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God Says “Trust Me” And He Means It

If I could just be as faithful as God is to his promises.

2 Timothy 2:11-13 This is a trustworthy saying:

If we die with him, we will also live with him.

If we endure hardship, we will reign with him.

If we deny him, he will deny us.

If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.

Trust me! Usually when you hear those words you know that you need to proceed carefully, but not so when the one saying “trust me” is our God, when he tells you to trust him, you can take it to the bank.

“If” is a tiny little word with a lot of power, it is a word that invites us to make a choice, in this scripture we have an invitation to live a new life. Paul wrote this message to Timothy, who was being mentored by Paul, he gave Timothy an invitation to a new way of life.

Not an invitation like some preachers are offering today, it isn’t an invite to health, wealth and happiness, rather it is quite the opposite. Paul is saying that if we die to self and if we endure hardship, then things will be better. You have an invitation to live for Christ and make your life count, the invite that Paul gave says that we will live and reign with God, we will get a new life. It looks a lot like the invitation that Jesus gave us.

“If” means that you have a choice.

Mark 8:34-38 “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

It is only an offer, nobody is pushing you into anything, the offer that Jesus made to us is to be his follower, sounds like a good idea, but what does it take to be his follower?

There are two things that I must do and two things that I cannot do. Jesus said that to be his follower I must not be selfish, or ashamed and that I must take up my cross and give up my life. Jesus said that if I want to really live then it has to be in a way that doesn’t indulge my human tendency toward self preservation.

God can be trusted.

Numbers 23: 19 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?

Who are you going to trust in? Here are a few people that would help you with the answer:

  • Joshua reminded the children of Israel that “every promise of the LORD your God has come true” (Joshua 23:14)
  • Abraham knew that God would be faithful to his promise.  (Romans 4:20-22)
  • King David spoke of the Lord’s faithfulness over and over again. (Psalm 25:10, 31:5, 33:4)

God asks that we give up a lot to follow him. That shouldn’t be such a scary thing for us to do when we realize that his faithfulness is worthy of our trust.

Help me Lord to trust in you one hundred percent.

It’s Not About Me?!?!

Sunday morning isn’t the time to be in the spotlight.

Isaiah 1:11-18  “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?

Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting— they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!

When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.

We sure can take a lot of things to church with us, no I’m not talking about your Bible or that box of Krispy Kreme’s. What I am talking about is all that smut that is stuck to us like dirt on a toddler, and how about that bucket of self-righteousness, and then there is that back-pack full of sin that weighs us down.

I am convinced that a lot of what happens in church on Sunday morning is a burden to God. I am pretty sure that he is tired of seeing some of us come back week after week holding on to our pious attitudes, feeling righteous and selfish, demanding that things be done the “right” way. So you brought your offering, you said a prayer, you stacked some chairs or maybe you even brought some food for the dinner on the ground, what else is there?

We get in the way of God finding pleasure in our worship, there is too much tendency to push our own agenda in order for the worship experience to be more pleasurable to ourselves, but there is a huge problem with that line of thinking. It isn’t about my pleasure! I think that most of us know that in our heads but it doesn’t seem to sink into our hearts, we know it but we just can’t fully put it into practice, what better place could there be to deny myself and take up my cross than when I am worshiping?

Matthew 16:24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.

God wants us to live selfless lives every day of the week and when we enter his house and participate in corporate worship it just seems to me that we should live it out more deliberately then than at any other time. I am supposed to be a servant.

Help me to make the focus of every activity that happens at church be all about you and your glory. My live is not about me and my worship isn’t supposed to be about me either, help me to worship you in a pleasing manner today and every day.

Rule Number One: Trust, Rule Number Two: Obey

Sometimes following the simplest rules is just too hard.

Exodus 16:1-4 Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt.

2 There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. 3 “If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”

4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow My instructions.

Exodus 16:19-20 Then Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.” 20 But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Moses was very angry with them.

Exodus 16:26-28 You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.” 27 Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. 28 The LORD asked Moses, “How long will these people refuse to obey My commands and instructions?

The whole nation begins to complain to Moses about the lack of food on this journey they haven’t passed a Popeye’s Chicken or even a 7-11 store, they are thinking about all the good food that was available to them back in Egypt. It seems that nobody is remembering the fact that the Lord destroyed all the livestock and the crops during the plagues that came as a result of Pharaoh’s lack of interest in letting the Israelites go.

The Lord has mercy on his people and gives them a food source that could only have happened because it was from a supernatural source. Every day except the Sabbath day their food was waiting for them in the morning.

All that was required was some simple obedience to some simple rules, but just like all of us, we are all tempted to take care of ourselves and provide for our own well being and security by bending the rules that God has given us. We are wired to take care of our security and we are easily led astray by the temptation to handle our own well being by any means available, but God wants us to obey, if he says that he will supply our “daily bread” on a daily basis then we need to act in faith and allow God to provide, how else will we see the miracle?

Obedience is commanded (Deut 13:4) and it is said to be better than sacrifice (1Sam 15:22) Therefore it is extremely important, we have a direct order from God to submit to his authority and he tells us that it is far more important than the sacrifices that God ordained as an atonement for sin, that says that obedience is a big deal and must be taken seriously.

I must trust God for my daily resources, knowing that he will supply all that I need for another day on this earth or he will furnish me with all that I need for eternity with him.

Forgive me Lord for all the times that I have tried to provide for myself instead of relying on you. I should never compromise on obedience in order to take care of things myself.

God’s Mercy Is Hard To Imitate

Jesus teaches us to defy human reason and take on a lifestyle of love.

Luke 6:27-36  “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

29 If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back.

31 Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full.

35 But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

Jesus came to our world with some radical new ideas, since the beginning of time there had never been much kindness in the world, this new teaching was very different.Jesus walked into a very harsh world and said that we should love everybody without exception and even if you are having a hard time loving them he still wants you to treat them very well. Do good to them and allow them to get away with taking from you and mistreating you. This is a very different teaching that meant taking love to the next level and showing mercy in the same way that God did. After all Jesus was on our planet because of God’s great mercy.

Have you thought about the idea of showing mercy to the extent that your Father in heaven showed mercy to you? That seems ridiculous to those that are not a Christ follower but those of us that have experienced God’s mercy have not been given any other option.

I need to remember that this world isn’t all about me, God did not design it for my personal satisfaction, he did not promise me that everybody would like me. I will be mistreated and I will be misunderstood but I still need to show mercy without restraint, I need to be full of mercy regardless of how I feel or what I think that I have a right to. God loved me without standing up for his rights and he wants me to do the same.

Thank you Lord for showing me mercy instead of being a score keeper.

The Smartest Guy In The Room

Jesus didn’t look down on the people he met.

Luke 4:14-22  Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity.

15 He was teaching in their synagogues, being acclaimed by everyone. 16 He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up.

As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written:

18 The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.” 22 They were all speaking well of Him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from His mouth, yet they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?

It seemed that everybody was liking Jesus at this early part of his ministry, people were coming from all around to see what this new teacher had to say, everybody wanted to see him for themselves.Jesus stood up to read and somebody handed him the scroll that was from the prophet Isaiah, maybe somebody was out to test him and see if he could handle a scroll that most of us would have avoided. Jesus spoke and the people were responsive, they complimented him and were amazed at his gracious words.

Jesus was the smartest guy in that synagogue and yet he didn’t bash anybody over the head with his superiority. Jesus spoke gracious words, that’s a big deal because Jesus had every right to speak with judging words or condemning words, he could have used big, lofty intellectual words but Jesus chose gracious words.

Imagine if you were the smartest guy in the room, be it work or school, no matter where you went there wasn’t anybody that could keep up. I am pretty sure that it would be difficult to keep my attitude in check, but the truth is that nobody would care how much I know, they only want to know how much I care.

I need to care about people the way that Jesus did, he had every right to tell us how it is or to point his finger and condemn us, but instead he chose to extend grace, he gave us the ultimate example of loving our enemies and demonstrated restraint in judging people. Jesus told us to live the same way. (Luke 6:27-42)

Thank you Lord for extending grace to us, for demonstrating grace to us rather than lording over us and showing us how right you are, your grace is truly amazing.

Focus On God

Take a look at my awesome God!

Psalm 77:13  God, Your way is holy. What god is great like God?

Psalm 19:1-6  The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.

Psalm 111:4  He has caused His wonderful works to be remembered. The LORD is gracious and compassionate.

Our mind is so limited when it comes to grasping who God is, the scriptures tell us a lot about him but our ability to comprehend who he is with our little brains is so limited. We have to be focused on our relationship with him so that we will learn more about him.

Regular prayer, Bible study and worship attendance are all going to help you focus on the relationship. We need to worship him for who he is, read our Bible to know more about him and talk to him about who we are.

Psalm 103:11-13  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him.

12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

God is focused on me, he proves it with his love and forgiveness for me, I need to focus on him and realize what a great ally he is. The devil has a lot of distractions, a world full of them, that are designed to take my eyes off of Jesus in the same way as the waves got the best of Peter as he was walking on water.

It is amazing Lord, that you care so much about me and that you had me in mind when you came to save me from the death penalty. Help me to keep my eyes on you.

The Disciple Making Lifestyle

Jesus lived to make disciples.

Matthew 4:19  “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!”

Matthew 28:19  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

There are a lot of distractions in the world but for the Christ follower that wants to be obedient, the number one focus should be on making disciples, it’s what Jesus spent his time doing everyday. He started his ministry with the call to the first disciples and he ended his ministry by telling his disciples to go make some more disciples.

Jesus told his potential disciples up front what we was going to do with them but I don’t think that they really understood and I am pretty sure that they didn’t realize the process as it was going on. Jesus subtly brought them along one tiny step at a time, just the same as he has done with me, he knew that there would be a process and that I wouldn’t suddenly become a mature, faithful follower right away.

Jesus spent three years in close daily contact with this group of men, showing them the new way of life and the new way of thinking, he did so through his teaching but most important he did it through his lifestyle. Disciples don’t get made by themselves so I need to use my talents and abilities that the Lord has given to me to help encourage and strengthen somebody elses spiritual growth. I need to be intentional and make it a part of my lifestyle, I need to be about building relationships that will give me opportunities to share about my faith.

Help me Lord to step out and intentionally work at making disciples, I want to live so that my walk is consistent with my talk, so that you will get the glory.

Need To Recharge Your Batteries?

God is on your side.

Zephaniah 3:17 For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Life is tough! Ever feel like God is a million miles away, the world is coming at you from every angle, your family is driving you crazy and your quiet time is so quiet that you can’t even hear God. If you feel like your running on empty then take a look at Zephaniah 3:17.

The child of God should remember that even when it doesn’t feel like it, God is close by, he is living among us. What a joy it is to know that we have a personal God that wants to have interaction with us, he didn’t create us on day six and then leave us alone without relating to us, he is living with us and he cares about our lives.

Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

God cares so much that he sent you a Savior to take care of your sin debt, he cares so much that he delights in you, both of those thoughts are so huge. It makes no sense to us that God would pay our sin debt and even though we rebel so much he still sees something in us that causes him a lot of joy.

Micah 7:18 You will not stay angry with Your people forever, because You delight in showing unfailing love.

God will take care of you, he will calm your fears and he will rejoice in singing over you, what a refreshing thought! May your spirits be lifted as you take pleasure at the thought of your creator being so crazy in love with you.

Rebel Or Rely

Your wisdom or God’s, the choice is yours.

1 Corinthians 1:18-21,25 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”

20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.

25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Who in the world wouldn’t want to be wise? I would definitely like to have more wisdom since I have been so unwise at so many different times in my life. We probably all have those kinds of moments in our past and would agree that an extra dose of wisdom would have been helpful.

The wisdom of man is nothing compared to the wisdom of God, take the example that Paul gives us, by man’s wisdom the cross looks like a strange way to save the world. Who would ever think that the maker of heaven and earth would come down to our world in such a lowly, humble way, to be a part of such a plan?

How could intelligent men be so wrong about Jesus that they put him to such a torturous death? The problem is that “There is a path before each person that seems right,” everybody that was a part of the crucifixion story thought that they were doing the right thing. Nobody planned on being that wrong about Jesus, they just didn’t have God’s wisdom. (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25)

Psalm 111:10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!

This passage of scripture in Psalm 11:10 tells us that if we give honor or reverence to God then we have a good foundation for real, Godly wisdom. It seems to me that if decide to use our own wisdom then we are actually in rebellion against God.

I have a choice: I can rebel or I can rely, I can depend on him for guidance or I can do what I think is good and rebel, I need to constantly be reminded that God’s ways are higher than my ways and his thoughts are higher than my thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

Change, Nobody Likes It, Everybody Needs It

God is in the business of changing people.

Mark 2:1-5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

Everybody should have friends like this man, some very determined men decide that they are going to take their friend to Jesus so that he can be healed from his paralysis, they have a great idea that will change the mans life forever.

Too bad that life gets in the way when we are making plans. We make our plans but a lot of the time God has a different idea about what is going to happen. What they want to do for their friend will not be as easy as they think it will be. They are going to have to make some changes but they are not the only ones.

Change your attitude

Think about the man that has been paralyzed, I have to wonder if he is feeling sorry for himself because of his difficult situation, maybe he is living in fear, or pity. He might be too proud and unwilling to ask for help. We don’t know what his attitude was but it needed to be one of humility and submission.

Is there an area in your life that has you paralyzed? Will you reach out for help?

Change your method

These men were awesome friends that couldn’t be stopped. They were on a mission, they had a plan, but when they got to the house where Jesus was at they realized that they had to move on to plan b. They would have to be open to using a different method to get the results that they had wanted their friend to experience.

Who do you know that needs to get to Jesus? What will you do to get around the road blocks?

Change your plans

The guy that owns this house is probably feeling pretty good that Jesus came into his home, that is until he saw how many people were going to mob the place, now he has to ask himself if the invite was worth it. First he has the mob stomping around his house and now there are people tearing up the roof. He probably thought that asking Jesus over wasn’t going to be a big ordeal but now he has a lot of time and money invested in this.

Have you ever been inconvenienced because God wanted you to invest in someone that has a need? Was it worth your time and money to help?

Change your focus

How about this crowd of people, I wonder how they felt about this man that skipped to the front of the line to get his miracle, they could easily be upset with him if they don’t get their turn. They could be selfish and shout out to Jesus that it wasn’t fair. They needed a miracle and they could have gotten jealous that this guy was healed if they returned home in the same condition that they were in before they went to see Jesus.

Do you need to take your eyes off of your own situation and think of others? Do you think that God has treated somebody else better than he treated you?

God is in the business of changing people from the moment that we give into him and agree that we need a Savior until the day that we die. Nobody likes change but sometimes it is exactly what we need to bring us closer to God and his glorious plan for our lives.