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Faithlife

Can I Really Trust God-h

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Scripture: Proverbs 3:1-12

The message this morning is a call for every man, woman, boy and girl to answer the question posed in the message title?  Am I trusting God today?  Can I trust God today?

In His Grip


Read:  Zephaniah 3:14-20

The Lord loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones.

--Psalm 37:28

It's the grip.

Not mine, but His.

Sometimes I forget

And latch on to something,

Or someone,

Forgetting my first love.

It's the grip.

Rock-strong, love-led.

Holding me when I want to run and hide,

Or disappear,

Forcing me to stand still.

It's the grip.

Pure grace, His ways.

Leading me through the angst and chaos,

Or cloudless sky,

Forging a path He has chosen.

It's the grip.

God's hand, on me.

Saving me,

And quieting my anxious mind,

Or fearful heart,

Forever held in His grip.  –TF


 

1.   You can’t determine the worth or value of anything in this world until you are willing to give it your full weight.

You’ve got one foot in the boat and one foot on the dock

Half of your faith in Jesus and half in the Wall Street stock

And you’re hoping that opportunity is going to find your door and knock

You’ve got one foot in the rowboat and one foot on the dock

If you want to find the fruit you have to get out on a limb.  The nature of the Christian life if it is to be fully experienced is to take risks.

If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor.

-- Neil Simon

RISK

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool

To weep is to risk appearing sentimental

To reach out for another is to risk involvement

To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self

To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss

To love is to risk not being loved in return

To live is to risk dying

To hope is to risk despair

To try is to risk failure

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing

They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live

Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave, they have forfeited their freedom

Only a person who risks is free.

Unknown

Peter who was terrified in the boat wanted to get out and walk on the water when he saw his Lord doing it. It’s like coming to the edge and backing away.  There are people who inspire me to get out of the boat every once in awhile and I thank God for them.  We can play it too safe.

The amusement park thing.  They have a slide in the Magnetic Hill water park called the Kamikaze – now what kind of a name is that for a water slide?  The name is only partly as bad as the ride itself.  Is there any place in life where there are no risks?

People who play it too safe take the greatest risks.  Did you know that?  In the long haul, the intelligent risk takers develop the greatest security.  It's a wise person who learns the importance of risk taking.

During World War II, psychologist E. Paul Torrance made a study of United States aces flying in the Pacific theater of operations.  He reported that the most salient characteristic of the ace was his risk- taking ability.  Throughout his life, he had kept testing the limits of his abilities.  And the life histories of these men showed that they were highly resistant to accidents, and in combat they suffered fewer casualties than pilots who were inclined to play it safe.  Dr. Torrance said, "Living itself is a risky business.  If we spent half as much time learning how to take risks as we spend avoiding them, we wouldn't have nearly so much to fear in life."

Putting your weight down on what God has promised.  This is the true exercise of faith.  Letting go of what lies behind.

Ø     Can I trust Him with my treasure?

Mark 10:17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: `Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' " 20 "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22 At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Ø     Can I trust Him with for the Truth?

It’s the compass thing – when the compass says one thing and everything within me says another then can I override my desire to trust myself?  If you can’t accept the Bible as it is, the whole thing as a trustworthy guide then . . .

Are you willing to accept the scriptures as your guide and authority for life?

The Scriptures have been translated into more than a thousand languages by many worthy organizations.  In fact, the Old Testament books are presently being made available in another hundred new tongues!  The Word of God lends itself well to this necessary and wonderful work.  For instance, the American Bible Society reports: "We in the United States love the Lord with our 'heart,' but the Karre people of French Equatorial Africa love Him with their 'liver.'  The Conob Indians of Guatemala love with their 'stomachs,' and the Marshall Islanders in the South Pacific with their 'throats.'  But do all these different words in the various languages distort the message?  Not at all.  In each tongue they are synonymous with the sense of the original. Though we say, 'I press toward the mark (Phil. 3:14) and the Navajo Indians say, 'I run with my mouth open,' it is one and the same truth." (Psa. 68:11)

During the last few decades, building on the scepticism about objective truth, a viewpoint known as deconstructionism has flourished on college campuses.  If there is no objective truth, there is no reason for objective interpretation of history, law, or politics.  Deconstructionists contend therefore, that past events or writings have no intrinsic meaning.  What authors intended in literature, for example, is irrelevant.  What matters is what we think of what they

wrote.  Authorial intent in historical documents suffers the same fate.  So we freely revise the past to conform to current politically correct  values.

(Deconstruction is literally the dismantling of language, texts, discourse.  It began in the realm of language and has since spread to other disciplines.  It first manifested itself in English literature departments.  If language, discourse, and thus the intention of the author can be called into question and doubted, then other realms can fall like dominoes.  History, law, and politics proceed from an undermining of language, not vice versa.)

From "The Body" by Charles Colson p. 173

Ø     Can I trust Him for my tomorrows?

James 4:13 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." [14] Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. [15] Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." [16] As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. [17] Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.

After hearing the gospel explained, people often say, "You mean there's nothing I can do to deserve it?  That's too easy." It seems natural for people to object to the idea that God's unmerited favor can be given so freely to unworthy sinners.  Many find it difficult to trust a God who offers salvation as a free gift.

Bible teacher G. Campbell Morgan told of a coal miner who came to him and said, "I would give anything to believe that God would forgive my sins, but I cannot believe that He will forgive them if I just ask Him.  It is too cheap."  Morgan said, "My dear friend, have you been working today?" "Yes, I was down in the mine." "How did you get out of the pit?  Did you pay?" "Of course not.  I just got into to cage and was pulled to the top." "Were you not afraid to entrust yourself to that cage?  Was it not too cheap?" Morgan asked. "Oh no," said the miner, "it was cheap for me, but it cost the company a lot of money to sink the shaft." Suddenly the truth struck him.  What had not cost him anything -- salvation -- had not come cheap to God.  This miner had never thought of the great price God paid to send His Son so He could rescue fallen humanity.  Now he realized that all anyone had to do was to "get into the cage" by faith.

Ø     Can I trust Him in my trials?

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, [3] because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. [4] Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. [5] If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. [6] But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. [7] That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; [8] he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

According to John MacArthur, some years ago, the Mayo Clinic stated that statistically 80 percent to 85 percent of their total case load were ill either in reality or artificially due directly to mental stress.  Also according to MacArthur, not too long ago, there appeared an article in a leading medical journal entitled, "Is Stress the Cause of All Disease?"  The author of the article says that at the beginning of the century, bacteria were considered to be the center of attention.  Today, mental stress has replaced bacteria.

See:  Isa 26:3; Rom 8:6

A basketball in my hands is worth about $19

A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million

It depends whose hands it's in

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6

A baseball in Mark McGuire's hands is worth $19 million

It depends whose hands it's in

A tennis racket is useless in my hands

A tennis racket in Pete Sampras' hands is a Wimbledon Championship

It depends whose hands it's in

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal

A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea

It depends whose hands it's in

A sling shot in my hands is a kid's toy

A sling shot in David's hand is a mighty weapon.

It depends whose hands it's in

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God's hands will feed thousands

It depends whose hands it's in

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse

Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will produce salvation for the entire world.

It depends whose hands it's in

As you see now it depends whose hands it's in.

So put your concerns, your worries, your fears, your hopes, your

dreams, your families and your relationships in God's hands because

It depends whose hands it's in.

2.   You can’t put your full weight on anything if you are leaning on something else.  Our real trust is in the things that we cling to.

The scripture says actually that we should not “lean” or “depend or rely” on our own understanding when it comes to this life of faith.

Jesus calls us not only to repentance, to the "letting go" of the false gods we come to him with; but he goes one more difficult step farther: he also calls us to believe in him alone as the decisive, absolutely unique, once and for all, full revelation of God to man.  This is extremely difficult for us, because Jesus was careful to give men no external guarantee that he was, in fact, God in the flesh.  Otherwise, he realized, we would not be worshipping him, but would only be worshipping or trusting in the guarantee, whatever it might be.

            ... Robert L. Short, The Parables of Peanuts [1968]

Our ability to understand is a poor backup plan.  This happens often, when we become confused or disoriented, there is a tendency to run things through the filter of our own ability to understand.  There is no way that we find answers there.  I have met people who try to provide them and they seem trite or contrived.  The need to have an answer can be a great handicap in life as a general principle.  There are things that have no answers.

3.   If we disconnect from God in certain areas of your life then we run on our own reserves and they are limited.

Solomon says: “In all your ways acknowledge Him . . .”  It seems normal for us to forget about the fact that God is daily involved in our lives and so we forget to “acknowledge” Him.

4.   It takes more than a rat to make sense of the maze of life.

“He shall direct your paths or make your paths straight . . .”

Why should you trust God?

Ø      There are physical benefits in the pursuit of godliness

Ø      There are emotional benefits in the pursuit of godliness

Ø      There is a quality of life in the here and now in the pursuit of godliness

Just Wait

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.

Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.

I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,

And the Master so gently said, "Child, you must wait!"

"'Wait?', you say, wait!" my indignant reply.

"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!

Is your hand shortened?  Or have you not heard?

By FAITH I have asked, and am claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I can relate

Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to WAIT?

I'm needing a 'yes,' a go-ahead sign,

Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"And Lord, you promised that if we believe

We need but to ask, and we shall receive.

And Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:

I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!"

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate

As my Master replied once again, "You must wait."

So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut

And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting. . .for what?"

He seemed then to kneel and His eyes wept with mine,

And he tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.

I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.

I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.

All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.

You would have what you want -- but, you wouldn't know ME.

"You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint;

You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;

You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;

You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;

You'd not know the joy of resting in me

When darkness and silence were all you could see.

"You'd never experience that fullness of love

As the peace of my Spirit descends like a dove;

You'd know that I give and I save. . .(for a start),

But you'd not know the depth of the beat of my heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night.

The faith that I give when you walk without sight,

The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked

Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,

What it means that 'My grace is sufficient for thee.'

Yes, your dreams for your loved ones overnight would come true,

But, oh, the loss! If I lost what I'm doing in you!

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see

THAT THE GREATEST OF GIFTS IS TO GET TO KNOW ME.

And though oft may my answers seem terribly late,

My wisest of answers is still but to WAIT."

Author Unknown

Additional Material

I cannot tell you, " I know how you feel"

I have not been where you are...

But sometimes it is ok to walk by faith....

and not by sight...

Sometimes it is ok to ask why....

even if we get no immediate answer.....

Sometimes it is ok to wonder.....

how others lives can seem so normal....

when ours have been ripped apart...

Sometimes it is ok to wonder where we failed...

where we went wrong...

Sometimes it is ok to ask God,

"Please don;t let me go crazy."

Sometimes it is ok to be hurt...

and Lonely....

and sleepless...

and sad...

and mad....

Sometimes it is ok to look for someone to blame...

and to blame yourself...

or even to blame God....

But those sometimes wont last forever....

The Great Healer will begin to put you back together!!!!  AMEN!

never the same...But complete in his love....

Then he will lead you to others that need to know...

about the "SOMETIMES"

By Rachel Rhodes

STOP WORRYING AND START LIVING WELL

Like everyone, you'll regularly encounter circumstances that can cause anxiety. The world around you may not change, but you can.  If you respond to stressful circumstances in healthy ways, you can free yourself from anxiety's grip and live the abundant life Christ wants for you.

Here are 12 steps to take on your journey away from anxiety:

  * 1. "Admit that anxiety can be known and managed." You can determine the source of your anxiety, then figure out how to combat it.

  * 2. "Recognize that because of the presence of choices, fear does not have to result in emotional paralysis." In every situation, you do have choices. Those choices may not always be pleasant, but they exist nonetheless. You don't need to feel anxious about being powerless, because you do have the power to act according to how you decide is best. God has given you a mind that is capable of sound decisions, and He stands ready to help you make them if you pray for guidance.

  * 3. "Learn to distinguish what you can and cannot control, then live accordingly." It can be good to control certain aspects of life, such as by organizing your activities to enable you to fulfill a certain purpose or resisting the temptation to act solely on raw emotions. However, certain aspects of life are beyond your control - and so are other people and how they choose to live their lives. If you seek to control another person or a situation over which you have no power, you'll experience anxiety. Anxiety will also result if another person tries to control you. You can respond to these situations by realizing that irresponsibility can and will happen, allowing others to experience the consequences of their own choices, recognizing the limits of what you can do and not pushing yourself or allowing others to push you beyond those limits.

  * 4. "Recognize that you alone are ultimately responsible for defining your own guidelines for life." Trying to live up to the expectations of others can cause anxiety when those expectations don't match your own. Recognize that God has created you to be unique; you don't have to cave in to pressure to conform to others' ideas of how you should live.  Give yourself permission to extricate yourself from others' demands and pursue the life God is calling you, uniquely, to live.

  * 5. "Communicate your anger constructively rather than holding it inward to fester." Anger at unpleasant circumstances in your life may be lurking behind your anxiety. Learn how to express your anger in healthy ways, rather than suppressing it or using it aggressively against others. When you effectively channel energy from your anger, it won't cause anxiety in your life.

  * 6. "Drop idealistic wishes that hinder you from accepting reality." The ideal scenarios that you imagine for your life may be possible, but they aren't guaranteed. Realize that you may never attain certain ideal circumstances, and accept the reality that life may not unfold exactly as you would like.  Recognize that pain is an inevitable part of life in this fallen world, but you don't have to respond to pain with anxiety. Direct your energies toward living calmly and rationally, realizing that God is present with you and will give you all you truly need.

  * 7. "Realize that your self-directed thoughts of insecurity are the result of wrong input, and that those thoughts can be corrected." You have been created in God's image, with great intrinsic worth. Acknowledge your value even if others don't recognize it. Realize that you are competent to make choices throughout your life and thus can proceed with peace and confidence in doing so.

  * 8. "Learn to distinguish safe and unsafe people and choose only healthy patterns of relating." Unfortunately, relationships with some people can fuel your anxiety. Don't let the stubbornness, critical attitudes or moodiness of others influence your own behavior. Allow yourself to proceed with your healthy choices despite any negative reactions from others. Distance yourself from people who sabotage.

  * 9. "Drop the requirement of keeping up a 'proper' front, and let the real you be known." Embrace the courage God can give you to be open with people about yourself. While you should disclose intensely personal information only to people whom you know you can trust, you can be candid in your conversations with others. Stop asking "what if?" questions before relating to people; just be yourself without worrying about how they will react to you.

  * 10. "Release yourself from stringent performance requirements, accepting yourself as you are." People seem to judge you everywhere you go, but you don't need to be overly concerned about others' evaluations of you. Concern yourself far more with the quality of your character than with an achievement or performance. After all, who you are is more important to God than how you perform at a certain time with a certain task.

  * 11. "Realize that you can experience self-inflicted anxiety because of poor priorities, then choose priorities that will serve you best." If you're not exercising good stewardship of your resources, you're probably creating an environment for yourself that perpetuates anxiety. Consider how you might set effective priorities for yourself in areas such as financial management, time management and moral choices.

  * 12. "Know that each problem has some sort of resolution, and commit yourself to being an overcomer." Realize that change is a process, and it may take a while for you to shed your anxiety and grow as a person. The process may not be easy, either. But with determination and persistence, you can make positive changes.

Adapted from The Worry Workbook: Twelve Steps to Anxiety-Free Living, by Dr. Les Carter and Dr. Frank Minirth, copyright 2000. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, www.thomasnelsonpublishers.com.

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