Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Trust’

Are You Handcuffing God?

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2016 at 2:19 pm

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“Of course not!”

That is probably your first response.  It would be mine, too.  First, why in the world would I want to do that.  Second, how in the world would that be possible.  Yet, I believe we all too often do this very thing and never realize it.

How does one handcuff a deity?  Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?  So now we consider that if God is all-powerful how could he ever be handcuffed?  Unless, it was in the design of things from the start.  God’s design has been that if we trust his process and obey his procedures then His presence would be provided.

Adam and Eve had the perfect setup.  They had the perfect environment, perfect marriage, and perfect relationship with God.  He established a process and procedural code.  If they would trust, when not understanding, obey, even when it seemed odd, then the perfect setup would have continued.  They didn’t.  Eden didn’t.  Welcome to the land of the sinful nature!

As Israel came on to the scene hundreds of years later, God established a process (sacrificial system) and procedures (law).  If they would have simply trusted and obeyed things would never have gotten out of control.  When you read Judges you understand.

We find ourselves in Isaiah 7 and the prophet is speaking to Ahaz.  He is pleading with him to trust and obey what God has already established.

Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.

Essentially, Isaiah is telling the king that unless he will trust and obey, God will allow a pagan nation to be his tool of discipline.  It will not matter the allies, horses, or army.

Handcuffing God is not about God becoming weak or impotent.  Handcuffing God refers to our lack of faith in the process and plan, and ultimately the heart, of God.  Without a certain level of trust, we set into motion things that God CHOOSES to not stop, as if he were handcuffed from doing so.

So the next time you consider your difficulty, or find yourself in a jam, or are just anxious about your future, ask yourself, “Am I handcuffing God by my lack of trust and obedience?”

3 Must-Do’s to Avoid the Long Way Home

In Chrisian Life, Decisions, Direction on June 24, 2014 at 8:00 am

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It was 6:42 am as I bolted out of the house and hustled down the hill.  I had 3 minutes to make it down and back up the hill to the bus stop.  I heard it coming before I saw it and hoped the driver would wait just a minute.  The clouds looked full and just as I got there they began to empty themselves!

“The bridge is out”, he told me, “Gonna have to take the long way today.”

From my house there were two options: across the bridge or around the county.  Of course, across the bridge was the best route to school since it only took 40 minutes on the bus.  However, the rain had come hard overnight and the creek had flooded.  The only way across the bridge was by boat.  I settled in for the 95 minute ride.  I hated taking the long way but there was no choice now.

Ever feel like you are taking the long way through life?

Israel had the opportunity to go straight in to Canaan (Promised Land).  God promised them that He was taking them from Egypt to the Promised Land as established in the covenant.  He led them by a pillar of fire at night and cloud by the day.  God gave them freedom from Egypt and guidance through the travels.  They were at the edge of the Jordan River and faltered.  God told them to go take the land. They chose to spy it out first.  This showed lack of trust.  Then they were scared of what they saw and chose to not go. This was lack of trust and rebellion.  What could have been 11 days took them 40 years!

How can we take the short path?

Be Brave

The Israelites were ruled by their fear more than their faith.  They could not just trust.  They had to spy it out first.  When God leads you to do something….do it!  Obviously, you need to be sure it is God doing the leading.  However, once that is certain you must take the brave steps of faith.  Step out and trust God.

Be Bold

Often, logic wins over our heart more than faith.  The spies went to investigate and reasoned that they could never have victory over such mighty armies and large people.  They had iron chariots!  Even after steps of faith, we must find that balance of logic and faith that allows for God to rule our hearts.

Be Bonded

The 12 spies could not find unity.  This caused a great problem for everyone involved.  When you face a large decision, be sure you are bonded with God and with those involved in the decision.  Whether it is a family or business decision we must be unified with God and others to move forward smoothly.

Each day we face circumstances, relationships, or decisions that challenge our faith.  From purchases to programs to people, we must follow God’s leadership or we will find ourselves taking the long way home.  Enjoy these words of a great hymn of the faith.

Does God Really Care?

In Grief, Journey, Trust on March 18, 2014 at 10:10 am

God-Care-300x273There are those days when God seems so far away.  The distance appears to be insurmountable and the evidence is clear in our hearts, though our minds disagree, that God might not care.  We shudder to say such words.  We desperately want them to not be true.  We need them to not be true.  Facebook spirituality posts that God cares.  Instagram is filled with nice pastoral pictures and quotes of how much God cares.  The preacher talks of God’s love.

How did we get here?  How did we get to the place of thinking God doesn’t care?  How did the distance between us become so great?

The Obvious

There are two obvious things that can cause a feeling of distance.

No Relationship – How could you be close to someone with whom you have no relationship.  Many people think they know God but do not.  If a random child asks me for something versus my child asking me for something, my responses will likely be different because of the relationship.  I do not always give my child what he wants, but the relationship can make a difference.

Sin – Every wrong choice adds more height to the wall that separates.  The unrelated child that acts poorly really has no chance of getting a positive response from me.  If my child acts poorly, then a response is coming but not always a pleasant one.  Sin causes friction in a relationship.  Just because I discipline my children does not negate the relationship.  On the contrary, I discipline because I care for them and do not want them to continue down a wrong path.

The Subtle

In John 11, we find a display of Jesus that is hard for us to imagine.  If He had the power to save a life, why not do it right away?  Instead, He waited 2 days.  Imagine how the sisters felt.  Their brother has died and Jesus is not even there.  In fact, he had been dead 4 days before He arrives on the scene.  Mary and Martha are both upset.  Why?  The possibilities for them are the same for us.

Manipulating God – We find distance when we try to coerce God into doing something.  We use Bible terms like “God is Healer” or “The Great Physician” to demand of God that he brings a person back to a state of health we want.  We use Bible terms like “Cattle on a 1000 hills” to demand of God he provide in a financial way, even if the problem is our poor money habits.  We might even pull Hebrew on God like “Jehovah Jireh”, which means the one who provides, to try to manipulate God with scripture.

Pre-Conceived Ideas – The classic reason we find distance between us and God and entertain the notion He does not really care is that God did not answer in the way we wanted.  While this is closely related to manipulation, it is different in that we already have the answer we want and are waiting for God to do it that way.  Mary and Martha faced this issue.  They were ticked because Jesus did not arrive when beckoned.  They had a preconceived idea of what would happen.  When that did not go the way they planned, they were frustrated.  Been there?

Short-Sighted PlansJesus knew exactly what was needed, though the sisters and His disciples could not.  The 12 could only see the dangers, while Jesus saw the blessings.  The sisters could only see the death and burial, while Jesus could see the raising of the dead.  God has a perfect plan that is always in play.  When we try to change, adjust, manipulate, or manage a different plan we are going to become frustrated.  The only plan that brings peace is the one that God is putting into place.  When we come to terms with our short-sighted ability and accept God’s plan we will find peace once again.

God Does Care

When we are in crisis it is hard to see the bigger picture, but God already has a plan.  When a tragedy strikes, it is hard to see the good, but God already has a plan.  For those who have a developing relationship with God, things work out in the way they should.  Looking back on life, I find nuggets of gold in emotional spots I never thought possible at the time.  I find stashes of strength and courage because of my past that helps me now, though I did not see it then.  God does care if you take the time to trust and obey His Word and plan.

When On-Demand Breaks Down

In Faith, Suffering, Trust on January 7, 2014 at 9:44 am

waiting Living in an on-demand society has its drawbacks.  Our patience and tolerance of time has been on a diet for years to the point that it is dangerously thin!  We want things our way and immediately.  Servers are not fast enough so we have on-demand drinks.  Speed limits are not fast enough so we drive faster.  Communication is not fast enough so we have cell phones for immediate access.  Now we have social media to have instant results.  Television shows have too many commercials so we DVR and skip the commercials or buy the Hopper and it auto skips them.  Black Friday is not early enough so we camp out for opening at midnight.  Now we even see stores opening earlier.  Who can imagine going back to dial-up internet speeds?  We want our mail now.  We have changed the name to “snail-mail” versus e-mail.  What happens when on-demand breaks down?

God’s Four Letter Word

When we approach God and make a request we tend to expect on-demand miracles.  When God says “wait”, we treat it like it is a four-letter word.  You know those, right?  Those words we were told were off-limits.  Those “bad” words, “vulgar” words, inappropriate words.  Those words the “other-side-of-the-tracks” kids used.  When God says wait we think it is so bad, so vulgar, so disrespectful, that we cannot comprehend it.  John 11 shares intimate moments between friends.  Jesus had 3 good friends, apart from the 12 disciples.  He was in a neighboring town when he received the message that Lazarus was very ill.  The sisters knew Jesus.  They had a strong friendship with Him.  They wanted some immediate response and healing.  Jesus had healed “everyone” else, so what is it to come over for a friend?  They wanted no-waiting, on-demand, front-of-the-line status.

So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus,
he stayed where he was for the next two days.
John 11:5-6

Wait…what?  Exactly!  Jesus took note of the problem and chose to stay for 2 days.

Hating to Wait

I admit I hate to wait.  I am a product of society, to a degree, and hate to wait around for something that I think should move faster.  Whether it is pedestrians, cars at stop lights, or doctors running tests.  I clump them all together and often feel things should move faster.  I carry a phone for immediate updates on mail, test scores, sports scores, bank accounts, and more.  When God tells me to wait, I have to really check my attitude.  We are being conditioned to run ahead and away from God who often demands our slowing down.  We run too fast.  We skip too much.  Our babies are having babies before we turn around twice.  I know the need to slow down but how?

Learning to Lean

Mary and Martha had to learn also to wait.  For two days they waited.  For them, tragedy struck and their lives were ruined.  When you read through the passage, Jesus seems flippant.  Now, I know He is not.  But it feels that way.  Your best friend is in a bad situation and you wait?  My son is in agony God and you  wait?  My daughter is not breathing God and you wait?  My Mom is dying God and you wait?  My husband is beating me up God and you wait?  I lost my job last month God and you wait?  I have been stabbed in the back God and you wait?  Learning to lean on God is a difficult lesson and can only occur in the most desperate of times.  Who can learn this when everything is right?  Who learns this when it all goes your way?  The problem is that when things do not go our way we often get mad and walk away from God.  Yet, when God says wait there is a reason.

Challenge Accepted

The next time God says wait what should we do?  Before you dismiss the following as spiritual jargon, consider each item deeply.

Open the lines of communication.  Before you wall yourself off and give God the silent treatment, consider the fact that God is trying to get your attention.  Jesus had specific revelations He needed to make that bring us great joy now but were difficult at the time.  God wants to communicate and our busy lifestyle usually gets in the way.  Take this time to communicate.

Don’t look for God’s logic.  People always say, “God has a reason.”  The problem with that statement is that is so cold and unfeeling.  Don’t look for God’s purpose in the middle of the problem.  You will go crazy trying to figure out the workings of God.  Instead, take a look around and savor these moments.  Write down your thoughts and feelings before you forget them when it is all over.  Look for God’s grace and mercy in the small things and journal it.  Trust me.  You will forget them later if you don’t.  When the bitterness bug tries to bite you can always look back and see God’s hand through the process.

Accept the challenge.  God is always at work to deepen your faith and reach the world with the gift of grace through Jesus Christ.  This moment may have to do with you and your faith.  This moment may have to do with those around you who need to see faith in action.  Either way, express to God your decision to accept the challenge.

Co-Signers

In Leadership on August 8, 2013 at 10:05 am

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I had driven the old car about as far I needed to drive it.  I was constantly taking it in for service and pouring money into it.  It doesn’t take a genius bar to arrive at the conclusion that something needed to change.  I began looking through the paper.  (I am that old!)  I would purchase a newspaper on the weekends and physically look through pages and pages of car ads.  There were so many choices.  I began to narrow down wants and needs and finally went to the car lot.  I went alone full of confidence that would soon be shattered.  Being in college did not provide a lengthy tenure at any job.  I had little to pay down and a short credit history.  I left without a vehicle that day.  They told me I needed someone who would help me borrow the money.  I needed a co-signer.

In his book, One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season, Tony Larusa talks a lot about co-signers.  As the skipper for 3 major league teams for over 30 years he developed a system of management that helped him to win 3 World Series Titles and 7 Pennants. Although he was the skipper, he needed others to assist him in leadership of the organization.  He re-purposed the term co-signer with reference to this management style.  He would bring together veterans and rookies from the club who had garnered trust and provided influence to the decisions being made.  How can this help your organization?

1.  Enables change.  Because of the co-signer I was able to buy a much-needed vehicle.  What I had was not going to last for long driving 90 miles round trip 2-3 times a week.  I needed to make a change but was unable to do so on my own.  Your organization probably needs change.  Any organization that refuses to change in today’s culture is signing their death certificate.  I believe this is true for a couple of reasons.  First, the fickleness of people is on the rise.  Second, there is no commitment to you as an organization like it used to be.  We must adjust to meet t he need of a new breed of consumer.  However, change is often resisted.  Having co-signers, those who buy in, can help in spreading the message and purpose of necessary change.

 2. Increases trust.  This was my first buying experience.  Still, I knew better than to look for a new car.  I went searching through used car lots.  I had found a car I really liked but soon realized that I could not get that kind of vehicle.  On my own, my credit was not established enough for the finance guys to trust me.  One of the first questions was if I had someone who would co-sign the loan.  Frankly, they did not trust me.  My parents were not in a position to help me in this capacity.  I found myself in the workshop of my girlfriends Dad one weekend.  As we talked he asked me about my vehicle that carried his daughter around.  I could tell he was not exactly impressed!  I told him that I was looking for something better but was having trouble.  He looked up at me over his half-glasses with that look.  You know the one!  Quickly I assured him that I had the money and the income, but did not have the credit history needed.  He ended up co-signing the loan and I walked away with a better car.  I could not have done that by myself.  When I approached the finance guy this time, I had the signature of someone they trusted.  So much of what needs to happen in our organizations cannot be done alone.  Coupled with low trust levels, we need others to buy-in to the vision, plan, and purpose.

3.  Spreads accountability.  When I drove away from the car lot in the “new” vehicle I was ecstatic!  However, the payments would come in 30 days.  By having a co-signer the bank insured the loan through extended accountability.  If for some reason I did not pay the note, they could go to the co-signer for explanation and/or payment.  In every organization there must be a “buck stops here” person.  That may be you or the CEO or the Chairman or some other titled leader.  When the questions, concerns, critiques, and challenges come it is good to have help.  Bringing in others to assist you in decision-making spreads the accountability.  The leader may have other pressing needs.  In this moment, the co-signers take up the reigns of leadership, influence, and answer those issues.

I paid every payment for that car until I traded it for another one (on my own this time) while in graduate school.  Without a co-signer, I would not have been able to get that car.  In today’s economy, you might be able to get the car but the interest rate will rob you of everything you have.  Having a co-signer enables change, increases trust and spreads accountability.  Since we married, my wife and I have been co-borrowers on everything we have purchased.  We buy together.  It is not mine or hers with regard to houses and cars.  I need co-signers every day in the organization I lead.  I am sure you do as well.

Finalize plans with counsel, and wage war with sound guidance.  (Proverbs 20:18, HCSB)

The Devil Doesn’t Care About You

In Humor, Parenting, Trust on May 27, 2013 at 11:00 pm

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I was at a youth camp as a kid when the “trust falls” were starting to be used often. You remember those? There were several variations:

  •  The group would make two lines and lock arms across the gap between. The idea was that one “chosen” person would step up on a stump or ledge fairly high and turn their back to the group. After crossing their arms across the chest a deep breath was taken. On the count of 3 they would stiffen and fall back. The group was supposed to catch you.
  •  The gentler version was to simply have them stand on the same level and fall back into the arms of the group.
  •  The kiddie version was to blindfold them and take them on a walk using only the voice.

These three activities all have the same theme: trust. You trusted the group/person to take care of you.  What if they didn’t? What if they didn’t care? What if they just let the person fall? Serious injury to occur!  So often, I hear people talk about how the devil was out to get them. Of course, 1 Peter 5:8 is quoted.

The devil is a prowling lion seeking whom he may devour.

That is true. He is. Satan wants to devour. He is roaming the Earth hungry and looking for prey. How many of you think that is you? Of course you do. I did for a long time. The stresses of life are huge!

  • when salaries get cut
  • relationships stumble
  • health issues rise
  • miscarriages
  • misconduct
  • addictions
  • obsessions

All of these make us think that Satan is after us. We bow up and get courageous and say “It’s on like Donkey Kong Satan!”.

Here’s the problem: he doesn’t care about you. Please pause and consider that for a second. Satan does not care about you. He is not concerned with you to the degree you believe. He is not after you. He does not stroll through the deserts of Hell thinking up means of getting you.  You know what he wants?  You want to know why you face stress?  You want to know why temptations come in person and virtually?  You want to know why the cold one becomes 12?

Because he wants your kids. It is not about the job, the money, or the marriage. It is not the addictions, obsessions, and passions. Stop focusing on getting better for you.

Make the necessary adjustments because it is for your kids.

Psalm 46

In Chrisian Life, Family, Grief, Parenting on May 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

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I felt like I had lost my son.

I sat in the home of a good friend when I received the text message telling me I was needed at home immediately.  My son had gone off the deep end.  For several weeks, he has dealt with severe abdominal pain for which we have no cure to this point.  We have been in and out of ER’s and doctor’s offices with plans and prognostications, but no pain relief.  Most days he sits on the floor in his room building with Lego’s to distract from the pain.  If  he lies down he hurts.  If he eats or doesn’t he hurts.  If does nothing or everything he hurts.  I have argued with doctors.  I have sat up overnight in the ER.  I have held his hand and hugged his neck.

His face was wrinkled up in a mixture of pain, emotion, and tears.  He yelled and screamed uncontrollably as the pain washed over him.  The ability to filter was gone.  Like a liver that is shutting down the toxicity rises.  His emotions are raw, laid open because of the pain.  His face withdrawn and the light in his eyes gone, he balled himself up as tight as possible.  His body seemed so small, wracked by the pain.

Have I lost the boy who laughed and played?  Have I lost the boy whom I could never fill with enough food?  Have I lost the one who was sweet, tender, kind, and strong? Have I lost the blue-eyed, blonde, light-up-a-room kid?

As I write this, I am reminded of Psalm 46.

1 God is our refuge and strength,a helper who is always found in times of trouble.
2 Therefore we will not be afraid,though the earth trembles
and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas,
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil.

God is our refuge.  In Him we can place our trust.  In Him we can find safety and security.  I remember being chased as a child by some older boys.  I raced back on my bike as fast as I could.  Skidding into the front yard I was ecstatic to see Dad standing out there.  I dropped the bike and ran over behind him.  I sat down in his shadow and peeked around.  The other boys had stopped short of the yard.  Seeing my Dad, they decided it was not worth it.  I had found my refuge.  I can find refuge today in my Heavenly Father and so can you.  Whatever you are dealing with today, God can be your refuge.

God is our strength.  God bears our burdens.  He is strong when I am weak.  He is bold when I am fearful.  He is positive when I am hopeless.  As I  prepared to build a small deck behind the house, I researched what to do.  I found out that the ground work and foundation blocks were as critical as the deck planks themselves.  The blocks and beams were what held up the deck that everyone saw.  God is like those blocks and beams.  He bears the weight often in ways no one sees.  He is our blocks and beams so that our lives can shine with beauty and stability.

In true Psalmist fashion, I began with a pitiful position and will end in a praise posture.  Though our lives seem dark now I look to God’s creation and see that it is always darkest before the dawn.  God is able to do that which I cannot understand.  I run to Him as my refuge and strength.  Hope comes from those who trust in God!

My hope is in you Lord.  My strength is in you Lord.  Praise God!

Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10

I Triple Dog Dare You

In Chrisian Life, Church, Decisions on May 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm

That is really one of the greatest scenes!  Flick answers the call to the triple-dog-dare!  I have been on both ends of that kind of dare before, haven’t you?  As we get older it seems that we forget about such things.  We move away from the double and triple-dog-dares, but the challenges are still present.  We are dared everyday with respect to many items.  In adult talk, and especially church adult talk, we like to use the term “temptation”.  I am not sure why we use this term except that we find it in scripture.  However, to consider Jesus being double-dog-dared to eat bread is more dramatic!

What are we dared to do?

  • to trust my wits over God’s
  • to keep the tithe to pay medical bills
  • to spend more time with family and less time with God
  • to believe just once will be OK
  • to rationalize my behavior as being right even though it makes me sick when I do
  • to trust humanity more than God
  • to seek satisfaction outside of marriage
  • to quit
  • to gamble
  • to earn Heaven

We are all dared on so many levels every day.  These kinds of dares come from evil and will take us down the path of destruction.  Like Flick, we feel trapped at times.  We are not sure how to respond.  The pressure of those around us and our pride within us have joined forces.  Not sure of how to escape, we act.

***

Summer is just around the corner and that means for many Vacation Bible School.  For me, we are going to Colossal Coaster World where we will be dared to do many things.  These dares come from God and will lead us down a path of strength and stability.  Here are 5 things we will be dared to do but we can start anytime.

1.  Dare to Change – Acts 9:1-18

In Acts 9:1-18 we encounter a life changing moment for 2 people. Saul was breathing threats and incarcerating people for believing in Jesus and practicing “The Way”. Ananias was minding his own business trying not to be thrown into prison. In one day both lives would be altered. God came to each of them in a way required to get their attention. God sometimes uses the fantastic to get our attention. Saul was blinded by a light and spoken to by God. He was dared to make changes. Ananias lived in fear. He was dared to make changes. Saul’s entire education was be flipped on its head. Ananias’ fear would be challenged to become focused courage. God changes us in ways we cannot completely fathom. What is God daring you to change in your life?

2.  Dare to Speak Up –  Acts 9:20-30

Saul was transformed from breathing threats to sharing the Gospel. Not everyone understood or believed in him. He was trying to do the right thing but his reputation preceded him. He could have given up and shut up but instead he faced his fears head on and kept sharing the message of the Messiah everyday. Escaping for his life he went to Jerusalem. The believers there were skeptical at best also. Barnabas dared to speak up on behalf of Saul. He told the story and encouraged the people to give God’s grace a chance with Saul.

3.  Dare to Believe – Acts 16:16-34

As we approach this passage of scripture belief is the key component. Paul believed that change was an available option for slave girl and later for themselves. Paul believed that God could change the slave girl and free her from divination. No matter how far she had gone into that world, Paul believed God could free her. When he and Silas were in prison, the sang praises because they knew God could free them. Even though they were shackled in prison, they had belief. The jailor believed that God could save him by faith in Jesus Christ. They believed in spite of the challenges of politics and personal difficulties.  What are you being dared to believe?

4.  Dare to Stand Strong – Acts 21:27-23:11

The apostle Paul was seized under false charges and his life was in danger. The courts heard the accusations but determined that there was nothing to them. The crowds began to cry out for Paul to be killed. In that moment, Paul asked if he could speak. What was he going to say? With the great spin doctors of our modern politics we might imagine many ways Paul could spin his situation. What Paul did next was daring. He began to share his testimony and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many in the crowds and Sanhedrin despised what he had to say but God encouraged him with these words:

Have courage! For you have testified about Me in Jerusalem,

so you must also testify about me in Rome.

In no small way, God told him he was being salvaged from the judicial wreckage in Jerusalem, but also being sent to Rome. Because he stood strong for the truth, God was sparing his very life. What truth needs you to stand strong?

5.  Dare to  Trust – Acts 27

When you call on Jesus Christ, all of Heaven rises to meet that need because we do not have a pile of rocks but a risen Savior we can trust. We can trust Him with out financial problems, our relationship nightmares, and our physical ailments. We can trust Him with our spouses and with our kids. We can trust Him when things change and when they do not. We can trust Him during the songs we know and the ones we don’t. We can trust Him when things wrong and when they work. We trust God and in doing so we reveal to those around us the peace of God that accompanies trust.  I dare you to trust God in every way for every thing!

I triple-dog-dare you!

Do You Trust Me?

In behavior, Commitment, Faithfulness, Jesus, Numbers, Trust on March 12, 2011 at 9:27 am

I was sitting in the office one day when I received a call.  The director of the local rehab facility was calling to ask if I would go and teach a class on grief.  The chaplain they had was gone and they needed a substitute.  I prepared a few things and went down there the next week. To be honest, I was scared to death.  I had nothing in common with anyone in the room.  I had no relationship with them. I was the hired hand that was teaching a lesson.  We all got through it together.  The director encouraged me and I went back to the office feeling like nothing had been accomplished.  The director called me the next week and asked if I wanted to return on a weekly basis.  From that point, every Thursday for three years I went to the Next Step Network as a chaplain.

Over time I built relationships and felt very helpful in the position.  One concept was repeated more than any others: God loves you, but the consequences must be faced.  Every person that heard that would leave depressed.  There was a belief, albeit an unbiblical one, that belief in God would remove all the bad from their life.  Time after time I would explain that God loved them, Jesus died for them, and God wanted to forgive them.  However, there were physical, financial, and relational, and mental consequences of their choices for which there was no guarantee.  There is a wide gap between what God can do and what God will do.

Moses had a difficult group which with to deal.  They complained.  They whined.  They betrayed.  They followed after other gods.  Yet, Moses still came before God and pleaded for their lives and for mercy.

20 The Lord responded, “I have pardoned [them] as you requested. 21 Yet as surely as I live and as the whole earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, 22 none of the men who have seen My glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tested Me these 10 times and did not obey Me, 23 will ever see the land I swore to [give] their fathers. None of those who have despised Me will see it.

Numbers 14

Could God have removed all consequence?  Absolutely.  God is sovereign over the entire universe.  He can do whatever He chooses.  He just is not required.  The addict should not expect to have be without headaches and ulcers.  The one who has had multiple affairs should not expect his marriage to continue.  The alcoholic should not be surprised with liver damage.  Could God fix all of these issues?  Yes.  Will God fix these issues?  Sometimes He does.  In our way of thinking there is no rhyme or reason to His activities and choices.  God’s plan is sure.  Our comprehension is shaky.  There are several faith groups that would disagree with me on this point stating that a person who has enough faith can have all of the bad removed.  I believe God can do it.  I simply do not feel I have the right to demand of God or try to use some prayer formula that puts a bit in the mouth of God in order to drive Him where I want.  God is sovereign.  I am a  sinner.  The issue is a matter of trust.  Once a person has put their faith into Jesus Christ and made peace with God every day comes down to a choice.  Will I trust God no matter what?  When the marriage crumbles will I trust God?  When the aches and shakes come will I trust God?  When the liver fails or cancer comes will I trust God?

Will I trust God no matter what?

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