Trusting to Jump into the Pool of Life

While spending the night at a motel, we walked past the swimming pool and observed the following scene. A father was encouraging his small daughter to jump into the water. Actually, Dad was inviting the girl to jump into his arms because the father was already in the water. The little lass was hesitant because the water was much deeper in this location than where she had previously been playing in the shallow end of the pool. The father was asking his child to trust him and take a risk. It would be fun. Although this was not an unusual interaction to be happening during a family swim time, the Lord asked me to look more closely as He wanted to reveal something to me through this encounter.

The young girl playing in the shallow water was enjoying herself but the father wanted to interact more personally with his daughter. He desired to be closer to her. Maybe he wanted to teach his daughter how to swim or help her overcome a fear of deep water. Our Heavenly Father has a similar yearning for us. Although attending a worship service on Sunday mornings has value for us as believers, God longs for a deeper personal relationship with each of us. (Exodus 20:8 says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Hebrews 10:25 NLT says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another.”) God does not want us to be content to only “play church” for a couple of hours every Sunday. This represents a person with a shallow faith. Our Heavenly Father holds out His arms asking each of us to trust Him and jump with both feet into a commitment of living with Him and for Him 24/7. (John 3:16-17,36 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.)

Let’s create a spiritual setting for our swimming scenario with our Heavenly Father. He invites us to jump into the pool of life with Him. Isaiah 51:15-16 says, “For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar – the LORD Almighty is His name. I have put My words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”

Are we, as believers, ready to jump into a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father? Deuteronomy 33:27 says, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” These are safe arms waiting for us! In case, we fear something unsafe might happen after we jump, Isaiah 50:1 assures us, “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.” When we jump into the arms of our Heavenly Father, we have the opportunity to jump into the His Word. We can trust our Heavenly Father because of promises He has given us.

I want to encourage you to quit playing in the shallow end of faith and jump into a deeper relationship with God. Let me share with you some scriptures that will give you confidence to trust our Heavenly Father with your life.

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:18

He will not let your foot slip–
He who watches over you will not slumber;
Psalm 121:3

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

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

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.
Psalm 56:3

I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.
Psalm 13:5

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Joyfully,
Cheryl

 

*Click on image to find the credit for appropriate image.

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A Fragile Word

All was quiet around me. I was in bed but not asleep. My mind was still drifting over thoughts of the evening’s experiences of the retreat I was attending. Then my spiritual ears heard the following words from the Lord. “I have entrusted My child, Adam, to you. He is fragile. Just love him. I am working. Walk with Me.” I felt like I was the boy Samuel fulfilling Eli’s instructions of I Samuel 3:9,”Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” I was listening! In what I share in the following paragraphs, I have changed the name of this individual to Adam representing the first human being God created. Adam can be any one of us. I am not referring to a male or female person, but I have chosen to use the masculine pronoun. Although this was a very personal word, I think many of my readers will be able to insert the name of their own Adam into these brief statements. My Reader, search your life and see if you are called to apply these statements to a special someone in your life as I expand upon the insights I discovered.

fragile-birdsI have entrusted My child, Adam, to you.

The first word that caught my attention was entrusted. It was humbling to think that God was investing me with responsibility for someone’s life. Then I remembered Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” I praised the Lord that He desired me to partner with Him for the fulfillment of His plans and purposes for this individual.

fragile-roseHe is fragile.

Since the Lord chose “fragile” to describe this particular child that belonged to Him, I pondered the meaning of the word. Two characteristics came to mind: vulnerability and the ability to be broken.

If a person is vulnerable, he is susceptible to being wounded physically, emotionally and spiritually. There is most likely a weakness within the character and personality of this person. I want Adam to know that according to II Corinthians 12:9 the Lord says to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” My husband and I often watch Antique Roadshow on TV. There is a commercial of an active boy running back and forth in front of a table where an expensive vase is placed. Hands come and grasp the vase to keep it from falling and being broken. To me, this depicts the vulnerability of the object to be broken. I apply this to Adam. Paul says in II Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” As I think about a person being breakable, I sense both the negative and the positive possibilities. When something is broken, its original condition is lost. The specific vase in the TV commercial could never have been replaced if it had broken. However, when thinking about a person being broken, it can be a good thing. The Lord is able to take the vulnerability and weakness of a person and repair him to be better than he was previously. David says in Psalm 34:18 NLT, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Also Psalm 51:17 NLT says, “You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”

loveJust love him.

When I first heard the Lord’s words regarding Adam’s life, I was overwhelmed. However, then the Lord gave me guidance as to what He wanted me to do. Love is a simple four letter word but it not necessarily an easy task to fulfill. I turn to the love chapter of the Bible for guidance. I highlight words from I Corinthians 13:4, 7,8, and 13, “Love is patient, love is kind….It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I am particularly assured and strengthened by the fact that love never fails. I have heard it said that love is wanting what is best for the other person. Yes Lord, help me love my Adam!

handI am working.

The Lord has entrusted me with a responsibility for this Adam but I am not alone. God said to Moses in Exodus 3:14, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” For me, I AM is one of the greatest names of God. In my particular present situation, I AM is working with me. I rely upon Psalm 147:3 that says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God is doing the work – not me. All God asks of me is to love my Adam. I can say to Adam the same words Moses spoke to the Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you.”

footprints-in-sandWalk with Me.

The the last words the Lord spoke to me that evening were words for my personal guidance. I was assured of His presence and help as I accepted the call He spoke to me. With the writer of Psalm 86:11 NKJV I say, “Teach me your ways, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to Your name.” May I fulfill the directive of Galatians 5:16, “Walk by the Spirit.”

I have embraced the words God spoke into my spirit that evening. I am now in the process of partnering with the Lord for His work in Adam’s fragile life. As God entrusts me to walk along side Adam, I strive to “Trust in the LORD with all my heart And do not lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him, And He will make my paths straight.” according to Proverbs 3:5-6. (italics are pronouns personalized by author)

My Reader, do you sense the Lord calling you to love someone who is fragile? Remember, the Lord will walk with you wherever He leads you.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
gold apple new

A Spoonful of Hope

spoon-of-cereal-mf

bible-for-study-mfI am imagining that my Bible is a big bowl of cereal and I am digging into  it with my spoon to find scriptures to feed upon and satisfy my hunger. Today, I have an appetite for HOPE. My Reader, please join me in my search for nourishment within a spoonful of hope. In I Corinthians 3:1-2, Paul speaks of God’s Word as being milk for spiritual infants and meat for men of the Spirit. So, please join me in digging into scripture and finding a few spoonsful of hope for us to feed upon.

 

spoon-of-sugar-pink-mfI am reminded of the song A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down from the movie Mary Poppins. For me, “A Spoonful of Hope Helps My Day Go Up.” Hope helps me to see situations from a positive rather than a negative perspective. It is interesting that the first reference to hope in the Bible deals with the appearance of no hope. Listen to the words of Naomi. Return, my daughters! Go, for I am too old to have a husband. If I said I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight and also bear sons, would you therefore wait until they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; for it is harder for me than for you, for the hand of the LORD has gone forth against me.” Ruth 1:12-13 Even though there did not appear to be any hope, Ruth chose to stay with her mother-in-law. Throughout the remainder of the book of Ruth, we learn that the God of Hope intervened to provide Ruth with a husband and Naomi with a grandson. The story of Ruth and Naomi reminds me to trust God and rely upon His hope even when my circumstances appear to have no hope. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust I him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 My Reader, this scripture is a spoonful of hope for both of us!

dice

cross-4-mfHope is not just a throw of the dice. Hope is holding the cross of Christ in your hand while waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises. The Lord is our source of hope. I like what Psalm 71:5 says in he New Living Translation, “O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O LORD, from childhood.” I become aware of a correlation between hope and trust. My hope originates with the Lord. For me, hope is possible because of Luke 1:37. The New International Version says, “For no word from God will ever fail.” This allows me to place hope in scripture. I like the wording of this verse in a couple of other translations. The New Living Translations says, “For nothing is impossible with God.” and the New American Standard Bible states, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” One translation relates God’s impossibility to the present while the other speaks in the future tense. According to Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, so the same is true regarding His words and actions. I once read that hope is “impossible” with the “im” erased. Listen to Mark 9:23, “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Hope is possible because nothing is impossible with God!

hope-maybe-mf

hands-10-mfHope does not keep us bound in ropes that prevent us from achieving what God desires for us. Jeremiah 29:11-13 promises, “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” This is one of my favorite Bible verses! However, while being confident in God’s hope we also need to be aware of the words to Timothy in I Timothy 5:17, Do not be arrogant nor put your hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but put your hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Our hope for the future needs to be based upon God’s kind of hope in order for us to fully succeed according to Gd’s plan. Most likely there will be times when we all will feel hopeless. When these times occur, we need to say with the Psalmist in Psalm 42:5, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” We also can find hope in Proverbs 23:18, “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” We never need to be fearful of the hope and the future the Lord has for us because of the promise found in Romans 5:5, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 

spoon-of-strawberry-mfBiblical hope is based upon God’s promises. So, let’s go back to our bowl of cereal, the Bible, and find a few more spoonful of hope. As you dig deeply into God’s Word, may your spoon of life be filled with hope. I encourage you to look for a verse that is like a delicious strawberry on top of your cereal just for you. The Lord likes to fill our spoons of life with verses that are appropriate and appealing to our specific needs. Be filled with hope!

spoon of strawberry mfBut hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Romans 8:24-26 NIV

And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
Psalm 39:7 NAS

spoon of strawberry mfThe LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147:11 NIV


You will be secure, because there is hope;
Job 11:18 NIV

The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147:11 NIV


Be joyful in
hope
, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12 NIV

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
 Isaiah 40:31 NIV

I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.
Psalm 71:14 ESV

Joyfully,
Cheryl
gold apple new

*Author’s choice to highlight hope in above scriptures.