Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trusting God: Now Unto Him who is Able

So...trusting God, take 3.  How do we come to the place of total trust in God, in His goodness, in His faithfulness, in His love?  It doesn't seem like the hard places of our lives would be where we learn to trust God, but they are.  Why is that?  Why did God allow Jezebel to threaten Elijah and send him running to the cave?  Why was Abraham tested to the point of taking his son to be offered as a sacrifice to God?  And why do we face our cave, our climb up the mountain ready to sacrifice that thing we love most?  Abraham, Elijah, us--why does God take us through the various trials that we face?  Is He just mean and gets a kick out of seeing us suffer?  No!  First and foremost, we must remember that God is good and He loves us beyond measure.  I know what you're thinking, "Ok smarty pants--then why does He allow us to go through these trials?" I will answer that question with a story.  I recently began a fitness program with a personal trainer, gym membership, meal plan the works!  When I started, my trainer told me that in order to lose the most weight quickly, he needed to start me on a strenght building program with weights.  Now, can I tell you that this was not at all pleasant at first!  Some of my weight routines required that I lift as much as 120 pounds and that was hard!  In the first couple of weeks, I was so sore I hated the thought of going to the gym!  As I continued to go, I began to look forward to my workout time.  A few more weeks and I began to see definition in my muscles, my clothes began to fit better and I had more energy than ever!  The muscles that I was building were now using the stored fat as fuel.  Even when I was not working out, but doing simple tasks like walking the corridores of my school, my muscles were working, burning fat; so I was loosing weight and inches even when I wasn't at the gym.  The strenuous workouts that my trainer created for me were conditioning my body so that even when I wasn't doing a workout routine, my newly formed muscles were working.  So how does this relate to our learning to trust God?  I believe that each time we face trials, we have one of two choices trust God to bring us out or hide in the cave.  If we decide, "I really don't know how God, and I am a little afraid, but I am going to trust You," what we find is that God does come to where we are and gives us the help that we need.  Everytime we make this choice, we build our faith and trust in God.  Just like I built muscles everytime I went to a workout, which in turn allowed me to get stronger--everytime we face a situation where we must trust God and only God, our faith and trust in Him grows stronger!  Just as my workouts were the opportunity for me to develop a stronger, more physically fit body, our trials create a track record by which we can trace the faithfulness of God.   We must come to know that God does not do things the way that we think he should, we can't even imagine sometimes how God is going to respond to our place of trial, but we must know that our God can do anything.  The Apostle Paul says it this way, "Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or imagine according to the power that works in us."  What power?  The power to stand and know that God loves us and He  always has a plan for our lives, "to do us good and not evil and to give us a hope and a future."  That being said--Let's keep pumping..."One, I'll trust you Father, Two, I'll trust you Father..."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Trusting God: Abraham's Story

When we first meet Abraham, he is not some strapping young boy itching to go out and conquer the world!  He was in fact, seventy-five years old.  From the beginning of their relationship, God made Abraham many precious promises and the scripture says that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  Simply by believing that God was who He said He was and that He would do what He said that He would do, Abraham was deemed righteous.  This always amazes me.  I think about this man who at seventy-five years of age received a promise that he and his sixty-five year old wife would become parents and he believed God.  Even when it took twenty-five years for this promise to come to pass, the bible tells us that Abraham staggered not at the promise.  Are you kidding me?  There are promises that I have received from God and I'm no where near twenty-five years in my waiting yet there are days that I feel myself begin to stagger!  Sometimes I wonder if Abraham is up in heaven shaking his head at staggering, untrusting me.  Abraham was obviously some special brand of person right?  No, not really!  Abraham was a man who was able to see the promise in the light of the God who was making the promise.  He did not minimize God while maximizing his limitations.  Abraham did not focus on--"I'm seventy-five, my wife is sixty-five and we've never been able to conceive a child!  How on earth can this happen for us now?"  We don't hear Abraham complaining at the five, ten, twenty year marks as he waited on God.  Abraham knew that the God who promised could be trusted to keep His promise.  At the end of his twenty-five year wait, Abraham at 100 years old fathered a son with his ninety year old wife Sarah!  What joy *sigh* life is good!!  Wait a minute, not so fast.  Just as the elderly parents were settling into domestic bliss with their young son, God asks Abraham to trust Him once again.  This time, He was asking for Abraham's son Isaac.  God asked Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice.  Can't you see Abraham's shoulders slump, and just imagine what he must have been thinking..."not again!" Yet Abraham gathered his son, his knife and the wood for the fire and set out to offer this sacrifice to God.  You're probably thinking as I am, "I'll bet he staggered then." Nope, not Abraham.  As they made their way to the place where they would make their sacrifice, Isaac questioned his father, "I see the wood, but where is the sacrifice?"  Abraham's response, "God will provide the sacrifice."  And what does God do?  Just as Abraham raised his knife to kill his son, the Angel of the Lord called out and stopped him.  Abraham looked and God had in fact provided a sacrifice in the form of a ram.  Why on earth would God make Abraham wait twenty-five years for a son then ask him to offer that son as a sacrifice to Him?  The answer is really kind of simple.  God loves us so much that there is nothing and no one that He would not give for us.  John 3:16 tells us, " For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."  God wanted Abraham and us to know that He is prepared to do anything to have us with Him forever because He loves us so much; and what He asks of us is that we love Him so much that we are willing to trust Him with every single thing in our lives.  When we magnify things in our lives, job situations, family situations, whatever the case, we are not trusting God and therefore we are not loving Him.  We don't have to be spiritual giants when we get into a tough place in our lives.  We just have to look at our tough place in the light of who our God is.  Can you trust God with your physical health?  Absolutely!  Can you trust Him with your finances in these troubled economic times?  Without a doubt!  Can you trust Him with your children, your husband or wife?  Without fail!  If we learn anything from Abraham's story it should be that we can trust God.  There is not timeline with God, just know that He will keep His promise.  There is nothing too hard for God, He will show up in the midst of our situation and bring us peace and provision.  That being said, let's take a deep breath, gather our sacrifice and head out--simply trusting that the Lord will provide...whatever!! 
Keep looking to the hills dear ones!

Evangelist Carolyn