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He Has Proven Himself

For You are my hope; O Lord GOD,
You are my confidence from my youth.
Psalm 71:5 NASB

God is the source of hope, and we can trust Him always. If we have trusted Him in the past, we can trust Him today and tomorrow.

He provides hope when circumstances appear hopeless. No matter what is happening to us, He has already proven His trustworthiness to us. He has always been and will always be faithful.

We have seen God’s provision and protection in our lives. We should trust Him more because He has already proven Himself.

Hope in God. Trust His faithfulness.

He is the source of hope. He is trustworthy and faithful. When we forget this truth, we often fall to fear, self-sufficiency, or hopelessness in the face of difficult circumstances.

We need God’s protection, provision, hope. He offers it to us. We must simply trust this One who has proven Himself eternally worthy of trust.

Pray this way:

I need faith, Lord. I need to trust You enough to give up the things I cling to – my sin, worldly security, my fleshly desires. Please God give me faith.

He’s proven Himself trustworthy and faithful by His gracious, sacrificial work on the cross. He will give us faith to trust Him. Then we will find hope in the Lord and not look for it in worldly things that do not provide it.

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He Is Faithful

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Psalm 55:22 NASB

If we trust God with our burdens, our trials, our suffering, He will take care of us. If we trust Him in difficulty, we still face difficulty, but it will not destroy us.

God will destroy those who are deceitful, those who seek to destroy His people – namely Satan, though this will apply to the unrepentant in the end. He defends and protects those who trust in Him. He brings us peace. He saves us when we call on Him. He hears the prayers of the righteous.

Those who trust God, the righteous, His children who truly believe will not be shaken, will not be destroyed by trial, difficulty, suffering. We will be made more like Christ – His strength is perfected in weakness.

Trust God at all times. Truly put your faith in Him. Then, when you call out to Him in need, Your trouble will be temporary, a refiner’s fire. It will strengthen you and not destroy you.

God protects His children, those who truly trust Him. He defends them, brings them through difficulty stronger, more Christlike. He answers their prayers. He saves those who call upon Him.

Ultimately, He is victorious over our enemy.

Are you afraid that true trial would shake you? Do you long to trust God more but know deep down that you yourself are limiting your faith.

(If we have even the tiniest faith, God will use it to do seemingly impossible things.)

It’s only by His grace that my faith can increase. If we received this truth, we would trust God in all things. We would not worry. We would face trials with courage because we would always remember that God can be trusted. He is faithful.

Why We Practice Religion

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Psalm 51:17 NASB

What God truly wants from us, more than external ritual, is for our hearts and our spirits to be broken over our sin, for us to be truly sorrowful because we understand that our sin is an affront to, a rebellion against, an attack on God Himself. He won’t turn away from someone who is truly sorrowful over their sin.

Outward religious ritual, while commanded by God, is not the point. He wants us to understand why we practice the religion, why the sacrifices were necessary. He desires hearts that recognize Him for who He is and sin for what it is. He desires authentic recognition and true contrition.

Christ-followers are sinners saved by grace. When we sin, we break His heart, so our hearts should be broken. Perhaps you regret your sin, but you are still far from being sorrowful, contrite, broken-hearted over it.

God desires true contrition over our sin because a broken spirit and a contrite heart lead to true repentance.

We treat sin lightly, glibly. This, in turn, means that we don’t give Christ’s sacrifice on the cross the respect, the seriousness that it deserves. We don’t give God Himself the respect He deserves.

I need a broken spirits, hearts that are broken and contrite over our sin.

But this is not within our human nature. Christ must change not only our understanding of sin but our very nature, so that we see sin as the rebellion against God that it truly is. God wants to change us into the image of Christ. To be so, we need to be sorrowful and contrite over the things that make us unlike Him.

Pray simply this: “God, please break my heart over my sin.”

Trust His Pure Words

The words of the LORD are pure words;
As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
Psalm 12:6 NASB

While men may deceive and betray and lie and flatter for their own advantage, the words of the Lord are always perfectly pure, true and holy. His words can always be trusted.

God is trustworthy, faithful, and honest. He is not deceptive or treacherous. He comes to the aid of the suffering and the needy.

Think about yourself for a moment, are you one of these who is deceitful? Are you treacherous? Do you deceive to give yourself the advantage? If we’re honest, all of us would admit that sometimes we do.

It’s easy to call on God when we feel we have been the victim of deception or treachery, but it’s just as easy – if not more so – to deceive for our own benefit.

Trust the faithfulness of God, of His word. Never deceive to gain an advantage or make yourself look good. Let your own words be as pure, as refined as those of God.

We often feel the pressure to make ourselves look good, to play for our own advantage without trusting God to take care of us. You may feel, like the deceivers in this psalm, that you are the only authority over yourself. Therefore you can say what you want, but this is never true.

Each of us needs the humility to know that God is in authority over us, that we are not free to say whatever we want for our own advantage, but that we will be held accountable by Him for what we say. We need to trust that He is faithful to take care of us so it is never necessary to sin in order to gain some advantage.

Be people of honest integrity, never deceptive.

It is fear that motivates this type of deception and treachery. Love drives out fear. God has not given us a spirit of timidity (fear), but of power, love, and discipline. When we live by that Spirit, He takes care of us.

If we really absorbed this truth, we would never fear enough to lie. We would never fear the treachery of man. We would always trust in God’s faithful honesty, and we would always be faithfully honest.

Give Thanks

Give thanks to the God of heaven,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 136:26 NASB

Give thanks to God who has worked immeasurably for the good of His people and His creation, for His lovingkindness, His mercy has always been and will always be.

God is good. He’s eternal. He is merciful, full of lovingkindness. He is above all other gods. He created the heavens, the earth, the seas, the sun, moon, and stars. He delivered the Israelites from Egypt, divided the Red Sea, destroyed pharaoh and his army. He delivered Israel from many enemies. He gave the nation of Israel the Promised Land. He provides food for every creature that needs it.

All of these things that He did for Israel, He does for us. He provides for us, shows us mercy, delivers us from our enemy – Satan. He loves us. He is always faithful to us.

He is faithful to keep His covenant, the new covenant in Christ’s blood that seals our salvation. He will transform us. He will take care of us.

Too often, we don’t trust Him as we should, as He has proven Himself beyond doubt to be worthy of. We are afraid – afraid that we will not have what we need. Maybe we’re too attached to worldly things – we look to them for delight and security – because we don’t delight in God. Maybe we become resigned to our current level of spiritual maturity. Or we are not thankful for what we have.

His grace is sufficient for us. We need to trust and delight in God because He provides for all our needs. He has already done so much for us that it cannot be measured, and He is faithful to continue to care for us.

Christ’s grace, the Holy Spirit in us, can transform us into children of God who live lives of faith and of gratitude.

 

 

The Peacemakers

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!
Psalm 133:1 NASB

God desires that His people, His children, be unified. He blesses unity greatly with His presence, with anointing, with refreshing, with life. He wants peace among His people.

Unity in the church means that we can be effective in God’s work. It also means that being part of the church is refreshing, pleasant, life-giving, rather than draining, exhausting, frustrating. Unity means we all treat one another with love. It means we all do our part. It means we submit to one another’s needs. It means we encourage and hold one another accountable. It means we, as a body, are focused on a singular purpose. It means we work to make peace with one another.

Each of us needs unity with our brothers and sisters because it brings life-giving blessing from God. When we forget the significance of unity in the church, we become frustrated, exhausted, selfish.

When we are frustrated with others, how much of our frustration is our own selfishness? We must work harder for peace and unity. Submit. Release selfishness. In truth, thought it’s only His grace that can overcome our selfishness so that we become peacemakers, unifiers.

Then each of us, personally, could be more at peace.

Labor in Vain

Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.
Psalms 127:1 NASB

Every effort, every plan is meaningless unless the Lord is behind it doing the work. If He has other plans, our efforts fail. But He is always working for those He loves, even when they are sleeping.

God takes care of us, builds our lives, gives us children, feeds us, protects us regardless of our efforts.

Our efforts, our plans need to be born of the will of the Lord. And regardless of our actions, plans, or lack thereof, we must remember and trust that God is taking care of us, our churches, our families.

When we forget this truth, we try to do things on our own that we shouldn’t – we become self-sufficient. We don’t trust God to take care of us – we lack faith. We become fatalistic, blind to the fact that the blessings in our lives are the work of God.

But the truth is, we can’t take care of ourselves. We need someone to take care of us. So trust that He will.

Pray this way:

God, please give me faith to trust You in all things, to rely on You to provide for my needs and the needs of my family and my ministry, to give me wisdom and the guidance of Your Holy Spirit (and the faith to trust that wisdom and guidance) in everything that I do. Lord, help me always to seek You and Your kingdom first, so that my work is never in vain, but comes from You.

By His grace, He has provided for our greatest need, and He provides the faith to trust and seek Him for all our endeavors.

Have faith and humility before God. Don’t labor in vain.