Rev Trev's Blog Page...
At Discovery we love to extend the conversation that we engage on Sundays throughout the week. On this page you will find continuing conversations that challenge and continue the conversation of faith and life throughout the week! You will also find random musings from the mind of Rev Trev as he wrestles with leadership, life, and leaning into the journey of life and faith!
We HOPE that these posts will encourage and well as challenge you to move forward in your own personal walk with Jesus!
DARE to HOPE!
“Yet I still DARE to HOPE when I remember this: 22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will HOPE in him!”
25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. 26 So it is good to WAIT quietly for salvation from the Lord.”
~Lamentations 3:21-26 NLT
“Yet I still DARE to HOPE”… is an incredible phrase from the lips of the prophet Jeremiah who is known in Christians circles as the “WEEPING PROPHET”.
I wonder “HOW” many of us think of HOPE as a DARING move?
When it comes to DARING moves we often think of a tightrope walker, a free climber, a motocross racer, a firefighter, a police officer, a solider, etc.
The TRUTH is, we rarely think of HOPE as a DARING action on our part. In fact, we often throw the word “HOPE” around so flippantly in our Christian world these days that I often think it has lost so much of its full impact. BUT Jeremiah understood how “DARING” an attitude of HOPE can be like the one he writes about in the above passage!
Well, to understand how “DARING” this attitude really is one has to READ the preceding description of Jeremiah’s life found in chapter 3 of the book of Lamentations:
“I am the one who has seen the afflictions that come from the rod of the Lord’s anger. 2 He has led me into darkness, shutting out all light. 3 He has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. 4 He has made my skin and flesh grow old. He has broken my bones. 5 He has besieged and surrounded me with anguish and distress. 6 He has buried me in a dark place, like those long dead. 7 He has walled me in, and I cannot escape. He has bound me in heavy chains. 8 And though I cry and shout, he has shut out my prayers. 9 He has blocked my way with a high stone wall; he has made my road crooked. 10 He has hidden like a bear or a lion, waiting to attack me. 11 He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces, leaving me helpless and devastated. 12 He has drawn his bow and made me the target for his arrows. 13 He shot his arrows deep into my heart. 14 My own people laugh at me. All day long they sing their mocking songs.15 He has filled me with bitterness and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink. 16 He has made me chew on gravel. He has rolled me in the dust. 17 Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. 18 I cry out, “My splendour is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!” 19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words.” ~Lamentations 3:1-19 NLT
WOW! It is against this backdrop that Jeremiah shouts out his proclamation of HOPE!
The REALITY is.. LIFE can be difficult. Just ASK Jeremiah!
LIFE can be challenging even at the best of times! Just ASK Jeremiah!
LIFE can be a struggle some days just to survive! Just ASK Jeremiah!
BUT despite the obstacles, despite the situations or the circumstances that we may be facing there is ALWAYS room for HOPE!
We can DARE to HOPE because the FAITHFUL LOVE of God NEVER ends!
We can DARE to HOPE because His MERCIES NEVER cease!
We can DARE to HOPE because He is FAITHFUL to NEVER leave us or abandon us!
We can DARE to HOPE because His MERCIES begin AFRESH each morning!
We can DARE to HOPE because He is DEPENDABLE through it all!
We can DARE to HOPE because through it all our SALVATION is in Him!
DARING to HOPE when LIFE is tough, when LIFE is difficult is one of the strongest and sometimes hardest things you and I will ever do. But, it is the exact thing that we need more than anything to get us through WHATEVER we may be facing in this thing called the journey of life and faith!
SEEKING a DARING SPIRIT today and always,
Don't ASK unless you plan on OBEYING!
“Listen, you remnant of Judah. The Lord has told you: ‘Do not go to Egypt!’ Don’t forget this warning I have given you today. 20 For you were not being honest when you sent me to pray to the Lord your God for you. You said, ‘Just tell us what the Lord our God says, and we will do it!’ 21 And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the Lord your God any better now than you have in the past. 22 So you can be sure that you will die from war, famine, and disease in Egypt, where you insist on going.”
In this very challenging passage from the OT book of the prophet Jeremiah, the remaining people of Judah approached Jeremiah with a PLEA begging him to GO before the LORD and ask Him "WHAT" the people should do. You see, they were facing down some giants in neighbouring armies who were set to invade and likely over take this small remnant of people. BUT Jeremiah was not happy with their request because he was a bit jaded, maybe perhaps even cynical because this was not the first time they had approached him. The people of Israel and Judah in the OT were notorious for seeking God's direction and NOT following through with it and Jeremiah knew this. But he still went before the LORD and took their request to Him! The response was for them to stay put, to stand strong with the LORD'S help and they would be safe and prosper. However, Jeremiah knew that the people of Judah had their hearts set on "greener pastures" on the land of Egypt where they though they could escape war, famine, and disease and when Jeremiah delivered the news that they REALLY didn't want to hear he WARNED them that to SEEK God without intending to OBEY is dangerous territory!
Let me ASK you something... "How many times have you PRAYED for something but you NEVER had any intention of truly listening?" "How many times have you sought an ANSWER from God but only wanted the ANSWER you wanted?"
The REALITY is simply this, Jesus tells us to continually SEEK God and James tells us to SEEK WISDOM from God. BUT... and it's a BIG BUT... DON'T DO IT if you have no intention of following through with the ANSWER you receive from God. Jeremiah reminds each and every one of us in this passage that it is DANGEROUS territory to tread upon and we should NEVER do so lightly!
SEEKING His LEADING...
TRUST is the ESSENCE of FAITH!
"I will come back later, God willing." v.21a
When I first came to faith I thought this was a very peculiar saying to say the least. And I have often wondered IF this was actually in the bible. Well, wonder no more here it is in Paul's own words as he responds to the Jews in Ephesus.
I guess "WHY" I found this a peculiar saying as it seemed to give a lot of power to God in that we are not even in control of where we go and when we go OR to draw the thought out further we are not in control of anything in this lifetime.
Now, I guess I can be taking this to the extreme OR maybe not! You see, the reality is in this verse Paul is saying that "IF" God WILLS it he would one day return to the people in Ephesus. Now, I don't know about the fullness of the reality of this in that I do believe there is more free will than this in our world and in the way in which God interacts with us on this thing called the journey of life and faith.
BUT in a whole other sense, there is much truth to this statement. The truth is, our days are numbered, our lives are limited, and our God only knows the fullness of those days. So, in many ways Paul is totally living out a theological truth in this statement!
HOWEVER, and maybe this is just my thing and that is living FULLY in this kind of reality is very challenging! WHY? Because it can also be taken to an extreme where we DO nothing because we believe that God is the one who is in FULL control of our lives and He is the one who will determine everything that occurs including when and where we find ourselves in the journey of life and faith.
BUT here's the thing! What about many of the things that occur even within the scriptures. Like the disobedience and lack of trust of Adam and Eve. Did God determine that they would be in the location in the Garden where they would be tempted to walk away from their TRUST in Him? Or what about all the stuff that Satan through at Job? Did God have a fullness of control over all those things and where Job would be so that Satan could have his will with him? What about the accident that takes a life in a drunk driving incident today? What about the actions of a teenager that puts them in a place where they are introduced to drugs and so much more? Is God behind all that?
You know, I know God is in control and He is certainly working out the promise found in Romans 8:28-29 but the key is in the words... "He is working out"! You see, God is at work in our lives and in this world for His plans and purposes which ultimately is to draw all unto Himself. But I don't ever think God is at work like some kind of grand puppeteer. God is at work in our lives and He works things out according to His Will but He is NOT some kind of controlling deity who has sadistically numbered every moment of our lives in a way that is pre-determined to the point that His Will controls every moment of our lives!
BUT then again I may be totally wrong about all this and one day I will be corrected or be given a fullness of understanding on that day when I come face-to-face with Jesus!
Until that day, God willing, I will continue to SEEK Him and His Will in the days I have ahead of me!
SUNDIALS don't HIDE in the SHADE!
And THIRDLY... you must work the plan according to God’s plans and purposes for our lives!
Before it's TOO LATE!
“All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, He devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from Him.” ~2nd Samuel 14:14 NLT
As I read this passage I am reminded today that life is far too short. When we are in the midst of growing up we can hardly wait to be a teenager. Then we can hardly wait until we reach that milestone of being 16 so we can get our freedom in the form of a license to operate a motor vehicle. Then we can’t wait to graduate and reach that age of maturity, the ripe old age of 19, when our government says that we are old enough to handle the influences of alcohol. Then we can’t wait to be old enough to get married, start a family, and all that goes along with those newfound responsibilities.
The reality is we are constantly rushing expectantly through this thing called life. But all you have to do is ask someone who is more advanced in age and what they will tell you is simply, “Life goes far too fast!”
The brevity of life is something we never seem to consider much unless we are faced with some sort of illness or accident along the way. However, the reality is the older we get the faster time seems to fly, and one day we wind up looking in the mirror and the results of life’s journey seems etched on the face staring back at us! And far too often as I make my way through life with the people God has called me to shepherd one of the things that the end of many people’s lives brings with it is the reality of the regrets that we carried with us along the way.
This is the context of this verse in 2nd Samuel. A wise woman from the region of Tekoa was asked by Joab to bring the reality of the need for reconciliation between the King (David) and his estranged son, Absalom. Years earlier Absalom had sought revenge for the terrible rape of his sister Tamar that occurred at the hand of her half-brother Amnon. So he orchestrated the killing of Amnon and then had to flee for his life for the killing of one of the King’s sons. In placing her request before the King this woman, known for her wisdom, reminds the King who was getting older that there was this issue that he had forgotten about or at the very least had set aside in his life. With these words that must have stung, she reminds David that life is short, far too short for grudges and resentment, and she urges the King to be reconciled to his son before it is too late.
The REALITY is God does not sweep us away when we wander and walk against His desires for our lives. Instead He seeks us out and cares about reconciling us back into right relationship with Him. This is something David learned firsthand in his escapade with Bethsheba. Faced with the reality that God had reconciled and restored their relationship, David calls for his son to return and when he returns Absalom receives the kiss of the King, which signalled the restoration of relationship.
Let me ask you something this morning. What do you need to do before it’s too late?
Who do you need to reconcile with before the brevity of life comes your way?
The TRUTH is each one of us who enters into a relationship with Jesus has been reconciled and therefore we should be agents of reconciliation ourselves! Please don’t wait till it’s too late, because this life is like water spilled out on the ground that cannot be gathered again!
Praying God’s grace in your relationships…
Don't FORGET to PRAY!
"As for me, I will certainly not sin against the Lord by ending my prayers for you. And I will continue to teach you what is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you."
~1 Samuel 12:23–24 NLT
This morning's reading in my chronological journey through the Bible this year brought me to a very familiar verse. It's a verse I was introduced to in my time at Fresno Pacific University where I served for just over 2 years as Associate Campus Pastor.
"As for me, I will certainly not sin against the Lord by ending my prayers for you."
~1 Sam. 12:23a
This verse was our theme verse for our peer chaplaincy program at the University. It was chosen by our campus pastor who started the program and it was the first time I was introduced to this reality - it is a SIN not to pray!
In this passage, Israel's leader for many years, the prophet Samuel tells the people in his farewell speech, which occurred right after Saul being made King, that it is a SIN not to pray. It is a SIN not to pray for those God has placed around you. It is a SIN not to pray for your family, your friends, your church family. It is a SIN not to pray for your neighbourhood, your community, your country, and the world. It is a SIN not to pray for your leaders, both sacred and secular.
BUT here's the thing! IF you are like me there are many times where it is difficult or challenging to find time to pray. And even more so it is difficult some times with the scattered nature of my life to find things to pray for! Even though I know as I type this that there are always many things to pray for, there are days where prayer just doesn't come easy to me.
Nevertheless, the prophet is certainly right. We are called to be people of prayer. We are commanded to pray for one another. We are called to lift up the hurting and the flourishing alike. We are commissioned to petition our God in every matter that we face and that face those around us.
Listen once again to the words of Paul, found in his letter to the churches in the ancient city of Philippi:
"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-8 NLT
Prayer is not always easy but there are so many positive realities that come from being persistent in prayer. And the biggest positive reality is that it brings us squarely into the presence of our God, which is exactly where we need to be. And I also believe that is why Samuel is able to make this statement before the people of God.
As for me, far be it for me, to SIN against the Lord by not praying today!
You know, Christmas is often a time of reflection for many of us. Personally, as I engaged the Christmas story anew this year I found it incredibly interesting to rediscover that the Christmas story is set within the context of an emotion that many of us never consider. That emotion is FEAR.
The birth of Jesus in the gospels of Luke and Matthew came in the middle of FEAR. When you read the Christmas story in Luke chapters 1 and 2 what you discover is that when Gabriel went to Zechariah in the Temple Zechariah was “GRIPPED with FEAR” at Gabriel’s appearance!
And when this same angel appeared to Mary sometime after that and surprised her the Bible tells us that Mary was “VERY AFRAID” and the angel had to calm her FEARS.
Then when the angel appeared to the shepherds who were in the field tending their flocks, Luke tells us they were terrified, scared to death, and the angel once again had to reassure them. The angel had to calm their FEARS before delivering the greatest news ever delivered.
Also, we know that when the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream prior to their return to Bethlehem for the census the angel had to ease Joseph’s FEARS. He had to have his FEARS relieved before the angel could reassure him that God was with Mary and that he should stay by her side.
The reality is, FEAR was a huge part of the original Christmas storyline!
And for many of us, Christmas FEARS still come in all shapes, sizes, and forms still today. For instance, we FEAR not getting the right presents for the ones we love! We FEAR that we might burn the turkey or dry out the stuffing! We FEAR that we might have another blow out with that family member who just can’t leave it alone whenever and wherever we gather together. And some of us FEAR the bills that will come our way as we tried to provide the kind of Christmas we feel our families need! Still others of us FEAR being alone or isolated for one more Christmas. Or we FEAR the pain and hurt that can often accompany this time of year because it only reminds us of who is missing!
The truth is... FEAR is a part of the original Christmas story but the GOOD NEWS that is still “GOOD NEWS” today is we were given a pathway beyond our FEARS!
Just listen once again to the Angel’s declaration to the shepherds in the field that night:
“Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Saviour—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and PEACE on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” ~Luke 2:9-14 NLT
Amidst the FEAR want within the context of much anxiety and worry the birth of Jesus in the manger on that starry night ushered into the world an opportunity for us to alleviate our fears, our worries, and our concerns.
Because of Christmas instead of letting FEAR be the force behind our lives we have the opportunity to let FAITH drive us through our FEARS! When we give our lives to Jesus, the Prince of Peace His perfect love for us casts out any FEAR that we have and replaces it with FAITH!
This Christmas maybe it’s time for you to replace your FEARS with the only real solution to that FEAR and that is a relationship with the Prince of Peace. Maybe it’s time for you to accept the GIFT that was given to you on that original night outside of Bethlehem. Maybe it’s time to replace your FEARS with a FAITH in the One who came to give you life to its fullest!
Seeking to embrace the Prince of Peace this season and always,