Previous Next

Trusting in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

For some of us, these verses are familiar and can bring an “of course!” type of response from us.  “Of course, I am trusting in the Lord! I’m a Christian!” But are we really? Is it an automatic thing that because we are Christians, we are trusting in the Lord and not leaning on our own understanding?

Let’s do a word study to find out!

Starting with verse 5:

The Hebrew word for “trust” here is “batach” and it means: to trust; to have confidence in, be confident; to be secure.

The dictionary definition of trust is: to confide in; to set one’s hope and confidence in; to make secure; to be secure, to fear nothing for oneself.

The Hebrew word for “heart” here is “Lav” and it means: inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding.

The Hebrew word for “lean” here is “sha’an” and it means: to lean on; to trust in; support oneself.

The Hebrew word for “understanding” is “biyanh” and it means understanding; discernment.

The dictionary definition is: intelligence; insight and skill.

Verse 6:

The Hebrew word for “acknowledge” is “Yada” and it means: to know; to perceive; to perceive and see; find out and discern.

The dictionary definition for acknowledge it says it is used of the will, to turn the mind (will) to something; to care for, to see about.

The Hebrew word for “direct” is “yashar” and it means: to be right; be straight; be level; be upright; be just; be smooth. It also says in reference to this verse, the meaning to be “God causes his affairs to prosper.”

What does it mean to trust the Lord? How do we know if we are really trusting? How do we know if we are leaning on our own understanding?

Let’s put the above definitions into a summary to see if it gives us further revelation:

Set your confidence and security in the Lord without fear, with all your inner man, heart, mind, will, and understanding. Do not lean on, trust in, or support yourself by trusting in your own insight, intelligence or discernment. In all your ways, know Him, turn your will to Him, and He will straighten, level and smooth out your path, causing you to prosper.

With that revealed instruction from the Lord, let’s think about the places and situations that we have been unwilling to release to God – for whatever reason.  Whether it be fear, hurt, self-preservation, walls of defense, control, etc.  Let Him shine His light into your heart to show those places.  How will you know? You will get an uneasy feeling; a feeling of guilt, fear or condemnation arising in you.  Write them down.  Confess them to the Lord and repent of your lack of trust and confidence in Him to handle those things and turn your will – yielding it to Him-and ask Him for the direction, the leveling, the smoothing of your path.

Sometimes good things can become idols in our hearts and will have more say than the Lord in our lives and how we make our decisions.  These idols and/or what they represent will manipulate to maintain that position of rulership by whispering things like, “God knows your heart…”; “God wouldn’t want you to be alone, or be sad, or be in pain…”; “How can you be a light to them if you don’t….”

That doesn’t mean that those things are necessarily bad, but just that they now have the say, the control over you instead of the Lord having the say and giving you freedom.  You will feel bound, not free. You will feel driven, not led.  Sometimes in our bondage, we can’t comprehend freedom, so we erroneously conclude we are free. That is why we need the Holy Spirit to lead us in all things and bring revelation as we sit with Him.

Here is an example from scripture: Abraham and Isaac.

When God gave Abraham the promise of a son (Genesis 18), Abraham trusted God.  But then Sarah grew weary of waiting, and leaned on her own understanding, and didn’t’ trust God to ultimately fulfil His promise to them.  So she gave Abraham her servant to sleep with and give him the son.  To make her happy, Abraham complied.

Abraham shows he continued to trust the Lord and not lean on his own understanding because when God told him to sacrifice Isaac, the promised son, he willing did it without hesitation. Knowing that God would raise Isaac from the dead – because He is always faithful to His word and can be trusted with even the most precious things to us, like our children.  Thankfully, God stopped him before he made the sacrifice and provided another offering.

The above story could have turned out differently on several fronts if Sarah hadn’t lost confidence in the Lord or if Abraham had made Isaac an idol in his heart.

As we take some time to sit with the Lord and let Him minister to us, to bring healing, deliverance and understanding, let’s humble ourselves and entrust our minds, wills and hearts to Him afresh so that He can bring the prosperity in all those areas, and more, He so desires to bring to our lives.

Message from the Pastors

Dear Friend:

Thank you for taking a few minutes to visit our website. We hope you will find it uplifting and informative. At Lighthouse Tabernacle, we are committed to fulfill the Command of Jesus to “make disciples of all nations.” We offer a number of ministries designed to do just that, for all the members of your family.

I would like to invite you all to visit our church and worship with us. You can find out our schedule of services by checking the website. In addition, we are committed to praying for your needs, seeking the Lord with you and for you. We believe that nothing changes within ourselves, or the world, unless God is the Change-Agent. Unless He does it, it will not be done. However, we further believe that prayer moves the hand of God on our behalf. Therefore, we’d like to invite you to visit our Prayer Meeting held on Wednesday evenings, immediately following our Bible Study. The Prayer Meeting is the “heart” of the church’s activities. Therefore, you will be able to gain a good understanding of our church family by joining with us in prayer.

If you prefer to join us for worship on Sunday, you will experience an exciting, and engaging time of joyful music as we lift hands and hearts to worship our Creator and Redeemer, followed by an equipping sermon from the Holy Scriptures.

We hope you enjoy our website and choose to visit us soon.

God bless you.

The Biblical Perspective of the Kingdom of Heaven

It seems to me that for a long time, many of us who have been following Jesus have had an inaccurate understanding of Jesus’ use of the term “Kingdom of Heaven”.   Some, despite being in the Church for years, do not even understand what the phrase means.  Whether the cause or the effect, there are some popular yet unbiblical teachings, and common ways of thinking, that have their foundation in this incorrect understanding.  It is not the purpose of this very brief article to highlight those teachings and ways of thinking, but rather to point out Jesus’ own perspective, and hence the truly biblical perspective of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God

Let me begin by first explaining the biblical phrase “Kingdom of Heaven”.  Depending on the Bible version, this phrase is found 32 times in the Gospel of Matthew (33 times in the NKJV).  The similar term, “Kingdom of God” is found over 53 times throughout all the Gospels.  In every case, the phrase speaks of God’s rule/reign and authority.   The word Heaven, in the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” speaks of the place from which God’s rule and authority originate, namely Heaven, where God’s throne is located.

In the World, but not of the World.

When Jesus tells Pontius Pilate, “My Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36), Jesus is only speaking of the origin of His kingdom.  He’s not implying or conceding any lack of jurisdiction, authority or power in this world.  He is only speaking of the center or source of His authority, and not the manifestation of that authority.  This is consistent with how Jesus only a little while earlier prayed for his disciples (and us) saying, “I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do.” (John 17:13-16)

This understanding is very important because many of us have been wrongly trained to think that we’re just waiting and working here in order to get to the Kingdom in Heaven, some day in the future, because that is where Jesus went to sit at the Father’s right hand. That is precisely the opposite of what the Bible teaches. If our final destination is Heaven where Jesus is currently seated at the right hand of the Father, then what is the point of Jesus not asking for us to be taken out of the world, but praying to keep us safe from the evil one while we are here?

It’s not the Children of the Kingdom that are going to be evicted from the Kingdom.

This wrong but common perspective is so ingrained in us that it often causes us to read things into the Scriptures without our even realizing it.  For example, regarding Jesus’ parable of the wheat and weeds (or tares in some versions), how many of us have thought that the wheat being gathered into the Lord’s “barn” meant being taken to Heaven? (Matthew 13:24-30 )

But when we read Jesus’ explanation of the parable to His disciples, we get an entirely different picture:

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the Kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his Kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!” – Matthew 13:36-43

The Kingdom of God has indeed come to this world and it’s not going anywhere.  This has important implications because what we do here matters much more than just winning souls, as important as that is.  Jesus Christ is not merely redeeming souls, He’s redeeming the whole world and everything in it, including its systems, to Himself.  He’s doing it through the children of the Kingdom (that is the Church).   This is why Jesus teaches us to pray along the lines of “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

While so much more could be said about this (and perhaps will be in future articles), I hope this brief piece has whet your appetite and challenges you to study the Scriptures keeping Jesus’ perspective of His Kingdom in mind.  That is what I am doing.  I also invite and encourage you to search the Scriptures yourself to see if these things are so.

May the Lord richly bless you in all things.

Pastor Neal

God is Light and There is No Darkness in Him

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone
— Colossians 4:5-6

We know that God is light and there is no darkness in Him. Light by its very nature will always offend the darkness. So whatever issue you may find yourself discussing or illuminating, if you are being the light of God in this world by speaking the truth born of God’s love and His Word, you are sure to offend those who love the darkness and wish to remain there.

However, as Christ followers, I believe we must guard our hearts to make sure we do not find ourselves rejoicing because we are offending.   Hans Fiene, in his recent Federalist article titled, Google Firing Over Diversity Memo Shows How Outrage Addiction Is Making Us Stupid, wisely observes and articulates how outrage has become an addiction and has suppressed the critical thinking of many as a result.  He also points out how we can all fall in to that trap regardless of our political leanings.  I would dare to say that I believe the other side of that same coin is that we can become addicted to the thrill of being offensive, suppressing our willingness to actively listen to understand where a person is and extend a hand up.

While sarcasm and satire can sometimes be very effective at illustrating a point, habitual use of satirical and snarky comments and comebacks are the fallback position of someone who may have become either too proud, too lazy, or perhaps emotionally indifferent and apathetic to their hearers, so that they are no longer willing to respond thoughtfully (with grace) and intelligently.

We have not been commissioned to offend for the sake of offending, rather as foreigners and exiles in this world (but no longer of this world), we are to “seek the welfare of our city”.  Our goal is to be a light that shines the light of God’s truth born of His love, in the hope of redemption.

If you only see yourself as a hammer, then soon everyone becomes a nail.

There is a saying that says, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  Similarly, if you only see yourself as a hammer, then soon everyone becomes a nail or potential nail.   But if we are following the way of Christ, we are more than mere hammers, we are ambassadors of Christ and His kingdom.  Yes, Jesus said, “I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves”, but we must take care not to be so focused on exposing wolves (and wolfish ideas) that we ignore His words that followed:  “Therefore be wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.”

May all who love and obey God continue speaking the truth in love as we ought to, doing so boldly and courageously. But let our conversation be “full of grace and seasoned with salt”.  We must always bear in mind what is written, that our battle is not against flesh and blood (people), and the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world, as we demolish ungodly arguments.

And do not rejoice because the light in you causes the darkness to flee (or be offended), “rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.