Category Archives: Trust

Solution For the Troubled Heart

Wisdom from a Country Preacher series                                                                 

(Because of the high interest in my dad’s sermon notes, I decided the first Faith Friday post should be from his messages.)

Today we are talking about a troubled heart. I’m not talking about our heart that beats 70 times per minute, not the one you can have a leaking valve in or weak muscle. We’ve got surgeries and pills for that, in fact, we have medicines today for most everything — headache, pain, colds. There’s no pill for the troubled heart. The heart that is troubled is really our mind and emotions, our thoughts.

Notice John 14:1. Jesus tells his disciples, Let not your heart be troubled. Hmmm, Let not. So there is something we can do when troubles come and our minds run off with us. Verse 2, Believe in God.

The news, magazines, and talk shows try to tell us nowadays that our trouble comes from where we are raised, our parents, our affluence. Blame someone else. Jesus says we are responsible for our troubled heart. He says, don’t be troubled, believe in God.

What God? The God that created this universe, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in Him we see God.

Jesus says in verse 2 to also believe Him. Believe in God, believe also in me. Follow him. Jesus taught us to believe in God as He did as He let them nail Him to the cross. Verses23-27 says,                                                                                                        23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.  26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

When we believe in Him, He gives peace — even in troubles, even when we have a troubled heart. There’s no feeling as that of loneliness, being alone, unloved, forsaken. It’s the heart of an unbeliever. Jesus lives in us as Christians. We are never alone. He is our best friend. He says, I will come to you and be with you always.

We don’t have to endure troubles alone. Jesus is closer than a friend. He is there to assure us, comfort us, give us guidance, strength and hope.

Let not your heart be troubled — Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.

 

 

 

Five Unusual Signs of Blessing

‘Gblessing stoneod bless you.’  I’ve said that to people, have you?  What do we mean when we say that?  I think I’ve meant – ‘may everything go your way’.

But some of the ways Jesus described blessing in the Bible seem to be a little different.  In Matthew 5, in what is called the Beatitudes, Jesus refers to a whole range of people being blessed that I wouldn’t think of having a blessing  —-

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit
  • Blessed are those who mourn
  • Blessed are the meek
  • Blessed are the peacemakers
  • Blessed are you when people insult you…because of me

Jesus puts us in a topsy-turvy world with these words.  Maybe blessing will bring about circumstances that humble us, so that we are poor in spirit.  Maybe to be blessed will bring about mourning, so we can understand comfort.  Maybe to be blessed will bring about strife, so we can learn to be peacemakers.

Our self-centeredness makes us want exactly what we want.  What God is about is having a close relationship with Him and making us more like Him   Sometimes that means having the opposite of what we think will be a blessing occur to us so that the blessing can follow.

So, when you are going through troubles it might just be God blessing you, you just haven’t seen the end results yet.

Set on Repeat

Do you ever wake up and just lay in bed for awhile, running over and over in your mind the challenges that you’re going to face that day? You get more and more anxious as you keep playing them out in numerous different ways. Or maybe you’re thinking about the ones that you faced the day before. You keep beating yourself up over saying what you said or doing what you did. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have my troubles and challenges set on repeat. It’s like I store these short clips of my life on a shelf for easy access so I can watch, re-watch, and rehash them again and again and analyze them from every possible angle.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we put ourselves through the agony, guilt, regret, and anxiety of reliving or anticipating these difficult times in our lives? I don’t think God wants this for our lives. We are only meant to live through these times once not over and over. Reliving them only multiplies our suffering. Instead, we need to learn what we can from them and then offer them to God to be used for His purposes. God can use the rough and seemingly terrible times in our lives for good. He wants us to lay our burdens before Him (Matt 11:28) and be freed from the thoughts that bring us down.

Here’s one of my favorite songs that reminds me what I need to do with my troubles!

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=alSjOp4aj7M&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DalSjOp4aj7M

 

I realized I’m a total control freak!

I never viewed myself as a very controlling person. I usually let others take the reins and just settle in my nice comfortable seat of following. Lately though, God has been revealing something to me…that I am a total control freak! I mean, not controlling of others, but of myself. Throughout my life I thought I was doing a pretty okay job at living my life for God when in reality I was making decisions based on myself and what I wanted out of life. God has been pointing out so many areas of my life that are still under ‘my control’.

Unlocking doorI like to think about it like a house. I do feel like I’ve given Him access to quite a few rooms in my house…but I have some locked doors too, the keys to which I have a death grip around..I’ve hidden those keys so well I think that God will never find them! It’s like He’s standing outside of those doors, lightly knocking, waiting to be let in, but it’s just so hard to relinquish that control and hand over the keys! I think sometimes I pretend not to hear the knock and figure it must just be those shutters flapping in the wind again! But honestly, how come it’s so hard to trust God with every part of our lives? I think for me it goes right back to trust. Trusting that He is truly in control of all things (Col 1:16-17) , trusting that He loves me and that He really does have some kind of plan for even me!

I hope and pray that you and I can learn to trust this sovereign God more and more and start loosening our grip on those keys!

The bigger picture

I have spent the last 8 and a half years teaching music in the public school setting.  My last gig, which ended in December due to relocating, was teaching chorus to a bunch of very talented sixth graders.  While teaching, I’d often found myself in situations where I’d tell my students, “Just trust me.”  For example, I’ve taught songs where one of the harmony lines just doesn’t seem to make much sense when sung by itself.  I’d tell my students “Trust me, it might sound a little weird right now, but it will sound awesome when we put it with the melody.”  My students were probably thinking “Yeah, right!  How could that ever sound good?!”  But as time went by and they started hearing how the piece fit together, with each passing rehearsal, I began earning credibility points from my students.

After you start making good on enough of those ‘trust me’ moments, you begin seeing that you’ve built up quite a big bank of points.   My students’ doubt and questioning gradually started being replaced with certainty and trust.  They began realizing that I was on their team, that I was pushing them to be their best, to perform up to their highest ability because from my position, I could see the big picture.

I think trusting the Lord’s a lot like that.  He clearly knows what’s best for us.  After all, He is our Maker and He does have a better vantage point on our lives than we do.  If we begin showing our trust for Him in the little things, He will begin proving His credibility and showing His goodness and we won’t help but to want to come to Him for the big things, too.  My favorite verse, Proverbs 3: 5 & 6, illustrates this.  When we trust Him with our whole heart and fight the urge to try and accomplish things on our own power and wisdom, He promises to make our paths straight.

Straight Path

Gifts in Disguise

There are so many times that I wonder why God hasn’t answered my prayers the way I would’ve liked Him to or as quickly as I thought He should. Too often I think I know what’s best for my life and what I need, but I’m not the one who can see the whole picture. There have been times when I have questioned why God never answered a certain prayer that I had, just to realize later why He never did and I go away humming along with Garth Brooks’ song ‘Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers!’ God knows me so much better than I know myself and loves me more than I know, so why wouldn’t I trust Him? When I haven’t seen God answer my prayers, I need to remember it is teaching me to wait upon God and to trust Him in the darkness. Instead of letting difficulties draw me into worrying, I need to try to see them as setting the scene for God to gloriously intervene. We need to always be actively looking for what God is doing in our lives.

Peace in the New Year

January 4

peaceWe all want peace, don’t we?  I mean, really, all the beauty pageant finalists answer their questions with the desire for ‘world peace’.   (That always cracks me up – it’s such a safe answer.)  But really, our homes, our community, our state, our country, our world would be a much better place to live if there was peace.

What about ourselves, do we have inward peace?  I remember a time when I was full of fear, afraid for my children, afraid for circumstances at work, afraid of just about everything.  During that time something profound happened in just a short little phone conversation at work.

Now, the caller didn’t know that I was experiencing such fear, but she ended the conversation with ‘God’s peace be with you.’  That statement hit me like a ton of bricks.  I thought to myself, that’s it – I don’t have peace, that’s why I’m so fearful, so nervous, so edgy.  I need peace amidst all of the circumstances surrounding me.

We all do, don’t we?  Every time we turn on the TV we hear of shootings like the ones in Newtown, CT, robberies, the fiscal cliff, stock market declines.  It is enough to make us fearful all the time.  But I learned a truth from that phone call years ago.

I need to remember where peace comes from – it comes from God.  I like to think on Scripture to help me internalize and live out my faith.  I wanted to know how to daily experience God’s peace amidst all the sometimes overwhelming non-peaceful things coming my way.

This is the verse I landed on and cling to in these times, ‘You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.’  Isaiah 26 NIV   I know that when I trust God – trust that He is in control, trust that He knows the beginning from the end, trust that He loves me –that He will keep me in perfect peace when the overwhelming circumstances and the bad news of the day come my way.  I don’t just know it, I’ve experienced it.

God’s peace be with you.