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Posts Tagged ‘trusting God’

Each of us, I think if we’re honest, have things we fear. I know for myself I really dread needles – things like getting shots, having blood drawn and IV’s. I understand it’s all in my head, but you know what? It’s still difficult for me.

I was looking at some lists of people’s greatest fears online and here are some of the most common: Fear of heights, fear of public speaking, fear of spiders and fear of snakes. Given what’s going on in the world right now, we can add to the list fear in relation to the coronavirus: health concerns for ourselves and those we love, stress over changes to our life patterns and certainly financial worries.

I’m talking about fear today, because fear’s the opposite of faith. I suppose if you’re thinking of faith as our set of beliefs then doubt can be seen as the opposite of faith. But with regard to the core of faith, which is trust in God, fear is indeed the opposite of faith.

Remember what Jesus said to the disciples after he calmed the sea? They thought they were about to die, but he said, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” – Mark 4:40. You can see how he counters fear vs. faith. And instead of fear Jesus calls us to faith; to trust in God. And to that end let me share with you today seven reasons why you can always trust God no matter what your circumstances are or what your fears may be.

1. We can trust God because God knows our situation.

God is not far off, distant and unaware. God truly knows what’s going on in our lives. As the psalmist says in Psalm 139, “you know when I sit down and when I rise up . . . Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether” – vs 2, 4

And Jesus tells us that “The hairs of our head are all numbered” – Matthew 10:30, which is pretty amazing! He also teaches us – “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” – Matthew 6:6.

God knows what’s going on in your life and he knows your concerns and fears.

2. We can trust God because God cares for us.

It’s not that he knows what’s going on but is neutral about our situation. God loves us deeply and wants what’s best for us.

Jesus tells us in Luke 12:24, “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!”

We know this is God’s heart because he has shown us his heart of love for us on the cross. As Paul says if God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:32

God loves you deeply and will take care of you.

3. We can trust God because God is able to care for us.

God is all-powerful. God is almighty. As the Lord said through the prophet Jeremiah, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” – Jeremiah 32:27. And our Lord Jesus tells us that “All things are possible with God.” – Mark 10:27.

There’s no lack on God’s end. There’s no limitation. God is able to take care of you.

4. We can also trust God because God has a plan for us and for this world.

Yes, God allows us to choose and there is much evil in the world. And yes, the world is broken right now, waiting to be made new when Jesus returns (Romans 8:20-21; Matthew 19:28).

But things are not out of control. Even when things seem crazy God is overseeing and active to work to make sure that in the midst of the craziness his plan comes to pass.

As the Lord says through the prophet Isaiah, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” – Isaiah 46:9-10

And this is what God says about his people, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for you and as you trust in him and walk in his ways God will bring it to pass.

Next, and this is where things get interesting –

5. We can trust God because even if God allows us to go through our greatest fear, God will go with us.

You might be thinking, “Wait a second, isn’t God supposed to deliver me from my greatest fears?” And the answer is “Not always.” Sometimes, but not always. But when God allows us to go through what we fear most what God will do is go through the trial with us.

God says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you . . .. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” – Isaiah 43:1-3

And as God goes with us God will help us in the midst of our trial and even work to bring good to us out of the experience. Paul says this in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)

Even if God allows us to die in our trial “we are more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) – for our death is transformed by God into the means of our entrance into God’s presence, and eventually our resurrection to life eternal.

6. We can also trust God because faithfulness is a defining characteristic of who God is.

God describes himself in Exodus 34:6 in this way, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness . . .”

This is who God is. And God doesn’t change! Which is why Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

 What I’m saying is that God is trustworthy. You can trust him in all circumstances and situations.

And then finally –

7. We can trust God because God has a track record of being trustworthy.

 We see this in the Scriptures.

  • God kept his promise to Abraham for a son
  • God delivered the people of Israel from Egypt
  • God gave them the land of Canaan
  • God brought them back to the land after 70 years of exile
  • And God sent his promised Messiah, our Lord Jesus.

We also know about God’s history of faithfulness from hearing the testimony of others today and how God has worked in their lives. And if we have walked with the Lord for any amount of time we know this from stories from our own lives.

This is why Psalm 9:10 says, “those who know your name (or you could say, your reputation) put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

God has a track record that demonstrates that God is worthy of your trust.

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So for these seven reasons, we can say with the writer of Psalm 46:1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” Even when everything is falling apart around us God helps us, so we don’t need to be afraid.

We can also make the words of Psalm 56:3-4 our words, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.”

 

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Series on Witness

We are continuing on in our series on witness challenging us to be sharing our faith as individuals and as a congregation.

We are doing the whole acrostic thing with the word “wintess.” So far we have looked at the “W” of witness – Why we reach out. Our motivation is Christ’s love for the lost. And we talked last week about the “I” of witness – Idolatry and reaching out. We saw that we can have a wrong motivation – growing and getting big in itself. But what God asks of us is to be faithful to share whether there are results or not. Today we look at the “T” of witness, and the title is Taking risks.

Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t often like to take risks. Sure, I have done some crazy things here and there, like jumping out of an airplane once. But basically I like things to be calm and controlled; stable and routine. Like most people, I like to be comfortable.

The problem with this is that –

We are called to live by faith

 And faith is all about risk, or challenging us to come out of our places of comfort.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” It’s risky because you can’t see how things will turn out, but yet you have a conviction and God calls you to step out and act on it. It’s like Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “we walk by faith, not by sight.” You can’t see what’s ahead and you don’t have control. But we are still called to move forward.

But this is the whole point – you have to trust God, because only God can make it work. It’s beyond you. Faith is all about being in a place where if God doesn’t come through it’s not going to go well. And the question is, are we willing to go ahead and act relying fully on God? We want to be comfortable, but God calls us to live by faith.

Hebrews 10:38 says this about faith, “my righteous one shall live by faith” This is a defining characteristic of the Christian life. And then it goes on to say, “and if he shrinks back (that is, is afraid or gives up), my soul has no pleasure in him.” God calls us to live by faith and not to shrink back from taking risks as we do his will.

Let’s look at some –

Examples of risk

Think of Noah. He built a huge boat in a place where there was only land. And how many years did it take? And how much ridicule did he receive? But Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.” He acted by faith and not by sight and God’s purpose was fulfilled through him.

And then there is Abraham. Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” He acted without knowing what was ahead or being in control. And God used him to fulfill his purpose in the world.

And finally think of Moses. Hebrews 11:29 says, “By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.” Can you imagine? They are trapped and about to die, but God opens up a sea before their eyes. And then God tells them to go through it! What if the waters come down on them? But because of Moses’ faith and the faith of the people, God fulfilled his purpose in the world.

Now there might be the temptation to think that taking risks in faith is for those who are younger. But let me remind you that Noah was no spring chicken when God told him to build the ark. Abraham was 75 years old when he set off for Canaan. And Moses was in his 80’s when he crossed the Red Sea.

The lesson is that –

God asks us to take risks before he does his work

This doesn’t mean that God can’t get things done without us, but it does mean that we won’t be partaking in the blessing; we won’t be the ones through whom God’s purpose is fulfilled in the world.

No risk, no stepping out in faith – no gain.

For instance, living the Christian life involves risk. We give things up, we serve, and we trust that it will all be worth it in the end. And this is a risk. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:29, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” Why? Because of all we give up to serve God in this world.

And this is true in other areas of obedience to God. It is a risk to trust God for our finances, but we believe that God will take care of us. It is a risk to love our enemy, but we believe that God will take care of us.

And certainly sharing our faith with others involves risk. For instance, if all your friends are Christians, this might mean taking a risk to befriend someone so that you can share your life and faith with them.

And then when it comes to actually sharing it’s risky:

  • What if I share and the person makes fun of my faith?
  • What if they don’t want to be friends anymore? Or it complicates a business relationship?
  • What if they ask a question I can’t answer?
  • What if it doesn’t go well?

Sharing our faith means taking a risk, and it can be scary. But we must trust that God will be with us and take care of us.

In the bigger picture asking God to move among us involves risk. As we saw, God asks us to take risks before he does his work in and among us.

I have been praying for God to move among us and I have invited you to also be a part of this. Do we want God to do something great among us? Do you think that this will happen if we just sit back and are comfortable and take no risks; that we can watch safely from the sidelines? What great thing has God ever done that didn’t require a step of faith, a risk from his people?

No, if God is going to move among us and bring renewal, you can be sure that he will ask us to step out in faith and take some risks.

One final thought. Growing as a church involves risk. What if people do respond? What if we step out in faith and share, and God moves, and people respond? This leads to another risk – change.

If we are comfortable, then by definition we like things the way they are. But if we reach out and grow, things will change. You have to make room for new people, new personalities, new problems and new points of view.

Are we willing to take this risk? Do we love God more than we love being comfortable? Is sharing Christ’s love with the lost more important than our love of comfort?

All I can say is that if we do step out and risk – God will be with us, God will take care of us and God will fulfill his purpose in this place through us.

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