Free Download: Trusting God by Jerry Bridges

Christian Audio is offering another outstanding audiobook for free download this month—Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. 

I am so grateful that Jerry Bridges wrote this book. I had the opportunity to read it for the first time about three years ago when I began studying biblical counseling at The Master’s College. Trusting God was part of the required reading for one of my classes, and I personally think it should be required reading for every Christian. The content is that good.

After facing significant trials in his own life, Bridges turned to the Scriptures to better understand human suffering in light of the goodness and sovereignty of God. What he found in God’s Word was convincing proof that no matter how dark our circumstances, we can trust God to bring about our good and His glory.

The truths Bridges shares in Trusting God will greatly strengthen your faith.

Download the audiobook version of Trusting God HERE.

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Child of my love, fear not the unknown morrow,
Dread not the new demand life makes of thee;
Thy ignorance doth hold no cause for sorrow
Since what thou knowest not is known to Me.

Thou canst not see today the hidden meaning
Of my command, but thou the light shalt gain;
Walk on in faith, upon My promise leaning,
And as thou goest all shall be made plain.

One step thou seest—then go forward boldly,
One step is far enough for faith to see;
Take that, and thy next duty shall be told thee,
For step by step thy Lord is leading thee.

Stand not in fear, thy adversaries counting,
Dare every peril, save to disobey;
Thou shalt march on, all obstacles surmounting,
For I, the Strong, will open up the way.

Wherefore go gladly to the task assigned thee,
Having my promise, needing nothing more
Than just to know, where’er the future find thee,
In all thy journeyings, I go before.

~Author Unknown

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

“Fear not” were the very words the angel spoke to Mary, our Lord’s mother (Luke 1:30), and He has been speaking those same words to mothers ever since. He knows our tendency to succumb to fear and the debilitating results on us and our children. He does not say that dangers don’t exist. They do. Sometimes our worst fears do come upon us. Even then, it is who God is, what God says, and that God is with us that really matters.

We are, unfortunately, given to fearing the wrong things and the wrong people. God tells us to fear Him. This phrase is frequently repeated in the Bible. Fearing God means we are to take God seriously, to regard Him as holy, to worship, trust, and obey Him…

As mothers, we exercise our faith when we look beyond what is visible. Although Saint Augustine (354-430) had a believing, praying mother, he was involved in immoral living and dabbled in strange philosophies and sects. Augustine was thirty before he became a follower of Christ. William Wilberforce (1759-1833) grew up in a home where Christ was honored, but was absorbed in the sporting and social life. Wilberforce came to true faith through a tutor at Queens College where the two of them read aloud to each other literary classics and the Bible and discussed what they read. After his conversion to Christ, Wilberforce was discipled by John Newton, the converted former slave ship captain who wrote the great hymn “Amazing Grace.” Newton encouraged Wilberforce to memorize Scripture, do Bible study, and be Christ’s man in the British Parliament where Wilberforce spent most of his public life passing legislation against slavery.

My point? Just because your children are not where you would like to see them at this point in time does not mean all hope is lost. Keep praying and trusting God to work. Pray specifically for the people that God might bring into their lives to influence them. We have all heard dramatic stories of conversion where God touched people who did not have the privilege of learning of Christ in their homes. Our hearts beat faster as we hear their stories. We exalt in the fact that God can reach down and redeem in amazing ways. But often when it comes to our own children we need the challenge to have faith.

~Jean Fleming in “Fear Not, Mother…Fear God

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

We must depend upon God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We must, to the same degree, depend on Him to enable us to do what we must do for ourselves. The farmer must use all of his skills, experience, and resources to produce a harvest. Yet he is utterly dependent upon forces outside of himself. Those forces of nature–moisture, insects, sun–are, as we have already seen, under the direct sovereign control of God. The farmer is dependent upon God to control nature so that his crop will grow. But he is just as dependent upon God to enable him to plow, plant, fertilize, and cultivate properly. From where did he get his skills, his ability to learn from his experience, the financial resources to buy the equipment and fertilizer he uses? Where does even his physical strength to do his tasks come from? Are not all these things from the hand of God who “gives all men life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:25)? In every respect, we are utterly dependent upon God.

There are times when we can do nothing, and there are times when we must work. In both instances we are equally dependent upon God.

~Jerry Bridges in Trusting God

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

What is the basis for our security with God? How do we know that he listens to our prayers and forgives our sins and takes care of us each day? Many of us are anxious about that…

We get fearful and anxious because our default thought pattern is that God will do his part if we do ours. The reality is however, that there is no if. God has already done his part by sending his Son, and in so doing he completed forever our eternal security and adoption into his family. God hates our attempts to earn his favor, not only because they deny the finished work of Jesus, but also because those attempts keep us from enjoying his fellowship.

Attempting to earn God’s favor will always lead to weariness in the Christian life, or to fear, because no matter what we do, we will never measure up. Nothing we do is up to God’s standards. That’s why Christ not only died for us–he lived a perfect life for us as well. Do you know what that means? It means that when we fail to measure up, God looks at how Jesus measured up, and he applies that to us… There are no ifs; Jesus took care of all that.

~Lydia Brownback in Trust: A Godly Woman’s Adornment

Photo: OBMonkey

Be a Birdbrain–Don’t Worry!

“…do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

Matthew 6:31

Encouraging thoughts from John MacArthur on our Heavenly Father’s loving care for us:

In Matthew 6:26 Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” I can imagine the Lord standing on a hillside up in Galilee looking over the beautiful north end of the sea, the breeze rippling across the water, the sun bright in the sky. Since that part of the Sea of Galilee was known as a crossroads of bird migration, perhaps Jesus saw a flock fly by as He spoke.

He wants us to think about birds. Here’s one observation: Birds don’t get together and say, “We’ve got to come up with a strategy to keep ourselves alive.” They have no self-consciousness or ability to reason. But God has planted within them the instinct or divine capacity to find what is necessary to live. God doesn’t just create life; He also sustains life…

Birds don’t worry about where they are going to find food; they just go about their business until they find it, and they always do because God is looking out for them. Birds have no reason to worry, and if they don’t, what are you worrying for? Jesus put it this way: “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31).

Are you not much better than a bird? No bird was ever created in the image of God, no bird was ever designed to be a joint-heir with Jesus Christ, no bird was ever prepared a place in heaven in the Father’s house. If God sustains the life of a bird, don’t you think He will take care of you? Life is a gift from God. If God gives you the greater gift of life itself, don’t you think He will give you the lesser gift of sustaining that life? Of course He will, so don’t worry about it.

[Anxiety Attacked, pp.19-20]

Photo: Juha Soininen

Temporary Blindness, Eternal Vision

“…this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Do your soul a favor this weekend–skip a sitcom and watch this instead! In a message given at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, Jennifer Rothschild shared her testimony and explained how her experience with blindess has taught her to see through the eyes of faith:

Though fear is real, your faith is real. Though fear is powerful, your faith is more powerful. And that which you esteem highly in your life is that which will dominate you. May we never esteem our fear more highly than our faith. But by the grace of God, we can humbly with meekness kneel before God. And when our knees kneel before God, our faith must bow to His sovereignty and power. And therefore, we walk by faith and not by sight.

Visit WomensMinistry.net.

Photo: Ziadin Givan

Still, My Soul Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46:10

 

This hymn by Keith and Kristyn Getty is one I find myself singing often. Such a beautiful message for troubled hearts… 

Still, My Soul Be Still 
Still my soul be still 
And do not fear 
Though winds of change may rage tomorrow
 God is at your side 
No longer dread 
The fires of unexpected sorrow  
 
God You are my God 
And I will trust in You and not be shaken 
Lord of peace renew 
A steadfast spirit within me 
To rest in You alone  
 
Still my soul be still 
Do not be moved 
By lesser lights and fleeting shadows 
Hold onto His ways 
With shield of faith 
Against temptations flaming arrows  
 
Still my soul be still 
Do not forsake 
The Truth you learned in the beginning 
Wait upon the Lord 
And hope will rise as stars appear when day is dimming 
 
“Still, My Soul Be Still” is featured on the Getty’s latest album, Awaken the Dawn

Photo: Scott Liddell

Words and music: Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend 

Why Grace?

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
   the conviction of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1

I’m sure you won’t mind if we end the workweek in the same way that we started it, right? This new True Woman video of Jennifer Rothschild is just too good for me not to share. Listen as she explains the importance of maintaining spiritual integrity when we ask God “Why?”

Visit WomensMinistry.net.

Illustration: Chris Baker

Divine Travel Tips

“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

Psalm 37:5

The most relaxing way to travel is with your eyes closed. Whether I’m riding in a car or a plane, I find that I do my best traveling while asleep. My husband and I enjoy making a little road trip together every once in a while, and we have agreed upon the perfect traveling arrangement—he does the driving; I do the sleeping. He’s a good driver, so I have little problem drifting off into dreamland when he’s behind the wheel…most of the time anyway.

You see, sometimes I rouse from my slumber to find that I’m not the only one who’s sleepy. Somehow, the sight of my husband driving with half-closed eyes does wonders for my energy levels. Suddenly, I’m alert, awake, and jumping into action. I turn up the air. I massage his neck. I pinch his arm. I offer to drive. I suggest stopping at Starbucks (ok, maybe I do that regardless of my husband’s condition). I scramble to think of things to talk about. In short, I do whatever it takes to keep our car on the road and headed in the right direction. Of course, I’d rather be resting, but I’ve found that when faced with the options of losing sleep or losing my life; I’ll take Option A every time.

I think there are many times when we as Christians handle our lives in much the same way as I react when I discover that my husband needs help staying awake in the car. Instead of resting in our Lord’s ability to skillfully guide us to our destination in this journey we call life, we view our circumstances as though He were actually half-asleep at the wheel. We feel a little bump in the road and warn, “Lord, did you see that? You need to watch out for those!” A slight sway catches us off guard and we gasp, “God, are you awake?” In response to an unexpected turn, we shout, “This is the wrong way! Here, let me show you how to get there.” Our fear of being taken to places we’d never want to go keeps us wide awake, watching, checking, calculating, and scheming of ways to ensure that our journey goes exactly as we had planned.

Although such actions may be entirely appropriate and necessary when traveling with another human being, they are completely out of place in our journey with the Lord. We seem either to forget or ignore the fact that we serve a God who neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4). He doesn’t look away from the road, take wrong turns, or lose sight of the destination. He is never at any moment in our lives anything less than perfectly good and absolutely sovereign. Not only does He drive our vehicle, but He also designs the roads and decides who we’ll meet along the way. There is no pothole, speedbump, or traffic jam that does not serve a purpose in His ultimate plan for us.

Some people believe they pay tribute to the Lord by attaching a sticker to their car which reads, “God is my co-pilot.” Let’s just set things straight here, shall we? God has revealed His character through many different names, and co-pilot isn’t one of them. He is the only One behind the wheel, and the only One worth trusting in the driver’s seat. We are the passengers, not co-pilots, not navigators, not travel consultants, but passengers—the safe, loved, and privileged passengers. So why in the world are we wasting time worrying when we could be resting?

Trust in God; it’s the only way to travel.  

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:8

 

Photo: Andrew Beierle

Trusting God, Tackling Anxiety

“I have set the LORD always before me;
   because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

Psalm 16:8

Praise the Lord for answered prayer! Yesterday, Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church in Texas, provided an update about his battle against brain cancer which contained truly good news. He also shared some excellent thoughts on the issue of anxiety. Hmm…two posts in one day on the topic of trusting God..does somebody out there need this message?  :)

Related Post: Dropping the Weight of Worry

Photo: Cheryl Empey

Trusting God When Dreams Die

“...be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

Hebrews 13:5 

There are few potential calamities in life that terrify me like the thought of losing my husband. During my six years of marriage, worried thoughts regarding such a tragic possibility have filled my heart on numerous occasions. In those moments, I can’t help but wonder: What would I do? Could I go on in life? Would I continue to trust God? 

Carol Cornish is a woman who has had to face these questions and countless more not as remote possibilities, but as painful realities. After losing her cherished husband of more than 40 years, Carol says her pain was so intense that she was surprised when she survived the winter following his death. As she turned to the Lord for strength and comfort in the months and years after her husband’s passing, she learned firsthand that “The Lord Jesus Christ can give us confidence in him so strong that we can face anything because he is with us.”

Even though I’ve not personally experienced the pain of widowhood, I have been greatly blessed and encouraged by reading Carol’s story in her new book The Undistracted Widow. Although her writing is directed mainly to those who’ve lost their husbands, Carol shares numerous lessons that would benefit women in any stage of life. I found the following perspective on trusting God in the midst of discontentment to be especially challenging:

When we reflect on our circumstances in a grumbling, complaining manner, we are actually finding fault with God. That might not be our intent, but that’s what we’re doing. We often do not realize the serious nature of sinful discontentment. I do not mean that we cannot express to God and others a deep sadness in the loss of our spouse. Deep sorrow is appropriate in the time of loss, but discontentment is not the same thing as godly sorrow.

Discontentment may smolder in us when we don’t get what we expect out of life. This might be especially true of widows who lose their mate at a younger age. Becoming a “premature” widow can seem unfair and untimely. But such an outlook reveals the lack of an eternal perspective. My husband and I looked forward to living out the rest of our lives together…But God had different plans in mind for both of us. What I considered to be good for our future together was not what God chose for us. God did not give you or me the promise that our spouse would live to a ripe old age.

If we are not careful, we may draw wrong conclusions about God when our expectations are not met. Expectations are especially problematic when they become demands or requirements, whether spoken or unspoken. We expect that God will do what seems obviously best to us.

Since we are without a spouse, we have a choice to make—accept the will of God with a submissive and joyful spirit or rebel against his will, dishonoring him and making ourselves miserable. Let us pray that we will quickly and gratefully yield to God’s design for our lives. We must not ruin our testimony by being bitter, resentful, and discontented. Instead we can use this time to know God better and rest in his provision. “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Ps. 90:14).

We must resist Satan’s attempts to lure us into discontentment and all the potential grumblings of the flesh. Complaining is a major feature of discontentment, and it is always sin to complain about God or about anything he has done. His ways are perfect and often beyond our understanding, so they are not to be criticized by mere mortals like us. If we allow ourselves to be disappointed with God, we don’t really possess a true knowledge of God or ourselves.

[The Undistracted Widow, pp. 123-124; emphasis added]

Photo: dog madic

Manna Rhythm

 

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:5-8

Author Edward Welch provides some encouraging words for fretful hearts:

To feed the hundreds of thousands of Israelites, God rained down a kind of bread each day (Ex. 16), but he only gave enough for one day (except for the day before the Sabbath, when they were given enough for two). This established a spiritual rhythm. They did what God told them to do today and they trusted him for tomorrow. Those who trusted in themselves and collected for more than one day found that their surplus manna turned to maggots by morning. They quickly learned that faith in the true God was the only way to live.

Undoubtedly, the first couple days were the hardest. The people woke up hungry, saw that there was no food in the tent, and hadn’t yet looked outside. Would the manna be there this morning? Would God be faithful to his promises? Over time, however, they became confident. They learned that God would care for them tomorrow because he had said he would, and he had been faithful the day before. 

This is the backdrop for Jesus’ words of comfort, “but seek his kingdom [today], and these things will be given to you as well [tomorrow].” Your goal is to get into a manna rhythm. Seek his grace today, be faithful to the tasks in front of you, and trust him for tomorrow. Then, when you look back and see that he was faithful, your faith will be “fed” for the next day.

(Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, p. 150)

Related Post: Worshiping in the Darkness

Photo: Berkeley Robinson

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Worry-Free Weekend

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

Matthew 6:27

Got big plans for the weekend? Whether your schedule is free and clear or jam-packed with events, there’s one activity you’re far too busy for–worrying. Elisabeth Elliot gives six reasons why: 

  1. Worry is totally fruitless. Have you ever succeeded in adding an inch where you wanted it, or subtracting one where you didn’t want it, merely by being anxious? If you can’t accomplish that by worrying, what can you accomplish?
  2. Worry is worse than fruitless; it is disobedience. Note these commands: Fret not. Fear not. Let not your hearts be troubled. Be not dismayed. Be of good cheer.
  3. Worry is taking the not-given–for example, tomorrow. Tomorrow is not ours to worry about. We are allowed to plan for tomorrow, but we are not allowed to worry about it. Today’s troubles are enough of a burden. Jesus knew exactly what He was talking about when He said that.
  4. Worry is refusing the given. Today’s care, not tomorrow’s, is the responsibility given to us, apportioned in the wisdom of God. Often we neglect the thing assigned for the moment because we are preoccupied with something that is not our business just now. How easy it is to give only half our attention to someone who needs us–friend, husband, or little child–because the other half is focused on future worry. 
  5. Worry is the antithesis of trust. You simply cannot do both. They are mutually exclusive.
  6. Worry is a wicked squandering of time (as well as energy).

Stay busy trusting and have a worry-free weekend!

(Discipline, pp. 101-102)

Photo: craig toron

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Dropping the Weight of Worry

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:34

If the Proverbs 31 woman had a fan club, I’d want to be its president. As you might guess, I’m a big-time admirer of this noble lady. When I grow up, I want to be her, but I find that some aspects of being her seem more challenging to me than others. Take for example, the fact that she rises while it is still night. Um…yeah, let’s just say I’ve got a long way to go before I resemble the Proverbs 31 woman in that particular area of my life. Nightowls, raccoons, and bats are much closer companions to me than are earlybirds like her. Still yet, I know that I could get better at being an early riser if I really wanted to. But there’s another characteristic of the noble woman that seems much closer to an impossibility for me: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come” (Prov. 31:25).

When it comes to the issue of worry, I worry that I’ll never quite measure up to the stature of the virtuous woman. She laughs when she thinks about the future? Ha! I laugh when I think about being able to laugh at the future! Now, crying about what might happen in the future? That I can do, and I do it quite well, I might add. 

Here’s an example of the type of course my sinful mind usually runs: Back when I was struggling greatly with the issue of infertility, I would regularly and frequently cry as I looked ahead to my babyless future. It wasn’t the thought of making it through that particular day without a child that would break my heart, it was the thought of making it as a 72 year-old with no children that would overwhelm me with grief! Instead of obeying Jesus’ command not to worry about tomorrow, I would burden myself with all of my concerns for today, tomorrow, and every day following for the next 40 years. No wonder I was so overcome with sadness!

How much freer and more joyful I could have been if I had chosen to rely in simple faith upon Jesus’ assurance that our Heavenly Father knows and provides for all of our future needs (Matt. 6:30-32). In her book, Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety, Elyse Fitzpatrick elaborates on how trusting our Father’s character is a key to gaining victory in our battle against worry:     

Why is worry unbelief? Because it has its roots in doubt about God’s character. It questions His Fatherly care and provision. When I worry about what’s going to happen to my life, what I’m really saying is, “God, You can’t handle this. You’re either too weak, uninterested, unloving, or not smart enough to take care of my life. I’ve got to devote all my attention to sorting this situation out on my own.”

…When we worry and fret about our perceived needs, we’re forgetting that we have a Father who knows what we really need even before we ask. Of course, there is usually a great difference between what I think I need and God’s perspective. I must humble myself then, conceding to His wisdom, and believe that He knows what’s best for me and that He will give me everything that’s truly necessary for me. Paul tells us in Romans 8: “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).

The Father who gave me the most needful and precious gift of all, His Son, will not fail to provide everything I need.

(pp.113, 115)

Jesus: Living Proof that our Heavenly Father will always give us His very best! As we ask God to replace the fear in our hearts with faith in His perfect love, we can experience the freedom that comes when we finally drop the weight of worry.  

If ever a woman had reason to be overcome with worry, Lauren Chandler would certainly be that woman. Since last November, she has lived daily with the knowledge that her husband is suffering from an aggressive form of brain cancer. In the following video, as Lauren shares how God has steadied her through this storm, we see a vivid picture of the way our Heavenly Father cares for His own. Her testimony was an inspiration to me, and I hope it will be to you as well.

Related Posts:

Comforted to Comfort

Grace Sufficient in Suffering

Photo: Pawel Kryj

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