Thursday, September 30, 2010

He Must Increase

Depiction of Increase and Decrease

A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven…I am not the Christ…He must increase, but I must decrease.1

I have always found myself reminded of this particular scripture spoken by John the Baptist in response to a discussion regarding Jesus Christ baptizing sinners and how everyone appeared to now follow Jesus and not John. Rather than take offense at this news, John offers a perspective so rarely given in this type of situation; humility.

The Greek word tapeinos (tap-i-nos’) means depressed, i.e. (figuratively) humiliated (in circumstances or disposition):--base, cast down, humble, of low degree (estate), lowly.

Based on this definition, one would think it implies a sense of shame or embarrassment but I believe the intent is much different. I don’t believe God has any desire to shame, humiliate or embarrass you through acts of humility but there are things in one’s life that humility will put to shame:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.2

Everything you and I have in this life comes from God except these things cited in the above scripture.

Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.3

So from a biblical standpoint, exercising humility empowers you to cast down the deeds of the flesh.

It is good then that we thank God for the gifts bestowed upon us out of our own recognition that it is not through my own strength, power and ability that they were acquired; I receive these gifts through the love, grace and goodness of Almighty God.

The Holy Spirit is helping me to understand that if I desire to move into the position of greater faith, trusting the Lord in every facet of my life:

He must increase, I must decrease.

Unfortunately for many of us, our lives are hampered because Christ doesn’t increase. We go through our life wanting more of Christ but find ourselves experiencing less. Less joy, less peace, less grace, less power, less love; we experience less when you should be experiencing more!


I believe John reveals for us a principle that connects what God gives and my ability to receive what He gives to me. It is the principle of humility; God exalts those who humble themselves before Him. Here are some examples of what is revealed in scripture regarding those who live in humility:

…and 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, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.4

Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God, when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes, and wept before Me, I truly have heard you, declares the Lord.5

O Lord, Thou hast heard the desire of the humble; Thou wilt strengthen their heart, Thou wilt incline Thine ear.6

My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear it and rejoice.7

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says,God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’...Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.8

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time…9

In each of these verses, we are instructed to humble ourselves before God, even when the situation dictates how we should act; we must act with humility. This is what John recognized. His followers saw more and more people flocking to Jesus now and their natural response was that Jesus was taking from John. I believe that John recognized that Jesus is Lord, Lord over the baptism, Lord over repentance and forgiveness, Lord over those who follow Him, and Lord over John’s life.

In order for Jesus to be Lord of my life: He must increase, I must decrease.


By resisting the temptation to respond from where our pride and ego reside, we can move to the position of humility. More often than not, we allow our emotions to affect our behavior; this is what happened to John’s disciples. They saw all those people following Jesus and came to John seeking a response. Rather than allow his emotions to affect the will of God in his life, John yielded to humility because he recognized the superiority of Jesus.

When I experience impatience, it is the result of my emotions responding to a situation by declaring, “I’m better than this!” When humility flows through me, I am responding to the situation by acknowledging, “Christ is greater than me.” Responding this way allows God’s patience to have its perfect work in me.

As I meditate on this thought, I began to see what the Holy Spirit was enabling me to discover in my life:

That God calls me to depend upon Him in my thoughts and behavior.

I realize this is not a new revelation for many, but enough Christians don’t truly grasp this truth that it bears repeating. God empowers me with the ability to think and act by humbling myself in His presence. I do this by recognizing that, I’m always in God’s presence. God has given me a solution to every problem I face. This is the fruit God gives to the believer who humbles himself in the presence of God.

Fruit of the Spirit, image courtesy of Cindy Price, Charlotte Bible Study Examiner
Fruit of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.10

This spiritual fruit counteracts the thoughts and behaviors I produce on my own.

In my next post, I will continue this discussion.

Father God,

I acknowledge that Jesus Christ lives in me and that I choose to humble myself in your presence. I choose to cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of You, I will bring every one of my thoughts into submission and obedience to Christ, my Lord. I give You thanks that even now, You are giving me opportunities to demonstrate humility in my life, that I may prove what is good, acceptable and what is the will of God for me. You've given me the fruit of the Spirit and I want it to be plentiful in my life. May my life honor You in all that I think, say and do. Amen.

  1. John 3:27-28; 30, NASB
  2. Galatians 5:19-21, NASB
  3. James 1:17, NASB
  4. 2 Chronicles 7:14, NASB
  5. 2 Chronicles 34:27, NASB
  6. Psalm 10:17, NASB
  7. Psalm 34:2, NASB
  8. James 4:6; 10, NASB
  9. 1 Peter 5:6, NASB
  10. Galatians 5:22-23, NASB
  11. Luke 11:10, NASB
  1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
  2. Unger's Bible Dictionary, By Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, Chicago
  3. The Layman's Parallel New Testament, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  4. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh Nicole!

One of my blogger friends Nicole has tagged me with a MeMe. First, I have to acknowledge that Nicole has used her daughter Maddie as the basis for these questions (I have serious reservations). Secondly, please don't ask how I got tagged in a MeMe of young moms.

I don't blog on a daily basis so I don't know many bloggers; actually, Nicole is one of the few bloggers who contacts me. I admire her passion for Christ, her love for her husband Shane, their daughter Maddie, and the spirit of friendliness she extends. So, I've decided that I'll try my best to answer her eight questions, but I have to punt on the tagging:
  1. Do you like meatballs? Some of my best friends are meatballs.
  2. What is your favorite pizza? Since I have a low tolerance for lactose, I don't eat pizza. Although one weekend when I worked with IBM support staff to install hardware devices, they ordered pizza for lunch and I tried it without cheese. I got so much grief that afternoon that I just don't even look in the direction of pizzas anymore.
  3. What is your favorite store? Get it
  4. What is your favorite book? Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, Another Country by James Baldwin, The Man Who Cried I Am by John A. Williams, and Native Son by Richard Wright are four books which I never tire of reading.
  5. Would you like to live in a tree? Only if it was cut into the shape of a 2500 square foot house.
  6. What is your favorite color? Any non-flammable or non-toxic masculine color.
  7. Do you like to dance and sing to music? I actually think I can sing so, without prompting, I've stood up in public places and sang to my wife. Even though my wife acts embarrassed, I truly believe she loves that I'm romantic and bold enough to do something like that in front of strangers. However, she will probably tell you that my vocal range is severely limited.
  8. Do you like making crafts? Is this like one of those Jeopardy trick questions? What is needlepoint? What is quilting?...clock's ticking....ah...ah...What are Fried Green Eggs, Ham and Tomatoes?...bzzzzzzz

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Struggle

The Struggle, copyright 2000-2002 Nikki Appel

My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but Thou dost not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. Yet Thou art holy…1

This Psalm written by king David speaks to God about David’s personal struggle in two areas:
  1. His sense of rejection by God
  2. His obvious rejection by others
The first time I read this (and every time since then), I’ve thought of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross for my sins and those of every other human being; I viewed it as a prophetic utterance by David. This morning however, I’m looking back and hearing the singular voice of David, a man in spiritual and emotional crisis.

I read this recent expression from a fellow blogger:

I've been struggling with my Christianity BIG TIME. I know some of you are scoffing at that statement and are saying with a sarcastic toneOh well who isn't struggling in their faith.Well, guys I need you to be a little sympathetic here. Anyway, as I was saying, it's been so, so, so hard with everything. Earlier, I was trying to express to my friend ____ how I was feeling but I couldn't quite find the words to say.

I read this and thought back to what seemed for me an eternity ago but in truth it has only been five months since I expressed similar thoughts. After years of ignoring God, I finally decided that my life and the decisions I’d made resulted in complete and abject failure. I decided to seek the Lord in January, beginning with daily prayer, bible study and meditation. At this time, I was not attending a church; I was attempting to connect with God in my own comfortable way.

The skills I developed in my professional career were what I depended on to analyze, identify, strategize and implement a plan that would successfully resurrect me from my personal abyss. For me, this is the methodology I always used for problem solving and resolution; it’s what I knew, I was comfortable with this approach because it worked for me.

What I didn’t know was this methodology didn’t work for God.

God was going to resurrect my life but it would have to be done His way, using a schedule and method I was unfamiliar with. I was too dependent on me, instead of God. In order to experience a real resurrection in my life, it would mean I’d have to forsake me.

Through the first four months of 2010, I experienced a peace in spite of the outward chaos around me, but not once did I feel or sense that I was really connected to God. I was following my methodology but God remained silent to me. By April, I began to ask myself,

What’s the matter? Why is God silent? Why am I being ignored when I genuinely want to hear from Him?

These series of questions became a part of my daily prayer, but still, there was no reply from God.

I remember being home alone and as I prayed, something happened, I began to confess to God that I didn’t know what to do, there was no one else for me to turn to, I had no place to go; there was only God and me. I began crying from a sense of utter helplessness and part of me tried to hold back those tears because, I’m a man and where I come from, men don’t cry.

I found myself struggling then; with myself. I don’t have a clear understanding of what I was saying or doing; there is a part of me fighting to get composed and there is another part of me pressing to escape. I remember saying,

Intense Worship of the Lord, image courtesy of fotosearch.comIf God is done with me, if what I’m doing is pointless and miserably hopeless, then I’ll be miserable but I’m not going back to where I was.

I’m not giving up!

This was my moment of breakthrough, my moment of forsaking me. It was the moment that the Holy Spirit helped me to see that my life wasn’t about me, my life is about God. I believe that even though I didn’t understand it, I experienced a worship of the Lord. It is the reason that despite David feeling all alone and struggling with a sense of rejection he could say,

Yet Thou art holy…2

Despite what he felt, David acknowledged that even in the midst of his unenviable circumstances, God is holy, just and right in every way!

I finally arrived at the place of worship and like David; I recognized the righteousness and holiness of God. It no longer mattered to me what I thought or felt about my own personal circumstances; the only thing that matters is my recognition and acknowledgement of God. The supremacy of Almighty God is all that matters to me.

Even if it meant that there was no God at all, a premise I was unwilling to accept; I would believe the truth about God rather than what others might consider a lie.

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth:

…if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins…If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.3

If salvation is nothing more than a fairy tale, then I am nothing more than a child who mails letters to the North Pole, hoping to get a response from Santa Claus. Those around me with intelligence (believe they) know the truth, but they indulge me because they understand, "I can’t help the way I am"; I am a man to be pitied.

There is a passage in Daniel which the Holy Spirit keeps affirming in my spirit. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were threatened with death by king Nebuchadnezzar. They were given the choice of two options:
  1. Submit to idolatry
  2. Suffer painful death
What I’ve come to realize is that God doesn’t have to prove anything to me or anyone else. If God does something to demonstrate His existence, love, kindness or grace; it is because God is sovereign and He simply chooses to.

Faced with a fiery painful death, these three young men recognized that God could save them, if that’s what He wanted to do, but they decided that even if God chose not to save them, they wouldn’t give up on God and submit to idolatry.

God wasn’t obligated to answer me when I felt so alone. He didn’t have to prove Himself to me in order to be assured that He exists. He’s God all by Himself. God has already done everything necessary for me to live for Him. When Jesus hung on the cross and said,

It is finished!4

Everything God needed to do on my behalf was accomplished to save me. This is what provision from God accomplishes for me. Whatever I need is there for me, in Christ Jesus. Whether I accept the grace and provisions of God is my choice but God finished what I needed Him to do.

It was me then who changed from demanding assurances to declaring dependence. I could be bombarded with thoughts of abandonment by God, and the futility of faith; but those thoughts became irrelevant and insignificant to me. I determined that even if I never got an inkling from God, I believe in Him.

Many have faced the struggle of trusting God, hearing a voice in their head that quizzes:

If Jesus is truly the Son of God, then why…?

You may be in a place of desolation, a desert and you’re spiritually, emotionally and physically weary, helpless and feeling so alone; God says,I AM

You may be helpless but you’re not alone. God is with you, and in your desperation, something deep inside you wants to proclaim with a sense of urgency,

Don’t give up on God! Declare who God is, affirm your faith; worship Him.

Worship God in your spirit, image courtesy of

You may find yourself unsteady as you speak, but don’t stop; keep worshipping the Lord, confessing your unyielding faith and trust in Him alone.

Your struggle to trust God will free you.

Father God,

I struggle within myself to affirm that You are holy, just and true. I have doubts but I see that I'm looking inward instead of to the author and finisher of my faith. Jesus Christ completes me in every facet of my life. I see my purpose now. My purpose is to worship and honor You with my life. I trust You Lord. Though I can't see, I believe and see through the eyes of faith. I've never known real victory until now. "I have victory!" Not because of who I am but because of who You are. Even if all around me is sinking sand, I will trust in the Lord. Thank You Lord Jesus for giving me faith that is uncompromising, resolute and determined. Amen.

  1. Psalm 22:1-3, NASB
  2. Psalm 22:3, NASB
  3. 1 Corinthians 15:16-17; 19, NASB
  4. John 19:30, NASB
  1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
  2. Unger's Bible Dictionary, By Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, Chicago
  3. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sweet P's: Praise God for the Victory

Sweet P's are: Prayers, Petition, Praise!, Courtesy of

Each Friday, Tiffany (Tea With Tiffany) hosts a meme requesting that other bloggers join her in a round of sweet P's (Prayers, Petition, Praise!)

I offer praise to God for victory. Sometimes when contending against doubt, worry, concern and fear, the best thing to do is to give God praise for the victory. The bible says that we contend against unseen powers of darkness, spiritual forces of wickedness whose sole purpose is to rob, kill and destroy our faith, hope and trust in the Lord. Many times, when I was on the verge of obtaining victory in Christ, I allowed the lies of doubt to make me afraid; causing me to cower and run away in fear. I now see that God reigns supreme over all creation and that I have nothing to fear, I will not doubt the Lord. I have come to the realization that even if I am placed in my very own fiery trial, I will not lose faith in the Living God. I can lose everything in this world but I will not lose the foundation upon which I stand. Today, I stand in victory, I stand on the solid Rock whose name I praise, Jesus Christ!

Almighty God, Father and Creator,

I bless Your name because I see you as the One, True God, Holy, Magnificient and Faithful. Through Your infinite love, You shower my life with blessings beyond measure; You are my Jehovah Jireh. Why do You bless me Lord? Why do You shower my life with joy? Who am I that You constantly encourage? I am Your child! Adopted and loved by You!

How I want to worship You! To come before Your courts with praise, thanksgiving and adoration! You are higher than the heavens and yet You live in me. How wonderful You are!

"What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the Lord."

I am free because of You Lord, loosed from the shackles of my sins. Like a young colt, I romp in the pasture of Your grace. The fragrance of Your love consumes me. I am altogether a sight of perplexity to those who don't know You; my joy is unrestrained. You have become all things to me.

Your name roll off my lips with unspeakable joy, I cannot be silent; You fill me with passion and love. How I seek to please You with my life.

You have shown me that which was hidden from my eyes but stood plainly before me; the revelation of my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. I have placed my hope and trust in the Lord my Savior.

I stand now in victory. My enemy defeated, flees to safety; there is no escape. The stronghold is vanquished!

Shelter, food, clothing are my provisions from You. My debts are paid. You employ my hands and I find work. In sickness, You healed me. In sorrow and grief, You comfort me. Even when I behaved as a wild dog, You fed me crumbs. You withheld no good thing from me. You give visions and dreams revealing that, "...with God all things are possible." You command what is possible into reality. You declare from Your throne, "...I am making all things new." From the foundation of Your word, You call into being the things which are unseen. Revealing them to those who walk by faith and not by sight.

You are Jehovah Nissi, the banner I hold waving Your victory over my life. You take away my fears, I am strengthened with courage and conviction. Who is there that can contend with the Almighty God? There is none like You, O Lord.

I am ready for battle! I stand on the ground of victory, I will not fear the enemy, "...the battle is the Lord's..." I stand firm in the measure of faith You've given to me. My covering is Your truth. My heart is protected by Your righteousness. My feet wear the "...preparation of the Gospel of peace..." In one hand, I have, "the shield of faith", holding it in a manner that extinguishes the flaming missles hurled at me by the evil one. I wear the "helmet of salvation" which constantly guards my thoughts. In my other hand, I firmly hold, "the sword of the spirit", this is the word of God which I use to proclaim my testimony.

I shout in victory before the battle begins. I already know the outcome, You share with me Your strategy. Your plan unfolds and I know it is not my fight nor my battle. It is You Lord that the enemy of my faith shouts and taunts against; You bring them to shame and embarrassment. You will show Yourself and scatter the enemy as food for the birds of the air. Your truth reigns supreme, I will praise You always.

Thank You Lord God that I have been given the opportunity to declare Your righteousness. You are holy, faithful and true. Look on those in need and quicken their hearts; let Your joy leap inside them as a woman with child. Let them know, You are always near. Take away their fears and concerns; give them peace and contentment.

Thank You for just being You, the God of all creation. Amen.

(If you aren't writing Sweet P's, feel free to comment like normal if you choose.)

To join our blog hop we post every Friday through Sunday. Join anytime by following

these 4 steps:
  1. Write your Sweet P's on your blog, which is You WRITING A PRAYER, PETITION or PRAISE to God. It's not asking for prayer, it's writing prayer.
  2. Grab the Sweet P's code on my sidebar. Post the code anywhere inside your post.
  3. Come back and add your blog link to blog hop. Visit other Sweet P's listed.
  4. Grab "get the code" for the blog hop and paste inside your post. This allows you to access the blog hop list from your blog.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Awe Factor

Worshipping as a group, Courtesy of
Worshipping as a group, image courtesy of

And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe…1

As I stood in church Friday evening, I listened as a visiting minister urged the audience to enter into a frame of mind that indicated an attitude of worship. The more she stressed this outward response the more uncomfortable I became. As I tried to worship the Lord, I found my thoughts distracted by her insistent words. I asked myself,

Is God moved by the volume of my voice?

Is God exalted by how high my hands are lifted?

I took my seat, bowed my head, and began to pray. I told God that,

Although I didn’t feel like doing as I was instructed, I did honestly want to worship Him.

When I got home later that evening, I wondered,

Why does it seem that at times, there is a barrier to reaching God?

I wondered if anyone else ever had these thoughts and how they addressed them. I realize that for me, I’ve just began attending church and truthfully, I don’t really know anyone. For that matter, no one really knows me. But we all assemble at set times in a corporate effort to worship the Lord. There are worship leaders who help to frame our thoughts; the goal is that we reach an outward expression of an inward desire. At least, I believe that’s what I’m attempting to do, so I assume others have a similar mindset. But I’m really not certain because I’m the new guy.

I read this passage in Acts about new converts who were “continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” What really impressed me was that the bible says, “everyone kept feeling a sense of awe…” It goes on to say in the next verse,

And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common…2

I realize that in the first century, the culture and structure of the Christian church was much different than it is in our modern society, but there still has to be a sense of community, a commonality (of thought, intent and purpose), a fellowship in the things we do and share. The Greek word koinonia (koy-nohn-ee’-ah) means, partnership, i.e. (literally speaking) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction :--(to) communicate (-ation), communion, (contri-) distribution, fellowship.

As the Christian believers participated in the teachings, social interaction, communion and prayer, they became known by one another. Their lives were shared lives because they became invested in one another.

Correction:Yesterday, the reference I used for the word awe was incorrect. I've modified the text below after verifying several sources.
The Greek word used for awe is phobos (fob'os) which means, fear, dread, terror, that which strikes terror; reverence for one's husband; cause of fear, intimidation, respect, respectful, reverence, sense of awe.

I can understand how believers were afraid and intimidated when witnessing the signs and wonders performed by the apostles. I believe that these Christian disciples moved from the place of fear and intimidation to a position of respect, reverence and a sense of awe because they witnessed the move of God and the operation of the Holy Spirit. Thinking of the emotions I felt the first time I saw one of my children gave me an indescribable moment of joy, elation and wonder; I was in awe.

I understood that here in my hands was a life that I was instrumental in producing.

I believe that no matter how old our children are, there are those moments when we are in awe of them. It doesn’t have to be anything they say or do; we just don’t have words to describe the emotions they evoke in us.

I wondered what this has to do with a community of believers being in awe and I began to realize that through Christ, God has produced in me new life; this new life is the life of Christ. I realize that this is no great revelation but to understand that God has placed His life in me, a life as real as the life of my children, gives me a sense of awe that I cannot describe.

But this is at a personal level and I’ve yet to continually experience this in group worship.

I’m wondering if this is because I don’t share in having all things common yet.

I believe that if I’m to penetrate this worship barrier, I will need to integrate myself within the church and allow myself to be known by others that are a part of this community of believers. I will continue to devote myself to the teachings, fellowship, communion and prayer.

This is the path of trusting God, being transparent to those within the community of believers I am a part of. Part of being in awe is fulfilling my responsibility as a believer: to learn from instruction, to become known and to know others like me, to participate in communion and to come together and pray.

These aren’t unique to the first century church, they are transcendent over time. I want to experience this awe every time (whether) I’m in or out of church. At home, I find it much easier because there are no distractions (I cannot control) but in church I’m discovering I can become distracted. I suppose what I’m saying is that I don’t want to come to church and parrot what I see everyone else doing. I really want my thoughts and attention on spiritual worship. My concern is that mimicking this would bleed into other aspects of my life and instead of being truly honest with God and others, I’m just going through the motions of being a Christian. I’m not necessarily talking about living a sinful lifestyle but there is a dichotomy between transparency and secrecy. I want my life to be an outward expression of who I really am.

This is where trusting the Holy Spirit becomes so vital because even in my most sincere moments, my thoughts can be distracted; but He will purify them for me to God.

And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Father God,

Your word says, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" and I want to have an attitude that pleases You. I want both my words and actions to be representative of Christ. I want to be genuine in my life so that others may recognize the honesty and integrity of Christ. I want to have fellowship with the community of believers where I worship You. I want to be in awe of the life You've given me; the life of Christ Jesus my Savior. I trust the Holy Spirit to communicate my worship, prayer, praise and life that you are glorified and honored. Thank You for this life. Amen.

  1. Acts 2:42-43, NASB
  2. Acts 2:44, NASB
  3. Romans 8:26-27, NASB
  1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
  2. The Layman's Parallel New Testament, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  3. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sweet P's: For those of us who've lost our bearing

Sweet P's are: Prayers, Petition, Praise!, Courtesy of

Each Friday, Tiffany (Tea With Tiffany) hosts a meme requesting that other bloggers join her in a round of sweet P's (Prayers, Petition, Praise!).

I'm praying for those who've called me, emailed me and those bloggers who've shared their struggles. I'm burdened by the isolation and helplessness you feel. Please know that you're not alone; God loves and cares about you.

Father God,

There are those times when it seems as if circumstances overwhelm us and it seems as if there is no clear direction from you. I know in my heart that's not true because Jesus said, "I am the way"; and yet, here I am where it seems that I'm so far from You Lord. I ponder the questions, I confess my sins, I pray and meditate but still, I feel so alone.

Help me Lord! In my distress, I will call out to You. Through these tears, I will lift my eyes toward You. In spite of the pain, I will stretch my hands out to You. I am a sheep from Your flock. I've wandered off alone and without You, I'm weak, helpless and vulnerable; Lord I'm afraid to take the next step.

"Why, O Lord, do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?"

"How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?"

"But I trust in Your unfailing love, my heart rejoices in Your salvation."

"He reached down from on high and took hold of me..."

My confidence in You Lord is unshaken; though darkness seems all around me. I trust You Lord. You are my rock and refuge. You bolster me with Your love and grace; I am strengthened so that I need not fear. " God turns my darkness into light."

You nurture and feed me as a bird feeds their young; You satisfy me Lord. Who can separate me from the love of Christ? I will testify of Your goodness. Though some may cover their ears, I will not be silent. I will proclaim Your infinite goodness. You are just, holy and faithful. Your promises fail not; You've made provisions for me and my household.

I will not give in to my doubts. I will not listen to my fears. I will not walk away from You Lord. My hope is in You Lord. I will overcome by the blood of the Lamb of God and by the word of my testimony.

"Your ways, O God, are holy...You are the God who performs miracles...I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds."

Your light shines bright, illuminating my path, leading me back towards You; I hear Your voice calling out to me. My child, come back to me. Lord, You are my refuge. In You I find rest; You give me joy and hope.

I give You thanks my Lord and my God. I ask You to look now on those who've spoken or written to me, sharing their innermost concerns. I lift them up to You Lord and I ask You in the name of Jesus, the name that stands above every name, please comfort them in this their time of need. Extend Your bountiful grace to them that they would be encouraged. Assure them that they can trust in You. Touch them in the way that only the Living God can do, that they may benefit from a spiritual gift You impart to them.

Thank You for a love that endures, even in those times when we ourselves have been unloving; You love us. Thank You for Your grace that abounds. May You be glorified in us. Amen.

(If you aren't writing Sweet P's, feel free to comment like normal if you choose.)

To join our blog hop we post every Friday through Sunday. Join anytime by following these 4 steps:
  1. Write your Sweet P's on your blog, which is You WRITING A PRAYER, PETITION or PRAISE to God. It's not asking for prayer, it's writing prayer.
  2. Grab the Sweet P's code on my sidebar. Post the code anywhere inside your post.
  3. Come back and add your blog link to blog hop. Visit other Sweet P's listed.
  4. Grab "get the code" for the blog hop and paste inside your post. This allows you to access the blog hop list from your blog.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Trust is easy when there's confidence
Trust is easy when there's confidence

During my morning meditation, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a word that I’ve used quite a bit lately; it’s the word trust.

I recall it coming up after my surgery when I began physical therapy in May. Unknown to my therapist, I discussed how uncomfortable wearing my arm sling was with my surgeon and he conceded that while at home, there was no need to wear it. He gave me this permission with the understanding that if I went out, I would wear the sling. The problem was that I got adjusted to not wearing a sling around the house, so on my first therapy appointment I rolled up without my arm in a sling.

As my therapist walked into the room she immediately began with an interrogation; the only missing prop for this scene was an intense light shining in my face. Instead of the normal hello followed by the introduction protocols, she alarmingly asked.

Where’s your sling?

I didn’t pick up on the seriousness of her tone and my, it’s no big deal reply answered,

Oh my bad, you know what; I forgot to put it on before I left the house.

You’re supposed to be in that sling all the time!

I know, I know, but I forgot it this morning. I haven’t been wearing it at home and I simply left this morning without putting it on.

Does Dr._____________ know you don't wear the sling?

I wear the sling; I just forgot to put it on this morning.

Yes, but does he know you don’t wear it at all?

OK, I didn’t say,I don’t ever wear it.What I said was,I don’t wear it around the house.And I did discuss it with my doctor and he agreed that I didn’t have to wear it at home.

Well, I’ll have to talk with the doctor to see if he really did say that.

At this point, I’m a little puzzled.

You say that like I’m not telling you the truth.

To which she replied,

You’d be surprised at the lies I’ve been told by patients.

Look, I realize you don’t know me but I have no reason to lie to you. I mean really, what would be the point? What can you do to me? I have nothing to gain by lying to you. If that were the case, why would I even come here today if the intent wasn’t to facilitate recovery from the surgery? I’m here to get better. The fact that I’m sitting here with you implies not only that I want to get better but that I’m extending trust to you to help me. But that works both ways. You have to extend trust to me as well.

She looked at me and replied,

You’ll have to earn my trust.

I looked into her bluish-grey eyes, smiled and said,

Trust isn’t something earned. It’s a choice one makes. You give it or you don’t. You may want assurances but ultimately, you extend trust despite any reservations you may have or you simply don’t trust me.

She stood there quietly for a moment looking at me and then responded,

I guess that’s true but I’ll have to think about that.

It was in that moment that I myself realized that trust is not something measured out in increments; it is given in full measure or it isn’t given at all. I could see that God through Jesus Christ extended trust to me but He went beyond extending trust by demonstrating His trustworthiness. He did this without requiring me to earn His trust.

How foolish I’d been for most of my life, parceling out itty, bitty bits of trust as a reward to those who satisfied me. I wasn’t really extending trust; I was doing what was necessary to get what I wanted.

The object of trust isn’t getting something in return; it’s giving of one’s self to another. This is what God does.

There are several Hebrew words used in scripture for trust, three which I will focus on are chacah, yachal and mibtach. Chacah (khaw-saw’) means to flee (to) for protection; [figuratively] to confide in:--have hope, make refuge, (put) trust. This word reminds me of times when I’ve sought the shelter of a doorway from a hard driving rain; trusting it to keep me from being drenched by the downpour. Scriptures which speak of chacah include:

And the bramble said to the trees,If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge [trust] in my shade; but if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon.’”1

My God, my rock, in whom I [trust] take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge [trust].2

Yachal (yaw-chal’) means to wait; by implication it means to be patient, hope :--( cause to, have, or make to) hope, be pained, stay, tarry, trust, or wait. This reminds me of those times I’ve stood in a long line waiting for an audience to speak with someone, or standing in line at a counter while those before me completed their transactions. Scriptures which speak of yachal include:

Though he slay me, I will hope [trust] in Him.3

And for My arm they will wait [trust] expectantly.4

Mibtach (mib-tawkh’) means a refuge, i.e. security, or (subjectively speaking) assurance:--confidence, hope, sure or trust. This reminds me of the attitude I had when I competed in sports and the confidence within me that victory was mine. Scriptures which speak of mibtach include:

How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust…5

For Thou art my hope; O Lord God, Thou art my confidence [trust] from my youth.6

The Greek word most often used in the New Testament for trust is the word elpizo (el-pid’-zo) which means, to expect or confide:--(have, thing) hope (-d) (for), trust. Scriptures which reference elpizo include:

indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves; but in God who raises the dead;7

who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope [trust]. And He will yet deliver us,8

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope [trust] on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.9

So as I meditate on the biblical concept of trust, I realize that it incorporates my willingness to confide in God the things which are of concern to me, my desire to seek refuge in Him and to live my life in a way that reinforces the hope I’ve placed in Christ.

I have been let down by friends, by family members, I have encountered people who are not trustworthy, and I have betrayed the trust which others placed in me; a betrayal which causes disappointment. But I have no accusation against God for a betrayal of the trust I’ve given Him. I’ve discovered that even when I didn’t trust God, He proved Himself trustworthy.

God upholds His word so He never has a problem demonstrating He is trustworthy.

My word has failed me and others so often that I must acknowledge that I’m not trustworthy.

I can’t rely on myself to be trustworthy; I must rely on the trustworthiness of God.

If I am to allow Christ to live in me, then I must yield this part of me to Christ and allow His attribute of trust to operate in my life.

How do I allow this to happen?

As I mentioned earlier, the Hebrew word yachal means to wait, or to be patient. The apostle Paul refers to this in his letter to the church in Galatia:

But the fruit of the Spirit is…patience…10

Patience teaches me to trust God in every area of my life.

In learning to be patient, I find that God gives me opportunities to exercise my patient muscles. I know there are no physical muscles for patience but there are spiritual muscles that I can exercise that develop patience in me.

So the next time I’m standing in line and the cashier calls for a price check, or the customer in front of me has fifteen items in the line which says, 10 items or less, rather than allow the situation to blossom into a frustrating experience, I will remind myself that God is giving me an opportunity to demonstrate patience. In doing so, I will be confiding to Him that, I trust You Lord; not me.

Father God,

Thank You that You prove Yourself trustworthy to me. You are teaching me to seek refuge in You, to confide in You, to wait on You, to trust in You. You've equipped me with the fruit of the Spirit, and so I have patience resident within me. I will no longer rely and trust in me; my trust is in You Lord. You are giving me learning opportunities that patience may have it's perfect work in me. Thank You for enabling me to grow in Your grace, truth and trust. Amen.

  1. Judges 9:15, NASB
  2. 2 Samuel 22:3, NASB
  3. Job 13:15, NASB
  4. Isaiah 51:5, NASB
  5. Psalm 40:4, NASB
  6. Psalm 71:5, NASB
  7. 2 Corinthians 1:9, NASB
  8. 2 Corinthians 1:10, NASB
  9. 1 Timothy 4:10, NASB
  10. Galatians 5:22, NASB
  1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
  2. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Friend of God (Part 2)

The Sacrifice of Isaac, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1726-29

Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him,Abraham!And he said,Here I am.And He said,Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.'”1

The Hebrew name Moriah, is only mentioned twice in scripture2, it is a hill in Palestine which the Jews believe is the site upon which Solomon built the temple and the altar of burnt offerings3. The word Moriah means, to be seen of Jah, the Lord, most vehement. Moriah is the place to be seen by the God of deeply felt and intense expressions; the God who is worshipped here.

In this exchange between God and Abraham, I observe that:
  1. God decides to test Abraham
  2. The test is a test of love, loyalty and devotion
  3. The test is for Abraham’s benefit
In testing Abraham, God has determined that the relationship has reached a level in which it now requires higher elevation. This test from God is in essence Him saying, Come up here. This is what John wrote in Revelation:

After these things I looked and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said,Come up here…'”4

I believe that as I grow in my relationship with God through faith, I need to elevate my relationship because it has reached a plateau; this is what I believe the writers of Genesis and Revelation speak of as,After these things”. These things are those learning experiences that build upon one another. The test wasn’t for God’s benefit; He already knew Abraham would obey the test.

Why then test Abraham?

So that Abraham would realize that his deeply felt and intense expressions for his only son Isaac, those unspoken thoughts of love and gratitude to God were already known by Jah. I also believe God wanted Abraham to see and worship Him with a new perspective.

Moriah is the place to be seen by Jah but Moriah is only representative of the spiritual place where one is seen by Jah. God wants Abraham to move from the natural into the spiritual realm of their relationship.

Why was it a test of love, loyalty and devotion?

At the instruction of God, Abram left family, home, security, friends, established relationships to go where God told him to go. This was the beginning of his walk of obedience.

True obedience will only express itself through love, loyalty and devotion.

Some are taught obedience through fear and intimidation but when the opportunity presents itself, they will flee to escape obedience that is based on tyranny. Some learn obedience through a code of ethics, principles, moral or societal guidelines and laws but when there is a loophole that offers a tangible benefit, obedience becomes devalued. I cannot maintain a relationship with God based on fear. I cannot maintain a relationship with God by trying to follow codes and guidelines.

I can only maintain a relationship with God by my desire to worship Him.

It is through worship (or devotion) that I gain an awareness of a desire for love and loyalty. I realize that God is faithful, so too must I become faithful. I realize that God is love, so too must I become loving. I realize that God is loyal, so too must I become loyal. I realize that God is holy, so I too must become holy. In order to get Abraham to this spiritual position in his life, God had to get him above ground level that he might bear witness to who God really is in his life. On Moriah, Abraham bore witness to Jehovah Jireh; The Lord Will Provide.

I believe that whenever God causes growth in the relationship with a believer, He takes them above ground to a higher elevation. We find this happens to Moses in the mountain with the burning bush. Paul speaks of a man caught up to the third heaven. I believe God wants me to see what I can never see from ground level (in the natural). He wants me to see Him with a new perspective; that I would enter into a much deeper relationship with Him through my worship. This is what Abraham bore witness to; he saw Jehovah Jireh.

From this point on, the relationship between God and Abraham changes because of what Abraham witnessed with his own eyes. He would no longer see God as the God of promises; He was now The Lord Will Provide.

A provision and a promise are fundamentally different. A promise is a pledge of something to be done in the future or a pledge to maintain something previously established. A provision is something given in sufficient quantity to sustain me. A promise can be invalidated or ended. A provision is never exhausted.

Abraham already knew of the promises of God, now he walked in the provision of God. On Moriah the bible reveals that:

And Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day,In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.’”5

Abraham thus entered into the spiritual realm of friendship with God.

He now understood the Lord provides for me in every area of my life; The Lord Will Provide.

Whatever I need, God knows I trust Him as The Lord Will Provide. It is there for me, but I must elevate my spirit, soul and body that I may come to know Him as The Lord Will Provide.

So in answering the question, Does God trust me? I must understand that this question is not an issue for God as it is for me; God does not grapple with that issue as I do, He already knows the answer. I am the one who needs to go to that spiritual place called Moriah; the place where my spirit longs to worship Jah. As I ascend up to Moriah and reach the place that God is calling me to come to, I find provision allocated to me in a way that dissolves my fears, concerns, worries, doubts and cares.

I am discovering a new aspect of my relationship with God, He wants to call me friend.

He isn’t satisfied with me seeing Him only as the God of promises.

He wants me to recognize Him as Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Will Provide.

I am now ascending my very own Moriah and I fully expect to find The Lord Will Provide when I arrive. The test is for my benefit. The sacrifice I offer will be that which I treasure, that which I value most. It will be the offering of my worship to God. I am excited about this sacrifice of worship because I want this friendship.

I’m doing this because I want to be called the friend of God. Yes, and although I say He is, The Lord Will Provide, I’m not seeking provision; I’m seeking Him.

Father God,

You are calling me to Moriah, the place where I come to worship You. The place of my spiritual sacrifice. The place where I see you as The LORD Will Provide. I'm not seeking provision, I seek friendship with You. I want to ascend to Moriah to sacrifice my doubts, my fears, my worries, my cares, all of them I offer up to You Lord. I'm excited about our friendship and the opportunities you provide for me as Your friend. You are my Jehovah Jireh. Amen.

  1. Genesis 22:1-2, NASB
  2. Genesis 22:2; 2 Chronicles 3:1
  3. Unger’s Bible Dictionary, page 758
  4. Revelation 4:1, NASB
  5. Genesis 22:14, NASB
  1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
  2. Unger's Bible Dictionary, By Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, Chicago
  3. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  4. Matthew Henry's Commentary, McDonald Publishing Company, McLean, Virginia 22101, ISBN 0-917006-21-6

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sweet P's -- Hear Me Lord

Sweet P's are: Prayers, Petition, Praise!, Courtesy of

Each Friday, Tiffany (Tea With Tiffany) hosts a meme requesting that other bloggers join her in a round of sweet P's (Prayers, Petition, Praise!).

This morning I feel such a strong need to pray for someone who I don't even know but I believe that this prayer will speak to you and to our God. Perhaps you feel unable or unworthy to pray, I don't know the reason but I want to pray for you just the same. As you read this, please allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your heart. My thoughts seem to be in more than one place so I can't concern myself with any kind of prayer protocol. If you find something to agree with, just say, "Amen."

Father God,

This week, I've read and listened to reports on the nation's economy, joblessness, and housing. Some families find themselves stretched beyond their limit. Like the widow told Elijah, many now can say, "I don't have any bread." Many find themselves out of their comfort zone. Some wonder why You seem so far away that they no longer can feel Your presence. Like Job, many now find themselves under the winepress that test one's faith, and they wonder, What's next? Some feel the pull of sin drawing them back into the slavery that has bound them for so long. Lord please set them free.

What can I say Lord? What am I to do? I need a change. I need You to turn things around.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." It is You and You alone Lord who I seek. My soul cries out for Your presence but I cannot find You. I am in a place that's unfamiliar to me and I want to escape but I'm unable. How did I get here? Why do I find myself here of all places? Speak to me Lord, that I may answer and obey. Lord, I've sinned and I know what I've done has caused a breach in our relationship but now I make a confession of repentance. I want to be in Your presence again. I want to feel Your love for me. I ask You Lord, do not withhold Your grace from me.

When I think of Your goodness and I recall the joy You give me; it is the joy of salvation, it is the joy of life everlasting, it is the joy of Your peace. I've missed You Lord. Even when I ignored You, I found my thoughts being directed to You. Help me Lord. I am powerless to stop this tide that overtakes me. I'm swept away again and again by the rushing current. Only You can save me now.

"I will praise You, O Lord, with all my heart...O Lord, You have searched me and You know me...Out of the depths I cry to You O Lord...hear my voice...with You there is forgiveness."

Lord, my heart cries out for You, I seek you in the morning, I call to You at the noon day hour, and at night I watch and wait for You to come. You are my shield and strong tower; Your strength cannot be broken.

You take me to new heights that I may see through Your eyes the length and breath of my life; I see only You Lord. You are my beginning and You are my end. Let me rejoice in Your presence once again. I will sing of Your holiness and I will dance before You, yes I will dance before You Lord. Your love for me is steadfast and now I am certain, You have reassured me of Your truth.

How wonderful You are my Lord. I see Your goodness and mercy but there is no ending of it. You fill me beyond my capacity to contain this blessing and now I am overflowing.

"I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy...What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the Lord."

I will praise You and declare, "Blessed be the name of the Lord...from the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the Lord is to be praised." I will praise You with my whole heart, with my whole mind, with my whole strength and with my soul; I will praise You Lord. In the midst of my circumstances, I will praise Your wonderful name; the name of Jesus.

Thank You for hearing me Lord. Thank You for Your unmerited grace. Thank You for removing the guilt of my sins. I have determined to seek only You now, throughout the days of my life, though they are numbered, I commit them to You; My Lord and My God. Jesus, You are precious to me. You embrace me with salvation and my words fail me now; even in my silence I will worship You Lord. Amen.

(If you aren't writing Sweet P's, feel free to comment like normal if you choose.)

To join our blog hop we post every Friday through Sunday. Join anytime by following these 4 steps:
  1. Write your Sweet P's on your blog, which is You WRITING A PRAYER, PETITION or PRAISE to God. It's not asking for prayer, it's writing prayer.
  2. Grab the Sweet P's code on my sidebar. Post the code anywhere inside your post.
  3. Come back and add your blog link to blog hop. Visit other Sweet P's listed.
  4. Grab "get the code" for the blog hop and paste inside your post. This allows you to access the blog hop list from your blog.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Friend of God

The Sacrifice of Isaac, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1726-29

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected: and the Scripture was fulfilled which says,AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,and he was called the friend of God.1

Most of us who’ve read the epistle of James are familiar with his exposition on faith and works. Many have concluded that James is refuting Paul’s assertion of salvation by grace alone (apart from works). While it makes an interesting topic for debate, I want to focus on the phrase of the last sentence: “…he was called the friend of God.

I have over the last several weeks read blogs which speak of having a friendship with God. Last night at church I sang a song about being a friend of God. As a young man, whenever I heard the song, God is Love2, I would join in to sing:

Don't go and talk about my father
Cause God is my friend
Jesus is my friend
He loves us whether or not we know it
Just loves us, oh ya
And He'll forgive all our sins
Forgive all our sins
And all He asks of us, is we give each other love.
Oh ya

In spite of singing this song of my youth, I never saw myself or even considered the thought of being a friend of God. Looking back I can only think of a handful of people I called my friend but I never extended a trust to them. I learned very early in life not to trust anyone. I believe this is because of a constant reminder that my grandmother repeated time and time again to stress the dangers of getting involved in activities in the streets. Eventually, for a season, I did succumb to the call of the streets. I look back at that time of trying to be a gang banger, hustler, thief, drug user and I see that I held trust for no one; there was only me. It didn’t matter who I hung with, there was always a buffer I kept between them and me. I would never allow anyone to get close enough to betray me.

That’s how I viewed relationships. At some point, you would do something that betrayed our friendship. I came to expect that pivotal point to occur and I often found myself analyzing situations that would trigger that event. The truth is that I was the one who often sabotaged the friendship by an act of betrayal. I’d undercut a friend to take his girl. I’d keep drugs hidden for myself. Any money I made from my activities I’d lie in order to keep for myself; I trusted no one and yet the truth is:

I was totally untrustworthy.

In my mind, I was the epitome of trustworthiness.

The mind can be a terribly wasted thing.

So I developed this mindset that I could not trust anyone and although at a conscious level, I thought that I extended trust to others, in reality I still withheld trust. My wife recently told me that it has been painfully difficult to accept that I didn’t fully trust her.

Wow! That came as such a shock because I thought she was the one person I did trust.

I admit there have been occasions when doubts crept in my mind, but I actually thought I extended trust to her.

This has led me to a fundamental question on friendship.

Is it possible to love someone and not actually trust them?

I can recall friendships with many of my old gang banging boys I hung out with. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I loved any of them. I supported them in the gang concept of camaraderie. If any of them were threatened by some rival gang, I stood with them but this wasn’t from an understanding of love or trust; so the loyalty wasn’t truly friendship-based.

Realizing that I’ve held a twisted and perverted view of friendship, I recognize at least one of three characteristics that were absent from my relationships:
  1. Love
  2. Trust
  3. Loyalty
I must also acknowledge that this was also true of my relationship with God. I did not really allow God to be my friend. I would always subconsciously do something to sabotage the relationship to justify my long-held premise; I can trust no one, so I can have no friends.

I believe the Holy Spirit is changing my heart in this area because I now desire meaningful relationships that are based on me being a friend. This began with the realization that I wanted to be God’s friend.

Someone (I wish I could remember who the blogger was) recently blogged about trusting God to the extent that God has demonstrated that He is trustworthy to them. When I read this, I began to see a pattern of behavior on God’s part that clearly demonstrated that I could trust Him; God was saying by His actions, I want to be your friend.

As I absorbed the thought that I could trust God in my conscious mind, the Holy Spirit perforated me with a question:

Can God trust you?

I was hesitant to answer this question which I’d never pondered before. For me, the issue of trust has always been a one-way road. Here was God asking me to get on His multi-directional highway where I’d interchange love, trust and friendship; with Him.

Thoughts of drowning in an ocean would be an apt description of what I was feeling at that moment.

I wondered what Abraham must have felt when God asked him to take his son’s life. What did he think?

But You promised me this son God! I’ve waited years for his birth and now You ask me to take his life?

I can’t accept the notion that Abraham had doubts about this. The scriptures do not make reference to this. On the contrary, the scriptures point to Abraham’s obedience.

How did Abraham reach a point of obedience that he no longer questioned God?

As I looked back in scripture, I found something interesting:

Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him,Abraham!And he said,Here I am.And He said,Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.'”3

This is a good breaking point for me, so I'll resume this topic with its conclusion on Saturday. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you on Saturday (Lord willing).

Father God,

Thank you that you reveal Yourself as the Almighty God, who has always existed. You desire to call each of us friend as I seek that kind of relationship with you. I find it as a buring desire in me that I cannot extinguish. I am learning what trust, loyalty and love really mean and I acknowledge I want to walk in this new knowledge. I believe you will give me opportunities to trust, to be loyal and to love. These opportunities are like seeds planted in me to produce a life of love, trust and loyalty. Thank You Lord for giving us opportunities to grow. May we each grow in wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of You. Amen.

  1. James, 2:21-23, NASB
  2. God is Love, Performed by Marvin Gaye, Lyrics by Anna Gaye; Elgie Stover; James Nyx; Marvin Gaye, © Jobete Music Co Inc., released May 20, 1971
  3. Genesis 22:1-2, NASB
  1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
  2. Unger's Bible Dictionary, By Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, Chicago
  3. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  4. Matthew Henry's Commentary, McDonald Publishing Company, McLean, Virginia 22101, ISBN 0-917006-21-6