when trusting God has to be enough

When Trusting God Has To Be Enough

There are times in life where trusting God is difficult, because we do not always understand what God is doing. There is a part in every one of us that recognizes what it is to see justice, and that part of us sometimes causes us to be angry when we see that someone is getting away with something that we know is not right or not fair. Sometimes we can get frustrated with God when we see the innocent suffering, or when we see the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

Richard Wurmbrand, in his book, “100 Prison Meditations” tells of a Hebrew legend about Moses sitting near a well at one time, meditating. A man, walking past, stopped to drink from the well and, as he did, his money belt fell into the sand. This man left, unaware of his loss. A little while later, a second man passed by the well. He saw the money belt and took it, and walked off without being noticed. Later on, yet a third man stopped to get a drink from the well and laid down to take a rest.

Now the first man, realizing that he lost his money belt, thought he may have left it at the well. So he returned there, after the second man who took it was long gone, and the third man was now there, asleep. The first man demanded his money back from this third man, who knew nothing about the money at all.

A fight broke out, with the first man accusing the third man of stealing his money, and eventually, with the first man killing the third man because he thought the guy was a thief, while the second man, who really was the thief, was now long gone.

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the ship that wont sink

The Ship That Won’t Sink

You Know In Your Head But It Still Doesn’t Make Sense

Recently, having dinner one day while on a cruise ship, I heard conversation going on at a nearby table.

“I don’t understand how this boat can float. I just can’t wrap my head around it. I get the physics behind it and everything. I know how it all works. But I just can’t picture it. This ship weighs 70,000 tonnes.”

I heard what she was saying, and I could understand the feeling. I know how it works, too. The boat sinks into the water to the point where the amount of water it pushes out of the way is the same weight of water as the weight of the ship. So simple in theory, but so hard to relate to.

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God speaks

God Speaks From Time To Time

There are some things that happen and they stick with you. I remember a moment very clearly that was one of those “stick with you” moments. Actually, it was fairly recently, and I hope it sticks with me forever, for the urgency it created in my soul at that moment.

I was listening to an audio version of a bible commentary on Romans, Chapter 9, written some time ago by a gentleman by the name of Andre Dellerba. And the point he made struck me in the moment as very profound.

God Speaks At Pivotal Points In Our Lives

What he said was that God speaks to us, occasionally, at pivotal moments in the history of our lives, and we are accountable for the decisions we make in those moments of time. Now, I know that the Holy spirit is constantly dealing with us as believers. There are times we hear Him nudging us in one direction or another – times when he convicts us of sin, or prompts us to contact that friend or relative that we just don’t enjoy spending time with, but they need us to do it.

Now, when Dellerba was discussing this issue of God speaking at pivotal times in our lives, he was speaking particularly about unbelievers, and how God will nudge them at particular points in their lives. His point was that God does not strive forever with man; and that as people harden their hearts to the promptings of the Spirit, God does not strive with people forever. God moves in specific moments and circumstances, and God will hold people accountable for how they respond to God in those moments when He speaks.

There Is A Price For Quenching The Spirit

As I was listening to this podcast, it struck me that there are times when God has spoken to me about issues in my life, and I chose to ignore those promptings of His Spirit. And I have to honestly say that in those moments in my life, where I knew that God was prompting me about a need to be obedient, and I chose to quench the Spirit about those issues where He was speaking to me, I’ve since had hard work to do in those areas in my life. I’ve had to turn over the fallow ground that resulted from my ignoring Him and choosing not to obey Him.

There is an even greater problem for the believer in ignoring those promptings of the Spirit that for the unbeliever, because the believer has an even greater witness. The believer has tasted, and has seen that the Lord is good. We walk not merely out of head knowledge or out of fear, but by the reality and the fellowship of the Spirit. The unbeliever, He prompts from the outside; for the believer, He is living inside, choosing to dwell with us, where He can be grieved in His very own home (John 1:14).

Do not forget that God’s purpose in saving us is not merely to get us out of hell. God’s ultimate purpose in saving us is to get the “hell” out of us. If we continue to ignore the promptings of His spirit, we can become ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:8). And if we do, what a waste we make of the purposes for which Christ died to save us.

The level to which we rise in our walk with Him when no one is watching us is the level to which He will be able to promote us and use us in the world. Strive always to walk in the awareness that the God of the universe walks with you, moment by moment and step by step. Strive to please Him, even when no one is watching.

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the greatest thing God wants

The Greatest Thing God Wants

Francis Frangipane speaks (in an interview during a podcast) of a time where he was so down in his life, so discouraged at the way his life was going. He was raising 5 children and a foster child, discouraged that he wasn’t sensing a clear direction for his place in life or where God wanted him to be. He was depressed about how he felt like a failure, and like he didn’t have any idea
about his true purpose in life.

One day, in desperation, he was crying out to God, hungering for God to speak to him and to show him what God wanted of him. God spoke to him, in that moment, very clearly, and said, simply, “love me where you are at now.”

Francis was taken aback by that; he was wanting something more specific from God about what he should do with his life. But God simply confirmed to him that the greatest thing God wanted from his life was that he love God with all his heart.

Rick Joyner talks about a time he took a road trip to spend some time with God, trying to discern what God’s purpose was for his life. And God spoke to him, and told him a powerful truth:
“It’s easy for me to find workers; what I’m looking for is friends.”

He hath shown thee, o man, what is good,
and what the Lord requires of thee –
but to do justly,
to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Yes, God delights in using you. But He COULD do it without you. He just chooses not to. He wants YOU to enjoy the journey as He works through you. But His ultimate purpose in working through you is not to get “stuff” done. His ultimate purpose in working through you is so that you can enjoy the journey with Him, being amazed at what He does, as you get to watch and to participate.

God’s greatest desire is to conform you to his holiness so that He and you can enjoy each other’s company. He doesn’t want your gifts, your talents or your service nearly as much as He wants to enjoy your company.

Draw near to Him, and let Him change you so that you and He can enjoy spending time together.

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why do i not hear God

Why Do I Not Hear God

People often ask me, “why do I not hear God?”

For some time now, I’ve tried to get up early in the morning to pray. I believe, as most Christians do, that it’s important to try to spend time in the word of God and let Him speak to me as I read quietly, in His presence.

On this particular morning, I had been meditating on some of the ideas that The Lord had shown me in my reading. I was in my office, trying to be quiet and still before The Lord. And then, I heard a ticking noise.

I Never Noticed It Before

I didn’t know what it was, at first. But it was a curious sound. I noticed now, as I actually LISTENED to the noise, that it was rather slow and methodical. It’s not unusual to hear noises in a house – you can sometimes hear wood creak and crack a bit as boards shift on one another in the structure. Sometimes, you can hear the water pipes click and crack as they move around a bit from heating up and cooling off with the water running through them.

But this sound was different. It wasn’t changing. It was rhythmic, steady, unrelenting. I focused on it now, and was curious to know where it came from – how does a sound like this persist for so long without changing or giving some clue as to its origin? And on top of that, I noticed it wasn’t a constant tick. It was a tick with two pitches – high, low, high, low – very slow, methodical and repeatable. I just had to know out of curiosity, where this sound came from.

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Sometimes, you don't have to say a word

Sometimes, You Don’t Have To Say A Word


We All Have Stories

The longer you travel this road of life, the more stories you remember from the journey. I remember this one for how it demonstrates how there are many different ways that God can speak to a person about the condition of his or her soul.

I used to work in an auto plant, building cars on the assembly line. Phil was one of the guys who had been there a long time. I remember the day I first met him. My first impression of him was that I thought he was pretty opinionated. He really was, actually, although I have to admit that, at the time, I was probably more opinionated than he was. By “opinionated,” I don’t mean someone who merely has an opinion; I’m talking about someone who has an opinion and knows how to use it. I would stick to my opinions without having a sufficient awareness of all the facts to see how flimsy my opinions really were.

I believe we often find an understanding of theology that reflects and makes sense of our own experiences in becoming Christians.

That was my experience. It kind of went like that for me. I happened to be a person who leaned pretty strongly toward an “Arminian” theology – that God gives everyone an opportunity to accept or reject the gospel, as I felt at the time that God had done with me.

Phil, because of his experience, was very strongly “Calvinistic” – he held a theology that basically says if you believe in Jesus, it’s because you were saved from eternity past, and you just came to recognize, in the course of time, that you are one of those whom God “ordained to be saved.” But you don’t really choose. You “got saved” because God chose you long ago. I wasn’t sure I liked his theology at the time. That wasn’t how it worked for me.

One day, Phil told me how he became a Christian.

And when he did, I had more of an appreciation for his theological position. I’m not sure how the conversation even started that day, but I’m glad it did.

Phil told me about his past life – his life “BC” – before Christ, and how much different his life was. When I knew Phil, he was a quiet fellow, and seemed to be reasonably modest and self-controlled. But as he tells the story, he was not always like that.

Phil explained that he used to be a supervisor on the line a long time ago, and that job came with a number of troubles. It’s a difficult job, being a front-line supervisor in an auto plant. It’s especially stressful if you have a strong-minded workforce with an attitude that they don’t really want to work all that much, and they are backed by a union with very broad shoulders. And Phil had a bunch of them in his department.

Phil was a miserable man with a problem.

Phil was dealing with a lot. The guys in his department weren’t really happy with him.

And neither was his wife. He had been fooling around on her, and, being a philanderer and an alcoholic, his wife was getting ready to leave him. To put it briefly, he was pretty miserable, and he admitted that he was completely miserable to live with. And to work with.

Anyway, one day, Phil had a situation on the line that was very quickly turning into a very serious and soon-to-be expensive problem.

And, there was Murray.

Now, you have to know Murray to appreciate him. He was a simple guy. By simple, I don’t mean stupid. I mean uncomplicated. Murray was just a plain, humble guy, who somehow was known as a Christian, even though he never seemed to preach much to the guys he worked with. Now I MYSELF was in the habit of preaching to the guys I worked with at the time, but I will say that they didn’t always do well with it – partly because (just being honest here) I was, at times, pretty vocal and opinionated about it.

But unlike me and my frequent preaching to people about how they needed to be saved, Murray was quiet about his faith. People knew he was a Christian, but he seemed never to preach at anyone. And yet, he hosted the presence of The Lord as he went about his work from day to day. They just knew there was something different about him. People knew, somehow, that if there was a God, he and Murray were pretty close.

So anyway, now that you know how I was always preaching, and Murray was not always preaching, I can tell the rest of the story.

As I said, on this particular day, Phil was having this “soon to be expensive” problem on the line. One of the operations in his section of the plant required a very specific bolt that had to be put in the vehicle at this point. If that bolt was not available, there was no way to continue running that line. They would have to stop the line and send everyone home. And THAT is expensive. You have to know that when these assembly plants have to shut the line down, they count the cost in thousands of dollars per minute. THAT is an expensive bolt.

Phil sent Murray to find those bolts.

Phil knew they were in the plant. He had checked the records and he knew they had been received in shipping. But they weren’t where they were supposed to be. And they were now literally within a couple minutes of seeing the line shut down and the shift workers sent home. Heads were set to roll, and Phil’s would be rolling with the rest.

And this is the point in the story where Phil got my attention. Phil said he watched Murray as Murray went to look for those bolts. Phil said that everyone in management was feeling the pressure that was about to hit if the line went down. And as he was feeling that pressure growing (and knowing Murray was a Christian) he watched as Murray took a left to turn down one of the isles where the parts were stored.

And then Murray stopped. He quietly bowed his head for about 20 seconds. And then, he looked up suddenly, spun his head around, did a “180” in the isle, and walked the opposite direction. And thirty seconds later, he came from that other direction with that box of bolts in his hands.

And in that instant, Phil knew that Murray’s God was real.

Phil said to me, “I just knew. God just somehow gave me the grace to believe it, I guess. But in that instant, I saw that Murray’s God was real. AND I WANTED TO KNOW THAT GOD.”

Murray had never preached to Phil. Phil knew full well he was a sinner. Murray never pointed that out, never pounded on him about what a horrible man he was. But when Murray prayed, and Phil saw that God had answered Murray’s prayer, God used that to reach Phil.

Now, we can argue until the cows come home about whether God chose Phil or Phil chose God; whether God chose to give Phil a chance to respond to an invitation, and if Phil chose to respond to the chance that God was giving Phil in the moment, or if God just caused Phil to believe, and so he just did. I guess Phil and I might still see it differently, if we were to sit down and compare notes about it.

And that might even be a good discussion to have, depending on how it happens.

But getting caught up in that would miss the point to be learned from the story. The point here is that we don’t know what God will use to get someone’s attention. We need to understand that sometimes, it’s not our talk but our walk that will be the thing that God chooses to use in someone else’s life.

In the bible, in Peter’s first epistle, he says, “always be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you.” And I think that is good advice – especially since it is in the bible. But just never forget that it also says, “we are epistles to BE READ OF ALL MEN.’

Murray said nothing that day. He was READ. Like a BOOK.

He was read because he was ABLE to be read – because He learned what it was to “do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with His God” (Micah 6:8)

So always be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you. But rest in God for the timing and the “how” – even if it’s just walking close enough to him to hear him say “turn right” when you were going to turn left.

Because you never know how God will use that simple act to bring a lost soul to Jesus. And your effective preaching – your “word in due season” – may be spoken without a single word.

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