Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. ~2 Timothy 2:15

About Me

I am a young man who is following God's call into pastoral ministry. I have been so blessed with the privileges which the Lord has granted me. I am blessed to serve the Mt. Joy congregation in Mt. Pleasant, PA. I am constantly humbled and amazed at what the Lord is doing in my life.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Work in Progress that Will be Completed

But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
~1 Thessalonians 5:12-24

In the closing of his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul gives them several instructions on how they should live. He provides advice on how they should treat their elders (vv 12-13) as well as each other (vv 14-15). He also commands three things they ought to do in direction to God; Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks (vv 16-18). Notice that these three are categorized as God's will for the believer. So, for those who struggle with what God's will is for you, here is part of your answer. If you are not following these three commands, you will not be where you need to be to hear His guidance for personal areas of where God may be directing you. The last couple of instructions call for examination, holding on to the good, and staying away from evil (vv 19-22).

These are all clear commands for the believer. In fact, 15 of the verbs used in this passage are in the imperative form in Greek, indicating them being used as a command. These instructions pertain to the believer's sanctification. This is the fancy term used to describe the process of the believer progressing towards holiness. It is the process those who are have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are currently involved. In Justification the sinner is declared righteous by the means of their faith in Christ. In Sanctification the sinner is progressively made righteous and in his final Glorification, the believer is presented righteous by Christ before God's throne. Sanctification serves as the bridge God uses to bring the sinner whom He now views as being as righteous as Christ to be perfect in glory where he will no longer be able to sin. Thus, we are a work in progress yet to be completed.

Right after giving this list of instructions, Paul then prays that God would sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (v 23). Although he had just given exhortations of what one should do as part of their seeking to live a holy life for God's glory, he asked for God to do the work to aid in the believer's progress. This coupling of an exhortation followed by a promise of God providing and enabling the believer to live it out is common through out Scripture. One of the clearest pictures of this in in Philippians 2:12-13. In v. 12, Paul commands to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Then he gives the reason that we are able to follow this command: for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (v. 13). Therefore, we work only because and on the basis of God's work within us. Paul must have realized that apart from God's grace, we would not be able to heed these admonishments given and progress forward. The truth that these are not easy tasks can be seen in the lack of them being performed and in specifically how we struggle to live them out daily. We need God's daily doses of grace to help us live for Him to bring Him glory. Augustine realized this when he stated in his Confessions, Command what thou wilt, but give what thou command. Thankfully, our sanctification is not in our own hands but God's. Paul held a similar hope for the church of Philippi, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

This work of God to sanctify entirely led Paul to describe Him as faithful because not only does He bring one to salvation (Paul's typical use of the verb for to call) but He will complete the work He began the day they became born again (He also will bring it to pass). The it refers back to the sanctifying just previously mentioned. Jesus Himself promised that of those who are saved, He will raise him up on the last day (John 6:44). In the unbreakable "Golden Chain of Redemption" in Romans 8:29-30, Paul describes those who have been foreknown by God, predestined, called, justified as also glorified which is a future state. Glorified is in the past tense, indicating that in God's mind it has basically already occurred because He fully intends to complete the work He started. The author of Hebrews even describes Jesus in His role of divine priest as For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:14). Perfected is in the past tense while the participle for to sanctify is present tense. This indicates that Christ through His death completes (another possible translation for the Greek verb teliow, defined as "complete, finish, accomplish, bring to its goal, perfect") the one who is currently in the process of being sanctified. Also, the verb is passive, pointing to God as the one who ultimately does the sanctifying of the believer. The passive form of a Greek verb indicates that the subject of the verb receives the action instead of performing it as the active form would signify. God will ensure that the believer will come to the completion of his sanctification in glory. Other Scriptures reveal that He does this through means such as suffering (James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:3-9), discipline (Hebrews 12:7-11), and possibly warnings not to stray from the faith (Hebrews 6:4-8).

This should be a major encouragement for us. We are not left in our Christian walk alone. God is with us and will guard, protect, and bring us to glory as we strive forward to serve Him. God does not just pick us up on the side of the road, dead and dirty due to our sins, then give us life and wash us just to hand us a Bible as a roadmap and drop us off on the side of the road saying "I hope to see you in glory." Instead, He not only picks us up off the side of the road but will drive us all the way to glory. So, let us move forward and struggle to live for the glory of God and praise Him for His enablement to do so as well as trusting that He will complete the work He has begun and continues to do in our lives. Praise God that while we are currently a "work in progress," we will be complete due to God's power and grace! May we rely fully and solely on Him to live for Him!

In Christ,
Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lessons From 9/11

Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
~Luke 13:1-5

Today thousands in the nation take time out of their busy schedules to commemorate and remember those who lost their lives in the horrible tragedy which occurred the morning of this day eight years ago. Many of us remember how that day changed the way we thought about the country, our loved ones, and even our lives. Many still are struggling with what they have seen, or with those they have lost in the tragedy. Some lives may never be the same again. While not belittling the victims of the tragedy, I want to look at what those who are still living can learn from this event.

The days following the 9/11 attacks brought several questions. Several of these questions concerned God and His role in the event. People struggled with trying to grasp any reasons God may have allowed or permitted this to happen. Some wondered if the people who went for what they thought would have been a normal day at work deserved to play the victims of such a horrible scenario.

Clearly God was in control of that day and is still in control of our world today. Scripture tells us that God works all things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11). Through Amos God communicates, If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it? (Amos 3:6) and Jesus says that a sparrow does not fall to the ground apart from your Father (Matthew 10:29). Even Satan himself is under the sovereignty of God. Jesus acknowledged to Peter that Satan could not test the disciples' faith without God's allowance. Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat (Luke 22:31). Likewise, Satan could not tamper with Job without God's permission and He set clear boundaries where Satan would not be able to trend. In the first meeting with Satan, God agreed to let him test Job but would not allow him to put forth your hand on him (Job 1:12) and the second time God gave Job into his control but would not permit him to kill His righteous servant. Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life (Job 2:6). This is a very comforting truth. Our lives may seem like they are spirling out of control, but the truth is that we are still in God's hands and He is working to bring things to His ultimate purpose. You may be down at your lowest, but we have hope that God IS in control and causing all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Even in the worst of times, we have comfort knowing there is a loving and good God in control who has a purpose in the suffering. God was there that day on 9/11 and, even amist the sorrow, several testimonies to His goodness have been proclaimed. His sovereign hand never left the situation!

The second major question the World Trade Center attacks spawned is one which is a common response to every huge natural disaster or catastrophe: "What did this group do to deserve this?" This was seen after the tsunami in India as well as New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina. In fact, Jesus was asked a similar question about 2000 years ago. While speaking to a large crowd, a group informs Jesus about an atrocity which Pilate had committed. The exact situation is unknown to us today but we can infer that it had something to do with a slaughter of Jews during their sacrifices. Not only was this a terrible occurrence, but it took place during worship which made it even more horrendous. Jesus realized right away the question that they had concerning this issue. They thought that this plight was the result of them being greater sinners than all others. However, Jesus sought to turn their perspective completely around.

Instead of agreeing with their assumption, Jesus took the focus off the victims and placed it on the questioners. The reason this group was slaughtered was not because they were greater sinners. The ones who were killed were no more sinners than the ones commenting concerning them. (Note: This does not necessarily mean that the events God permits to occur are punishment for specific sins. John 9 makes it clear that, while a result of the curse of sin, not all infirmities and incidents are due to specific sins.) Those who died in the tsunami, in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and with Hurricane Katrina were no more sinners than those of you reading this note as well as the one writing it. We deserved the same! I will never forget a powerful sermon my pastor preached right after the tsunami a few years ago. He told us that the question is not "why them?" but should be "why not us?" We didn't deserve God's mercy to not have the tsunami happen in America, or to not have been in the Pentagon or World Trade Center on that day, as well as having the hurricane wreck havoc on the NorthEast or MidWest. As Scripture tells us, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We get so used to God's mercy we have problems when He shows us His wrath.

Jesus actually warns the crowd of an even greater fate, much worse than what happened with Pilate and the later example of the falling of the tower of Siloam. Unless they repent of their sins, they will perish (Luke 13:3,5). This is Jesus' urgent plea to those who are lost in sin. Repentance means a turning from sin. It is the flip side of faith. One turns from sin in repentance and then turns toward Christ by placing their faith in Him. The likewise may refer to the sudden and unexpected death of those in the Temple and at Siloam. Those who went to the Temple that day to offer their sacrifices did not realize that they would not be returning home. The possibility of the tower falling on the group in Siloam probably never occurred to them. Likewise, if the crowd does not turn from their sins and turn to Christ they will suddenly and unexpectedly (to them) experience the punishment for their sins. The author of Hebrews tells us that it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

No one is guaranteed of their next heartbeat or breath. If we should learn something from modern headlines, it is that death is no respecter of age. If you have not turned from your sins and placed your faith in the Lord Jesus, then Jesus' plea for repentance is for you. Like those in the Temple and at Siloam, you do not know when the day will come and it will be too late. Many who left for work that morning of 9/11 did not know that they would not leave the building. Several wives did not know that they would not see their husbands again. I am not attempting to scare anyone, I just want to point out reality. For us who are Christians, this is a reminder that life is too short to waste! Let us give out Jesus' plea to those who need to hear it in our families, schools, and at our places of employment!

Praying for those involved with the attacks in any way as well as us who can learn from God's mercy,
Lee Smith
Soli Deo Gloria!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Problem with the Title "Calvinist"

For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake.
~2 Corinthians 4:5

A title I often have problems with is that of "Calvinist." Granted, I do wholeheartedly believe, embrace, and teach the "Doctrines of Grace" (the so-called "Five points of Calvinism") as I see them all taught in Scripture. If I did not see these being consistently taught throughout all of Scripture, I would never hold to them or teach them myself. These doctrines have been summarized, though not perfectly, in the acrostic TULIP: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement (though I prefer to think of it as "Definite Redemption" in that Christ's death secured the salvation of all who believe, that it was an actual redemption instead of a potential one), Irrestible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints (the truth that Jesus is not only the author of our faith but also the perfector of it (Hebrews 12:2) and that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6)). One of my issues in carrying such a title is the fact that I do not like titles in general except for that of Christ (see my previous post, "What's in a Title?" for more on this: But there are some other reasons as well.

One issue I have with the title "Calvinist" is that it places too much emphasis on a man and not enough on God's Word. The first thought in someone's mind when they hear that someone is a "Calvinist" is a French Reformer in Geneva and not God's Word. The connotation is that one is a follower of Calvin instead of Scripture. Yet the entire reason that most (unfortunately not all, there are some who hold to more of a system instead of the truth of Scripture) hold to such views is due to their study of Scripture. I did not always hold these views of God's grace but it was through years of studying God's Word that the Holy Spirit began to open up my eyes to man's utter sinfulness and God's supreme sovereignty and the implications of them. I found myself arguing with the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans and realized that either I had to be wrong or Scripture was and since Scripture could not err I must have been the one with the misunderstanding. The more I studied the more the Lord began to show me how things fit together in His Word and prompted me to glorify Him for His work. In fact, the only reason that Calvin held to such views himself was because of his resolute study of the Scriptures. He is recognized by several scholars today as being one of the finest exegetes and expositors of God's Word. The Word of God was central in his ministry to the flock God entrusted to him in Geneva, especially in his teaching and preaching ministry to them. While he may not have been correct in all of his views and teaching (especially concerning infant baptism and the millennial kingdom in my understanding of Scripture's teaching on them), he clearly sought to be as true to the text as possible.

There was an article in Time magazine a few months ago that identified what the author of the story believed were the top ten forces changing the world. The resurgence of Calvinism was number 3. While many Reformed bloggers and authors were a buzz with excitement over this news, I was disheartened. I would have loved the line to have read that the Bible was the force changing the world and not "Calvinism." After all, agreeing with the "Prince of Preachers," Charles Spurgeon, I believe that the doctrines taught by "Calvinists" are really doctrines taught by Scripture and nothing more or less. If only the true source of change was noted instead of a dead man who saw himself as worthless and all that resulted from him being the work of God through His Word.

Also, the title is often mistaken and misunderstood. I don't know how many times, upon hearing my teaching of Scripture and identifying me with the "Calvinist" label, that someone has accused me of being against missions and prayer. Anyone who knows me would recognize how preposterous such claims are. No Christian can be against missions and prayer. Both are clearly taught and commanded in Scripture. To not participate in missions somehow and prayer are acts of disobedience. In fact, a lack of concern for the lost may be evidence of the condition of one's heart. Most of the greatest evangelists in our history would fit the label of "Calvinist": George Whitefield, Jonathon Edwards, Dwight L. Moody (to an extent),William Carey (labeled the "father of modern missions") and Charles Spurgeon. Those who do hold to such views that evangelism and missions as well as prayer are unnecessary have veered far from the bounds of Scripture. Historically those who have erred in this way have been referred to as "hyperCalvinists." Unfortunately, such a distinction between the two are no longer made today, leading to highly exaggerated caricatures of those who are seeking to live out and be faithful to sound doctrine. In fact, Spurgeon both argued against the Arminians and HyperCalvinists in what he saw both to be misunderstandings of the teachings of Scripture.

Due to Calvin's name, a common misunderstanding is that those who carry such a label agree with the Reformer on everything. As I have mentioned earlier, I have major disagreement with his views on infant baptism and eschatology (the study of the end times). I actually came to understand the Doctrines of Grace before reading much of Calvin's works. I began reading him after God began to reshape some of my views through the study of His Word. In fact, the title is a misnomer as Calvin was not the first to teach these doctrines. Luther a generation before him taught such truths and Calvin also quoted Augustine who taught them as well. I would also argue that the teachings of Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John concerning these doctrines predated all of these men.

Lastly, such a title is unfair to Calvin himself. He would probably roll over in his grave to hear that people are going around calling themselves his followers. His ultimate goal in life was to bring glory to God. The entire reason that he devoted himself to the systematic expository preaching of God's Word was that he believed that it was the best way to display God's glory that shines through His written Word. In honoring the Word of God he sought to honor the God of the Word. In fact, Calvin's body currently resides in an unmarked grave somewhere in Geneva just as he requested so that no one could turn it into a shrine. Even in death he wanted people to focus on the God he proclaimed and not himself. Too bad many have built such a shrine around the fallible man whose only good came from the God who worked both in and through him.

I realize that there is no way to escape the label or change it as it has become well-established over the many years since the Synod of Dort. Though I do fit such a label and will continue to hold it, I will continue to strive to be true to Scripture regardless of whether that makes me an Armianian, Calvinist, Dispensationalist, or (insert any other theological system here). May we not get caught up with our title that we forget the truth we proclaim!

In Christ,
Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Trouble with Trusting

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

~Proverbs 3:5-6

Webster’s dictionary defines the word, “trust,” as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something” and as a “dependence on something future or contingent.” In other words, it is placing complete assurance in something else. This word plays an important part in our lives as we exercise it daily. We trust our money to the bank when we make a deposit. We trust that our kids will be safe when we drop them off at school or daycare in the morning. We trust that the driver in the adjacent lane at the crossways will actually stop at the light or sign. We trust that our car will take us through the stoplight to our upcoming destination. In fact, I bet you didn’t realize that all of these routine actions consisted of you placing your trust in something or someone. You seldom think twice about the bank not safely keeping your money . . . well, maybe that one is not as true now with the economy, but you get my point. While these actions of trust appear easy due to us carrying them out everyday, why is it then so hard to trust God who has a much better tract record than the banks which can close, the traffic that might not stop, and the car that does not always run? This seems to be the area in which we struggle the most. The fact that we worry is evidence that we are not trusting God. For worry is us trying to handle the situation than “letting go” of the problem and “letting God” take care of it. Among the rich treasures of wisdom found in Solomon’s proverbs, is an exhortation to trust in the Lord and instructions how to do so.

The father’s list of instruction to the son include the necessity of trusting in the Lord. Trust is a necessary component of our Christian life. Not only is placing our trust in Christ for our problems a remedy for our anxiety, but also essential in winning the spiritual battles we go through daily. We can never accomplish anything in our strength but only in His. As Zechariah puts it: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts (4:6). Trust is also important due to our desire to be obedient to the way that God has called us to live. The father is not encouraging us or persuading us to place our trust in the Lord. Instead he is commanding us as the Hebrew verb is in the imperative form so indicating. Therefore, we cannot choose whether to trust in the Lord or not. To choose not to place our trust in Him would be to choose to be disobedient to the Lord’s desire for how we are to live our lives. This is the last thing we want to do. But the question then arises: How should we place our trust in the Lord?

One way in which Solomon instructs us to place our trust in the Lord is with all our heart. This refers to our inner self. The word heart in the Bible is used several ways to refer to our emotions, mind, or will. Together these make up our inner composition. Thus, this is a call to deep inward commitment and not merely outward appearance. Telling people that you are trusting God and mimicking a peaceful smile does not constitute fully trusting the Lord. Remember, All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, / But the LORD weighs the motives (Proverbs 16:2). The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. Genuine trust must come from the heart and work its way out.

Notice that this is all your heart and not half. This is an undivided trust. We cannot trust God halfway with the other half trusting in the world. We cannot trust in both God and wealth. In fact, the main point of Jesus’ oft quoted teaching on worry in the sermon on the mount is not anxiety. Instead, it concerns in Whom or what one places their trust in. Right before Jesus tells the crowd of disciples do not be worried about your life, He states that You cannot serve God and wealth. The previous context has been whether one’s true treasure was earthly or heavenly. Jesus’ main thrust then is that you need do not need to place your trust in money for daily necessities but in God who can supply all your needs. God takes care of the sparrows and lilies and they do not work for a living. One good thing about the economic situation we are currently in is that it is a visible reminder the frailty of money and the foolishness in placing our trust in it.

A good example of one who placed his full trust in the Lord was King David. While David could never be described as perfect due to the recorded sins of the situation with Bathsheba and the taking of the census later on in life, God described him as having followed Me with all his heart (1 Kings 14:8). David was solely devoted to the Lord. This trust in the Lord was what granted the young shepherd boy victory in the battle over Goliath the giant. He stated that The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine (1 Samuel 17:37). He trusted that the LORD would deliver the giant into his hands (1 Samuel 17:46) and God used him as His chosen instrument to strike down the giant. He did not trust in the armor Saul offered him or his own strength, but instead God who won the victory. We would do well to imitate such a one who trusted God with all their heart.

Another way this text tells us to place our trust in the Lord is by not leaning on our own understanding. This is the opposite of trusting the Lord with all our heart, with all our being. The idea of leaning is that of depending or resting upon something. Instead of depending or resting upon God, this is trusting in what we think is right. One of the biggest mistakes a Christian can make is to rely on his feelings to determine where God may be leading us instead of seeking Him in prayer and through study of His Word. While God gave us emotions and these feelings, they are not the best tool for discernment as they move up and down like a roller coaster and can easily be manipulated. How many times have we made a decision based on an emotion we were having at the time to discover it was not the best choice to make? This could be just one example of depending on our own understanding instead of God Himself. We need to remember the wise counsel later in this book that There is a way which seems right to a man, / But its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12). What we often think is right leads us down a wrong path. We believe that we know what’s best to find out that we have done it wrong all along. A couple of years ago I helped a friend put together a nice wooden entertainment center his family at just purchased. Being the typical stereotypical guy, I assumed that I did not need to look at the directions as I had put several of these together before and they were basically all the same. I was leaning on my own understanding. I finished the masterpiece only to discover that I had built it completely upside down! Had I actually relied on the instructions rather than what I thought best, this might not have happened. The same can be said for us spiritually. God surely knows better than we and we need His instructions to know what to do. Everything that we try to do only results in being backwards. I can attest to the fact that every time I have tried to do something my way I have fallen flat on my face. However, when I seek to do things God’s way, it is successful; not because anything I have done but due to Him. This is why it is important to not lean on what we think is best but rely on God Who knows what is best.

Again we cannot trust fully in two different things at once. We cannot both rely on our own understanding and God simultaneously. Too often than not, our understanding of how we should approach a situation is quite the opposite as to the way that God has for us. Isaiah tells us that For My thoughts are not your thoughts, / Nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, / So are My ways higher than your ways / And my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Submitting to God and trusting only in Him can prevent much heartache that comes when we try to operate based on our own understanding.

The third way the father instructs us to how we should trust in the Lord is in all your ways acknowledge Him. This has to do with our focus. We need to have a Godward focus and recognize His hand in everything that we do and are given in life. The fact that the author states that we are to do this in all ways indicates everything. From the time we open our eyes in the morning to the last thought before we sleep, we are to be acknowledging God. This all ways carries no exceptions. There is not something that we can do where we should not be glorifying God. Scripture calls us to worship Him in everything we do and to do all with the purpose of bringing Him glory. Paul tells us Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31) and Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father (Colossians 3:17). This would include the minute things in life. I read an article by John Piper not too long ago where he talked about the importance of “drinking orange juice for the glory of God.” Even an everyday small thing such as drinking our orange juice with breakfast should be done for God’s glory. We can acknowledge God by thanking him for the orange to make the juice, the one who processed the juice, and the ability to taste the juice. We can also acknowledge God as being in control of all things. One of the greatest comforts for the believer is the promise of Romans 8:28: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Even in the most distressing circumstances, the truth that God is in control and nothing happens outside His knowledge and ordaining, can be soothing. Even through the pain we can acknowledge God by thanking Him for the pain, although it hurts, knowing that He purposes to use it to further conform us into Christ and bring Him glory. We can take joy in problems knowing that God’s end result is endurance (James 1:3).

Also, in trusting God through acknowledging Him in everything we do, we receive the benefit of God clearing several obstacles out of the way on the path we are following. The result of constant and consistent acknowledging of God is for Him to make our paths straight. Just like it is easier to hear someone when you are looking at their face, it is must easier to discern God’s direction when our focus is on Him instead of other things. It is like driving. When you are focused on the road ahead of you, you are less likely of veering off of the road and leaving your lane. But it is when you take your eyes off the road to look down at your CD player or over at the scenery on the side that your driving no longer is straight and you start weaving. The reason that the path you may be on does not seem straight could be due to your failure to not acknowledge God in all that you are doing. This could be due to the failure of not having an attitude that seeks to glorify God in all that you do. A lot of times we wonder why God has not shown us where He would have us to go when the real problem is that we are not looking towards Him. It may not be that God is not speaking as we presume but that we are not listening. Jesus’ statement bears a close resemblance to this: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33). We need to focus on God instead of all these things and God then will take care of those as well.

Take a moment to reflect your life, especially concerning some problems you are currently experiencing. Are you characterized by a complete trust in Christ, careful not to lean on your own understandings, and have an attitude which acknowledges God in all that you do? This is the essence of what it means to trust in the Lord. Much of our lives are harder than they need be due to our failure to live out the original command given to trust in the Lord. May God aid us in fully trusting in Him and in Him only, through thick and thin, and sunshine and in rain.

In Christ,
Soli Deo Gloria!