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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Trusting God In Uncertain Times

If you listen to the radio, read a newspaper or watch the news, not a day goes by that you don’t hear how bad the economy is getting. One trip to the gas station or the grocery store can make it so we feel the pain personally.
For quite awhile we have been living in very blessed economic times. That house we bought just seemed to keep increasing in value, everybody wanted us to borrow their money to live the life we always dreamed of. But no more; things have changed in the world around us – as they always do.

So, what does it mean to trust God when times are tough?

There is a little book in the Old Testament that carries a big message. Habakkuk was a prophet of God. He was someone God called to speak to his people during difficult times to help them remember that although things are difficult, God is faithful.

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments." (Habakkuk 3:17-19, NIV)

The words to the song Habakkuk composed are a reminder that the greatest reality in the world is the faithfulness of God. “The Sovereign Lord is my strength…” is what Habakkuk invites us to sing about. God is over all things and he knows the details of the world economy and of my personal challenges. And he cares deeply for each of us, longing to strengthen us so we see his faithfulness and he receives glory.

Here are some things I have found are important to practice in times of challenge:
Stay close to Jesus. Time in prayer and reading the Bible keep me grounded in what is ultimately true. Talking to Jesus reminds me that he is always with me, no matter what.
Stay in relationship. Friendships with other followers of Jesus are a great source of support and prayer. True friends will both comfort us and challenge us to be stronger in our faith.
• Stay the course. Someone once said, “Never doubt in the dark what God has revealed in the light.” As you manage your resources, get a plan and follow the plan. For me, it has long been the 10-10-80 plan: 10% to God, 10% to me (savings), 80% to everyone else.
"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:7-8, NIV)
• Stay focused. As followers of Jesus, we live for eternal things and we invest in eternal things. The health of the US economy is not a measure of the faithfulness of God! Nor is it a determining factor whether we generously invest in the things that are most important to God: people and the expansion of his Kingdom.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33, NIV)
• Stay tuned. I hate to admit it, but most of the important and life-changing things I have learned have happened when life was the hardest. We think God abandons us in our pain but he is close to us during these times and teaching us valuable lessons. Are you listening?
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18, NIV)

Honestly, I think this is a great time to be the church. We have the most valuable, life-changing gift that anyone could ever receive. Now, more than ever, people’s eyes are being opened to the fact that the world has handed them an empty box wrapped in pretty paper. Jesus saves people and he changes their now and their forever. It is that gift Cold Springs Community Church is committed to continuously offering to as many as possible.

2 comments:

Jerry said...

Thanks. God is so wonderful. Why did I pick tonight to read this? Why not tomorrow or next week? He knew I need to see it print. Thanks.

jinelab said...

Hello.
This scripture just reached out to me so i wanted to share it and what it meant to me on on my face book group and but could not come upwith the words so i asked the Holy Spirits guidance and decided to google it soon after. When i read your post, it was as though you had nearly the exact words i was looking for. Thank you Lord.