Category Archives: Trust

Adversity’s Astonishing Advantages

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2011 Football banquet and Field Trip 254

“We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.”             2 Corinthians 1: 8 – 10 (MSG)

If you’re dealing with extreme adversity in your life right now, it’s difficult to imagine how such suffering could ultimately produce advantageous results. Yet in the midst of trials, you develop skills to do things you would never dream possible.  Also ~

  • You learn more and grow closer to God during your darkest moments than you ever would from your shining triumphs.

Paul didn’t give details about the hardships he faced in the scripture above. Yet it was so bad he and his companions didn’t think they were going to make it. (Perhaps you can relate?)  But he then describes this near-death experience as “the best thing that could have happened.” How can that be?!

  • When you’re forced to exercise your “Faith Muscle,” your faith becomes stronger than ever. The stronger it gets, the more God can do through you.

If you’re at your wits’ end and can’t help yourself, you’re forced to trust God completely, Too often, we rely on our own ingenuity or abilities to maneuver out of situations, but in dire situations, we learn to lean on God.

  • The best result of a seemingly hopeless situation is that you place your complete trust in the God who raises the dead! His strength is sufficient for any trial.

Do you face a seemingly hopeless situation today?  Place it in God’s capable hands and watch Him work wonders!

Related Verse:  Proverbs 3: 5 – 6 (NIV)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

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The Problem with Bubble-Wrapped Lives

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“When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God—who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty—and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him.” James 1: 2-5 (Phillips)

I’ll admit it. I wish I could bubble-wrap my sons to keep them free from injury, loss, rejection, failure, heartbreak, insults, or any other painful misfortune life might hurl in their direction. Especially now that my youngest son is driving, I dream about this possibility whenever he leaves the house with keys in hand!

But I recently read about a fascinating experiment in the Arizona desert where scientists attempted to create a perfect living environment for plants, animals, and humans under a protective biodome. This closed ecological system grew fruits, vegetables and trees and was sustained with purified water and air, nutrient-rich soil, and filtered light – a seemingly ideal habitat.

However, the perfect environment did not produce perfect results.

After a period of time, scientists noted a baffling phenomenon. After reaching a certain height, trees in the biosphere toppled over. This puzzled the scientists until they discovered a missing element in their biosphere. They forgot to include wind! Trees need wind to develop strong roots. When winds blow against trees, their root systems grow deeper, which support them as they grow taller.

We wish our lives could be lived in a virtual biosphere, free from the tensions and strains of outside influences. Yet, when daily challenges push against us, they are strengthening our “roots” and producing true patience and endurance, which will equip us for the journey ahead.

So if we bubble-wrap our kids, protecting them from all of life’s struggles, we are setting them up to topple over as adults. They will never develop deep roots of character, perseverance, and resiliency. Without trial-and-error learning, they won’t develop the problem solving skills they need as adults. And, most importantly, we risk losing the opportunity of teaching them to turn to God for help, which deepens their spiritual roots.

Remove the protective layer and allow their roots to grow deep so they will one day stand independently and tall!

“Happy is the person who can hold up under the trials of life…” James 1:12a

 

Keep Your Eyes on God ~ not your difficulties

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Eyes on God

“Then Peter called to him: ‘Sir, if it is really you, tell me to come over to you, walking on the water.’ ‘All right,’ the Lord said, ‘come along!’ So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted.”

Matthew 14:28 – 30 TLB

We may not walk on water, but we do walk through periods of tumultuous circumstances in life. If we focus on the swirling waves of difficulties surrounding us, we can easily feel like we are being swallowed up by the surge of life’s problems.

Peter experienced a rather unusual example of God’s power when he went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. His faith in Jesus gave him the courage to throw his leg over the side of the boat and step out into the stormy sea.  However, his faith wavered when he realized what he was doing. Once he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the crushing waves around him, he began to sink.

Like Peter, we often start out with great intentions. We may be “prayed up” and filled with holy confidence before we begin to face the day. But once we wade into the undulating sea of life, our faith begins to falter, and we sink in despair. We feel ill-equipped to navigate the storms that batter us. Yet this doesn’t mean that we have failed. When Peter’s faith faltered, he immediately reached out to Jesus. In his time of greatest fear, he called on his Savior to rescue him.

When you are afraid of the troubles that swirl around you, keep your eyes on Jesus’ power rather than your own inadequacies. Call out to Him for help, and He will rescue you from the stormy seas.

“We have to pray with our eyes on God ~ not on the difficulties.” ~ Oswald Chambers

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 14:31-33

God’s Help When You’re In Over Your Head

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Bottomless sea

A personal message from your Heavenly Father:

“But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place…
    the One who got you started…:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you…:
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.”

Isaiah 43:2 – 3 (MSG)

So today if you are experiencing deep waters of difficulty, and you feel like you’re in way over your head, don’t be afraid and don’t lose hope. God knows you by name, and He knows every messy detail of your life. He’s right beside you in the rough waters, and He will bring you safely through them ~ You will not go down. This feeling you have, like you’re between a rock and a hard place, is only temporary. God has big plans for your future, and He can use everything you’re experiencing for your good. Your Savior paid a huge price just for you ~ That’s how much you mean to Him! That’s how much He loves you! Trust that He is capable of bringing you through this tumultuous period. Nothing is impossible for Him, and there is no limit to the boundless strength He can provide for you. With Him by your side, you can endure anything.

“Try to remember that the ‘bottomless sea’ can’t hurt us as long as we keep on swimming”…with God!

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  • “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43: 1 – 3 (NLT)
  • “When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 118:5-6 (NIV)
  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11(NLT)
  • “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28(NLT)
     

Trust the God of Limitless Possibilities

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All I have seen Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“Have you never heard?
    Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
    No one can measure the depths of his understanding.”
Isaiah 40:28
 

Our finite human minds cannot begin to comprehend the infinite wisdom of God. We try to understand and explain God using our limited knowledge and language based on our earthly experiences, but the scope of God’s almighty and all-powerful attributes is beyond human comprehension. And probably the most difficult thing for us to grasp is that the Creator of all the earth ~ Who never grows weak or weary ~ cares for each of us personally. He is readily available 24/7 to hear our prayers and provide help, healing, comfort, provision, strength, courage or safety for His children.

Is there something you are dealing with that seems overwhelming – like you don’t have the power or wisdom to face it on your own? Turn to the God of Limitless Possibilities and ask Him for help.  He cares about every intimate detail of your life. Nothing is impossible ~ or too wonderful ~ for Him.

 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

“And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27
 
“Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too hard or too wonderful for You— ” Jeremiah 32:17 (AMP)

Seeing with Eyes of Faith

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Faith is like a radar
“The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 (VOICE)
 

If you have ever driven through a dense fog, you know how difficult it is to navigate safely through the dangerous conditions, especially if you are unfamiliar with the road. Your visibility is limited, and you can’t see what hazards lie ahead.

Sometimes your journey through life can also feel like you are passing through a thick cloud bank of uncertainty.  You can’t see what lies ahead, and you feel scared and unsure of which direction you should head.  But the Author of Life sees your future clearly. After all, He wrote your story, and He knows the beginning, the middle and the end.  If you place your faith in Him and allow His divine guidance to be your radar, you can be certain that He will chart the BEST path for your life. Trust Him for all the things your human eyes cannot see.

 

Your ears will hear sweet words behind you: “Go this way. There is your path; this is how you should go” whenever you must decide whether to turn to the right or the left. Isaiah 30:21 (VOICE)

 Teach me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; Guide me in your truth and teach me, for your are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV)
 
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)

Hope Sets us Free

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Hope sets us free to experience joy

May the God of Hope fill you with all
JOY and PEACE
as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope…
Romans 15:13 (NIV)
 

With God, nothing is impossible!  So if you place your trust in the God of All Possibilities…if you wholeheartedly believe in the God of Miracles…if you have faith in the God of Hope…you will be filled with joy and peace.  Your feeling of hopelessness will change to hope-FULL-ness, so much so that you will be filled to the brim and bubbling over with hope. The despair, distress and discouragement that once consumed you will be replaced with confident expectation.

So if your life circumstances seem irreversible, incurable, or insurmountable, simply place your trust in the God of Hope and experience His joy and peace.

“For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Luke 1:37 (NKJV)
 
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
 
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)