Tag Archives: trust

Isaiah 63:1-9

Scripture: verse 8

He said, “They are indeed my people,
children who are not disloyal.”
So he became their Savior.

Observation: I don’t know where God got the idea that Israel wouldn’t be disloyal.  Israel ignored Him and rebelled against Him over and over again.  But the passage isn’t about Israel’s loyalty.  The passage is about the abundance of God’s steadfast love, which is apparently undeterred by all the idiocy that Israel has already gotten up to.

God is our Savior.  He sets us free and defends us.  He gives us a new identity and a new safety, and keeps re-giving them as often as we mess up.  He loves us, just like I will always love my children, no matter how many times they cut their own hair or spread yogurt all over the table or leave plastic bricks on the floor to be stepped on.  They are mine.  I am His.

Application: Trust in His love.  Lord knows we can’t trust ourselves.

Prayer:  Yeshua, I praise you because you became my Savior when I wasn’t interested.  I praise you because your love is bigger than ever mistake and every wrong decision I make.  Thank you for defending me.  Help me to trust you.  Amen.

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Isaiah 35

Scripture: from verse 7

The sandy mirage will become a pool…

Observation:  This is one of the “when the Lord reigns everything will be wonderful” chapters.  I know two different songs based on verses from it, which is not a record but still pretty good.

Mirages are false promises.  They seem to offer relief and refreshment and a whole new life, and then when we turn towards them they vanish.  Over and over and over again.

But God doesn’t make false promises.  His world does not contain things that seem to be and are not.  What He offers is real, and we can trust Him.

Someday we will be able to trust our renewed senses.  We will know the truth instinctively, and it will not vanish as we approach.  God promises life and life abundantly.

Application:  Trust in the Lord.  He doesn’t vanish.

Prayer:  Yeshua, I praise you because you are Truth and you do not change.  Thank you for being willing to reveal truth to me, and to guide me to real refreshment.  Help me to trust you and not my own guesses.  Amen.

Ephesians 6:21-24

Scripture: verse 24

Grace be to all who love our Lord Yeshua the Messiah with undying love.

Observation: This is Paul’s final salutation, as he prays for God to bless us.  What caught my eye was the phrase “undying love.”

We talk a lot about how Gods love for us is perfect and endless and infinite.  We can’t offer God perfect love, but we can offer undying love.  We can choose to be faithful.

Elsewhere in the Bible it talks about people whose love has grown cold, through indifference to God and selfishness or fear of man or both.  And obviously we are fallen humans and our love for God will not be perfect all the time.  But we can choose to make God our priority, and to keep our love for Him alive.

At the ladies’ meeting yesterday, we talked a lot about shame.  But shame only makes sense when we forget the facts of the matter.  The fact that other people don’t like God says far more about them than it says about God.

The fact is, God is amazing.  Powerful and wise and loving and perfect.  Our love dies when we forget that.

Application: Remember who God is.  Turn to Him for comfort when things are difficult, instead of rejecting Him in anger.  Ask Him to show the truth of the situation.  Because He will.

Prayer:  God, I thank you that your truth is beautiful.  I thank you that you are making all things perfect in their time.  Please help me to see your beauty, even when I’m tired or distressed.  Amen.

Ephesians 6:16-20

Scripture: verse 16

Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One.

Observation: The shield of trust (also translated the shield of faith) is one of the tools we are given for spiritual warfare.

What are we supposed to trust in?  That God is who He says He is.  That He’s made us perfect, as He says He has.  That He will guide us and protect us and give us peace.

The only reason to use flaming arrows is that you are aiming them at something flammable.  Satan doesn’t just lie to us – he uses lies that will connect with the doubts and fears we already have, hoping to provoke further destruction.

If we trust God, then Satan’s arrows will be stopped in their tracks.  They can’t hurt us if they hit against our faith in God instead of our doubts in ourselves.  So we need to practice making our faith bigger than our doubts.

Application:  Trust God.  Read about what He has done and is doing, and choose to believe Him.  Acknowledge that He can see farther and clearer than you can, so if what He says contradicts the evidence of your own eyes – He’s probably right.

Prayer:  Father, thank you for making me your daughter.  Thank you for declaring that I am beautiful and righteous and perfect, even if I don’t see it that way.  Help me to trust your evaluation of the facts over my own.  Amen.

Ephesians 6:11-15

Scripture: the first parts of verses 11 and 13

Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides

So take up every piece of war equipment God provides

Observation: When God repeats Himself, it means He wants us to pay attention.  Actually, that’s generally true of people as well, though people may repeat themselves without meaning to.  The point is, this is important.

Paul goes on to list the spiritual war equipment we have: truth, righteousness, the Good News of peace, trust, deliverance (salvation), and the Word of God.  And most of us are good at clinging to one or two or even most of those.  But in the spiritual world, just having a hammer doesn’t turn everything into a nail.  We need to make sure we’re using all of them, or we’re only half-protected.

As Jayne Cobb said, when asked how many weapons he was bringing, “I just get excitable as to choice- like to have my options open.”  Our options should be open.

Application: Turn God and to the weapons He’s given us when you are scared, or tired, or sad, or well.  Know what they are and be prepared to use them.

Prayer: Father, thank you for providing for my defense.  Thank you for giving me your help when I am attacked.  Please help me to learn to use them and use them well – especially readiness with the good news of peace, because I think I’m not so good at that one.  Please make your truth and righteousness a shield for my family as well, especially for my daughters who are too young to fight for themselves.  Bless us and shield us.  Amen.

Ephesians 6:6-10

Scripture: from verse 9

Remember that in heaven both you and they have the same Master, and He has no favorites.

Observation: This is part of Paul’s advice to slave owners: treat your slaves well and respectfully, because in God’s eyes you’re no better than them.  Thankfully we no longer have slavery in most of the world, but this is far from irrelevant.

This sums up the core of how believing communities and relationships should function.  God knows me and God loves me.  God also knows and loves my husband, my sister, my neighbor, my rabbi, and even the woman who keeps implying that I need to do a better job of keeping Beauty’s curls under control.

So I can share my heart, confident that God will protect me.  (Of course, sometimes He protects me by letting me know I shouldn’t share my heart.  It’s not like my brain is turned off.)  And I can extend grace to people who annoy me, because I know that God loves them and He is fitting them into where they need to be.  And I don’t have to fix people, because God has already planned out their trajectory.

If I use on God’s wisdom, I don’t have to rely on my own.  Considering how flawed I am, that’s a relief.

Application:  Treat others with respect and love.  At the End of the Day, we’re all just people.  And God loves us.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for seeing our hearts and not just our appearance and our actions.  Thank you for taking the time to know me.  Thank you for not having favorites but for meeting each of us where we are.  Amen.

Ephesians 5:21-25

Scripture: from verse 23

…the Messiah, as head of the Messianic Community, is Himself the one who keeps the body safe.

Observation:  You may have noticed there’s some words I really like.  Rest.  Made perfect.  Light.  Safe.

I like safe.  I dealt with a lot of anxiety growing up (still do, a little) and safe was nice.  Safe meant not having to explain myself or defend myself.  Safe meant that I knew the rules, and they wouldn’t change on me or suddenly loom in my path.  (I’m still dealing with the realization, a few weeks ago, that the social guidelines I’d been taught for one particular situation were wrong and I may have badly hurt people in the past.  I don’t feel any guilt over it, as I didn’t know, it still makes me a little sad.)  Safe means I have answers, or know where to get answers, and if I ask questions people won’t look at me like I’m clueless.  (I probably am clueless, but I still don’t like that look!)  Safe means someone to take care of me and comfort me and make me tea.

And Messiah is keeping His body safe.  He protects His community.  He protects me.

Those who are paying attention will realize that this is in the middle of the whole hierarchical-marriage passage.  Personally I tend to ignore that debate, since each couple is different and different things seem to work for different couples – as long as both of them treat the other with sacrificial love, everything will be fine.

But while I don’t feel any particular onus to submit to my husband, a lot of people think that we have a hierarchical marriage.  The reason for that is that Hero and I keep each other safe.  There are a number of areas where one of us is better equipped to navigate than the other, and because we trust each other and respect each others’ strengths, we can allow each other to take the lead.  Hero’s strengths are a little more public-sphere than mine, so people think we have a hierarchical marriage.  But really we just do what’s safe.  Because it’s comfortable.

Messiah, on the other hand, has infinite knowledge and experience.  He isn’t just good at navigating odds and managing outcomes in uncertain situations – He actually knows what will happen.  He deserves our trust and respect in every area of life.  Because that’s how we stay safe.

Application:  Messiah is our safety.  Trust Him.  Doing what He says may not always be pleasant, but in the long run it is best for you.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for being there to keep me safe.  Thank you for providing what I need – right down to the cup of hot tea – exactly when you know I need it.  Help me to trust that you know what you’re doing.  Amen.

Ephesians 4:16-20

Scripture: verses 16 and 17

Under [Messiah’s] control, the whole body is being fitted and held together by the support of every joint, with each part working to fulfill its function; this is how the body grows and builds itself up in love.  Therefore…do not live any longer as the pagans live, with their sterile ways of thinking.

Observation:  We have a contrast here.  On the one hand is the body of believers, who are learning to work together and support each other and build something that is bigger than the sum of themselves.  On the other hand are the pagans, who use ways of thinking that don’t lend themselves to the building of community.  They don’t speak the truth in love (or at least, they don’t insist on it, as Messiah does), and they don’t submit to each other in love, and as a result their society is sterile – it produces nothing.  Without grace, without the knowledge of God’s direction and training, we get nowhere.

Application:  Watch your thinking.  Are you seeking to love others, or to get your own way? Are you seeking the truth, or do you just want to be right?  God has a plan in mind – know that His plan is better than anything we could come up with.

Prayer:  Yeshua, teach me to be a part of your community.  Help me to support others and to accept the support of others.  Teach me to watch my thoughts and be gentle with others.  Help me see the goals you have instead of my own.  Amen.

Ephesians 3:16-21

Scripture: from verses 16 and 17

I pray that from the treasures of His glory He will empower you with inner strength by His Spirit, so that the Messiah may live in your hearts through your trusting.

Observation:  So.  The goal of this prayer is for the Messiah to live in our hearts.  Two things are apparently required for that to happen: for us to trust, and for us to have inner strength.  I’m not certain why we need inner strength in order for Messiah to live in us, but I guess it’s because Messiah changes us, and we need the strength to cooperate with those changes and not turn away.  The Holy Spirit gives us the strength we need from the treasures of God’s glory.  Possibly because God is strong, possibly because God made me and has the ability to upgrade me, and possibly because the reward of God’s glory helps us be strong.  Though I’m disinclined to believe that last one, since it assumes we have the strength on our own, and we don’t.

Application: Trust in Him, since apparently there’s not much else we can do.  Use the strength He gives us.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, please empower me so that Yeshua can live in my heart.  Please give me the courage to belong to Him.  Amen.

Ephesians 2:21-22

Scripture: verse 21

In union with Him the whole building is held together, and it is growing into a holy temple in union with the Lord.

Observation: I mostly liked this one because of the whimsical growing building imagery – like the scene in The Magicians’s Nephew when they plant a toffee and it grows into a toffee-tree overnight.

The point is, Yeshua holds us together, and we (the body of believers) are growing and maturing into what God wants us to be.

Young’s Literal Translation uses “fitly framed together” in place of “union.”  We are carefully shaped and maneuvered into place, to make a structure that is strong and flexible and keeps out the rain.  And we are growing.  Some of our quirks God uses, some He changes, but our destination is right where He wants us to be.

Application: Don’t trash-talk yourself.  Don’t assume God needs to change you, that He doesn’t like who you are or that you won’t fit.  It takes time, but He has a place for everyone and He’s putting everyone in their place.

Prayer: Father, thank you for using me as I am.  Help me to trust you to make it happen.  Amen.