What do I trust in?

When things are going wrong, we go to our source of strength –

I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there?

[Psalm 121:1]

Everyone has their mountains from which they expect help. For some it is money, for others, alliances with powerful people, for others it is in their personality.

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!

[Psalm 121:2]

It takes faith to let go of these mountains and depend on our creator. When we are desperate we are tempted towards proven solutions. We have to learn to take God at his word when he says –

He will not let you stumble;

[Psalm 121:3]

Though he might leave us in trouble for longer than we are comfortable, if we hold on to him, he will come through.

the one who watches over you will not slumber.

[Psalm 121:4]

When we have been hard pressed for a time, we are tempted to think God has taken his eye off our situation. How can he care if he sees without acting?

The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade … The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.

[Psalm 121:5-7]

Jesus promised, “I am with you always.” What an encouragement. If we could see the harm he keeps from us, we would be amazed. As it is, we trust him. This is faith. Only as our faith is stretched do we gain resilience to stop depending on our mountains.

Resisting wickedness

When the wicked win the temptation is to use their methods. In succumbing we become wicked. What should we do?

Do not fret because of those who are evil …; for like … green plants they will soon die away. [Psalm 37:1-2]

When the wicked win, anxiety drives towards wickedness. We need Jesus’ perspective. The wicked will not ultimately win and there is a way to Jesus-

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. [Psalm 37:3]

The temptation to win by becoming wicked drives us from the safe place Jesus would have us live in. This dwelling place exists only through trust.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. [Psalm 37:4]

We gain spiritual strength as we choose to delight in Jesus and discover the fulfilment of desires long supressed under the boasts of the wicked.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: he will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. [Psalm 37:5-6]

When we entrust our future to God, he takes us down paths that vindicate us.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, … Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil. [Psalm 37:7-8]

When we are quiet despite the wicked winning, we know we are, trusting, delighting and committing our way to Jesus.

Is Jesus welcome?

After a long day, with the next day promising to be longer, I retired early. Then boisterous voices awakened me. It was going to be a long night! I was more frustrated for lack of sleep than the opportunity to meet God. Then I read this-

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Ephesians 3:16

I wanted rest before a long day but the Lord was pointing to his resources, not limited by sleep. A great thought, now I needed to welcome him for it to be meaningful.

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Ephesians 3:17

It’s a wonderful idea that Christ makes his home in our hearts. But what does it feel like to for him to be at home in my life?

How at home am I in someone else’s home? The less places I can go, the fewer objects I can move or touch, the less I feel at home. The host may say, “Make yourself at home.” But if they become uptight when I touch anything, the words lack meaning.

How at home does Jesus feel in my life?  I invite him in but what happens when he rearranges my furniture? What happens when he wakes me up to spend a night of prayer before a day of meetings, because his presence is more important than sleep?

Do I trust Jesus enough to welcome his untimely appearances? Is he really at home?

Stand tall with God

Standing tall with God is developed through fearful times where we are tempted to run to a place of safety. (Psalm 11-Message)

God’s business is putting things right; … Once we’re standing tall, we can look him straight in the eye.

The Lord’s training requires trust, honesty and integrity so we can look each other straight in the eye.

The fact God had to put things right shows this follows training which involves threats-

I’ve already run for dear life straight to the arms of God. So why would I run away now when you say,

“Run to the mountains; the evil bows are bent, the wicked arrows Aimed to shoot under cover of darkness at every heart open to God. …”?

There are fearful people spreading fear and running for safety; taking things into their own hands they squeeze out God.

But God hasn’t moved to the mountains;

True safety is not the absence of danger, but being away from the Lord.

… He’s in charge, as always, … his eyelids Unblinking, examining Adam’s unruly brood inside and out, …

The Lord is aware. Don’t run away; trust he is able and willing to save.

As the Lord waits His time, he sees His people panicking.

He tests … if anyone cheats, God’s outraged.

The Lord looks to see how we behave through trials. Without trust we will cheat to gain advantage.

Fail the test and you’re out, out … Drinking from a canteen filled with hot desert wind.

Failure brings us to challenging circumstances developing trust.

 

A fuller version can be found at – biblebase2adaringfaith

Rest in stress

There are times when I am stressed out by the urgent and yet it seems every road I take to resolve the situation ends in frustration. It seems I am battling against God.

The real surprise shown in Isaiah 30 is that this may well be the case!

16 You said, “No, we will flee on horses.” Therefore you will flee! You said, “We will ride off on swift horses.”  Therefore your pursuers will be swift!

When I am stressed my mind drives towards a solution. In my drivenness I push aside every consideration towards love. When I scheme I make myself the answer, I try to become my own salvation, supplanting Jesus. The Lord is looking for a very different attitude.

15 In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.

The Lord’s counsel: In repentance and rest I find salvation, repentance of the drivenness that suggests all depends on me. Can I hold this attitude of being at rest? Faith is not demonstrated through inactivity but attitude. It is possible to work hard, and be at rest in the soul, confident the Lord will bring to fruition His work. When I wait for Him I receive far more than I either deserve or imagine!

18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!

 

For a fuller look at Isaiah 30 HERE is the study.