God’s Really Surprising Truth about our Spiritual Laziness and What We Can Genuinely Do About it. Jeremiah 17:5-8.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 Amplified Bible


Thus says the Lord,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in and relies on mankind,
Making [weak, faulty human] flesh his strength,
And whose mind and heart turn away from the Lord.

“For he will be like a shrub in the [parched] desert;
And shall not see prosperity when it comes,
But shall live in the rocky places of the wilderness,
In an uninhabited salt land.

“Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord
And whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord.

“For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters,
That spreads out its roots by the river;
And will not fear the heat when it comes;
But its leaves will be green and moist.
And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought
Nor stop bearing fruit.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

On the surface, spiritual laziness looks like not getting up early enough to pray and read your Bible, but it really goes much, much deeper than that.

When I searched the Internet on this topic, the vast majority of articles and blog posts focused on the necessary disciplines of bible study, Scripture Reading and Prayer time, busy at “work” versus quiet time, going to church, serving others.

And all of those things are critically important in the life in God’s backyard.

However, from personal experience, those disciplines and commitments are almost impossible to stick with unless the root of spiritual laziness is dug up and destroyed.

Not praying regularly, reading the Bible daily, and committing to regular fellowship with other believers are usually symptoms of something buried much deeper in our souls.

It’s kind of like trying to be losing weight. You won’t stick with a diet until your heart, mind, and soul are aligned and motivated to do so. You may persevere for a brief while based on sheer willpower and stubbornness, but it won’t become a lifestyle until the spiritual battle is won within the deepest parts of your being.

So, what is spiritual laziness if it’s not the failure to regularly implementing the classic Christian activities and routines?

To discover this answer, we can turn to the Biblical analogy of trees and fruit, which is used more than a hundred times throughout scripture. 

Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

In these verses, we discover that trust in God — a deep, abiding, unwavering, uncompromising trust — is the key to a fruitful life.

That means that not trusting in God for anything and everything — i.e., being worrying, trying to control outcomes, not submitting to God’s sovereignty — is at its core true spiritual laziness.

Therefore, all of those wonderful and incredibly vital habits I mentioned earlier are the fruit of being spiritually active, but they are not the tree itself.

The tree described in Jeremiah is fruitful because it’s rooted in the trust of the Lord, day and night, season after season, storm after storm.  

If you and I are feeling mightily slapped in the face right now, please know that I and uncountable numbers of other “Christians” are right there with you.

If I were to reveal my list of weaknesses, laziness has never been in my top 10.

If anything, I am at times too energetic and too driven.

A former supervisor of mine once said to me, “Your level of energy and dedication and devotion to your work makes your co-workers nervous.”

And he did not entirely mean it as any kind of high and glorious complement, and now many years later I have come to understand why – “its unheard of.”

I’ve also realized that what shows up in my work habits is just as spiritually connected as what comes out in my sacred disciplines for the Lord.

Outwardly I appear to have it all together. 

My actions indicate a preponderance of fruitful behaviors and activities, but truthfully, they only mask a deep, soul-level weakness — an overwhelming need to outperform, to overdo, to achieve — all because I have unrecognized or unacknowledged or unconfessed, unrepented trust issues with our God. 

This is why being busy with the tasks of proper spirituality or duties of religion has in the past left me feeling drained, empty, and disconnected from God. But until recently I never genuinely realized “laziness” had anything to do with it.

If this still doesn’t make sense to you, bear with me for a few moments more.

The connection between laziness and mistrust is simply this: striving to trust God for everything takes great effort, put forth on a continual, consistent basis.

And not just for a few weeks or months. 

Trust grows in layers throughout your lifetime.

One decision or trial at a time. 

That means trusting Him even when we walk through long seasons of waiting, difficulties, or disappointments.

When we do not trust the Lord, it bubbles out into our lives in the form of busyness, trying to control situations or others, legalism, worrying, anxiety, escapism, the pursuit of accolades, or wealth, grumbling and complaining, and a whole host of other manifestations. 

Eugene Peterson, the editor of The Message version of the Bible puts it this way:

“Sloth is most often evidenced in busyness … in frantic running around, trying to be everything to everyone, and then having no time to listen or pray, no time to become the person who is doing these things.” 

An August 11, 2012, mental health article in the New York Times titled “The Anxious Idiot” illustrates Peterson’s point beautifully.

“Laziness: it isn’t a characteristic usually associated with the anxious. If anything, people tend to view the anxious as more active and motivated than normal, because they are more haunted by the specter of failure. And yet long experience has taught me that it is laziness … that is the foremost enemy of the anxiety sufferer, for laziness prevents him from countering the very patterns of thought that make him anxious in the first place.” 

You may or may not be much of a worrier.

Anxiety may be the last thing you resort to when times get tough.

if we struggle with anger or a need for control, then we also likely struggle with trusting God when difficult people or disturbing situations come into our life.

While the article in the NY Times was written without any spiritual connotations or recommendations, it definitely gets to the heart of the matter: every person has a decisive choice to make when confronted with the daily decisions of life.

We can make the genuine effort to trust in God, genuinely let go of our own desires, and genuinely implement His divine recommendations for a healthy, fruitful life, or we can genuinely slide down the path of least mental resistance into our comfortable, but usually very genuinely detrimental, very bad habits.

This is why Paul says our faith is like running a race.

He doesn’t say it’s like sitting in a meadow on a sunny day having a picnic.

Our participation and consistent effort are required. 

Hebrews 12:1-2a says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder, and perfecter of our faith.”

One of the best parables of the Bible encourages us to risk everything we hold dear in order to walk closely with God. 

Matthew 25:14-30 Amplified Bible

Parable of the Talents

14 “For it is just like a man who was about to take a journey, and he called his servants together and entrusted them with his possessions. 15 To one he gave five [a]talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and then he went on his journey. 16 The one who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he [made a profit and] gained five more. 17 Likewise the one who had two [made a profit and] gained two more.  18 But the one who had received the one went and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 And the one who had received the five talents came and brought him five more, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted to me five talents. See, I have [made a profit and] gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’

22 “Also the one who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have [made a profit and] gained two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’

24 “The one who had received one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a harsh and demanding man, reaping [the harvest] where you did not sow and gathering where you did not scatter seed25 So I was afraid [to lose the talent], and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is your own.’

26 “But his master answered him, ‘You wicked, lazy servant, you knew that I reap [the harvest] where I did not sow and gather where I did not scatter seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money with the bankers, and at my return I would have received my money back with interest. 28 So take the talent away from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

29 “For to everyone who has [and values his blessings and gifts from God, and has used them wisely], more will be given, and [he will be richly supplied so that] he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [because he has ignored or disregarded his blessings and gifts from God], even what he does have will be taken away. 30 And throw out the worthless servant into the outer darkness; in that place [of grief and torment] there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger].

We read here about the parable of the talents, which tells the story of a wealthy business owner who gives three employees each a sum of money and asks them to take care of it for him while he is away on a trip.

Two of them immediately invested the money so that it would earn interest.

The third one was fearful of what would happen if he made a mistake, so he simply buried the money for safekeeping.

When the owner returned, this is what happened:

“But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?” And then the passage closes with this warning: “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” 

In commenting on this parable, Oswald Chambers said,

“The person who is lazy naturally is always captious (i.e., sully or a whining). ‘I haven’t had a decent chance,’ and the one who is lazy spiritually is captious with God. Lazy people always strike out on an independent line.” 

Of course, our definition of independence is different today than it was back then (circa 1900).

Today we typically use the word independence in a much more positive fashion than Chambers intended.

His implication is that lazy believers chart their course separately from God’s recommended path.

Therefore, when it comes to “spiritual matters,” they can all too easily use the excuse of independence — or what they believe to be our unique situation — to justify laziness, rebellion, or fear and so very much more.

Jesus, on the other hand, calls us to be utterly dependent on Him.

As Oswald Chambers further says in his writings, we should never forget that our ability to trust in God and to serve Him with boldness — despite the risks to ourselves — isn’t measured by what we are capable of or what we desire to do.

Instead, our abilities should be grounded in the promises of God never to fail us, leave us, or ask us to do something that He cannot achieve through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us.

In fact, the greatest miracles of life come when we are at our weakest and trust God to perform His work within us for the benefit of others and His glory. 

2 Corinthians 4:7-11 NLT says, “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”

So, these verses imply that the weaker or more fearful you and I may be of what God has asked you and I to do, the greater becomes the opportunity for Him to work miracles and display His genuine glory.

Theologically, all of this may sound like solid truth to you, but if you are still wondering what it all means for the day-to-day living and walking with Jesus, perhaps the following words of wisdom from the Book of Proverbs will help you turn these spiritual implications into daily actions.

As with most Biblical truth, there is great irony in God’s command to trust Him in Proverbs 3:5-6, which says simply:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

These verses contain two actions for us to follow: trust and submit.

We must genuinely participate in the process.

To bear fruit like the tree, we must remain planted by streams of living water.

Yet to keep ourselves out of spiritual laziness and make the efforts required of this command, we must simultaneously learn to simply rest.

Yes, you and I absolutely read that right.

To overcome laziness, we have to learn to be still. 

When we build Sabbath margin into our daily lives — not just on Sunday — we will have the time to breathe, think clearly, and engage our complete being — mind, body, and soul — in genuine pursuit of Rabbi Jesus and Savior Christ. 

The tree grows because it is beside the river of life.

We will only grow in Christ when we take the time to drink of His strength and learn of His wisdom.

So, while I said at the beginning of this devotional message that prayer, Bible study, meditation, and worship are the first fruits of trust, they also become the essential building blocks of greater, greatest, trust as we faithfully apply them.

But we will never see them appear, nor be able to taste them as long as we allow busyness to proliferate in our lives, numb us to the real laziness of our hearts.

When we allow laziness to dominate our decisions and motivations, we only end up serving a false god, and not the true King of Glory.

Laziness, or not trusting God, like any other sin feels good for a season.

Other than busyness, it often shows up in forms of escapism, like mindless TV watching, endless smartphone use, endless devotion to video games, endless social media surfing, or a myriad of physical indulgences, coping mechanisms.

But when we look it square in the eye and call it for what it is, we realize it’s all about our trusting or not trusting the unseen God to do what He says He will do.

Today, I would ask you, fellow traveler, where are you and I planted? 

Are we putting “a few roots down” near the river of life, while allowing others to seek their comfort in the tainted soils of self-reliance or personal comfort?

 If so, ask God to help you find them again, dig them up, and transplant them into His unending goodness and strength.

It won’t happen overnight, but when you wake each morning, His mercies will be new, and God’s miracles will be waiting to sustain us through this “process.”

For Further Reflection and Daily Spiritual Journaling

The questions and readings below can be used for a single-day study or for our re-organization, re-prioritization of our daily quiet time throughout the week.

Day 1 – Describe in your own the words the difference between striving to perform for God (i.e., doing something out of duty or to achieve) and participating in God’s work in your life.

Read Ephesians 2:8-9 and James 2:14-26.

Why do you think you are sometimes motivated toward busyness or performance?

What is God leading us to change? How? Write them out as a prayer to Him.

Day 2 – Read Lamentations 3:22-23. In what ways are you experiencing God’s mercies today or have in the past? How are they new or different to you now than they were yesterday? If you’re in a place of struggle right now, ask God to help you recognize and receive His mercies.

Day 3 – Read, re-read the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. How are you and I similar to the good servants? In what ways are you and I being like the fearful servant? Journal about why you think that is, and what the Holy Spirit is revealing in your heart.

Day 4 – Take some time to be still before the Lord today.

Begin by reading Proverbs 3:5-6 and then meditating on it.

Ask God to interrupt you and I at any moment with what He wants to whisper to yours and my heart.

For more about “being busy” and practicing stillness and what it means,

check out: https://todaydevotional.com/devotions/be-still-2013-07-01

Day 5 – Spend some time reflecting on our schedules and our commitments at work, home, church, in your community, and other volunteering roles.

Read Luke 10:38-42.

Luke 10:38-42Amplified Bible

Martha and Mary

38 Now while they were on their way, Jesus entered a village [called Bethany], and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was continually listening to His teaching. 40 But Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities; and she approached Him and said, “Lord, is it of no concern to You that my sister has left me to do the serving alone? Tell her to help me and do her part.” 41 But the Lord replied to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part [that which is to her advantage], which will not be taken away from her.”

Go to God in prayer and ask Him to reveal areas where you, I, are too busy like Martha and where you and I need to be more studious and quieter like Mary. 

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

All-Knowing Father, you authored my life, you know and direct my future. You make all things work together for my good. Pray! Help me to trust you as I think about my future. Give me peace of mind. Whatever happens, I know that you are working for my good and your glory. Help me to live with freedom, knowing that my future is in your mighty hand. I do not know what is around the corner, but nothing can take you by surprise. I face uncertainty but I can be certain that you are in control and that you are good. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

https://translate.google.com/

Trinity Sunday. The Diversity of God is Interrupting the Silence of the Silent. Bearing up to the Unbearable World. Gospel of John 16:12-15

As we open our devotional time together on this Trinity Sunday 2022, we look to the diversity of all things and sing these words in praise of the Triune God:

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! All thy works shall praise thy name, in land and sky and sea. Holy, holy, holy, Merciful and Mighty! God in three persons, Blessed Trinity.”

The very essence of God the Trinity embodies diversity.

God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each distinct, yet also unified. “God in three persons” is one way of speaking about the several ways we experience God – God creates. God loves. God redeems. God sustains.

Our Triune God’s great love for us was present at the very moment of creation.

As the creation story unfolds before us through the Bible, on the sixth day God created humankind in the “image of God” with the absolute fullness of love.

The imago Dei is the Latin term for “image of God.”

The value of all humanity, without exception is permanently rooted here, as it affirms that all human beings have been made in the image and likeness of God.

Everyone – every culture, every diversity of race, ethnicity, language, ability.

The variety of human characteristics is intentional, as God indeed is diverse in His divine nature and character.

All people, without one exception, hold inherent dignity, value and self-worth.

In these days in which we find our “Christian” selves living, we are challenged in understanding, envisioning, what “inherent dignity, value and self-worth” look like beyond what our eyes see, our ears hear, our hearts and souls beat for.

The enormous diversity of world cultures means there is an enormously diverse understanding of what we are taught is, “inherent dignity, value, self-worth.”

Contemporary thought seems to greatly emphasize stress – cultural sensitivity.

Cultural sensitivity, also sometimes referred to as cross-cultural sensitivity or simply cultural awareness, is the knowledge, and awareness, and acceptance of other cultures and others’ cultural identities. 

On the individual level, cultural sensitivity enables travelers and workers to successfully navigate a different culture with which they are interacting.

There is much we are trying to bear up to, to be as sensitive as possible with those we encounter. Except it is an enormous responsibility we fall short at.

There is too much to know and we cannot know everything there is to know about people, their backgrounds, their values, morals their life experiences.

There is much we can be taught here.

As followers of Christ, we are image bearers of God’s love in the world, called to uphold the inherent value, dignity and self-worth of all human beings through our words, actions, and prayer. Together, we who are the Body of Christ, affirm and constantly reaffirm the value, dignity, and self-worth of all human beings.

There is much Jesus tried to teach His Disciples as he walked this earth.

There are much which Jesus tries to teach us – but we cannot remember it all.

Neither can we see, taste, smell or listen to or hear it all.

We simply do not have the capacity to retain all the information available.

But we are each still, into this very day, at this exact and exacting moment, covenanted by God to bear with them and minister unto them all – Matthew 28:16-20

John 16:12-15 Amplified Bible

12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear [to hear] them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [full and complete truth]. For He will not speak on His own initiative, but He will speak whatever He hears [from the Father—the message regarding the Son], and He will disclose to you what is to come [in the future]. 14 He will glorify and honor Me, because He (the Holy Spirit) will take from what is Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Because of this I said that He [the Spirit] will take from what is Mine and will reveal it to you.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Jesus said to His disciples in the Upper Room, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear to hear them now.” (Verse 12)

When I hear Jesus talking about the unbearable things of life I want to run away.

But I can’t run away. It’s too late. There’s nowhere to go.

As painful as it is to remember and as difficult as it is to talk about, I understand what Jesus means when he says, “You cannot bear [to hear] them now.”

Every single one of us has thoughts and fears of the unbearable.

Every one of us has lived or maybe is living a reality that is more than we can handle, a reality that has left us wondering how or if you will get through it.

And somehow, we do.

Think about what you have already borne the brunt of that you never asked for, never wanted, if you had been told of it you would have said, “I can’t bear that.”

The unbearable is that which we do not wish for ourselves or our worst enemy.

It comes to us in the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage, the loss of a job, a diagnosis, or in a thousand other actual and perceived ways. It is the most painful experience we can ever imagine. It is that moment when all we can do is either call yell out God’s name or curse God’s name, and sometimes we do both.

So let me ask you this. What comes to mind when you think of the unbearable?

What are your experiences of the unbearable?

Most of us, I suspect, focus on circumstances of pain, loss, and suffering, circumstances that break our hearts, shatter our lives, and bring us to tears.

That is real. It is our experience of our bearing up to the unbearable but it’s not our only experience of trying to bear up to the unbearable with our own might. 

There is an opposite aspect of the unbearable.

Think about a time when love, joy, or beauty was so real, so deep, so full that you could not hold it all.

It was more than your senses could bear, and tears poured forth, your heart was enlarged, and all you could say was, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

You stood in awe and utter amazement of what was happening and silently wondered, “Who am I that God would be mindful of me, that God would seek me out?” (Paraphrase of Psalm 8:5)

When has that been your experience of the unbearable?

In what ways have beauty, joy, or love been more than you could bear?

I remember a Wednesday afternoon when a newborn boy was placed in my hands.

He was no more than seven pounds I believe, but he might as well have weighed seven hundred pounds.

It was more than I could bear.

He wasn’t crying but I was.

As someone who has no children of my own, no experience as a father, let alone a soon to be grandfather, I would crumble under the “weight” of my grandson.

Holding myself to a promise I made a long time ago to remain a lifelong bachelor – to love myself better than anyone else I knew, there’s something about my wife’s love that is unbearable, and I mean that in the very best way!

She and her love are more than I can fathom and everything within me cries out “yes; yes” to her, yes to us, yes to God, all that we are and all that we might be.

This kind of unbearable reality is beyond our wildest dreams and imaginings.

It’s more than the greatest, biggest, and best wish for ourselves.

It leaves us in speechless gratitude.

It comes to us in the miracle of birth, a life filled with meaning, a love that is eternal, and in a thousand other ways.

Bearing the unbearable opens us to receiving a life we could never create for or give ourselves.

It shatters our fears, breaks through our defenses, and brings us to tears.

Bearing the unbearable in either aspect can open our heart.

It can make us vulnerable, real, and authentic.

It creates space for and invites intimacy.

That is the beginning of a new life.

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the church thought more and more of God the Father and Jesus as sharing an identity, so much so they called them both by the name previously reserved for the Father, “Lord,” which just also happened to be the title given to the Roman Emperor Caesar.

Calling Jesus “Lord” in those times was a political act and could get you in considerable trouble and potentially become lion’s food in the Coliseum.

The church began to think of Jesus as God’s human representative. Or to put it another way, Jesus was the human face of God. God in person, we might say. In time the church developed the doctrine of the incarnation.

1 Corinthians 5:19 says, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.”

So, that helps understand the relationship between the Father and Jesus.

But what about the Holy Spirit, where does he come in?

Jesus had promised the disciples that after he left them, the Spirit would come to tell them all that they needed to know.

Our Gospel lesson from John today has Jesus telling them:

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

If we think of Jesus as God “in person,” the human face of God, then we might think of the Spirit as “God present.”

It is the Holy Spirit that makes Jesus our contemporary and not just an inspiring dead man from long ago.

It is God’s Spirit that allows us to know his presence and power now.

That means the Triune God we worship is still quite alive and still acting and speaking and not just a deity we “have heard reports about” from the past.

So, there’s a real sense in which we need to experience bearing the unbearable.

Here’s why I say that.

We tend to live unconscious lives.

We “sleepwalk” through our days missing life, love, beauty, and each other.

If there is a mortal sin it has to be unconscious living.

Bearing the unbearable can awaken us, offer insights into our life, teach us about ourselves, grow us up, and bring us more fully into ourselves.

Ultimately, though, it reveals the presence of God, the Father, Son, Spirit.

Those who stand in the paradox of bearing the unbearable are given ears to hear, eyes to see, hearts to love and souls to serve with.

I can’t help but wonder, what if God is never more present to us than when we bear the unbearable?

The death of a loved one. The loss of a job. The breakup of a marriage.

The loneliness that cripples. The diagnosis that turns life upside down.

The unfathomable catastrophe. The unfathomable love.

The beauty that leaves us speechless. The tears of joy. What if those things that ask more of us than we can handle and offer us more than we could ever have imagined are the very places in which God is most present and most real?

Bearing the unbearable places, humbles us on the threshold of our lives.

It takes us to the limits of who we are, what we have with God versus the world.

It’s the place where life in Father, Son, Holy Spirit is too real, too much, too big.

It’s also the place that calls us to be accountable to ourselves and our neighbors and calls us to be maximally accountable to God, the Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

I’m not talking about blame or guilt.

I’m talking about the accountability of “girding ourselves” and showing up.

When we stand at the edge of life, bearing the unbearable, something stunning and beautiful can happen.

We are standing at the opening “into all the truth.”

That’s a pretty big and bold statement.

But that’s exactly what Jesus says will happen.

The Spirit will guide us into all the truth.

The Spirit will declare, bring, and offer all that Jesus has and all that the Father has.

Nothing is withheld.

This Triune God is a God who still comes among his people in presence and power. This Triune God still speaks to us, and that is a good thing, too, because the way the world is continues to challenge us to hear what God would say to us.

The Bible is our authoritative text, but it is only the living God who can turn the dead letter into a live word to us (Isaiah 55:8-11). That puts upon the church the difficult responsibility of being a community of discernment and imagination.

We may not know it, understand it, or believe it but in the midst of unbearable reality we are being gracefully guided into all the truth we are able to bear up to.

When we bear the unbearable the Holy Trinity becomes a Holy Quaternity.

It’s not about only the three. Yes, there are the three but there is also a fourth.

You and I are the fourth.

How can we bear with that?

The Bible is a reliable guide for faith, because it tells us enough of who God is and what God does for us to discern what God says to us today. God has given us reason to think things through and a conscience to sort the good from the bad.

We have to listen carefully to what God might say to us in these days from what we do know.

And the Bible does tell us about many things.

It tells us about being Children of God, of mercy and forgiveness, about love and justice, about wealth and poverty, about faithfulness and discipleship too, and about stewardship and mission, about wisdom and folly, about life and death.

We can all bear the unbearable because God bears us up – every single moment!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Psalm 121 Complete Jewish Bible

121 (0) A song of ascents:

(1) If I raise my eyes to the hills,
from where will my help come?
My help comes from Adonai,
the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip —
your guardian is not asleep.
No, the guardian of Isra’el
never slumbers or sleeps.

Adonai is your guardian; at your right hand
Adonai provides you with shade —
the sun can’t strike you during the day
or even the moon at night.

Adonai will guard you against all harm;
he will guard your life.
Adonai will guard your coming and going
from now on and forever.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen

https://translate.google.com/

A Word to The Wise on Finding Your Way: Commit Yourself unto the Lord. Friends, Come, Find the Quiet Center!

The real question behind this promise is very simple: How do I define success for my plans? The answer is very simple as well: bringing glory to God for his grace (see Eph. 1:61214). Committing our works and plans unto God means surrendering them into to God’s will (James 4:13-15), trusting that God will be 100% glorified in them (Col. 3:17), and recognizing that it is not in our power to properly guide our own steps (Prov. 16:9). God longs to bless us and empower us — not for our own selfish ambition (James 3:16), but for our eternal good (Rom. 8:28) and God’s glory. Like Jesus, when we commit our plans and works unto, into, to the Lord, we are saying, “Not my will, Father, but yours be done!”

Proverbs 16:3 NRSV

Commit your work to the Lord,
    and your plans will be established.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

This verse tells us we should rely on God in all things. Whether the matters are great or small, we should entrust them to God and look up to Him, because God holds sovereignty over everything and there is nothing difficult if we rely on God. However, in reality, when we encounter difficulties, we don’t first come before God to pray or search, rather, we plan this or that for our selfish desires.

As a result, we take detours, always fail, and cannot see God’s blessings. When we pray to God sincerely, commit our real difficulties to Him, and put aside our selfish desires and intentions, God will always open a way out for us, allowing us the opportunity to observe, see His great power and authority in experience.

The length and breadth of God’s Word reveals to us a rather simple message:

God says,

It’s very simple now: Look upon Me with your heart and your spirit will immediately become strong, you will have a path to practice, and I will guide your every step. My word shall be revealed to you at all times and in all places. No matter where or when, or how adverse the environment is, I will show you clearly and My heart shall be revealed to you if you look to Me with your heart; this way you will run down the road ahead and never lose your way.

Relevant Words of God:

In that blessed moment, when you take that first baby step, look to God with your whole self, it is possible that He does not give you any feeling or any clear ideas, much less any clear directions, but He allows you some understanding.

Or maybe it is this time you have not understood anything, yet it is right that you first look to God. People practicing in this way is not done to follow rules, but rather it is the need of their hearts and is how man should first practice.

It is not that you can obtain enlightenment and guidance every time you look to God and call on God; this spiritual state in man’s life is normal and natural, and looking foremost to God is the normal interaction with God in people’s hearts.

Sometimes, looking to God does not mean asking God to do something using specific words, or asking Him for specific guidance or protection. Rather, it is that when people encounter some issue, they are able to call on Him sincerely.

So, what is God doing there when people call on Him?

When someone’s heart stirs and they realize they have this thought: “Oh God, I can’t do this myself, I don’t know how to do it, and I feel weak and negative…,”

When these thoughts arise in them, does God not know about it?

When these thoughts arise in people, are their hearts sincere?

When they call on God sincerely in this way, does God assent to help them?

Despite the fact that they may not have spoken a word, they show sincerity, and so God assents to help them.

When someone encounters an especially thorny difficulty, when they have no one to turn to, and when they feel particularly helpless, they put their only hope in God. What are their prayers like? What is their state of mind? Are they trying to be genuinely sincere? Is there any adulteration within them at that time?

It is only when you trust God as though He were the very last straw that you clutch onto to save your life, hoping that He will help you, that your heart is sincere. Though you may not have said much, your heart has already stirred.

That is, you give your sincere heart to God, and God listens. When God listens, He sees your difficulties, and He will enlighten you, guide you, and help you.

Lots of times, we lean far too much on ourselves for things. We might not have had the best parents, or upbringing, or teaching, or mentors, or best of friends and it can cause us to mightily doubt God’s love and ability to help in our lives. When people have let us down, it can be easy to not want to trust God for things.

Today’s Bible verse from Proverbs 16:3 really comes down to our trust. It’s a challenge to put your trust in God. Rather than relying solely on yourself for everything, it asks you to trust God. Trust doesn’t always come easily, however.

It can be really hard to trust something as big as your future and plans to God.

YET! That’s what this verse is commanding us to figure out how to do. It is saying the only path to abundant life is to trust God with your plans, trust Him with your efforts. Can you 100% trust God with these things because He’s good?

Faith …..

Hope …..

Love …..

But the greatest of these is ……

I just noticed, The Apostle Paul never mentioned TRUST in 1 Corinthians 13:13!

Deliberate and Intentional or Unplanned and Unintentional?

What do you think about that oversight?

What do you believe about that oversight?

What does your very own intimately personal experience tell you?

Is there a similar place for TRUST in that verse from 1 Corinthians 13:13?

Trust in our fellow man is a dangerous proposition (Psalm 118:8-9) Arriving at that exact conclusion is a time-honored process of trial and error and hurting.

Trusting in God is a dangerous proposition too but for different and much safer reasons (Psalm 4:8, Psalm 12:5 18:1-3, Psalm 23, Psalm 91, Psalm 107 et. al).

Give God a chance. Give Jesus a chance! Give the Holy Spirit a chance! He isn’t going to let you down like people may have in your life. He’s going to always be there to walk you through the challenges life brings. So, PRAY! Decide today to grow trust in God for your future. Trust in Him and watch your plans succeed!

Come and Find the Quiet Center … Shirley Erena Murray, Hope Publishing, 1992

Come and find the quiet center
     in the crowded life we lead,
          find the room for hope to enter,
               find the frame where we are freed:
clear the chaos and the clutter,
     clear our eyes, that we can see
          all the things that really matter,
               be at peace, and simply be.

Silence is a friend who claims us,
     cools the heat and slows the pace,
          God it is who speaks and names us,
               knows our being, touches base,
making space within our thinking,
     lifting shades to show the sun,
          raising courage when we're shrinking,
               finding scope for faith begun.

In the Spirit let us travel,
     open to each other's pain,
          let our loves and fears unravel,
               celebrate the space we gain:
there's a place for deepest dreaming,
     there's a time for heart to care,
          in the Spirit's lively scheming
               there is always room to spare!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Father, I want your will to be my plans. I want your glory to be my goal. I have things that I want to do. However, if these plans are not for your glory, if these plans are not a blessing to my family or those over whom I have influence, then please defeat me in those plans. Please guide me into other areas of blessing. I want you to be above all else glorified in what I do. I only want to go where your grace leads me. I commit my ways, my plans, and my works to you and to your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

https://translate.google.com/

Help Me to Trust in You, O’ Lord! Be Thou My Wisdom! |Proverbs 3:5–6|

Trust. It can’t be half-hearted. Either it is a full trust, or it is ‘trust’ clouded with suspicion and doubt. So, as we face the everyday challenges of life, or as we look for answers to deep and difficult problems, let’s put our full trust in the LORD.

Pray! Let’s ask for his wisdom and guidance as we make our choices. Let’s give him praise for the good in our life and seek his blessing for the long days ahead. Why? Because he longs to bless us with a wise life, both now, and forevermore.

Proverbs 3:5-8 New Revised Standard Version

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be a healing for your flesh
    and a refreshment for your body.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Faith ….

Hope ….

Love ….

And the Greatest of these is …..

Resigning yourself into God’s care is an act of faith. It’s easy for Christians to say in a hopeful general way, “The Lord’s will be done,” but it’s another matter entirely for us to resign ourselves into the Lord’s loving hands about a specific circumstance which we have no answer. In the Bible when someone approached this walk of self-resignation, it was done with great seriousness of thought.

And the Greatest of these is …… TRUST?

Can there be faith, hope and love absent a maximum measure of genuine trust?

Merely saying the words, “I trust the Lord completely,” isn’t sufficient to prove that we possess a total 100% ‘genuine’ trust in him. It must be a free and willing surrender. Consider Egypt’s Pharaoh: Only when he could not hold out against God’s plagues any longer did, finally resigns to let Israel take their wilderness journey toward the Promised Land (see Exodus 12:29-32).

Likewise, many people living in these higher than high -risk contemporary of times has said, “I give in, I commit, I trust,” only after they have seen no other way out of their situations. But true resignation, the kind that pleases God, is done willingly to His Standard, prior to our coming to our wit’s end. We are to act in covenant with the Lord, giving him a blank check and letting him fill it in.

God cannot and will not accept no less than our all. If we resign our lives to him only half-heartedly, with any kind of reservation, we are as guilty as Ananias and Sapphira. They pretended to give their all to the Lord, but in reality, they held back a part and they paid with their lives (see Acts 5:1-11). There can be no deals or restrictions placed on our Lord. Contrast Acts 2:43-47 with 5:1-11!

“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).

“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him” (Psalm 62:8).

Although the psalmists say we’re to trust in God at all times, our pride always makes us want to keep control of our lives. It is surprising how stubborn and fleeting and woefully willful each one of us can be. Our surrender to him — in our thoughts, our actions, our desires — is by nature a daily, ongoing work.

We are repeatedly reminded, (gently, not so gently) “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). How reassuring to know that as we reach to him in faith, our Master will carry us through all hardships and natural impossibilities. How reassuring to know, to experience, as we stretch our finite hopes heavenward, it is our resurrected Savior Jesus who rose from the grave – turned our dying hope unto an ever-lasting and ever-living hope for a prosperous and blessed future.

We often get too easily wrapped up in the pursuit of happiness. It’s easy to think that if we could just do or be better that we would have it made. So, we work, and we work, trying to get more friends, or improve our grades to get into a better college. We do things like getting a job after school so we can get a car. We believe if we can do enough, be enough or have enough, we will be happy.

The problem with our doing more, with our being more, or our having more is that these things are empty. There’s no number of good grades that will truly make us happy in the long run. No number of friends, or money will complete us. We can try and work to fill our life with stuff, still feel impossibly empty.

Today’s Bible verse addresses these issues.

The last part of this verse from Proverbs 3 talks about not depending on our own understanding. What that means is do not depend too heavily on what we think seems good. Don’t depend on what we see on TV or what we hear in the halls at school from our friends to tell us what will make us all 1000% happy.

True happiness comes from a relationship of maturing trust with Jesus Christ.

When you let 100% of Jesus into your life, He will show you how He sees you.

It’s when you get to know and trust Jesus, you will find true happiness. If you want to be happy and live your life to the fullest, you need to choose to do what this verse says. You need to trust the Lord with all your heart. This isn’t always easy, it is not always supposed to be easy, but if you’ll spend some time getting to know God, you will see trusting in Him brings you true maturing happiness.

So, choose today to trust in the Lord. Don’t get caught up in all the things of life and let them steal your happiness. Trust in God and look to Him for answers.

Psalm 27

Triumphant Song of Confidence

Of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
    to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
    they shall stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
    my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
    yet I will be confident.

One thing I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
    and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will set me high on a rock.

Now my head is lifted up
    above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
    be gracious to me and answer me!
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, do I seek. (Psalm 27:1-8 NRSV)

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

O Lord my God, my eternal Father, thank you that you are my ever-present help in times of trouble. Help me to trust in what is unseen. Remind me of the truth of your power, that you surround me, and that you are fighting for me. Give me favor and breakthrough in my life. You are the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, my Savior. To you be all measures of honor and glory forever and ever.  Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

https://translate.google.com/

%d bloggers like this: