Can You Be Trusted?

There are times when I struggle with trusting God, so it’s something I’m constantly working to get better at.

I invest time in His word. I thank and praise Him for His goodness, faithfulness and generosity. I try to take every thought captive and hold them up against the truth of His word. When I feel myself getting worried or anxious over my circumstances, I re-focus my eyes on Him. I have a long way to go, but I’m getting better.

While learning to trust God is crucial, there’s another question that’s just as important: Can God trust me?

I personally don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like to have more money or more influence or more answers to prayer or more success. I wonder what would happen though if God granted us the desires of our hearts.

What would happen if God answered your most passionate prayers? Would the world be a better place? Or would you just have more stuff and be more comfortable?

How would you handle 10x the amount of money you have now?  It’s tempting to think we’d be wonderfully generous with a large amount of money, but if we’re not generous with the amount we have now, that won’t change if we’re given more.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

When we delight in Him, He shapes our desires to be like His. If we’re not delighting in Him, then more than likely, our desires are more selfish in nature. And those aren’t the desires He grants.

In 2002, a West Virginia man won the Powerball jackpot of $315 million. Ten years later, his daughter and granddaughter were dead from drug overdoses. He’d also been sued multiple times. And once while he was at a strip club, someone drugged him and stole over half a million dollars in cash from his car. He later said, “I wish I’d torn that ticket up.”

Unfortunately, that story is not unique. Many lottery winners, professional athletes and celebrities get into a great deal of trouble as the result of their sudden great wealth and fame.

Of course, our natural reaction is to think that wouldn’t happen to us. We’d be different. We could handle the fame. The money wouldn’t change us. We’d be generous. We’d use it for good. And I’m pretty sure that’s what everyone says.

Great wealth or power or influence without character to match will crush us. It will also make us even more accountable to God. There’s a principle in His Kingdom: Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 13:12)

If we can’t be trusted with what God has already given us, then why would He entrust us with more?

Maybe some of the answers to prayer God withholds are a form of protection, because He knows we can’t be trusted. We want a greater assignment, which requires greater resources, but we don’t have the needed character. Romans 5:1-5 says…

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Character development for God-sized assignments takes time. It requires persevering through times of suffering, pain or confusion. It means being faithful with what we’ve already been given. It means learning to think more like God does. It’s a process of bringing our values in line with the values of His Kingdom.

So how are you doing with what you already have?

  • Are you seeking God and delighting in Him?
  • Are you sacrificially loving your husband or wife?
  • Are you raising your children to know Jesus?
  • Are you using your current level of influence for the advancement of God’s Kingdom?
  • Do you honor God with your wealth by giving generously?
  • Do you treat those around you with love and respect?
  • Do you use your time wisely and make the most of the opportunities God has given you?
  • Are you grateful to God for what He’s already given you?

The question really isn’t: can God be trusted?

The real question is…can you?

Dreams, Desires and Divine Delays

Eight years at this time, I was asking God for something very specific. When it didn’t happen, I gave up praying about it. In the last eight years, I’ve rarely even thought about what I was so fervently praying for.

And then this morning, I asked again.

It didn’t take long to begin talking myself out of it though. After all, God just doesn’t work like that, I reminded myself.

But what if the desire I have really is from God? And what if it’s not my job to decide how or when God might choose to answer?

I started reading through the Bible chronologically a few weeks ago, so I’ve been in Genesis and Job. So far, no one gets what they desire right away. There’s always a delay. Sometimes, a very long one. Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 when she finally gave birth to the son God had promised them 25 years earlier.

Yeah, I don’t like delays any more than you do. When I want something, I mean really want something, I want it now. Not next year. Not in eight years. Certainly not in 25 years.

I don’t know what delayed dream or desire you have. Maybe it’s to get married. Or for your spouse to finally wake up.

Maybe you’ve been longing for a baby.

You might be looking for a job or a better job or a job that feels meaningful. Maybe your current job is fine, but you need a raise or more responsibility or some encouragement from your boss.

Maybe you’ve dreamed of seeing your family whole again, but your child continues in rebellion.

Or healing. You’ve endured 40 rounds of chemo or multiple surgeries or have seen more doctors than you can count…and yet there’s no end in sight.

I wish I knew when or if the answer to my prayer will come. I wish I could tell you that your answer is right around the corner. God usually doesn’t let us in on those things though.

So what are we to do? How do we keep believing? How do we keep pursuing our dreams and desires in the face of divine delays?

Let me suggest three things.

First, choose to believe God is good. Psalm 136:1 says, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.

Because our circumstances, our feelings and a thousand negative voices scream out that God is not good or loving, let me encourage you to meditate on that verse. Read it over and over and over. Think about it. Talk to God about it. Consider all the ways it’s true. And actually do it. Thank Him. Give thanks to Him for what you already have. Give thanks to Him for His goodness and love toward you.

Write that verse on a note card. Stick it on your mirror. Put a note in your phone and set a reminder to look at it. Do whatever you have to do to let it sink deep into your heart and mind. When difficult or confusing circumstances come, and they will, go back to that verse. It’s more true than anything you will experience or feel.

Second, during this season of divine delay, choose to delight yourself in the Lord. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

To delight in someone is to find your pleasure and enjoyment in that person. I delight in Robyn and my children and grandchildren. God wants me to delight in Him even more.

It won’t be easy, but try to focus on your relationship with Him, not the thing you’re desiring. A wife would naturally feel hurt if her husband only found enjoyment in sex, but not in the relationship with her. A father would be hurt if his children only wanted money from him and never cared about his feelings.

God is a person. He has feelings. He has desires. And His greatest desire is you and your relationship with Him.

Finally, trust God’s timing is best. Psalm 37:7a says, Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…”

Being still. Imagine your mind being still. No anxious thoughts running around getting you worked up into an emotional frenzy. No freaking out when bad news comes…or another disappointing delay.

Imagine your soul being still. Feeling content. Knowing you have no power to make this thing happen on your own…and being okay with it.

We might not think so, but God’s timing is always perfect. We may be desiring one thing, but God has a better thing in mind He’s bringing about. Maybe God needs to work on our character before the fulfillment of our desire. Or maybe we’re ready, but others involved in the answer to our prayer aren’t. We cannot possibly imagine all the factors that go into God’s good plans for us.

Of course, there is an alternative to believing He is good, delighting in Him and trusting His timing. We can get angry, disillusioned and bitter.

But since I’ve already tried that, learn from me and don’t make that mistake.

Mother’s Day

On this Mother’s Day 2016, a tribute to my wife…

The greatest blessing in my life over the past thirty-one years has been my wife, Robyn. Through her, God demonstrates His love for me. Through her, He meets my needs and encourages me. Robyn is God-in-the-flesh to me.

When I meet with couples for marriage coaching or premarital counseling, I often tell them to learn all they can about one another’s needs and wants and then outdo each other in meeting them. Robyn does that. All the time.

Her wisdom and power come from her relationship with Jesus. She loves Him and trusts Him. She seeks Him and serves Him. He is before everyone and everything else. She begins her day reading His word and praying. And she often ends her day in the same way.

Last summer, while on assignment for a month at Sharp Top Cove (a Young Life camp), she worked six to seven days a week from early in the morning until late at night. I encouraged her to sleep later, but she continued to get up early to spend time with God. She learned long ago that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:10-12)

The Hebrew word that gets translated as “virtuous and capable” in that passage literally means: strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army and force. So to answer the writer’s question…I have. I’ve found that kind of wife. She’s more precious than any amount of money. I trust her completely. She greatly enriches my life. She’s brought me good, not harm for thirty-one years and counting.

At times, when I’ve felt myself slipping, she’s caught me. When I felt myself going under, she was my lifeline. When life was like a thick fog, she was my guiding light. Always giving hope. Always encouraging me. Always believing in me. Always pointing me back to Jesus.

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God With You

20 Days of Believing God (Day 11)

God is with us.

Not far away. Not unconcerned. Not uncaring.

God is with us.

He’s not just the God of 2,000 years ago. He’s not just the God of the future. He’s the God of the here and now.

He’s present with you. Right now. In this moment. Jesus is with…you.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  (John 1:14)

God became human and lived with us.

Jesus lives with you. Today. You don’t need to ask for His presence. He’s already present with you. Right now.

He is with YOU.

Are you afraid?

He is with YOU.

Are you in pain?

He is with YOU.

Are you discouraged?

He is with YOU.

Are you worried?

He is with YOU.

Is your marriage in trouble?

He is with YOU.

Are you lonely?

He is with YOU.

Not just with other people.

Jesus is with YOU.

Is It Too Late For You?

Too late for what? That’s the real question.

Is it too late to get better grades in college? It is for me.

Is it too late to invest in that stock that was trading at $10/share and grew to $100/share and split three times? Yup.

Is it too late to enjoy your kids when they were little? It is if they’re grown like mine are.

Is it too late to build a great marriage or enjoy the work you do? Maybe not.

In my last post, I talked about the end of season 3 and the beginning of season 4 in my life and marriage. Season 3 was raising a family for three decades. That season ended when Amy left for Germany two weeks ago today.

What’s hitting me is the reality that season 3 is over. Done. Can’t go back. No “do-overs” allowed.

Because Robyn and I have been investing in our marriage for thirty years, we’re excited about season 4. We have a strong bond. We’re best friends. We enjoy a fun and passionate sex life. We have great relationships with our adult kids and love being grandparents. We share a common mission to advance God’s kingdom in Northwest Arkansas.

But as for season 3…those three decades of raising our children…it’s too late to change anything. What’s been done is done. What’s been said is said. We’re still involved in the lives of our children, but those formative years of parenting are now history. There’s no going back.

What about your marriage and family? What about the work you do? What about your dreams?

It may be too late for some things, but it doesn’t mean it’s too late for everything.

My friend, Jeff, and I recently recorded  one of our Entrepreneur on Purpose Quote of the Day podcasts. We discussed something business and marketing consultant, Steve Sorenson said:

“What woke me up and set me afire was the realization that had I died at that moment, my tombstone would read, ‘He Had Potential.'”

Do you have unrealized potential? To be an amazing husband or wife? Father or mother? Teacher? Author? Entrepreneur?

It might not be too late…if you get started today. Keep in mind God’s promise in Romans 8:28…

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

I’ve put together a list of “Fifteen Questions to Tap Into Your Potential…Before It’s Too Late.” These fifteen questions will help you identify what’s most important, uncover your passion and implement a plan to avoid a life of regret. Just click the button to get your free copy:

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