Sunday, January 31, 2016

Danny Devito and the "Art" of the Label

“Observe which side resorts to the most vociferous name-calling and you are likely to have identified the side with the weakest argument, and they know it.”  Charles R. Anderson

My son, Ben, and I enjoy seeing superhero movies together. Of course, since we’re both    frugal, we look for the best deal. A few months back we decided to go see Ant-Man. It was finally at the Budget so we ran a couple of errands and headed to the show. As many theaters do, they were showing it in two different theaters – one for earlier shows, then they’d switch theaters for the later shows. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying careful attention when the ticket salesperson directed us to our theater. We both saw the marquee said Ant-Man and headed into the darkened theater.  We quickly discovered Ant-Man wasn’t exactly what we were expecting. The movie opened with a drug house in a ghetto neighborhood. The air was glowing blue with obscenities…and it wasn’t improving. Ben was the first to figure out we were in the wrong movie. They’d switched theaters and instead of watching Ant-Man, we were watching Straight Outta Compton. Ben double-checked to make certain he was correct, we were able to rush over to Ant-Man without missing too much.
  Perhaps, Straight Outta Compton has some artistic merit…personally, I don’t think so. Five minutes of it were too much for me. It’s described as a movie about a “crime-ridden inner-city community in southern Los Angeles County that had developed a reputation for having the meanest streets anywhere in the United States. The birthplace of notorious gangs such as the Crips and the Bloods. Compton also became the cradle of gangsta rap, courtesy of five young men whose rocket-like rise to fame as the group N.W.A. just as quickly broke apart in the thin stratosphere of riches, notoriety and rage.” The bottom line (according to the reviews) is that it’s 147 minutes of some 600 profanities/obscenities, nudity and gratuitous violence. It may be a “slice of life,” but so is a dumpster. Yet, this garbage was still nominated for an Academy Award. 
  This year the Academy Awards are being boycotted by several notable African-American    movie stars because there are not enough nominations of African-Americans or their movies this year. Usually, I find the movies which are nominated aren’t ones that I actually want to see…with a few exceptions (i.e. The Revenant, Room). For me, if I were an actor or filmmaker not being nominated for an Oscar, might be a compliment.
  Yet, what grows exceedingly tedious with all of this brouhaha is the constant and pervasive charge of racism or other slanderous labeling. There have been some great African-American movies and there are some great African-American actors. There have been some terrible  African-American movies and there are some terrible African-American actors. It’s the same with Caucasian, Hispanic or Asian movies and actors…or any other group. It’s not a matter of bigotry, it’s merely common sense about taste and quality. Thinking and civil people truly don’t care what race you are.
  Personally, I find my intelligence is insulted when elitists such as Danny DeVito, adding his two cents to the current fray, makes outlandish, broad sweeping charges like, “It's unfortunate that the entire country is a racist country…” What an ignorant statement! What’s worse, it’s cultural manipulation. Rather than having an intelligent, well-thought out dialogue on areas of difference and disagreement, those who disagree grab the club of “label” to beat opponents into silence. Therein lies the very fallacy of their argument. It demonstrates the weakness of someone’s argument and lack of ability to express their position or do logical thinking in that they must succumb to labeling or name-calling rather than being able to coherently communicate or defend their position.
  For example, while I disagree with many of President Obama’s positions, it has nothing to do with his race. (It doesn’t bother me in the least the President is half Caucasian.) I also disagreed with President George W. Bush on many of his policies. Does that make me an anti-Texas bigot? So because I disagreed with President Clinton, am I then a “Bubba Bigot?”
  If you’re like me, as you’ve sought to defend yourself from the verbal terrorist attack of a “label,” you find you’re playing into the hands of your accuser. The issue is sidetracked by the “label.” It’s hard, if not impossible to return to the issue and any intelligent dialogue. The field of reason has now been contaminated by a “label” which rarely has anything to do with anything other than being utilized as some toxic verbal smokescreen to distort or    completely blind everyone from the real issue.
  Sadly, Christians throw out labels too, rather than doing honest thinking or debating. “Liberal” is a favorite verbal spear we hurl when we disagree with someone, yet haven’t thought through the issue. It’s just dishonest.
  Too often we’re played because we honestly believe we’ve been misunderstood. Yet, the fact is we’re just being played. Then, we too often are sucked into the foolishness of feeling we must vindicate ourselves, or worse, have the last word. There’s a wonderful proverb from the sagacious pen of wise King Solomon most of us need to heed more. “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself” (Proverbs 26:4). 
  Someone who uses labels or name calling to annihilate their opponent has tipped their hand. They are what Solomon insightfully concluded, a “fool.” When we react to labels or charges which are ludicrous, we’ve chosen to allow them to ensnare us with their foolishness. Instead of becoming emotional or worse, angry, we’d be wise to ignore the labelling and do the best we can to continue to respond to real issues and not be sidetracked by smokescreens. If need be, sometimes we must just walk away. It will require wisdom and self-control. Yet, it’s the wisest approach because when someone is slinging mud and you sling mud back, in the end, you only end up getting dirty.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Kicking Blair Walsh

“The encourager, no matter how dark the day, always brings a message of hope. Those who encourage…are in effect only beggars telling other beggars where to find help.”  Derek Bingham

  He’s one of the top ten kickers in the NFL. Though his record is 85.2% for completed field goals, though he’s made 121 out of 142 attempts, Blair Walsh of the Minnesota Vikings will always be remembered for missing one critical short field goal during the closing seconds of the Vikings-Seahawks NFC wild-card game. Ultimately, it cost the Vikings the game, with a loss of 10-9.
  No doubt, it was the worst day in Blair Walsh’s professional career. If the Vikings’ kicker checked his Twitter account that evening, here’s a sampling of the horrible messages sent to him: “How does it feel to let a whole entire state down in one day.” “Dude, you should leave Minnesota. Trust me. Every Vikings fan in the world now hates you.” “Thank you for destroying my soul.” “If you could swallow a gallon of bleach that’d be great.” And those were ones suitable for print. There were others threatening his life or encouraging him to commit suicide. How sad when so many think it’s okay to brutalize someone when they’re down.
  It was very heartwarming to learn of a class of first-graders at Northpoint Elementary School in Blaine, Minnesota. This group of kids reached out to Blair Walsh later that week after his missed field goal attempt. They wanted to let him know they understood the sadness he must be feeling. They drew pictures and wrote letters for their teacher to mail to him, affirming and encouraging him. Yes, they’re teacher encouraged the students to do it, yet these children got it – you don’t kick someone when they’re down. Wise are the words of Walter Winchell, “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”
  It’s always wonderful to see someone or a group do something kind, yet that’s to be normative for the believer. We are to be known for our kindness. A fruit of the Spirit is “kindness” (Galatians 5:22). But are we? Are we known for being kind? That’s a convicting question. If I’m honest, I have to confess I’ve been “culturized.” I’m not always known for being kind. Have you ever thought about this – why is it so easy to see what’s wrong and yet so difficult to notice what is right? 
  But it’s worse than that. I work, I struggle to encourage and affirm, to see what’s right. Yet, it’s tempting to see and point out what’s wrong. During the 2015 season, Blair Walsh made 121 out of 142 field goal attempts, an 85.2% success rate. But what will he be known for? What will be remembered for?
  Did you know the word “encourage” is used 32 times in the ESV (English Standard Version) Bible? While the word “discourage” is used a mere 6 times. Encourage is used over five times more than discourage, yet what’s the proportion of words which come out of our mouths. Encouragement or discouragement? What do we notice more? What’s wrong or what’s right? What do we talk about? 
  Do we encourage our spouses, our children with what they do right? What about our brothers and sisters in Christ? Then, what do we contemplate on? What bothers us? What’s wrong…or what we’re thankful for, for what’s right? Isn’t thinking about what’s right commanded, not merely suggested, in Philippians 4:8 – “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
  The reason too many of us have a habitual scowl or just an unhappy look, is because of what we’re eating mentally. And it in turn, eats us.
  Please understand, I’m a fellow struggler, but by God’s grace, I’m growing. I did this years ago and I’ve started it again. I’ve begun keeping a “Praise Journal.” Each day I try to write down things I’m thankful for. It’s not long. Maybe a sentence or two. Yet, the impact on the outlook of my life is amazing!
  Let me add another important piece to this. Blair Walsh just made a mistake, a misjudgment. There was no moral dimension. How do we handle it though when someone blows it spiritually, morally? What’s our attitude? Are we judgmental? Condemning? Or, are we gracious and merciful? What if it’s a leader, particularly a spiritual leader?
  A decade ago when then megachurch pastor, Ted Haggard, had to resign under a moral cloud, a ministry colleague remarked to me, “Where does a pastor go when he blows it? Where does a pastor go for help?” It’s a good question. Please understand, I’m not suggesting we rationalize sin or moral failure away or even close our eyes to sin. Personally, I believe a believer, even a spiritual leader, is capable of any sin (1 Corinthians 10:12). 
  Yet, when someone falls, we must demonstrate the same grace God has shown to us, even to those who are in a spiritual leadership position. Isn’t that what the Lord did with King David the adulterer/murderer and Peter the Jesus denier? As there is no limit to God’s grace and forgiveness, there must not be any limit to ours. 
  When I encounter those situations, I often don’t know how to respond or what to do. I certainly don’t know what to say. Usually, it’s because I’m not personally involved in the situation. I don’t know who’s right or wrong, or the details…nor do I want to know the details. Yet, I can always pray. I can also drop a note of encouragement. I might mention how the individual has been a blessing. It doesn’t have to say much other than, “I’m praying for you!” Because while I don’t know the details, my Father does…and He already knows how He is going to fix it. And I want to be part of restoring and helping others, I want to be part of extending God’s grace, particularly to those who are at the lowest points of life.
  We must tattoo on our souls that there is not an act of evil that Jesus’ cross did not pay for. His death and grace are sufficient for even the vilest sin. And I want to be part of encouraging those who are in the bottom of the pit to turn to the One who set their feet back on the Rock, who can always heal and give hope. 
  Perhaps you know someone who’s blown it, or perhaps they’re just going through some deep waters. Be an encourager. I’ll never forget my mentor, Dr. David L. Cummins telling me, “Scott, I have never regretted being too kind.” Neither have I. May we, the people of grace, be most known for being the most gracious…for being Jesus even to those who have hit rock bottom. We have “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). His name is Jesus. Let’s be Jesus for others. 

Looking for quality used Christian books and other types of books at prices lower than even Amazon. Check out our family's online used bookstore at or visit our store at the Waterford Unique Antique Market at 209 North Milwaukee Street in Waterford, WI -- 262.534.3500

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Katniss! Seriously!?!

“My mom was really religious with me when I was young…I wouldn’t have been able to get birth control if it weren’t for Planned P. I wouldn’t have been able to get condoms and birth control and all these things I needed as a normal teenager who was growing up in a Jesus house.”  Jennifer Lawrence

 The headline of the recent article was: “Jennifer Lawrence defends charity against anti-abortion campaigners” with this caption underneath the headline, “Actor tells Glamour magazine she accessed birth control as a teenager via Planned Parenthood, and describes clinic shooting as ‘an attack on women’.” For a few days, it made all the news cycles which dealt with celebrity or entertainment news. Overnight Jennifer Lawrence became the new poster child for the pro-choice movement, a Joan of Arc riding in to rescue the world from those evil pro-life oppressors.
  If most thinking individuals, whatever their position on abortion, would take a few moments to analyze what Jennifer Lawrence said and what those using her celebrity status are purporting, they’d be appalled. To use the analogy of her popular film, Hunger Games, her worldview is much more President Snow and the Capitol than it is Katniss Everdeen.  
  First, the Colorado shooting was not an attack on women. It was murder, an attack on human life. Just a cursory reading of the personality and background of the shooter, Robert Louis Dear Jr., from his ex-wife and others who knew him, makes it very apparent that he’s mentally ill. To label what he did an “attack on women,” is like suggesting the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris were an art critic dispute which turned violent. It’s the same wearisome hypocritical propaganda continually paraded out by those who scream bloody murder over the phrase “radical Islam,” yet are the first to claim any violence directed at or near a Planned Parenthood facility is without a doubt, another radical right wing crazy Christian.
  Second, it justifies violating parental rights. In a day when parents can’t send a couple of Tylenol capsules to school with a child struggling with headaches, to somehow rationalize a government financed agency giving body altering medicines to a minor, is inexcusable. A minor can’t have their ears pierced or get a tattoo without parental consent. Somehow, though, it’s “okay” for someone to undermine the parents and provide birth control pills. What planet are they from?
  Over the course of my ministry, I’ve seen too many young people who were neglected or abused by a parent/s. In a few cases, for the protection of the child, I felt that there should be a TPR (termination of parental rights). Most don’t realize how difficult it is to obtain a TPR?
  Several years ago I was assisting a young Mom who was being beaten by her ex-boyfriend. Unfortunately, she and her abuser had a young daughter together. Though this Mom had to be hospitalized after being savagely beaten, though he was a serial abuser and drug addict, and went to prison, yet terminating his parental rights was virtually impossible. But because Jennifer Lawrence’s mother was “too strict,” Planned Parenthood was allowed to terminate her parental rights in regards to birth control pills for her daughter. And somehow that makes sense!?!
  Third, apply this rational to any other area of teen behavior and the media elite would scream for your head…and rightfully so. The faulty reasoning for violating a parent’s rights when it comes to birth control pills is: “Teens are going to have sex anyway. Let’s make sure it’s safe sex.” Yet, if you apply the same faulty logic to other areas of “normal” teen behavior, you’re risking some serious jail time.
  For example, are teens going to drink? Some parents have reasoned, “They’re going to drink anyway, so we’ll have the party at our home and provide the alcohol to make certain no one is injured or killed in drunk driving accident.” If it’s ever discovered, law enforcement will charge the parents. Are teens going to smoke? Should we have a state funded agency provide cigarettes? Are teens going to experiment with drugs? What about porn? Wouldn’t it be better, if those sexual images were provided by a “responsible” adult rather than a bunch of adolescent friends? Yet, it’s a criminal offense, as it should be, to provide porn or alcohol to minors. Schools have onsite school endorsed programs to discourage alcohol and drug use by minors, yet to discourage sexual relations is usually considered “religious” and thus, prohibited.
  Apply such faulty reasoning to any other area besides our sex organs, and everyone knows how illegal, absurd and dumb it is. If we want adolescents to learn self-control and to say “no” in other aspects of life which can cause them great harm and have long term consequences, then why would we rationalize it’s appropriate to encourage them to behave like dogs in heat when it comes to their sex drive? Aren’t we also cracking open the door for sexual abuse or date rape by failing to teach self-control and abstinence? 
  Fourth, with a Welfare system out of control and major behavioral problems among children from single parent homes, why would we encourage adolescent sexual relations? Study after study reveals children do much better when they live in a married, two parent home. Somehow we fail to connect the dots. The rise of teen crime, drug problems, mental health issues, STDs have coincided with the Conventional Wisdom of the day – “free love.” But sexual love is not free. There are often emotional and spiritual baggage, and lifelong intimacy issues for someone who has multiple sexual partners. Add to that, if a young man fathers a child, he is responsible to pay 17% of his income to support that child until the child turns 18. For a teenager, it can seem like a life sentence.
  Welfare rolls are overflowing with children where the father is neglecting his responsibility and the State must step in. Ask any teacher or school administrator, and they’ll tell you that the children with the most educational and behavioral issues typically come from either single parent homes or ones where the couple is co-habiting instead of from a committed marriage. What about the needs or rights of the child? Doesn’t every child deserve to know Dad and Mom are committed to each other and to them?
  Sanctity of Life is much more than just protecting babies. It’s a worldview which considers not only conception, but a child’s entire life. Christians must be the first to return and be committed to a biblical ethic of morality. We must stop rationalizing, “Everyone is doing it.” We must, as the Bible exhorts us to do, “Count the cost!” There’s a high cost in condoning anything other than a biblical view of sexual intimacy and marriage. Our children and culture are paying a high price for our “rights.” We need to ask: As a Christian, am I part of the problem or part of the solution?   

Looking for quality used Christian books and other types of books at prices lower than even Amazon. Check out our family's online used bookstore at or visit our store at the Waterford Unique Antique Market at 209 North Milwaukee Street in Waterford, WI -- 262.534.3500

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Jump Starting My Faith

“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don't belong.”  Mandy Hale

There’s just something demoralizing about being stuck. Did you happen to get stuck during the recent snow storm? We did. Fortunately, we were finally able to dig out all but one car. Thanks goodness for AAA! 
  When I have to drive through Chicago, if I can possibly time it correctly, I’ll either leave very early or very late but I do everything I can to avoid being stuck in traffic. It’s estimated the average American commuter spends 38 hours a year stuck in traffic. That’s the equivalent of a week at work when you’re stuck in traffic every year. It’s even worse in big cities. For urban residents in areas like D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco, the typical car commuter spends more than 60 hours – sitting in his car, stuck.
  Being stuck is a part of life, whether it’s stuck in a boring lecture, a monotonous day at work, or a prolonged wait at the dentist’s office. We hate feeling stuck! Yet, there’s something far more serious. It’s being stuck spiritually.
  The Christian life is to be fulfilling, purposeful and meaningful. Yet, many believers are just stuck. They’re in a spiritual rut. The worst part is that they believe that the “rut” is normal. It’s not!
  God doesn’t want us to be stuck. Even though the Apostle Paul was “stuck” in a Roman prison (think dungeon), though he was continuously persecuted, tortured, hated and mistreated, he still said, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). From a human perspective, Paul was the poster child for what it meant to be “stuck,” but he wasn’t. He was free! His life had fulfillment, purpose and meaning. How about you? Does yours? Or, are you just stuck? Here are some symptoms of being stuck. Do a self-test and evaluate if maybe you’re stuck.
  Life feels like it’s déjà vu. You feel you’re constantly ending up in the same situation. Maybe you work hard to change things, yet the more you try, the more things stay the same. People in the workplace do this all the time. They hate their job. They moan, groan and bellyache ad nauseam. Finally, they’re so fed up, they jump ship. They find a similar job with similar pay but with a different employer. Many just move to a different or department within the same company but have a different group they work with and a different supervisor. But in a few months, they feel like all they’ve done is go around in a huge circle. They’re as upset and as unhappy as they were before. The only thing that changed was their location. When our spiritual life becomes like that, we’re in trouble.
  Everything is seemingly harder than it should be. Nothing is easy. There are constant delays, unexpected problems, unforeseen complications, etc. Everything you attempt to do seems to demand monumental effort. Things that should be straightforward to accomplish, aren’t. You seem to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nothing you do seems to move you forward no matter how hard you try. You’re out of sync with everyone and everything.
  You have a perpetual case of the blahs. You’re bored. Life lacks joy. You’re tired and listless. Deep down you know something isn’t right. Your heart tells you you’re not in the right place and aren’t going in the right direction. You feel trapped, even hopeless. You begin to feel anxious and yet you don’t really understand why you’re feeling the way you do.
  You worry about nearly everything. You expect the worst and it’s often a self-fulfilling prophecy. You find yourself continually bemoaning, “Why me?” You don’t have confidence in your decisions and fear the future.
  Life is a constant struggle. Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, you’re drained. You’re going through the motions. You just don’t know what to do anymore.
  If this describes you, you’re stuck. But our Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to be stuck, so it’s time for a spiritual jump start.
  The Gospel insists that forward movement and transformation is possible. Not easy and rarely quick. But possible by God’s grace. We were not designed to be stuck. God doesn’t want us in spiritual gridlock, just treading water. He has so much more for us.
  A restart begins to take place as we become intensely serious about learning from God’s Word and letting Jesus rearrange our lives. Wise, fulfilled individuals across the millennia have trusted the Lord Jesus and devoted themselves to do this. Yet, Jesus’ way needs to be reexamined and reapplied to every age and social setting. It needs to be reapplied as we go through different passages of life from singleness to senior citizens, and everything in between.
  Over the next five Sundays we’re going to plug into the wisdom of God’s Word and investigate how to jump start our spiritual lives. The reality is that we’re more comfortable with Interstates, I-phones and Isis than we are with the reflection, quiet and solitude that studying God’s Word and His solution require. Wonderfully, to have the fulfilled life God designed for us to have doesn’t mean we have to leave our life to join a monastery. A spiritual restart with true change begins internally. It’s not dependent on our life’s circumstances or environment. Too often Satan deceives us into thinking that we need a change in our situation or location. Our omnipresent Heavenly Father knows that the medicine we need is for our souls and it applies in every situation. Rarely, do we need an external change…though most of us think that. Our solution is a heart change.
  Our issue isn’t even poor self-esteem or some failure to accept ourselves. While it may be part of the problem, the solution begins as we realize that we are, as the King James words it, “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6) and that our Heavenly Father has the cure, with a purpose and plan for our lives.
  Please don’t stay stuck. Instead, will you plug you in? Determine to join us next Sunday and for the following four weeks. Allow the Spirit to attach the jumper cables of God’s Word and His power on your soul and jump start your heart and life. It’s time to Jumpstart your faith! 

Looking for quality used Christian books and other types of books at prices lower than even Amazon. Check out our family's online used bookstore at or visit our store at the Waterford Unique Antique Market at 209 North Milwaukee Street in Waterford, WI -- 262.534.3500

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Who can you trust?

“We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesn't come naturally. It's a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith.”  Charles Swindoll

  So who do you really trust? Be honest…who do you really, really trust?
  I’ve been mulling this over quite a bit recently. We’re in the midst of an election year (let the incessant political ads and robo calls begin). Each candidate seeks to garner support and ultimately our vote by convincing us to trust him or her...or, at least trust them more than we trust the other guy.
  But do we? Do we really believe the campaign promises? Do we really believe they have the best interests of the American people in mind? That they will really do what’s best for the country? Probably not. Most of us, even if it’s “our” candidate tend to be very skeptical.  
  What about your employer? Do you trust them? When they tell you something, do you believe it? If they have a pension set up for you, are you confident it will be there when you finally retire? Or, what about when you purchase something? Do you believe the salesperson? That the product will perform like they say it will? Or, that they’ll honor the warranty?  
  What about your friends? When you tell a friend a secret, something in confidence, do you have a settled sense in your heart they won’t share your secret? If you loaned them money, do you have confidence they’ll really repay it…when they promised they would or even at all?
  Do you trust your family? Do you have confidence in your parents, siblings, or children? Do you believe them when they tell you something? When they say they’re going to do something that it’s going to happen?
  Hopefully, you don’t have any questions about the integrity of your spouse. The foundation of a healthy marriage is built on trust. If you can’t trust your spouse, whether it be their words, judgement or faithfulness – then your marriage has some serious cracks in its foundation.
  What about someone in spiritual authority? A pastor, deacon or a small group leader? Do you trust him or her? Do you believe they’re a person of integrity? Of honesty and that they’ll tell you the truth?
  And that’s our problem. In each sphere of our lives, we approach every connection with a huge dose of skepticism. Much of it is because, sadly, integrity is increasingly rare. Anyone who blindly trusts a politician, an employer or salesperson tends to be on the gullible side. It doesn’t help when we hear about so many who fail. Most have experienced an integrity disappointment in a close relationship. Then, some know their own lack of integrity and project their failure on others, assuming others are like them.
  Adding to our internal skepticism pool is the percentage of us who born in a home with addiction or divorce with the usual denials that surround it, and we develop serious trust issues. Lies, secrets and broken promises accumulate to send a message to a child formulating a view of life that trusting can backfire on them. Many grow into adulthood with difficulty trusting anyone. It affects relationships (romantic, professional and spiritual) with others. They’ve been disappointed so often by an addicted parent that to really allow themselves fully trust is a major hurdle for them.
  The tragic result of our fallen world caused skepticism is it ultimately contaminates our relationship with the One who said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life” (John 14:6). Or, as Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has he said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?” Depending on what version you use, the Bible tells us to trust God some 200 times. The words translated trust in Scripture mean “a bold, confident, sure security or action based on that security.”
  Trusting means to believe the promises of God in all circumstances, even those where the evidence seems to be to the contrary. Hebrews 11 talks about faith, which is accepting and believing the truth that God reveals about Himself, supremely in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The practical outcome of faith in God is trust, which we prove by living out our full acceptance of God’s promises day by day. Wonderfully, it’s by this trust that we are promised true peace: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).
  Trusting God is a love relationship and parallels human love relationships. It’s easy to trust your spouse or a friend, when you’re in a spring season of life, when life is like a stroll in a beautiful garden with manicured lawns, a myriad of plants and flowers displaying a pallet of color. A gentle breeze blows. It’s like paradise. It’s easy to trust in that setting. But we will never receive the blessings and rewards of a life of trusting God until we learn to trust Him during the storms of suffering. In God’s Word and throughout Church History, the common link for those who have an intimate and deep relationship with God is that they trust Him in the midst of horrible suffering. It’s also what Hebrews 11 teaches us.
  For example, Brother Yun was a persecuted and later exiled Chinese pastor. After being imprisoned and weeks of torture, including electrocution, starvation, beatings, and having needles shoved under his fingernails, Brother Yun was thrown in a box which was four feet long, three feet wide and four feet high, where he’d be kept indefinitely. The day after he was put in this tiny cell, he began praying for a Bible — a ridiculous idea considering many people were in prison at that very moment for being in possession of such contraband. Yet he prayed anyway, and, inexplicably, the guards threw a Bible into his cell the next morning. He wrote: “I knelt down and wept, thanking the Lord for this great gift. I could scarcely believe my dream had come true! No prisoner was ever allowed to have a Bible or any Christian literature, yet, strangely, God provided a Bible for me! Through this incident the Lord showed me that regardless of men’s evil plans for me, he had not forgotten me and was in control of my life.”
  Is that how you would have reacted? Had I been tortured and thrown in a coffin-like cell, my reaction to receiving a Bible would have likely been more along the lines of, “Thanks for the Bible, Lord, but what I really need is to get out of this metal box!” I might have ignored Scripture and been upset at God because my “real” need and prayer request, the reduction of my physical suffering, went unanswered.
  We are too “this world” focused. Those who trust God know that suffering is not the worst evil — sin is. Yes, they’d prefer not to suffer. They pray for relief from suffering, but they prioritize it much lower than we do. They focus far more on not sinning than on not suffering. In Brother Yun’s case, he believed that in his answered prayer God was allowing him to grow spiritually and minister to his captors. His circumstances of suffering in an uncomfortable cell became almost irrelevant to him.
  That’s a spiritual reality we usually resist. I know I do. Yet, when we trust the Father in the storm; that He still loves us and we can trust Him and that passages like Romans 8:28-39 are true, it’s easier to trust Him in all of life. 
  Storms are inevitable. We may be unable to trust anyone else, we can always trust our Heavenly Father. Choose to trust Him when the wind and waves blow, then the rest of a life of trust in Him becomes smooth sailing. 

Looking for quality used Christian books and other types of books at prices lower than even Amazon. Check out our family's online used bookstore at or visit our store at the Waterford Unique Antique Market at 209 North Milwaukee Street in Waterford, WI -- 262.534.3500