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Last month in our ministry newsletter we featured an article by Stephen Crosby that unpacked the verse “The just shall live by faith”. We had a couple of emails regarding it so I thought I’d share a little bit more on its theme this month. (see original article here)

In his article Stephen shared that from a Jewish perspective/understanding faith had more to do with relational trust than with cognitive belief. Obviously both are needed, but as western Christians we have tended to believe that faith has more to do with mentally understanding something than relational trust. This has caused an imbalance in our Christian walk on a large scale with many Christians filling our churches who read the Bible, listen to sermons, give mental assent to what they hear and end up with a religious belief in Christ rather than a living, growing relationship with Him. We hear and understand that the Christian life is one of relationship with the Lord yet for many that relationship is a formal and somewhat uneasy one, based on their ability to believe in their minds instead of trust in His nature and character.

The Bible tells us we have all been given a measure of faith (Rom 12:3) and that we need to believe in the Lord (John1:12; 6:29). That’s where the problems lay – we think that believing means agreeing in our mind. Yet believing has as much to do with relational trust as it does with mental agreement. We can only truly believe someone when we know that we can trust them.

When we initially come to Christ we trust that what is shared with us about Him is the truth. And when He comes into our life, filling us with Himself, we find out that it definitely is true! From there we get to know Him, and He proves over and over again His faithfulness, love, trustworthiness and so much more.

So when troubles and challenges come our way we look back on that track record and know that because He previously came though in all those times, He will do so again. That track record of His faithfulness is what builds relational trust. And relational trust makes it easy to walk in faith because we know He can be depended on to come through.

So when it comes to the Lord asking us to do things that require faith, it’s actually relational trust that we step into more than cognitive understanding. We still need the cognitive understanding but that is not all we need; we must combine the two, understanding and trust. It’s this combination that will get us through. We read in the Word testimonies of His faithfulness to others; we read His promises to us and we recall His faithfulness to us. We then step into the reality of His faithfulness, knowing that as He has come through in the past, He will do so again. He will provide all that we need to accomplish what He calls us to, and what our need in that situation calls for.

The Christian walk is one of relationship, not mental assent, so it figures that faith must also be about relational trust not just mental assent and understanding. Everything in the Christian life is about trusting in the Lord, knowing that He has already granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness and that He will supply all our needs according to His riches in Christ – He’s done it many times before and nothing is going to cause Him to violate or break that trust you have in Him. You can depend on Him and put your faith in Him – He is trustworthy. That’s why you can walk and live by faith!

 

We are in the midst of a great awakening in the Church where the children of God are waking up to “who they really are.” Part of the foundation of this awakening is a deepened revelation of the love and goodness of God that is giving birth to a “Love Revolution,” now sweeping the earth. The Church is learning how to live loved and, as a result, is becoming “living love” – pouring out love in ways that is causing transformation to come to thousands daily. You are called to be a part of that revolution, and it starts with knowing that you are loved – unconditionally and irrevocably.

Let Father God love you, really love you, and through the transformational effect on your life, you will not be able to do anything but love as He does. As a result, you too will transform the lives of those you come in contact with.

The One Word That Is At the Heart of the Good News of the Gospel

One of the amazing things Jesus accomplished through both His life and death was to reintroduce a reality that had not existed since the fall of mankind – a loving close relationship with God.

With one word Jesus changed everything. He declared the end of religion and proclaimed the restoration of relationship. He changed forever the way man would see God (if they really looked). That one word is at the heart of the Good News of the Gospel. It’s not the word “forgiveness,” or even the word “grace.” Those are powerful words, but the one word Jesus used to change everything is “Abba.” Abba is the word for “Father” or “Daddy.” It may not sound like much of a revolution-starting word when you first hear it, but that word “Father” changed everything and assaulted every religious belief in existence, both outside and inside Israel.

Knowing “Father” Changes Everything

Jesus came not only as the Savior, but also as a Son. He came to reveal the Father and to provide a way for us to return to relationship with Him. Knowing God as “Father” changes everything because it reveals our reason for being created – to be in a loving, cared-for, protected and provided-for relationship with Father God. We were never meant to have to strive in order to know God, or have to earn a relationship with Him. We were meant to be “children” to the Father – a Father who loves us with 100% pure, untainted, undiluted love and goodness.

Jesus came not only as the way back to the Father but as a model of how we were created to be in relationship with the Father. That’s why He came as a child, as a Son, because only a Son could reveal God as Father. A servant cannot reveal God as the Father – he can only reveal God as “master” or “boss.” Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father”(John 14:9). In Jesus we see the Father’s love revealed and expressed. And once we see the Father, something in us wakes up and remembers that we were made to be in loving relationship with Him!

Experience His Daddy Love

God wants to lavish us with His love. He wants the experiential knowledge of His love to be the very foundation of our lives. He wants all that we do – all the decisions we make and our revelation of who He is and who we are – to be a result of knowing and dwelling in His glorious love. The apostle Paul understood how important it is to have this revelation of God the Father’s love and to experience it. That’s why he prayed, “That you, being rooted and grounded in love…may comprehend what is the breadth, length, height and depth and to know the love of God that surpasses understanding, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

He’s a Good Dad. God is Love. Everything He does is motivated by love. He has no ulterior motives, no agendas except to love. Love is not just something He does; it’s who He is! He doesn’t love you because He wants something from you. He’s not looking for servants. He’s not expecting people to try hard to please Him. He is looking for someone to lavish His love upon. That is the type of Father He is. Yes, we will serve and we will obey, but those are the results of knowing His love, not the means of gaining it.

Some of us never knew our fathers. Or maybe we had fathers who were absent emotionally even if they were there in person. Some of our fathers were abusive. Others demanded perfection of us. Earthly fathers have let many of us down, but we can’t afford to judge God the Father by what our experiences tell us a father is like. I used to, and because of my relationship with my dad I didn’t want to know God as Father. In my mind, fathers weren’t nice; they abused their children. Thankfully those hurts have been healed and I am set free from those lies. Now my relationship with Abba, Daddy God, is so precious to me. I know He will never abuse me, that He only has good things for me. And I know He is the same for you.

His Treasure

Daddy God has chosen us as His special treasure. He IS love and His love melts away our performance-oriented mentality. God does not want to treat us like a servant/slave but as a son/daughter. He’ll let us be a servant if we insist, but it’s not what He wants from the relationship. And if we insist in seeing Him just as master and not Daddy, Abba God, we miss out on so much.

You are a son or daughter of your heavenly Father, the One who is Love and who is forever good through and through. There are no hidden agendas in His love. You now live under a new and everlasting covenant based on Daddy’s promise that He will never stop loving you or doing good for you (see Romans 8:38-39, Jeremiah 32:40)!

God is love; and Daddy God loves you with an everlasting, 100% pure, unfailing love! Revel in His love; soak it up! You are not being greedy; you are not being somehow less spiritually mature by reveling in that love. In fact, really knowing His love is a mark of maturing in childlike faith and trust. Enjoy it – go on, really enjoy it. There are no catches here, no tricks, just pure undefiled love. God, your good Father in Heaven, wants you to know that glorious love, to be set free by it, to make your home in it, to be comfortable in it, and to find the full expression of who you are in it.

 

We’ve just had a great time with Linda and Dan Wilson. They did a mini conference for us called “Supernatural Marriage” and are the authors of the book by that name. It was, I think, the best marriage seminar/conference I have ever attended. Linda and Dan are just such lovers of God and of people that you couldn’t help but be encouraged around them.

While they taught on having a supernatural marriage many of the things they taught were applicable in a far wider arena than marriage. For example – a reminder that the fruit of the Spirit is who we become, not just something we try to do.  Life in Christ is about being transformed into the image of Christ and that affects every area of our lives. There was an encouragement to pray for each other and impart to, prophesy over and release the power of the kingdom into each other’s lives. We were encouraged to consciously draw on the wisdom, might, counsel, understanding etc of the Holy Spirit in all our relationships.

Dan & Linda also shared that because we often live so conscious of the earthly realm we can get lost in the facts of our life, and the truth just gets lost. Yet truth is mightier than facts – the truth of who God is and who he wants to be to us in this present situation and what of heaven he wants to release into the situation.

All these things are a part of living the normal Christian life and it was good to be reminded of them. I don’t know about you but sometimes I find that it is all too easy to forget some of these things in the demands of daily life.

 

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Jesus’ cry from the cross has for centuries been interpreted by the church to mean that the Father forsook Jesus, turned his face from him and left him to face the cross by himself. But is that true? Did the Father actually forsake Jesus and turn his back on him?

As we read those words of Jesus in scripture a seed question becomes planted in our minds – if he forsook Jesus will he turn away from us? I want to look at both of those things in this article – did he forsake Jesus and will he forsake us?

If we take the words of Jesus at face value we might believe that God abandoned Jesus on the cross, however if we look at other scriptures and understand some cultural things we actually begin to see something different.

In scripture we find quite a few verses in the Old Testament that seem to indicate that while God promised not to forsake Israel Deut 4:31 he then goes back on his word and does forsake them. But does he actually forsake them or does their sin have consequences; are they are reaping what they have sown? Here are some of those verses for you to check out – Deut 31:16-18; 1Ki 6:11-13; Neh 9: all esp30 ,31; Is 59:2; Is 54:8.

Let’s look at how God dealt with Jesus because that has a huge significance for us and our lives.

Throughout his lifetime Jesus made some interesting claims.

John 10:30,I and my Father are one.” That reality was never rescinded before, during or after the cross.

In John 14:9 -11 Jesus says four times that he and the Father are in each other. v9 “He that has seen me has seen the Father.”  10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” 11  “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.”

In speaking of his coming death, Jesus believed the Father would not leave him to face it alone.

John 8:28,29 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself…. 29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone.

John 16:32, Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

Then we come to those famous words on the cross… My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me (Matt 27:46)

Did God really turn his back on Jesus and forsake him or was something quite different from what the words seem to imply actually happening. I believe that something different was happening.

Why?

Because God is good (Mk 10:18), he is love (1Jn 4:8) he is faithful (Deut 7:9) cannot be false to his word or who he is and his mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13)

Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the law and obeyed all Gods commandments so God couldn’t go back on his word and forsake Jesus. God said to the children of Israel that if they obeyed his laws then he would never leave nor forsake them (see verses earlier in article).

Jesus himself believed the Father would not leave him or forsake him as seen earlier in this article.

Paul says in 2 Cor 5:19 …God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.  God was IN Christ, they were one, and so he hung there too. The Amplified Bible says it like this “It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).”(AMP)

Although mankind has felt abandoned or forsaken by God since the fall he was not. Even before mankind was created God made provision for the possibility of the fall, even then he decided he would never forsake us. Scripture tells us that Jesus was the lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8)

Jesus, as fallen man, was identifying with us, taking on our sin; our grief, our confusion and the inaccurate feeling of abandonment by God that mankind had suffered since the fall. He was not speaking out of his feeling of abandonment, he knew God was with him, he was speaking out of ours. You might be thinking but the Bible says our sins have separated us from God and hidden his face from us (Is 59:2) Note here it is sin that does the separating, sin that hides Gods face from us making us not able to see him1 not God hiding himself from us because of sin. It is sin that is the bad guy not God. God has not forsaken or abandoned us because of our sin.

Another thing that was happening at that point was something that would be yet another indicator to all present there at the cross, that Jesus was in fact the Messiah, the long awaited one. A teaching practice in those days was that the teacher / rabbi would say the first verse (as we know them) of a Psalm or passage and the listeners would know what was coming, where the teacher was going by quoting that verse.

Those words “My God, my God why have you forsaken me” are a quote of the first verse of Ps 22 – the prophetic, messianic, psalm of deliverance written by David that begins with that cry but goes on to say that God hasn’t despised him or his cry, he has not hidden his face from him, he has heard when he cried to him; and the passage ends with the declaration “they shall come and proclaim his righteousness because he has done it!“  In other words “It is finished” he has delivered us! David is telling us ahead of time that the Father will not turn his face from Jesus and Jesus refers the Jews back to that passage of deliverance by using this phrase.

Most of those Jews listening would know that Jesus was referencing the entire passage especially any Pharisees or Sadducees there. They knew their scriptures and were familiar with the Messianic prophecies. For those that heard this cry aright, they would have heard that Jesus did not feel forsaken; they would have heard that he was proclaiming hope and deliverance.

Yes there were some who did not get that, who thought he was crying out to Elijah but those possibly were not even Jews and while we can’t know that for sure we do know that there were many people there from different nations. Any Jew listening would have known that Eli means “My God” not “Elijah” so they would not be likely to have made that comment.

Now to the other question – will God forsake us? I recently received an email from a woman who wrote that she had been through a hard time over the last few years, losing their business and much more in the economic crash. A friend had that day given her a verse (to help her make sense of her circumstances). It was Isaiah 54:8 – In anger I turned away from you for a moment etc.

As his children, does God get angry with us and forsake us this side of the cross?

No he doesn’t ever forsake us, not for any reason!

What about when we sin?

In Jesus God forgave every sin even future ones. To be honest, when Jesus died, every sin you or I would commit was a future sin. And God forgave us ahead of time! Even when you do sin today you are already forgiven and there is no condemnation (Rom 8:1). God cannot condemn you, to do so would mean he would have to discount Jesus work on the cross. He cannot turn his back on you – to do so would be to deny his word and he would have to take back his forgiveness, making him a liar. You are forgiven, totally, eternally already forgiven!

My thoughts are that those verses from Isaiah have no place in a New Covenant believers life other than to show us how different our covenant is to the old Covenant that God had with the Jews.

As New Covenant believers in Christ it simply isn’t true of us in our relationship with the Lord. He will never leave us, forsake us or turn his face from us because of anger toward us!

He says in Matt 28:20 Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world. And in Heb 13:5 for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Scripture is clear that we are now joined to God in such a way that we are one spirit with him – 1Co 6:17. God cannot separate Christ or us from himself – we are now in Him and one spirit with him.

Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that God will or does forsake us. That God will forsake us is a strategically planted lie of the Devil who delights in blinding us to the truth in scripture and the truth of who God is. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will not turn his back on us or abandon us in our hour of need just as he did not abandon Jesus.

God’s promises to us of his continuing presence, goodness and provision for every area in our lives are too numerous to mention here, but I want you to know that if bad things do happen to you or you do sin, God has not and will not ever leave you or forsake you. He longs to give you peace, wisdom and strategy for your circumstances and to turn your circumstances into good for you (Rom 8:28) because that’s who he is and that’s what he has promised!

1 – Matthew Henry Commentary

In a meeting recently I heard the speaker mention being “promoted in the Spirit”. Normally on hearing something like this I would’ve just accepted it. But as I was sitting there a thought popped into my mind which I recognised as being a question from the Lord. “Is there such a thing as being promoted in the Spirit?” Now I’ve come to understand that when God asks me a question it’s not because he doesn’t know the answer – it’s because I need to know the answer.

I have heard that saying for many years and understood being ‘promoted in the Spirit” meant somehow going to a new level of authority or standing in God although quite what that was, was never explained. Indeed, I know of people who teach that at a certain time each year God judges our performance and accordingly either promotes or demotes us in the Spirit.

If this is indeed the case what criteria does God use to judge us by? What do we have to do in order to get a promotion, and what do we need to abstain from in order to avoid being demoted? Is earning a “promotion in the Spirit” dependent on how much we are obedient or how many good works we do, or on God’s judging us by some set of criteria that we’re unaware of? What does scripture tell us and what is the New Covenant reality?

In the world we live in we are so used to the promotion system – get good grades and you’ll get promoted to a higher class in school; work hard enough and you may earn a promotion at work. In our natural world promotions must be earned, they don’t come as a result of sitting back and doing nothing. So when people use the term “promotion in the Spirit” we presume that it must mean that they have somehow earned a promotion.

In the church we unconsciously foster the concept of promotion in several ways. One way it is fostered is by giving people ranks and titles. We call some people Generals or Fathers in the faith or Apostle (usually because they head up a denomination, ministry or a church). Mostly we do it as a sign of respect but it can foster wrong thinking and believing.

We encourage people to aim for, or earn status or title by practicing the promotion system in our churches. You have to work your way up through the ranks. You may be called to pastor people but you must start by teaching in Sunday School and then maybe you’ll be promoted to Youth Leader and then an assistant Pastor and finally one day you’ll earn the title and get to be a Pastor. Scripture may look like it gives ranks and titles eg pastor, teacher, apostle, prophet, evangelist etc but it doesn’t, they are job descriptions not titles. All these people are called to train the saints for their service and ministry not be given a title.

At first thought the idea that we can get promotions in the spirit sounds appealing, but dig deeper and there is something wrong with that whole line of thought. It means that our place in God’s order of things is dependent on what we do, but that system is called ‘the law’, and we are no longer under law but under grace. The Christian life, and our place in God’s order of things, is not based on what we do but on what Jesus has done for us.

Promotion is the idea that we can earn advancement through our efforts. People even talk about being in the school/university of the Spirit. There is no university in the Spirit; God doesn’t give a degree in Christian living or in theology. Degrees in theology are man’s idea that stems from man’s desire to please God, understand the Bible or/and be someone.

You may ask, “But doesn’t the Bible say that if we are faithful with what we have that we will be given more? (Matt 25:14-30) Isn’t that a promotion?” In these verses I believe that Jesus was not talking about a system of promotion but about a natural part of the Christian walk – we have been given a new nature made in the image of God – one of his attributes is faithfulness. So this parable is about growing up into Him it is not primarily about us earning promotion. It is about becoming mature sons and daughters.

As a part of that maturing process we should, and will, bear fruit and learn how to wisely steward what God has given us. As we do we will be given more responsibility, the grace to handle it, and his joy in doing what he has called us to do. A part of growing in maturity in Christ is that we should become increasingly more aware of just how much he has done for us. We believe it, and walk from a place of rest in his work, not ours.

Scripture says in Matt 16:27 that Jesus will reward us according to our works. This would appear on face value to say that if we work hard we’ll be rewarded for that hard work.  But this passage is not about works as we think of them. It’s not about how many duties we took on at church or how many orphans we feed; it’s about our accepting or rejecting Jesus according to the commentaries I read.1

The Church has brought into the idea of promotions partly because it has misunderstood that word rewards. That misunderstanding has now become an accepted part of church theology. It says that we will be rewarded or promoted according to what we do for God – how long and how hard we have worked. It says that by doing more we can receive more from God – a higher standing and place of authority before him and others, maybe a bigger mansion in heaven or a bigger, more jewel studded crown or a closer throne to Jesus in heaven. Thinking this-  is evidence of our not truly understanding who we now are, what Christ bought for us by his death and what the Father has consequently given us as sons and daughters.

In Matt 20, in the parable of the workers, Jesus tells us that we all get paid the same, whether we worked longer, harder or not.

I am reminded of the disciples’ mother that wanted her sons to be rewarded by being seated by Jesus in a place of honour in his kingdom (Matt 20:20–24). Jesus’ reply to that was to tell them that they didn’t get it, that they had it back-to-front; that the greatest in the kingdom got to serve more not accumulate more or get a greater place.

In this passage it says that God will choose who sits there beside Jesus, but after his resurrection and his being enthroned on high, scripture also plainly tells us who God chose to sit there – all of us! We are all seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph 2:6), every believer in the same position, co-heirs and co-reigning with Christ.

(Now I am not saying people haven’t seen in visions what they claim to have seen, I’m sure they have seen those things. I have seen many things myself even. But we must remember to weigh our visions against what scripture plainly says and interpret them in the light of scripture. One problem with visions is that many people do not know how to interpret them, they are not all literal, many of them are symbolic. For example if you see some people sitting enthroned beside Jesus on thrones it may not be literally mean those people, they may just be representative of the fact that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places.)

God does indeed reward us, but not by being “promoted in the Spirit”. Col 3:24 says that our reward is the heirship or inheritance – what Christ won for us on Calvary. Phil 3:8 tells us that part of the true reward is “knowing Jesus and living with him forever”.

I believe our reward is knowing and experiencing the reality of relationship with the Godhead, and the things Jesus died to make our inheritance – some of which are his love, joy, eternal life, healing (for ourselves and others), abundant provision, and being seated with Christ in heavenly places.

Understanding that knowing Jesus and living with him forever is the true reward frees us to live for him with an attitude of doing whatever we do for love of him, not love of rewards. It frees us to take the focus off ourselves and back onto Jesus!

The idea of promotion in the Spirit is dare I say it, a subtle deception that has found its way into the church that appeals to our human desire to be the best we can be for Jesus and to our pride; but in the end it comes from a wrong base.

I believe that under the New Covenant to earn a promotion in the Spirit is actually impossible – you can’t get any higher than being in Christ, a co-heir with him. In order for us to earn a promotion in the Spirit we would have to come down from our place of seated authority in Christ, discount the work he did on the cross, come back under law and believe that our efforts are what count in ensuring our place in God’s eternal Kingdom. So we need to give up our ideas of worldly promotions and accept that he has already promoted us to the highest place beside himself. When we realize that, there is no striving for more, only gratitude for what he has done and what he has given us.

So where would you rather be – at rest in what Christ has done, seated with him in heavenly places, functioning out of that place of rest and authority or trying by your efforts to somehow earn your way into God’s good books and hope you have done enough to earn that promotion in the Spirit?

Think it through!

1 – Gills Bible Exposition & Barnes Bible Notes

Last Saturday we did our first night at the Pakuranga Night Market and saw around 50+ people through the XP Revelations Gazebo.  This place is cooking…. literally.  There are so many food stalls from many different nations and this appears to be the main attraction for the heavy foot traffic.

Speaking with a mother and son, the son asked for some Spiritual Art and our team member attempted to draw him a transformer, encouraging him that this is what God saw him as, he may seem ordinary but he had a hunger for the supernatural and this picture and word spoke volumes to him. She encouraged him to seek Jesus – the one with the power to transform us.

Another couple of team members prayed for a couple where the lady had part of her face numb, it increasingly improved until she had complete feeling in this side of her face and she was overjoyed, to say the least!

A couple of Christian ladies came in, mother and daughter who were greatly impacted by words of knowledge and destiny words.  These beautiful women of God left strengthened and encouraged.

We saw a progressive healing in a lady’s thumb, that morning she had very little movement and a lot of pain, by the time she left us she had seen a huge improvement and a lot less pain.

A lovely couple came in with their little baby girl and were encouraged by words of knowledge, destiny words and dream interpretations. The lady was also instantly healed from chronic back pain.

We met some delightful young ladies and a young guy – all from Christchurch, two of whom had moved up with their parents 3 weeks earlier, and the young guy was visiting with them.  These precious young ones were greatly affected by all that had been happening in Christchurch and received words of destiny, name readings, tattoo readings, spiritual cleansing/deliverance and were so overwhelmed with the love of God and that He actually cared enough to be interested in every detail of their lives, and were blown away by the many words of knowledge given by the team.  The young lady that had nightmares came in with walls up and left with a spark in her eyes and all went with renewed hope for their future.

One of the team encountered a group of around 7 young big guys that were asking about what was written on our menu board.  After the first one received a word the others were really keen to have their own words of destiny as well, so our team member spent quite some time encouraging each young man. They were all blown away by the accuracy of what was shared and left knowing Jesus cared about each of them.

A Christian woman from a local church who were also there doing outreach stopped and challenged us about what we were doing so we invited her to sample – she left having been given words of knowledge and a prophetic word that showed her it truly was God that we were accessing for our information. Yaay! A couple of Christians stopped and asked what we were doing – having recognised some of the team. They were concerned because our sign didn’t have Christian teminology on it. It has terms like Dream interpretation, Spiritual healing, Words of destiny, Spiritual insights, Spiritual Art, Spiritual cleansing and more (look at the terms and see if you can guess what we are offering). After explaining that most non-Christians don’t understand our Christian teminology and that we were trying to reach the non-Christians not the Christians they left – both challenged and encouraged.

The market closes at around midnight, and one of the team was speaking to one of the pack down guys right at the end who was incredibly overwhelmed by the words of knowledge and words of destiny he received, there were a few expletives thrown in every few minutes as he was trying to wrap his head around how much God loved him.  The tattoo reading also encouraged him in regards to his family situation and his brother actually ran after us as we were taking the gear to the car.

We had many, many asking us if we would be back next week – and at this point we are hoping to make it a fortnightly/monthly event as folk of all different ages and nationalities are so hungry to experience the love of God and discover hope for their future.   We had such an amazing time simply loving people and seeing God touch them where they were at.  Yay God!

It’s all very well to say we trust God but do we really? I suspect that your life is probably like mine to a degree. I say I trust God then I go and worry about whether things will work out how I hope they will.

Learning to trust God has been a journey for me. Growing up in a life where I felt I could trust no-one certainly didn’t prepare me in any way for trusting God. To start with I had to just take him at his word (in the Bible) and also rely on other peoples testimony of his faithfulness. That time spent in scripture looking up verses relating to his faithfulness was an absolutely crucial part of learning to trust him. Seeing how God came through in the lives of those recorded in scripture told me that if he came through for them he would come through for me. And over time I began to build my own record of God coming through for me in different situations.

So fast-forward to now – I was thinking about faith and trust the other day and how they are linked. The thesaurus says other words for Faith are – trust, belief, hope, conviction, expectation, reliance, dependence. Faith is linked with Trust! When I saw this it sparked some thoughts that I spent some time mulling over. So it’s that trust aspect of faith that I want to talk about here today.

Faith is so much a part of our life with God. The Bible even states that without it it’s impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6); so it’s a pretty important thing to have established right in our life. If faith is linked to trust then how much do I really trust God? What is that trust built on? How do I know He’s trustworthy? These and many other questions have invaded my mind and sent me on a journey of discovery.

Our faith is built on the foundation of the trustworthiness of God. We long to see ‘God be God’ to us and through us and for this happen we must settle the trust issue to be able to walk in the kind of faith that pleases Him.

We say we have faith and trust God but do our actions, attitudes and responses line up with our words? It is these things that really show how deep our trust goes.

How often do we make snap judgments and decide to trust someone we have known for a couple of seconds yet struggle to trust the God who has proved his faithfulness and goodness over many years or even generations?

Trust can be a very subjective thing. What do we base our trust on? Is it a snap judgment on our part based on how someone presents themself to us, their appearance, demeanor etc? Is it made up of assessing someone’s track record and seeing their trustworthiness or just blind acceptance?

In a counseling course that I attended a while ago the lecturer said that 95% (or more) of people do not have an adult way to assess who is trustworthy and who is not. Most of us simply assess trustworthiness based on our feelings (instincts) or our response to our dealings with people.

Trust is – loaning power to another. To trust means to give ones safety and future to the judgements and decisions of another. Trusting means being vulnerable to someone else’s choices and thoughts. So trusting is therefore risky. The alternative to trust is avoiding any form of loaning of power to another which results in attempting to control lives, both your own and others.

Check yourself out. Has God proved his trustworthiness to you or are you being lied to by your own bruised feelings and echoes from past hurts? Your ‘stuff’ from past betrayal may mean that in reality you trust no one, not even God. God does not mean us to go through life not trusting others and he also doesn’t mean us to go through life trusting unwisely those who don’t deserve our trust. But He does mean us to go through life trusting Him, the one who is worthy of our wholehearted trust and faith.

So how do you assess trustworthiness – I think some of the same ways you assess trustworthiness in people can also be applied to firming up our trust in God.

  1. Do you believe God is good and God is love? Because if this foundation isn’t there you will never be able to believe God can be trusted.
  1. Examine God’s track record – Is there a history of reliability, faithfulness and integrity? Listen to the testimony of others who are trustworthy. What do they say about his track record of dealings with them?
  1. Can you trust Him with what you share with Him? Will He use it in a way that will harm you?
  1. Is He forgiving? Does he hold grudges?
  1. Is he truthful or is he a liar? Is he who he says he is?
  1. What does the Word of God say about Him. Check out Ps 111:7-8; Heb 6:14-20;  Ps 25:2; Ps 56:3; Prov 3:5; Ps 93:5
  1. How does He treat His family? How does He view His stewardship as our King or Father? What is His attitude to His children or to those outside his family?
  1. Is He Love and is He loving?

If He is not Love then none of the above criteria can ever apply and He is not worthy of trust or belief but if He is, then we must settle that in our hearts and know that He is utterly trustworthy; so we can believe and have faith in whatever He says to us.

I have come to realise that while I trust God in most areas of my life there are still others where my responses are sometimes at odds with my words. I have discovered that the lack of trust in those areas stems from my past, not His character or lack of it.

Are you the same? Are there areas where your past fights against your ability to trust God? Realise that God has made provision for healing every area of your past in Christ’s work on the cross. Allow God access to those areas to heal them and choose to trust based on what you know of His love, faithfulness and trustworthiness. As we do it will build a stronger faith and trust in Him. Our faith will then have a foundation that will not be shaken easily by the storms of life or the faith steps God asks us to take. Our walk will be transformed as we step out in supreme confidence knowing that the one who is supreme can totally be trusted to do what He says He will do.

*Trustworthiness assessment questions based on David Riddell’s Living Wisdom course notes