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Entries in Trust (2)

Thursday
Jan112018

My Hope Is Built On . . . 

Everyone talks about "dreams" these days, but Susan K. Stewart says we need to be careful when we dream and consider where we're placing our hopes. In this Spiritual Life UPLIFT, she tackles the topic with a personal story.

“I plan to go to UCLA and major in screenwriting,” the high school freshman announced.

She then laid out her plan, including what classes she would be taking in high school and community activities that will help her preparation for her goal.

Ah, plans. Yes, I (Dawn) have placed my hopes in so many personal plans, and even in people who might help me accomplish my goals. And I've learned, the hard way, exactly what Susan is about to teach us.

Susan continues . . .

“Wow! That’s wonderful,” I responded. “It seems to me you just might make it.”

When this confident young lady left the room, her dad said, “I want her to major in something that will give her a real career.”

“What!?” was all I could stammer. “What’s wrong with her goal? With her determination, she has a good chance of success.”

The response was, “Look what happened to Aunt Shirley.”

Aunt Shirley is a divorced family member who was a successful writer before the divorce, and was now struggling to make ends meet with two part-time jobs.

Has that ever happened to you? It has to me.

Why do we do that?

Compare someone’s (or our own) dream with another person’s failure.

Sometimes we sabotage our own hopes. We listen to our own negative talk.

  • “It can’t happen."
  • "I’m too old."
  • "I’m too young."
  • "No one else has ever done this before.”

Other times we have our hope in the wrong thing: education, another person, fortune, ourselves.

All of these sources of hope will fail us.

An archaic definition of hope is “trust, reliance.” Most often we think of our hope as the anticipation of something. We also build our dreams on what we or others are going to do for the fruition of that expectation.

If hope is in fact trust rather than dream, maybe our hopes are dashed because we have placed our trust in the wrong place or person.

We are told by Paul that Christ Jesus is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1). Not our dream or expectation, although we surely look forward to the coming of Jesus. Christ Jesus is where we place our trust; who we rely on.

We are told by Peter to “prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13).

We are to TAKE ACTION BASED ON OUR HOPE (trust) on the GRACE of Jesus Christ.

When our expectations are based on hope from Jesus, we can’t sabotage them.

This requires taking those dreams to God before making all the plans on our own to-do list.

For years, I’ve had a dream of a having a specific book published. For years, my hopes have been built up only to be knocked down. This year I asked God, "Why?"

He impressed on me that I was trusting in my own plan, not the dreams He has for me.

I laid my desire aside. Even though a number of people gave me reasons not to, it was the right thing to do. I’m now trusting God’s vision for me rather than mine.

I’ve placed my hope in God’s dream.

When our hope—remember, that means trust and reliance—is in the Lord, no one can take them it away from us or talk us out of it. We will be able respond to negative self-talk with “God told me to do this and I trust him.”

What is your hope is built on?

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

~ Edward Mote (1797-1874)

Susan K. Stewart—when she’s not tending chickens and donkeys—teaches, writes, and edits non-fiction. Her passion is to inspire others with practical, real-world solutions. Susan's books include Science in the Kitchen; Preschool: At What Cost?; the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers; and her most recent book, Harried Homeschoolers Handbook. Learn more about Susan at Practical Inspirations

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Daniel Reche at Pixabay.

Tuesday
Jan172017

Catch Me

Kaley Faith Rhea is a young author and TV show co-host with a unique perspective on life. In this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she asks us to consider falling back on the Lord in faith and confidence.

"I’ve never hesitated to do a trust fall. Ever," Kaley says, "But I’ll admit it’s less because I’m a trusting person and more because I’m short enough a fall from this height wouldn’t cause any real damage."

Oh, Kaley, in all my years I (Dawn) have NEVER done a trust fall. I think I'd sooner jump out of a plane than trust that my pranking friends would catch me in a trust fall! But I know you've got something to teach me ... us ... here.

Kaley continues…

In seventh grade I went to a cheerleading practice. Suddenly they wanted me to let my fellow twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls lift me up, throw me into the air and catch me.

Have you ever heard the sound of twelve- or thirteen-year-olds catching another twelve- or thirteen-year-old out of the air?

I will tell you.

It sounds like getting punched in the face.

Oh, I "noped" right outta there. Really put my trust fall record into perspective.

I think I tend to do the same thing with the Lord.

Father, I will trust you...

  • Only as far as I can be sure I won’t get hurt.
  • Or only as far as I have a backup plan in place.
  • Or only as far as I’m really the one in control here.

Which is no kind of trust at all.

In my life I have determined—through a great deal of data analysis and scientific observations—there are three specific situations during which I most need reminding that God is the One in control:

1. When everything feels out of control.

2. When I’ve accidentally convinced myself I am in control.

3. All the other times.

It is so easy when things go wrong to lose sight of the One we can absolutely trust.

Or maybe even to look at God—who is in control, after all—and to blame Him. How could He let this happen? Why didn’t He stop this?

I don’t know the answer every time to be honest. But I do know that every time God is good. He is the source of goodness.

And I do know that every time God loves you. He is the God who loved us enough to send his Son Jesus to die where we deserved to die.

God is good, even in a fallen world. God is love, even when it seems like your fallen world is especially falling apart.

When you are hurting or devastated or even just proud, and you wonder Can I trust God? Can I really trust Him?

While you’re quoting Jeremiah 29:11 to yourself, maybe listen to Paul in Romans 8, too, where he writes, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (verses 38-39).”

Paul—whose life was filled with more hardship than I know how to imagine—had this brilliant, God-given trust that none of those hardships for one moment could keep him from experiencing the love God had for him. He could feel secure in God’s love in the face of everything. He had that assurance because of Jesus.

So I suppose in my life I have discovered—only through a miracle of grace—there are three specific things I need when I am arrogant or weary or battered enough to forget in Whom I can place my trust:

1. I need to focus on Jesus.

2. I need to read about Jesus.

3. I need to ask Jesus to, by His grace, give me the wisdom to trust Him when everything human in me is screaming Jesus may be the answer to a lot of things, but Jesus can’t be the answer to this.

Jesus IS the answer to this.

 If Jesus is the answer in the face of death and demons and “anything else in all creation,” Jesus is the answer to every one of your thises.

Dear Jesus, You are perfect. You love me perfectly. Remind me through your Spirit there is no height I could fall from too high for You to catch me. If I believe You loved me enough to go to the cross, I have to believe You love me enough to catch me when my life or my ego seems out of control. Lord Jesus, I trust You.

Are there any areas of your life where you’ve been reluctant to trust in Jesus? How can you surrender to Him today?

Kaley Faith Rhea is the co-author of Turtles in the Road, releasing this year. Along with writing and teaching at writers’ conferences, she co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.