What Does Trust In God Look Like Practically?

“Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8)

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The idea of trusting God can be somewhat etherial and mystical, but this verse puts “feet” to our trust in God. It shows us what trusting God looks like practically. That’s why it’s one of my favorite verses in the Psalms. I’ll explain.

We see here very clearly that one way our trust in God is practically expressed is through prayer. Let’s look at the verse together.

The first line of Psalm 62:8 reads “Trust in him at all times, O people.” So, in this verse, the psalmist is obviously speaking about trusting God. That’s the main idea. The exhortation is to trust in the LORD.

But notice how the psalmist expands on the first line as he moves to the second line: “pour out your heart before him.” This line is obviously speaking about prayer. So, the idea of the first exhortation being expanded by the second is that one way trusting in God is expressed is through prayer.

The third line, then, expands on the first and the second with this truth: “God is a refuge for us.” So, if we want to know what trust in God looks like practically, here it is:

Prayer is an active, practical way in which we as believers put our trust in God and take refuge in Him.

The Realness of Believing Prayer

What encourages me the most about this verse, though, is how the Lord encourages us to be real with him:

“Pour out your heart before him.”

If you pour something out, sometimes it’s because you’re wanting to get rid of it, right? (Think of pouring old milk out into the sink). And if you spill something, it can be messy. At other times, pouring something out can be because the fragrance is pleasing to us or helpful in some way (think of pouring aromatic essential oils out into a container to fill a room with fragrance).

Isn’t it encouraging to think that God invites us, through the psalmist’s exhortation, to pour out our hearts before him?

This means that we can come to God with anything and everything and lay it all before him through open and honest prayer. We can cast our burdens on him; we can tell him all our troubles; we can confess to him all of our sins; we can express all our concerns; we can communicate all our cares; and we can pour out all the good and the bad stored up in our hearts to the One who can handle it all and who can help us.

God welcomes us to be real with him. What a kindness! What a grace!

In fact, this type of realness, this pouring out of our hearts, is how we practically express our trust in him. I don’t know about you, but this verse moves prayer out of the chore list and onto the joy list for me; it encourages me to pray.

Converse with the Lord as you would the best of friends.

What joys and victories, temptations and struggles, anxieties and difficulties, are you facing today? Tell it all to the Lord in open and honest prayer and watch what he can do for you. “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts before him, for God is a refuge for us”.

What If You’re Falling Behind In Your Bible Reading Plan?

By this time, many who have ambitiously started the year out on a One-Year-Bible Reading Plan are quickly discovering that it is easy to fall behind.

Reading Bible - Bigstock Images

The thought of reading through the Bible in its entirety over course of just one year can be daunting. It’s basically like reading a series of 66 books in a year (Regardless of the length of the books, that’s quite an accomplishment!).

Some books of the Bible are shorter than others while some are longer, but the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament form the greatest series of books ever written.

Yet, as the length and breadth of the Bible meets the stuff of everyday life, it will take more than the initial inertia of a New Years Resolution to stay on track.

So, what should you do when you find yourself falling behind?

Remember Why You’re Reading Through The Bible

The Bible is unlike any other book you will read this year because it’s a living book.

Martin Luther wrote, “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.”

“The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Heb. 4:12-13).

The Bible’s message transcends time because its origin is Divine. Written by approximately 40 different authors over the span of 1500 years, it is completely unified in its central story line because it is the Inspired Word of God. Ultimately, GOD is the Author.

If you want to know God’s will, it’s found in God’s Word. If you want to know the way to salvation, the pathway is illuminated by God’s Word.

All of Scripture points us to the Savior, Jesus Christ:

• The OT shows us the need for Christ and foretells and foreshadows the coming of Christ
• The GOSPELS tell of his birth and his life, death, and resurrection
• The ACTS of the Apostles tell of all he continued to do after his ascension, through sending the Holy Spirit
• The EPISTLES display his glory and teach us how to live in light of the glory of Christ.
• REVELATION shows him as the Risen Lamb who reigns supreme as sovereign over all and who will return for his own

The Bible is so infinitely valuable because it leads its readers and its hearers to Jesus! Scripture is totally sufficient to provide us with all we need for salvation and for trusting and obeying God.

Take these encouragements from Psalm 19 to inspire you in your Bible reading:

• Do you need your soul revived? – “the law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul”
• Do you want wisdom? “the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple”
• Do you long for joy? “the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart”
• Do you desire discernment? “the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes”
• Do you want to be rich in your soul? “[the Word of God] is more to be desired than gold, even much fine gold?”
• Do you crave pleasure? “sweeter [are they] than honey and drippings of the honeycomb”
• Do you seek safety? “by them is your servant warned; in keeping them is great reward”

Remember why you’re reading through the Bible. It’s not meant to be a chore; it’s meant to lead you to everlasting joy in Jesus!

Take a Long-Term Approach

Whether you decide to read the Bible in a year or you adopt a more extended plan for Bible reading (e.g. my wife and my son are on a 2-year plan), you will be much more encouraged in this pursuit if you think long-term.

Reading through the Bible is more of a marathon than a sprint.

If you go into the year thinking that the only way to accomplish this goal is by having 365 days of perfectly-ordered mornings where you carve out 15-30 minutes of reading and meditation each day, you will probably be disappointed. Life has a way of throwing us off-track on even the best of our intentions.

Many people give up on their Bible reading plans simply because they missed several days of reading by the time they hit January 15th. Discouraged by what they sense is a complete lack of discipline, they abandon the plan all-together and wait to try again another calendar year.

If you’re behind in your Bible reading, don’t give up on your plan just yet. The accomplishment of any goal is not pretty.

I would like to say that all my Bible reading has taken place on normal days, in the early mornings, in my home, with a cup of coffee in my hand… but if I review the last 20 years, I know that this is simply not the case.

I’ve read large chunks of the Bible on family vacations each year and large chunks over the weekends. I’ve read the Bible in doctors offices on my iPhone, in my car as I wait to meet a friend for lunch, and standing in line at a coffee shop. I’ve listened to Scripture on long runs and even as I brush my teeth in the morning.

This leads me to my final point:

Have A Plan for When You Fall Behind

This past year, I ran my first marathon, and it taught me a lot about life. As I’ve reflected on my marathon training, I see a lot of parallels to the way I’ve approached the Scriptures these past 20 years of following Christ.

For the marathon, I had a detailed training plan and I had specific times set for my training runs, but I often had to reschedule them. And though I maintained every long run but one (due to injury), I did miss several short work outs and many of the long runs were completed creatively. I had to work through a very full calendar, a heavy workload, family commitments, and even injury in order to achieve the goal.

My marathon training reminds me a lot of how I’ve read the Bible over the years. If you fall behind, don’t worry and don’t be discouraged, you can miss a few workouts and still achieve the goal.

Instead of getting discouraged when you fall behind, I would encourage you to plan for it. There will more than likely be times when you are sick or you sleep in and you’re swamped with urgent deadlines.

Rather than giving up on your plan, think through the cracks and crevices of your life when you have the opportunity for a lengthier time to read. In those moments, you can get back on track.

Maybe it’s a Sunday afternoon, a weekday lunch, or a family vacation, but the beauty of taking a long-term approach is that you will be afforded time to catch up and to complete your goal.

And what could be more valuable than having God’s eternal Word stored up in your heart and soul?

“This Book [is] the most valuable thing this world affords…‘God’s sacred Word… is that inestimable treasure that excels all the riches of the earth.” (The preface to the ESV Bible)

May God fill you with His Spirit, wisdom, and grace as you persevere in reading and enjoying His Word!

“Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

If you are interested in the Bible Reading Plan I enjoy the most, you can find it here.

Related Article: What’s So Special About the Bible, and Why Should We Read It Regularly?

This Year, I Want to Serve God In The Middle

This is a guest post by my good friend, Seth Rosen, who serves as a worship leader for Redeeming Grace Church. Seth shared the content of this post during a worship service at Redeeming Grace. It encouraged me so much that I asked him if I could include it on the blog.

This past week, I was traveling on an airplane and was watching a movie on my computer. In the film there was a scene where one of the characters was hooked up to a lie detector machine. As he was asked questions, the needle moved back and forth. The output, if you have seen this before, looks like scribble, much like a seismograph used to measure earthquakes.

Seismograph

That image has stuck with me all week, not related to the film in any way, just that image. Imagine the lines moving back and forth as measuring the good and the bad seasons in our lives. A wide line to the left – times of great plenty such as a bonus at work, a family vacation or prolonged seasons of health. A wide line to the right – times of wilderness such as months of sickness, financial pressure or the loss of a loved one.

What the Lord showed me is that, despite my response, I tend to see God more clearly in the vast extremes. I see His hand in prosperous times, because God is the giver of all “good” things. I also see Him clearer when I need Him the most, like when I lost my job. It’s in those moments that I tend to gravitate to Him the most. I may question why things happen, but I tend to turn to Him as my source of help. God is in the extremes in my theology – the giver of good and the comforter of bad.

So what about the middle? What about what constitutes most of life, when the needle stays at a steady course of small ebbs and flows?

It is here that I struggle most

Where and how do I see God when life moves at a snail’s pace, characterized by monotony and “normalness”?

What I have learned this week is that it is here, in the day-to-day that I often choose to live my life without the Lord. Look back at your own life and you may see it if you look closely. I fall at the feet of Jesus when tragedy strikes; I yell Hallelujah when I get a new job or a new baby comes, but the hallelujahs fall silent when I wake up for work again, and feed my kids breakfast again, mow the lawn again or stare at another weekend with nothing to do or no place to go. It’s almost like I only feel close to the Lord when my budget spreadsheet glows with red numbers or when a friend calls looking for comfort at the passing of her father. That, my friends, is called lukewarm – neither hot nor cold.

So why this long, drawn out analogy about something I saw in a film at 30,000 feet? This year, I want to serve God in the middle.

I want to feel the gentle breeze of small variations in life. I want to cling to Him when my wife and I have one of those “smaller” conflicts, I want to praise God when I have the ability to take my family out for a meal, I want to face the grass this spring with a revitalized thankfulness for grass and working hard to make God’s creation beautiful. I want every conference call, every sandwich made, every night with nothing on the calendar, every trip to the grocery store, every morning quiet time, every family devotion to be done with thankfulness and an awareness of the active presence of God.

The middle is a gift from God and I think if I learn to serve Him in the middle, if I invite God to be a part of my “everyday” life, I will not only live a life of greater happiness, but be better prepared to face those seasons where the needle moves wide left and right.

“Praise to the Lord who over all things so wondrously reigneth”
“Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him”
“Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful”
“Blessed be Your name when I am found in the desert place”
“When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast”

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