Written by Fr. Dale Minor - Reclaim Ministry - Rutland, OH
“When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way; while we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.”
These are the words to the first verse of the old hymn Trust and Obey. Following this is a chorus and four more verses which affirm the truth that obedience and trust are two sides of the same coin.
In today’s atmosphere of mistrust of anything relating to civil authority, with arguments pitting individual rights against the mandates of governments, with the politics and division trumping all reason, some are openly rejecting reasonable solutions based upon their trust in God; and for sure, trusting God is never wrong. But trust without action is.
Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” The next verse is similar; “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
There is a well-worn story of a man whose house was being surrounded by flood waters. When the waters began to encroach into the first floor, a man in a rowboat came by and offered to take him to safety. The man replied, “No thanks, I trust in the Lord. He will watch over me.” The flood waters continued to rise until the man had to retreat to the second floor. Some people in a motorboat came by and offered to take him out. He again refused stating he trusted the Lord to rescue him. The waters continued to rise forcing the man to sit on his roof. A helicopter pilot saw him and tried to rescue him. Again, the man refused proclaiming his confidence in the Lord. Finally, the house was washed away and the man drowned. When he found himself standing before the throne of God he cried out, “Lord, I trusted in you. Why didn’t you answer my prayers for rescue?” The Lord replied, “I did, I sent you two boats and a helicopter.”
The point is obvious; trusting the Lord does not mean we pray, praise, and do nothing. It demands that we listen, hear, and obey. Dr. Ken Boa, president of Reflections Ministries in Atlanta Ga. teaches a mantra of “Trust, abide, and walk.” I believe this means we trust in the Lord, abide in, or take ownership of His instruction, then be obedient to do what He says and go where He directs. And it also means we embrace the help He sends us.
When Jesus was facing the most difficult trial of His life on earth, when He had experienced rejection, betrayal, and persecution, He went out to the Garden of Gethsemane and three times he prayed for the Lord God to deliver him from this trial; yet, each time He qualified his plea with, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Yes, Jesus was acting out of human agony, but at the same time He was demonstrating the depth of His trust in God and his intent to follow God’s lead no matter what. His trust was based on an unwavering belief that God knew what was best for Him, and He would walk through hell if that was what it took.
Yes, we often find it difficult to hear clearly and know without a doubt the will of God. But it is only difficult because we want to listen to the call of the world, we want to hold onto our old desires and prejudices, instead of getting quiet and listening to the Lord. And this betrays a truth in us, that we don’t trust the Lord as much as we think we do.
Let’s return to the hymn, to the last verse of Trust and Obey:
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet
or we'll walk by His side in the way;
what He says, we will do;
where He sends, we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey.
Trust and obey,
for there's no other way,
to be happy in Jesus,
but to trust and obey.”
It is right and proper to pray for God to heal you, but understand; He has raised up many servants to minister to you. Some He calls doctors, pharmacists, first responders, or maybe, just neighbors and friends.
Written and illustrated by Rhonda Logan Bailey - Heartland Church - Fort Wayne, IN
We become warriors manifesting your presence through our gifts.
The spiritual must linger in the physical
to define the constant exchange of
You within us… We within You…
Your holiness descends upon our senses
releasing the indescribable fragrance
that we chase after
as we feel our way
deeper into your heart
where the heavenly holy hush abounds.
Then silently and suddenly
the visible walls that separate us
from the world,
from each other,
from ourselves are removed.
Leaving lavish love to fill the void.
Revealing the direction and purpose of Your will
beyond the worldly constructs.
“But those who love the truth will come into the Light, for the Light will reveal that it was God who produced their fruitful works” (John 3:21 TPT).
Written and Illustrated by Rhonda Logan Bailey - Heartland Church - Fort Wayne, IN
During these confusing times, I have witnessed first hand and also heard many testimonies that the internet is being utilized by many to continue to speak the Gospel as well as to hear it.
With the internet, when church members cannot attend services, they can still receive the message by watching or listening online. Many are being exposed to the Word of God for the first time via the internet because of this worldwide virus. This led me to a bit of wordplay.
The fishermen whom Jesus recruited worked hard – physically casting their nets into the waters and retrieving them time after time, day after day, with or without the reward of fish. Then Jesus provided them with a miraculous catch in their nets and invited them to follow Him and become fishers of men. They left their physical nets behind and learned how to cast a metaphorical net. Now, we have another net that can be used. One that can be cast over the entire planet to share the message and “catch” people for God.
I hear an echo of fishermen terminology in our current vocabulary…
Net, casting, and online.
The same words, the same motives, but just a variation in methodology.
A new analogy.
A new net.
Read with me: Luke 5:1-11, Matthew 4:18-22, John 21:1-19
Please pray with me: Jesus, help us to be dedicated and successful fishers for You in our endeavors, no matter which net we are using.
Written by Fr. Dale Minor - Reclaim Ministry - Rutland, OH
Well, I’ve just written the year 2022 for the first time and I didn’t have to scratch out an erroneous 21 to do it. I guess that is a success of sorts. But since I am writing this on the third day of the new year, this isn’t the first accurate thing I have done and for sure I haven’t been without a misstep or two along the way. It’s not that I have already violated a New Year’s Resolution; I didn’t make any. In fact, I can’t remember when I last made a serious resolution. Of course, at my age, there are a lot of things I can’t remember. In just a few months I will begin my eighth decade which provides me with sufficient excuse for most of my failures; forgetfulness, tardiness, sloth, grumpiness, impatience, prejudice, -- well, maybe not prejudice. But I digress. What I started out to express was the fact that we have just celebrated hope for a positive change in the new year, but do we really expect anything to change?
It’s not wrong to hope the new year will be better than the last, and by most measures, even a mostly mundane year would be a considerable improvement over our recent experience. But what do we mean by hope? A basic definition of hope is “desire with expectation of fulfillment;” we could say, “wishful thinking.” But when we have our hearts tuned to God, there is a greater dimension to hope. First of all, hope is a feature of the three theological virtues defined by St. Paul in 1 Cor. 13:13; “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Thus, he defines hope as a collaborator along with faith and love as that which fosters our relationship with the Lord. Indeed, the author of Hebrews makes this connection as he writes. “Faith is the subject of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” By faith, we put our trust in God and this trust elevates hope beyond the realm of wishful thinking to that of assuredness in the promises of God. And while faith enables us to come to God, it is love which enables us to imitate Him.
Therefore, hope for a change for the better, whether it comes with the beginning of a new year or the dawn of any new day, must begin with a decision to change ourselves. Making a resolution is a start, it is a confession of the need for the change. But, just as confession must be followed by repentance, the resolution must be followed by action. There is a quote often attributed to Albert Einstein but which probably preceded him which says, “Insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.” Every failed venture, must be analyzed to determine a cause, followed by a plan for correction.
A favorite old cartoon was called Pogo featuring the antics of animated swamp creatures. One offering showed a variety of these critters dressed in paper hats and sporting wooden swords going off to fight their imaginary foes. They climbed into a flat-bottom boat and with several different participants trying to paddle the boat and being unable to coordinate their efforts, they bumped and thumped among the trees until they slammed into an island causing several of them to roll out of the boat onto the land. At this, Pogo jumped up, raised his sword, and proclaimed, “We have met the enemy, and they is us!”
This may describe many of us. Often the first step to lasting change in our lives is admitting that the problem may mostly be our own fault; it is the result of choices we have made. And if things are to change, we will have to change. But it is also true that we are unlikely to make such change if we rely strictly on our own wisdom and strength. Just wishful thinking, just hoping for a change, isn’t going to get the job
done. We need the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us. We need the hope that exists in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our hope is in the power of the Lord.
Let this be our prayer, “Help me to change Lord, help me to be like You, help me to love like You.”
Written by Jill Haskins - Heartland Church - Fort Wayne, IN
Illustration by Rhonda Logan Bailey
“Even 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” (Psalm 23:4 ESV).
It’s been 11 years dwelling in the shadow of death. First was the death of our infant son. The second was the unexpected death of my dad just 15 months later. There have been losses of significant relationships, broken trust, and heartbreak. It’s been 11 years of dying to my old ways, allowing the Lord to break me, mold me, and define me.
PTSD, anxiety, depression, abuse, and physical, mental, and spiritual exhaustion. These have all defined my life for the past 11 years. Undoubtedly, some caused by trauma of my mind/body/soul suffered from the losses of my son and father. Some by the broken relationships of people I loved and trusted. All allowed by a sovereign Lord to lead me to His feet in surrender.
I’ve been living in the shadow of death for far too long! The Lord has slowly been coaxing me out of the shadow into His healing light.
In all of it, He has been with me. His discipline, His comfort, His peace, His Son, His healing — they have all changed me to become more like Him. I’m learning not to fear because He has shown that His rod and staff are worthy of trust.
As I find my way out of the shadow, it’s only because His rod and staff are leading me. I find freedom and healing in a new shadow of death. It’s the shadow of His blood that has purchased me, redeemed me, freed me! It’s in the shadow of His death that life is promised. It’s in the shadow of His death that I know I am safe. What a place of reference to begin 2022!
Pray with me: Lord, thank You for drawing us out of the shadow of death and bringing us to new life through the shadow of Your death. Thank You that we can trust You, knowing that You are good. Thank You for gently leading us to places that we do not want to go, because You know it is best for us. Forgive us for the times we’ve lived in fear and doubt of who You are. Amen.