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Posts Tagged ‘#trustgod’

It is forest fire season where I live.

With this in mind, I thought it was interesting that the podcast I listened to on my walk the other day was about Moses and the burning bush.

The story of Moses and the burning bush is in Exodus 3, but the story of Moses begins in the previous chapter.

The life of Moses began with a mother who loved him. She knew what his destiny was, for Pharaoh had ordered that all Israelite babes to thrown into the Nile and drowned.

So, rather than do what every mother wants most to and hold him close, she chose to take her chances and let God determine his fate. She placed her newborn into a waterproof basket and set it in the Nile RIver.

Where other neighbor babies died a violent death, she chose to lovingly trust her God. She released her son from her hands and control to the only one that she knew who loved him more.

I think one could say that she gave him over to the river of life, by trusting her son to her God.

Her trust in her God resulted in her having him (temporarily) returned to her, to nurse him … with pay from the Pharaoh’s daughter!

Reminder:

God does not just give us what we need, he often gives extravagantly!

So, this mamma gets her son back, but she knows that it is temporary. She knows with every sunrise, every hungry cry, every coo and smile that her days are numbered with this child, this flesh and blood.

When we know that our time is limited, we do not waste our time!

What do you think she did with her son?

What do you think she spoke to him?

If it was me … if the son in my arms had been returned to me because of my God, who I had trusted …

I would tell him of God.

I would sing songs of worship.

I would pray over his future.

I would thank God.

And, I believe, that is what she did.

For her son was saved, his life was delivered from the cultural ‘sin’ of having been born into the race so despised in that time, that place.

God saved her son, so she would hide words of wisdom and love of God in his heart.

And that is the calling to all mothers,

To bury the word of God in the hearts of our children,

Then,

to release them

trusting the God who once placed them in our arms,

with them.

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Prayer is the ultimate intimacy.

Best done, most intimately done in private. Just between us and our Creator.

“ … when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:5-6

Yet, it is also best done for others.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16

In so many of his letters to the churches, Paul would pray for them. He knew them and knew much of what they needed. So, he prayed with knowledge and direction.

We do not always know what others need, yet sometimes the call to pray for others is so strong. We can be left with the urge, but no words. I like it when that is the case, for then my prayers are offered to God, not with my own knowledge, but with trust …

and having to trust God is a most holy ground place to be.

So, today, rather than my musings of what I am experiencing in my wonder-filled walk with God through my days, I would like to offer up a prayer of trust to God. For you, the reader.

God, you are our God.

The one who created the sun, still below the horizon, yet brightening the sky every minute.

The one who created every living thing, from the coyotes who all out at night, to the tiny bugs who exist all around us, to ourselves who muddle through life trying to figure our our purpose (and, hopefully, fulfilling that purpose in the meantime).

Today God, I pray in trust (I pray I always do so).

For the one who is unsure. Unsure of what today will hold. Unsure of what to do, what is safe. For that one who is filled with fear, anxiety, worry. For that one who wrings their hands, tosses and turns at night, jumps at the slightest noise. Loved wrap your arms of comfort and security around them. Remind them that they are safe in you. Give them peace.

For the one who is self medicating to dull the physical or emotional pain. Who is looking to medication, or food, or alcohol, or drugs, or exercise, or work, or exercise, or … Netflix to dull the pain in their life. To take away the memories, the pressure, to fill the empty places in their life, their heart. Lord, may they turn to you, who can fill all the cracks and crevices of the broken heart and spirit.

For the one who is tired, discouraged, defeated. This is such a large group of souls. They have been beaten down … Lord bring reminders into their day that they are not destroyed, that you have a good plan, that the shards that they see as their life are pieces of a beautiful whole. That they are not alone in their fatigue but that you are right there, holding them up.

For the grieving. Those who are in the midst of sorrow for the earthly loss of one they loved, one they still love. For the memories that both comfort and haunt them. God, sustain them with your love. Provide a hedge of protection around them as they process their great loss. Wipe their tears.

For the lonely. There are so many in their group of people today. As this pandemic continues to separate us mere mortals (despite so many devices for connection) the numbers of lonely increase. Some are physically lonely, separated from their families and friends. Some are still brushing shoulders (at a distance) with many others each day. Both feel the loneliness of missing others in their daily lives. Both feel alone in their days. Both are longing for others. Lord, bring the connection that they so need. Bring an end to this pandemic, Lord please.

And God, for all others. For those who are in a good place in their life. Who do not struggle with their studies, or fear, or loneliness or grief …. sustain them. May they not forget you in their blessings. May they seek you in their joy, in their successes, in their ease. May they not forget the God who saves them.

At your feet, into your hands we lay our every request. Not picking them back up to try to fix in our human ways.

For you are the God of Creation, the one who formed us. You are worthy of all praise and honor and worship. Into your hands we commit our day.

Amen

“Turn your ear to me,
    come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
    a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
    for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
    for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
    deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.”

Psalm 31:2-5

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Driving to work the other day, singing along to a worship song, words leapt out at me:

May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
Your family and your children
And their children,
and their children

As the words settled in my mind, my grandmother came to mind.

A woman of faith, who lived a very real, intentional, consistent life. She worked hard, played hard and knew when and how to rest. She loved her family, would go to the ends of the earth for any one of us. She never allowed our poor behavior, immaturity or way we chose to live impact her unconditional love for us.

But … she did not leave this world under any illusion that all of her loved ones chose, or would choose to follow her God.

I am certain that her greatest hope would have been that her family walk with God … her children, and their children, and their children and their children …

We all have loved ones who have not accepted Christ as their redeemer, or ones who have chosen to walk away from the gift of grace … the favor that is offered. We all have ached for the peace that they do not even know is missing in their life. This desire for their lives is a good one, perhaps the best anyone can hope for another.

Yet, if we sing the words of this blessing we can feel as though our loved one, as though we have been overlooked by God, missing out on his favor, his grace for life, everlasting.

One thing that my grandmother taught me, that is still resonating in my mind and heart, is to trust God. Or, as Corrie Ten Boom said,

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God”

So, we trust God, who loves our loved ones even more than we do. And we hold on to his promises, knowing that though with man this is impossible, with him all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

“Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.”

Psalm 102:18

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I think it was Oreos that said the best was in the middle (or maybe it was a middle school …).

Not long ago I heard the perfect story about the middle, at the perfect time.

The story goes like this …

  • the middle of the Bible is the Psalms
  • the middle of the book of the Psalms is chapter 118
  • Psalms 117 has the smallest number of verses (2)
  • Psalms 119 has the largest number of verses (176)
  • There are 594 chapters before Psalm 118, and 594 after it
  • 594X2=1188
  • Psalm 118:8 is the middle of the Bible
  • Psalm 118:8 tells us”

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord
   than to trust in man.”

So cool, right? What a beautiful story of God ensuring that the the very middle of his Word be such a significant verse.

Except that it may not actually be the center of the Bible, as there is the Catholic canon and the Protestant canon, some versions end up with a different middle and, well … the numbering of verses is not necessarily original.

So, it’s a cool story, but maybe not one to put too much stock into … except …

Except that I was introduced to this story when I was was struggling with the issue of trust.

So, Psalm 118:8 may not be the center of the Bible, but it is definitely the central message that God had waiting for me.

We (when I say ‘we’ I really mean ‘I’) often and so easily put our trust in all the wrong things … all the temporary things. We put our trust in our wealth, our health, our friendships, our family, our spouses, our jobs, our abilities our (name it … it’s right there on the tip of your tongue).

The thing is that there is only one solid, unwavering, always loving us, trustable one, and that is God.

After being reminded of this verse, I found myself asking of myself:

“can I trust in God alone?
can I trust in God if the ‘ifs’ of life happen?
can I trust in God if he is all I have?”

He is my middle, my center … I might need to say this on repeat for the rest of my days, but the best really is in the middle.

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change3
Change is hard, and not always comfortable.

As I write today, I am sitting in my comfortable chair, feet up, coffee beside me, the Wonderdog snoring at my feet and the sky slowly lightening with the rising sun. I am delightfully comfortable, and I like it.

To change is to accept that we might be uncomfortable.

If I change chairs, it might not be as cozy.

If I try a new food at a restaurant, it might not be as tasty.

If I get a new hair style, it might not suit me as much.

This month I left what was known, safe and comfortable for a new job. As people have asked how I like the new job, I have opted to be completely honest …

“It has been good and bad, encouraging and frustrating … overall, change is hard when you are older.”

The first week of my new job I was frustrated with my commute and  lonely for familiar faces … specific familiar faces of students and staff. The second week I was growing in affection for the new faces, the delightful team I get to work with and the students whose names I started to know. The third week I had figured out the commute, had a student initiate playing chicken in the hallway, began to revel in getting to help students with math (a personal love) and started praying for my co-workers.

I have also realized something about change …

change is hard, change is uncomfortable, but maybe we are not created to be comfortable.

In the there are numerous accounts of Jesus telling people to GO.

  • in the Great Commission, Jesus says, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)
  • Jesus told an adulterous woman to, “Go, and sin no more.” John 8:11
  • after healing the man with leprosy, Jesus told him to “go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded.” Luke 5:14
  • to the woman who was healed from many years of bleeding, by, through faith, touching his cloak, he said, “your faith has healed you. Go in peace. You are free from your suffering.”  Mark 5:34

And in Isaiah, when commissioned as prophet, by the Lord, Isaiah showed how to respond to the call to go:

“Then I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, “Who can I send? Who will go for us?”
So I said, “Here I am. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8)

We are called and commissioned to go.

Though this job change is uncomfortable, I am coming to realize that is is good to be uncomfortable, challenged and even a bit lonely. These experiences give new insights, and prompt reliance on the God who promises to already be where we are going.

“Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged,
for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

 

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IMG_1575.JPG

I sat in my morning chair, enjoying that the time change again allows me to soak in the visual beauty of the deep orange leaves on my neighbor’s tree. This, our eleventh autumn living in this house, was the first that I had ever noticed this tree. My eyes glanced back to my device with the red-lettered ‘wind warning’.

An hour later, with phone in hand I stepped outside to take a picture of that eye-catching tree, knowing that that day would be the last day of morning beauty for my eyes.

Throughout the day, whenever I looked outside and saw the trees swaying, I envisioned orange leaves being battered from the tree and to the ground below.

When I returned home that evening, I was preoccupied with preparing dinner, policing the completion of homework, and preparing again for the next day to come.

The following day, I grabbed my coffee, and headed to my chair, with regret for the loss of my beautiful view.

What I saw surprised me, as the tree looked just as it had the previous morning. I was so surprised I even got our my phone to compare the before photo to the exact replica before my eyes.

I sat in delightful surprise, in awe of, not only the beauty, but the resilience in front of me. Despite gale winds, the tree held her beauty. The wind may indeed have battered her, but somehow she held on.

As I looked, in awe and wonder, I was reminded of Hebrews 10:23,

“Let us hold tightly without wavering
to the hope we affirm,
for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”
Hebrews 10:23

We all have seasons when we are battered by the winds, some of them gale force winds, of life.

when families struggle to love each other.

when jobs do not fulfill us, or are lost due to cut backs.

when marriage is not smooth, or is ended.

when our health is failing, or our life is.

when we have to live with hurt, betrayal, disobedience, illness, worry, change, death,

and anything else that is battering our souls.

But, if we hold tightly, without wavering, to the hope that is Christ, He will not let us fall. We might get blown around, like those orange leaves on the tree, but we just need to hold on, to the One who can be trusted.

 

 

 

 

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