All posts in “TRUST”

meghan fitzmartin 2

TRUST -MAGHAN FITZMARTIN

TRUST

MEGHAN FITZMARTIN

Luke 8: 23-24

“As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm.”

I absolutely love naps! There is something about being able to take a nap that recharges my body and my spirit. They are simply wonderful! What makes them even better is knowing that Jesus took naps too. So if I want to be more like Him I should nap, right? Well, that’s not exactly how it works, but there is a lot we can learn from one story in the Bible where Jesus is taking a nap.

Jesus and his friends are on a boat when all of a sudden a storm hits out of nowhere. The waves are so big they are covering the boat and all the passengers are worried. However, Jesus is still fast asleep! When I think about this story I wonder why Jesus keeps on napping. Is it because He was just really tired and He is a deep sleeper? Maybe, but Jesus did everything with purpose, so I think it was more than that. Jesus trusted in the power of the Father. He knew that the storm they were facing was nothing in comparison to the authority He had over the earth. He also knew that His friends still had a lot to learn about trusting in God’s power and love. Jesus was so secure in the plan God had for his life that he was able to sleep peacefully in the midst of the storm.

Two chapters before this story, in Luke 6:46-49, Jesus is talking about wise and foolish builders. The wise build their house on a rock and the foolish build it on sand. When the storms come, the foolish builder’s house is swept away but the wise builder’s house stays strong. The storm still hits both houses. Jesus does not say that if we trust him with our lives the storms won’t come. However, He does say that He will be with us always. This story of Jesus napping is no exception. In fact, I read it more as an invitation to pull up a cushion and take a nap.

When life gets hard and the storms seem to rock you unexpectedly, curl up next to Jesus. God is not ignoring your problems, he is simply inviting you into the peace only he can provide in the midst of chaos. Would you rather be freaking out over the storms or resting in the arms of the One who has the power to calm them with His voice?

QUESTION 1. What storms in your life are you experiencing right now?
QUESTION 2. What is your response to those storms?
CHALLENGE: Take a nap today. Trust that God is with you in the midst of your chaos and let him fill you with his peace and rest.
joshua humphries 4

TRUST -JOSHUA HUMPHRIES

TRUST

JOSHUA HUMPHRIES

Jeremiah 17:7-8

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.

 Life can be a rollercoaster. One day you are on a huge spiritual high where nothing fazes you, exuding God’s love and experiencing him. Then the next day comes and the high is gone. You feel uneasy and far from God; you may even wonder if there is a God. These rollercoaster emotions used to happen to me all the time, but I realized it was because I wasn’t deeply rooted in God.

I love the imagery that Jeremiah uses in the above verses about tree roots. If a tree is not deeply rooted, when the dry, hot season hits it will wither up and die. If its roots are deep then there will be plenty of water reserved to help it survive the dry period. The same is true for us. If we don’t deeply root ourselves in the word of God and his truth then when periods of spiritual drought hit us our soul will wither up just like the trees. But if we are rooted deeply in Him we will continue to produce life-giving fruit even when everything and everyone else is dying around us.

If you want to have deep spiritual roots unaffected by the highs and lows of life then you need to be sure you are reading the Bible daily. Even on the days you don’t feel like it, continue to saturate yourself in it. The truth God reveals about you and himself in it will be paramount when you hit those dry periods. Memorize some of your favorite verses so you can repeat them when you start to feel a spiritual low coming on. Also, make sure you are talking with Him every day; the key to a close personal relationship is communication. Trust in God and his promises and your roots will never wither and die.

QUESTION 1. Do you think you are deeply rooted? Do you find yourself always riding an emotional, spiritual rollercoaster?
QUESTION 2. What are some ways you are attempting to root yourself deeper in God’s truth?
CHALLENGE: Make sure you are deeply rooted in God so when the hard times come you will be sustained by him, unaffected by the highs and lows of life.
mariah olson

TRUST -MARIAH OLSON

TRUST

MARIAH OLSON

Have you ever felt that God was leading you in a different direction in life? This new direction could come in many forms; for Mariah, it came by way of her relationship with her boyfriend. For you, it may come in the form of your relationships with friends, boyfriends or girlfriends, your job, activities, etc.

Ecclesiastes 11:1 tells us to Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.

Mariah still has questions to this day as to why God called her in another direction by giving up her relationship with her boyfriend, but what she does know is that God’s promises can always be trusted. Like Ecclesiastes proclaims, God will bring her bread back to her someday. Mariah’s boyfriend signified the bread in her life, and while that bread may not come back to her in the form of her past boyfriend, she knows that’s okay, because at the end of the day, following God’s direction is the only thing that really matters.

QUESTION 1. Have you ever felt that God was calling you in another direction? If so, what was it?
QUESTION 2. Based on your answer to question one, did you choose to follow God’s direction or did you continue in your own direction? How did it turn out?
CHALLENGE: As Christians, God is our prince of peace, the love of our life, our creator, and our provider. We challenge you to examine your life and ask yourself this very important question, that is, where in your life is God calling you to cast your bread upon the waters?
Janie Lovejoy 2

TRUST -JANIE LOVEJOY

TRUST

JANIE LOVEJOY

Proverbs 3:5-6

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 straight your paths.

 You have a big decision to make. You pray and pray and listen for God to tell you what to do and all you get is silence. You get frustrated and pray more but are still met with silence. Why is God not telling you where to go, what to do, and how to do it? The thing you don’t see is that, while you are waiting on God, God is waiting on you. There will be times when the path won’t be clear. All God wants is for you to step out in faith and trust that he will do the rest. Will you mess up? Sure. Messing up is a great part of life and God uses those moments to teach us more about ourselves and him.

For me, once I graduated college I had no idea what to do and God wasn’t answering my questions. I decided to step out in faith and travel the world for a year with a mission organization. I had no idea whether this was specifically God’s will for my life or not, but once I stepped out in faith and trusted God to take care of me, he rocked my world and he used me in crazy and beautiful ways to touch the lives of others. So what are you waiting for? Trust God and take a step. It may be the wrong one, it may get messy, it may be really hard, but it’s okay to make mistakes. It is in those mistakes that God is molding you and shaping you and is with you every step of the way.

QUESTION 1. Do you find it hard to trust God when he isn’t giving you definite answers for your life?
QUESTION 2. Why are you scared of making a move? Do you think that God won’t be with you if you make the “wrong” move?
CHALLENGE: While you wait on God, he is waiting on you, so make a move. Just step out and do something.
tina putney

TRUST -TINA PUTNEY

TRUST

TINA PUTNEY

Psalm 89:35 (NLT) I have sworn an oath to David,
 and in my holiness I cannot lie:

Have you ever had someone promise you something, but for whatever reason they didn’t keep their promise to you? Throughout life you will come to find that people will, at some point in time, ultimately disappoint you. It’s not that they’re trying to disappoint you, but they’re people, and all people fail from time to time. God, on the other hand, is holy. He never fails. He is perfect in his love, and if God promises you something you know you can count on it happening. It may not be in your timing, but when God truly promises you something, you will receive it. Let’s look at just a few of the many promises God gives to those who follow him.

Matthew 11:28-29 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:37-39 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There are many more promises from God to believers found in the Scriptures. All you have to do is get that Bible out and begin reading. You will be amazed at all God has in store for your life today!

Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

QUESTION 1. Has anyone ever broken a promise they made to you? (Explain)
QUESTION 2. Do you know all the promises that God has for your life? Can you come up with more promises from Scripture that God has for you?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to rely on God and claim his promises for your life today.
allysa olivo 1

TRUST -ALYSSA OLIVO

TRUST

ALYSSA OLIVO

Matthew 14:29-31

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

 Imagine yourself in Peter’s shoes for a moment. If Jesus was walking around on top of the water and he asked you to step out of the comfort of your buoyant boat into wavy seas, would you just be like, “Sure, Jesus! Be right out!” I’m not sure any of us would be. But Peter was, and then immediately began to doubt Jesus; so he sank, until Jesus reached out and caught him.

This is true in many areas of our lives. God asks us to step out in faith and to trust him, but so often we tell God that we’re fine right where we are. Maybe God is calling you to go on your first mission trip, but you’re scared so you ignore God’s voice and stay where you’re comfortable. Think about this; do you want the God of all creation saying to you, “Oh you of little faith”?

What we often don’t realize is that the safest place we could ever be is in God’s will. Sure, it may be uncomfortable, it may be scary, you could even get hurt, but God will always be there reaching out his hand and saying, “Trust me; I got you.”

QUESTION 1. Has there been a time in your life when you were sure God was calling you to step out in faith but you ignored him?
QUESTION 2. When was a time that you trusted God wholeheartedly? What happened?
CHALLENGE: When you go through a season of lack of faith, or doubt, think of Peter in the passage above and then go forward with confidence knowing that God doesn’t call us to anything that we aren’t already equipped for.
alyssa gunnells 1

TRUST -ALYSSA GUNNELLS

TRUST

ALYSSA GUNNELLS

Matthew 6:34

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 Worry. That word alone can cause us to break out in a clammy sweat. Think about how often you worry in any given day. In fact, take today and start writing down every time you get worried. You may fill a few pages. It’s human of us to worry because we have no control over the very things we worry about. But that’s the beautiful thing: we have no control. Know who does? God.

Here’s the thing; we spend so many of our todays worrying about tomorrows that we end up losing our today. As morbid as it sounds, what if tomorrow never comes for you? Would you want to spend your last day thinking about a tomorrow that will never even happen? God has given you this day for a reason, and what a beautiful day it is. If I may quote Master Oogway from the movie Kung Fu Panda, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”

QUESTION 1. What are you worrying about today? Is it doing you any good? Has it ever done you any good?
QUESTION 2. How often do you give your stress and worry over to God? What happens when you do?
CHALLENGE: Stop stressing about tomorrow, God has your tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that…Enjoy the incredible gift that is the present.
allie coupe 1

TRUST -ALLIE COUPE

TRUST

ALLIE COUPE

Exodus 14:14

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

 It’s so hard to trust someone in a moment of fear. Like when I was a kid and my dad would stand in the pool and tell me to jump into his arms from my safe zone on the side. I simply had to trust that he would be there like he said he would; but in my 3-year-old mind I was convinced I would drown.

Our relationship with God is a lot like this. He tells us to trust Him but we always say, “Well what about this? I can’t do that!” And God is like, “Shh…Just trust me.” It’s interesting that in the verse above God tells us he will fight for us and all we have to do is be still. Be still? That seems so simple. But are we still? No. We fight and question and fight some more, but all along God is just waiting for us to truly be still and trust him. Next time you face a situation where God is calling you to trust in him, what will you do? Be silent. Be still. Jump into His arms.

QUESTION 1. When was there a time in your life that someone told you to trust them? What happened? Was it a good or bad outcome?
QUESTION 2. Is there something God is calling you right now to trust him in? What are you scared of?
CHALLENGE: It’s simple; be still and trust that God will fight for you.
Taylor Hotter 1

TRUST -TAYLOR HOTTER

TRUST

TAYLOR HOTTER

Proverbs 3:5-6

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.

God asks us to do hard things sometimes. I was in a relationship for two years with a girl who wasn’t a Christian, and soon we started to talk about marriage. I loved her and she loved me, but the whole time I knew that God was saying, “Stop. Don’t do this. I have something better for you.” After much reluctance and pleading with God I broke it off, and immediately afterward he called me on a yearlong mission trip around the world. Had I not listened to God and done the hard thing I never would’ve seen the clear path in front of me that was full of uncertainty and adventure with him.

We have all faced hard decisions and moments like that. To put our trust in God and take a step is scary, but not when we know that God is stepping with us. I am so thankful that I put myself aside in that decision and listened to God’s direction, because he has blessed and provided like I never could’ve imagined. He is your rock in times of uncertainty and He is right there with you with every tough choice you make or winding path He calls you to walk down. Once you trust Him and take that step He will make your path straight. This isn’t to say that God’s path won’t be difficult, it probably will be, but there is so much life, adventure, comfort and peace when you take God’s way.

QUESTION 1. What was a recent hard decision you had to make? Did you seek God in that decision?
QUESTION 2. God’s way is usually uncertain and possibly scary, but do you truly trust that he will guide you if you take his path?
CHALLENGE: When faced with a rocky path or a tough decision put your trust in God and he will guide you.
Rebacca Gallegos

TRUST -REBECCA GALLEGOS

TRUST

REBECCA GALLEGOS

 

Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 Right now, all over the world, Christians are persecuted for their beliefs. Not only are they shunned by their families but beaten and killed too. We here in the United States pat ourselves on the back when someone makes fun of us for believing in God, saying, “Hey look at that; I just endured persecution!” Our brothers and sisters around the world are standing firm in their faith and refusing to back down when faced with the choice of denouncing God or death.

Ask yourself this honestly; if faced with physical persecution would you still hold on to the promise of God that he will be there for you? Jesus tells his disciples and us numerous times that in this world we will face persecution and trouble but to also take heart because, no matter what happens, Jesus has overcome the world. No matter how bad things get here we must always remember that when Jesus died on the cross he won the war. Yes, we face battles every day, but the war itself has already been won and someday soon Jesus will come and claim his victory once and for all. But until that day comes, stand firm when the battles come and know God is always there and always victorious.

QUESTION 1. Have you ever been persecuted for believing in Jesus?
QUESTION 2. If faced with physical persecution or death, how would you respond? Be honest.
CHALLENGE: No matter the adversity, no matter the trouble, put your confidence in God and he will see you through. He has already won.
Mark Felder 2

TRUST -MARK FELDER

TRUST

MARK FELDER

Isaiah 55:8

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

Have you ever taken the time to think about God’s knowledge? If you think about it, God, the greatest conceivable being knows all things (100%, past, present and future) that there are to know. This is amazing and mind boggling at times for humans to fathom, because we so often live our lives as if we are the ones who are all knowing. We tend to go around thinking we always know what’s best for ourselves, and especially for everyone else.

Mark Felder gave an amazing story illustration in this video regarding his baby doing his very best to squirm out of his arms not knowing the dangers that would lie ahead if he were to actually escape out of Mark’s protective arms. This analogy works so well for us as Christians. We look to God and offer up prayer requests like, God please let this person be my boyfriend, or girlfriend, God please let me get this big work promotion, God please let me win the lottery, God please, God please, God please! Over and over again we, in our very limited knowledge and wisdom, ask God to do all kinds of things that in the end may not be the best thing for our relationship with God, our own lives, or his kingdom. What we need to do is place all of our focus on God and trust in the Lord with all of our heart. We can’t be relying on our own understanding; but rather, we must learn to submit to Jesus so that he can make our lives right with him (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we do this, our prayers and requests become more and more in line with God’s will for our lives.

QUESTION 1. Can you think of any time in your life that you may have asked God for something that wouldn’t have been good for you at that time in your life? (Explain)
QUESTION 2. When thinking about your prayer life and your requests to God, how does your focus on and relationship with him make a difference in how you pray?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to focus on and submit your life to God and trust that his knowledge and wisdom is perfect for your life today.
Leah Payne 2

TRUST -LEAH PAYNE

TRUST

LEAH PAYNE

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

 There is a poem by Robert Frost that goes like this, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” So many times in our lives we are faced with choices to make and a variety of possible paths to take. Sometimes the right choice is easily discernible, but then there are the times when we face the easy and the not so easy choices. The easy path will bring instant gratification and will seemingly make you happy and content, but so many times it will leave you feeling empty and lost.

Then there’s the path that God would love for us to follow down with him. It’s usually harder, narrower, and doesn’t bring instant happiness. In the end though, God’s path always leads to life and fulfillment full of blessings and renewal, even when it’s not the easiest one to go down. I know I don’t want to go through life knowing that with every choice I faced I always took the easier way and got to the end of my life unscathed but unfulfilled. No, I want to crash into my grave bruised, battered around a bit, but knowing full well that I lived my life trusting God and following his path.

QUESTION 1. When faced with hard decisions which path do you usually take? The easier one or the one you know God wants for you even if it’s more difficult?
QUESTION 2. How do you figure out God’s will for your life? Do you talk with Him, read His Word, talk with mentors?
CHALLENGE: If you find yourself facing a difficult choice in life, seek God’s will. Pray, read the Bible, seek the Christian counsel of others, and then follow through and take God’s path.
Bryan Novak

TRUST -BRYAN NOVAK

TRUST

BRYAN NOVAK

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

Have you ever thought that you had your life all figured out, but then all of a sudden, bam, you get hit with a total curve ball and you begin to question God’s plan? Here’s the deal, are you ready, God does have a plan for your life, but it might not always be what you think! Figuring out God’s plan for your life can be a little tricky, but there are some simple steps that you can take to help decipher his will for you.

• The first step you can take is simply to know that God wants you to have a relationship with him through the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

• The second step is to know that God wants you to be Christ’s disciple (Luke 9:23). To be his disciple simply means that God wants you to be committed to him regardless of what it costs you (e.g. reputation, job, popularity, time, etc.).

• The third step is to pray and to know that God will grant you wisdom if you ask him in prayer (James 1:5; Philippians 4:6).

• The fourth step is for you to dig into God’s Word, study and meditate on it daily. If you do this, you will be amazed by how the Scriptures will shed light on your decision-making and discernment (Psalm 119:105).

• The fifth step is to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. Listen to the Spirit’s quiet nudges as you seek discernment regarding the choices you are to make (John 16:13a).

• The sixth step is simply to talk with and heed the advice of the Godly women and men that are placed in your life (Proverbs 12:15; 15:22). It’s always great to get good advice from people who are Christ centered and have been through many of the same dilemmas that you are facing.

• The seventh step is to know that, if you are truly doing God’s will, you will find peace deep within your soul. Think of it this way, if you’ve followed all the steps above and are still unclear on what to do, sometimes the best option is to choose the alternative that gives you greater peace (Isaiah 32:17).

• The Eighth and final step is to know that God has given everyone certain gifts and abilities to use for his service, while this is not always an indication of whether or not God is calling you to one particular decision or another, it can add credence to what God’s calling may be if all the other steps above have been taken.

We know it can be confusing at times to know what God’s calling on your life may be, but the steps above should at the very least begin to help you focus on your path. Remember, like it was for the great prophet Jeremiah, God knows the plans he has for you…plans to give you hope for the future (Jeremiah 29:11). Stay committed, keep pursuing God and he will light your path.

QUESTION 1. Have you ever thought that you had your life all figured out, but then all of a sudden, bam, you got hit with a total curve ball and you began to question God’s plan?
QUESTION 2. Do you feel that any of the steps above could be beneficial towards understanding what God’s call and will is for your life? Which ones stand out to you the most and why?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to make God the center of your world by taking the steps necessary to discern what God’s good and perfect will is for your life, today!
cassie wicoff 2

TRUST -CASSIE WICOFF

TRUST

CASSIE WICOFF

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Trust is a very hard thing to come by these days. This may be because so many people have been burned by broken promises, false advertising, and misleading intentions. In fact, the older people get, the harder it gets for them to trust anyone. While it is true that it’s hard to trust people, this shouldn’t be the case for God. When God makes a promise he always keeps it. God never lies and God loves you more than you can ever know. If you have a need, God wants you to share it with him. God is able to do immeasurably more than anything we could ever imagine. Remember this is the God who parted the Red Sea, who made the lame walk, gave sight to the blind, and will move mountains if needed (Mark 11:23). But it is imperative to remember one thing; that is, God is not a vending machine. You can’t shoot out a prayer like you put a quarter into a vending machine and get your request granted. God will give you what you need in accordance with his good and perfect will (Philippians 2:13). Bring your needs before God and don’t be afraid to search out his good and perfect will for your life.

QUESTION 1. Describe a time that you brought a need to God in prayer and he answered it.
QUESTION 2. What things are going on in your life that you need to bring before God in prayer?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to bring your needs before God. He loves you and wants to do immeasurably more than you can even imagine.
Charity Ramsey

TRUST -CHARITY RAMSEY

TRUST

CHARITY RAMSEY

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Have you ever noticed how many people are afraid of the dark? I mean who knows what could be lurking in the dark, right? As a child, like most children, I was very afraid of the dark and I would never have been caught dead alone in it. There was just something about the dark that brought up warning signs of possible danger around every corner. However, like most, as I grew up, the dark places became some of the best places to try to hide. It was much like the children’s game hide and seek, with the only difference being that as I got older it was no longer just a game.

Today people hide from all kinds of things; for example, some try and hide from reality and try to escape from something that hurt them in their past while others try to hide their activities by keeping people in the dark through lies and deception. The only problem with all this, however, is that the darkness never really protects us at all. Instead, we find ourselves stumbling around and eventually tripping over something and hurting ourselves. Jesus tells us that he is the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12). When we go through tough times in life, God wants us to trust him and trust that he will take care of us, forgive us, and be there for us regardless of how badly we’ve messed things up. God doesn’t want us to run and hide in the dark from him; God wants to expose that darkness with his light, the only light that brings healing and restoration.

QUESTION 1. Is there anything in your life that you’re trying to hide from others or from God?
QUESTION 2. In what ways can you begin to trust God and allow his light to correct your path?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to trust in the Lord with all your heart, stop running away and trying to hide in the darkness and allow God to restore you with his light!
Shevon Felder 1

TRUST -SHEVON FELDER

TRUST

SHEVON FELDER

Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

Worries can drive us crazy at times. Especially when those worries revolve around money. Think about how many great ideas there are in the world right now that will never actually evolve due to the lack of funds. It’s no different in the ministry field. So many great ideas and amazing plans to spread and share God’s love with others fall by the wayside due to financial reasons and worries. It’s so easy in today’s day and age to give up on our dreams and callings in life because we can’t see past our financial obstacles. While it is true that sometimes God closes doors to our ideas by making sure there are no funds available, more often than not we tend to be our own worst obstacles, because we don’t fully trust God to provide the necessary financial means to make our dreams happen. Here is what we need to remember: if God wants something to happen and we place our faith and trust in him to provide, he will provide. Dream big for God, dream big in the ways with which you can spread and share the good news of Jesus Christ with others. Never give up on God’s calling upon your life. Always trust in him to provide and he will do immeasurably more than all you ask or could have ever imagined (Eph. 3:20).

QUESTION 1. Do you have any big dreams about how God could be using your life right now if it weren’t for money holding you back? (Expound on those dreams)
QUESTION 2. Do you trust God with your money? (Explain) Reread Ephesians 3:20. Based on this scripture, do you feel God calling you to trust that he will provide for all of your needs? If so, how?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to place your trust in God and trust that he is able to do immeasurably more than all you could ever ask or imagine of him.
mick silvers 1

TRUST -MICK SILVERS

TRUST

MICK SILVERS

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.

As part of a leadership training exercise in college, a group of us were blindfolded and taken to an unknown location. We were guided all around campus then placed into vehicles and whisked away while required to keep our blindfolds on. I felt so out of control in that moment that I even got into the car backwards on accident. I had no idea where I was going, who was driving me, or what was going on in the world around me. What I did know was that the people leading the leadership exercise were trustworthy. I could choose to freak out because I was not in control, or I could sit and relax because I knew I was in the hands of people I could trust. I sat and thought about all the places they could have been taking us. When we took off our blindfolds we were rewarded with delicious donuts!

How often in your life as you walk with God do you feel like you are completely out of control? So often the Lord shows us that his plans are way different than anything we may have expected them to be. God sees the bigger picture and he knows where he is taking you on this journey of life. Even when you cannot see where you are going, you are in trustworthy hands. You may not be able to figure everything out, but God provides a peace that goes beyond all understanding when you trust him fully. The more you allow Him to guide you, the more you will see His plans unfold in your life.

He wants to give you His best! He wants to take you where you have never expected to go and He wants to pour out His goodness in your life. You may not be able to see where He is taking you, but as you walk in faith you will see that the outcome is far better than donuts.

QUESTION 1. In what areas of your life are you unable to see God at work?
QUESTION 2. What is preventing you from being able to surrender all control and trust God fully?
CHALLENGE: Ask God to show you how you can trust him more today, then allow him to guide you.
lenae russ 1

TRUST -LENAE RUSS

TRUST

LENAE RUSS

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

When I was a kid, my sister and I loved to compete. We would find a way to make anything into a race or a competition, just to keep life interesting. I remember one time when I was about three or four years old and we were on a trip to the mall. My parents were shopping for essentials at the baby store, so their minds were occupied on something other than my “well-behaved” sister and me. My sister, who is just a year older than I am, looked at me and sparked my competitive nature when she said “I’ll race you to the toys section.” Challenge accepted! I was off–eat my toddler dust big sister. I was determined to win.

Now, as I reflect on this moment, I don’t know if the store was actually huge or if I just remember it that way because I was small…but the toy section was not as easy to find as I had thought when I took on the challenge. Once I realized that I didn’t know where I was or where my sister was, my toddler self began to panic–I was lost! Luckily, my parents had taught me what to do if I ever got lost in the store. As tears filled my eyes, I made my way up to the nice lady behind the check-out stand and told her I had lost my family. Over the loud speaker she burst out my parents’ names and they rushed through the walk of shame to scoop me up into their arms again. I was safe again.

I wish I could say that was the first and last time I ever felt so afraid and alone, but it’s not. Those are emotions all of us experience frequently throughout our lives. That’s why the Bible is full of God reminding us not to fear because he is with us. He doesn’t want us to forget that because He knows how it feels without that reassurance–and it isn’t pleasant. However, there is peace that comes when we see what God wants to do in the midst of our fear and vulnerability. He knows what He is doing and He is really good at what He does. However, sometimes we hold too tightly to things that are not (of?) God. We listen to voices that send us in directions that do not align with God’s plan. In those times, His truth remains. He is with us and what He has in store for us is so great!

When I was a child, I didn’t trust that my parents would get me to the toy section fast enough, so I went my own way. I wish I could say that I have left those childish ways behind me, but sometimes I do the same thing with the plans of my Heavenly Father. I fear that He will not take me where I want to go fast enough, if at all. I don’t trust that He knows what He is doing, so I cut corners and make my own path. However, walking down that path always leads me into fear and loneliness because I have taken my eyes off of the Source of my strength and my peace.

QUESTION 1. To where or what has God been calling you lately?
QUESTION 2. What is keeping you from trusting Him completely?
CHALLENGE: Stop cutting corners and trust the path God has set before you. Walk with Him on it!
mariel ahn 1

TRUST -MARIEL AHN

TRUST

MARIEL AHN

1 Peter 1:20-21

He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

Do you ever feel like you just can’t quite hit the target set before you in life? Are there times when you feel discouraged because you don’t know how to live up to the bar that others set for you? I can ensure you that you are NOT alone. So many times in my life I have felt defeated and unworthy because of my shortcomings, my mistakes, or my insecurities. I would always strive to be more, do more, earn more…and it is so unsatisfying to live like that. It seems hopeless.

Here is a beautiful reality that can set you free: there is nothing you can do to earn God’s love. You already have it. Stop striving and just rest in the freedom you have to be the person that God created you to be. He is already crazy about you! You are not defined by your shortcomings, your mistakes, or your insecurities. Your identity is not found in your past or your future. Be present with the Lord now and let him speak his truth over you. You are worthy. You are loved. You belong to the Living God and he is enough.

What would it look like to replace our feelings of inadequacy with the hope and faith found in the God who created us? How would your days be different if instead of striving to be more or do more, you came to God just as you were and asked Him to use you that day? God can use you and he will! He designed you to play a part in the work He is doing in this world. Have hope in the fact that you are worth it to God!

QUESTION 1. What areas in your life do you feel like you are not enough in?
QUESTION 2. What are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing? What makes your heart race a little bit faster when you think about doing it?
CHALLENGE: Take the answers from Question 2 and ask God to show you how he wants to use those things for his work in this world! Then join in and do it!
Mark Ramirez 1

TRUST -MARK RAMIREZ

TRUST

MARK RAMIREZ

Deuteronomy 31:8

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. 

In our times of deepest hurt or trouble it’s hard to put our trust in anything but our own strength to get us out of it. We tend to believe that we can get ourselves out of circumstances that are completely beyond our control, such as when someone we love or we become terminally ill.

The verse above was given to the Israelites at a time when they were terrified. They were supposed to finally cross into the Promised Land, but their leader, Moses, would not be going with them, and they would need to take on the armies in the land. Terrified would be an understatement. But Moses told them that God would go into the land before they even took one step in and would be with them every step of the way. God fulfilled his promise to the Israelites.

The same promise is true for us today. In every situation we encounter, God is already there and already knows the outcome. How comforting is that? He is always with us and no matter what He will never say, “Hey, you got this, I’m going to go somewhere else for a little while.” Take this promise with you everywhere you go and know that God is always with you and one step ahead of you.

QUESTION 1. Why is it so hard to believe that God will take care of us in our troubles?
QUESTION 2. Where do you turn to in times of trouble?
CHALLENGE: Turn to God. He is the only one who won’t leave you or forsake you. You don’t ever have to be afraid.
sarah duran 1

TRUST -SARAH DURAN

TRUST

SARAH DURAN

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Skydiving had always been one of the top items on my “Bucket List”; so my friends and I finally decided it was time to check this experience off our lists! The night before the dive, we were flooded with all kinds of emotions. We were talking about the songs we wanted played at our funerals and reminiscing on fond memories. Needless to say, we were a little dramatic about the whole thing.

The time came to put our harnesses on and learn how to properly exit an airplane while 10,000 feet in the air. We had only known our instructors for a short while, but we were about to trust them with our lives. I made sure to ask my instructor questions that would help me get to know enough about this recent stranger so I’d know he was dependable. The more I got to know him, the safer I felt. As we took off in a little plane headed straight for the skies, I knew there was no turning back. This man I hardly knew was now responsible for keeping me alive as I soared through the sky.

Life with Jesus is a lot like skydiving. The more we get to know Him, the easier it is to trust Him. A.W. Tozer, a Christian pastor and author said, “What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Our view of God determines how we live our lives and it shapes how we respond to God. The more you know about God’s love and goodness, the easier it is to talk to Him. As you get to know who He says He is in His Word, you will find trusting Him and His plans easier. He really does have your best interest in mind. He wants to give you abundant life. He loves you deeply. He rejoices when you speak to Him. He is good–really good! Ask Him to teach you more about who He is–then, strap yourself onto Him and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime as you trust the Great Instructor with your life!

QUESTION 1. What do you believe to be true about God? How do these beliefs align with the Bible?
QUESTION 2. What is stopping you from fully trusting the plans God has for you?
CHALLENGE: Spend some time reading Scripture that describes the character of God and ask Him to show you who He is today.
steve grabosch lg 1

TRUST -STEVE GRABOSCH

TRUST

STEVE GRABOSCH

Have you ever gotten upset with someone? I mean really upset, so upset that you took out your anger in a way that hurt that person though your words or physical actions. Ephesians 6 tells us that our battle and “fight is not against flesh and blood, but rather against the mighty powers in this dark world, and against the evil spirits in the heavenly places.” When we don’t view people as our enemies but rather realize the enemy is not actually of flesh and blood, God will always be able to show you how to combat the situation with love and navigate through even the toughest situations.

QUESTION 1. Think about a time when you hurt someone with your words or physical actions. Given that situation how could you have reacted differently and showed love to that person?
QUESTION 2. Think about a time when you were shown undeserved love. How did that affect you and your mindset towards that person?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to rethink who you’re really angry with. As the apostle Paul proclaims, our battle is not against flesh and blood, but with an unseen dark and demonic world. God calls us to wage war against the people who are our enemies by unconditionally loving them, but at the end of the day, the choice is yours! Will you trust God and allow his love to unconditionally transform all those around you? Follow Jesus’ example of love today and go beyond the norm to a new and extraordinary life of love; a love that includes your enemies! (Matthew 5:44)