Who or What do you Trust?

Trust is a big issue for many people, or perhaps most people of the modern world, where betrayal and false information runs rampant. As so many people react with shock, fear and anger at the results of our Presidential election and decisions, I noticed right away I am remaining calm. That is unusual for me. As I reflected on why I was at peace, I realized it is because I trust in God and not in any one person or group being elected into ‘power’. I voted of course, as is the responsibility and duty of every citizen, but I was not so tied to the results, unlike any Presidential election in my past. 

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in (any) man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (Or Presidents) Psalm 118:8-9 AMP 

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, But we will remember and trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7 AMP

There is a reality to the impacts of governmental decisions. Being realistic I realize there are a lot of serious issues at stake when political power shifts depending on who has the most power and what their stand is on those issues that are especially important to me and my way of life or safety in this world. With reflection and listening to news reports and press releases I can react with many different emotions including anxiety, panic, or even anger if I project that what I hear will impact my life negatively. This is especially possible if it means survival financially or even physiologically by limiting health care or environmental safety or a safe and plentiful food and water supply. Some of the issues being addressed for change are very important and essential for continued quality of life. Many other countries already suffer from negative impacts on their quality of life and even survival, so we have plenty of examples of how worse things can become. Many in my country already are struggling to get their needs met for food, shelter, health and financial stability. Just a few years ago I struggled in some of those areas and still experience some struggles with my health. 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the refuge and fortress of my life— Whom shall I dread?” Psalm 27:1 AMP

It used to be impossible for me to trust anyone or anything. I did not even trust myself. I certainly did not trust God, even though I thought I had faith. Because of the impacts on my body, mind and heart from frequent severe traumas in my childhood, I never thought I would be able to have peace from ongoing anxiety or even severe panic and terror given certain situations or just the events of daily life. I tried several spiritual practices and psychological methods over many years with many different teachers, counselors and experts, but my anxiety never disappeared and even could paralyze me in difficult or threatening situations. I was raised a Christian and considered more inclined spiritually than most because of a near death experience at a young age, but my active faith was minimal and my peace non-existent. But since I discovered a few years ago the truth Christ offers and having afterwards received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” empowering my relationship with God, my ability to trust and be at peace grows every day. I am amazed (and so are other observers) at the levels of peace and trust I experience today compared to just a few years ago, despite incredibly difficult circumstances and life threatening events.

“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast, that is, committed and focused, on You—Because they trust and take refuge in You with hope and confident expectation.” Isaiah 26:3 AMP

What is different for me today? Why am I not afraid? Over many years of learning to let go and trust God in the many difficult situations and circumstances of my life, I have discovered God is truly there for us. I was only really able to let go with the power of the Holy Spirit. I had tried for several years practicing letting go, but fear and my level of trust had not really changed when things got difficult. God really does care about us and our needs, no matter who we are or how well we live our lives. God always has a good plan for us: (God said) “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, (plans) to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 AMP Having heard and studied that verse for many years, I thought I believed that in the past but when difficulties arose so did anxiety and panic if I did not see some help or solutions come quickly.

Would you like to find someone you can always trust in any situation, no matter your own goodness or abilities? Unconsciously I believed I had to be ‘good’ for God to help me. I tried letting go and letting God over many years of working with 12 step programs and workshops. I grew in wisdom and in my relationship with God but when things got really difficult I caved into fear and doubt. I believed in Christ but did not really understand what Christ offers to everyone and what Christ offers does not depend on worthiness or performance. I did not really understand the depth and extent of God’s love, mercy and grace or the true meaning of surrender and letting go. I had grown in my ability to surrender but did not realize what I was holding back, my trust. Over the years of practicing with the help of the Holy Spirit to put my trust in God and God’s promises when things get difficult, unmanageable or downright painful or intolerable, I find comfort, peace, and ultimately solutions come that I could not have found or devised on my own in ways that sometimes seem unbelievable or impossible, but real.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, set aside self-righteous pride (in believing you can handle it yourself), so that God may exalt you to a place of honor at the appropriate time, casting all your cares, all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all on God, for God cares about you with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully. ” 1 Peter 5:6-7 AMP

“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize God, And God will make your paths straight and smooth, removing obstacles that block your way.” Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP

Who do you trust the most? Perhaps it is yourself. Try putting your trust first in God, turning you life and every situation over to the God of your understanding for God’s care and purposes (Step 3 of the 12 step program), as if hiring a special expert to solve your individual problems. The cost is giving up expectations of how or when it might be done, but I have found God’s ways are always better than the ones I expect and the results have much more blessings attached to them. This is exercising your faith ‘muscles’. Eventually faith grows and gets stronger. But I found I need a ‘personal faith trainer”, the Holy Spirit, to ‘spot’ me when I lift the weights of trusting God when things seem difficult or threatening to my well being. 

If you do not believe in God or have doubts in God’s existence, ability or willingness to help you, this can be an opportunity to test if God responds to your seeking to find out the truth about God. Step 1 is acknowledging our limitations and failures, evidence of not being god ourselves. Step 2 is coming to believe there might be something or someone greater than ourselves that can help us. That someone or something becomes the god of our understanding. This might be a ‘ruler’, expert, group or government or whatever you are placing your trust in. I encourage you to seek a more powerful, always benevolent, providential God for your choice to trust. That God can be found in the pages of the Bible or as Jesus Christ presented to us as an image of the Father, God: loving, caring, healing, compassionate, forgiving and gentle. King David said “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness.” Psalm 145:8 AMP

Practice turning your days over to God daily as you first awake, asking for God’s loving care and guidance. As you go through your day, check to see who you are trusting and who is in charge. Are you putting pressure on yourself, anything or anyone else to make things better or give you the right answers? Are you frustrated, anxious, hopeless or impatient? These emotions and feelings are normal but they can be turned over to peace, joy, hope and fulfillment in trusting God who will never disappoint. Talk to God about your feelings and ask again for guidance. God knows our emotions and the reasons more than we understand ourselves. I am not saying not to take action or search for answers, but first ask God to direct your ‘path’ and as you listen and follow, you will come to recognize the “voice” that is leading you, the “still, small voice” Elijah heard in the cave when he was hiding, scared for his life, having been threatened with death by the ruler of the land. Do not trust in the power of rulers but in the power, provision and love of God!

The scripture verses quoted in my blog were written by authors who had experiences to back up their truth. Millions have experienced the truth found in these verses by living and acting accordingly and seeing the powerful results. I can attest to the truth I write by my own multitude of life changing experiences. 

Thank you for liking, sharing, for any comments and for following my blog. If you follow, you will get emails whenever I post. If you have any subjects or questions you would like me to consider in my blog, or, suggestions for resources I will be developing, add a comment for others to like, or send your comments through my contact page with more explanation. Prayers can also be requested confidentially through my contact page. You can also follow or connect with me on Twitter, Instagram or my Facebook page with links at the top of each page of this website. I keep all correspondence confidential that I receive through this website’s contact page, by email on Facebook and direct messaging on Twitter and Instagram.

Amazing Friendship with God

What does it mean to have friendship with God? Have you ever experienced friendship with God? If not, would you desire that? The answer probably depends on your perceptions and beliefs about God, just like what draws or repels us about having relationships with others. We are drawn by good experiences, perceptions and beliefs about someone and repelled by negative ones. 

There is a song: “Friend of God” by Phillips, Craig & Dean describing a close relationship we can have with God that is “amazing!”. The lyrics describe the unconditional love God has for us and what we can experience in a close relationship with God: Almighty God thinks of us; God hears and answers when we call. 

Who is your closest friend? How would you describe your relationship with your closest friend or any relationship you would label a close friendship? For some their closest friend is a parent, sibling or other family member. Most close friendships have developed over a long period of many years and yet close friendships can develop in much less time given the person’s character and behavior, the frequency of contact, and circumstances around that relationship. A relationship with God develops in similar ways. If we can experience God as a parent, taking care of us, loving us unconditionally with forgiveness for our mistakes, being always ready to support and comfort us when needed, the relationship deepens. 

Most close friends exhibit love and support for each other although one person can be more physically or emotionally supportive given the greater needs of the other person, like a child that depends on a parent That love develops through continuing experiences with each other where there is trust, acceptance, forbearance, empathy, dependability, commitment and other qualities exhibited in their relationship. Chapter 13 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians describes many qualities of love. Unconditional love given to another no matter the other’s weaknesses and faults, like that given by man’s best friend, the dog, is the most comforting and fulfilling experience.  

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP): “Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked nor overly sensitive and easily angered; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth when right and truth prevail. Love bears all things regardless of what comes, believes all things looking for the best in each one, hopes all things remaining steadfast during difficult times, endures all things without weakening. Love never fails; it never fades nor ends.” Have you experienced this kind of love? I have found some of these qualities with different people at different levels, but with God I experience all of these qualities consistently in the greatest capacity no matter how well I do or do not do what might be considered ‘good’. Looking back to times when I turned away from God, I believe God still displayed this love to me but I did not perceive it given I did not draw close enough in relationship with God to experience it.

Close friendships develop with people whose character and behavior is attractive or admirable to us. To grow a friendship with anyone we need to come to know a person through communication and many experiences of the other person that contrast to the superficial qualities of other types of relationships. Our personal experiences of another person can reveal the existence or lack of love or other qualities we desire in friendship. It is the same relating to God. We discover God’s character and behavior through a real personal relationship of 2-way communication and experiencing God responding to us and others throughout history.  

We can discover God’s character demonstrated in reading through the many books of the Bible, not just small sections, as the patterns of God’s behavior become more apparent. Jesus said he demonstrated the character of God. (John 14:8-9 AMP) Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father and then we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time, and you do not know Me yet, Philip, nor recognize clearly who I am? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father (God).” Reading about Jesus in the Bible can help us know God better. 

In addition to reading about God, we can experience God’s behavior towards us individually. Over decades I sought, researched, discovered and practiced many spiritual methods that gave me some wisdom, peace and even grew my perceived relationship with God and helped me get through various difficulties, but I was never changed at a continuing deeper level and, more importantly, my trust in God did not improve nor did I really experience my relationship with God beyond head knowledge. Only in experiencing God through the revelation and experience I received by entering into conversation and active response through bible study and personal prayer was I able to experience my relationship with God in a way that was more real and as tangible as any other relationship I had ever had, even without the benefit of senses like sight, sound and touch.

The sensations and experiences in our spirit, soul and in some cases vibrations felt in the body can be even more powerful than other sensual experiences of the body. As I have found God to be responsive, loving, forgiving, dependable, generous, even self-sacrificing in Christ’s behavior, I am drawn to be closer and more trusting. The more I trust and engage with God, the more I experience, the more I am drawn closer. It is really a mystery, as Paul describes in his writings as do other spiritual writers. One can only experience this first hand by entering into this kind of relationship with God, not by listening to someone else’s experience except as a guide to seek this kind of relationship individually and have these experiences first hand for ourselves.

Close friendships require some continuing, if not frequent, contact to maintain the intimacy and connection. None of my close relationships stayed as close given increased geographical distance or intervening circumstances preventing contact over long periods. Similarly with God, I find daily quality time with God and God’s Word, the Bible, maintains and strengthens the relationship, grows intimacy and builds knowledge I have about God, myself, the world and others. In the last few years, I lost most of my close friendships through geographical relocations, deaths, Alzheimer’s disease in a close friend, family circumstances demanding most of my time, and chronic illness keeping me homebound, isolated and immobile. As my friendships and family disappeared, I turned to God spending more time in Bible Study and close communication with God, and, as a result, I experienced a growing intimacy with God,. Now I can truly consider God as my closest friend and trusted parent. 

Often our closest friendships develop through shared crisis and hardships suffered together. The crisis and hardships I have endured have drawn me closer to God and I discover God seems closer to me at those times. I have come to believe God is always close, but it is myself who moves closer to experience the intimacy and blessings of a close intimate relationship with God, providing all I need at all times, planned by God before I need it. The closer I am to God, the sooner I find what I need in amazing ways by being available to receive the guidance to lead me along that best plan. 

And what about God’s attitude toward us? What would precipitate God calling us a close friend? The New Testament letter of James mentions that Abraham “was called the friend of God” and attributes it to his faith in God (James 2:23) and not being a “friend of the world.” (James 4:4). To have faith in God means to trust God. God is worthy of our trust but we need to experience why that is true for our trust to grow just like we grow to trust anyone or anything else. And being a friend of the world is trusting the world, or anything in it, more than we trust God, or, choosing what the world offers over choosing God. Many trust God but still fear losing a partner, money, health, career or anything else we think we cannot live or be ‘happy’ without. For me I discovered that I was trusting in other people, myself or things more than I trusted God to have a good plan for my life. Through many experiences over time given many difficulties I have learned that God can and will provide all we need without us having to cling to anything or any person, or our own inclinations more tightly than we cling to God. As God told Jeremiah, another so called friend of God, in a most beautiful section of the Bible, (Jeremiah 29:11-13 AMP) “I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear your voice and I will listen to you. Then with a deep longing you will seek Me and require Me as a vital necessity and you will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.'” This sounds like the best friendship of all time that we can ever have and it is available for all if we want it. 

I challenge you to take steps towards seeking a closer relationship with God. Ask God to be your friend. Listen for guidance to lead you to take certain steps. Pay attention to inner desires that arise to do things. Respond with action and see what happens. Take some time each day to connect with God as you feel drawn. Even 20-30 minutes a day in prayer, bible study and reading the Bible can make a difference. That is where I started. There is so much available today to help you do the same thing. If you ask Jesus into your life, you will have the Holy Spirit to guide and teach you. (John 14:26 AMP) “The Helper, Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf, He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you. ”

If you are already on that journey, I encourage you to continue despite setbacks since often when we are on that journey the enemy of our souls tries to distract and discourage us, but God is always faithful to draw us back. After many stops and starts, distractions and disappointments, I had a growing experience and desire for an intimate relationship with God that I have discovered is more real and wonderful than I could ever imagine. As Jesus said more than once: (John 10:27-29 AMP) “The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they will never, ever by any means perish; and no one will ever snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater and mightier than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. ”

Thank you for liking, sharing, for any comments and for following my blog. If you follow, you will get emails whenever I post. If you have any subjects or questions you would like me to consider in my blog, or, suggestions for resources I will be developing, add a comment for others to like, or send your comments through my contact page with more explanation. Prayers can also be requested confidentially through my contact page. You can also follow or connect with me on Twitter, Instagram or my Facebook page with links at the top of each page of this website. I keep all correspondence confidential that I receive through this website’s contact page, by email on Facebook and direct messaging on Twitter and Instagram.