God’s Help: If we commit and trust

Wow. Two big words in the title today. Really big words. They ask a lot of us. They ask everything of us.

Here’s the challenge and the promise, from a simple verse you have probably known since you were a child.

Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Trust him, and he will help you.
(Psalm 37:5)

How simple are those instructions? Commit everything today to the Lord. Trust Him.

And He will help you.

Lessons straight from the Bible and the dictionary today, folks.

“Commit” – one meaning is to give in trust or to entrust for safekeeping. Reminds me of a verse I hang onto … My times are in your hands, Lord. (see Psalm 31:15)

A second meaning is to bind or pledge oneself to. When I’m committed to some person or principle or purpose, that commitment shapes my thoughts and behavior. Whatever I do, I’m doing not for myself or other people, but for the Lord (Ephesians 6:7 and Colossians 3:23).

Many translations of this verse say, “Commit thy way to the Lord”. My way, everything I do, my entire walk.

(I’m taking a moment here to think about what I’ve planned this day. Even the little, mundane, insignificant details. Have I committed everything to Him?)

Give it all to the Lord, entrust it to Him. Rely on Him. Pledge this day to Him.

And I can trust Him for … well, everything.

Committing and trusting does require every bit of me.

And He will help me!

He doesn’t promise that I will always have the results I want. But He promises He is there, in every moment, to help me. He delights in every detail of my life, He directs my steps, and though I do stumble, I will never fall, because the Lord holds my hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)

I’m still working at my part—the committing and trusting part. My hope is counting on His help and His holding me.

 

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Psalm Prayer:

Bend down, hear my prayer. I need help.
(Psalm 86:1)

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 MORE: Exodus 15:1-18; Deuteronomy 9:3; Deuteronomy 31:6; Psalm 10:17; Psalm 34; Psalm 37:5; Psalm 38:18-22; Psalm 40; Psalm 46:1; Psalm 63:7-8; Psalm 91:14-15; Psalm 115:9-11; Psalm 116:1-9; Psalm 118:7-9, 13-16; Psalm 121; Psalm 145:14-20; Psalm 146:3-6; Isaiah 41:8-10, 13; Isaiah 63:9; Nahum 1:7; John 14:15-17, 26; John 16:33; Romans 8:26a, 28; Philippians 4:13; Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 13:5-6; Hebrews 13:20-21

 

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© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

God’s Help: Every day, every step

I wanted to scream at him. Screaming would have vented my frustration. But I wanted more than a scream. I also wanted to let loose all the sharp and nasty things clamoring to get out of my head and let them fly right at him. Then stomp away. Maybe slam a door for good measure. The man was just so difficult, so bullheaded, so negative.

I didn’t let fly with my own barbs. Or do any of the other things I wanted to do.

But Jesus and I … we’re still having a conversation about that conversation

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Sometimes we think, “Wouldn’t it have been something to live when Jesus did? To be able to walk along with Him, listening to His teaching. To follow Him then…”

I think we probably would have been just like the twelve disciples He did choose.  Many times unable to understand. Unable to grasp what He was trying to show us. Arguing amongst ourselves occasionally. At times, totally missing His point. There were some who followed Him then who decided to give it up — His teaching was just too hard.

Yes, I think Jesus was probably frustrated many times with His disciples’ lack of understanding.

This is what is amazing to me — I get to walk with Jesus on my pilgrimage through this life.

He’s living with me! He never walks away from me to go up into the hills to pray by Himself, or leaves me alone while He’s off on some other mission. We are walking together. He is teaching me as we go along. Guiding me. Helping me. Trying to form His character in me…even though I’m a slow learner. I witness His miracles and work in other lives. And — wonder of wonders — sometimes I even get to be a part of what He is doing.

Jesus’ promise before He left the earth was that His Spirit would come to help and teach and guide. And this is what my hope relies on — that His Spirit is there to help me. Every day. Every step of the journey. Even when I’m stubborn and selfish and refuse His help, He does not abandon me.

When we call for help, He’s there.

I sit down to write sometimes with a mind that refuses to open up and be creative. Lord, I need help.

I’ve driven through crazy, life-threatening traffic with no idea what turn is coming next. Lord, I need help. (I have a story about that, for another day.)

I’ve dreaded having to deal with a difficult person. Lord, I need help.

I’ve held onto grudges, unwilling to give them up. Lord, I need help.

I’ve been just like some of those disciples — this is too hard, I just want to do things my own way and not Yours… Lord, I REALLY need help.

He has come to live with me. To help me along the journey back to His kingdom. Every step. Every day.

Amazing.

 

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Psalm Prayer:

Bend down, hear my prayer. I need help.
(Psalm 86:1)

 

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© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

God’s Help: Joy in the storm

Again, the same question we began with yesterday—when we’re up against the wall, where do we go? Who do we first look to for help? Who do we think can rescue us?

We in Western culture are programmed to be self-reliant, strong, assertive, empowered—we know all the buzz words that today’s self-help mentality promotes.

But what does God say?

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy (Psalm 34:5)

Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in [the Lord]! (Psalm 34:8)

But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the LORD their God. (Psalm 146:5)

When we try to be so self-sufficient, do we miss the joy that bubbles through the trouble of Psalm 34?

Look again at the verses that mention joy.

Those who look to Him for help and those who take refuge in Him are the ones who find radiant joy.

Are we looking to the wrong places for our help? Is that why we do not find joy in the midst of our troubles? Is that why all seems so hopeless and helpless?

The Word warns about looking to the wrong things for help – powerful people, money, or, yes, even our own strength. All of those fail us. God never does.

Many years ago, the Medical Mission Sisters recorded a song called “Joy is like the rain.” The lyrics talk about finding joy in the middle of trouble and storms. This line came back to me today–

“Christ asleep within my boat, whipped by wind yet still afloat…”

That’s us! Our boat whipped by the elements, but still floating, because, as another old hymn says, “Nothing can swallow the ship where lies, the Master of ocean and earth and skies!”

Well, now I’ve got songs going round in my head.

Our hope, our great and mighty Help, is the Lord of the Universe. Recognize this, children of God. He goes before you, every step of your way!

There’s our joy!

Because you are my Helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 63:7)

 

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Psalm Prayer:

Bend down, hear my prayer. I need help.
(Psalm 86:1)

 

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© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

God’s Help: In real life? Let the helpless take heart…

What do we do when we are up against a wall? Every one of us will see times when we are helpless—totally powerless to make a difference in a situation or circumstance.

That’s real life.

Lord, I need help!

Psalm 34 was written by a man who lived through a lot of trouble. Family turmoil. A rebellious son who tried to kill him. Betrayal by people he trusted. Powerful and deceitful people working against him. A heavy burden of guilt. And even feelings of alienation from the God he loved and depended on.

Psalm 34 is real life, too.

I will praise the LORD at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the LORD;
let all who are helpless take heart.
I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
(Psalm 34:1-2)

Psalm 34 is real life. There’s a lot of talk of helplessness, desperation, trouble, fear—things we face every day. We find ourselves helpless in the face of a diagnosis or the conflicts in a relationship. Finances create anxiety. We walk in a world filled with monstrous evil. We are not immune to all that brings pain and tears.

But in Psalm 34 we also find joy and praise and gladness. There’s an exuberance there, side by side with trouble and turmoil. That’s the life I want!

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy …
Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! (v.5, 8)

Lord, I need help!

When we are helpless, we can take heart because we are not without help. We can take heart because the Lord’s eyes and ears are open to His people and He is good. He will answer!

David teaches us this: Constantly praise the Lord. Remember who the Lord is and what He has done. Remember that He comes to rescue us and will also bless us with good things even in the midst of trouble.

Tell of the Lord’s goodness. Speak of the greatness of our Father. This is an antidote for the feeling of helplessness.

“Let the helpless take heart” reminds me of Christ’s words: “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world. I’m not going to leave you alone. My power will work in you, and my power is greater than any power in the world.”

This is who our God says He is.

There is nowhere else to find help as we face real life today.

It may be ripples of small troubles upsetting our day. Or it could be a terrifying tidal wave sweeping over our life and we fear we are drowning.

“The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help.” (v.17)

Lord, I need help!

The helpless are never without help.

 

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Psalm Prayer:

Bend down, hear my prayer. I need help.
(Psalm 86:1)

 

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© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

God’s Help: Tearing open the heavens and bursting through!

A few more stories today, just because I like them so much …

David has finally been anointed king, and the Philistines soon come against him. Their army is spread out in the valley in front of David’s stronghold, and he goes to God for advice. Should I go and fight them? Will you hand them over to me?

“Yes,” God replied. “Go. I will certainly do it.”

So David goes out to battle and smashes the enemy. But he takes no credit himself. The credit all goes to the Lord. Says David: “The Lord burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” He named the place Baal-perazim, which means “the Lord who bursts through.”

Wouldn’t you like to have the Lord burst through your enemies?

Psalm 18 paints a great picture of God tearing open the heavens and coming down Himself to rescue one who depended on His help. Wouldn’t it be great if God tore open the heavens and came to your rescue in impossible situations?

He does.

He has torn open heaven and come down not only to rescue us but to live with us. He comes to abide with His children. He makes His home with us and we share a life together.

Do we see God bursting through to help us? He does it every day, in ways huge and small. Do we ask for our eyes to be opened to see it?

The Philistines, bullies that they were, just never gave up. They came back another day, again trying to defeat David. And again David went to God for help. This time, God gave him a strategy for the battle: Circle around behind. Attack them near the poplar trees. And “when you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the Lord is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” (The story is in 2 Samuel 5.)

Marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees. That image fascinates me. Like the chariots of fire that Elijah saw coming to their rescue, God sent a squad to rescue David.

My hope knows that God is still the same God, rescuing and helping His children. He says to us today, “I am here to help you.”

Do we look for His help every day? Do we listen for the marching feet in the poplars?

And one more example —

As the Israelites prepared to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land, Moses warned them that they were going to face stiff opposition. It was a good land, but the inhabitants were strong and powerful, descendants of giants, and their cities were well fortified…

BUT …

“But recognize today that the LORD your God is the one who will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the LORD has promised.” (Deuteronomy 9:3)

Recognize this. Know this. The Lord goes before you!

And later he reiterates:

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Those are words for us. Recognize that the Lord goes before you. Do not be afraid of problems and conflict and seemingly impossible situations, insurmountable odds, or unconquerable opposition. Do not panic. The Lord your God personally goes ahead of you.

He’s torn open the heavens to be with you and help you.

 

 

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Psalm Prayer:

Bend down, hear my prayer. I need help.
(Psalm 86:1)

 

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© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)