When we have put our trust in ourselves or others we will always be afraid, because we remember that in the past we have failed. But when we truly trust in Jesus Christ we will be courageous because we know that He can never fail!
Trust and Obey
And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 KJV
Last night I had one of those “aha!” moments while we were watching our favorite television show, “Better human, better dog” with Cesar Milan. I love watching Cesar walk into a home where people have uncontrollable dogs, who are barking, biting and lunging, and in just a few moments, slip a leash around their neck and get them to sit down quietly next to him. Cesar calls this transformation “Calm surrender” and it reminds me of today’s verse. Just like those uncontrollable dogs, I sometimes struggle with what the master expects of me and end up barking at others, hurting those closest to me and in general making a mess our of things. I know what choices I need to make, but the problem isn’t the knowing, it is the trusting God enough to surrender to it.
Now the good news for those like me is that while Cesar Milan may be the dog whisperer, Jesus is the people whisperer! He isn’t at all intimidated by our lunging at our leashes, snarling and making a ruckus. He knows what we need most of all is calm surrender. But in order for that calm surrender to happen on the inside of our hearts, there must first be an invisible transaction of faith. We must trust him enough, every morning, to allow Him to slip the leash around our neck. We do that when we believe that God’s leash, called the cross, is not put meant to strangle us, but to lead us. We can calmly surrender our lives to Him, because we know He has come to give us a better one. When we lie down quietly at His feet, God can drop the leash, because He knows that what keeps us connected to Him is not that leash, but our hearts. Then when we calmly surrender, God can open the door and lead us out to all the good things He has planned for our daily walk with Him!
No Wallet – No Cell phone- No Keys!
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:9-10 NIV
Last night in a forgetful moment, I went for my walk around the neighborhood sans cellphone, wallet or keys. In fact, I didn’t even don a baseball cap to ward off the stray shower which in Florida, we are so prone to have. I breathed in deeply of the air, now clean from the recently ended heavy thunderstorms and cool by August standards as the sun had almost set. Then my mind turned back to my exploring days as a ten-year old out on a summer afternoon.
Then, I had no wallet, mainly because I didn’t own one. If I needed money for the Saturday matinee, Mom would slip me a quarter for the movies and if I was lucky, another dime to buy some popcorn. We kids didn’t even have Social Security numbers, and if anyone needed to know our identity, they just asked our parents. And of course, we had no cell phones. They weren’t even invented yet and even our house phones were pretty much reserved for adults. The most I ever got to say was, “Thanks for the swell Christmas present Gammy” and then, “Gotta go. Here’s my mom.” Maybe most amazing of all to our modern readers, I had no keys. Who needed them? Our house was never locked!
When we were out at the beach, the neighbor even sometimes stopped in to borrow an egg or a cup of sugar when she was baking a cake. No, our lives were far from perfect, but we possessed a treasure of trust that we didn’t even know we had and is now lost forever. We trusted that whatever we had was enough and that our parents knew who we were. We depended on our friends to get help if we got in trouble (which was pretty often) and we believed that we were safe enough to leave the house unlocked because the bad guys had been defeated in the war and now the good ones were in charge.
And God reminded me this morning that, though that world has disappeared forever, He has not changed. He always knows exactly what we need and will take care of us even in the farthest corner of the earth. And our true identity is safely hidden with Christ in God. Even when we forget, God remembers who He has made us to be. And last and best of all; God listens. When our cell phones go dead and the internet goes down, we stay connected to God. There is no place on earth where we need to ask, “Can you hear me now?” because He is with us always and forever. Finally, we must believe that the cross of Calvary has unlocked the door to God’s house and that it stands open for all who will come. He is always home. God is waiting for us to grow weary from play. He watches for us to come safely home with the assurance that we are welcome, we are expected, and that our place is set at Heaven’s dinner table for all who put their trust in Him!
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