Placing our Trust in the Lord

trust God with all your heart

 (5) Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
(6) in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. 

(Proverbs 3:5-6)

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The Trust Test: You must fall straight backward, trusting that the person behind you will have your back, catch you, and not let you fall. Will you take the test?
In Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, the teacher Morrie Schwartz asks his students to do this exercise. No one volunteers until one girl steps forward and takes the test, falling backward with her eyes fully closed. Others who have witnessed this trusting action then follow her example and pass the test.

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Blind trust is a difficult kind of faith to have in our society today. Is the image we see real or virtual? Is the picture a photo shop rendition or real? Is the politician truthful when he/she states a position or is it one that transitions with the majority’s beliefs at the time?

Trust, however, is a crucial element in any relationship. Without it, there can be feelings of uncertainty, fear, tension, stress, hurt, anger—and a broken relationship that falls to pieces when the person you place trust in does not have your back. The Word teaches us to only completely trust in God with an unwavering faith:
(Isaiah 41:10) “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
(Psalm 28:7) “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.”

God is the only One who will never let us down. He will be there to catch us when we place our trust fully in Him. In fact, He will not only hold us up and not let us fall, but He will give us the ability to soar:

(28 )Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
(29) He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
(30) Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
(31) but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40: 28-31)

Let us trust completely in our God, fall back on His promises to sustain us, and know with complete faith that He will never leave us. Blind trust in God, the One Who gives us His Light to direct our paths, is the faith we must have on our journey through this life in order to reach our true home with Him. Through this blind trust, we can block out the other diversions, distractions, and temptations in life to focus completely on God, the One Who will support us through every trial, every heartache, every loss, every fear, and every step.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/31/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

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OUR SEASONS WITH GOD

Seasons all flow into one another

As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter,day and night will never cease. (Genesis 8:22)

WINTER:
White raiment
Crystalline sparkle
Powdery wisps
Silent echoes
Dormant life
Resting hope
In God’s time.

Winter, the season often associated with an end and death, actually signals the onset of new life and hope lingering beneath the soil–waiting. This is God’s promise—“as long as the earth endures.”

And what of our winter season here on this earth? Writers have linked youth with spring and summer, fall with aging maturity, and winter with our final years of decline. Can we not reframe the picture and see a different view of this stage in our lives:

White raiment: Donning a garment of greater purity before the Lord.
Crystalline sparkle: Shining in the Light of His Glory.
Powdery wisps: Rising above earthly ties for a closer view of heaven.
Silent echoes: Listening to the voices of those before us in the Lord.
Dormant life: Believing more is yet to be—beyond the “me” I now see.
Resting hope: Waiting patiently for new hope and life with God.
In God’s time: Trusting that His time is best in all seasons.

The winter years for disciples of the Lord should be ones reflecting a closer relationship with God, a greater purity within, a stronger belief held, a deeper longing for heaven, and a patient trust that the Lord will walk with us through this final season in our earthly lives.

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Seasons praying hands of ages

–A white-haired woman in a wheelchair, focusing intently on the preacher’s message, whispers “Amen.”
–The younger woman sitting beside her, hearing the whisper, invokes “Amen.”
–An elderly man with a cane, standing before the congregation praying, speaks “Amen.”
–The younger man beside him at the table, following the example, echoes “Amen.”
–An older woman sitting in the pew, hearing both the message and the prayer, reaffirms   “Amen.”
–The young child beside the woman, looking up at her with innocent eyes, repeats “Amen.”

SO BE IT. Let us rejoice in the God-given seasons of our lives, being the lead and example for those passing through the seasons we have already experienced, as we prepare for our own winter that will come with its hope of promise. Thank you, Lord.  AMEN.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/23/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

BEING PRESENT WITH GOD—IN GOD’S PRESENCE

Presence of God

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)
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As I look out across the room when the bell rings, I see 25 students in their seats. Yes, they are “present” on the attendance list, but are they going to be “present with me” in the lesson and discussion? Some gaze out the window in a blank stare; others look down at their phones; a couple pretend to look at me, and even smile, while texting in their pockets; a group of four continues to talk; several try to hurriedly complete homework; some are quite animated from a caffeine-fix lunch; one runs in as the bell sounds with a grand entrance; and a few are focused, waiting for the class to begin.
“ARE YOU WITH ME TODAY, CLASS?” A few heads turn. . .

Presence with focus is a very difficult combination to achieve in this age of multi-tasking and multi-sensory overload. We are constantly distracted by messages, notification beeps, keeping up with the recent Facebook posts, and the busyness of the day—yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Yet, relationships rarely progress to a deeper level when “presence with focus” is missing.

God gives the gift of His full presence, focusing on each one of us individually. David, the Psalmist, reveals this personal relationship:
1) You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
2) You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3) You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4) Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
5) You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
6) Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. (Psalm 139:1-6)

We cannot fully comprehend the meaning of God-Presence, but we do know that He expects—and we should give– our full presence as we enter this relationship with Him in prayer, in communication, in devotion, and in living before Him.
“The most common Hebrew term for ‘presence’ is panim , which is also translated ‘face, ‘implying a close and personal encounter with the Lord.” ¹
(7)“Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. (8) My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:7-8)

A face-to-face encounter in a relationship is one in which emotions are not easily hidden. It is when we are more vulnerable and open, when we cannot normally delay a response, like in an email, text or message. We recognize each other’s face, and we know each other’s name. Although knowing one’s face and name can merely involve a show of recognition in an infrequent acquaintance—knowing the person’s face and name in a meaningful relationship means an awareness of his or her presence on a deeper, more personal level.

The Lord knows all our names in a very personal way:
(12) Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ (13) If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” (14) The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:12-14)

God’s presence is always with us:
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

The important questions we have to answer:
Are we always present with Him?
Will we never leave Him , nor forsake Him?

¹ “Presence of God” http://www.biblestudytools.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/17/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

RESOLVED TO SERVE THE LORD IN 2016

Serving the Lord  me and my house

   RESOLVED!

Ready for the Lord’s Will in my life.
Enlisted in His service as a Prayer Warrior.
Servant to others in His Name.
One with the Lord, able to make a difference for God in word and deed.
Leaning on God for daily strength, decision-making, and wisdom.
Vocal in spreading His message of hope, truth, and salvation.
Embracing the call of discipleship, following Jesus all the way.
Devoted to God, first and foremost, in my life.

With man alone, resolve fails. With God, all things are possible.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: 365 DAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR THE LORD.

Are you resolved with me in 2016?

I AM RESOLVED: 2016 BIBLICAL RESOLUTIONS

As we form–and affirm–our own resolutions for this new year, may we take to heart the Word of the Lord our God; the counsel of His servants Paul and Joshua; and the prayers of David, whom God called “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22).

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Philippians 3:12-14 (12) Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. (13) Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, (14) I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:14-15 (14) But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Luke 6:31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

Ephesians 6:17-20 (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (18) praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— (19) and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, (20) for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Luke 6:27-28 (27) “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, (28) bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.

Psalm 139:23-24 (23) Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; (24) And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

Joshua 24:15 . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Isaiah 43:18-19 This is what the Lord says:(18) “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. (19) Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it?I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.”
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As we contemplate a new year of promise, let us follow Biblical examples of resolve. What “new thing” can we do for the Lord? What “road in the wilderness” can we tread daily so others can clearly see the path to follow, joining us in our walk with Christ? What “rivers in the desert” will flow with Living Water when we share Jesus with those who thirst?

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: 365 DAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR THE LORD.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/10/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Turning to God in 2016: Praying for America

 

turning to the Lord

In the “Star Spangled Banner,” America is deemed “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”¹ The words in this poem, penned by Francis Scott Key in 1814, are the lyrics to the song which became our National Anthem in 1931.¹The first stanza is the one we have memorized and heard sung at many public events, while the last stanza is often overlooked:

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave! ²

We have taken pride as a nation in the declaration stated in the last line, but maybe these words mean something else in today’s world. Has freedom become a license to do as one wishes in defense of sin through a brazen boldness deemed as “bravery” in this land we live in? Is this what “free” and “brave” mean to some today?

Our country is in desperate need of the Lord’s presence in lives, in decisions, in words, and in deeds. We need to return to the motto “In God we Trust” and make it mean more than mere words on a coin. It has to be our firm belief, and our belief must be shown through our actions. Then, and only then, can we declare that we are “the land of the free and the home of the brave!” Freedom and bravery cannot come from man; both are only given through God.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience… (Colossians 1:11)

I encourage each one of us to pray with due diligence for this country. The Word gives us guidance in this prayer:
**If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
**And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)

Let us pray without ceasing for this land which we claim as our earthly home, the one we will leave behind as our legacy and inheritance to our children and grandchildren-if the Lord wills. The examples they see and hear are you and me.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/03/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Citations:
1Morley, Jefferson. “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” July 4, 2013 http://www.theglobalist.com
2Toll, Larry. “On the ‘forgotten’ fourth verse of the national anthem.” July 1st, 2013. http://www.evangel.edu/ campus_blogs/2013/07/01