Lucia's Blog: CHOOSING TO TRUST IN GOD
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Sunday, March 15, 2020

CHOOSING TO TRUST IN GOD

“In God I trust; I shall not be afraid.” 
Psalm 56:11



Most of us spend our lives in quiet desperation, wondering when the next calamity or disaster will strike us. We imagine that we are alone.  Often we find ourselves amid tragedy, danger, chaos, pain, loss, and sufferings that cause us to be anxious.  We find it difficult to relax.  What do you do when the trials and uncertainties of our lives are raging furiously all around us? There is ONLY one way out, and that is to trust in God. It is the best and only wise thing to do because when we trust the Lord, we will never be unprotected and disappointed. He is the Rock of our refuge. God is faithful!  He can never go against His promises.  It is not in His nature to do so.  God cannot lie!  So we must remind ourselves when we are amid our despair and helplessness that things will get better. We must trust Him!  Come what may, we have the hope to endure the worst of the storms of our life.

In Matthew 11:28, our Lord, the good and faithful Shepherd, invites us to “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  He also declares, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”  (Matt. 11:29-30).  God wants us to lie down and trust Him, to listen to Him and follow Him.  We can rest assured that He can take our burdens and cares upon Himself, for He has promised us that He will carry them.  So why is it that so many Christians prefer to be burdened with life's worries, anxieties, cares, struggles, guilt, and many other troubles that come our way instead of trusting Him to carry them for us?  We must learn to trust Him and have faith in Him to help us carry them.  We lack faith when we refuse to believe that He will provide for our needs.  We are rejecting the rest He has promised to give us.  In Jesus, we find the rest our weary souls need so desperately.

We must trust God to help us face our fears The antidote for fear is our God.  We must choose to trust in God as we wait for Him with confidence.  Our LORD is our Light, our salvation, the stronghold of our life, our Deliverer, and our guidance when we draw near Him and walk with Him faithfully.  We can rest assured with complete confidence that He will be there for us in our time of need.  When we trust Him, He will help us win over our fears.  No matter what we go through, our God can help us through them.  You see, our faith will give us confidence, the trust to face whatever comes our way.  Our faith (our trust and confidence) helps us to see God as the One who shields and protects us from everything that can harm us.  Isn't it wonderful to have such confidence, trust in our God no matter what may come our way!


I.  THE LORD IS OUR DEFENSE (STRONGHOLD) AND STRENGTH:
"The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom should I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom should I be afraid?  I have asked one thing from the LORD; it is what I desire:  to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the LORD and seeking Him in His temple.  5 For He will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity; He will hide me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high on a rock"  (Psalm 27:1-5).

Throughout the Scriptures, we see God's power as He took care of His nation.  Take, for instance, what God told Abraham in a vision.

“Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”  

You see, God reassured Abraham that he need not fear because He was going to make him a great nation even though he was without a son (Genesis 15).

God also told Jacob not to fear to move him and his family down to Egypt because He was going to take care of them and would make them a great nation.  God said,
"I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes”  (Genesis 46:3-4).  

God also told Joshua over and over again to take courage and not be afraid because He was with him (Joshua 1:9; 8:1; 10:25; 11:6).

God told Jeremiah not to be afraid to speak what He was commanding him to say to the nation (Jeremiah 1:6-8).

He told Ezekiel the same thing when He commanded him to speak to the nation of Israel when they were rebelling against Him.  God said,
"And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions.  Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. 7 And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house” (Ezekiel 2:6-7).  

God told the people of Israel before they conquered the land of Canaan saying,
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

God not only made these promises in the Old Testament but throughout the New Testament as quoted in Hebrews,
“I will never leave you, I will never forsake you. So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?‘”  (Hebrews 13:5-6)

In Matthew 10:28-31, Jesus said,
"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."  

Therefore, we have nothing to fear except being outside of the light of God, for if God is not our light, then there is much to fear.  But if God is our light, then there is nothing to fear, for He is with us and is our deliverance.

Our God is a mighty stronghold, the anchor of our lives, when there is turmoil, storms of doubt, discouragement, despairdefeat as well as when we face the waves and winds of temptation, the trials, and the sorrows that tear at our sails.  When we are faithful followers of Christ, we can have the confidence that no matter how bad things might appear, with God on our side, life can be free of worry, fear, and anxiety.  Our God brings us inner peace, calmness, or quietness.  Our LORD is our peace because He is our Light.   Even death itself has no hold over us.  Death is what every person fears, but we Christians must not fear death since it is merely a transition into eternal life and paradise with God.   The Scriptures repeatedly reassure us with confidence saying,
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”  (Romans 8:28).  

Our God is our strength and joy.  Isn't that marvelous!

Although life is full of troubles and trials, God is our Helper to shield us with His strength.

"For He will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity; He will hide me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high on a rock."  

You see, God is our protection (a tabernacle or tent); and a rock.  As our tabernacle or tent, our God is our security to hide us in His presence.  As our rockHe sets us on high to keep us far from all harm.  God will put us in the hollow of His mighty hand to protect us with His presence and strength.   As we walk with God in true communionwe can rest assured that He will be there for us to help us handle life's difficulties, fears, and uncertainties and to give us the strength to endure them.  God will provide for us in times of danger.   When I think of what my God has done in my life and how He has met His promises to me, I can't help but to shout of joy and sing praises to Him!

Indeed, God hears when we cry out to Him, and He is never too busy to listen to us.   Yet, He is the last person we want to talk to.  How is He going to listen to us if we don't even bother to approach His throne of mercy?  God is the only one on whom we can confidently lay our heavy burdens, to find relief and rest for our weary souls.  We must believe and trust Him, for He will indeed listen to us.  He is a faithful and perfect Father who longs to hear us when we cry out to Him.  Can there be a better or more perfect listener than our Father in heaven who wants to hear us?  No one, for there is no better listener who can help us with our cries like our God!

No one can assist us and grant us that inner peace that we so desperately need in our times of turmoil except our Father in heaven.  That is why we must always remind ourselves of all His promises.  Jesus, our Lord, promised us that if we "keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you"  (Matthew 7:7).  Such faithful promises are too much for me to fathom!  So, I will trust Him with all of my heart and soul!!



II.   JESUS OUR FAITHFUL SHEPHERD:   (Psalm 23:1-4)
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  2  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  3  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

When we surrender our will to the will of God, we are putting our lives in His hands (the relationship of the sheep with their shepherd).  In doing this, we will lack nothing.  Our relationship with the Shepherd is sufficient, and there is no deficiency, for He provides what we need.  That does not mean that our lives are going to be free of difficulties, but rather that all our needs will be supplied.  Our satisfaction must be the Lord and nothing else.  True contentment is found in God Himself as our Shepherd.  What we have in the Lord is much greater than what we don't have in life.  God is all we need, for He provides His children what they need.  Therefore, there is nothing else that we need but Him.  When we trust our Shepherd, we lack no good thing... ever!!  There is nothing to be afraid of or worried about because He is with us all the way until the gates of heaven. Indeed“Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want!” 


"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters."  (Verse 2)

Indeed, it is difficult to get sheep to lie down.  They refuse to lie down unless they are free from all fear, tension, flies or parasites, and hunger.  The good shepherd must make sure that his flock is free from disturbances or turmoil.  You see, sheep are easily frightened.  But nothing quiets the sheep like seeing their shepherd in the field with them.  Isn't that a beautiful picture! Like sheep, we also are easily frightened.  Why?  Because life is uncertain.  Often the unknown and the unexpected is what frightens us the most.  But nothing quiets our souls better than knowing that our Good Shepherd is near to protect us from all harm.  Whenever our Shepherd is near, we find rest for our weary souls.  His presence puts an end to all our fear, tension, and worry.  Our Good Shepherd provides us with the spiritual food that our souls desperately need.  Our Shepherd has promised us that He will satisfy our needs.  Isn't that marvelous!  Indeed, Christ, our Lord, meets all our needs.  That is why He “maketh us to lie down in green pastures.”

The Good Shepherd also leads us beside still waters.  The quality of God's provisions is the best.  In the Bible, churning turbulent waters represent distress (Isaiah 43:2; 28:2; 2 Samuel 5:20).  He leads us beside still or quiet waters to refresh our souls as we walk life's journey.


“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me”  (Verse 4).

This verse is often used to comfort the dying.  Even though it expresses such hope, the central concept is that the Shepherd is protecting His sheep from harm and danger.  A good shepherd leads his sheep from the high pastures during the summer to the valleys of lowlands during the winter.  But despite all this, there are times when the sheep will pass through dangerous places.  For God's children, there are times when we seem to be lying down in green pastures and other times when we are led through the valley of the shadow of death’s dark valleys.  Our God is tenderly leading us in either case.

Our Father in heaven knows quite well exactly when we are going to need His strength and provision. He will supply the strength we so desperately need, just in time. David acknowledged that though he walked through the valley of the shadow of death, he would fear no evil (Psalm 23:4). He knew what it was like to be in the dark valley. For many of us, the darkest valley of all is the one we dread the most to cross.  David describes this valley as one of deep darkness. It speaks of our dark experiences in life.

In Psalm 23, David reminds us that our world is not ideal, but full of dark valleys (verse 4).  And although he had struggled through many difficulties, he remained faithful and confident that God would be with him in the many dark and somber times. David applied the Word of God in his own life.

God's children go through many dark valleys in life.  Some of us have deeper valleys than others. Some have fewer valleys.  Our journey is not always tranquil and easy, for we must go through difficult and trying times.  We must pass through these valleys to reach our green pastures.  We must pass through these valleys to strengthen and develop our character and grow in our faith.  These valleys are good for us, for they strengthen our faith and confidence.  We must confidently trust God to work things out for our good, for He will do what is right and best for us.  Sadly, many do not have such hope or confidence because they do not have God.  Our Good Shepherd walks near His sheep, His children, to steer them past dangerous places, narrow and slippery paths.  It is during these harmful and trying times, the deep valleys of life that distress us and make us afraid, that our God moves us along-side of us with His rod and staff to help us and encourage us.  Without God in our lives, our trials, traumas, fears, and sufferings will make no sense and have no value. We will not have God's deliverance to overcome them.  For us Christians, we have the confidence and hope that He is working on our behalf to do what is best for us.

The word “evil” in this context means disaster and danger rather than moral evil.  The phrase “shadow of death” implies disaster and danger (Psalm 44:19; 107:10; 10, 14).  The picture that the Psalmist paints is that of death casting its shadow over us the travelers.  And though the Shepherd leads us in the paths of righteousness, the right paths, at times, those paths seem to be “the valley of the shadow of death.”  Why?  Because since we are with the Lord, we feel that He should lead us away from or around the valley of the shadow of death.  However, the sheep must trust the Shepherd when walking through this valley.  And even though we are led through such a valley, we must not fear disaster, harm, and danger, for our Shepherd is with us to take care of us and provide what we need.  His presence is all we need, for it makes all the difference in this world.  Our merciful and loving God is our comfort in our valleys of pain, doubt, fear, uncertainty, and sorrow.  What an excellent Comforter is our God who empowers us to fear no harm!!  We can confidently trust Him to help us handle the valley of the shadow of death, for He is with us.

“Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”




God's presence and power can free us from our fears when we are traveling through our dark valleys of difficulty and trials.  “For thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” Such precious words of comfort! David recognized that God is present in our lives and that He is leading us through these valleys.  He is there to protect us and see us through these difficult circumstances.  Our Good Shepherd uses His Shepherd’s staff to work with us, His sheep. The rod is like a club.  The shepherd learns early in life how to throw it with speed and accuracy.  The rod becomes his main weapon of defense for both him and his sheep.  He uses it to drive off predators like coyotes, wolves, cougars, or stray dogs.  It is also used to beat away snakes.  The rod is also used to discipline.  When the sheep wander away or near any danger, the rod is thrown to send it back to the flock.  On the other hand, the staff is a long, slender stick that usually has a hook on one end.  The shepherd uses his staff to guide his sheep along a new path or through a gate.  He does not beat the sheep but nudges them along.  Sometimes, the staff is used to get the sheep out of trouble, pull them from the water, or protect them from thorns.  We, God's sheep, are comforted by His authority, power, might, and guidance, for His rod and staff comfort us while we travel our pilgrim journey.

Thus, the Good Shepherd, our Lord, directs, retrieves, and disciplines us. His rod or cudgel hangs from His belt and is ready to defend and protect us.  We the sheep look on these things to remind ourselves that the Shepherd will protect us well, for He cares for us.  His rod and His staff will comfort us, for He is with us to help us overcome our difficulties and trials, as we pass through the fearsome valley of death.  David confidently said, “I fear no evil (danger or harm), for Thou art with me.”  I cannot fathom how people in this world can get through their trials and difficulties in life without God!!  Our loving and merciful God is our surety and strength during the darkest times.  He works things out for our good and will do what is best for us, His sheep, and His children.  We can trust Him to get us through the darkest valleys of life.


CONCLUSION:


Jesus is our Shepherd King.  With Him, we lack nothing, for He brings us rest and guidance in the paths of righteousness.  Our Shepherd King restores and refreshes our souls and brings the perfect healing that we so desperately need.  He is with us and will lead us through the valley of the shadow of death.  He will give us serenity, tranquility, and comfort during this journey.  He is also our sustenance, direction, companion, protection, and acceptance.  There is nothing in life that we lack when we follow Him.  Only goodness and mercy will follow His faithful children all the days of their lives and in the next life.  

And though God's sheep can go through times of distress, disturbance, and bewilderment, they can rest assured that the good Shepherd will care for them to find rest and peace.  Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of deathwe will not fear the dark times of life because God is with us, the Good Shepherd, walking with us.  He is on our side.  Our God, the Good Shepherd, provides for us spiritual food and spiritual rest, “green grass,” and “quiet or still waters.”  Jesus is with us as He leads us.  He gives us tranquility and comfort during the journey.  He is preparing a banquet table for us where we can enjoy His blessings overflowing our cup.  He is pursuing us all the days of our lives.  He laid down His life to rescue us.  

"I am certain that I will see the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living.  14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and courageous.  Wait for the LORD!"  (Psalm 27:13-14)

Our faith in our God will win over fear and doubt, for He is our defense, strength, and guide.  He surrounds us with His Almighty arms of protection against our circumstances.  God helps us to bear the fiery furnace of our trials, that we might not be burned.  We must walk by faith and not by fear.  God is our Light, who brings us out of the darkness of sin into His glorious Light of righteousness.  God provides guidance to life's problems through His Truth.  He is our salvation, for He delivers us with His strong hand.  He is also our defense when we put our trust in Him as faithful servants.  He puts us on a high rock to keep us from harm and danger, for He loves us and cares for us.  May our God be praised for His marvelous Light, salvation, and defense!  Our God is not only a God of love but also of Truth.  He keeps His promises, and there is no falsehood in Him.  Therefore, we must trust Him with unwavering faith to face each trial that comes our way.

He is with us and will be with His faithful children all the way to the gates of heaven.  He has promised us that He will come to our aid to help us overcome all of life's obstacles and the darkness in our path, only if we will faithfully trust in Him to deliver us.  He has promised us that we will be able to overcome everything because of our faith in Him.  We must trust in Him to meet whatever challenges that might come our way.  Thus let us trust Him during our fiercest storms. Let us trust Him when dark days assail us.  Let us trust Him when our faith seems to be small.  Let us trust Him when the best and simplest thing to do is to trust Him.  Indeed, these are the hardest things for us, His children, to do!

Therefore, let us resolve to be strong in the LORD and in His power to help us overcome.  So when trouble comes your way, don't lose heart but choose to be strong and wait on the LORD.  Believe with all your heart that you will see God's goodness in the land of the living.  Trust in His goodness and faithfulness.  And though waiting is hard, it is necessary.  Remain faithful to Him and keep praying.  Wait on Him and remain faithful to His Truth.  Seek God's face by drawing nearer to Him in prayer.  Approach His throne with confidence and cry out to Him.  God will hear your deep feelings, even your broken and distressing ones.  Put yourself in God's hands and let Him guide you into His level path of righteousness.  But you must remember to be patient and wait on the LORD.  He will lead you to a safe and secure place.  What an awesome Father we have in heaven!!

Is God the Light in your life? Is He your deliverance, your salvation, and your stronghold in this world? If you are not walking the level path of righteousness with God as you draw near to Him, then it will be hard to have confidence, faith, and trust.  Why not choose to walk with Him that He might be your Friend to listen to you, protect you, and guide you?  I can assure you, He will not let you down and will not forsake you.  Let us wait for the LORD to provide all that we need to make it to heaven.  When you find yourself in the pit, look up to God in prayer!

May we wait and trust in God when we feel lost and without hope.  May we always turn to our Light that He may give us strength and victory over our fears.  May we never fear evil, for He is with us during the darkest times of our life.  May we never forget that our good Shepherd is walking close by our side.  May we have the confidence that He will surround us with His goodness and mercy.  May we show gratitude for His provisions, pardon, presence, protection, and peace.  May we trust in our Lord with all our heart, mind, and soul, who loves us enough to let us face our challenges that we may grow and enter His kingdom. May we find rest, serenity, and calm in His loving arms. May we find refreshment for our weariness. May we dwell in the house of the LORD forever.


Wait, wait, O wait on the LORD.
Be strong and take courage!
Wait on the LORD.
Wait, wait, O wait on the LORD.
Be strong and take courage!
Yes, wait on the LORD.

Luci







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