Tag Archives: Trust God

Powerful prayers of the bible


During the tougher times of my cancer journey, many prayers were simply, “Lord, have mercy.” I didn’t have energy to say more. Perhaps simple word prayers throughout the day pleases Him best:  “Thanks!” – “Help me.” – “Praise God!”  In fact, His Word warns against the vain babbling of endless words. But when the words won’t come at all, there is another source of inspiration for prayer: Scripture.


“Read the Psalms, praise God once; pray them, praise God twice; sing them, praise God three times over!” There’s no value in repeated rote prayers just to say them out of tradition. But if they reflect the desires of your heart, let them become your heart-felt prayers.


Find solace in praying the 23rd Psalm. Substitute your name for ‘me’ and ‘my’:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff–they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”


I’ve had many occasions to pray David’s shorter prayer (Psalm 51:10-12) throughout my life: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” It has been a heartfelt prayer to draw closer to my Creator and to live in accordance with His will, especially after I’ve messed up.


You might pray as Moses did: “Teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” (Exodus 33:13,15)


You can personalize “The Lord’s Prayer” with words from your own heart. Tell him you want His name to be honored and respected in your life activities and ambitions. Describe your daily bread (needs). Confess specific sins. Forgive others by name. Ask God to help you live today with forever in mind.


We should pray trusting in the Lord, “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.” (Psalm 25:1)


Consider praying for others this way: “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10)


Or this way: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 4:14-19)


Let the powerful prayers of the bible speak your heart.



Faith through trials


Don’t let your troubles determine how you see God.

Let God help you see your troubles through His eyes.

There is something about trials that strip away unwanted elements and reveal our underlying character and abilities. More importantly, trials speak evidence to God’s work in us. We speak of the ‘trial by fire’ that destroys all that is merely temporal and leaves that which is everlasting, the mark God places on the faithful. There is the heat of the furnace that removes the impurities and leaves only that which is pure. Shadrach and his buddies experienced the fiery furnace first hand. In the face of what appeared to be certain death, they stood firm in their faith. Daniel’s trial of trusting God when surrounded by hungry lions speaks to God’s role in the dangerous times of our lives.


Most of us don’t have to face real lions or a literal furnace of fire in our lives. But we are no strangers to trials, are we? Trials beset everyone. Some trials, like an upcoming exam or handling an audit well, are relatively easy for the well-prepared. Other trials spring upon us with little or no notice. Some trials rank at the level of inconvenient nuisances; others threaten our families, our finances, and even our physical well-being.


Like the metal that is refined by fire, trials reveal our true inner character. While preparation can’t prevent trials from coming our way, we can prepare ourselves to withstand the fire.


Like the musician who practices diligently, the athlete who pushes their physical limits, or the supervisor who builds and coaches teams committed to quality, when the test comes they’re prepared. But what prepares us for those trials that test our very soul? How do we stand firm when our livelihood and even our life is threatened?


We build faith, day by day. Jesus said that even as the tiny mustard seed grows into a large tree that provides shade for the birds, so our faith grows. Our small faith grows when we acknowledge God when all is well. It grows more when we acknowledge Him in the small trials we face throughout the week. Day by day, year by year, as we write the story of our lives, we have opportunity to grow the seed of faith into something that withstands the most severe storms.


God helps us see our trials differently, by seeing Him in the midst of it. Every problem is an opportunity to trust God and exercise your faith. Today is your preparation for tomorrow’s storms. Let your faith guide you through any difficulty you face, big or small.


Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.
Psalm 26:2



Knowing God’s will



The question came up in a recent conversation:


“How do you know God’s will?”


What a great question!  It seems we are all so busy surviving and making a living that it is easy to lose sight of our purpose in life – and God’s purpose too.


So often, we ask the wrong question. Instead of asking “What is God’s will for my life,” try asking, “What is God’s will?” Focus on the nature of God and the revelation of His consistent plan. God created perfect life. He created you. He saw what a mess we were in and sent His son Jesus so that whoever believed in Him would find ‘the way, the truth, and the (abundant) life.’ He sent us His very Spirit to indwell us so we would never have to be alone or confused, knowing He will always guide us – if we only draw near and listen.


God has plans for our major life decisions. But while you are pursuing big life goals, did you know that God’s will is about what you do today?


Part of God’s will is that we enjoy the peace and joy of remaining in His presence. He knows that you will become stressed over money, quarrels, work, and endless problems. He knows there will be days when your ‘get up and go’ just ‘got up and went’. He knows you will lose your joy and be oppressed by all sorts of circumstances. He knows there will be times when you come to the end of your rope. Have hope: He invites you to enter His presence, not just in your ‘quiet time’ but in the busyness of your day. Learn to take one minute breaks to seek His presence and ask Him to reveal His purpose for your next steps. It is His will that you remain dependent on Him, not on your own understanding.  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your path.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)


God’s will is not just for you; it’s for those around you. Evangelist John Lavender stated “To do God’s will is to minister to the person who is closest to you at the moment.” The person you just let go ahead of you in line at the store, the man at the intersection with the sign reading ‘Hungry.’ The person interrupting you. The janitor. You might say, “Wait a minute. I didn’t ask about God’s plan for others. I want to know God’s plan for me!”   God’s plan for you often involves the people in your vicinity. Jesus  said if you want to do God’s will you should “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Then He added, “Love your neighbor (those in your vicinity) as yourself.”


Want to do God’s will? Come close to Him and bring others close to Him, in Jesus’ name.



How determined are you to win your race?

Paul writes, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) It is our calling too, you and me.  I don’t know about you but a lot of the time that race seems like a marathon or a triathlon. Ironically, those human challenges, while impossible for me in my condition, are minor endeavors compared to the race of life that you can and must run; it is much longer and sometimes more grueling. It’s a race where I’ve fallen down numerous times. You too? It can be easy to get discouraged in those times. The feeling of giving up is strong. But we can’t give up. We have to press on. We have to get up and keep on running.


Why? First, we are commanded. The only thing we are told to do once we put on the armor of God is to stand and stay standing, praying at all times in all things. You might not be the strongest warrior, the fastest runner, the most talented at anything, but you can stand. The promise of God attests to it.


Second, it’s worth it. There is a reward at the end of the race. Matthew writes, “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22 


Never give up. Keep running your race. Jesus gave you His Spirit to make sure you can endure! Trust Him.




Fretting is good…for repairing guitars

If you repair guitars it could be helpful to know something about fretting. It is useful for producing quality tones on the instrument. But the kind of fretting the rest of us tend to do is not helpful for anything except creating ulcers and resentment. It’s called worry.

The Lord Almighty who created all the universe with His spoken command, the One who created everything out of nothing, the One who chose you before the foundations of the earth were laid…this same gracious, loving, holy, powerful, just, all-knowing, wise, sovereign and glorious ‘El Roi’ God sees you where you are. The question is do we trust a sovereign God? Or do we feel more comfortable trusting ourself?

If we trust God, we have nothing to worry about, do we? After all, He knows best and has the best interest of His children at heart. If he chooses suffering and hardship to bring us into that better plan it will be for our good. If we choose our own hardship, He promises to bring us through it if we turn to Him. We earthly parents do the same, however imperfectly. He promises He will never abandon us and that our pain, sorrow, and suffering will one day end and produce glory. If we really believe it, what is there to be anxious about?

But we still worry, don’t we? We don’t need to beat ourself up because a worrying thought comes across our mind. The question is, what do we do with it? Do we dismiss it and turn it quickly over to God or do we dwell on it? Do we determine its fate or does it determine ours? Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) I like the mental image of handcuffing that wrong thought and marching it into God’s courtroom. Let Him deal with it.

I admit, I have lots of questions. When will my leukemia be cured? What might cause it to take a turn for the worse? Will we get to carry on with plans to minister in South America? Will my finances hold out? How do I fulfill God’s will when I am so weak? I’m guessing you have lots of questions about your life too. Questions are great. They bring us to God.

But when questions turn and churn into worry, fear grows and interferes with trusting God. We start to think His way is too hard or start thinking OUR way is better than His. (Talk about irrational thinking!)

Jesus said repeatedly, don’t worry. Maybe we should just take Him at His Word. And when we start fretting about something, reaffirm our trust in the One who is sovereign, who has our best interest at heart. “I believe, Lord. Help me in my unbelief.”

Leave fretting to the guitar repairers.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Hope while you wait

In addition to visiting with my sister who spoiled us during our memory making trip, and walking in the mountains, we were very glad to finally meet Jill Giallanza. Jill’s family and ours have been praying for each other over the last two years. When her husband went to heaven last spring, I felt I had lost a good friend I never had met. So meeting Jill at my sister’s house was a real blessing.

We talked about lessons learned during the struggles we each face and the hurts experienced in the journey. But also evident in Jill’s sharing was the real and sustaining hope in the reunion one day in heaven (what a day of rejoicing that will be!). Hope in knowing that deep dark places of great pressure are where gems are formed. As Pastor Dale said, “What is restored is worth more than it was before.” Hope in realizing the promise of God’s sufficient grace and strength in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Hope in waiting for the One who is always faithful, whose timing is never late.

Most of the time, that is our focus with this walk through Leukemia. Today marks the one year anniversary of my stem cell transplant, another “new life” anniversary. And still we wait, in hope, for the healing, restoration, and repurposing of our lives yet to come.

It is difficult to wait, isn’t it? We all want answers and resolution to our problems right now.  But wait we must when so much of life is beyond our control. Sometimes we have to wait for God’s presence to be made more evident in our daily life.  Are you waiting on God for an answer to prayer? We have a choice: wait in anxiety or wait in faith. Be strong and courageous because you wait on real promises that will not disappoint. “Say YES to your life, trusting God in your struggles.” (Sarah Young)

Be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24



Finding space for three words

Which set of three words would have more impact on your life?

“You have cancer.”


“God loves you.”

Could you fit all six words together? (Feel free to substitute any other trial of cause of suffering for ‘cancer’.) What happens if we refuse to reconcile the apparent paradoxes of life: good and evil, free will and the sovereignty of God, the presence of unwanted and painful circumstances with a great and loving God? Do we not miss out on life by only accepting that which easily pleases and satisfies us, that which we think we can handle on our own? Does avoiding the tensions and conflicts presented by real faith cause us to retreat to a ‘safe comfort zone?’ A place that seems safe but that in actuality leads us to a dangerously mediocre life?

The truth is, we all face trials in life. No matter what you believe or how fervently you live out your beliefs, there doesn’t appear to be a “Get out of suffering” card that is universally available. However, God does provide a “get out of being controlled by our circumstances” card. It has the words, “Trust me,” inscribed on one side of it and “I will give you peace,” on the other.

Trusting God in difficult situations creates a space between the painful circumstance and our response to it. In this space, we seek and find God just as he promised. (You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13) In this space we find refuge from the control our circumstances might otherwise have on us, dragging us down in self-pity, away from the joy God would have us experience. It is the space where we remember who we are in God’s sight and who he is. In this space we find his light shining into the depths of our sorrow, our pain, and our disappointment.

If we choose instead to trust ourselves to solve our own problems, we find it impossible to find this peaceful space. We strive and we pursue, but our efforts do not bring us peace. They do not make us victorious.

When three words, God loves me, become a reality to your everyday living, this space of peace, not your circumstances, determines your life. In this space you find freedom you’ll find nowhere else. Without the space, peace is ‘nowhere.’ With the space, peace is ‘now here.’ Ah the difference trusting God makes, by creating space for his peace in our lives!

Enjoy seeking God and responding to his amazing three words. Enter into his presence throughout the day and enjoy the space his peace creates.

Obey your real thirst – trust God

When is it easiest for you to trust God? When life is hardest or when things go well?

On the one hand, when things go well, we should continue to trust God, but it is also so easy to become distracted by the steady routine of life without suffering. On the other hand, suffering and troubles sometimes bring us to a point of total surrender, when we realize we NEED to put our trust in a sovereign and loving God.

Did you know we always obey what we trust? Even if it seems we violate our basic trust, that which we know to be true, our choice to go another way simply points out how easily pleased we are with suspending our beliefs and trusting in something else. In this way, we become ‘slaves’ to the things we put our trust in.

Like the old advertisement said, we obey our thirst. The question is, what are you really thirsty for? And what are you willing to do to quench it completely? We either thirst for the things of this world (the lust of the eyes, the desires of the flesh, and the pride of life), or we thirst for God:

“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?”
Psalm 42:1-2

Trust your deepest thirst. Trust God for living water that satisfies fully. Whatever level of trust you have in God right now, it is that level of trust that will teach you to trust more.

“TRUST HIM when dark doubts assail thee
TRUST HIM when trust is small
TRUST HIM when simply to
TRUST HIM is the hardest thing of all.”
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him” Romans 15:13