From the series, “Restoring the Joy”
By Semi-Retired Pastor Jeremy Stopford
“Trust in the Lord, and do good;Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness…”
A five-year-old boy had never spoken a word, ever. One afternoon, as he sat eating his lunch he turned to his mother and said, “Soup’s cold.”
She was astonished, and said, “Honey, I’ve waited so long to hear you speak. But all these years you never said a thing. Why haven’t you spoken before?”
The boy looked at her and replied, “Up until now, everything’s been okay.”
Some reminders for y’all from last week:
The world wants you to be torn down to its level. The world wants you to look at the circumstances of life and realize that faith is just a myth, a fairy tale, a nice story to tell kids during a bad storm.
The Bible says the early church turned their world upside down for Christ – the same world which is trying to tear us down. What do we need?
The joy of our salvation restored!
Our theme verse for this series is Psalm 51:12:
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”
To assist us in this, we are going to become familiar with Psalm 37, particularly the first eleven verses, and use these as starting blocks in that restoration process.
We began last week with the negatives:
“Fret not” “Envy not” “Cease from anger” …
That our hearts would LEARN to be fixed NOT on people or circumstances. People are human and can hurt. Circumstances can frustrate and tear down.
WHEN we consider their end – they are brief and temporary AND many are without God and without hope – we come to realize our initial need. LOOK UP! Not on people nor on circumstances, but on THE LORD! John the Baptist shouted, “BEHOLD the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world”.
Today we have the first of David’s POSITIVES: “TRUST”.
I am reminded of the story of when I was growing up. Without my knowing it, Dad was teaching me trust. He would either hit me golf balls or baseballs, and I would try to catch them in my baseball mitt. Well, needless to say, I was just a punk kid.
I remember Dad’s hit of the golf ball. I remember the ball going OFF the top of my mitt. Hit me in the forehead. OUCH!!!
So the question remains: did I still trust Dad even though the results of life were not what I hoped for? OF COURSE! Not only did I learn to trust him – I grew over the next years in my trust and maturity. And Dad did not have to change – he was always kind. I could always TRUST him!!!
I had to develop my skill to respond to his actions – AND I had to learn to catch the ball! The Father/son relationship – the Heavenly Father/son relationship, that is – forms the basis for our word today: TRUST.
Perhaps you had a good father/child relation. Perhaps you didn’t.
But when you come to know the Lord Jesus as Savior, one of the FIRST lessons He gives is that He can be…TRUSTED.
First is A WORD OF UNDERSTANDING.
By definition, “trust” means “to confide; to place hope and confidence in any one; to be confident; to be secure without fear; a firm and certain confidence; to lean on, rely on.”
Wow! Do you HAVE it? Can you RESPOND to it?
By action, we can see TRUST in these ways:
* DO GOOD: that which pleases Him!
* DWELL: abide on His faithfulness!
* BE FED: find your refreshing in Him!
ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT A 15 MINUTE POWER NAP CAN DO? The point is, our refreshing is in Christ because of our confidence in Him.
Jesus said in John 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
Second is A WORD OF ILLUSTRATION.
One of the major moments in the history of the early church took place in Acts 16. In fact, the incident of this chapter was one of the causes for the creation of the church at Philippi! I would encourage you to read the entire chapter. And as you do, think through the chapter through the eyes of two people: the Apostle Paul and the Philippian jailer.
What was the chapter like for Paul? He was put in jail because he was faithfully preaching the gospel with his brother-in-Christ, Silas. At midnight, what did they do? They sang songs of praise! Pretty soon an angel created an earthquake, all the prisoners are free, but Paul makes sure that none escape.
What about the jailer? He probably heard the singing at midnight. First time experience for him, no doubt! WHO sings while in jail? He had never heard that before! And then the earthquake. All the prisoners flee. But Paul assures him that they were all secure. This was all too much for the jailer who then reaches to the depths of his heart by questioning, “what must I do to be saved?”
Of course, the answer is found in verse 31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your household.” And they all were – and became part of the foundation of the local church in Philippi. A God thing – something only God can do.
And all that began on TRUST! Paul and Silas TRUSTED the Lord, even in the midst of adverse circumstances, The jailer observed their TRUST in action, and he – along with his family – wanted to know the Source of their TRUST. And soon he and his family found that TRUST for themselves!
Let me encourage you to read the word “TRUST” for yourselves in the book of Psalms. In the 150 chapters of Psalms, the word TRUST appears a few times. Well, 186 times to be exact! Must be the Lord likes to use that word. In fact, must be the Lord wants to encourage His children that TRUST is a most important word to Him!
As we close, we need to have A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT.
Let’s examine ourselves this week in light of the word “TRUST”.
* Are you in a RUSH?
* Are you OVERWHELMED?
* Are you OVERCOME or an OVERCOMER?
Return to your roots of confidence, reliance, leaning…upon the One Who never fails.
TAKE TIME TO TRUST !!!