The theme of the weekend was F.R.O.G. which stands for, Fully Rely On God. And let me tell you, there were FROG's everywhere! I have never seen so many different items in frog form. They had F.R.O.G. jam and FROG Fly swatters, FROG stickers, FROG figurines and FROG name-tags. It made me laugh every time a new FROG was introduced. But, because I was with them, I didn't have the time to blog so I have decided to post some highlights from my F.R.O.G. message.
Psalm 86:11 says; "Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name" (NIV). The Dictionary definition of rely is: to depend confidently; to put trust in (usually followed by on or upon.) Have you put your trust ON, or UPON the Lord? Do you depend confidently in Him? Fully? You may say that you do, but I bet if you were to stop and think about situations you may be walking through, you might have to reconsider when you see the definition of fully is; entirely or wholly. That's what happened to me when I began to prepare for the weekend with the ladies. Once I had F.R.O.G. on my mind, I was asked this question every time I was faced with a challenge, "Are you going to fully rely on God in this situation?" Just like Kari Jobe sings in her song, Steady My Heart, "even when it hurts, even when it's hard, even when it all just falls apart," will you F.R.O.G? Do we really know what that looks like? I found a few examples from the Bible that I believe show us.
- Abraham had to FROG when God asked him to leave his homeland and travel to an unknown land that He would show him (Genesis 12:1). Now I ask you, if God invited you to leave the place you have called home and move out into unfamiliar land, would you go? Maybe God would ask you to move to a new job, in a different place, and start a new career. Would you pack up your family and go?
- Noah built a very large boat, when the skies were sunny and the people were mocking because the Lord had warned him about things that had never happened before (Genesis 6). If the Lord asked you to warn the people and prepare them for unknown events, such as had never been seen before, would you? Would you be able to follow the instructions of God, no matter what the conditions?
- Abraham took Isaac to the altar as a sacrifice, believing God would provide another one (Genesis 22). If God asked you to lay a relationship on the altar as a sacrifice, could you? Maybe it is a friend, or a dating relationship that does not glorify the Lord and He wants you to let go. Would you, if He asked?
- The Israelites had to FROG while they wandered in the wilderness for those 40 years, lacking nothings (Deuteronomy 2). In dry times, in hard times, when God seems distant, or silent, do you give up on God, or press in deeper? In times of testing do you grow angry and rebel, or trust and obey?
- Moses had to FROG when he had to confront Pharaoh and seek freedom for his people. Not just once, but he had to go back 10 times (Exodus 12)! Would you be able to stand your ground or would you be like me and question if I heard God correctly? I have given in too many times to fear and intimidation when I was challenged in a belief I had. Do you?
- The early Christians had to trust that Saul, who had been killing those of faith, had really been converted to Paul, believer in Jesus (Acts 9). Could you forgive and learn to trust someone again who has wounded you deeply but repented and says they have changed?
- Stephen had to FROG as he was being stoned to death for his faith (Acts 7). Can you FROG when persecuted for your faith? Christians are threatened in other countries every day by extremists. How will we respond when threatened for our faith here?
- Paul had to FROG when he was chained to a jail cell wall (Philippians 1). Can you FROG when you feel chained to a situation or sin, that you struggle to find freedom from? Can you trust God to help you break free in His time, rather than yours? Can you believe that you have been set free because of Jesus death?
- Jesus – Think of all the ways He had to FROG as He walked the earth and as He walked to the cross (Matthew 26-27). If God asked us to remain silent while we are lied about or wrongly accused, could we? Can we pick up our cross and carry it?
In all of the above stories, we can see how God took care of each person, even in the most excruciating circumstances. They each were willing to rely on His faithfulness, even when they may not have understood why they were going through the test they were. Are we always supposed to understand why? Proverbs 3:5 is a great reminder that we aren't supposed to lean on our own understanding, but rather, trust the Lord with all our heart. Look at the definition of faithfulness: "true to ones word, promises, vows, reliable, trusted, or believed." They all came to the conclusion that God was true to His Word, promises and vows. He was reliable, He could be trusted. They all knew they could believe what He said was truth. I can see now that while I may have spoken what I believed, my actions, many times, speak something different. When I have refused to allow God to have His way in a situation in my life, when I have tried to fight for control, that is unbelief. I might be able to manipulate others, but I can't manipulate God. He knows me too well.
If I am going to F.R.O.G. then I must take a LEAP of faith. I must place my confidence on Him and no longer on my own abilities. I must let go of the notion that I know best and have the right to have everything I want, in my time, in my way. I want to become relentless in my pursuit of my understanding that He is faithful, He can be trusted and He can be believed.
Care to leap along with me?