Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

trust God Archive

Friday

6

October 2017

Hope Reflected | In the Hard Seasons

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Christ's grace is sufficient. | See more at hopereflected.com

In the Hard Seasons

 

You know how sometimes during that mid-February dullness you find yourself wondering, “How much longer is winter going to last?!” “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us. Sometimes the seasons last for a few weeks, other times months, and in some cases, even years.

“Why?” is a question that’s often asked about different circumstances and world events. Why do we go through hard seasons in life? Why would a loving God allow bad things to happen? The reality is that the answer has less to do with God and more to do with us as human beings. We live in a fallen world, and nothing will be perfect until eternity.

While we don’t always have the answer to the “why” about difficult or hard seasons in life, we do have the answer through God’s Word of what we’re to do when times get hard. We aren’t always going to understand the purpose of why people get sick, or why people are bullies, or why it seems like sometimes we just can’t catch a break. But what we can understand is what we should do when times get hard.

  1. Learn more about Jesus. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29) We’re encouraged many times throughout the Bible that we should seek the Lord in times of trouble. David said in Psalm 61:2 “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Quite often when times are hard and we find our selves in the midst of challenging circumstances, or all the bad things happening at once, we don’t understand. Psalm 119:71-73 encourages those who are suffering, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.” God will give you perfect peace when you seek Him. (Isaiah 26:3)
  2. Don’t be afraid. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” (Isaiah 41:10) Sometimes the last thing we want to hear – OK let’s be honest, pretty much always the last thing we want to hear – from other people is “don’t worry about it.” Not only is that annoying, it can also be a downright hurtful statement to say to someone who is suffering. I’m not saying “don’t worry” when you’re going through a hard season (and if you figure out how to not worry, let me know your secret). What I am saying is that when God instructs us or commands us, we’d be wise to take heed. That being said, throughout the Bible there are more than 365 “fear not” references. Our reverence of God alone should alleviate or lessen any other fear we may have. “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” we’re encouraged in John 14:27. And do you know why? Because when you make Christ your focus, He gives you peace, and it’s like nothing else in this world. See also Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Even in the hard seasons, even when you can’t see Him and you don’t know what He’s doing, God is with you.
  3. Trust in the Lord. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Man, can it ever be hard when you have no idea what’s around the corner. But you know what we’re promised in God’s Word? That He’ll direct our paths. Psalm 119:105 puts it like this: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” At the time that Psalm was written, there were no crazy high beams, there was no high-powered LED flashlight. The light in Biblical times would have literally been just enough to see right in front you. Not the whole path, and not what’s at the end of the tunnel. In the hard seasons, trust in the Lord with all your heart. Even when that means crying out to God several times a day! Even when it means you have to take things moment by moment! Trust Him! You trust that your car will get you from point a to point b; you trust that chair is going to hold you when you sit down; so why not trust the Creator of heaven and earth with your life (even the hard seasons)! He will not forsake you! (Psalm 9:10)

Seasons come and go. In the hard seasons, cling to Christ. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Christ is full of compassion, comfort, and He will carry you through.

Originally published as “In the hard seasons.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. September 21, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

4

October 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him

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God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. | See more at hopereflected.com

“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides you, Who acts for the one who waits for Him.” (Isaiah 64:4)

God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.

Waiting can be hard, especially when we live in a time where it seems like everything is instant. From drive-thrus and credit cards to cell phones and the internet, we have the ability to get and receive pretty much whatever we want, when we want it, sometimes without giving a whole lot of thought to the consequences.

While waiting can be hard, we can be sure of this: God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him, and when you choose to wait for God, the results are always worth it.

Two of my favourite Bible verses talk about the importance of waiting for the Lord.

  • “Wait on the LORD, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)
  • “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who bring wicked schemes to pass.” (Psalm 37:7)

Waiting on the Lord can mean the difference between good and great for your life. Remember, it takes 6 months to build a Rolls-Royce and 13 hours to build a Toyota. God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him, and the wait is worth it!

“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides you, Who acts for the one who waits for Him.” (Isaiah 64:4)

 

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Friday

8

September 2017

Hope Reflected | The Anchor

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Don't focus on the storm; focus on the One who controls the storm! God is our anchor. | See more at hopereflected.com

The Anchor

During one of our trips down South, Wes and I spent a great deal of time on the waterfront, exploring some large watercraft and even an aircraft carrier. Whether a small fishing vessel, a mid-size yacht, or an aircraft carrier, every ship needs an anchor.

Like ships, we also need an anchor as we walk through this life. We need an anchor to keep us from drifting. Often overlooked, an anchor is arguably one of the most important components of the ship, for several reasons.

An anchor provides safety. “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:7) When we trust the Lord as our anchor, we’re told several times throughout Scripture that He will keep us safe. Even the hymn writer William C. Martin wrote in his famous hymn, “My Anchor Holds,” that “wildly though the winds may blow, I’ve an anchor safe and sure, that can evermore endure.” There is great peace that comes with security in Christ. When you know Him as your Saviour, only then can you truly say, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep, for thou, God, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)

An anchor provides strength. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) You may be in the best physical shape of your life, but true strength is found in your soul. When you trust the Lord as your Saviour, you’ve got strength like no one else. Nothing is impossible when God is your strength. “Those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

An anchor provides stability. “Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times.” (Isaiah 33:6) No matter what you’re going through in life, you can count on Christ to remain the same. When you trust the Lord as your Saviour, you’ve got an anchor that will hold you sure, no matter how tough the storms of life may seem. I love how in Psalm 18, David says that God “enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.” (Psalm 18:36) Having Christ as your anchor may not change the circumstances around you, but it does change how you react to those circumstances. Even when you feel like there’s no way you can catch your balance, Christ will sustain you, and He will stabilize you.

When we choose Christ as our anchor, it is then that we can truly sing like the hymn writer, “We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.” Whether the seas of life are calm or stormy, it’s an incredible thought that we can fasten ourselves to the Rock which cannot move. Don’t focus on the storm; focus on the One Who controls the storm! “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.” (Hebrews 6:19)

 

Originally published as “The Anchor.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. August 31, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

30

August 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | God Won’t Forget You

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God won't forget you or forsake you (Luke 12:6) | See more at hopereflected.com

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

It’s easy to get discouraged; all you have to do is turn on the news! Sometimes in the midst of trying or difficult circumstances, the first place our mind wanders is into negative waters, and it can be hard to pull yourself back. The thing to remember is that God knows. God won’t forget you and He won’t forsake you. He’s aware of what you’re going through, and He is with you.

David said in Psalm 139: 17-18, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.”

When you’re feeling down or discouraged, consider this: God’s thoughts toward you are more in number than the sand. You are not insignificant; you are precious to Him!

God won’t forget you and He won’t forsake you.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

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Friday

25

August 2017

Hope Reflected | The Rock

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The LORD is my rock. | See more at hopereflected.com

The Rock

While reading in the Psalms this week, one word really stood out to me in Psalm 92:15. The word is rock. “To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Throughout the Psalms, God is referred to as a “rock” more than twenty times. This tells me that there is something incredibly significant about the fact that God is our rock.

Being married to a stone mason, and also having several masons on both sides of our family, it didn’t take long for me to understand the value and impact that a well-shaped rock can make.

More than any rock in its earthly form, when I think about God as our rock, I’m not sure it’s possible to fully comprehend the power of this fact. As Christians, it’s so easy to become de-sensitized to our all access pass to the Creator of the entire Universe and the fact that although we are but dust, He cares about each one of us.

Psalm 18:2 says, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” The LORD is my rock. When I think about God being my rock, there are a few illustrations that come to mind.

God is our firm foundation. “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24) Just as you can’t build a house without a firm foundation, you can’t live a Christian life without a firm foundation, either. Knowing God as our rock means that we have a firm foundation on which to build our faith. 1 Timothy 6:19 says that those who know God as their rock are “storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” (1 Timothy 6:19) What do you base your life on? Do you measure success by the amount of money you make? Do you count yourself “lucky” if you have a healthy family here on earth? Do you have it all if you have some who loves you? The only true firm foundation is God – when God is your foundation, no matter what your earthly circumstances, you’ve got a rock that will never change. He will always love you, no matter what.

God is our protection. “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3) What are you seeking refuge from in your life? Are you having a hard time with another individual? Are you being bullied at school? Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed with the daily grind. Wherever this life finds you, God can be your protection if you put your trust in Him. Does that mean when you become a Christian that you’re suddenly exempt from any problems in life? No, sorry to disappoint you, you’re actually more likely to encounter hardships and persecution when you live a Christ-filled life. What it does mean is that God is your protection through whatever you’re facing. Just as a rock protects the land from the water when it’s used in a jetty, or solid stones are used to build a fortress, God will protect you from whatever you fear. God will be your “strength and shield.” (Psalm 28: 7)

God is our strength. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Several years ago for my birthday, my friend Jess gifted me a mug inscribed with Philippians 4:13. The mug top sits on my desk to this day as a reminder that regardless of what the day brings, God is my strength. If you’re tired, if you wake up thinking you just can’t go on, call out to God. He will give you the strength you need to proceed. If you’re facing difficult decisions, or if you’re feeling emotionally and/or physically exhausted, God will sustain you in ways that you cannot even fathom (spoken from experience). Isaiah 40:29 says that “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Let’s be honest, some days it’s hard to get out of bed, isn’t it? Try starting the day by conversing with God and asking Him to be your strength. Think on God as your strength. He will not let you down.

Sometimes rocks aren’t pretty, and other times rocks can be beautiful. We aren’t Christians because we’re strong and we think we have it all together; we are Christians because we realize that we are weak and that we need a Saviour. Meditate on God as your rock. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you realize that God is your rock at the bottom. No matter where you’re at, if you put your trust in God, He will be your rock.

Originally published as “The Rock.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. August 17, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

16

August 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | The Sovereignty of God

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Wednesday Wisdom | The sovereignty of God (See more at hopereflected.com)

“When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.” C.H. Spurgeon

When you’re going through a trial, how well do you sleep at night?

When you’re trusting the sovereignty of God, you’ve got the most comfortable, reassuring pillow there is.

Sure, it’s easier to say than to do, but there are seemingly endless verses throughout the Bible about trusting God and His sovereignty. So what are you waiting for?

No matter what you’re facing, claim God’s sovereignty to get you through it. Don’t forget that He is in control — and that can be a real challenge at times, can’t it?!

In times of trials, focus on the Bible verses (or better yet, commit them to memory!) that remind you of God’s strength, His power, His care, and His sovereignty:

  • Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • Bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you. (Matthew 5:44)
  • And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
  • Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)
  • The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. (Exodus 15:2)
  • Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! (1 Chronicles 16:11)
  • Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
  • I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
  • …God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. (Psalm 18:32-33)
  • But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me. (2 Timothy 4:17)
  • Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him. Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. (Psalm 37:7)
  • Be strong and of a good courage. Do not be frightened, neither be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

Remember, when you go through a trial, God’s sovereignty will be your rest. Keep your eyes on Him!

“When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.” C.H. Spurgeon

 

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Tuesday

15

August 2017

Hope Reflected | Encouragement | Psalm 139

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the next time you find yourself down, or hurting, ask God to search your heart, and remember that He knows you. He knows your thoughts. And He cares for you. "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts." (Psalm 139:23) | See more at hopereflected.com

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23)

Sometimes, you have a bad day. Sometimes, you have a series of bad days. Sometimes, it seems like your bad days just won’t end!

When you’re feeling like the whole world is against you, or you feel like you just can’t do anything right, remember what the psalmist said in Psalm 139.

God knows when you sit down, and He knows when you rise. He understands all of your thoughts, even if you don’t say them aloud or share them with anyone. God is your compass, and He knows all your ways. He knows every word on your tongue before you even think them. There is no where — no height and no depth — we can ever go that God is not already there. God cares for each one us, and He cared for us even before we were born!

We serve a God Who is bigger than a bad day (or a bad week)! We will all face days that are less than desirable, and in the end, as long as our hearts are right with the One Who matters, that is what matters. So the next time you find yourself down, or hurting, ask God to search your heart, and remember that He knows you. He knows your thoughts. And He cares for you.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23)

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Friday

4

August 2017

Hope Reflected | When you feel like you’re not enough

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“How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God Who has none.” A. W. Tozer | See more at hopereflected.com

When You Think You’re Not Enough

Last week, Wes and I were talking about how sometimes in the most seemingly ordinary of circumstances or conversations, God works. It’s an interesting thing to think about, that even the most normal of people like you and I can be used for God’s glory.

We see so many times throughout the Bible where God takes completely normal – and often unsuspecting – individuals and uses them for His glory. Just this past Sunday at church, the speaker was talking about David, and how as a youth David was a shepherd and was skilled at using a sling to throw rocks. What to the average onlooker seemed like not a huge deal, – or even an underwhelming ‘talent’, – God used for His glory, to slay a giant, and to start David down the path to be king.

Too often we limit God. We think that our faults or insecurities are going to prevent or prohibit Him from using us for His service, when actually the opposite is true!

Consider Moses, a man who we read in Exodus 4:10 and 11 had some kind of speech disorder and wasn’t comfortable speaking publicly. God used Moses to lead an entire people – the Israelites – out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, and to scribe the Ten Commandments. For a man slow of speech and tongue, God raised him up to lead an entire nation.

Then there was Rahab, who had a career as a prostitute, and God used her to protect the Israelite spies in Jericho. Though her profession was questionable, Rahab demonstrated great faith and hospitality, and she was part of the lineage of Jesus Christ (her son Boaz married Ruth, and their son Obed was David’s grandfather).

The point is that God can – and loves – to use those who put their faith and trust in Him. You may think you’re too messed up, or that you’ve made too many mistakes, or that you can never move on because of your past choices; historically, God has a track record of taking those things that are broken and using them for His glory.

Jeremiah 18: 3-6 tells the story of the potter and the clay. “So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the LORD came to me: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.’”

You may remember my column about the remnants, and it is true: Only God can take what is broken and make it into something brand new. As Wes says, “Broken eggs make great omelets.” God uses the broken flower bud to bring forth the new bloom; He uses the broken clouds to bring forth the rain; He uses broken ground to bring forth new crops; and He can your brokenness to prepare you for your future. All you have to do is put your trust in Him, and when you do, it’s incredible the fulfillment you will find. As A.W. Tozer once said, “How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God Who has none.”

Originally published as “When you feel like you’re not enough.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. July 27, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Friday

28

July 2017

Hope Reflected | Through the storm

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"In the time of trouble, He shall hide me." Psalm 27:5 | Through the storm See more at hopereflected.com

Through the storm

Sometimes in life it may seem as though you’re going through everything at once – professionally, personally, and internally – and it’s during times such as these, when you’re in the middle of the storms, that it’s important to remember that storms are only temporary. It is in the storms that we have the ability to grow the most – and to grow closer to God.

How many times have we read in the book of Exodus how God parted the Red Sea for Moses, allowing the Israelites to walk across on dry ground and cross to safety while being pursued by their enemies? We’ve heard the event shared time after time, and it’s easy to become desensitized to the significance of this account. “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.” (Exodus 14:21-22)

Anything stand out to you about this selection of scripture? It says that God divided the waters of the Red Sea for the Israelites so they could cross to safety. Author Brad Wilcox puts it like this: “God did not remove the Red Sea, He opened it: He will help us find a way through our problems as well.” Sometimes we can hear a truth over and over again, but until it’s explained in the simplest of terms, we don’t understand the breadth of it.

God’s not necessarily going to remove our problems, but He has promised to help us through whatever storms we’re facing. God didn’t remove the Red Sea or eliminate it from the picture; He divided it and helped the Israelites through it.

Consider also how many times reading through the psalms that perhaps you’ve breezed over the sacred truth David wrote in Psalm 27:5: “for in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” In the Old Testament tabernacle, the secret place of the tabernacle was sacred. Only the High Priest was permitted to enter the secret place of the tabernacle, and even then only once per year. Imagine the significance of David to say in Psalm 27:5 that in the time of trouble, God hides him in the secret place of His tabernacle!

What’s amazing is that David wasn’t the only one who could say this. In the time of trouble – and any time – God hides us in the secret place of His tabernacle. He wants to take us in and protect us; all we have to do is put our trust in Him. Whatever problems you’re facing and whatever storms you’re battening down to get through, you don’t have to face them alone.

You may be skeptical and think that it won’t make a difference if you put your trust in God. But consider this – God’s not worried about the storm because He controls it, so who better to trust in and focus on? “Then he got in the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’” Rather than putting your focus on the furiousness of the storm, put your focus on the One Who controls the storm.

Originally published as “Through the storm.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. July 13, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

8

February 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Trusting God

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trusting God

“Worrying is assuming that God doesn’t know what He’s doing.”

How many times has someone told you, “Don’t worry!” Two of the easiest words to say, am I right? The truth is though, that when we worry, we make the assumption that God doesn’t know what He’s doing. We let ourselves believe that we’re in full control. Quite often, we get so focused on our circumstances and controlling things, that we lose sight of trusting God and the fact that God’s in control.

David had it right in Psalm 62:8 when he said, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:8) We are commanded to trust God at all times. Not sometimes, not occasionally, not just when everything’s going the way we think it ought it to; we are to trust God at all times.

Consider this: We serve a God Who can be trusted at all times. That truth alone should put our hearts at ease! Trusting God should be as much an encouragement to our hearts as it is a challenge.

 

 

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