Today’s reading: Proverbs 3:1-8, Psalm 139 , James 1:2-8
Today’s focal verse: Proverbs 3:5
Today’s focus: Choosing to trust
This week’s memory verse:
This has been an interesting year for me. I’ve seen healings I’ve fervently prayed for not come to pass. I’ve seen a family with young children lose their mother to brain cancer. I’ve seen hurting and hungry children and broken adults. I’ve experienced some health challenges and watched helplessly as my daughter cried out in pain from a bad case of shingles. Worse, I listened to her express her broken heart as she wondered why God would allow her to experience such pain. And there were times when all I could pray was why. Why, Lord, would you let these things happen? Where is Your healing? Can you see us? Do you care?
One morning, while asking those very questions, God gave me this answer, found in Ezekiel 36:9 “See, I care about you and will pay attention to you” (NLT).
And truly, that was all I needed to hear. You see, we won’t always receive answers this side of heaven. Nor will we always be rescued. But we will always be heard. And held. So what do we do when life doesn’t go as we expect? We choose to trust. When we don’t understand the what or the why, we must focus on the Who–knowing God is in complete control and that at every moment, He has us in mind. He is attentive to our cries, and He has a loving purpose for everything He does and everything He allows. But more than that, one day He will set everything right. One day He will wipe away every last tear, will heal every disease and heartache. So hold on, beloved, for our bridegroom is coming and oh, what a party He has planned for us!
Today as you read Beth Farley’s devotion, prayerfully direct your thoughts onto the nature of God. Choose to trust Him, for He is worthy.
Beth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.
Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/
Proverbs 3:5 in several versions
New King James:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
New Living Translation
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
American Standard Translation
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
No matter how many ways the above scripture is written, it means the same thing; trusting in God and not myself. I had an opportunity to chat with a close relative the other day about the shooting in Connecticut. She is a mother of three young children and about ready to have another. She told me that she didn’t want her kids to go back to school and did not understand why God would do such a terrible thing.
I had to let her words soak in for a few before I answered. I wanted to be very careful and wise because she is not really a believer. She is not sure what she believes in. Before answering, I quickly asked God that His words come from my mouth, not my own because I was sure to botch it up.
I told her that I believed that God did not make that happen. He may have allowed it but for reasons we can’t possibly understand and won’t understand until we meet Him face to face. I shared with her the above scripture about trusting in God and not in her own thoughts and strengths. I also spoke to her about Isaiah 55:8 where God tells us, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” NLT I also told her that so often I will have circumstances arise and not know why but if I do trust in the Lord then I know everything will work out fine.
Today I pray as you continue to study Proverbs 3 that you will ask the Lord to give you the strength and discipline to trust in Him and not in yourself. I pray that when you are approached by an unbeliever or someone who is just not certain about events that make no sense, that you are trusting in God to give you the best guidance possible. I pray that if you are hit yourself by something during this study that tempts you to quit, that you just trust and not give up.
Are you truly trusting God in all that you do? In all that you say? In all that is going on in your world right now? I ask myself these questions as well. I have to trust. Without trust, I have nothing.
Remember; no matter how many versions of Proverbs 3:5 you read; it all comes down to the one important word…
LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS!
1) List five things you know to be true about God. Now pause and prayerfully think about His nature in light of whatever difficulties you are facing. Fill in the following:
Because He is loving ___________________________________________________.
Because He is faithful __________________________________________________.
Because He is all-knowing _______________________________________________.
Because He is with me __________________________________________________.
2) Yesterday, we learned the heart means the inner man, or the core of who we are. What does it mean to trust in the Lord with *all* your heart?
3) Psalm 139 is one of my favorite passages. Take a moment to read the chapter. Do any verses stand out to you? What might God be trying to say to you this morning?
Here’s what stood out to me:
God examines my heart–searches deep to my very core and knows me intimately, even better than I know myself. (v. 1)
He goes before me, to guide me, and stands behind me, to catch me when I fall or slip. Like a loving, attentive, gentle father, He places His hand upon me. (v. 5, 10)
He knows what I will face tomorrow, why I will face it, and how He will see me through it. Nothing I encounter is by accident, and because God’s loving hand is always upon me, I can rest assured everything I encounter is truly for my best. (v. 16)
God is constantly thinking of me. (v. 17)
4) Now I will ask you again, what might God be trying to say to you this morning? Will you trust Him? Will you walk with Him, not dragging behind, complaining about the journey, nor forging ahead in impatience, but instead, humbly matching your step with His, trusting He knows what is best for you?
5) Pause to consider the following passage:
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
I’ve given you a lot to think about this morning. I’d love to know how God used this devotional or the suggested passages to speak to you. Join the conversation here, in the comments below, on Facebook, or at our online Bible study Group.