ever fail.  If He said it, then He will do it.  All He needs from you is your obedience.  All He needs is a ‘yes’.  What has been hard for you is not too hard for the Lord.

Maybe you’re thinking about what happened the last time.  Like Simon, you tried and nothing happened.  We have toiled all night and have taken nothing  (Luke 5:5). You were disappointed.  You had enough.  You were even thinking about giving up.

But, try again.  Trust God again.  Nevertheless at your word, I will let down the net  (Luke 5:5).  Sometimes we have this picture of how the ministry, the marriage, the career, or the children should be, but let go of what or how you think it should be. You have to believe that what God wants to give you is better than what you’re holding onto.  Let it go and…

Let it be.

Change Your Ways

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change: to do things differently; to become something else; to transform

God had many prophets, but He sent Jonah to Nineveh.  Their wickedness had come up before Him and He was sending Jonah to preach against it.  I don’t know if Jonah disobeyed God because he was afraid of his enemies’ faces or because he didn’t think they deserved another chance.  When you read Jonah 4:1-2, you can hear what was in Jonah’s heart – pride (thinking he was better than others), self-righteousness, and discrimination (unfairly treating a group of people differently from other people).  It sounds like Jonah didn’t want his enemies to have what God had just given Him – grace, love and salvation.  Yes, Jonah was called by God.  Yes, he had the gift of prophecy, but he lacked one thing – love.

Jonah ran from the presence of the Lord. One version of Jonah 1:3 tells us that Jonah went to the dark hold of the ship to hide, but where could he go from His presence?  When he was in the lowest part of the ship, God was there.  When he was in the belly of the fish, God was there.  Another version of Jonah 1:3 tells us that he made himself comfortable in the hold of the ship.  That was the difference between Jonah and the people of Nineveh.  When God sent His word to Jonah, he sought comfort, but when God sent His word to Nineveh, they sought change.  When Jonah couldn’t find comfort – when there was no peace, he cried out to God. Not only did he thank God for sparing him and protecting him, but he told God that he was going to pay the vow that he made to Him. He was going to do what was required of him – and he did.  Jonah obeyed God and preached in the city of Nineveh, but after God repented of what He was going to do to Nineveh, Jonah became angry.

What happened to the man that spoke all those beautiful words in the belly of the fish?

Here we see another distinction between Jonah and the people of Nineveh.  Words versus works.  God heard Jonah’s words, but He saw Nineveh’s works  (Jonah 2:2; 3:10).  When God said He was going to destroy the city in forty days, the people believed Him.  They (from the king to the animals) immediately went on a fast and cried unto God.  The moment they turned, God turned away from His fierce anger.

The people of Nineveh changed their ways, but Jonah held on to some  of his ways.  Sometimes we do enough just to get out of the ‘belly of the fish’, but we don’t do everything we need to do to stay out.  I know what it’s like to run from what God said.  I know what it’s like to cry and tell God why I can’t do what He told me to do only for Him to come back to me – the second time.  The scary thing is I don’t know how many more times He’s going to keep telling me the same thing over and over.

When you disobey God, disobedience will take you places that you don’t want to go.  A good example of this is found in John 6:66.  The moment many of Jesus’ disciples decided to walk with Him no more, they went back.

I know a lot of times we tell people not to ‘go back’, but I can remember when God told me to go back.  I was living in Charleston at the time.  I had plans, but things weren’t coming together as I thought they would and I was too ashamed to return home.  I felt like a failure and I was doing everything I could to make things work in Charleston.  It seemed like doors were tightly shut.  I couldn’t even find employment.  I prayed less and less and when I did pray, I didn’t know what to say to God.  But I could still hear his voice – and He told me to go back home.  I acted just like the prodigal son.  I fought it.  I fought Him.  Then one day, I got tired and I cried out to God.  I surrendered.  Immediately, doors (not one door) began to open for me.  And you know what?  The very thing I feared didn’t even happen.  In fact, it was as if I had never left home.  God took care of everything, but I had to trust Him.  I had to leave my ways and try it His way.  I had to change.

Remember when I told you earlier that Jonah was seeking comfort, but couldn’t find any?  What you and I are seeking can only be found in doing the will of God.  Until then, you will find yourself unhappy, unfulfilled and frustrated.  Until you do what God tells you to do – until you change your ways – until you fulfill the will of God, fulfillment will not come to you or to those who are counting on you.

Someone is waiting on you to do what God has sent you to do.  May God put His desires (especially the desire for change and to change) in our hearts.

Recognize the Gift

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Various unusual Christmas presents wrapped

I know this woman who always talks about not having enough money.  Well, one day I decided to give her a gift.  It wasn’t much, but something is better than nothing, right?  Do you know what she said when I handed the money to her?  I don’t need it.  Trust me.  This woman wanted that money and had someone else offered it, she would have taken it, but because it was coming from me, she rejected it.

How sad it is to ask God to send you help only to reject it because it is coming from a person that you don’t like or from a person that you don’t want to receive help from.  I’m realizing now that God has answered many of our prayers, but because it didn’t come in the form or in the person that we wanted it to, we rejected it.  Sometimes pride is the thing that keeps us from receiving ‘answered prayers’.  Pride says, I know what’s best for me.  My plan is better.  I can do it better than God.  Too many me’s, my’s and I’s will lead to trouble.

Do you remember the widow woman from Zarephath?  She needed help.  There was a famine and her husband was dead.  She was a single mother preparing their last  meal.  Not only did she lose a husband, but she lost hope.  She wasn’t just preparing a meal, but she was preparing to die.  God heard, He saw and now He was sending help, but in the meantime He was dealing with her.  Before the answer had arrived, God had already commanded the woman to do something (1 Kings 17:9).

The widow didn’t know Elijah.  To her, he was a stranger – and I think that was a good thing because sometimes we become too familiar with those who have rule over us and instead of honoring them as prophets of God, we treat them as mere men.  Jesus didn’t just give men or women, but he gave gifts to the church (Ephesians 4:8).  According to Luke 4:24-26, there were many widows in Israel during the famine, but God didn’t choose them.  He chose a widow from Zarephath.  He sent Elijah to a woman who was not his ‘own people’.  Had it been another widow, she may have been like the woman at the well.  Jesus answered, “You don’t know what God can give you. And you don’t know who I am, the one who asked you for a drink. If you knew, you would have asked me and I would have given you living water”  (John 4:10, ERV).  But that wasn’t the case with the widow of Zarephath.  She recognized the gift of God.

It was the same with the Pharisees.  They knew the Old Testament scriptures.  They read about the coming of the Messiah, but when He came, they didn’t recognize Him.  He came unto His own and His own received him not  (John 1:1).  He didn’t look like what they were waiting for.  He has no stately form or majestic splendor that we would look at Him, nor [handsome] appearance that we would be attracted to Him  (Isaiah 53:2, AMP). He was called Beelzebub.  Some thought he was John the Baptist, Elias or one of the old prophets. To them, He wasn’t the Son of God.  He wasn’t the Savior of the world.  He was just the carpenter’s son.  And sometimes we are just like the Pharisees.  When God sends us what we need or what we’ve been praying for or what we’ve been waiting for, we miss it.

While the widow was gathering sticks, Elijah asked for a little water in a vessel.  That wasn’t a problem.  She could do that, but as soon as he asked for a morsel of bread – now that was a problem.  First, she told him what she didn’t have.  Then, she told him what she did have.  I have not a cake, but a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse.  I’m sure Elijah knew she felt uneasy and unsure about giving him what he had just asked for so he told her to not be afraid.  Fear not. Go and do as you have said, but make me a little cake first

It’s hard to trust someone you don’t know and this is one of the reasons why Christians struggle with trusting God.  We really don’t know Him the way He wants us to know Him.  Just because you grew up in church and you’ve read the bible from Genesis to Revelation, doesn’t mean that you know Him.  If you knew Him, you would trust Him and if you trusted Him, then you would obey Him.

The thing God is asking you to do (or give) is little, but it will bring about something big in your life – if you will trust Him.  Elijah assured the widow that she would not run out, but that she would run over – but first, she had to believe.  She trusted God with her last and gave it to the man of God first.  Let each one give thoughtfully and with purpose just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift  (2 Corinthians 9:7). As a result of her giving, faith, patience and obedience, she, Elijah and her house ate for many days (1 Kings 17:15).

Look closely at the picture above.  You can recognize what those gifts are right away because of their shape and form, but if they were disguised in a box covered with wrapping paper, you couldn’t easily recognize them.  Many of us have rejected and walked away from blessings, breakthroughs and answered prayers because of the wrapping, but the gift isn’t the wrapping.  That’s just the covering.  That’s just flesh.  The gift is inside of the wrapping.

Prayer:  One version of Isaiah 53:3 tells us that Jesus was looked down on and passed over.  We admit today that there are still areas of our lives where we look down on Him and pass Him over because our evil desires and lusts look more attractive than Him.  Create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us.  We repent of pride, self-sufficiency and self-righteousness.  Father, help us to recognize the gift of God and help us to recognize You at work in our lives.  Give us understanding where we lack it, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Put Your Trust in the Word

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In Psalm 119, the psalmist had a lot of challenges and opposition. It wasn’t easy. He was persecuted without a cause, robbed, lied on, spoken against and his enemies dug a pit for him. They wanted him to fall. They wanted him to fail, but in spite of everything he was going through, he still told the Lord, I trust in Your word  (v 42).

When you abide in the word of God, you learn the God of the word. The psalmist had a relationship with God. He knew who He was. Despite the bad things that were happening to him, he still told God, You are good and You do good  (v 68). No matter what his enemies were trying to do to him, he believed that God was going to cause it to work for him. He knew that God didn’t lie. Your word is true from the beginning (v 160). His word is not just pure, but it is very pure (v 140). No one will ever find any mistakes, flaw or fault in it. It will never change, fail or disappoint. The word was tested and the test proved that the word was true.

The more I read this psalm, the more hopeful I became because this man of God refused to quit. He refused to believe that God had forsaken him. He refused to believe that his enemies had triumphed over him. You through your commandments have made me wiser than my enemies (v 98). He was determined to obey God until the end (v 112).

The psalmist didn’t go to people to be strengthened and encouraged. He went to the word. When he was afflicted, he found comfort in the word (v 50). The word gives great peace to those who love it (v 165). This man didn’t have a bible app on his phone, he didn’t have different versions of the bible nor did he have all sixty six books of the bible. He had fewer scriptures than what we have today yet he trusted God more than some of us.

Do you remember when Jesus told the man who had an infirmity for 38 years to take up his bed and walk? The Jews were angry with Jesus because He broke the Sabbath (even though He wasn’t the one who carried the bed). It is the Sabbath day. It is not lawful for you to carry your bed  (John 5:10). They didn’t like that this man carried his bed, but what they shouldn’t have liked was the fact that he was carrying a sickness. For 38 years, he was carrying a burden and a weight and none of them cared. Maybe it was unlawful for them to work on the Sabbath, but Jesus told the Jews, My Father is always working  (John 5:17, NLT). From the time of your birth until now, God has been taking care of you and He is working on your behalf. Out of all the people who were at the pool that day (impotent, blind, halt, and withered), Jesus only went to that one man – and He has come for you. I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly  (10:10b). If He established the earth and it stands (v 90), then you shall stand also. His word will not fail concerning you.

Maybe you’re not carrying a sickness, but you might be carrying unbelief or doubt or unforgivness. God wants you healed and whole. All you need is one word from the Lord. Start with one scripture. Hide it in your heart. Meditate on it. Declare it with your mouth everyday. Keep hearing it and hearing it until faith comes. Just as the word is settled in heaven, it will become settled in your hearts and minds. Don’t be like the Israelites who, after all that the Lord had done for them, still refused to trust Him, but follow the example of the psalmist: Don’t forget God’s word (v 16), don’t stop speaking the word (v 172), and walk in HIS ways, which is His word (v 3).

If you’re going to put your trust in anything, put your trust in the word.

Prayer: Forgive us for not trusting You. Forgive us for choosing to believe a lie rather than the truth. I command every lie, thought and seed that the devil planted to be uprooted now out of our hearts, minds and souls. I bind and rebuke unbelief and doubt and I loose great faith in Jesus’ name. We really don’t have a reason not to trust You, Lord, but restore what we lost through hurt and disappointment. Restore our souls. Restore our trust in You. Restore hope. Restore the joy of our salvation. Father, make us rooted and grounded in Your word and in Your love. Amen.

Trust in the Lord and Do Good

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Do you look forward to the new year because you depend on that income tax return every year? Some of you have probably already calculated and planned how you are going to use it this year. Unfortunately, that’s me, too.  When I recently found out that I may  be receiving a lot less than what I normally get, I started worrying. I even panicked. (And no, I don’t want the money to go shopping or take a vacation or anything like that). The first thought was, I need a second job. Then I started thinking, I need to do this. I need to do that.  Apparently, the Lord started shaking His head and got tired of watching me trying to figure out how HE was going to take care of me because the next thing I know He was giving me two scriptures and told me to meditate on them.

Matthew 6:8 – Your Father knows what things you have need of before you ask Him.

Philippians 4:19 – But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Later that same evening, I went to bible study and the woman of God was teaching about ways we serve mammon rather than God (Matthew 6:24). When she mentioned such things as being anxious over unmet needs, fear about the future and expecting the government to help you, I knew that was me and I repented for not trusting God as I should. After she sat down, the man of God read from Isaiah 9:6. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder. We have a choice. Either we can trust in the world system (government), which will one day fail or God’s system, which lasts forever.

So when I thought about it later, I realized I wasn’t acting any differently from the woman who is seeking a man to take care of her (and/or her children) financially or a woman who wants God to heal her child, but is afraid to trust Him to supply her financial need if the SSI benefits are cut off. Not every single mother or divorced woman is money hungry or greedy. They do it to live, to survive and to be fed, but the psalmist gives us a solution for this in Psalm 37:3.

Trust in the Lord and do good…you shall be fed.

To trust in God means to believe, to depend on, put all your confidence in or to be fully persuaded that He is able to perform what He promised. Isn’t it sad that some of us pray to a God that we don’t trust or read a bible that we don’t fully believe? That’s probably one of the reasons why God allows certain situations in our lives – to teach us how to trust Him. You see, you don’t need trust for something that you already have or for something that you can already see.

The world teaches that you have to lie, cheat or steal in order to get a spouse or a promotion or more money, which is evil, but the psalmist says, ‘Do good’. You don’t have to hurt people in order to help yourself. Don’t do evil to others just because they have done evil to you because God does not let evil men succeed (Psalm 37:33). Instead, wait on the Lord and keep His way (Psalm 37:34).

For years, I’ve been trying to live off of what I make (which just isn’t enough). I give tithes and offering, but there is something else you and I can do.  We can sow seed because God multiplies the seed you sow (2 Corinthians 9:10). A good example would be the boy with five barley loaves and two small fish. He didn’t eat his seed, he sowed it and God multiplied it. He, along with thousands, were fed and there were twelve baskets left over of the fragments that remained, which was OVER and ABOVE (John 6:13). Also, learn how to manage your money better. Don’t waste or squander your income with riotous living. There are some things we buy that we really don’t need. The world teaches us to spend, which leads to debt. Owe no man anything, but to love one another  (Romans 13:8). But God teaches us how to be debt-free by giving (with expectation that you will receive). Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete withal it shall be measured to you again  (Luke 6:38).

Jesus told Simon Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven”. Those who are in Christ Jesus have keys also. The key may be a revelation or a mystery or an instruction to obey. From time to time, we quote Revelation 3:8 (I have set before you an open door and no man can shut it), but I never realized until now what caused the door to be opened. One of the things the church of Philadelphia did was they kept (obeyed) His word.

In Luke 5, Peter was toiling all night, but never caught any fish. Jesus said, Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught.  That was a key. Peter was a fisherman and to him, he knew what he was doing, but now Someone came along and told him how to fish another way – a better way (since his way wasn’t working). I’m sure Peter was tired and frustrated (probably even hungry), but he accepted change, believed, and obeyed. Nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.

If you and I would apply the keys God has given us, we will be able to open doors that have been shut in our lives for years. Just as Peter’s nets became full, our nets (bank accounts) will become full when  we obey the Lord’s command. Sometimes we think money is our problem, but disobedience is really our problem. But if you will obey God, He will not withhold no good thing from you. The Lord is your Shepherd and you’re not going to want for anything this year. God is watching over you and since He neither slumbers nor sleeps, that means you can rest – in Him and in His word.

Help us, Holy Spirit, to trust in the Lord and to do good.