Tag Archives: trusting God

Reawakening Hope

About twenty years ago I did some things and went through some that changed my life. I made poor decisions and suffered consequences for them. At one point I was beating myself up over it. I began to get worked up and defeated over one thing in particular. Because of the things I had gone through, the denomination I was a part of at the time had a rule that people in my circumstance could never be in any ministry role. It was devastating. My whole life I had dreamed of one day being in ministry, and now that dream was dead. A friend came over and asked why I was upset. When I told him, he responded, “What makes you think that you, or this denomination, can rescind God’s calling? You don’t have that kind of power!” It was the slap in the face I needed, and I began to hope and believe again that one day that would happen.

In Romans 4, Paul is writing about Abraham, God’s promise to him and how it relates to our faith. Verse 14 says, “If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless” (NLT). He explains none of us are capable of keeping God’s Law without messing up and God’s promises are received through faith. Then verse 17-18 says, ”This (Abraham receiving the promise) happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping.” That’s powerful. Even when there was no reason to hope, he kept hoping. That’s truly was faith is.

If you feel like a dream or calling is dead, it’s time to hope and believe again. Your past actions, or your current circumstances, do not have the power to change God’s promises or His calling. We serve a God who brings dead dreams, dead hopes, dead callings, dead you name it back to life. There is nothing that is impossible for Him. We have to push past the lies and what our eyes tell us in order to believe what God promised. We must awaken faith and hope in our heart again and trust that God, who brings dead things to life and creates new things out of nothing, will respond and move on our behalf. It’s not easy, but that’s what faith is. Abraham did it and was rewarded for his faith. I believe God will reward us too when we stand with that kind of faith and begin moving in the direction He called us to.

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Abandoned

To abandon someone is to quit supporting them or to give up on them. If you’ve ever been through some of life’s toughest circumstances, you know what it’s like to be abandoned by some of your family or friends. You find out that there are people in your life that you can count on, and there are people that you can’t. When you’re looking for advice, a place to regroup, or just a shelter from the storm, some people that you seek out will abandon you. Some of the ones who you thought would support you through thick and thin give up on you.

David was a person who knew a thing or two about being abandoned. He was forgotten by his father, disrespected by his brothers, shamed by his wife, chased by the king, and dishonored by his son. The people in his life that he should have been able to count on, turned their backs on him at some point in his life. He knew a thing or two about rock bottom. He looked for those he could count on in times of trouble.

In all of his searching, there was one who never abandoned him: God. David wasn’t a perfect man either. He cheated on his wife, had a man murdered, and did some unthinkable things. Yet when he sought after God, he knew that no matter what he had done, God would not abandon him. He knew that there was nothing he had done that God couldn’t or wouldn’t forgive. When others gave up on him, God never did. In fact, God said he was a man after His own heart.

You may have walked David’s shoes. Maybe you’ve been abandoned by those who love you or you’ve abandoned the things you know are right. Either way, if you will seek God, He won’t abandon you. Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know you, Lord, will trust you; you do not abandon anyone who comes to you” (GNT). It doesn’t matter what’s been done to you or what you’ve done to others, you can find shelter, hope, and forgiveness in God when you seek Him out.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Purposing To Trust

In February of 1998, my mom went into the hospital with some crazy symptoms. She thought it was a reaction to the chemo, but it wasn’t. The cancer had spread. On March 1st, she slipped into a coma of sorts. After a week or two of that, they took us into a side room to let us know they were sending her home and hospice would be assisting us for her final days. Our heads were spinning. We had fasted and prayed for healing, and it looked like our prayers were going unanswered. After the doctor left the room, we stayed behind still in shock. My dad spoke up and said, “We will keep believing and praying for a miracle, but be prepared in case He doesn’t answer the way we want Him to. I want each of you to purpose in your heart right now that you won’t be bitter at God if He chooses not to heal her.” She passed away on April 17th that year. Even though it hurt, because we had purposed in our hearts beforehand, we remained faithful to God.

The Early Church believers suffered more than most throughout the centuries of the Church. Each of the 12 disciples were martyred for their faith. Rome fed Christians to the lions for public sport. Nero used the heads of Christians as torches throughout the city. Yet somehow, these believers stayed faithful to God and encouraged each other with words of faith. The New Testament is full of Paul’s letters to these believers facing these issues. Many of them were written from jail. I’m sure that fear was doing its best to silence believers and to question their faith. However, because of their determination and they purposed in their hearts to follow God no matter what, our spiritual ancestors endured, stayed faithful and passed down a heritage of rock solid faith to you and I.

Psalms 116:10-11 says, “Even when it seems I’m surrounded by many liars and my own fears, and though I’m hurting in my suffering and trauma, I still stay faithful to God and speak words of faith” (TPT). This is the determination that each of us must make in our hearts. Our faith can not be dependent on our circumstances. Our trust in God’s goodness cannot be eroded by prayers that aren’t answered the way we think they should. Our suffering and trauma is not a reflection of His love. It’s a result of sin in the world. We must determine in our hearts and minds that no matter what happens in this life, we will stay faithful to Him. We will still speak in faith. We will still trust in Him. Even when things are happening here that we don’t like or understand, God has a plan and is able to work it out for our good. Don’t stop trusting in Him during the hard times. This earth and these sufferings are only temporary.

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Asking For Help

No matter who you are, you’ll need help at some point in your life. You will face things that you can’t do on your own. If you’re like me, you try to do it alone anyway. My pride says, “You don’t need anyone’s help. You got into this by yourself, you can get out of it by yourself.” I try to project strength instead of admitting my weakness. What inevitability happens is that I end up wearing myself out in the process. One time, I collapsed on the floor and cried out to God, “I can’t do this anymore! Help me.” He replied, “Finally.”

God was waiting on me to look to Him for help, but my pride kept me from it. I had to endure a lot more pain than necessary because I wasn’t willing to admit I needed help. Since that time, I’ve learned to look to Him first when I need help. It doesn’t take long to pray, “God, I can’t do this on my own. I need your help.” It does take humility though, but God honors that. He wants to help us with our daily issues.

David learned this lesson as well. After being anointed king, he was constantly in danger and was running for his life. He learned to quit trying to go at it alone, and to go to God. In Psalm 25:15, he wrote, “I look to the Lord for help at all times.” He didn’t just go to God with some things. He went to Him with all his issues, and God came to His rescue. It wasn’t because David was any different that us. It was because David was humble enough to recognize he needed help from God daily.

Whatever you’re facing today, God stands ready to help. He’s waiting for us to trust His all sufficient grace to help us get through life. Don’t wait until you’re mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted before you cry out for help. Let go of your pride, and look to God for help at all times. It’s not a weakness to admit you need help. It takes strength to overcome your pride and admit it. Once you do, you’ll find that God is willing and able to step in and do what needs to be done.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Playing Peekaboo

One of the best things to do around a baby is to play peekaboo. You know the game where you get the baby’s attention and then cover your face. When you open your hands to reveal you’re there, the baby sighs relief and often laughs which is contagious and starts the cycle over. Science has shown that this is good for babies. You’re teaching them gross motor skills, social skills, visual tracking and most importantly permanence. When you cover your face, the baby thinks you’re gone, and when you uncover it you suddenly reappear. By playing peekaboo, you’re teaching the baby that even though they don’t see you, you’re still around and can show up at any time. In essence, you’re even laying the groundwork for faith teaching them to believe even when they can’t see.

All throughout Jesus’ ministry, He kept telling the disciples that He was going to be crucified and go away. He told them not to let their hearts be troubled when that happens. He even told them that He would send the Comforter that they wouldn’t be able to see, but He would still guide them into all truths. After His death, He started playing peekaboo with the disciples if you will. He would show up, then disappear over 40 days. Thomas missed out on the first time and famously said, “Unless I see the holes in His hands and put my finger in them, I won’t believe.” Then Jesus showed up again in John 20:29 and said, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!” (GNT)

There are times in our lives where it feels like Jesus is still playing peekaboo with us. At moments He feels so close that you can touch the hem of His garment. Then there are times when you feel like He’s gone and your prayers aren’t heard. The truth is He has never left you and He’s teaching you to believe even when you can’t see or feel Him. Hebrews 11:1 says, “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.” Jesus is working on building up your permanence of belief in Him so that even when you can’t see Him or feel Him, you can be certain that He’s there and be sure that He hears you. We still have the Comforter with us today who is guiding us and growing our faith in the unseen. Continue to have faith and it won’t be long until He shows His face again.

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No More Excuses

Any time we are faced with the prospect of doing something that we’re afraid of, we typically resort to a coping mechanism that is designed to get you out of the situation. They don’t always appear in ways that you may think. Sometimes you feel like you have to go to the restroom, or feel thirsty and need a drink. Other people all of a sudden think of something else to do that feels like it’s more important at the moment. The typical route our brains take is to hesitate, then procrastinate and then to make an excuse as to why we can’t do it. Almost every time you make an excuse to avoid doing something, it’s linked to fear. While people may accept our excuses, God doesn’t. He has a rebuttal for each one.

Some time after Moses fled Egypt, he had made a new life for himself and tried to forget about his past. The only problem was God had made a promise to bring the Israelites out of Egypt and moses had been spared to do the job. When God appeared to him in the burning bush, Moses was intrigued. However, when God asked him to go back to Egypt, fear showed up. Moses began to make excuses as to why he couldn’t do what God was asking. In Exodus 4:10 he gave this excuse, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled” (NLT). I love God’s response to that in the next verse. He asked, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord?”

God is not interested in our excuses. He’s interested in our obedience. It’s easy to look at Moses and think he shouldn’t have made all those excuses, but we’re not so different. What excuses have you been giving to God? Have you told Him you’re not ready? You don’t have the funds? No one else is interested? There’s a pandemic going on? All these are excuses from doing what God is calling you to do. He created you for this moment and is aware of the things you have brought up, but He is also the one who has prepared you, will fund you, bring people to you and make a way where there seems to be no way. Is He not able? Most of the time, He’s waiting on us to get over our fears, to quit making excuses and to step out in faith before He meets those needs. Faith isn’t about taking a calculated risk or knowing everything is going to work out. It’s about obedience even when you can’t see what’s going to happen. Let your faith be stronger than your fear long enough to take that next step instead of making an excuse.

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Implicitly Trusting God

I remember as a kid when someone would ask, “Do you promise?” I’d quickly give them a “Yeah.” Then, if they asked, “Do you pinkie promise,” I’d have to think carefully before answering that one. It was like I could promise something and possibly go back on my word and everything would be ok. However, if I went back on a pinkie promise, I’d never get their trust again. I guess it was around that time that I learned the importance of trust and keeping your word. I’ve carried that into adulthood. When I talk with someone who is new to a leadership role, I explain the importance of keeping your word. Without trust, you can never lead anyone. Think about it. Name any leader in your life that you will follow anywhere, and think of how much you trust them. The more you trust them, the farther you will follow them.

Abraham was a person who trusted God enough to leave his family to go to a land that God would show him. He trusted God when he was told he would have a son at 100 years old. He kept on trusting God when He told him that through that son, he would become the father of many nations. I think the greatest trust was shown when God hawked him to sacrifice that son. I love in Genesis 22:5 where he tells the servants, “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back” (NLT). Abraham trusted God’s promise enough that even if he sacrificed His Son of Promise, God was able to raise Him up and fulfill it. He knew that no matter what happened on that mountain, they were both coming back.

Romans 4:20 says, “He (Abraham) was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” Are you fully convinced that God is able to do what He promises? Remember earlier, I said that you can only follow someone as much as you trust them. That applies to your relationship with God as well. Are you trusting in what your situation looks like right now or in God’s promise? God is able to revive dead dreams, irreparable relationships and impossible situations if it means keeping His promise. Number 23:19 says, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” You and I can trust what God says implicitly. When we do, we can go farther than we’ve ever gone and live the life we were created to live.

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God’s Got You

There have been times in my life where I’ve felt like I was slipping through God’s fingers. My life was in free fall and nothing was going right. This past year has felt that way for so many. I can think of a few friends who left secure jobs and income to chase dreams they’ve had their entire lives only to have the world shut down shortly after they did. I’ve had friends who received a diagnosis that changed everything. I also know people who have been hit with one thing after another and have been under a complete barrage of bad news and things happening to them. When these things happen, it can feel like you’re sinking or free falling, and you wonder if God has forgotten you. Panic can quickly set in and start making decisions for you. When I see friends going through these times, I usually pray for peace, wisdom and the assurance that God is in control.

I often think of the night that the disciples were told by Jesus to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. They heard Him clearly and did what He asked. It didn’t stop the storm from coming. It didn’t stop the boat from taking on water. They were in His will and they were fighting for their lives. I love that in the middle of all that chaos, Peter had the courage to get out of the boat. I also love that he began to sink as he quit looking at Jesus and became distracted by everything going on. Why? Because it gave a great opportunity to show the heart of God. As Peter went into a free fall sinking, Jesus reached out and grabbed him. I don’t know what he was thinking, but I’m pretty sure it was, “Please don’t let go!” Jesus didn’t and they got into the boat.

In Isaiah 41, God was speaking to Israel, but I believe it’s for us as well. Verse 10 says, “Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you” (MSG). If you’re distracted by everything that’s going on all around you and in your life, be like Peter, put your eyes back on Jesus and reach out to Him. He’s saying, “Don’t panic. I’ve got you and I’ve got a firm grip too.” You are not forgotten. God sees through the storm that has been surrounding you and threatens to sink you. He won’t let go no matter how bad things might get. God very often uses devastation to create new life. Just because things aren’t happening the way we think they should, it doesn’t mean He’s let go. He’ll help you and hold you steady through it all. Trust in Him, have peace, make wise choices and know He is in control.

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The Blessings Of Trust

I’ve learned that there are some people who give trust up front to everyone they meet and there are people who make everyone earn trust before they give it. Trust is something that can easily be lost and difficult to gain. Think of someone you don’t trust. What would they have to do to earn it from you? You probably just thought of a nearly impossible bar. When you do trust someone, like a doctor or other professional, you take their opinion seriously and follow it. They have a proven track record of being right and that’s why you trust them. That kind of trust is defined by Merriam Webster as, “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” I love that definition of trust, especially when we apply it to God.

Peter trusted Jesus enough to get out of the boat to walk on the water. Some other people trusted Him enough to tear open a roof and to lower their friend down for healing. Moses trusted God enough to go back to Egypt and set the Israelites free. How much do you trust Him? To answer that, look at how much and what parts of your life you’ve given to Him. There are parts we all hold back from Him implying we trust ourselves more than Him in those areas. We can rely on the character, ability, strength and truth of who God is. He’s proven it since the beginning of time, yet we each hold back. It’s time we let go and trust Him with each of the areas of our lives. The more we trust Him, the greater our life becomes.

Here are some Bible verses on trusting God.

1. He who leans on and trusts in and is confident in his riches will fall, But the righteous [who trust in God’s provision] will flourish like a green leaf.

Proverbs 11:28 AMP

2. You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3 GNT

3. But blessed is the man who trusts me, GOD, the woman who sticks with GOD. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers— Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 MSG

4. Give God the right to direct your life, and as you trust him along the way you’ll find he pulled it off perfectly!

Psalms 37:5 TPT

5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

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Broken And Beautiful

There are a few ways to do a puzzle. Some people open the box and pull out a couple of pieces at a time. Some people grab a handful to see if there are any matches. Then there are people like me who dump the whole box in the middle of the table. I like to see all the pieces I’m working with and begin forming the puzzle from the outside in. No matter how you start a puzzle, I think you’ll agree that it’s frustrating to get all the way to the end only to find that you’re missing a piece or two. You check the box, the floor, your chair and all around the table where you’re working. You need all the pieces if you’re going to be able to complete it. There’s just something satisfying about completing a puzzle with all the pieces.

If you’re reading this, then your life has been broken somewhere along the way. It’s part of the human condition. Our lives get shattered, we scoop up the pieces and try to move forward by putting them back together again. Sometimes our brokenness makes it hard to trust people again or even God. If only He would have intervened, then our life wouldn’t have been shattered. If only He would have answered our desperate prayers, then we would be whole still. When you’re holding the broken pieces of your life, it’s easy to look back and think that you’d be whole right now “if only (you fill in the blank).” The truth is we’re all broken to some degree and we’re holding the pieces of our life trying to put things back together the way they were. But what if you were broken so God could put the pieces back together in a more complete and beautiful way?

I love mosaic art because it’s formed from broken pieces. I believe it’s the same type of artistry God uses when we give Him the pieces of our brokenness and allow Him to put our life back together. Psalm 18:20 says, “GOD made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him” (MSG). For God to make our life complete and whole again, He can’t have any missing pieces. You must surrender all the pieces to Him. He knows there are parts of us that we hold back from Him because of fear, but He patiently and lovingly waits for us to trust Him enough. God rewrites the story and picture of our lives when we give Him all the pieces and He makes something beautiful out of the pieces. He does His part when we do ours and surrender the pieces. He takes our brokenness and makes something beautiful out of our mess.

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