Posts Tagged ‘trust

08
Sep
13

Cheer up, we will understand it all by and by

In my younger years I used to love strumming the guitar and sing simple songs (I wasn’t very good at all). One of the first songs I learned how to play became one my favorite songs due to its message. Over the years when I led a fellowship or meeting I many times had everyone sing this song because it was simple, short and encouraging.

Recently I was amazed to find out there are MANY verses to this song instead of the first verse and refrain I had heard all my life. Once I saw the complete song, I knew I would have to blog about it because some of the verses are truly awesome. Without further ado, may I present to you, the complete song “Farther Along”.

1. Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long;
While there are others living about us,
Never molested, though in the wrong.
o Refrain:
Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
2. Sometimes I wonder why I must suffer,
Go in the rain, the cold, and the snow,
When there are many living in comfort,
Giving no heed to all I can do.
3. Tempted and tried, how often we question
Why we must suffer year after year,
Being accused by those of our loved ones,
E’en though we’ve walked in God’s holy fear.
4. Often when death has taken our loved ones,
Leaving our home so lone and so drear,
Then do we wonder why others prosper,
Living so wicked year after year.
5. “Faithful till death,” saith our loving Master;
Short is our time to labor and wait;
Then will our toiling seem to be nothing,
When we shall pass the heavenly gate.
6. Soon we will see our dear, loving Savior,
Hear the last trumpet sound through the sky;
Then we will meet those gone on before us,
Then we shall know and understand why.

There are several contradictory claims for the authorship of this song. The words and music are frequently attributed to W. B. Stevens, although others have attributed the words to W. A. Fletcher

If there is anyone out there who has never had these questions come up in their mind, I wonder how much of a stand for God is really being made. Anyone who boldly proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ and faithfully stands firm in that Gospel SHALL suffer persecution, affliction and tribulation, many times while watching people who despise God seemingly live the “perfect life”.

Unless we live for more than what this life has to offer, we will spend much of this life in misery, jealous of others success and questioning our very faith. We live, stand and speak God’s Word not for the physical rewards in this life but rather because God says to do it with the hope that farther along we will understand why.

I pray that having these words to this simple song handy can bring you comfort during times of distress, joy during times of sorrow and confidence during times of uncertainty. Always remember that just because we don’t understand the whys and the wherefores of things today doesn’t mean we won’t have an epiphany tomorrow. Cheer up my brothers and sisters and live in the sunshine for God has assured us that we will understand it all by and by.

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25
Jun
13

Beware of charlatans everywhere

During my time working with victims of Hurricane Katrina, I talked to many people who had first suffered great loss to their homes during the storm and then even greater financial loss due to swindlers who claimed they could repair their homes but in reality took the money and ran. For many, losing their life’s savings was worse than losing their home.

Every day senior citizens fall for schemes and scams promoted by imposters who capture the trust of unsuspecting and gullible people regarding their money. Using promises of safe returns on their investments and/or putting their money in a safe place for their children; people willingly turn over all they spent a lifetime accumulating to con artists who are experts in deceiving people.

In every realm of life, there are people who make their living claiming to be someone they are not and able to do things they cannot do. The key to their success lies in their ability to mimic the genuine. As such, they are experts at being counterfeits. Without a trained eye and great wisdom, these charlatans will succeed in tricking people every time.

The worst imposters are those who manipulate people’s minds through false promises or use threats to get what they want. Those who are experts at mental manipulation prey upon people who are in a weakened state. They present themselves as a knight in shining armor or the messenger of gloom and doom who can provide deliverance—for a price.

Spiritual charlatans are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing. These counterfeits play upon the hearts of naïve Christians whose only desire is to do the right thing and help others. The key to a charlatan’s success is their ability to present themselves as someone who can be trusted and believed. A charlatan appears to have all the credentials, expertise and recommendations to be genuine, but in reality everything they do and say is a lie.

My heart aches for those who have fallen under the spell of someone who presented themselves as the savior of a situation but in reality draw people’s faith away from THE Savior Jesus Christ. It pains me greatly when I see naïve and gullible Christians give their heart, soul, money and even their families to people or groups that promise them the moon but only deliver wilted flowers.

Just as worldly swindlers take people’s money and run, so spiritual charlatans take people’s spiritual dignity and trample it under their filthy feet. Woe unto those who through spiritual deceit and trickery destroy innocent lives who simply wanted to help others.

I have no tolerance for charlatans of any type, but especially those who parade around in long flowing robes making themselves out to be representatives of God but who in reality only serve themselves. Woe unto those who cast their spell on God’s people for the purpose of self enrichment, fame or gratification.

God help those who through spiritual intimidation scare God’s people into believing their sins are forgiven or their punishment reduced through financial means. Accepting bribes puts these charlatans at the top of the list as far as being most disgusting and dangerous. Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins and anything short of this is a lie.

Beware of those who appear to be too good to be true for they are frauds. Beware of those who through fair speeches and false promises deceive God’s elect. Both 2 Peter and Jude speak of these spiritual frauds arising in the last days and certainly Christianity is rife with them even today.

30
May
13

Is yourr strength, contentment, security and life hidden in God or dependent upon this world?

What if, contrary to what the “experts” are telling us, there is NOT a gigantic economic recovery just around the corner but instead another recession? What if, contrary to the wishes of most, terrible conflicts break out in distant lands and unfathomable acts of terrorism impact our home countries? What if, contrary to what our heart cries out for, instead of entering a time of peace and safety we embark on a period of conflict, crime and chaos?

You and I do not make the decisions that influence our daily lives. We do not sit in positions of power and make the hard choices that directly or indirectly impact billions of people. We are not privy to super classified intelligence, up to the second data or access to every piece of information available on everything and everyone everywhere.

Unlike our counterparts in the world, we do not have to fret, become angry or look for a cave to dwell in. Unlike our counterparts in the world, we do not have to spend our days biting our nails, nervously pacing the floor or frantically making calls all over the world in a vain attempt to protect assets, preserve nest eggs or seek asylum from perceived threats.

The only way to stay calm in this very unsettling world is to pretty much ignore it. Our trust is in the Lord and NOT in our employer, our bank accounts, government programs etc. Our trust financially and in every other realm must be in the Lord even if that demands living in a box and eating insects. Since when does it take our insanely high standard of living to enjoy the blessings of God?

The enemy has convinced the world, and most believers also, that the more abundant life promised by Jesus deals with earthly wealth, comfortable homes, nice cars and every high tech toy invented. When these things are taken from us we act like a child who has his favorite toy taken away. Worse yet, we have become so comfortable and accustomed to our lifestyles that I fear we could not survive without them.

Whether it happens today, next month or years from now; there is a day coming (because God says so in His Word) when this world is going to fall apart and the greed, pride, anger, lust and unbridled hunger for power of people in this world will rip apart the pleasant utopia we have all come to know and enjoy. This is why we must diligently strive to cut the strings to this world and utterly put our confidence and trust in God and His ability to provide for us.

What if we had no way to access the internet? Most of us conduct business via the internet, communicate via the internet and store every bit of information about our lives, families, finances etc on the internet. It is very humbling to consider how utterly helpless most of us would be without the internet. Is it a good thing to tie our very existence to something that could be shut off with the flip of a switch?

The internet has made us all very lazy and very subtly taken away our ability to survive and prosper without it. In its own way, the internet has almost replaced God in many categories for many people. I pray that we enjoy the convenience of the internet but never become totally dependent upon it. I pray that we appreciate the wealth of information available on the internet but never become so tied to it that we cannot live without it.

19
May
13

The commitment that is love

The very first thing I learned from God about God is that God is love. God is many things but the two which define Him in the greatest way are that He is love and He is light. Without love and light, there is no life.

Every day, countless couples decide to split up because they have “fallen out of love” with each other. I have often wondered what exactly this means and if the same thing happens to people in their relationship with God.

To fall out of love implies one first fell in love. To fall in love is mainly an infatuation prompted by the emotional response to physical attraction. As long as it remains, there will be love there, but once the fire dies the love grows cold. People wake up one day and realize they no longer love the person they are married to.

If a person comes to know God through an emotional experience and then does not build upon that experience with knowledge from the Word of God, it is inevitable that in due time the emotions will wane and the person will “fall out of love with God” and move on to something else in life. How tragic it is that people would file for divorce from God.

Just as in marriage, our relationship with God takes hard work, commitment, patience, forgiveness, communication and love. A deep relationship moves past the fleeting emotions of the moment to an absolute commitment to make things work. Marriages as well as relationships with God wither and die when that commitment wavers or “escape routes” are tolerated.

A solid marriage is built upon open communication and absolute commitment. A solid relationship with God is build upon open communication (prayer) and absolute commitment (trust). Without these two things, the pressures and pleasures of life will either cause a person to cave in or chase after fantasies.

Love is the commitment of the heart that supersedes anything that comes up in life. Love is the absolute commitment that no matter what, nothing will splinter or separate those involved. There is no way any relationship, earthly or spiritual, can endure without the deep roots of love. Love refuses to allow the enemy to enter, entice or end a relationship.

God is love. There is no issue with Him loving us. The issue is whether we love Him enough to trust Him with our very life. If we are willing to lay down our pride and crawl under the shadow of His wings, we are then able to receive the benefits the love of God brings. Without the love of God reigning in our hearts we are restless, dissatisfied with life and unhappy. Truly it is the love of God that brings rest to our souls, gives us deep satisfaction in our hearts and allows us to walk in the joy of the Lord.

03
Apr
13

Is your relationship with God religious or real?

A person’s relationship with God is extremely personal. In fact, it is the most personal relationship we will ever have in this life. The true measure of a person’s faith is directly related to their relationship with God. It can be said that the deeper one’s relationship is with God, the more fulfilling and greater their life will be.

Every day, people all over the world pray to their god. Many of these prayers are ritualistic in nature and reflect nothing of the person’s heart who is praying them. These prayers make a person look religious but lack the personal aspect that separates religion from true Christianity. In fact, the word “godliness” takes this into account.

Despite what secular dictionaries may say, godliness should be viewed as a real, true and vital spiritual relationship with God that sits in direct opposition to religion. Just because a person looks religious and can recite countless prayers from memory does not guarantee they have a vital spiritual relationship with God.

A successful relationship of any kind takes open and honest communication by both parties involved. Unfortunately, when it comes to people’s relationship with God, most think it is all about them talking TO God instead of talking WITH God (and God WITH them).

Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth longs for His children to open their hearts before Him while allowing Him to minister to them. Almighty God, who is Holy and to be revered, wants us to acknowledge His greatness yet bask in His love and goodness.

When we pray, we must not only talk to God but we must allow Him to talk to us. We must not only share our hearts with Him but we must open our hearts to Him and allow them to be filled by Him. A young child tends to prattle on and on when talking to an adult about all the things they did and want to do. An older child tends to say very little and only pretends to listen.

Somewhere between these two extremes lies the state that defines what a real, true and vital spiritual relationship with God really is. God desires that we talk openly to Him as our Father but He also desires that we be quiet and listen to what He has to say to us as our God. If we do all the talking we have no time to listen. If we do all the listening what is said rarely is understood or heeded.

There is a song that came out a few years ago that in my mind sums up the point of this blog. If you have a few minutes, I believe this song will bless your life even if you have heard it (like me) countless times.

10
Feb
13

If God said… Could we and would we believe, trust and obey Him?

If God said that He wanted you to give away all you own and live in a tent wherever He sent you; could you do it? Would you do it?

If God said that it was time to depart this life and come home to Him; would you yell and scream and say it is unfair or would you rejoice in anticipation of seeing God face to face?

If God said that He wanted you to rise up and become a leader for Him; would you do it or would you find a million reasons why you can’t?

If God said you must endure illness or suffer physical pain; could you handle it or would you complain?

If God said you must suffer persecution for what you believe, be defamed and ridiculed for your faith; would you be blessed or spend the rest of your life sulking?

In each of these cases, the scenario was introduced by the phrase “if God said”. If God says something it is indeed His Word. Believing God’s Word is not limited to that which is written in the Bible or spoken in prophecy. The Word of God is anything God says whether universally for all to hear via His written Word or individually as He speaks to our heart.

This world has conditioned us to believe that to really be happy in this life, we must have oodles of “things”, live 90 or more years, be successful in one’s profession, have no physical ailments or diseases and have no enemies. Unfortunately, many Christians believe their faith automatically gives them all these wonderful things and more.

Christianity is not defined by how many things you own, how long you live, how many children and grandchildren you have, how cool you are, how handsome or beautiful you appear, how healthy you are or how many friends you have. The truth is, Christianity has nothing to do with any of these things. If this is what a person desires, they should NOT become a Christian.

At the core of our faith is a loving and trusting relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. At the center of our faith is the burning desire to be a son in whom God is well pleased and honestly say our will is not important but rather doing His will. At the heart of our faith is our cry “Abba Father”.

If everything was ripped away from you and you were left naked and alone on a desert island, would you still be blessed and thankful or would you drown in self pity and complain about how unfair God is?

If every friend deserted you, you wife or husband left you, your children despised you and your parents disowned you due to your Christian faith; would you still love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength or would you walk away from Him angry and bitter?

We all need to honestly evaluate where we are at spiritually once in awhile and if we have fallen away, we need to be as the Prodigal and come home to the open arms of our loving and forgiving Father.

04
Feb
13

Whose word do we believe?

If we cannot believe the Word of God, whose word can we believe? If we cannot trust the Word of God, whose word can we trust? If we cannot accept the Word of God to be the truth, what is truth?

Without believing, trusting and accepting the Word of God to be true, we are doomed to accept the word of man to be true and worthy of our trust. How many people do you know whose words are worthy of literally believing to be true?

Since the dawn of mankind, the Word of God has been maligned, doubted, ignored and challenged. Starting with Adam and Eve and continuing unto the present, the Word of God has taken second place to earthly desires, sensual satisfaction, and greed for riches and lust for power.

Adam ignored the Word of God and brought spiritual death to all who followed. Cain ignored the Word of God and killed his own brother. Abraham and Sarah ignored the Word of God and sought a child through Hagar. Moses ignored the Word of God and smote the rock. David ignored the Word of God and had Bathsheba’s husband killed so he could take her to wife.

From the worst of mankind to the very best, everyone has ignored the Word of God except Jesus Christ. When the Word of God demanded Jesus lay down His life as a sacrifice for sin, Jesus wrestled with the decision but ultimately said “not my will but thine be done”. Because Jesus always did the will of God, He is our Savior and Lord.

Like wild animals, those who do not believe in the integrity of the Word of God seek to rip it to shreds, punch holes in it and ignore it due to apparent contradictions. The enemies of the cross are the enemy of the Word of God for therein is found all the evidence needed to believe Jesus Christ is the Savior.

In a world gone mad, driven by sensual cravings, unbridled greed and demands that nothing reigns in outlandish behavior; something like the Word of God is judged to be unholy, unbelievable and undesirable. For much of the world, anyone who really believes the Word of God to be true is judged to be at best crazy and at worst a threat to humanity.

Anyone wanting to commit themselves fully to believing the Word of God to be true faces a life of mocking, threats and persecution. Is this really so bad? Are not these the very things our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ endured? Was He not mocked, threatened and killed for daring to believe, speak and live the truth of the Word of God?

We cannot have the world and Word of God at the same time. We must choose whom we shall believe and what we deem to be true. I pray we allow the Word of God to reign in our hearts every day, no matter what the cost.