Tag Archive: trust


i saw this as a typical Facebook post, like, share piece and so can not claim that it is original, but also do not know what the original source is, so please be gentle plagurism police…

and while i am not a huge fan of “the 7 keys to financial success” or “118 ways to a better waistline”, this list feels like a good thing to give consideration to not as THE ONLY 10 WAYS TO LOVE or the TEN WAYS TO ACHIEVE LOVE PERFECTION or anything silly and conclusive like that, but more a sense of, ‘Hey, here are some good ways to improve the way that you love people’ – this is not exclusively how to love your husband/wife better, but i imagine they apply on an even deeper level then.

so walk with me through these ten not-all-so-easy suggestions of ways in which you can do better at doing one of the most important things of life… and i would LOVE to hear your thoughts and stories and examples as we work our way through these:

1. Listen without interrupting.
2. Speak without accusing.
3. Give without sparing.
4. Answer without arguing.
5. Share without pretending.
6. Enjoy without complaint.
7. Trust without wavering.
8. Forgive without punishing.
9. Promise without forgetting.
10. Pray without ceasing.

i will be dealing with each one specifically and in time each point above will be the link to it’s own post.

let the commentary begin…

yesterday at the Simple Way we had our very first session of Conversations at the Simple Way which three of us had largely been working on pulling together for a while – 15 people signed up to hang out with us as we did a couple of different sessions including one on intentional community, a practical serving the community aspect, a story over lunch from someone in the neighborhood who is involved in doing some really life-giving stuff within Kensington, where we live, and a sharing and question time around a specific theme – this one being ‘how to serve God with your Time, Treasures and Talents’ – it really was a great day and a few lines of thort or concept struck me as different people were sharing and i wanted to be able to pass those on:

Coz is a friend of ours from Australia [i know!] and he shared a little about being a good steward of your Treasures [so money and things] and one thing he said which really stood out was that “You can’t outgive God!”

now, maybe to some of you that will seem like an obvious thing. But i think to many of us, and even perhaps a lot of us that ‘know’ it as ‘an obvious thing’ we often don’t really believe it. i mean, not really. Rather our picture of God [whether stated or not, and usually not] is that of this long-bearded fellow sitting on a cloud with his lightning bolt waiting for the second we step out of line so that He can absolutely nail us and make sure that we behave better [which is possibly why we as the church have ended up so often focusing on what we are against and trying to avoid than what we are for?

but it is so true that we cannot outgive God – God is so completely generous and Loving and kind and compassionate and opportunity-giving and the list just goes on… we just maybe need to realign our minds [and our actions] to the fact…

it reminded me of this passage in Luke 11:

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Coz spoke about it in terms of putting the focus on our giving. Trusting God and at times risking what might seem ridiculous in terms of being generous to others with the idea in mind that we cannot outgive God and so God will constantly supply our needs and how much more so if we have held loosely on to the things He has entrusted us with before. Those who are faithful with little will be entrusted with much.

How are you doing on the scale of generosity? [money yes, but also time and things and energy] And would it help you to be a little more generous if you truly believed that you had an uber generous God watching over you?

to read about “no technology time” head over here…

this is a great psalm altho to be honest for some reason every time i read the line “as the deer pants” it makes me think of crocodile pants [i have no idea why the crocodile pants, maybe cos of crocodile boots or something] and so i get distracted by then thinking of these pants made out of deer and i have to slap myself in the head to refocus and start all over again…

if you’re a douglas adams fan [author of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ – and if you’re not, you should be – the king of random astractive humour] then you will understand why the number 42 is the answer to the ‘meaning of life?’ question… and in some cases this song starts off by answering that question, ‘What is the meaning of life?’

the answer: ‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.’ [vs.1] is a description of true worship – your whole being crying out for God… realisation of need, of the desperate kind of need that a thirsty animal has for water… of a need that drives the animal forwards to even risk danger from the wild animals, one goal in mind…

do i hunger for God? So, so much. i hunger to see Him at work in my neighborhood, to see the kind of life transformation that will really see change happening here… i long to see Him more deeply at work in my own life – helping me to Love my wife better, to be more patient and kind and not-wrong-remembering and so on… i long to see Him at work in my community life – filling me with the grace and compassion and generosity that is so often lacking…

but too often that hunger is replaced by easy distraction. or subverted by personal selfishness.

then the psalm moves on to describe how the writer is feeling quite overwhelmed by people around him, especially mocking his beliefs and helping feed any doubts he might have and he seems to be caught with the cry of the man whose son Jesus heals – “I believe! Help me overcome my disbelief!” – which is a cry i often seem to have… but he has some great responses to that:

‘These things I remember as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.’ [vs. 4]

looking back and remembering when his faith was strong and when God did pitch up and reveal Himself and work in his life – that is a great attitude to have – in revelations 12.11 it talks about the enemy being defeated in this way:

‘They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.’

so ‘the blood of the lamb’ which is what Jesus did for us in dying on the cross… and ‘the word of their testimony’ which is what Jesus has done in ad around our lives – our story – something the enemy cannot take away… and so when times get hard and doubts are rising, it is a great activity to look back and remember when you believed strongly and when God was answering a particular prayer clearly or vividly showing up and getting involved.

‘Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.’ [vs.5]

another response is choosing to praise God even when it doesn’t feel like the natural response – struggling with doubt? praise the One in whom your faith lies – it is a kind of stepping out in faith [a faith which is helped by looking backwards to those times when you were feeling more sure] and speaking the belief you are wanting to be in…

and it is also a response of hope – the kind of trusting hope that accompanies faith – i am not going to let my fear and doubts and struggles paralyse me – i am going to believe and press forward and experience… and like that deer seeking water, when i find the object of my seeking, then i will drink deeply and be satisfied.

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

one of my best friends, Rob Lloyd, wrote today’s guest psalm for us – he is going for another round of cancer treatment today as he heads towards his 30th birthday celebrations so take a minute to say a prayer for him, for healing and protection from the nausea that has accompanied that, and then read his musings on psalm 33 and be challenged and encouraged:

One of the most incredible things about God is how He interacts with His creation. It’s not a popular word to use today, but God condescends to us – He leans down to speak to us in ways we can understand when in reality His ways are so much higher than our ways. We can get so used to His interacting at our level that we forget that He exists at another level entirely.

And then we look around at the world and it is so easy to see a world out of God’s control. (It’s definitely out of ours!) If God is God how can He let things be as they are? Surely the bible must be wrong for we do not see the wicked failing while the righteous prosper?

Is God really God?

And then we get Psalms like this one, declarations of God’s Godness. BOOM! God is God and there is no place to hide. His reality shatters our complacent existence bringing His sovereignty to challenge our pride and His hope to restore our faltering faith. Our sight is restored so see Him as He is and not as He appears to be.

So what should be our response? In John 6.28, Jesus is asked a similar question. Here’s my personalised paraphrase:
“Jesus, what does God want from me?”
“Just this: trust in Me.”
Of course our lives end up consisting of far more than this, but this is where we start. And if we don’t start here we are lost straight away. This is what defines the rest.

This Psalm has one more challenge for us and it’s a big one for how do we know when we are really trusting God?
“In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.”
How do we know we are trusting? Our hearts are rejoicing.

more standing out passages and ideas from ‘Prayer: Does it make any difference?’ by Philip Yancey:

‘David Ford, a professor at Cambridge, asked a Catholic priest the most common problem he encountered in twenty years of hearing confession. With no hesitation the priest replied, ‘God.’ Very few of the parishioners he meets in confession behave as if God is a God of love, forgiveness, gentleness and compassion. They see God as someone to cower before, not as someone like Jesus, worthy of our trust. Ford comments, “This is perhaps the hardest truth of any to grasp. Do we wake up every morning amazed that we are loved by God? Do we allow our day to be shaped by God’s desire to relate to us?”

Reading Ford’s questions, I realise that my image of God, more than anything else, determines my degree of honesty in prayer. Do I trust God with my naked self? Foolishly, I hide myself in fear that God will be displeased, though in fact the hiding may be what displeases God most. From my side, the wall seems like self-protection; from God’s side it looks like lack of trust.’ [pg 34]

for the next thoughts on prayer, click here…

there are some lines in this psalm that are not as easy to digest as they used to be and i am not going to focus on that, because i am clearly not exegiting the psalms, but simply pulling out lines and ideas that strike me…

and with psalm 20, it is verse 6 and 7:

‘Surely You have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of Your presence.’ [verse 6]

i like that phrase ‘the joy of Your presence’ despite being in a place and time where, feelingwise, God feels pretty distant… largely linked to the fact that my wife is sick with a horrible cough and no amount of praying seems to move His hand on that [me and God always seem to have issues on the healing thing – money? no problem, faith for a million bucks… but a simple healing? and just a wall!]… but that is part of my understanding of the concept of joy, i think.

the way i see it, happiness is situation dependent – you give me a chocolate, i am happy – there is nice weather, i am happy – johnny depp is in a new movie, i am happy… whereas joy can be situation irrelevant. so the beautiful Val is sick which does not make me happy, but there is an inner joy linked to a belief in God and in the fact that in the bigger picture everything is taken care of and will be okay again… so for me, joy is kinda like a happiness [similar feeling a lot of the time] but one that runs deeper.

and so ‘the joy of your presence’ is comforting. because i have experienced it to be true, and i imagine i will again. as i like to say [and write], God is bigGER!

‘For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing Love of the Most High, he will not be shaken.’ [verse 7]

what i like about this second verse is the phrase ‘unfailing Love’ which i’ve given a capital ‘L’ to because God’s Love is so much bigger and richer and higher and deeper and effective… and then that because of this Love and being able to trust in it, the king will ‘not be shaken.’

that is powerful. being able to trust in the Love of the God i serve, also helps me not to be shaken. it is something i can cling to. it is something i believe in and it is something i have experienced, both directly and through God’s people, the church. and that is an exciting, transforming thing.

there seem to be a lot of ‘i’ and ‘me’ psalms leading up to psalm 20 and then some that focus on God but from an ‘i’ or ‘me’ perspective… and so this one has a very different feel to it:

‘May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.’ [verse 1-5]

 

the last line of ‘LORD, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!’ [verse 9] seems to confuse that sense a little bit and in fact it is verse 7 that introduces the ‘we’ to this psalm: ‘Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.’ [verse 7-8] – and end it in a more community sense, but it definitely has a different feel and even the ‘we’ in verse 5 is more of a ‘you’ as it talks about the community celebrating the individual victory.

the psalm begins with a strong sense of calling down blessing and ends with that reminder above, which is probably the primary thing i take from this psalm, that some will trust the creations of their hands [chariots] and others will trust in nature [horses] but we will trust in the one who created both man’s hands and nature [the name of the Lord our God].

this psalm drips with the faithfulness of God and is a great reminder in times when it doesn’t seem like He is near or cares much, that we should continue to call out to Him, as He has proved faithful in the past and will do so again.

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