Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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30 Thankful Trust

Psalm 28:7

7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

There are many things that can steal our joy like painful losses and broken relationships, but the bible says that a Trusting heart is a Joyful heart. There are over 200 references to joy in the Bible and when I talk about joy I don’t mean “happiness,” because happiness is dependent on circumstances. Happiness is fleeting because it is tied to how we feel, like heartburn, from eating too fast that can make us unhappy because it doesn’t feel good. Joy on the other hand is an inward attitude that has God as its object and its source. Joy has a depth deeper than just feeling and is present even in the midst of pain, because the focus of joy is not the pain or the problems but the presence of God.

The real truth is that joy can still be a major component of our lives even in the pain and problems, when things go wrong and we are left with the heartache and hurt. Sometimes in those moments we are tempted to walk around with a plastic smile on our face pretending that everything is okay but joy is not faking happiness. Joy stems from a trusting relationship with the Lord that permeates our attitude impacting how we carry ourselves in the midst of the problems. How would others characterize your attitude? Do they see you living a life of joy, peace, and rest, or do they see someone who looks like they have no hope for today, much less for eternity? Which attitude do you think is likely to attract someone to the gospel? Why would anyone want to be a Christian if the one they see is sullen and grumpy? Imagine someone with a perpetually long face sharing the “Good News?” Have you forgotten the joy found in the truth of the “Good News?” Is it time to reclaim the joy in life? Becoming a person who lives a lifestyle of joy starts with:

  • Trusting God

A trusting heart is also a thankful heart. When we trust God we lean on Him, where does your strength and protection in this world come from? David did not face Goliath in his own strength and unlike his adversary he did not rely on a mere physical shield. David trusted in the true shield bearer the Lord his God and like Nehemiah he discovered something about God’s strength and joy Nehemiah 8:10: “…The joy of the LORD is your strength.” We need to release our problems to the Lord. One of the hallmarks of Christian joy is that it can be experienced in the midst of intense sorrow and loss. We may define happiness as the absence of something undesirable, pain, suffering, or disappointment, but joy is truly the opposite because joy is a response to the presence of something desirable, God Himself.

  • Finding Joy in the relationship.

Do you trust God enough to rest in your relationship with Him? True Joy stems from having God as its object and its source. If you focus on God you find joy, because joy is not found in circumstances but the creator. As you focus on God how do you view Him, do you recognize Him as joyful? In our journey of joy we need to see the Almighty not as a taskmaster, but as the God of the Universe with a smile on His face. Have you discovered Zephaniah 3:17? It describes how the God of the universe feels about you: “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” One of the reasons we have so little joy in our lives is because we don’t know God well enough which is the result of a trust issue. Joy is one of His character qualities that should draw us to God. He is not an aloof judge just waiting for us to mess up so He can unleash His fury, He has created us to be His delight. Have you discovered the truth that God finds great joy in you, He sings over you? Like the Good Gardener who toils over us with constant care, waiting patiently for His fruit to ripen and with great joy He longs to gather in the harvest. There is enthusiasm in everything He undertakes and sweet satisfaction in all He does, His joy is transmitted directly to us by His Holy Spirit who lives within us.

Will you take the time to think of all He has done for you in securing your salvation and in offering you a full and abundant life? Take time today to look over some of His wonderful promises in Scripture given so that you can live a life in close relationship with Him even though you don’t deserve it. Will you rejoice in your relationship today, not only has He given you breath for today, Ephesians says that He has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ! He has promised to be active in all of your life at all times, think about it, the great, awesome, mighty God of all creation loves you. King David’s trust allowed him to go deeper and as a result his heart leapt for joy, giving thanks to the One he trusted. Will you stop trying and start trusting?

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29 The Trust of Love Part II

1 Corinthians 13:6-7

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

As we discovered in part I in every relationship there is a gap between our expectations and our experience but we are the ones who choose what goes into the gap. Trusting Love looks for the most generous explanation for others behavior to fill the gap. So how do we filling this gap in life?

  • A Dependency on God

When Love trusts God it enables and unleashes trust for others. The characteristics of love contain something that the Holy Spirit must produce in our lives as we cooperate with Him. We don’t come by these naturally, and we don’t simply will ourselves to love in these ways. I can’t just trust people as God wills in my own strength, but I can do so through the power of the Spirit. These characteristics are revealed as God does an internal transforming work in our lives, and we cooperate with Him. The truth is that trust takes guts and who comes to your mind of when you think of the gutsiest guy in the Bible? Maybe you think of David, slinging his stone toward Goliath. Maybe you think of Abraham, who stepped out to travel to a place he’d never been before, not knowing what lay ahead of him. Maybe you think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the 3 young Hebrews who went into the fiery furnace rather than bow to the king, or Daniel, who faced the lions for the same reason. Or maybe you think of Elijah, who stared down 450 prophets of Baal in a showdown on Mount Carmel, or of Paul, who boldly proclaimed the gospel to pagan kings and suffered mightily for the name of Jesus. But I want you to consider a little known or talked about bible character who trusted God in an incredibly gutsy way. Before I reveal who I’m thinking of I want you to imagine you’re living in Germany during World War 2 and you have a dream in which God announces to you this wonderful news: Hitler has just become a believer in Jesus! In the midst of your joy, God directs you to go to a place where you will meet Hitler. You are then to take him back home with you.” “Wait, God, You want me to have Hitler into my home for dinner? That guy, he is trouble and even though I’m really happy that he’s a Christian I’m just not so sure about what you are calling me to do God!”

In Acts chapter 9 we see a similar scenario that reveals one of the gutsiest men in the Bible named Ananias. God told him to accept Saul of Tarsus, the sworn enemy of the early church, as a brother in Christ. Saul was a major persecutor of Christians, he was good at it and notorious for it, he was present when Steven was stoned to death. Imagine being in Ananias’ shoes, how did he accept Saul, soon to become Paul, by first having faith in God! That is the cord running through all of the great people of faith mentioned in the bible. Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness, He journeyed with God because he trusted him. David faced the giant because he knew that God was bigger than Goliath; Daniel trusted God and faced the lions; the 3 Hebrew children stepped into the fire confident that God could deliver them. Hebrews 11 reminds us of the power of trust, that as we put our confidence in God through faith we can accomplish all sorts of things through God’s power.  Ananias reminds us that when we are called to trust others, regardless of the fear, we can if we first trust God! That doesn’t mean that my trust in people will always be rewarded simply because I trust God. The painful truth is that sometimes when I love people by exercising trust in them, I will get burned.

  • A Disposition

The truth is that trusting Love causes me to allow myself to sometimes get burned. Sometimes we are tempted to hold back and say “But I’ll get burned if I trust others.” And your point would be? Sure, you’ll get burned on occasion. I have and I will, so what? In spite of the reality that I have and will be burned I refuse to do life assuming that everyone is out to get me and it’s really nothing more than a form of pride. The truth is I would rather be occasionally burned than to be consistently cynical. I think it is better to have your kindness, patience and trust imposed upon than to wrong others through untrusting suspicion. There are worse things than having your pride bruised, your expectations disappointed, your hope shattered, or even your heart broken. Contrary to how you may feel those aren’t the worst things that can happen to you, it is far worse to have lived life holding back and never experienced the loving power of trust.