Sunday 7th April – TRUST message.
The purpose of today’s message is to lay the foundation for the Easter Services almost a ‘teaser’ or a ‘taster’ of what is to come. As we approach Easter, many people start their Easter journey with lent- in doing so we recognise Jesus’ sacrifice by giving something up or sacrificing something for 40 days prior to Easter.
A friend of mine decided to use the packing and sorting for Cyclone Idai as a part of his lent journey- in doing so he chose to do something on behalf of someone else. For Jesus’ entire time on earth- His path or journey led to the cross, His intent was to open the way to the Father through being the ultimate sacrifice and offering or opening the way for forgiveness for sin.
Next Sunday 14th April is Palm Sunday – when we acknowledge Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Thursday 18th April is the Tenebrae service- which is a profound and powerful service and I would encourage you to attend and experience. We continue the journey as we follow Jesus into Good Friday and then to Easter Sunday. The Easter journey then continues further towards Ascension Sunday and finally Pentecost. What a journey!
Jesus took that journey for you and me! God’s intent from the beginning was to reach out and draw as many as possible into His outstretched arms.
Today, I would like to touch on the theme God chose for Easter at Highlands Presby this year- and that theme is TRUST. I believe this theme is for such a time as this- Elisha shared last week on the book of Esther- where Queen Esther and Mordecai [her uncle] had to trust that God was working behind the scenes, even when they themselves did not see the evidence of that work. They believed that they were strategically placed “for such a time as this”.
When you look at Zim- do you believe or dare I say “trust” that God has placed you here and now for ‘such a time as this”
When I say the word TRUST- what does it mean to you? Where do your thoughts immediately go? Do you doubt God’s abilities? Do you doubt the strength of your faith? Are you weary and heavy laden? Are you at the end of yourself?
You know what…… God is there- He is still reaching out! He constantly reaches out- arms held open.. full of grace. Today’s reading is from Isaiah 41:13 “For I, Yahweh, hold your right hand and say to you: do not fear, I will help you”
The Lord is saying that He holds on to you so you do not have to fear as He is there. We can see the whole way through the Easter journey- there is God’s response and our response. God says in Jeremiah 31:3“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness and Psalm 136:12 “ with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.” …… I the Lord, hold your right hand and say do not fear- I WILL help you”
God’s intent from the beginning was to draw mankind to Himself- that is HIS response!
What is your response?
- Can you say with all your heart “God is trustworthy”?
- Do you Trust Him?
- Will you put your TRUST in Him?
Most of you know that I am a Body & Soul Fitness instructor and each routine that we do has a spiritual theme-one of the theme’s from last year was “Finding Joy”. So with this in mind, I have permission to use a statement that Amy Stafford [the Body & Soul Fitness president] came up with as part of “Finding Joy’ and that was:
TRUST “Today I will rest under His Sovereign Truth “
- Today: right now! Live in the present!
- Rest: surrender, release, wait for, wait patiently, “be still and know that I am God”!
- Under: protection, held in His hand, covered, safe
- Sovereign: God is in control!
- Truth: God’s word to us, a gift of communication, full of promises
At the risk of being repetitive, I am going to say TRUST again. Sometimes we need repetition as our brains battle the bombardment of the world’s chaos and we need to slow down enough to hear God’s whisper in our ear. When God whisper’s, He has to be close enough within our personal space for us to hear. Is God within your personal space? Or are you keeping Him at a distance?
- Today: Matthew 6:33 [amp]–“But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also”
Today- means that we are to live in the present, prevent the anxiety of tomorrow, and recognise the real gift of today.
- [I will] – your choice or your response to Jesus – the invitation is there!
- Rest: Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. The “power of pause” –to stop and listen and to take a break.
- Under: Proverbs 3:6 “In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].–-in submitting to Jesus – He will make paths straight. Stay under His protection and His covering in every area of your life.
- [HIS] surrender to God’s design for me. Not in your own strength as you will fall and stumble but chose HIS, your Father’s will for you.
- Sovereign: Acknowledge that God is in control –His power & authority Rev 21:6 (NIV) “He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.
- Truth: Remember His promises. Colossians 3:16 may the “Word of Christ dwell in you richly” I was encouraged by Proverbs 3:3 (AMP) Do not let mercy and kindness and truth leave you [instead let these qualities define you]; Bind them [securely] around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Your Heavenly Father is saying “I am trustworthy” but He will never interfere with man’s free will, so it is up to you to place your trust in HIM –to place yourself into the Father’s hands.
Perhaps your struggle is that you feel that you do not know Him well enough or your understanding is limited in some way. For it says in Psalm 9:10 ‘those who know You, Lord, will trust You; You do not abandon anyone who comes to you”
Knowing the Lord comes from spending time with Him –which means reading His Word, talking to Him through prayer and being still enough to hear Him answer you.
Again in the Psalm’s scripture reminds us in Psalm 40:4 (AMP) Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who makes the Lord his trust,
Do you trust Him? If you battle to answer this question, will you spend time searching your heart as to what is blocking that trust? Will you put effort into removing that blockage from your heart? Will you allow the Lord to perform heart surgery on you?
Perhaps your blockage stems from anger [towards someone or towards God], un-forgiveness, bitterness, gossip, racism, an addiction, resentment, adultery – the list could go on but the question is “will you make a decision to allow Jesus to heal you?
You may have wanted things or events of your life to go differently and in not understanding why- have allowed resentment to creep into your heart! The challenge to your faith is to try to trust that God sees the bigger picture and will always work things for your good.
If you are in that place, please stay behind after the service and let someone pray with you- take the opportunity today to take a step towards a change of heart.
Today choose to rest under His Sovereign Truth!
From a personal point of trusting the Lord and holding tight to His hand- I have shared in the past about my battle with depression. In those dark times, knowing that God was holding me close –help me trust Him that I would get better. I just needed to keep my hand in His – He held on to me!
Most of you know that Gary [my husband] is in remission from Thyroid cancer and as many of you have experienced the ‘cancer journey’ is not an easy one. Again, it was a time in our lives to trust despite the circumstances and allow Jesus’ to guide us through one step at a time.
We all have stories to tell and choices to make. Jesus has been given your name – do you accept His invitation? His hand is extended towards you, it is your choice whether you reach out and allow Him to hold you.
As I conclude I would like to share a picture that I came across as it says what I am trying to say “Only God writes your name with a permanent maker- all other names can be erased”
Jesus knows you and He loves you with a permanent love that cannot be erased.
Today will you rest under His Sovereign Truth?
Will you TRUST Him?