Tag Archives: Doubt

TRANSITION

11 Sep

The DicBlog Pixtionary describes transition as a period of changing from one state to another. Other meanings include:

  • change
  • passage
  • move
  • transformation
  • conversion
  • metamorphosis
  • alteration
  • switch
  • progress
  • development

This was Sunday’s message presented by Pastor Brett Jones,  one of our senior pastors at Grace Church  http://gracechurchlive.com/locations/humble-campus/.  I have been considering some major changes in my life for many months now. Actually, the seed was planted a few years ago, but I had so many doubts and pre-conceived ideas about making any changes. I was fearful that I was too old and just not qualified to do what I dreamed of doing. I lacked the faith to follow through. So, even though I never really gave up on the idea I did do exactly what the following message is going to speak to. God knows just what we need and when we need it!

It’s not always easy to make changes, and some of us don’t like change at all, so we decide to stay right where we are continuing to do just what we do. Pastor Jones referred to a Scripture in Exodus where God’s people were calling out for help – they were suffering – they were being mistreated. God told Moses that He had heard their cries and seen their suffering, and that He had a plan to rescue them. :

  • The people were suffering and cried out to God
  • God heard them and He was concerned for them
  • God had a plan to rescue them
  • God already had an answer waiting, and a place to take them

Pastor Jones explained to us that God had already set the destination – He had already made preparations for them. What had to happen next was that the people had to recognize God was directing them. He sent someone to help them and they struggled with recognizing  the man God sent because he was just an ordinary like you and me. So, they began to question, criticize and complain. (Sound familiar?)

Many times we have mind-sets and pre-conceived ideas about the way our situations should work out. We can get so focused on that one idea that we literally don’t see the forest for the trees. We are unwilling to look at any other options.  So, we prefer to stay in our comfortable little world because at least we are familiar with it, and we let fear convince us that anything different would be too uncomfortable and too much trouble.

The truth is that remaining in the same rut (Charles Stanley calls a rut an open-ended grave), is much harder t10623321_270154349848682_7235250059908727006_ohan stepping out in faith toward what God has already prepared for us. Most of our limitations in life are given to us by us, according to Pastor Jones. We just aren’t willing to adjust our capacity to take a step forward. We focus on our shortcomings, our failures and our limitations instead of what God can do, but God has plans for us that we can’t even imagine!

God doesn’t get in a hurry and we shouldn’t either. I am impatient much of the time, as I imagine many are in today’s world. However; I’ve learned (the hard way) that God doesn’t expect me to be stressed, always hurrying, frustrated because I’m not meeting my own goals, and sometimes just plain weary.

Pastor Jones told us that when God gives us an opportunity He expects us to follow through. God wants us to grow to our maximum capacity, and maximize our opportunities.  One of the most powerful statements he made was that if we don’t have the capacity to do something, we will pull it down to our level.

Pastor Jones explained it this way; he likened it to the Israelites wandering around in the desert for 40 years when they could have made their trip in less than a couple of weeks. Look at what they did:

  • They continually complained about their situation
  • They blamed their leader because he didn’t do more for them
  • They doubted God and Moses and continued to mumble about their situation
  • They saw miracle after miracle but it wasn’t good enough for them, they still doubted God
  • They continually wanted to go back to slavery because it was what they knew
  • They didn’t have the capacity to move forward and enlarge their vision

As a result, all of the Israelites under the age of 20 were not allowed to receive the things God had planned to give them. Even Moses, himself, didn’t get to enter the Promised Land because he became frustrated and angry, and struck a rock demanding water from it instead of waiting on God.

We are all subject to the consequences of disobedience and rebellion. We sometimes believe that the way things are just isn’t  our fault. We limit ourselves so much to our small world that we fail to look up and see that God can, and will, save us if we ask Him and then let Him.

We need to ask God today for help in maximizing every opportunity He gives us, and to help us look beyond our own finite world. (Finite means something has an end or finishing point.) Let’s don’t look around us and determine our lives are dull, stale, a waste – or finished! Let’s look to God, the author and finisher of our faith, and follow as He leads us to our destination – with the full assurance and expectation of achieving all He has for us.

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Don’t Fight Pointless Battles

29 May

I get really frustrated with myself for fretting.  Actually, the Bible tells us not to.

  • Matt 6:25-27  25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?   NIV

I know better. I also know God is not ever going to forsake me. He is and will always be with me every step I take. Scriptures also tell us that we should not worry about tomorrow because each day has enough trouble of its own.

  • Matt 6:33-34     33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
    NIV

These Scriptures make it very clear that we are to take one day at a time. Obviously, we can’t completely ignore the future, but we can avoid wasting precious time letting our imaginations run wild as we create scenarios that we might be challenged with  – possibly – maybe – in a few days or weeks  or some day. Come on now, does that really make a bit of sense? Absolutely not. More than likely most of the things we worry about will never happen. So, why, why, why do we worry?

Sometimes I focus so much on what “might be” that I am not able to do what is right in front of me. That is when I get so frustrated with myself. I know better. When future possibilities worry me, I begin to thank God for all of the blessings He has poured out on my life. There are so many – too many to count. He has never let me down. I stand in awe of His love and His mighty works. So, I still don’t know why I worry.

I heard someone say that to worry is to suffer in advance. There is so much truth in that. I know that God is going to protect me, no matter what the situation, and I want the battle in my mind to cooperate with the Word of God, not give in to the thoughts that the enemy throws my way.

I try to walk in the Spirit and give everything to God, but there are times I take it back from Him and continue to fret over it. I can’t do both. I either give it to God and put my trust in Him or I hold on to the imaginations and continue to fret. My actions are saying, “God, I don’t really trust you and you might not take care of my problem this time. So, I’ve got this.”

That is the exact thing that frustrates me. God knows me intimately. He made me the person I am today. He knows what is in my heart more so than I do. I can’t thank Him enough for that. There is really no question in my heart and spirit that God will fail me. The question is in my soul – my flesh, if you will. There is a constant battle going on between the two.

The great news is that God never fails me. He is always faithful, even though I may not be. He is right there beside me all the time. I have not completed my race. I’m not a runner, but I know a person doesn’t just decide to run a marathon and sign up. There is a time of preparation. There are challenges to overcome – one being that we don’t give in to the doubt and fear that tries to overtake our minds.

That is exactly what satan tries to do to us. He constantly throws doubts and fears at us, hoping we will give up and turn away from God’s will for our lives. So, that tells me that as long as I am fighting the battle, I am winning the war with God at my side. I am not immune to satan or his evil ways. Scripture tells me that he comes as a thief to steal, kill and destroy but that Jesus wants us to have life to the full.

  • John 10:10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy ; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  NIV

It is important to stand firm, doing our best not to waver and, when the enemy comes to steal our peace, destroy our emotions, and kill or destroy whatever we are attempting to accomplish, we stand still and see the great thing the Lord is about to do before our eyes!

  • 1 Sam 12:16   “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes! NIV

We win! Winning means we are triumphant. Even when life isn’t always easy. Actually, life is seldom easy. Being a child of God, a Christian, doesn’t mean we don’t face the trials and tribulations of life, but it does mean we are overcomers through Jesus Christ.

 

 

Faith vs. Doubt

24 Mar

I want to have strong faith. I know I have the faith of a mustard seed, but I want never to doubt! I don’t know if that is possible.

I have lived the majority of my life as a child of God. So, I have had many opportunities to trust God. Sometimes, I didn’t trust Him at all. At other times, my trust was limited.  It was easy to have “faith” when I was fairly certain of the outcome.

Earlier in my walk with God, I knew about doubt and faith and being double minded. I found that I wavered a lot, just not intentionally. I wanted to believe. I knew, in theory, that I could trust God and that He could do anything.  I also knew from sitting under many years of teaching from the Word of God, what faith was all about. But, it took years for me to really get it.

Now that I am a senior citizen, I can say that although I would like to have learned about the subject of God and His ways quickly and then “graduated,” that just isn’t God’s way.  If that were the case, I wouldn’t have need of a day-to-day relationship with Him. My relationship with Him wouldn’t  grow, nor would I have learned what it means to really trust Him – following the Holy Spirit as He leads me through life.

Scripture says that I must pick up my cross daily, and follow Him. I can relate it to a relationship with a significant other. As we grow old together, we continue to learn new things about each other as we face life’s challenges. As I walk daily with Jesus Christ, my Lord, my relationship grows deeper and I come to know Him more as I walk in obedience to Him – I even learn about His ways when I don’t walk in obedience.

With each trial I face, I have the opportunity to either trust Him and follow Him in obedience, or not. Either way, if I am sensitive to the Holy Spirit, I can get to know Him and even myself, better. Trials aren’t sent as punishment or because God doesn’t care. Trials come for many reasons. Possibly, I act in disobedience – maybe not even on purpose. Or, something happens beyond my control. What is important is that I take everything to Him in prayer.

With each step that I take in my daily walk with God, I learn to trust Him more and more. I find contentment and peace as my relationship with Him deepens.

I have reached a place that I know, without any doubt at all, that God knows what is best for me. He will not fail me. Even when I make mistakes, He is there to help me. I have no doubt – none – about that. It doesn’t mean that I won’t have trouble, disappointment, or even sorrow, in my life. It means that God is with me every step of every day. If I allow Him to, He will teach me by His Holy Spirit, to rest in peace and trust Him with the outcome.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have doubts about circumstances and whether I am doing what is right.  And, I even doubt sometimes if God is going to do what I ask – the way I ask – when I ask. But, the bottom line is that I do not doubt that He will do what is best for me in His time, not mine.  My part is to yield to Him, trust Him and know that His ways are higher and better than mine.

What I can’t do is get upset and rebellious when things don’t go the way I want them to.  If I really want God’s best, I have to follow Him and trust Him. Otherwise, I get into trouble and have to humbly ask Him to forgive me and then to show me the way back.

God has proven Himself faithful to me again and again. He knows me so much better than I know myself. He knows what I like and what will make me happy. So, I can trust Him and not doubt that His ways are truly the best for me.

I have witnessed God’s miracles again and again, in the worst of circumstances.  God is so amazing – there aren’t words to express how good He is. Not because of what He can do for me, but because He loves me so much. His love is the same for everyone – we just have to receive it.

Just Because You Can’t Do It, Doesn’t Mean God Can’t!

2 Jul

Don’t Limit God!

What God has given me for you today pertains to any limitations you have placed on Him regarding yourselves and your abilities. This means in your personal life, as well as, in your ministry.

If you are limiting God this is what you are doing:

1. YOU are placing boundaries around what God can do and what He cannot do. YOU are telling Him that He can go THIS FAR, but no further.
2. YOU are telling God to what extent He can move in your life, YOU are placing restrictions on your vision, your money, your work, your ministry – your life in general.
3. YOU are RESTRICTING God because of the limits you are placing upon Him.
4. Remember, God gave you a FREE WILL. YOU make choices daily. It is not His plan for you to be limited in any way.
5. FAITH is the substance of things unseen.
6. You will see by the examples listed below what limiting God in your life can do.
7. More than likely you SAY just the opposite. But, take a close look to make sure. Ask God IF you are limiting Him and ask Him to show you HOW you are limiting Him.

In Numbers 13 God told Moses to send out 12 men, the leaders of each clan of the children of Israel to check out the land He had given them. Check it out:

 I believe this was one way for God to prepare His people so they could get ready for the job that was before them.
 The Bible identifies the men – they were hand-picked by God. They were the leaders of their clans.
 They saw that the land was full of giants. There was a bountiful supply of fruit. The grapes were so big that two men carried a cluster back home to show their people.
 Then came their report. Out of twelve men, 10 of them were afraid and doubted God. I guess they thought that what God gave them to do wasn’t possible.
 The doubting 10 leaders spread their doubt, unbelief and fear among the people. They were responsible for inevitable punishment of their people.
 There were only two men (Joshua and Caleb) who said “Lets go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with them said “We can’t do it. These men are stronger than we are. Then they said: “The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
 What they were saying was “to those men we looked like grasshoppers, and to US – we looked like grasshoppers. SO – THEY win!” They didn’t even attempt to do what God told them.
 They didn’t even stop to think that God would not have sent them to the land and told them to look it over to scare them out of their wits! He wanted them to prepare. To get ready to take the land that was their inheritance. He had already proven Himself to them and promised to be with them.
 When these leaders went back and gave their people this bad report, what do you think they did?
 It is important that you see the influence you have as a leader.
 Whose report will you believe? God’s – Your’s – Satan’s?
 This is what their people did: “And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!”
 Do you know who God held accountable for all the murmuring? THE LEADERS!
 Joshua and Caleb tried to convince the people that it was a good land, flowing with milk and honey and that they could take it. God would be with them. They begged the people not to rebel against God. But the people stoned them for their good report! Can you imagine! Then the glory of the LORD appeared before the people. Uh Oh!
 This is what God said to Moses: “How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.”
 Moses begged God not to do it. He interceded on behalf of his people.
 So, God pardoned them because of Moses’ prayer, but because those men saw His glory and His miracles and still tempted Him by not listening to what He told them, He denied them the privilege of entering into the promised land. They had to wander in the wilderness until they were all dead.

Only Joshua and Caleb and the younger generation were permitted to leave the desert after 40 years of wandering. Once they reached the promised land, only Joshua and Caleb had faith in God’s promise to give them the land. The other clan leaders let fear and grumbling rob them of the future God had planned for them.

Only Joshua and Caleb trusted God enough to encourage the people to take the land. God honored their faith. Only Joshua and Caleb and the children under 20 years of age were allowed to enter the land God has promised them. All those who doubted God let fear and unbelief rob them of God’s best. Instead, they lived out the remainder of their years living in the desert.

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