Posts Tagged ‘Doubt

07
Apr
17

Faith Versus Doubt

Do you pray with faith or are your prayers filled with doubt? James tells us:
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. – James 1:5-6 (NIV)
When we pray to God, we need to pray in faith. Whether it is for wisdom, daily bread or healing, we need to pray with the faith that God can and will answer our prayers according to His will. When we doubt God’s ability or willingness to answer our prayers, we shortchange Him. We need to align our wills to His will and trust that He will do what is best. So trust in the Lord today to answer your prayers as you pray in faith.
05
Jan
17

Is Anything Too Hard For God?

Let’s face it.  We doubt.

We doubt God’s goodness.  When we doubt His willingness to provide for what we need, we are doubting His goodness.  Is God not truly good that He would withhold the things His children need?  Of course not!  God is good and He will provide what we need!

We doubt God’s forgiveness.  We think that we are so far gone and so sinful that He could not possibly forgive what we’ve done.  What kind of Heavenly Father would He be if He limited His own forgiveness of His children?  He is full of love and grace and forgiveness and He demonstrated it by sending Jesus.

We doubt God’s power.  We sometimes believe that God has “more important” things to do than to attend to the petty little details of our lives.  Oh really?  God is not all-knowing or all-powerful enough to handle what we are going through no matter how big or small?  I like what God said to Jeremiah:

Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:  “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:26-27, NIV)

He is the “God of all mankind.”  Nothing is too hard for God.  No problem is so insurmountable that He cannot handle it.  No child of His is too far gone that He cannot reach him or her.  No sin, save one (Mark 3:29), is so egregious that He cannot lovingly forgive it.  We have to learn to trust Him with every aspect of our lives.  I believe that God is calling out to us each day, “Trust Me.  Trust Me.  Trust Me.”  He is good and His love is everlasting.  He is good and He will not withhold good gifts from His children.  He is good and full of grace and mercy.  He is good and His power knows no limits.  God is good, my friends.  God is good and nothing is too hard for Him.

PRAYER: Lord God, help me to believe today. Help me overcome my doubts and unbelief. Thank You for being there for me through my doubts. Thank You for forgiving me through Jesus. Thank You for loving me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

19
May
16

By The Power Of God’s Spirit

Zechariah 4:1-7 (NIV)

Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. He asked me, “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”

I asked the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?”

He answered, “Do you not know what these are?”

“No, my lord,” I replied.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

“What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’”
The visions Zechariah continue into chapter 4. He sees a very bright lamp with seven lamps and seven channels to the seven lamps. These channels are connected to two olive trees that provide an endless supply of oil to these lamps. Zechariah asks about the olive trees, but is not given an answer until later in chapter 4. Instead, the angel gives a prophetic word to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel. He was in charge of rebuilding the temple. The key to rebuilding the temple is found in verse 6. Zerubbabel would not rebuild the temple by military might nor human power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Even the mountains would be flattened by the power of God’s Spirit when it came to rebuilding God’s temple.
We can attempt to do many things in our own power. We can try to overcome obstacles and mountains in our own lives. The fact is that we are powerless in our own strength. We need the power of God’s Spirit to overcome the mountains we face each day. It might be an obstacle of sin. It might be a mountain of fear. It could be a struggle with doubt. On our own, we are weak and frail. But with the power of God’s Spirit within us, those mountains and struggles may as well be flattened. Quit trying to do life on your own. Let God flatten your fears. Let His Holy Spirit level the mountains of doubt. Let Him lift you high above the peaks of doubt. It is not in your strength that you can overcome. It is by God’s Spirit that you can have victory.
 
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to overcome the fears, doubts and struggles in my life. The journey is hard and the climb is difficult. Fill me with Your Spirit today as You flatten the mountains in my life. Let me hear the voice of the Holy Spirit as I face these mountains today. Give me Your strength so that I may have victory and You may receive glory and praise. Amen.
21
Mar
16

Are We Any Different?

Luke 19:28-40 (NIV)

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

 

Luke makes an interesting distinction about those who gathered to welcome Jesus to Jerusalem just before Passover.  He says that those who were shouting, “Hosanna!” were His disciples.  Not necessarily the twelve, but a large crowd of followers who had accompanied Jesus to Jerusalem.  People flocked to Jesus because of the mighty things He had done.  Everywhere Jesus went, large crowds followed Him.  This day was no different.

But the jubilation and joy of Palm Sunday soon gave way to the darkness and gloom of Good Friday.  Not only did the crowds turn on Jesus, but nearly everyone abandoned Him.  He rode into Jerusalem with such popularity and adulation.  Within five days, He was being nailed to a cross.  We wonder how this could have happened.  We like to think that we would have remained faithful to Jesus, but would we have been any different?  Would we have shouted for Jesus and not for Barabbas?  Would we have shouted for Pilate to set Jesus free instead of, ‘Crucify Him!”?

I do not believe that we would have acted much differently.  We find ourselves ready to give up on our faith when the slightest hint of difficulty comes our way.  We’re ready to walk away from Jesus when situations and circumstances don’t go the way we think they should.  Yet Jesus still intercedes and pleads with God on our behalf, “Father, forgive them.”

Let us not be too hasty in judging those who followed Jesus into Jerusalem on the original Palm Sunday and yet turned on Him in less than 5 days.  If we take a good look at ourselves, we’ll find that we are not much different than they.

PRAYER: Father, I ask for Your forgiveness for the times that I abandon You in doubt, fear or anger.  I want to praise You with all of my heart, but I fall so short.  Thank You for Your grace.  Thank You for Your love.  Thank You for Jesus.  In His name, amen.

11
Dec
15

The One Called Immanuel

…the Lord himself will give you a sign:  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. — Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.” — Matthew 1:22-23 (NIV)

Some say it never happened.  Some say it is a myth.  Some say that there was no virgin birth, that it was impossible.  They discount the supernatural and God’s ability to bring about that which Isaiah had prophesied centuries before.

Mary could hardly believe it herself.  Luke 1:34 says, “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?'”  She heard what the angel said and comprehended it.  She just didn’t understand how it was even possible.  It’s not that she doubted God’s messenger, she just couldn’t wrap her mind around what she was hearing.  The angel reassures her in Luke 1:37, “…nothing is impossible with God.”

Matthew believed it.  The Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to write those verses.  Isaiah wrote the prophecy and Jesus was its fulfillment.  He was the One called Immanuel.  Matthew recognized it in the person of Jesus Christ.  He was born of a virgin’s womb.  I love the fact that Matthew defines the word “Immanuel” for those who were unfamiliar with its meaning: “God with us.”  John verified it as well in chapter 1, verse 14 of his Gospel, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  Jesus was God dwelling on earth with people.  He was Immanuel.

I believe it.  He was not only with the people of the Bible.  He was not just with His disciples and the people of Palestine.  Jesus is still with us.  He is still Immanuel.  He said, “…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b, NIV).  He was and is with His people.  He will never leave us nor forsake us.  He was and is the One called Immanuel.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Jesus, the One called Immanuel.  Thank You for Your ever abiding presence in my life.  Thank You for Your faithfulness to me.  Amen.

 

19
Nov
15

Daily Bread

Give us today our daily bread. — Matthew 6:11 (NIV)

…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. — Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

We spend so much time worrying about tomorrow.  John Powers said, “Worrying is the same thing as banging your head against the wall.  It only feels good when you stop.”  I LOVE THAT!  Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” (emphasis added).  In other words, don’t worry about what you are going to eat tomorrow.  Know that God will provide for today’s needs.  While tomorrow will come, we must remember that God is already there.  He knows what tomorrow holds.  He is the same God who is here today.  He will provide for tomorrow’s needs tomorrow.  Let Him worry about tomorrow.  Pray and trust for today.

This is a message that I need to be reminded of constantly.  I need a big ol’ sign on my forehead that says, “Stop banging me against the wall!”  I worry waaaaaaaay too much.  God knows what I need and has promised to be my provider.  God has blessed me in so many ways.  How can I doubt Him yet again?  That’s the root of worry — doubt.  We will doubt God’s willingness and ability to provide and we have no basis for either.  He has promised to provide and of course He has the ability.  Nothing is impossible for God.  I think that it is when we confuse wants for needs that we get into trouble.  We will pursue our wants and then we don’t have enough for our needs.  That’s when we cry, “HELP!” and we start to sink.  Our eyes turn to our circumstances instead of our Savior who is ready, willing and able to catch us when we sink into doubt.  Trust for today, my friends and God will provide our daily bread.

PRAYER:  Father God, I need Your daily provision in my life.  Help me to remember that You are the one who provides for all of my needs.  Help me to know the difference between wants and needs that I may be wise with how I use what You provide.  Thank You for providing for me in the past.  Help me to trust You for today and to remember that You’ve got tomorrow already taken care of.  Thank You for Your love and grace.  In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

12
Oct
15

Three Ways We Doubt God In Prayer

James 5:13-18 (NIV)

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

 

I wonder if the lack of prayer in our lives is a result of doubt.  There are three ways that we doubt and therefore fail to pray:

  • We may doubt God’s goodness
  • We may doubt God’s greatness
  • We may doubt our righteousness

If we doubt God’s goodness, we will believe that He is not willing to answer our prayers.  We believe that He can answer them, but we’re not so sure that He will answer them.  If He does answer them, we’re not so sure that He will answer them with kindness and compassion.  This is not true.  God loves us and He desires to give His children good things as any loving father desires to give his children good things.

If we doubt God’s greatness, we will believe that He is not able to answer our prayers.  We somehow believe that God does not have the ability to answer our prayers.  We believe that He loves us, but that this situation is beyond His control.  This is not true.  God’s power goes beyond the scope of our ability to comprehend it.  He is mighty and strong.  Jesus said that nothing is impossible for God.If we doubt our righteousness, we will believe that we are not good enough and don’t deserve God’s goodness and greatness when it comes to answering our prayers.  James 5:16 (NIV) says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  So if we believe that we are unrighteous, then we will believe that we must do more and be better in order to get God’s attention.  We will believe that we have to believe more and doubt less.  We will believe that we have to stop sinning completely before God will do anything for His children.  So the question is one of righteousness.  Am I righteous because of my behavior?  Or am I righteous because of Jesus’ sacrifice?  If it is the former, we are left with lots of reasons to doubt.  The Bible says that there is no one righteous.  If it is the latter, then we have hope.  When I am clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27), I have hope because God sees Jesus when He looks at me.  My hope is built on Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  When I put my faith in my abilities to earn God’s favor, I will fall short every time.  When I put my faith in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, I have hope for answered prayers because Jesus never fails.  Pray in faith today, my friends.  God is good.  God is great.  Through Jesus, you have been declared righteous.

PRAYER: Almighty God, help me to trust You today.  To know that You are willing and able to answer my prayers according to Your unfailing love and Your perfect will.  I may not understand all that You are doing, but I know that You know what You are doing.  Help me to believe and not doubt when it comes to my prayer life.  Thank You for the prayers You have answered in the past and for answering my prayers in the present.  In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.



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