The sermon on Mother’s Day was Trust, specifically trusting God! Just what I needed to hear, it shook up stuff in me and when it all settled things were a little clearer, Praise God. The scripture was from Jeremiah 17:5-8:
This is what the LORD says:
"Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."
The last verse stands out to me because as you remember, Psalm 1 – trees planted by streams of water – was the scripture and theme the Lord gave me for our homeschool year. A couple of weeks before this sermon, one of the pastor’s wives handed me this:
She said she wasn’t sure what it meant, but I knew immediately, it was the Lord confirming His word to me.
This sermon on trusting Him helped me link Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17, specifically the tree planted by streams of water, together with trusting Him. So, that is what He has been trying to teach me all year?! I love when things come together, even if it took me an entire school year - better late than never. I cannot be a tree planted by streams of water that does not fear when heat comes if I do not trust Him.
I’ve mentioned before that this has been a most difficult year and I have struggled a lot spiritually, but a lot of that stems from not trusting God. The pastor said, “The God who made all things, makes all things new.” I needed to hear that and maybe you do too wherever you’re at today.
A friend called a couple of months ago and told me she had to talk to me about a dream she had about us. She said that her and I were together and we were running from a combine. We were hiding in a church basement to escape this combine. When sharing this with her husband he pointed out to her that combines are used to sift wheat from chaff. I told her that it was just like us to run! We have both been dealing with fear and anxiety this year, so running would be apropos. I knew the Lord was telling both of us something. He was doing something and He was doing something deep and we needed to stop running and let Him do it.
In his sermon the pastor said, “We run away from things in our life that would produce trust in us.” "Huh, you talking to me?", I asked...as I crawled under the seat.
If I run from the combine (the Lord), the sifting of the good from the bad, then I am not putting myself in a position to trust in God. I run because the sifting is painful and I’m afraid of pain, especially emotional. If I run and everything stays the same I do not see what God wants to do. I stay in my fear and other the stuff that goes with it and I continue not trusting Him. It’s a pretty vicious cycle if you ask me, one that I’d rather be done with for good. So, I resigned myself to go through the fire or the pruning if you will, I’m sitting still in the field waiting for the combine.
Before we left this church almost two years ago I began to trust so much in the church, pastors and people (of course I did not know I was doing this at the time), God had to take me out of there and get me totally dependent on Him, so I would learn to trust Him and only Him. Remember I felt released to return when I recognized and repented for those things – it took a year and a half.
“Learning to trust will produce the things in you that you need to survive any storm and walk through any fire. It will produce gratitude. It will produce joy. It will bring peace.” Tom Tanner
The pastor asked a tough question:
Where do you go or to whom do you turn when it comes to meeting the deepest needs of your life?
Acceptance (knowing that you are cared for loved and wanted)
Security (knowing that you are safe, protected and provided for)
Identity (believing that you are special and significant)
Purpose (believing that you are put here for a reason)
Ugh, he got me again! This is where the Lord began speaking to me about my misguided expectations of the church and my husband.
All these needs are well and good, but we MUST go to God first! I’m not sure what all this looks like, but I know that it is true. Read the following exhortation that ended the sermon and it is the merry-go-round that has been my life for almost two years.
When we trust in people or we trust in things then our security is dependant upon someone or something that we cannot predict we cannot control and whose resources are limited and the result is inconsistency and frustration. One day we may feel good the next day we’ll feel bad the next day we’ll feel good the next day we’ll feel bad and that’s the way it works when you choose to trust in people or things for your security. When you choose to trust in people or things for your identity then you’re identity will come more than likely from one of two places either from what you do or what people say about you and both of those things will get you into trouble. Because your significance and your identity will depend on circumstances and responses that you can’t control.. When you depend on acceptance when you look to other people or things for acceptance your acceptance is based on gaining approval from others which leads to a life of performance. You will find that you will do just about anything to gain acceptance and in trying to gain acceptance you will in fact loose your identity. When you look to people or things for your purpose then your purpose becomes confused by changing circumstances and by the changing opinions of both your critics and your friends. When you trust in God and you look to Him for all of these things then your security is dependant upon one who is totally faithful and whose resources infinite unlimited. Your identity is found in one who will never fail you, never forsake you and who has pledged to love you forever. Your acceptance is found in one who knows you completely and loves you unconditionally. Your purpose is grounded and rooted in God’s plan for you, not man’s opinion of you.
I don’t know what this trust thing looks like, but I am committed to trusting God to work this out in me. I trust in Him to walk alongside me on this journey and remove things that hinder me trusting Him and place things in me that enhance me trusting Him. The good news is because I am trusting Him I don't have to figure this out, He will! Amen to that!
During the sermon the pastor asked someone this question, “Why did Peter warm his hands in the enemies fire?” Mark 14:54 and the answer was, “because his hands were cold.” He had a real need, he just went to the wrong place to get his needs met, so it is with me and I for one am tired of warming my hands in enemy fire because I ALWAYS get burned!!!
You can hear the sermon in its entirety here click on May 9, 2010