Archive for February, 2016

Those who TRUST in the Lord will Prosper

February 27, 2016

There is no doubt that most people in the modernized world realizes how big of a role that money plays in the convenience of life. It affords one the opportunity to live and play at their leisure or preference. At the inception of this year, Thursday, January 14, 2016, we saw the passion and appetite for money reach its height. The largest Powerball jackpot in U.S. history, $1,586,400,000, blowing the previous record of $656 million out of the water, was up for grabs. Ultimately, the jackpot was split among three with the winning numbers.

While most would assume that life would be grand after such winnings, many who have kept tabs on lottery winners offer a different perspective. Once one wins, their lives rivals Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. They lead the country in flights of a different kind. There are flights of people coming and going in their lives fuel by greed. It has been found that many lottery winners lives are peppered with disaster. Of the biggest disasters, there are a multitude of reports evidencing the gashes to relationship with family and friends. Divorce has been found to be a major player with lottery winners. Friends of many years often find themselves at odds and embroiled in court battles because of their greed for the money. Even for lesser sums, we all have seen actors, athletes and entrepreneurs besieged by friends and groupees. For many, what was considered a highway to happiness ended up being a parking lot of pain. Those events cause me to agree with the writer of Proverbs who says those who TRUST in the Lord will prosper.

The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper.
All that is written above is succinctly captured in that one verse. We see some of the conflict in the examples of above. There is certainly no prosperity in divorce and the disintegration of families. Psalm 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” I cannot imagine not having the men in my life who really care for me especially the one or two who have walked with me during the darkest days of my life upto this point. Loosing my friends over greed would certainly not be prosperous but being loved by them despite my flaws is invaluable. Now, I truly see that those who TRUST in the Lord will prosper
Those who TRUST in the Lord will prosper. Matthew Henry wrote “He who puts his trust in the Lord, who, instead of struggling for himself, commits his cause to God, shall be made fat. He saves the money which others spend upon their pride and contentiousness; he enjoys himself, and has abundant satisfaction in his God; and thus his soul dwells at ease, and he is most likely to have plenty of outward good things. None live so easily, so pleasantly, as those who live by faith.” Whereas those who are greedy are “continually unquiet, that are haughty and quarrelsome, for they are opposed to those that shall be made fat: He that is of a proud heart, that is conceited of himself and looks with a contempt upon all about him, that cannot bear either competition or contradiction, he stirs up strife, makes mischief, and creates disturbance to himself and every body else.”
Those who TRUST in the Lord will prosper. For the one who chooses relationships over riches will always prosper if the object of the relationship is Jehovah, the Almighty God. God is calling us all to relationship to Him. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. Similarly, God told the Israelites, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14  Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Do you want to be free from burdens? Do you want the presence of God with you always? Do you want rest? Do you want peace? Then, you must pursue God and not your greed. God is the true measure of prosperity; therefore, Those who TRUST in the Lord will prosper.

TRUST: The Wounds of a Friend

February 26, 2016

As we continue our excursion into TRUST, we will see why we need to put our hope and confidence in the Lord for an entire different reason; however, it is still rooted in The Basis of Trust. To reiterate, the basis of our TRUST in God is His character, who He is, and His work/power, what He has done and what He can do.

In our text today, Proverbs 27:6, we see another dimension of TRUST added. God, through the writer of Proverbs, provides keener insight into TRUST. What does the text tell us? God tells us to TRUST: The Wounds of a Friend.

Proverbs 27:6

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

The Hebrew word used for faithful here is ‘aman (ä·man’) which means to build up or support; to establish or make firm; to foster as a parent or nurse. As such, the object of the verse is the betterment of a person. Here a friend is contrasted with an enemy. The interesting part is that the connotation of what a friend and enemy normally does is contrary to what we think.

Normally, a friend is the one who loves us i.e. shows care or affection. Usually, an enemy seeks to harm or hurt us. Wounds are typically associated with harm or hurt. Kisses are typically associated with love; however, in Proverbs 27:6, God says, TRUST: The Wounds of a Friend and not the kisses of an enemy. Our focus should not be on how we feel but on how we must improve. It hurts to have our character or actions deemed as deficient. Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” We must train ourselves that everything said to us is not an attack. When our character or actions (character demonstrated) are deemed as improper or incorrect, we must develop the mindset that this is for our good. Isaiah 32:17 tells us that “The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.“Who does not want to be at peace and have confidence forever. The confidence is not rooted in thoughts about who we are but in our eternal destiny. Hebrews tells us that it may be painful, but it is necessary for becoming more righteous which is our goal if we are a follower of Christ.

In this world, I have a number of friends, but I only have a few who are willing to tell me about myself. That begs to question are they really my friend. I do have one friend who tells me the truth all the time no matter what.  In John 15:15, Jesus said, “ I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. ” Proverbs 18:24 says, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there isa friend who sticks closer than a brother.” God is not unreliable. He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9. This is why I say TRUST: The Wounds of a Friend 

TRUST: Jehovah Rapha (The Lord Who Heals)

February 25, 2016

According to Strong’s Concordance, Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly.In Hebrew, Jehovah Rapha is pronounced as (yeh-ho-vaw’ raw-faw’). Rapha (râpâ’) means “to restore”, “to heal” or “to make healthful” in Hebrew. When the two words are combined – Jehovah Rapha – it can be translated as “Jehovah Who Heals.” (cf. Jer 30:17; Jer 3:22; Isa 30:26; Isa 61:1; Psa 103:3). Jehovah is the Great Physician who heals the physical and emotional needs of His people.

In the post TRUST: Not in Humans who cannot Save, I shared why we should not put our trust in man. Today, as I reflect on how we are saved, I want to open that window, so we can clearly learn to TRUST: Jehovah Rapha (The Lord Who Heals).

Everyone I know has physical and emotional needs that need to be met. In fact, that is the impetus for this post. It is the tale of two girls who attend the school where I work. One is physically sick. She has been in the hospital now for more than ten days most of which she was in a coma. The other girl has been emotionally sick all year. She too has been in sort of an emotional coma as she has been unresponsive to the goading and prodding of God for her faith, but the text today tells me to TRUST: Jehovah Rapha (The Lord Who Heals). The bible tells me that in the Old Testament Jehovah-Rapha (The Lord that Heals) is used in Exodus 15:26 and several other places.

Exodus 15 presents an interesting and repeated set of experiences. In Exodus 14, God had just opened up the Red Sea allowing the Israelites to cross on dry ground but caused the waters to cover over Pharaoh. After that, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant, but that did not last. Exodus 15 starts off with the people praising God in song, but by the end, they were grumbling against Moses about not having water, and when they finally found water, they deemed it not fit to drink.

Exodus 15:25b-26
There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”

God showed them that He could heal them not only from bondage in Egypt but from bad water to meet their physical need. God is our healer. click here for the verses below.

Exodus 23:25-26
25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.

2 Kings 20:5
5 “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord.

Psalm 25:11
11 For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

Psalm 103:3
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

Psalm 107:20
20 He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

Isaiah 30:26
26 The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.

Isaiah 61:1
61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

Jeremiah 3:22
22 “Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” “Yes, we will come to you, for you are the Lord our God.

Jeremiah 30:17
17 But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord,
‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.’

Hosea 11:3
3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them.

In Malachi 3:17, God says, 17 “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.” Let’s pray for those young ladies, others and ourselves that God would act to spare us. That we would TRUST: Jehovah Rapha (The Lord Who Heals) in the midst of our hardships, trials and sufferings.

TRUST: Not In Your Riches

February 24, 2016

Thus far into our excursion into TRUST, I have shared with you The Basis of Trust and reasons that evidence why one should put his/her trust in God. As I learned as a little boy, you can learn and grow from what not to do just as much as what to do. As a little boy, I loved fire. My mother told me not to become a pyromaniac, but I did not listen. One day, I was playing with matches in the yard during the winter with dormant grass. Needless to say, I set my front yard on fire. Fortunately, it was not disastrous, but after that, I too was lit up if you know what I mean.

Learning to trust is big. Learning to trust God is contrary to what we naturally think and feel. There are so many options that we consider before God. We trust in ourselves, in others, in popularity, in status, and yes the big one – money. God tells us to TRUST: Not In Your Riches. Having money gives us a false sense of security. By possessing money, we feel more independent. With the right amount, we do not have to consider what kind of house we will buy, vehicles to purchase, jewelry to wear, vacation to plan and the like. Slowly, we begin to think that we are doing and are the source. That is a position of pride and places us in direct opposition to God. Proverbs 3:34 says, “He mocks proud mocker, but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.James 4:6 says, ““God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

As such, we should take heed to the text today, Proverbs 11:28 which tells us that

Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.

Remember, there are several Hebrew words used for trust. According to Strong’s Concordance, Batach (bä·takh’) is the word that means to confide in, to set one’s hope or confidence upon. It is the same word used here for trust in the text. In essence, God is saying to not put your hope or confidence in riches i.e. money, property or generally what is considered wealth. It is a serious challenge not to fall into this trap. Like many others, I too have succumb to the lure of trusting in riches. I know first hand what it is like to think more highly of myself, being full of pride. I had no personal experience with humility as it related to having money. I was by no means wealthy, but I had enough money to pay off my mother’s house, build me a 3,400 sqft ranch and set money aside for the children I had yet to have. God had given me the resources, the wisdom and the favor to earn over 5 times a return on investment. That’s where I went wrong. I began to think I was something assuming God’s credit and glory. That was the beginning of the end for me as I would not relent despite God’s multiple warnings to TRUST: Not In Your Riches.

After a time of grace in waiting for me to reform my thoughts, the bottom fell out. I lost everything except one dime. How ironic, but it was intentional by God. Since I did not listen to TRUST: Not In Your Riches, God had to show me. Just as I had to learn about the grass in what not to do, I learned the same thing about riches. Furthermore, I learned the second half of the verse, “Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” While I have not even come close to acquiring a tenth of what I lost, I have gained so much more. I have become wealthy in my knowledge of God and self, of my wife’s love for me, of my value to God in this world. I would not have the depth of knowledge and experience had not God disciplined me for my holiness. Like the leaf, I have remained connected with the life source, God. In the process, I have experienced the presence and peace of God like never before. I have had to depend on God to meet basic needs which is better by far but contrary to our desire to be in control.
Why does God tell us to TRUST: Not In Your Riches? Because He knows that For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14). Without trusting in Jesus, we have no peace with God. We are enemies of God because of our evil behavior. Furthermore, John 3:36 tells us”…whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Being an enemy of God leads to His discipline at best and His wrath at worst. If you are a glutton for hardship and pain, then proceed. Otherwise, TRUST: Not In Your Riches.

As with Abram, God tells us that I am your Very Great Reward. Ultimately, God wants us to enjoy Him which is why He says, “TRUST: Not In Your Riches”. God wants us to have Him, His best. Be encourage and TRUST: Not In Your Riches.

TRUST: God Keeps Your Secrets

February 23, 2016 defines trust as the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence. There are several Hebrew words used for trust. According to Strong’s Concordance, Batach (bä·takh’) is the word that means to confide in, to set one’s hope or confidence upon. TRUST: God Keeps Your Secrets

Over the past month or so, many posts have been shared providing reasons why we should put our confidence or hope in the Almighty God. In The Basis of Trust, I shared that ultimately it comes down to who God is, His character, and what God can do, His power. In the natural realm, we trust more readily when we see evidence of one’s character and ability. Former University of Georgia (UGA) football coach, Mark Richt, is a classic case that both character and ability are needed for trust to continue to be needed. Without exception, university personnel, alumni, supporters and members of the media had profound respect for the character that Mr. Richt displayed from 2001-2015. Despite the 145 wins against 51 losses, the powers that be at UGA lost confidence in Mr. Richt’s ability to lead the team. Consequently, they mutually agreed that he would resign from his post at UGA. While that was true for UGA, the University of Miami, his alma mater, had enough trust in his character and ability to hire him as their head football coach eight days later.

Character and ability drive a great deal of decisions. In the spiritual realm, Proverbs 11:13 says, “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” Relationships are the most important endeavor we have in our lives. We all know how it feels to have a secret revealed or betrayed. It is one of the most hurtful emotions. We entrust someone, usually one we think loves or at least cares for us, with our deepest thoughts, feelings or actions. I can personally say TRUST: God Keeps Your Secrets. I am not proud of some of the things that I have thought, said and done; yet, God keeps my secrets. Not to conceal them from others to aid me in wrongdoing, but He keeps my sins as far as the east is from the westso far has he removed our transgressions from us. God removes my sins. Those are the things we try to keep secret. We don’t hide or conceal matters that are beneficial or flattering to us. After all, we do have an aversion to making ourselves look good. It is that word or deed that we attempt to hide, but we can’t hide. Why? Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”Since we cannot hide, how can we deal with our sins/secrets. Colossians 3:3 tells us “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” That is true if you have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

TRUST: God Keeps Your Secrets. Jesus cleanses all your sins. “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22 Jesus cleanses me. He offers to cleanse you. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” TRUST: God Keeps Your Secrets.

TRUST: Wisdom Calls Out

February 22, 2016

Surrounded by voices that vie for our attention, it would behoove us to develop a discerning ear. For we need to put our TRUST in the right place more importantly in the right person. There are some voices that demand our attention and allegiance that serve us no good. This is why we must TRUST: Wisdom Calls Out.

In Proverbs 8, wisdom is personified and that as a woman. In terms of value, silver, gold, rubies or nothing you desire can compare with her (v9-11).  Counsel, sound judgment, insight and power belong to wisdom, and she imparts that to kings, princes, rulers, nobles and all who are willing to seek her. Likewise, riches, honor, enduring wealth and prosperity are hers to give as well. Beginning in verse 22, she is she reveals that she was before all things as well as to be the architect and counselor of God in creation. In verse 32 and 33, we learn that those who listen and follow her are blessed and become wise. Those who find her, find life and receive favor from the Lord. On the converse, those who fail to wisdom harm themselves. Those who all who hate her love death. Now, we know why we need to TRUST: Wisdom Calls Out.

Proverbs 8

Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 At the highest point along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 beside the gate leading into the city,
at the entrance, she cries aloud:
4 “To you, O people, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.
5 You who are simple, gain prudence;
you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.[a]
6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.
7 My mouth speaks what is true,
for my lips detest wickedness.
8 All the words of my mouth are just;
none of them is crooked or perverse.
9 To the discerning all of them are right;
they are upright to those who have found knowledge.
10 Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her…
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
    watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
    and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
    all who hate me love death.”

TRUST: Wisdom Calls Oufor mankind to follow her. We have see some of the benefits for seeking wisdom. She closes out this text by saying that those who find her find life and receives favor from God. Who does not want a real life that has meaning, value and purpose. A life that God infuses His purpose and power. A life guided by truth and wisdom. She was there before creation and understands what our lives should be and how our lives can flourish. This is why she says TRUST: Wisdom Calls Out. 

God continues to demand that we trust Him with our lives, with every facet of our being or existence. Jehovah wants you to TRUST: Wisdom Calls Out. 

TRUST: Not in Humans who cannot Save

February 19, 2016

In the coding or programming world, there is something called the “if then” statements. What is the purpose of an if statement? According to Oracle, The if-then statement is the most basic of all the control flow statements. It tells your program to execute a certain section of code only if a particular test evaluates to true.

There are a multiplicity of circumstances we will face in life that are true or false. That being said, it would be most prudent to develop our own response coding or programming to respond to our if-then statements.

I have said many times that the physical realm mirrors the spiritual. We see programming world borrow from the spiritual. We see that in Psalm 146 where we are told TRUST: Not in Humans who cannot Save. God is telling us our own if-then statement. What does God tell us about man that is not true? Man cannot save – save as in salvation of the soul, deliverance from health, financial, or any other natural situation like storms. Here are a  few passages that highlight the truth about man’s abilities being inept. The then requires us to trust in God.

Psalm 60:11
Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless.

Psalm 108:12
Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless.

Isaiah 2:22
Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?

Psalm 146 lays it out clearly for us.

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

Man is nothing. Man is not worthy to be praised, but God is worthy to be praised. The psalmist tells us that he is committed to praising God all his life, as long as he lives. Why? God is trustworthy and able to save whereas man is not trustworthy and definitely not able to save. In his experience, God has delivered or saved him. He is fully aware of man’s limitations in contrast to God’s limitless power and ability which is why he says TRUST: Not in Humans who cannot Save.

Like the psalmist, man has been useless in many circumstances in my life. Man had no answer for me as I wallowed in the futility of life. It was God who showed me my purpose and worth. When I commit sin against God, man cannot help me. It was Jesus who became incarnate and died for my sins. Man was useless when I have committed offenses again my wife and other loved ones. It was God who gave them the capacity and willingness to forgive. When it appeared that my wife and I would not have children, it was God who allowed us to conceive and deliver two live and healthy children. When I faced financial ruin, it was God who sustained me and raised me back up. When I endured a vocational lynching, it was God who sliced the noose and breathed life back into the vocational path that He had directed me in two scores ago.

For all of those and many other reasons, I too side with the psalmist in saying TRUST: Not in Humans who cannot Save. I trust in God. He is my rock, sword, shield, delivery, fortress, help, Lord and Savior.

TRUST: He is Trustworthy and Faithful

February 16, 2016

I began this series of posts about TRUST with The Basis of Trust. In that post and throughout, I maintain we must believe wholeheartedly who He is, His character, and what He has said, His Word in order to TRUST God.

In our text (Psalm 145) today, God provides additional insights about His character and His Word. God tells us to TRUST: He is Trustworthy and Faithful. Let’s go straight to the verse.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations.

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
    and faithful in all he does.

The reality of trusting God centers around His character. While most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text do not have the last two lines of verse 13. God says that He is trustworthy in all He promises. There are a plethora of other text that affirm God’s character as trustworthy and faithful.

Deuteronomy 7:9
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Joshua 23:14
14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed

Psalm 18:25
To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,

Psalm 33:4
For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

Psalm 108:4
For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Psalm 145:13
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does

Psalm 146:6
He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever.

Isaiah 49:7
This is what the Lord says— the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel — to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: “Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

Jeremiah 42:5
Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us.

Hosea 11:12
12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, Israel with deceit. And Judah is unruly against God, even against the faithful Holy One.

1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

God is trustworthy and faithful throughout the scriptures. I can also attest that God is trustworthy and faithful in my life. Promises that God has made He has kept. In fact, I cannot keep us with all the promises that God has fulfilled in my life. There are times when He will reveal that some answer was in response to a promise that I attached my prayer to but had long forgotten.

Those scriptures and His work in my life all lead me to TRUST: He is Trustworthy and Faithful. What about you? Have you trusted God for salvation through Jesus, “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Trust the Lord and be blessed.

TRUST: God or idols

February 15, 2016

In the post TRUST: God is My Help and Shield, the  comparison of TRUST: God or idols was made in Psalm 115. The point being made was that it did not make sense for man to trust in idols which he in many cases had made with their own hands. Furthermore, those idols have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. That series of cannots expresses the foolishness of trusting in idols rather than God. It explains TRUST: God or idols.

Now, we are in Psalm 135 and the foolishness of trusting in idols rather than God resurfaces.

Praise the Lord.

Praise the name of the Lord;
    praise him, you servants of the Lord,
you who minister in the house of the Lord,
    in the courts of the house of our God.

Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
    sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.
For the Lord has chosen Jacob to be his own,
    Israel to be his treasured possession.

I know that the Lord is great,
    that our Lord is greater than all gods.
The Lord does whatever pleases him,
    in the heavens and on the earth,
    in the seas and all their depths.
He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
    he sends lightning with the rain
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

He struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
    the firstborn of people and animals.
He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, Egypt,
    against Pharaoh and all his servants.
He struck down many nations
    and killed mighty kings—
Sihon king of the Amorites,
    Og king of Bashan,
    and all the kings of Canaan—
and he gave their land as an inheritance,
    an inheritance to his people Israel.

Your name, Lord, endures forever,
    your renown, Lord, through all generations.
For the Lord will vindicate his people
    and have compassion on his servants.

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
    made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
    eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
    nor is there breath in their mouths.
Those who make them will be like them,
    and so will all who trust in them.

All you Israelites, praise the Lord;
    house of Aaron, praise the Lord;
house of Levi, praise the Lord;
    you who fear him, praise the Lord.
Praise be to the Lord from Zion,
    to him who dwells in Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord.

TRUST: God or idols is the essence of this passage. The psalmist provides a survey of history where God proves His worthy in caring for the Israelites. The psalmist is asking the people to consider all that God has done in demonstrating that He is able and cares as a factor in determining TRUST: God or idols.

I am not sure of the list of God’s faithful deliverances in your life, but I, like you, must reflect on upon how God has demonstrated that He is faithful, able and worthy of our trust as I think about upcoming challenges in my life. Without respect to the outcome, I must consider how plausible it is to TRUST: God or idols.

Where are you today? Are you prepared to make your deciding position in TRUST: God or idols? Read the Word of God such as here in Psalm 135, ask others and reflect upon your life as you consider TRUST: God or idols. I pray we all make the best decision and trust in Jehovah, the one true God.

TRUST: Surrounded by Mountains

February 13, 2016

Last year as I was teaching a unit on Latin America, the geography of Mexico City is one of the standards we studied. We discussed how Mexico City’s geography shaped its climate and environmental conditions. Mexico City is surrounded by mountains and sits low between them. It forms a basin, like a bowl around the city.

Mexico, like other places in the world, have natural barriers (mountains) to protect it. Similarly, the Word of God tells us that God surrounds His people like the mountains surround Jerusalem. Just as the mountains that surround Mexico City offer it benefits, the mountains that surround Jerusalem also offer it benefits. The implication in the text below conveys an eternal benefit not a temporal one. TRUST: Surrounded by Mountains

Psalm 125:2

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
    which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the Lord surrounds his people
    both now and forevermore.

We know that those who trust in the Lord cannot be shaken. Verse two reveals another benefit from trusting in the Lord God.TRUST: Surrounded by Mountains. As the mountains surrounds Jerusalem , God promises to surround you both now an forevermore as a consequence of trusting in God. God promises to protect not only Jerusalem but all who trust in Him as Savior and Lord.

Deuteronomy 33:27
27 The eternal God is your refuge,
    and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemies before you,
    saying, ‘Destroy them!’
Psalm 34:7
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Psalm 121:8
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 139:5
 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Isaiah 33:20
20 Look on Zion, the city of our festivals;
    your eyes will see Jerusalem,
    a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved;
its stakes will never be pulled up,
    nor any of its ropes broken.
Zechariah 2:3-5
While the angel who was speaking to me was leaving, another angel came to meet himand said to him: “Run, tell that young man, ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’
John 10:28-29
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

There is so much more to that prophetically that I have time to delve into here. In fact, I have taken so much longer to write today because  I got lost in the significance of the mountains that surround Jerusalem (Revelation 17:9). In fact, I got lost in the name of Jerusalem which is predated by Melchizedek king of Salem (Genesis 14, Hebrews 7).

There is much to learn and much to debate, but one fact remains constant in the midst of facts unknown, God promises to protect His people both now and forevermore. I am not sure what assails you now. I am not sure what fears you have at this moment. None of them matter. For your faith in Jehovah, He has promised to protect you both now and forevermore. While applicable to the physical, the emphasis is on the spiritual – forevermore. TRUST: Surrounded by Mountains