Category Archives: Trust

Wealth and riches … attractive? Not so much.

Jeremiah 48:7a

Since you trust in your deeds and riches, you too will be taken captive. NIV

Trust in anything other than God is pure foolishness.

I love how this verse ties with the parable of the sower in Mark 4.  Verses 18 and 19 say, “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word, but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things, come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” NIV

The deceitfulness of wealth … choke(s) the word.

Trust in … riches, you too will be taken captive.

Powerful stuff.

My security doesn’t come, can’t come, from my the balance in my bank account.  The volatility of the financial markets in the last couple of years have driven that point home very effectively.

My hope, my trust, my future is in God alone.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

 

 

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Everything else is icing on the cake

Jeremiah 28: 15

Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen Hananiah!  The LORD has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies.” NIV

There will be no lack of things that will attempt to gain our trust.

As Christians, we are called to be discerning.  Our eternal trust must be in God, in the hope of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

One of the greatest joys of our life here is the privilege of forming deep and lasting relationships.   I don’t believe in any way that these verses on trust are saying not to do that.

Instead, I think that they are reminding us that God must remain first and foremost in our lives.  Everything else is icing on the cake.

But, we must be on our guard against those who will tempt us to focus on the sweetness of the icing … who will persuade us to put something else or someone else ahead of God.  In some cases, “those” can include our own wants and desires, which are among the easiest things to sinfully put in God’s place.

These lessons on trust are valuable.  They’re providing me a multidimensional perspective.  One for which I am truly thankful.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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A promised rescue

Jeremiah 39: 17-18

But I will rescue you on that day declares the LORD;  you will not be handed over to those you fear.  I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the LORD. NIV

Over the last several days, I’ve been looking at the word “trust” in the NIV, and taking each verse in order.

This morning, I skipped ahead.  I needed to find a verse with a bit of encouragement in it, and, here it is.

I will not be handed over to those I fear.  God will save me.

Notice, I’m guaranteed neither wealth, nor riches, nor an absence of pain … I will escape with my life, because I trust in God.

In the end, “escaping with my life,” will mean an eternity with Him.

That’s a reason not to worry.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Don’t be deceived

Jeremiah 9: 4-6

Beware of your friends, do not trust your brothers.  For every brother is a deceiver, every friend a slanderer.  Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth.  They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.  You live in the midst of deception;  in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me, declares the Lord.  NIV

These are hard verses.

But, at their core is the repetition of the recipe for not worrying.

Don’t trust anyone but God.  Acknowledge Him as the source of all good things.

That being said, these verses still are very hard to read.

In their deceit, they refuse to acknowledge me, declares the Lord.

Last night, we had dinner with some friends.  It was a delightful evening.  At one point, one of the men reminded us of an old saying, “You can fool all of the people some of the time; and some of the people all of the time; but, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

Those who refuse to acknowledge God are being fooled.  They are, perhaps, deceiving themselves.  But, those who trust them and look up to them, like their children, have a high likelihood of being fooled as well.  They … live in the midst of deception.

God is important.  He made all things.  By His grace, you draw each breath.  By His provision, you have hands to reach out and help others, you have eyes to see their pain, and ears to hear their requests.

God created you.  He made you for a purpose.  He has a plan for your life and He delights in YOU.

Don’t be deceived.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Going into a garage doesn’t make you a car

Jeremiah 7: 13-14

While you were doing all these things, declares the LORD, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen.  I called you but you did not answer.  Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the  house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your fathers.  NIV

When I was in fourth grade, I had to switch elementary schools.  Only 14 of us went from my old school to the new one, and, none of my old friends ended up in my new class.  So, I had to make a whole new group of friends.

My first friend was an only child.  Her mom spoke to mine, and I ended up at her house one afternoon.  We made cookies.  Carrot cookies.  I had never eaten one, much less made one.  I remember eating a good amount of the sugary dough before we put the carrots in.  At some point, I asked her where she went to church.  This was my world.  Everyone I knew went to church.  We weren’t all the same religion, but, on Sunday morning, we all went out and got in our cars and went to worship.

She said she didn’t go.

I’m sure I must have been surprised by her answer, and, given that I’m not at all skilled at hiding what I’m thinking, I’m sure she knew that.  What she said next, has stuck with me all these years.  She said, “going into a church doesn’t make me a Christian any more than going into a garage would make me a car.”

I knew that she was right.  I was a new Christian.  I hadn’t become one by going into the church.  It had been a gradual learning process for me.  I came to understand the truth of John 3:16, the miracle of Christmas and the hope of Easter.  God had sent His one and only Son as a sacrifice for my sins.  It was a gift that I had only to acknowledge and accept as my own.  I had accepted Christ into my heart, and it had been transformational for me.

It was years before I realized that the phrase, “going into a church isn’t going to make me a Christian any more than going into a garage will make me a car,” while completely true, was likely one that she had heard from her parents … that they must have used it as a justification for not being actively involved in a local fellowship, but, that’s off my point.

This chapter of Jeremiah, Chapter 7, speaks exactly to that phrase.

The people are off doing all sorts of things that are abominable to God.  And, when it is time to worship, they enter the temple to praise Him.  They treat their temple experience as the thing that will be their salvation.

They were trusting in the temple.  They were entering it and expecting to be made holy … walking into the garage and expecting to become a car.

That isn’t going to cut it.  God clearly says that they cannot trust in the building, the Temple, even if it bears His name.  Trusting anything other than God, is wrong, and, in my case, leads to nothing but worry.

God wants, expects, demands that I trust HIM.  Nothing else.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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My only hope is in Him

Jeremiah 5:17b

With the sword they will destroy the fortified cities in which you trust. NIV

God is very clear on this trust issue.

All trust belongs to Him as our one true God, our Savior, our Rock, our Deliverer.

Anything else we might trust will be turned to rubble, and revealed as false in the long run.

I hated September 11 … it was one of the absolute worst days of my life.  On that day, things that I had always trusted, without even realizing that I trusted them, were obliterated.  I remember when I heard that the towers had fallen.  I hadn’t watched a moment of the television coverage.  I was working frantically, counting noses to ensure that all of the people for whom I was responsible were accounted for when my boss called.  He said, “They’re gone.”

I didn’t understand … I asked him who was gone.

He said, “The towers, they’re gone.”

I was dumbfounded.  I protested that they couldn’t be gone … perhaps there was too much smoke, perhaps his view of them had been obscured.

No, he was certain.  “They fell down,” he said.

I couldn’t assimilate it.  They were huge.  They dominated the skyline of Manhattan.  How could something so big, so powerful, fall down?

Something that I had considered permanent, immovable, had been shattered, and thousands of people had lost their lives.  Really, there are no words to describe the horror of that day.

This morning, when I read this verse, it was a painful reminder.  But, also, a vivid lesson.

God is the only permanence.  He is trustworthy.  My perspective is incomplete.  Things that I see as permanent, are merely temporal.  Obstacles that I see as insurmountable are mere pebbles in His path.  My little worries, really don’t matter at all in the big scheme of things.

I’m the blind termite, working my way through the piece of wood that is in front of me at the moment.  God is the master builder, and He has all the plans.

My only hope is in Him.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

 

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You may think it’s a small thing, but it’s not

Jeremiah 2:36-37

Why do you go about so much, changing your ways?  You will be disappointed by Egypt as you were by Assyria.  You will also leave that place with your hands on your head, for the LORD has rejected those you trust; you will not be helped by them.  NIV

Wow.

I’m looking at each verse with the word “trust” in it, verse-by-verse, as I work my way through my NIV concordance.  These verses link together to tell a powerful story, and this is the next chapter.

Listen to how The Message paraphrases these two verses.

“You think it’s just a small thing, don’t you, to try out another sin-project when the first one fails?  But Egypt will leave you in the lurch the same way that Assyria did.  You’re going to walk away from there wringing your hands.  I, GOD, have blacklisted those you trusted.  You’ll get not a lick of help from them.”  MSG

Wow.

You will be disappointed by Egypt as you were by Assyria.  OK … I don’t know enough about world history to put this in complete historical context, but, the meaning of these verses is crystal clear to me.  Jeremiah is telling us that we just don’t get it.  We trust in one oppressor, instead of God, and we may realize the error of our ways, but, if we substitute another in its place, instead of trusting God, we’re doomed.

In my case, I’ve learned that my worry stemmed from my inability to control my future.  I worried about how things would turn out … a lot.  That worry did no good.  It simply distracted me from being able to accomplish anything for the kingdom.  There I was, occupying my time with worry, foolishly thinking that I was accomplishing something by making plan after plan, when all of it was really for, well, nothing.  All I was doing was putting my trust in my own perspectives  and my own abilities above my trust in God.  Anytime God isn’t first, everything is out of order.

So, I feel like I get it.  Especially this last week with the “trust” verses I looked at in Isaiah.  I’m blind.  I don’t know the future and I’m not meant to.  I must trust God to lead me to it and through it.

And, then, today’s verse.

“You think it’s just a small thing, don’t you, to try out another sin-project when the first one fails?  But Egypt will leave you in the lurch the same way that Assyria did.”

The only path, the narrow path, is to trust God with my whole heart.  I can’t trust myself or anyone else here for my fate or for my future.  I can’t substitute another oppressor for the one that I’ve spent so much time getting rid of!

I know that I won’t get a “lick of help,” from any other source, and I don’t want to find myself wringing my hands after I figure out the next thing that I might have trusted instead of God.

So, that’s my prayer today … that God would show me when I’m getting off track, when I’m trusting anything or anyone else in place of Him. That He would empower me to keep my focus laser sharp, on trusting Him.

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Worry vs. trust

Isaiah 50:10-11

Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant?  Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.  But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of you fires and of the torches you have set ablaze.  This is what you shall receive from my hand:  You will lie down in torment. NIV

Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust … and rely on … God.

For the last couple of days, I’ve been looking at what Isaiah says about trust.  He’s very consistent.  He see us as walking in the dark.  We don’t know the future.  But, we shouldn’t fear that, instead, because we don’t have any light … no insight into what is coming … we must trust and rely on God who knows all things.

He also consistently pairs this insight with a warning for those who don’t heed his advice.  Here, he says that if we insist on lighting ourselves up, on bringing glory to ourselves, and if we trust in our own abilities — if we light fires and provide ourselves with flaming torches — we are doomed to worry and lose sleep.

It’s a question of worry vs. trust.

I choose trust.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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It’s tempting … but, consider the consequences

Isaiah 42: 16-17

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do;  I will not forsake them.  But those who trust in idols, who say to images, “You are our gods,” will be turned back in utter shame. NIV

This is beautiful.

I am the blind.  I am unable to see anything beyond this moment in time, while God, who is not bound by time, can see it all — from the beginning to the end, from everlasting to everlasting.

Here, God promises to lead me, step-by-step, along the unfamiliar paths of the rest of my life.  The implication here is that I must get out of my comfort zone.  If the steps of my life are predictable, if I do the same things in the same way each day, if my eyes are not open to those around me and to how I can help them, I’ll miss the blessing of doing God’s work.

But, if I’m willing to trust God with my whole heart and with my whole life, He will “turn darkness into light before (me) and make the rough places smooth.”

I love that.

Months ago, I looked at Psalm 119:105 – Your word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.  At that point, I spent a couple of days thinking about the mechanics of that verse.  God promises light at my feet … step by step, moment by moment … as I walk the path of my life.  He doesn’t promise to give me anything more than I will need to put the next foot down with confidence.  This verse echoes that.  He will turn darkness into light before me, as I walk, and He will make the rough places smooth, so that I won’t be tripped up along the way.

He will not forsake me!  How comforting is that?

But, here’s the kicker, “But those who trust in idols … will be turned back in utter shame.”

Before the last day or two, I had not seen worry for what it really is … an idol that I was trusting more than I was trusting God.

I am simply amazed at how this project has unfolded.  God has given me each piece of the puzzle to solve my worry problem slowly and deliberately, and, only at the point where I am able to assimilate the part of the answer that each scripture holds.

He has waited until near the end, until this word search on “trust” to reveal to me the abomination that my worry is.  It is an idol.  A despicable thing.  One that I am finally strong enough to recognize and stand up against.

Yesterday, I thought briefly about something that scares me, and the temptation to worry flooded over me.  It was almost palpable, like a big blanket that I could wrap myself in.

But, I didn’t do it.  I banished it.  A reader gave me a wonderful insight.  She said, “Let our worries be cast out in Jesus name and may His comfort and providence be with us all the days of our lives.”

In Jesus’s name, I will not worry.

God, the one true God, is the Lord of my Life.

My trust is in Him.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Here’s a three-step program

Isaiah 31:1

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsesmen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or seek help from the LORD.  NIV

Ok … there’s a lot here.

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help … There is nothing but worry in store for those of us who go back to the oppressor to try and solve our problems.  In my case, if I try to solve an issue myself, or try to worry my way through my lack of control, there is nothing good in it for me.  There’s just woe.

Woe to those who …  rely on horses, who trust in the great strength of their horsemen … so, just because it appears that you have the earthly tools to solve your issue, don’t trust that.  It’s a sham.  He is the vine, I am a branch … apart from Him, I can do nothing.  No matter how many horses or warriors, or in today’s terms, salesmen, or Web sites, or marketing strategies … no matter what I might thing I have in my assets column, if I don’t put God first … there’s just woe.

Woe to those who … do not look to the Holy One of Israel or seek help from the LORD.  God wants us to commune with Him, to glorify Him and to seek His help and His blessing.  By His grace, I have life and everything in it.  Everything I have is His, and, when I acknowledge that, and give it ALL to Him, then He will return blessing upon blessing.

As long as I struggle against obedience to God … as long as I think as I can accomplish anything on my own, there’s woe.

So, to avoid woe (worries):

  1. Don’t go to the oppressor for help
  2. Don’t trust in your own power or strength
  3. Trust God and seek Him in all things

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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