Archive for trust

Learning Not to Worry

Posted in 01 : The Chief Cornerstone with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/08/2011 by timenolonger

We exist in a stressful world, and one which only becomes more so with each passing day. The more one learns, the more there seems to be to worry about.

Uncertainty is the reigning factor in the affairs of the world… though we might attempt to derive understanding of future plans which rulers have, and though we might be assured that at some point all prophecy will come to pass, we never know exactly what the next day or week or month will bring.

That uncertainty can be mentally taxing as people are continually pushed closer to adversity in their own lives. The lack of a stable economy can hit home at any time, ever tightening “security” measures can mean the sudden loss of personal freedoms and even, ironically, personal safety.

Threats and rumors of food shortages and an ever more polluted supply of food and water can cause anyone aware of those factors to wonder what they will be eating a year from now.

Weather manipulation, mood manipulation, the threat of a seething geo-political climate ripe for world war and the classified technology at their fingertips to make such a thing a disaster like no war before… who could not end up a little worried?

Believers in Yahushua know that they have been charged to trust Him and not to worry… that admonition alone can be, and should be, a serious relief to us – realizing that, unlike the unbelieving of the world, we have an unbeatable assurance. Still…

…there are probably few believers who have never found themselves buried in a burden of anxiety from which they find it very difficult to extract themselves.

It is not ignorance of the assurance we have been given which is responsible for worrying, rather it’s a multitude of instincts innate in the flawed character of who we are which leads us to look at what we can or can not achieve, instead of what He can achieve.

Since we are all flawed, worry is universal. Some might be more anxious than others… but we’ve all been worried before. “What am I going to do?” is the mantra of the anxious mind.

That little question begins a cycle of irrational responses which traps the mind in a fruitless cycle of grasping for solutions which are not there, in a natural sense.

“What am I going to do?” is not a question which arises when there are clear choices and responsibilities to be met, it arises when there are no obvious answers to a difficult situation…

“I” is the issue…

As a person retains the responsibility and the authority in the use of the word “I”… all solutions must come from the one asking “what am I going to do?”

Immediately all responsibility and authority in the situation no longer belongs to our Creator inasmuch as the inquirer is concerned. “I” has a limited capacity to offer good solutions… and “I” will normally fail to adequately resolve anything.

Worry and self trust can arise out of an erroneous concept that He helps those who help themselves, contrary to His word, which clearly imparts the message that He helps those who can not help themselves… and in the most basic sense, none of us Can help ourselves.

The basic principle which operates behind the scenes of anxiety, though it may seem odd, is Pride.

If we feel there is any instance in which our answers are more sufficient than His, we have esteemed ourselves wise and powerful enough to take on that burden.

If we wrestle with the idea that we are not worthy to receive His help… that also assumes that it is possible that we could be. Worry does not feel like pride… yet it is the subtle output of a self-reliant nature which processes adversity in terms of what we can do about it.

We can be awed by His mercy in the fact that throughout His Word, YHWH does not harshly berate us for our troubled hearts that are so weakened by sin nature. Though we might deserve the scolding… His answers to our self-reliant worry are gentle and comforting. This fact alone should give us strength, knowing that a Creator merciful enough to be kind towards our faults is also merciful to be faithful in His promises to provide that which we need.

“Cast your burden on Yahuwah and He shall sustain you. He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

– Psalm 55:22

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.

Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your celestial Father feeds them.

Are you not of more value than they?

Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

So why do you worry about clothing?

Consider the lilies of the field how they grow.

They neither toil nor spin and yet I say to you that even Shelomoh in all his splendor was not arrayed like one of these.

Now if Yahuwah so clothes the grass of the field, that today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

For after all these things the heathen seek.

For your celestial Father knows that you need all these things.

But seek first the kingdom of Yahuwah and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.

Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

– Matthew 6:25-34

“What am I going to do?” should be a question that we routinely reword “What is He going to do?” Instead of the question only compounding our worries as it does when “I” is the subject… it can be said with confident anticipation… even excitement at the prospect of being the recipient of a blessing as yet unknown.

While our solutions are inadequate, limited and temporary, His are sufficient, full of infinite possibility and eternally sure. How amazing is it when you’re the one person in thousands who can get excited over some personal adversity instead of being burdened by it? That is, perhaps, the ideal and a goal that most of us have yet to attain to… but that’s what spiritually “growing up” is all about.

We ought to never be discouraged by the learning process which He designs for each individual in order to teach us more perfect faith. In this He proves that He loves us… even when the process is frustrating.

It is not uncommon for our Heavenly Father to remove every available natural solution to our own adversities… and though this can seem, through natural senses, to be a lonely and frightening circumstance, it is in this sort of “desolate landscape” situation, without our self-reliant tools, that we often learn how to efficiently call on Him, having no other options.

When we have wrestled with ourselves, attempting to find a way out of a situation which has no remedy, gone through anger, sadness and despair, spent sleepless nights or preoccupied days trying to solve our own issue, finally there is a moment of giving up and letting Him take control. When we see His response and understand His faithfulness, it is then that our faith increases.

“Yahuwah is my shepherd. I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil.

My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of Yahuwah forever.”

– Psalm 23

He is the Almighty, All Sovereign and All Knowing King of Kings… and He cares for His children with more vigilant concern than the best earthly father who has ever lived.

“If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone?

Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?

Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your celestial Father give the Sacred Spirit to those who ask Him!”

– Luke 11:11-13

In the uncertain days, months and years ahead… as long as He will that this age endures, may we all learn to trust Him more perfectly, mature in the confidence of faith towards Him, and be encouraged in His ever present help.

He never leaves nor forsakes us… not because we are good, but because He is.

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Forgiveness 101

Posted in 01 : The Chief Cornerstone with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10/09/2010 by timenolonger

I’m accustomed to discussing the strange and incredible, the weird and the wonderful… the lesser spoken of topics of the bible.

Basic subject matters, like forgiveness and its place in the life of believers, have been well covered by multitudes of Christians and are fairly self explanatory in the plain text of scripture. In spite of that… I’ve come to realize that the basic things aren’t always so… basic.

As much as forgiveness is one of the central themes of our faith, it has, like many other biblical subject matters, suffered from a great deal of misunderstanding.

No believer is ever likely to have adverse feelings about their own sins being forgiven by YHWH and their fellow believers. When we are on the receiving end of mercy… it’s rarely difficult to accept.

Where it becomes fraught with difficult emotion is when we must do the forgiving.

In spite of the clarity of scripture on the subject, who has not found themselves trying to weasel around the command to forgive others when the offense done to us seems so overwhelmingly wrong and hurtful… especially if the offender shows no remorse?

The reactionary internal resistance to the idea of forgiving a great wrong is so overpowering, that at once it can concoct a long list of justifications for refusal to do so.

The Justifications:

Magnitude of Offense: “Forgiveness is one thing… but who could forgive this?”

The most common counteraction to forgiving another is the sheer weight of the wrong that was done. Some wrongs that are done to us really are incredibly vile… others just feel that way. The emotional response between the two are not really very different… whether we have really suffered a major blow or the blow is simply perceived that way in relativity to a person’s own experiences, either can result in such a depth of hurt and resentment that forgiveness seems impossible.

Lack of Remorse: “They aren’t even sorry!”

We can all attest to the fact that it’s much easier to forgive a wrong when the wrongdoer is willing to apologize and admit that they are guilty of an offense. Many times that doesn’t happen… sometimes it does and yet it seems insincere. Whether right or wrong, if we perceive our offender to be without remorse for their actions it can make us feel justified in not forgiving where forgiveness has not been requested, or not been requested to our satisfaction.

Repeat Offender: “Shame me once… shame on you… shame me twice… shame on me.”

Sometimes we have those people in our lives that we try very hard to get along with… forgive them their faults on numerous occasions and yet they continue to disappoint us. There comes a point when we want to ask ourselves how long we’re willing to be a “door mat”. Patience becomes exhausted and we simply want to give up on the individual.

Semantics: “I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget.”

Unless an individual is suffering from some manner of genuine cognitive disorder, forgetting is not realistically an option. What we really mean when we contrive this justification is that we really don’t want to forgive even though we’re well aware of our duty to do so. This usually comes at a point of internal conflict between the conviction to do what is right and the emotional resistance against it.

What the Bible has to Say:

As mentioned earlier… the Bible is as clear as crystal on the matter of forgiveness… it is perhaps one of those rare biblical topics that are so basically defined in a point-blank way that little if any doctrinal debate has ever taken hold of it.

Even though there’s not much getting around the point, nor any wiggle room for interpretation, anyone who has had to do some forgiving they don’t want to do knows how quickly the recall of this subject can be suddenly omitted from one’s thoughts.

The power of the verses dealing with our forgiveness of others is such that it backs us right up against the wall of conviction immediately. There’s no room to turn around and run, no quarter given to fight back… and it’s incredibly uncomfortable to try. It’s also the very remedy we need when we start justifying a non forgiving attitude. We require that stinging discomfort of conscience in the face of a truth we don’t like.

Scripture has an answer to every justification we can come up with. When the struggle is with the magnitude of an offense… we need only to compare what has been done to ourselves to what we have each been responsible for that resulted in the crucifixion of our Savior.

Have any of us ever hurt like He did on the cross? Yet we are freely offered His forgiveness.

“Therefore, as chosen of Yahuwah, sacred and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another. If anyone has a complaint against another, even as the Anointed forgave you, so you also must do.”
– Colossians 3:12,13

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as Yahuwah in the Anointed forgave you.”
– Ephesians 4:32

And if there is a lack of remorse by our offenders…

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in the sky forgive your trespasses.”
– Mark 11:25,26

“Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you and from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”
– Luke 6: 28-31

“Then Yahushua said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
– Luke 23:34

And if we deal with a repeat offender….

“Then Keph came to Him and said, “Master, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Yahushua said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
– Matthew 18:21,22

“And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
– Luke 17:4

And if we are tempted to hold a grudge anyway…

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your celestial Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
– Matthew 6: 14,15

“Judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”
– Luke 6:37

Since there is no question that believers need to forgive… no matter what… the only question left is “How?”.

Forgiveness can at times seem virtually impossible. The very sight or mention of someone who has done great personal offense can elicit extreme feelings of repulsion and anger and pain. How does one fight through such intense feelings to get to a place where forgiveness is possible? They don’t…

The command to forgive is a command to make a decision and act on it… it is not a command to tame our own wild emotions until we feel only good things towards our offenders.

The forgiveness that we enjoy from our Creator is not defined by His abstract warm feelings towards us… we would never benefit from that in a practical way.

We benefit through His act of redeeming us according to that forgiveness, and through the blessings He imparts on us as forgiven individuals.

In the same manner our good feelings towards our offenders… even if they are possible… are useless to them in any practical way. Our act of forgiveness must extend the same open hand of generosity that we receive from our Creator.

We have a duty to treat them with the same respect we want to be treated with, the same charity we want to receive, and the same concern for their well being that we would like extended to us.

It may seem strange or insincere to take those benevolent actions without “feeling it”… but in their proper place, feelings will conform to fit our obedience to YHWH… if the act of obedience is never carried out, our feelings will surely never prompt us to it.

Who Benefits by Forgiveness?

It is often argued by Christians that the act of forgiveness benefits the one forgiving most by way of releasing anger, resentment and hostility… an “unburdening” effect and that is presented as the motivation for believers to forgive.

If you’ve ever tried to live by that philosophy, though, you’ll find it very disappointing. You will not magically shed your emotions of anger and resentment as you one day make some internal statement to yourself like “I forgive this person.”.

Nor is an act of forgiveness ever done genuinely which is done simply to benefit self. Our forgiveness obtained through Messiah benefits Us… and our forgiveness of others should benefit Them.

We benefit in forgiving by doing what is obedient to YHWH, which is always beneficial, not because we have relieved ourselves of stressful emotion. Once we obey… then YHWH is able to begin to heal those stressful emotions so long as we continue in obedience.

Should it all go back to the way it was?

One of the trickiest issues in forgiveness is knowing whether or not to reinstate an offender to their previous position in one’s life. If an act of forgiving involves demonstrated good will toward the offender, does that automatically mean they should be offered the same trust they once might have freely been given?

Forgiveness does not equate with trust, and the decision to return someone who has wronged us to a former trusted position can depend greatly on what position they held in our lives, and what the manner of their wrong was.

A parent should naturally forgive their child of disobedience when they sneak out of the house and take the car for a spin… but they should not automatically trust that child to be left with the car keys after that action.

An unfaithful spouse should be forgiven of their crimes and yet that does not mean the faithful spouse is obligated to continue in a marriage that has been compromised.

An employee who gets drunk on the job should be forgiven of their bad decision by their boss… and yet that employer is within his rights to not trust his worker to continue in his employment.

What should be considered in a decision to return someone to a former position of trust is a consideration of what is practical versus what is purely emotional (e.g. Am I denying that trust out of spite, or because there is a serious matter at stake if the person is not trustworthy in the future?)… as well as consideration of a repentant attitude… a sincerely repentant person is less likely to repeat their offense if reinstated to a position of trust.

A Second Chance…

We’ve all been given a second chance… for that matter a third and fourth… etc. When one who has wronged us genuinely seeks a second chance to prove their trustworthiness to us, we should all consider how many chances we have been afforded by our heavenly Father.

We’ve all been grateful for those second chances, and so in an effort to do for others what we would want for ourselves, those requests should be honored if at all possible in a practical sense. This might take time and be extended to the individual one small step of trust at a time… but trust can be rebuilt.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

– Matthew 5:7

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The Test of Your Endurance

Posted in 01 : The Chief Cornerstone with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/29/2010 by timenolonger

How strong is your faith? How far will you go to prove out your trust in your Creator and Savior? The answer to that question should be… “as far as He leads me to go”.

Most believers will not object to that answer, most will concur and agree that it is their answer, but to what extent have believers pushed the boundaries of their imaginations to see into what it might mean in the near future to have one’s faith tested?

In the coming months and next few years we are likely going to witness a rapid and devastating decline into chaos on a multitude of levels in the world. What has never been a part of your life or most people’s lives in the civilized world might well become commonplace.

The inability to earn a living, the inability to obtain essential provisions, homelessness, detention, torture, threat of execution, disease, poisoning, war and natural disaster… this is a grim list of probable possibilities humanity is facing in the near future.

Without a Father in Heaven to look towards, the unbelieving masses will have only what things they can perceive in their material existence to draw upon in answer to such calamity.

Their answers will be few and insufficient… they will focus on survival of self, and ultimately fall short of that. The good news, if you are a believer in Him, is that you have a better option… an Almighty and Sovereign Elohim who knows of every sparrow who falls to the ground, and who, much beyond any sparrow, cares for you.

That is the truth every child of His is happy to hear, but there is more about trust in Him to consider than just in what ways you are benefited by it.

Trusting in Him Means Living It In Real Life

When we say we trust Him… this has to mean something. Trust is a will to action, we don’t take actions in our lives based upon things we do not believe will have the results we want, or the results which have been promised.

We don’t cross bridges when we can see that they are broken and likely to fall from beneath us, we don’t take medicine we think is likely to do no good or cause more harm than help.

It is interesting then, that in the arena of spiritual truths, many are so willing to say they trust their Creator and simultaneously refuse, or be hesitant, to take actions in their lives based on His promises.

If you found yourself employed in a position in which you began receiving orders to do things which were immoral and you knew that they were, you consequently would be convicted in your spirit by Him to leave that employment.

In the worldly aspect though, comes a conflict… you might begin to worry about how you will provide for your family, what sort of job you could find, and how quickly, to replace the one you left.

You might know in your mind and reflect upon how His promise was to provide for your needs, and that your commission is to seek first His Kingdom and yet, those worries and concerns in their worldly context lead you to justify the immoral actions you are being asked to perform, instead of obeying His voice.

Can you anymore claim to trust Him once your actions have established that you do not? This hypothetical situation could happen presently to anyone on any day, and the consequences of not trusting Him might be quite devastating, yet there is still a chance for a point of repentance… but what happens on the day that the choice to trust Him comes down to a final test of the metal of your faith, when the consequences of choosing wrongly are eternal?

Since the great popularity of a series of books entitled “Left Behind”… the body of believers in Him have, in great numbers, jumped upon a bandwagon of doctrine set forth in these books as if it had come from the pages of scripture itself.

It would seem that it is still the case now that most mainline “Christians” are awaiting a day in the near future where they will be swept away into the clouds by Messiah, prior to the great upheaval of a tribulation period in order that they might be spared from it.

This is a real feel-good doctrine. No one wants to imagine themselves living through hell on Earth and those who propose a pre-tribulation rapture event have a sense in their minds that Elohim would not put them through such a thing.

The reality of the matter does not look this way in scripture. There is exactly zero reference to any event which would spare believers from the tribulation in His Word. It is in fact, very pointedly made clear that He will put His people through the fire to test the sincerity of their resolve to be His.

And those of the people who understand shall instruct many. Yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help, but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end, because it is still for the appointed time.
– Daniel 11:33-35

At that time Miyka’el shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people, and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation. Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book, and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake. Some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the expanse and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniye’l, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase.”
– Daniel 12:1-4

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold, but he who endures to the end shall be saved.
– Matthew 24: 9-13

If you are a believer, ask yourself this day, how much your life proves that you trust Him… and ask yourself how hot of a fire you are willing to go through to prove your trust in Him.

We are approaching a time in history when those who dare speak His name will be condemned to death… when those who will not concede to the identifying credentials of the Beast and his system will be denied the ability to buy provisions or sell anything to anyone.

Have you reached a point of maturity in which you are prepared to face the last days? It is time to know the answer, and it is time that the little lambs still feeding on milk grow to rams capable of digesting the solid food of His truth.

If you are not a believer, understand that the path we walk is not for the faint of heart, but that we follow the One, the Only, and the Completely Trustworthy way to an eternal, imperishable reward and reconciliation to the Creator of all that exists.

You might have found an easier path on which to walk through this fallen world, but you have not found a genuine road to anything but an ultimately short and perishable existence in which is no fulfillment, meaning or peace.

Every second that passes is one second closer for you to the point of no return… i invite you to come find out why we are a people willing to lay it all on the line for someone named Yahushua.

If He says stand, be ready to stand, if He says speak, be ready to speak, if He says resist, be prepared to resist, and if He says “You will go into captivity to be thoroughly tested in the furnace.”, prepare your answer that it might it be “Yes, My King.” Endure to the end.

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