Daily Archives: August 3, 2015

Amos 4-6; Psalm 55; Matt 14

Don’t you trust me?

If I walked up to you today and asked you to let me hold all the money in your pocket, but promised to give it back to you tomorrow, would you trust me? For those cynics out there, this is, of course, assuming that you had more than $1.29 in your pocket! But seriously… if you had, say, $200 in your pocket right now, would you trust me to hold it for a day with the promise of its return? You’re likely to respond ‘no’ for a myriad of reasons ranging from “I hardly know you…” to “I’m not sure if I can trust you with that amount of money…” to “I’ve never lent you money before… how will I know if you’ll return it?” So… is it a matter of the quantity of money or the idea of trust? Interesting question… For me, I find that it’s a matter of tolerable risk… the smaller the amount, or risk, the more I’m willing to take a chance in the name of trust.

Let’s change the scenario slightly… what if, instead of Greg asking to hold your money, it was Jesus asking… hmmmmm. Beyond the fact that it all belongs to God anyway, would you be more apt to hand over your $200 to Jesus than to me? If the answer is yes, why is that? Is it because he’s got more data behind Him to support His trustworthiness? (Is it based on fear over what will happen if you don’t??) Do we really have the kind of faith that would trust Jesus if we came face-to-face with Him not just with money, but with all things? It sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it… and yet, Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, doubted that Jesus would save him as he began to sink after Jesus summoned Peter out of the boat and onto the water in Mattew 14:22-32. AND, this is after witnessing Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand+ individuals by starting with five loaves of bread and two fish! Talk about trust credentials!

So… is there something going on here that helps to explain the lack of trust? Could part of it have to do with fear? After all, God is so sensitive to this human characteristic that He speaks for us NOT to be fearful 366 times in the Bible. In one instance, He commands strength and courage… in Joshua 1:9, God speaks “I command you to be strong and courageous… Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” If God took the time to address fear so strongly, He must have had a good reason to… perhaps it was because unaddressed fears could turn into phobias and phobias keep us in a weak place, preventing us from reaching our full God-designed potential!

While on the surface it’s sounds easy to just speak out your fear and “get over it”, it’s not that simple. As a man, I don’t want to admit I have fears! It’s counter to how I was raised that a man should be… fearless! In his research on the roles of men and women in relationship, Chip Ingram, in his work House or Home, God’s Blueprint for Marriage, he states that “…the biggest fear a man has is failure.” And, he’s right… but I believe that our spiritual walk and growth is enhanced when we can turn to God to admit our fears or pray that He reveals our fears to us. Doing so allows freedom from the control of those fears and begin the process of growing through the fears. Risk taking doesn’t come naturally, but spiritual growth involves risk and risk relates to fear. Faith, I believe, is the mechanism that bridges the gap between risk and fear. Just as Peter in Matthew 14:29 was called to leave a boat in midst of a raging storm to walk on water, something that he had never done before, it was a risky step and filled with much fear. The event ultimately led to a stronger faith and deeper intimacy with Jesus. And what Peter experienced, we can tap into that same opportunity. Doing something risky in the name of being a risk-taker is foolish… doing something risky that has God at the foundation is called faith!

Heavenly Father… the words of the psalmist in Psalm 27 speak “The Lord is my light and my salvation… whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life… of whom shall I be afraid?” Lord, it is we who create the block to becoming the people you’ve designed us to be… help us to identify our fears to release potential strongholds of the enemy on us and to live life as You want us to live. I hand over all my fears to You… I give You control over my life… let today be the beginning of growing through our fears and not under them! Amen!

gstefanelli (Greg Stefanelli)

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Amos 1-3; Matthew 13

58 And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:58, NLT

I used to manage a team that provided hospitality at our church. A team member would provide a meal for up to twenty people. When I was scheduled to cook, I’d brace myself at the grocery check out as I purchased my household’s weekly food and the additional foods for the big meal. My bill always came in under what I’d spend on just my family of four.

I’ve had some rough spots with some relationships. Sometimes I felt like my efforts were getting me nowhere closer to reconciliation. I don’t know if it was in frustration or defeat, but I remember several occasions where I’d said to the Lord, “God, if you want me to not give up here, you’re going to have to do something.” And He always did, in a big way.

We recently had a family over for dinner. They moved away from our area about two years ago when the husband accepted a job. But they were back in town visiting friends as they prepared to move again–this time out of the country for two years to be missionaries. The details of their story were falling into place so quickly that I think they were trying to keep up.

Jesus goes back to Nazareth.

54 He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” 55 Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. 56 All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” 57 And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” Matthew 54-57, NLT.

At first, everyone was amazed. Then they scoffed.

How many times have I been amazed at what God has done in my life, but then go back to thinking within in my own power? Why do I not constantly live in amazement of God, but let my hope and faith get dulled by rationalization and limitation?

When Jesus talks to the disciples about the kingdom of heaven, I want my heart’s response to be like the man who finds the treasure in the field–he knows the riches in that treasure are more than he’s got, and he sells everything he owns to buy the field.

Lord, I’m looking for you today. Instead of getting bogged down with what is wrong, I’m looking for you and what is right. I’m believing in you.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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