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Archive for the tag “Doubt”

Our Lifeline

Faith is the hinge to God’s promises. Without it, we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6).Without faith we will not see the miraculous happen. Without faith, we won’t see God’s hand at work; we won’t experience all God has for us. There will be no hope because faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).

Faith is one of my highest spiritual gifts on the gifts assessments tool. I don’t know if that means I have more faith than most or that I just take God at His word with greater frequency than most. I do believe God is who He says He is. I do believe God will do what He says He will do. At times, I need to be reminded. My faith starts to diminish and it needs a boost. I got that this week. I didn’t see anything happen that I have been praying for, but I read a book on Fresh Faith by Jim Cymbala that put some air under my wings.

In the last chapter of the book, Jim mentioned that the battle of the Christian life is not only to believe but to keep on believing. It’s a struggle in this day and age to keep believing when society tells us otherwise. Society is a fickle thing. It changes constantly. What was fashionable yesterday may not be fashionable today. But God’s Word is a constant thing. You can stand on it with assurance that what God said is the Truth because God does not lie. Lies do not come from God but from the enemy of God – Satan – it’s Satan’s native tongue.

According to Jim, Satan’s target is to break down our faith – we are the righteous who live by faith. If Satan can cut that life line, then he has us right where he wants us. When we believe the Satan’s lies over the promises of God, we have committed the original sin. It’s what drove Adam and Eve out of fellowship with God. They believe Satan’s lie that they would not die when they ate of the forbidden fruit. Satan didn’t know everything, but he knew enough to drive a wedge between God and man. The wedge was doubt.

Faith is about the future. It’s the things we hope for and the things we do not yet see. The future is about God’s promises to us. It’s something we cannot prove, but we know it will come to pass just because God says so. Jim mentioned that the greatest tragedy of our lives is not the things that have happened to us, but “it’s the missed opportunities to see God help them, due to their unbelief.”

Joshua is a powerful example of a man with incredible faith. He was one of twelve who scouted out the Promised Land. He believed the Israelites could take the land because God said it was there’s already. God promised it. However, ten of the spies led the majority to believe the land was too hard to capture because the occupants of the land were too big and too strong. Everything the ten said about the land was true. However, they didn’t take into fact that God said it was a done deal already. They didn’t believe God. These same people went through the Dead Sea on dry land. They witnessed the miracles to get them to the edge of the Promised Land. And yet, they still didn’t believe God.

How many times do we also come to the edge of a promise when Satan whispers in our ears – it can’t be done? How many times do we believe the lies instead of the promise and the Promise Giver? I am reminded of the story of the man with the demon-possessed son who came to Jesus to ask if Jesus could drive this spirit out of his son. Jesus took exception to the phrase “if you can” and said everything is possible for one who believes. Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23-24)

What seems impossible to us is nothing in comparison to all that God can do. It says in the very first line of the Bible – In the beginning God created… if we do not believe these first five words then we do not believe in a big God. We have brought Him down to our size and He can do nothing for us. It’s impossible for a small god to take care of our big problems. But if you believe those first words, then everything changes. We don’t have to rely upon society to dictate what we believe. We can stand on the promises of God. We can have a greater faith because before time began, God is the Creator God. Everything we see today is because of that first line… In the beginning God created. Then He breathed and the story began.

We are a part of the story. We are God’s workmanship and He completes all that He starts. Count on it. Stop the unbelief and believe God’s Word over Satan’s lies. Have discernment over what you hear – test it against God’s Word, does it hold up or fall apart? Faith is our lifeline especially in these trying times. Keep it fresh… keep it strong. And remember that God’s love is central to His character. Look to the cross for the evidence of that love for you. It’s there that all things come together and promises are fulfilled. Jesus said, “It is finished.” Victory has been won in every regard. Believe it.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

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Restless

Have you ever been restless – wanting more out of life than you currently have? There’s got to be more than this, right? More than the mundane day to day stuff; more than living life for the weekends. I mean really! God tells us He made us for a purpose. Scripture tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that He designed us for good works which He prepared beforehand (my paraphrase). All throughout Scripture, God uses people in amazing ways. He took average, ordinary people and used them for His glory! Did it all stop in biblical times? Or is God still using people in amazing ways today?

The prophets were called in the midst of the ordinary tasks to go and do what God called them to. We find David tending sheep. We find Samuel sleeping. Gideon was threshing wheat. Moses was wandering around in the desert when a burning bush stopped him in his tracks. Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishing. Paul was on his way to Damascus – albeit he was going to persecute the Christians when he arrived. But in the midst of the ordinary, God used the people who He placed in different times for different reasons. God knew the times and the places. He knew the people He would use for great things. Could today be any different? Scripture tells me God never changes. He is still at work; working toward the day of Jesus’ return. He still wants to use people to do His work to get the place and people ready for the predestined time. He is the only one who knows the time that is set.

Just like Esther, we are all born for such a time as this. We all have our place, our work that God sets before us. We may not know the work yet. We maybe in the preparation phase. Joseph had a dream. Between the dream and the fulfillment was his preparation time. He had no clue where God was going to take him to fulfill the dream. The pit, the slavery, the prison, the removal of all the things he knew brought about a greater purpose than he could have ever imagined. God may leave us in a difficult place so that He can use that difficulty for something greater. The trouble with difficulty is that we want to get out of it quickly. Joseph endured and apparently without complaining about his circumstances – at least it’s not recorded for us.

All the people God used were in a place of openness to Him and willingness to be used. They were humbled in His presence. I suppose that’s what He is looking for today. If we are not seeing God working through us (okay me), then we need to look into our hearts and find the reason why we are not useful yet. Could it be pride and arrogance? Could there be wrong motivations? If God intends to use us in this time and place, then we need to submit to His purpose; let Him reveal in His time and in His way. God is into the details; we just have to keep our heads in the game! Are you restless where God has you too? Seek first God. Wait for His timing and His ways– God is going to do some amazing things and if He is willing, He will make us able to do whatever it is for His glory and not ours! He’s done it in the past; why not now? Why not us?

O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
Psalm 63:1-3 (NLT)

Crazy One

The ladies from my small group were sitting around having a conversation after enjoying a meal together. Normally, I wouldn’t write about a conversation from my small group but this was a bit different. Somehow we got on the conversation about families. One of the ladies said we all have someone in our families who is crazy. I had to think a minute, “Do we have a crazy one?” I mentioned that we don’t we have one. The lady had a witty comeback. She said if I didn’t know of a crazy one, then I’m it! We all got a good chuckle out of that one. We went on to discuss a couple of other things before we wrapped up our time together. But I have been considering the idea of the crazy one since.

I have been called different. Maybe I am according to the majority of the population. I eat differently than most. I choose whole foods and cook my meals. I drink green smoothies every morning to start my day. I am energized and ready to accomplish all that God has given me for the day. I live simply with less junk cluttering my house – my body as well as my house. I exercise regularly. I wasn’t always this good about what I eat (and still fall to temptation on occasion) or the exercise. But since I have been seeking God and His ways, I found keeping my body fit and in the best shape possible is the way to honor God.

Many in my family follow Jesus’ ways so maybe we’re all a bit crazy. We all struggle though in different areas of our lives to live as we are called to do. It’s difficult in this day and time to live closely to Jesus’ ways. There are great distractions out there. It’s enticing. Satan knows what hooks us. He has studied us all our lives. He sets a trap for us like cheese is set for mice. The one thing that attracts me will be different than for someone else. It’s the cheese I like. And if I’m not careful, I will fall into the trap. I noticed the trap is always present. Satan tries to divert my attention from Jesus – daily, hourly.

The other day, I was feeling a bit weary. I don’t know why I am doing the things I am doing, and I got a little down about it. After my eyes turned inward, I started seeking food to comfort me. When I had a meal, which was a pretty normal meal. It didn’t satisfy that thing I was looking for, so the next agenda was my shopping fix. I went looking for something I wanted. I ended up just looking and nothing satisfied that longing in me. I came home, got my eyes fixed on Jesus again. He satisfied my longing with His presence. Why didn’t I start out that way instead of looking elsewhere? The longings in our hearts pull us in another direction if our eyes are not focused correctly!

So, am I the crazy one? Probably. I hope I am good crazy – crazy for the right things – like keeping my eyes on Jesus and His ways. I maybe different because of it, but that’s okay. I would rather be crazy or different instead of normal and falling into those dangerous traps that will keep me from Jesus! We need to be set apart. We need to be different. The world is watching us to see if we are different because of Jesus. We are to be like Him. We are to love like Him. It’s not easy, but He is always with us to help us live out this life for Him. Be different! Be the crazy one in your family!

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)

Wavering

Doubt. Belief. Confidence. Fear. Trust. Unbelief. Have you ever had all those feelings wrestling in your spirit? I had them all in mere moments of one another just the other day. My spirit had been convicted of my lack of faith. Got up from my quiet time, confident my heart was set right before Jesus. But in just moments as I was taking my daily walk, the wrestling began. I am in a spiritual battle concerning my trust in God. Trust in what He has promised through His word. Trust that He is who He says He is. Trust that all things are possible even when it looks impossible. I am stuck with Egypt behind me and the Red Sea before me. Is there a way that I just can’t see right now? Faith says to be sure of the things I am hoping for and to be certain in the things that are not seen (Hebrews 11:1). As I was concluding my walk, the word that was given in my spirit was the word to Gideon from the angel of the Lord: “go in the strength you have” (Judges 6:14).

I am wrestling also about what I am supposed to do, and what God is supposed to do. What are my responsibilities? I read the passage about Peter collecting the tax money from a fish. The money was found after Peter went to fish. Jesus told Peter go do what he was trained to do – go fish – and the provisional tax money would be provided in an improbable place – in the fish’s mouth (Matthew 17:24-27). Jesus asked Peter to go back to what he knew for just a short time until the tax money was found. Is this something Jesus is asking me to do? The strength that I have had in my past was financial work. If I go back, is it like I am giving up on what the Lord has called me to do? Or is this just for a short time until the provision is met? Or maybe it’s to get back on track with writing my story. One of the questions circling in my mind: if I knew I could not fail, what would I do?

Lots of questions with very few answers, right now. As I discern the real meaning behind the word given, I have to believe without seeing. I have to trust God and His Word. I should have the confidence in my heart that He’s enough for me even when I see the Red Sea before me. He has a way out that I am not seeing right now. And if I need to fish for a little while, then I have to trust God to move me into the right position for the right time for what I am called to do. I have to quit looking at the waves and just fix my eyes upon Jesus. I have His peace filling every pore of my being. He is the only one who has all the answers! Thank you Jesus!

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord is Peace. Judges 6:12,14,24

When Doubting

I was reading the passage concerning John the Baptist found in Matthew 11. John was questioning if Jesus was the One who was promised to come. Jesus reassured John with the signs and wonders of what was done. I also heard a sermon recently about the Disciples of Jesus were doubters. I know Thomas was always considered the biggest doubter, but they all doubted. The doubts went away when they had the revelation of the resurrected Jesus. Jesus isn’t thrown off when people doubt. He might have been perplexed at times when the Disciples still doubted, but He didn’t throw up his hands and give up on them.

I think it’s reassuring that all of Jesus’ closest companions doubted. I waver between doubting and revelation. I don’t doubt that Jesus is who He says He is. Sometimes I doubt that He can handle my biggest needs. I guess I doubt He’s big enough. But then I get the revelation, sometimes through signs and wonders; sometimes through His word coming through a simple passage, to turn my doubts to belief. Sometimes I have to see it to believe it as Thomas had to do after Jesus was resurrected. And sometimes, I just have to be reassured through Jesus’ word that what I have seen is truly real like John the Baptist.

For months I prepared for my first mission trip. I experienced moments (or days) of doubting concerning the trip. As I struggled to come to terms of my doubting, I have followed John the Baptist’s example and brought my concerns to Jesus. He listened to my questioning, and He reassured me I was going as His hands and feet. I did what He asked me to do, which was to go. I took the steps of obedience and believed He was going with me. And He did. Everything done was because of Him. His strength, His protection, His provision. I knew nothing and did nothing on my own.

I have been called to go. John was called to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. As I was thinking about this statement, it occurred to me we are all called to prepare the way for the second coming of Jesus. We are called to go and prepare others for Jesus. He is coming back one day. Maybe His coming will happen in my lifetime, maybe not. But we are to be prepared as if He’s coming today. If He’s coming today, am I ready to see Him? Am I working to prepare others to see Him? That’s what we’re all called to do. My first mission trip was successful because I was prepared to go – spiritually.

Yes, I have had many a doubt, but that hasn’t stopped me from preparing to see Jesus do some wonderful work! It’s for His glory alone!

When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:17-20

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