Radiating A Filtered Perspective

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For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

This world is very much performance driven isn’t it?!! From a very young age too! “If you eat all your dinner… you can have desert.” Performance driven– and now with social media it’s taken on new heights and depths that threaten to eat us all alive if we are not careful right!

Psalm 18:30 begins with, God’s way is perfect. So why oh why then do I strive to have MY way?! God must think I look pretty silly straining and striving to just measure up and do all and be all “that”; whatever or whoever “that” is right! He’s probably thinking… girl, you gonna pull a hammy trying so hard; or at least slip a disc with all the ways you are trying to bend over backward to do things YOUR way…girl, don’t you know you’re not built for “that”?! I in all My infinite wisdom did not build you to do that, or to be like so and so either!! Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 

Good grief before I hurt myself somethin’ awful maybe I need to be more about His presence than my performance! Lets look at Exodus 34:29. Here we see Moses spending time with God and his very face began to glow radiantly!! Who knew!?! All these expensive face creams and all it takes to glow radiantly is to spend time with our Maker…for free!!!

This verse states that, Moses wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant — Moses wasn’t thinking about what he looked like only what his God was like! Yet what did others notice? Verse 30 says they noticed the radiance of Moses’ face! When we marinate in Him, in His presence it will be His fragrance we leave in our wake everywhere we go…with out even trying. People will experience the fruit of His Spirit within us and we won’t even know it and we won’t become weary doing it because the fruit will not be our concern; we can leave that to Him as we swim in the unfathomable heights and depths of His love for us. Jesus, make me more about Your presence than my performance in life.

Not saying it’s easy, this world is pretty hard but we can choose not to let it make us that way. God is good and He is good at being God -we can take that to the spiritual bank. Anything He has allowed into my life had to pass through the filter of His mighty hand.  I can trust that if He allowed it He can use it to bring me closer to His heart and don’t I want to experience every part of Him I can this side of heaven?!! Could there be anything more gloriously fulfilling than to get to the end and face God and say I didn’t waste a heartbeat; especially when You are a God willing to redeem, recharge and restore every flat line around!  I desire to abide-marinate in His presence till I’m soft and pliable enough to receive HIS perspective in all of my life…don’t you?!

Jesus I praise You that You filter all that comes to me through Your mighty able hands, please help me to see it all through Your filter as well.

Independent Read: Ephesians 3:14-21

 

Live Enamored On Better Promises

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But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. Hebrews 8:6 (NLT)

Ever wanted a “yes” but received a “no”? Me too, but today… right within my “no” came the realization that “no” really means “a better yes”! Look at Heb. 8:6, we have in Jesus a new covenant based not on law but on grace! Christ offers to forgive our sins through His sacrificial death and provided a way into eternal life through His resurrection! May we LIVE enamored for the rest of time on that mighty Truth! This Truth reaches to Israel and Judah and right on into the Gentile nations AND it is now written on our hearts and minds! Praise Jesus the mighty One who saves!

2 Corinthians 1:20 states, For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. Did you read that?! “A resounding ‘Yes!'”! So you ask, why do I feel like I keep hearing resounding “No’s!”?!?  Wellll, let’s look at something in Romans 8:28-29. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. —- What’s His purpose? See verse 29… to be conformed to the image of His Son – to be like Jesus! So maybe any “no” we feel we hear is because God is saying I have a BETTER “yes” for you than the one you think you want. A “yes” that will bring you closer to My heart dear child.

God says no to addiction to say yes to freedom and no to sex outside of marriage to say yes to marital bliss… God says yes to salvation, yes to forgiveness, yes to abundant life, yes to living in an eternal kingdom!! All these “Yes’s” are made possible to us because of Jesus!

Yes to healing, why? – Jesus! See Isaiah 53:5

Yes to good things, why? Jesus! See Romans 8:28-29

Yes to love, why? Jesus! See Romans 8:38-39

Yes to blessings, why? Jesus! See Ephesians 1:3

Yes to meeting needs, why? Jesus! See Philippians 4:19

So if I get a “no” and I feel I need a “yes” it’s got to be because He has “a better yes” and blessed will I be if I wait for it (Isaiah 30:18); and allow Him to shape my perspective of what that “yes” should really look like (Romans 12:2).

Jesus, thank You for the “no’s” that direct me further into the “yes’s” of Your perfect will. I praise You for making known to me the path of life; for filling me with joy in Your presence and with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. (Psalm 16:11) Thank You for Your better promises and for giving me every reason to LIVE enamored every day. Amen.

Independent read: Jeremiah 31:31-37, Hebrews 8:7-13

The GreatEST Opportunity

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Oh LORD of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you. Psalm 84:12

God has a sense of humor that is for sure. No sooner had I tried to be uplifting and encouraging, texting this verse from Psalm 84 out to a few loved ones when I received information that would require ME to LIVE this verse out! I think the message for me possibly is…don’t teach something you are not ready to learn yourself! So alas, I find myself in the classroom of hard knocks learning the pure joy of trusting.

But God is SO good and there IS sweet joy to be found in trusting Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides and says in Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 

I find in Numbers 16, Korah and crew behaving much like myself. They had been shown great favor and blessing from God yet are pictured here grabbing for what they see as greater opportunity! Moses (Korah’s cousin) is found trying to talk some sense into these guys gone rouge. (I’m going to leave some blanks so as to more personalize the details to my current situation.) Verse 8-9, Now listen… does it seem insignificant that the God of Israel has chosen you…to be near him so you can serve…verse 10-11, Korah (my name), he has already give this special ministry to you… are you demanding (other opportunity)…as well? The LORD is the one you…are really revolting against!

Hebrews 4:12 states His Word is living and active, and I believe it no accident that I was swimming in Numbers 16 right after Psalm 84 feeling His Word jump off the page and into my heart directly this week; and right as I felt doors of what I perceived as great opportunity close around me. I was reminded to look at all His faithfulness to me in the past and the opportunities He HAS opened up in my current position! Here I was, feeling like I continue to step out in the Jordan without it parting and in fact my expectation for the “parting” just needed adjusting to His better one! Each time I’ve stepped out I HAVE gotten to know a deeper PART of Him, and isn’t that the ultimate goal!

Furthermore in Numbers 16:30 it states, But if the LORD does something entirely new… could the LORD be trying to do something entirely new in your life too and by wallowing in all the great opportunities we THINK we are missing we are missing the greatEST opportunity to trust Jehovah Jireh; allowing Him to increase our faith and trust in Him as I AM, to depths we never even could have imagined before!?!

He says He will direct our steps (Proverbs 16:9) and we always want to ask, “how?” Maybe I just need to trust that -He will. Psalm 46:10 says be still and know… maybe I need to trust that He is faithful and His promises are enough, I can be still and know and not have to see and understand it all right now. Tonight I praise Almighty God for the greatEST opportunity to grow in me an ever increasing trust in Him who set the perfect example.

“…Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke 22:42

Independent Read: Psalm 119:133, Isaiah 43:19, Revelation 4:11

 

A Plan Titled “TRUST”

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Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

Walking by faith not sight and with patience endurance can be, dare I say, not for the weak. But praise Him it’s in the weak that His glory can glow brightest!! (2 Cor. 12:9) Remember in Ruth when Naomi returns home the ENTIRE TOWN was excited for her arrival (Ruth 1:19)! This was at least ten years after she had left with no email, calls, facebook updates… yet she was joyfully remembered and welcomed back into town! She must have been quite a women that Naomi!

However not even the whole towns excitement at her return could lift her spirits because such great tragedy had been allowed into her life. She says in Ruth 1:20 do not call me Naomi instead call me Mara which means bitter. Bitterness can be spiritual cancer can’t it. When God first tells us in Scripture that His name is Jehovah Rapha or the God Who Heals, it’s in Exodus when He is healing the bitter drinking water. He is the cure for bitterness if we will allow Him to message our “stiff necks” so that we can look up and fix our eyes (Heb. 12:2) on our Heavenly Healer.

It’s under His mighty wings that we can find strength to rise again! May the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done. Ruth 2:12 This is what Boaz said to Ruth when he had heard of her kindness to Naomi (her mother in law). Ruth displayed available obedience.

In Acts 1:4, 8 we are reminded that Jesus had told His disciples not to leave Jerusalem until the Father sent the Holy Spirit. That was their equipping to do a job way beyond them. I think God looks for the one who is willing to just be obediently available. His work is way beyond us so we are wise not to move until we know it’s His Spirit within us leading. It is possible to have wandered so far off on our own like Sampson that we wake up and find we completely drifted from His plan onto ours and His equipping is no longer being infused within us! (Judges 16:20)

Even if we can trust He will equip we can trip up when our timing and His do not seem to align. Let’s look again at the Israelite’s in Exodus. In 32:1 the Israelite’s feel Moses has been gone up the mountain meeting with God for so “LONG” yet when God refers to the same span of time He says how “QUICKLY” the people fell away (32:8)! Isaiah 30:18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Thriving in a plan we cannot see and often do not understand and entails events way beyond us and often times that occur NOT on our timeline requires us to TRUST the faithful Planner. But how?!

1 Cor. 10:1-6 reminds us of the things that happened to this group in the past so that we will not crave evil, we are to crave Him with all our heart and soul (Duet. 2:29). I’m thinking we should never find ourselves spiritually satisfied. Our God is infinite, my reach for Him should always extend past that which I have already grasped! Confidence in His character I think increases with our obedience which requires trust and that’s when we experience His faithfulness and our faith in Him thus increases.

Read 1 Samuel 18:1-4. Johnathan, Saul’s son, the logical next in line to become king, recognizes God’s plan to have David take the throne following his father instead of him. Instead of questioning God’s plan he fully submits and trusts God’s choosing and gets behind God’s choice for king. Johnathan seals this pact by giving David his royal garments. David fixing his eyes on his friend stripped of his royal robes for his sake I imagine would have been humbled beyond thought. When we fix our eyes on Jesus what has He clothed us in? What garments has He given us?

Isaiah 61:10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. THIS is how I can trust His plan.  2 Cor. 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 1 John 4:10 This is real love-not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. He has a love for me I don’t deserve or understand and did nothing to earn. He died in my place to offer me a room in His eternal Kingdom. I don’t understand that, so what makes me think I’m going to understand the plan for my life traveling this earth to get there! I can’t, so I trust.

Jesus please ever increase my faith and trust in You. I praise You for fully equipping the called, for being the victorious Master Planner (that’s always right on time), Who can heal all my hurts, and may You find me to be willingly and obediently available for Your plan!

Naomi didn’t give up on her God… and you know what!? By chapter 4 her daughter in-law Ruth has a child that delights Naomi’s heart and he is none other than the grandfather of king David himself in the line of which Jesus comes!! Who would have thought all her bitter tragedy could have ended like this?!

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now all glory to God, who is able through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Let’s stick to plan “TRUST”!

Independent Read: Phil. 4:6, 1:6, Psalm 73:26, Romans 15:13, John 3:16, 2 Cor. 5:7

Pick a table before a seat.

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Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink- even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk- it’s all free!  Why spend money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. Isaiah 55:1-3

Jesus replied, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. Psalm 81:10

I come from a large family and as my siblings and I got married and had families of our own (what started large now could almost be considered a small town) my parents always did their best to increase the size of our family table even if it meant getting creative in finding and piecing together every available surface to accommodate EVERYONE. There was no “kids table” at my parents, everyone was and still is, included at the same table. Every family member has a seat at this table, which kind of reminded me of Eph. 2:6, For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. As believers in Jesus we are apart of the family or body of Christ and thus He has seated us with Him!

Titus 2:11 states, For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And John 3:16 states He died for the WHOLE world. So the invite is out to all of us to come take a seat at His table however just like at my family gatherings if I don’t show up to the party my seat remains empty. Look what Paul says of Demas in 2 Tim. 4:10. He had deserted him because… he loves the things of this life… The pull of this world can be strong can’t it!? It bombards us moment by moment, we need to be intentional about fixing our eyes on Truth (Heb. 12:2) or we too will find ourselves deserting our best given seat in the house!

Remember that the Israelites liked the idea of getting out of slavery in Ex. 4 but once they were free they wished to go back (Ex. 16:3, Numb. 11:5)! We can’t have a seat at the worlds table and a seat at God’s, it just doesn’t work. No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. ..Matthew 6:24 Often times it’s when we don’t get what we want or things don’t go our way or the way we thought they should have, that we become bitter. Bitter about where we are seated. Bitterness… isn’t that the spiritual cancer of this world! Amazing that God first tells us He is Jehovah Rapha – the Healer when He is curing the bitter water for the Israelites in the desert (Ex. 15:22-27).

God can cure our deepest “seating chart” issues but we really need to make sure we have first chosen to sit at His table. Then to be diligently devoted to fixing our eyes on Who should be at the head of that table. We can get so consumed at “sitting well” in our “seat” that when we finally do look up we realize we have completely drifted to some other table and are now, quite possibly, pushing our way into someone else’s seat! Dare I say… AWKWARD.

Think of the manna that God brought to the people of Israel. At first they were confused too “What is it?”  they say in Ex.16:15. What does Isaiah 53:2 say about Jesus? There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance that would have drawn us to Him. So could we be missing Jesus from our vantage point because we are looking for something we think is more glorious?!

...in the morning you will be filled… Ex. 16:12 says regarding the manna. See the manna/bread was provided from heaven daily. God in His pure Word (Psalm 119:140) says in Matthew 6:11,34 that we too are to trust Him daily for our needs and not worry. He knows what we need before we ask so maybe if we are upset because we do not feel peace or patience or whatever else in our current seat, might it be we were seeking those things from Him more than we were seeking Him? If we seek Him we will find Him and He already knows what we need. We need to be willing to open our hearts wide to receiving it. Gathering the manna was the peoples job wasn’t it. He longs to teach me of His sufficiency and its there every morning if I’ll take time seated in the seat He has pulled out for me at His table to gather it (Lam. 3:22-23, 2 Cor. 12:9).

Life is full of joyful uncertainty that we can face enthusiastically when we are certain of Him; the all sufficient Bread Of Life. May we take our seat in life, but first lets make sure we have found His table.

Cowboy Up!

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I recently had the privilege of teaching a children’s Sunday School class. At least I thought it was a privilege…maybe the kids know me too well because as soon as they saw me bring out a gallon baggie stretched tight full of water and about 6 sharpened pencils they say, “Oh boy here we go again!”, and  automatically all moved two rows back! I was like, “WHAT?!” To which they responded, “Teacher we are wearing Sunday clothes!!!” As if to infer, I’m an adult… this is church… on Sunday morning… actually Easter morning… and not a summer playground… so what was I thinking?! I should know better!! (Don’t worry, no one got wet (this time), but that’s the whole point…) #isanyplacemorefunthansundayschool

The sounds of awestruck wonder coming from the children as I continued to puncture the bag with multiple sharp pencils WITHOUT the bag busting was priceless. They slowly began moving back to their original seats. We talked about how Jesus took the nails in our place, how He endured His friends deserting, betraying and denying even knowing Him while being falsely accused, resulting in His crucifixion! He took the hardest stuff, dying in our place, so that when we come up against hard stuff in our own lives we are not destroyed. Kinda like this gallon bag of water still in tact despite the many pencils through it!

2 Cor. 4:8-9 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 

Is. 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

1 John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Sometimes the battle field of life can feel pretty crushing and that’s when I imagine Jesus coming up to me and lifting the face guard on my helmet of salvation (Eph. 6:17) so that He can look directly into my eyes. With strong, gentle, nail scared hands on my shoulders He reminds me He understands because in Heb. 10:5-7…Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said; “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am-it is written about me in the scroll-I have come to do your will, my God.'” 

“I will” vs. “Thy will” is the key to victory and it’s in His Word we can find the Truth to guide us and the promises that give us the strength to persevere.

Think of Isaiah 14 which depicts the fall of Satan. Verses 13-14 are covered with “I will” statements from the enemy! But Jesus leads by example in Luke 22:42 saying, yet not my will, but yours be done.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. (Sin is found in “I will” rather than “Thy will” statements isn’t it.) And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scoring it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Consider Him! Remember Who’s you are! Go back to what you know; I imagine Jesus saying to me on the battlefield with dirt streaks on my brow. Isaiah 51:1 Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn- Then He would remind me of Heb. 10:35-39 and say, So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he promised. For, In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay. And, But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back. But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

Child, you are in My army; NOT of those that shrink back for I have overcome this world!! The enemy only gets ground you give him!! With that I imagine He lets my helmet of salvation’s face guard fall shut as He mounts His white stead once more taking the lead out front but He looks back one more time and with a twinkle in His eye He says, Cowboy / Cowgirl up! I’ve risen, conquering the grave, you’re on the winning team! My banner over you is love My child. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what I have prepared for those who love me. (Song of Songs 2:4, 1 Cor. 2:9) I command you to be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For I the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9) You got this cuz I got you, so Cowgirl /Cowboy up and follow Me, follow Me all the way Home dear one!

Independent Read: Phil. 2:5-11, Is. 41:13

Deep Thorns That Take You Deeper Still

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“Mom, I need your help! Everything my hand touches sends pain up my finger! Can you figure out what’s wrong and fix it?!!” At first glance I see nothing, however upon closer observation I see a hairlike sliver in the tip of his finger and with the proper tool (a tweezers, because that’s as surgical as I get before passing out) it was out in no time, pain gone! Yay mom, life is good! But what about the “thorns” your mom can’t remove and stay painfully stuck…

Take a moment and read Psalm 73.

This Psalm is written by Asaph a musician that led the praises of the Jews as the ark entered into Jerusalem. He was good at praise, he was good at worship but here in this Psalm we see him admit he is beginning to slip from wisdom and godliness. Why? Because he is struggling with the ways of the world. Why does good happen to the wicked and bad happen to the good? Verse 7 NLT states, These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! In verse 13 he wonders if he has kept his heart pure for nothing. (14) I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain. Have you been where Asaph is?

What I love and can learn from him is what he does and doesn’t do with his feelings. Verse 15, he doesn’t take them to other people, he doesn’t want others to stumble in their faith over his doubts so he instead goes straight to God. Verse 17, Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood…. (21) Then I realized that my heart was bitter and I was all torn up inside. Isn’t that exactly what the enemy wants to do to you with the thorns that are allowed into your life!? Tear you up inside and ultimately cause you to tear your heart away from God!

What else does God reveal to Asaph as a result of him running into His mighty hand? He reveals His mighty heart that is FOR him. Verse 23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My heart may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. FOREVER! He is reminded that for those who believe, this world is as bad as it will ever get; and for those who don’t, this world is as good as it will ever get. (John 3:16)

Much of Scripture shows us He wants to meet with us, fellowship with us, walk in a love relationship with us daily. Joshua 24:15 …choose today whom you will serve… choose today, everyday, some days every moment I need to re-fix my eyes on the author and perfecter of my faith (Heb. 12:2) because some “thorns” feel unbearable yet I’m reminded of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He sweat blood because the pain and pressure of the “thorn” was so great. Yet He chose to bear it and submit to His Father’s will in order to win me a way into His eternal kingdom so that my “thorns” would not be eternal. (Luke 22:39-45) They instead could be used for His glory and praise and the saving of many more lives into His kingdom! (Gen. 50:20)

Jesus, the “thorns” in this life that You allow for a season or maybe even a lifetime that the enemy wants to use to tear me up inside and ultimately use to tear my heart from Yours, Jesus I pray You use to strengthen my faith! That I would be able to raise that shield of faith and pray, “not my will but Your’s be done Father”, and at that, every fiery dart from hell aimed at me would be extinguished! If it’s not Your will to take these “thorns” away in this life I will praise You that they will not go with me to the next! Allow them then today to make me instead run deeper into You like Asaph into Your sanctuary. Like the thorn in my sons hand made him realize he needed someone bigger… Lord, use these “thorns” to make me more aware of my constant need of You, I AM, who is bigger, to see You in ways I never would have otherwise even been looking; allow them to show me Your sufficiency, Your strength brought to perfection in my weakness. May those deep “thorns” take my heart deeper, deeper still into You Father. Amen.

Independent Read: Eph. 3:14-21, John 14:1-3, Acts 7:5 (nothing appeared to make sense yet he trusted), Hebrews 11:10, Eph. 6:16, John 15:5, Romans 8:28