by Julia Bruce
Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord… Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord.
Trusting God when everything is going right in life is easy. But what about when horrible things happen? This week Christian rapper, TobyMac’s oldest son was found dead in his home at only age 21. Toby left the tour his was on to return home to his wife and the rest of his family. Our hearts go out to them in this time of grief and loss – one that gut-wrenchingly painful and one that every parent hopes to never have to go through. On Thursday, Toby release a statement to the media in which he said:
“My wife and I would want the world to know this…We don’t follow God because we have some sort of under the table deal with Him, like we’ll follow you if you bless us. We follow God because we love Him. It’s our honor. He is the God of the hills and the valleys. And He is beautiful above all things.”
(quoted from the tennessean.com website. Article title: TobyMac’s oldest child, 21-year-old aspiring rapper Truett Foster McKeehan, dies. Written by Brad Schmitt, Matthew Leimkuehler, and Dave Paulson on October 24, 2019)
To TobyMac and his family, we are praying for you. We are grieving with you. We long to shoulder some of the grief and help bear the unbearable burden. Yet even in your most difficult and heartbreaking moment, you are still pointing people to Christ and your hope is in the Lord.
For those of us grieving alongside of the McKeehan family and praying for them, TobyMac has set an example for us about trusting God – even when it’s hard. The prophet Jeremiah recorded the Lord’s words in chapter 17 about both the man that trust in himself, who God says is cursed, and the one that trusts in God, who God says is blessed.
In verses 7-8, the Lord says to Jeremiah: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
The blessed man (or woman) not only trust in the Lord, but their hope is the Lord. In our English language when we use the word hope it carries the connotation of a “feeling of desire for a certain thing to happen.” It’s like us Floridians saying “I sure hope it snows on Christmas” but knowing the likelihood of that happening is very slim…and slimmer the more south you go. Biblical hope is something totally different. It is a hope that is a confident belief and expectation in the truths and promises of God. Biblical hope not only desires something in the future – it expects it to happen and is confident it will happen based because God said it would happen (click to tweet). In 1 Timothy 6:17-19 we find that those who hope in God find “a firm foundation” and are able to “take hold of the life that is truly life). That firm foundation is built on the power, provision, promises, and personality of God. We know that God is capable of doing exactly what He says He will do because nothing is impossible for Him (Genesis 18:14, Luke 1:37). We know that God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). He can make a way to provide when there seems to be no way (Isaiah 43:19). He is the one who helps us (Isaiah 41:13). He is 100% trustworthy. We know that God cannot lie. He doesn’t make a promise and then change his mind. He doesn’t speak but then does not act. He fulfills every promise He makes (click to tweet). (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2). His personality – or His character – is who He is. He is not just merciful – He is mercy. He is faithful. He is good. He is righteous. He is love. He is justice. He is strength. He is comfort. And we can trust Him. (click to tweet) Our firm foundation is solid and trustworthy and that is why He is our hope and we can put our trust in Him.
God said to Jeremiah that the person who trusts in the Lord is blessed. He or she is like a tree that is planted alongside of a river with a strong and deep root system. In Revelation 22:1, John wrote that an angel showed him the river of the water of life that flowed from the throne of God and the Lamb. In John 7:38, Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” As a Christian, our roots are being watered by the living water of Christ. As we dig into God’s Word, meditate on it, and apply it to our lives, our root system becomes more firmly entrenched in the nurturing soil of the Bible. A tree with a strong root system is able to with stand calamity. The “hurricanes” of life can blow through but when our spiritual root system is firmly and deeply buried in the promises of God, we will withstand the storm. We will have no need for fear or anxiety, because we know that God works all things out for our good (Romans 8:28) even if we don’t understand it right now. It doesn’t mean we don’t grieve a loss or feel the effects of the storm. We will still feel the wind whirling around us and hear it howling at ever corner. But as we stand on the solid foundation of Christ, we are able to still praise God in the storm and trust that His promises are true. Even in the middle of the storm, our leaves will stay green and we will keep producing the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
However, if we back up a few verses in Jeremiah 17, we find that God also said to Jeremiah that when we trust in ourselves and our own strength, our heart departs from the Lord and this person is cursed. (Jeremiah 17:5). God likens this person to a shrub in the desert, dry and parched. He is so thirsty that he isn’t able to see good when it does come. All he can expect is to “inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land, which is not inhabited.” God created us with a soul that is always seeking Him. But when our trust is not in God, it is parched and without any living water. Desperately seeking the living water, we turn, instead, to every cesspool of the world to try to find what our soul is longing for. We will turn to sexual relationships, drugs and alcohol, pornography. Or we might turn to things not as bad, such as money, careers, political power, or family. However, none of these things will satisfy the thirst of our soul. And because these are the things we have placed our trust in, when the storms of life come the things of the world will fail us. These things to do not provide soft, fertile ground for our roots to sink deep. In the desert, the ground is dry and hard and the tender roots of plants find it difficult to break through the hard ground so they can be nourished. Even if a plant or shrub springs up, it generally will die quickly because it is not being nourished. It’s roots are very shallow and when a storm comes, it is uprooted and blown away.
So which is more like you? This week TobyMac has set an example of what it is like to be the blessed man who trusts in the Lord and whose hope is the Lord. If you’re not sure which is more true for you, then think about how you react when the storms of life show up. It’s easy to trust God when everything is going well. But where our trust is when life becomes unbearable will show our true loyalty – are you trusting in your own strength or do you trust in the Lord?
#verseoftheday #blessed #cursed #TobyMac #Jeremiah #WCM
Become a distributor of Living Water with us by joining our fundraising campaign as we grow and expand our ministry. Click here to make your secure tax-deductible contribution.
Wellspring Christian Ministries is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization.
Thank you for helping us grow!
This event helps couples understand why the daily activities found in the book will equip them to build a stronger marriage and the book provides them with 365 intentional activities to take what they learn at the event and apply it on a daily basis. Through the event, couples will discover the Biblical “why” behind the categories of activities found in the book and the “how” these activities are important to building a stronger marriage. Focus points of the event includes :
- How memorizing scripture together and studying God’s Word together as they study, meditate and apply scriptures related to marriage and life issues will help them develop marriages that honor God.
- Why utilizing fun conversation starters that spark meaningful conversations will keep interest alive as they continually learn new things about each other.
- Why keeping romance alive is essential to intimacy and connectivity.
- How making memories and working together builds relationship investment bonds and how these investment bonds can become the knots that keeps them together through the tough times.
- How they can understand what they are or are not contributing to the marriage as well as how they might be contributing to problems or potential problems within the relationship through the use of targeted, intentional personal reflections
- Why it is important that couples never stop dating and how group dates with Christian friends can be both an encouragement and accountability to their own relationship.
During the event, couples will be given an activity from each focus point to do together, making this event an interactive, fun, and engaging event with practical, hands-on learning. Unlike other couple events that are over when the event ends, couples who attend the GLMW event will be able to apply what they learn when utilizing the book on a daily basis for a year. Since the book is not dated, couples are able to reuse the activities year after year to continue being intentional in strengthening their relationship with each other and with God as they strive to live out God’s design for marriage every day.
Learn more about hosting this event at your church or conference site by clicking here.
About the book: The GLMW book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
#GLMWcouplesevent #GLMWbook #intentionalmarriage #Godlymarriage
T-shirt Fundraiser: We have a new product line of Christian apparel and accessories available in our Teespring Store and our new Spreadshop Store. You’ll find tee shirts, hoodies, tanks, socks, leggings, tote bags, mugs, iphone cases and more.
All proceeds go to the advancement of Wellspring Christian Ministries.
Thank you for helping us grow!
#fundraiser #tshirt #teespring #spreadshop
Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.
Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, regardless of size.
Or call us at 904.524.8073
#JuliaBruce #speaker #keynote #author
Affiliate links for The Case for Christ by Lee Stroble:
|The Case for Christ, Updated and Expanded, Mass Market
By Lee Strobel / Zondervan
If you were a journalist, how would you investigate the top story in human history? Join the award-winning former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune as he cross-examines scholars to uncover incontestable evidence supporting Jesus’ claims. Includes updated archaeological material, an interview with Strobel, and more. A powerful defense of the Christian faith! 464 pages, softcover from Zondervan.
By Pure Flix Entertainment, LLC
A hard-driving journalist, Lee Strobel was exactly where he expected to be at work: on top. His award-winning investigative reporting recently earned him a promotion to legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. But things weren’t going nearly as well at home where his wife Leslie’s newfound faith in Christ went against everything Lee believed—or didn’t believe—as an avowed atheist.
Utilizing his journalistic and legal training, Lee begins a quest to debunk the claims of Christianity in order to save his crumbling marriage. Chasing down the biggest story of his career, Lee comes face-to-face with unexpected results that could change everything he knows to be true.
Starring Mike Vogel (The Help, Cloverfield), Erika Christensen (Parenthood, Flightplan), Faye Dunaway (The Thomas Crown Affair, Chinatown), and Robert Forster (The Descendents, Jackie Brown). Rated PG. Approx. 113 minutes.
Includes Blu-ray, DVD and CD
- “The Heart of The Case for Christ” Featurette
- Intro to the Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC
- 11 Music Videos from “The Case for Christ” Album
- Interviews with Lee & Leslie Strobel, Cast, and Crew
- Deleted Scenes
- English and Spanish subtitles
Bonus CD included:
- The Case for Christ – Songs Inspired by the Original Motion Picture