Posts Tagged ‘Trust’

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Testing For Fear – Psalm 56:3

May 14, 2020

I am a bit anxious this morning, I will not lie.

All the self-confidence belies the insecurities of a day full of significance.  Today, I lead a team readied for a presentation instrumental in winning a five year, $15 million contract.

It is a big deal for a small company.  We have been waiting for eight years. 

I am embarrassed by my own anxiety.  No lives hang in the balance.  My employment is not dependent upon the perfect pitch.  All today can hold is a hope for a bulwark against tomorrow’s uncertainty,  so that I won’t have to worry about where tomorrow’s prosperity will reside.

Oh, foolish man that I am.

In essence, my anxiety reveals an inherent resistance to trusting the One who truly controls the conditions of my future.

God knows what I need and when I need it. He has provided my daily bread my entire life and I know He will provide tomorrow’s.

My anxiety is just a fear;  a revelation of an unholy alliance with control.

Are you fearful, like me?  Our response to uncertainty is the most revealing test one’s faith can undergo. Testing for fear is not a scare opportunity.  

The nature response to uncertainty is fear, whether we recognize it as fear or not.  Fear changes us.  It effects our behavior.  It modifies our attitude.  It steals our joy.

Fear is a foe.

So, I repented this morning.  I have changed my anxiety to trust.  I have done all the work to be prepared for today but God has done more.  It has been Him who has sheltered me to this point and it will be Him who shelters me through tomorrow. 

Therefore, I can enjoy the opportunity of today.  There are not many people who get to do what I have the privilege to do.  I will trust, which enables me to enjoy.
https://soundfaith.com/logos-media-share/491949

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Fear or Friend – Psalm 46:1–3

May 4, 2020

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very sufficient help in troubles.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth change,
and though the mountains totter into the midst of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though mountains shake with its surging water.”

May I be bold enough to add, “though a virus infects throughout the earth, and though people fall, though economies totter, though our healthcare system shakes”.

We are not a people accustomed to uncertainty.  We are accustomed to regular returns, predictable profits, and a pill for every malady. We are accustomed to the refuge of a regular wage and the strong towers of a robust hospital.

Where does the anxiety of this time come from?  Why do we hear of despair from COVID’s destruction?

The earth has changed, and our response has been an innate cry for help in these time of trouble. That cry has been direcred largely toward the government.  The government, who according to the news, should possess all the resources for sufficient help.

Yet, this fact reveals the greatest deficiency of our modern world.  Society’s cry reveals it’s misplaced trust for refuge and strength.  Our greatest help in times of trouble is never the institutions of man nor the strength of one’s net worth.  

COVID is a merely another revelation of our greatest vulnerability.  We are a society in a fallen world, full of sinful people without sufficient help against the troubles of coming eternity.

Therefore, COVID is a blessing.  Any crisis that awakens a misplaced cry, serves the helpless by informing them of a trust that has drifted from the true source of strength and refuge to an illusion.

Uncertainty is a friend.  A friend does not allow loved ones to meander into destruction with insufficient refuge.  This current uncertainty can be that friend if we allow it to reveal were we have placed out trust.
https://ref.ly/Ps46.1-3 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Worship Wednesday (Francesca Battistelli)

December 16, 2015

I love sound theology in worship songs.  This song is a wonderful reminder that we rest because God never sleeps, never slumbers, is never lost, is never surprised, never doubts.  In worship, I put all my hope in God with the restful soul of a child who can trust his Father.

He never sleeps, He never slumbers
He’s been awake at every hour
No tear catches Him by surprise
He’s never lost, He never runs out
He never lives in the shadows of doubt
No fear catches Him by surprise

Find rest my soul
Put your hope in God
Put your hope, put your hope in God

He always is, He always will be
He always has been everything I need
How can this be catching me by surprise
He’s ever strong, He’s ever faithful
His love is real, now nothing is impossible
‘Cause nothing catches Him by surprise

Find rest my soul
Put your hope in God
Put your hope, put your hope in God

I close my eyes, and I can see
The arms of mercy holding me
I close my eyes, and I can see
The arms of Jesus holding me

Find rest my soul
Put your hope in God
Put your hope, put your hope in God

Put your hope in God
Put your hope in God

Francesca Battistelli – Find Rest Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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QUOTE (Richard Baxter) – Dec. 8

December 8, 2015

220px-Richard_Baxter_Colour“You come hither to learn to die, I am not the only person that must go this way: I can assure you, that your whole life, be it ever so long, is little enough to prepare for death. Have a care of this vain deceitful world and the lusts of the flesh: Be sure you choose God for your portion, heaven for your home, God’s glory for your end, his word for your rule, and then you need never fear but we shall meet with comfort.”
~ Richard Baxter

In honor of Richard Baxter, an English Puritan Theologian, who died on this day in 1691.

“O what a blessed day that will be when I shall . . . stand on the shore and look back on the raging seas I have safely passed; when I shall review my pains and sorrows, my fears and tears, and possess the glory which was the end of all!”
~ Richard Baxter

Resources:
This Day in History for 8th December
Goodreads > Richard Baxter Quotes

 

 

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QUOTE (C.S. Lewis) – Nov. 29

November 29, 2015

lewis“Ever since I served as an infantryman in the First World War I have had a great dislike of people who themselves in ease and safety, issue exhortations to men in the front line. As a result I have a great reluctance to say much about temptations to which I am not exposed.”
~ C.S. Lewis

In honor of C.S. Lewis , a British novelist, poet, academic, Christian apologist and one of my favorite authors, who was born on this day in 1898.

Resources:
November 29 in Literary History
Exhorting Syrian Refugees to Stay and Fight from the Safety of the Recliner

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QUOTE (C.S. Lewis) – Nov. 22

November 22, 2015

lewis“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose that you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it? Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.”
~ C.S. Lewis
In honor of C.S. Lewis , a British novelist, poet, academic, Christian apologist and one of my favorite authors, who died on this day in 1963.

Resources:
November 22 in Literary History
C.S. Lewis Quotes

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TOMORROW’S STRESS – Jan 19

January 19, 2015

“But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:16

enr 500I was recently reading the Engineering News-Record (ENR) 2014 listing of the top 500 design firms.   The recognition of the top five firms lists some of the largest engineering corporations in the world.

  1. AECOM Technology Corp., Los Angeles, Calif.
  2. Jacobs, Pasadena, Calif.
  3. URS Corp., San Francisco, Calif
  4. Fluor Corp., Irving, Texas
  5. CH2M HILL, Englewood, Colo

Sadly, my engineering firm did not make the list.

It was not a shock. I did not politely applaud while being overlooked. My firm was not even nominated. We have less annual revenues than most branch offices of these large engineering companies.

I perused in amazement the annual revenues these organizations require. My stomach turns at the scale of those numbers.  I know well the effort to feed revenue to a small consulting organization and I am daunted by the appetite of these mammoth firms.

The engineering profession has not fared well over the last six years. My firm, like many, is only a fraction of the size it once was and we have lost important clients in a hyper-competitive marketplace. We no longer have the backlog of work waiting patiently for us. We no longer have the confidence that shaking the marketing bush a little harder will yield more contracts.

I know well the pangs of a company hungry for revenue. It was not fun. It is not something I want to experience again. Ironically, the desire to avoid one pang can increase what one was trying to initially avoid – stress.

In the business world, we do not identify stress by its origins.

Many business people take pride in their ability to manage stress. It is characterized as strength. It would be an acknowledgment of weakness to actually discuss the origins of stress. Therefore, we cloak our insecurities in a generic category.

When I analyze the burden of my job stress, it reveals that the majority of what I generically call stress can more specifically be described as worry. I worry about how to keep an engineering firm operating. I worry about where the next client will come from. I worry about renewing contracts of existing clients.  I worry about retaining employees.

I am encouraged in the remembrance of Jesus feeding the five thousand. The people needed to be fed. The disciples had no practical way to feed that many hungry mouths. It was a startling lesson of faith.  Jesus gave thanks for what they had and multiplied it to what He knew they needed.

The last few years have proven that I cannot feed enough work into my engineering firm.  However, God can. He knows what we need.  He knows what it takes to keep me and my colleagues employed. He has proven that by keeping us in business when many other firms had to close their doors.

I am reminded by Jesus’ example that I need to be grateful for what I have.

Today, I have work to do. In fact, we have enough work to keep us busy through this coming year. God has been faithful. He has given me continued employment. He has brightened the future.

I am no longer worried about daily allocating a meager workload or weekly finance reports. Now, I find myself worrying about long-term projections – what will happen next year and in three years – what will happen when I need to retire.

How faithless is that?

God knows what we need.
We do not need to be anxious about our lives.

We do not need to worry about what we are going eat… what we are going to drink…what we are going to wear (Matt. 6:31) …how we are going to maintain our lifestyle…how we are going to manage our reputation…or whether our retirement be enough.

God knows what we need. All of those worries are manifestations of unbelief.

English: Jump! Deutsch: Spring!

Yet, those in the first world are among the most stressed – worried – people in the world.

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Mathew 6:32-34)

So, how are we supposed to live?

We all have decisions to make. We must make decisions about careers, employment, and retirement. We must make decisions about what we should spend, save and share. We must respond to changing economics of the world we live within.

However, we do not need to stress – worry – about those decisions. We are not to allow our decisions to be governed by worry.

There are many considerations associated with making a good decision. Stress should not be one of them. A decision made for the primary purpose of alleviating the stress of worry is often a decision made in unbelief. Worry should never have a place in our decision making. It should be a foreign consideration in the life of a believer.

If your decision making revolves around the relief of tomorrow’s worry, then you might be making a decision based in unbelief.

The followers of Christ are supposed to make their decisions based on the kingdom of God and His righteousness. We have been given a wonderful promise. God promises to add all that we need when we seek first His kingdom. It is beyond our control to secure the future. God owns the future.

Many jump from one opportunity to another in an attempt to control the uncertainties of the tomorrow. The sad reality is worry always finds them. We cannot outrun worry.

The unbelief of worry has to be confessed.

J.C. Ryle said:

He offers us a gracious promise, as a remedy against an anxious spirit. He assures us that if we “seek first” and foremost to have a place in the kingdom of grace and glory, everything that we really need in this world shall be given to us. It shall be “added”, over and above our heavenly inheritance. “All things shall work together for good for those who love God.” “He withholds no good thing from those who walk blamelessly.” (Romans 8:28, Psalm 84:11)

The challenge for today is to walk by faith in God’s promise for tomorrow. Today, we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Tomorrow, we trust God to handle.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me of my unbelief.  Forgive me for not trusting in your promises.  Forgive me for trying to control the future.  Thank you for the blessings that you have given me.  Thank you for watching over and caring for me.  Help me to walk in your Spirit and to set my eyes on you and you alone.  You have given me a bright future, because you have made me your child.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

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