When Your Doubts are Greater Than Your Faith II

When Your Doubts are Greater Than Your Faith II

Last week we focused on several ways we can combat the enemies to our faith. We all experience doubts sometime, but God has provided us with the answers we need so that we always come out on the winning side. Be blessed!

 

Know the Will of God Regarding Your Situation

So you’re not sure whether God wants you healed. Maybe this is the way you’re supposed to…go? Or maybe He is punishing you for something you did?(remember in college when…) Or maybe God has favorites (avid church goers or those that give tons of money to various causes). Yeah? Really? Find the Word to back that up. His Word is his will and it never changes. (By the way, you won’t find anything in His Word about wanting to keep us sick or to punish us. Trust me sin is its own punishment). Find the word and believe it. Take it to heart. It may seem ineffective at first–like empty words on a page. Go back to it again and again. Now read it again.  Meditate on it. I can remember reading passages as tears dripped on to the pages. I was broken and hoping that this Word would free me. And I read it again until His truth begin to stir within and bring life to those dry places. The fears and doubts begin to dissolved. It didn’t happen over night or even over the course of a week (Although it may happen quickly for you). But when we have strongholds on our thinking, or in other words we’ve been thinking wrong for so long, we have to make a determined and deliberate effort to change our way of thinking. Our thinking must become parallel to God’s way of thinking, otherwise God’s provisions will be there waiting for us and we won’t have a heart to receive them because we will be blinded from the truth.

“We tear down arguments and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.” (II Cor. 10:5, NIV)

Watch Your Mouth!

What are you saying about that problem? Are you agreeing with the doctor and getting your affairs in order? Are you quoting God’s Word one day and then recounting how bad and hopeless this thing is the next? Like with integers the negative and the positive cancel each other out. If you can’t say anything positive then wait to say anything until you can.

What is God saying to you?

You can quote verses all day if we’d like, but if God has spoken to you specific instructions about your situation, your words will have little effect. I knew a woman whose husband was a heavy drinker. She would quote Bible verses and pray over and for him daily. But one day God simply spoke to her and told her not to say another word to him about his drinking–just show him love. But she wouldn’t stop. She would nag, threaten and use manipulative tactics to try to get him to stop. You’re killing yourself and your family. She would say. I’m only telling you to stop because I love you! She’d try to sit quietly or ignore it for a while, but she just wouldn’t let it go. Simple instructions—don’t say another word to him about his drinking. But the smell of liquor and the language and drunkenness drove her to a fit. And because she had put herself in God’s way, she limited his ability to do anything about it. Not only that, it played a part on her health and sense of well-being and she literally grew sick with worry and frustration over time.

Jesus said He only did what my father told him to do. You notice that Jesus didn’t heal the same way every time. Sometimes he simply laid his hands on the person. Other times he spoke the word or commanded the condition to leave. I was always hearing from His father. I mean, the very act of submitting to the cross represented his obedience to His father. Obedience is key. Jesus’s ear was open to that voice. Is your ear open? Are you listening and obeying?

“He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be

done.” (Matt. 26:42, NIV)

 

 

Read the Word of God

Get into the greatest book ever written. It’s really as simple as that. God often speaks to us. But he’s got this book that contains his truth, his will, his way. He wants us to read it; it is a love letter of His redemptive plan. You want something fresh and new? Read it. It’s alive and relevant to your situation. You need something of old, tried and true? Read it. It has not changed.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb. 4:11, KJV)

Don’t Give Up

Whelp. I’m done. Maybe it’s God’s will for me to go this way. Momma had it and went peacefully in her sleep. Auntie had it. She didn’t put up a fight, but checked out gracefully.

Is it God’s will or are you simply giving in because you’re too tired for the fight.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Gal. 6:9, NLT)

Listen, this battle, this situation is not just about you. It’s about all those that will come after you. It’s about those that are watching you and are really hoping that this Jesus thing really works because they haven’t seen the power of God played out.

Jesus came with signs and wonders because he wanted people to see and know the power of the living God. Well, now he works in and through us. We show the world that his power is still awesome to save and heal and get you through stuff that seems impossible. The world is watching us. Are we giving them something good and true to watch? Are we displaying an accurate representation of the power of God? If we’re falling out and giving up are we strong ambassadors for Christ?
Get up with sweat on your brow and tears in your eyes. Get up when everything in you is telling you to stay down. Get up and believe. Believe when everything in you doubts. Believe because someone else needs to believe.

When Your Doubts are Greater Than Your Faith Pt. I

When Your Doubts are Greater Than Your Faith Pt. I

It’s easy to say you believe God will come through when you have other options. When the operation is routine and the success rate is 95% our faith isn’t tested so much. When our disease can easily be treated with a pill three times a day there’s not a lot of pressure on our faith. But what do you do when the cancer has spread and is resistant to treatment? How do you trust God when the specialist says it’s gonna take a miracle and he apparently doesn’t believe in miracles? Or when he or she leaves and says I don’t want to be married to you anymore? And there you are with kids and bills and fear of the future. What do you do when all you have left is God?

Trust the Love of God

It was probably the first lesson that you ever learned about God. He loves you.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, KJV)

God loves us. We hear it but do we believe it? To say God loves you is easy. It would almost be ridiculous to say that he doesn’t because it is the premise or the very foundation of our faith. But to fully comprehend the depth and breadth of his love is a life time of learning. But it begins with simply believing by faith. Sometimes we don’t feel that God loves us because naturally we have come to equate love with some type of feeling. But if you haven’t already discovered—feelings are fleeting and not always reliable. They change with the slightest breeze or shift in circumstances. God’s love doesn’t change. He loves you as much now as he ever will. He loves you perfectly. He loved you when you were messing it up royally, and just as much now as you are trying so desperately to get it right. And this is something you must know in your heart right in the middle of your greatest fight. If you can hold on to this you won’t lose. The enemy will challenge you on it because if can get you to doubt God’s love for you it will change everything. If God is not really for you…well…you may be on your own with this one. Not true! So remind yourself of his love every day.

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.(I John 3:16, NLT)

For those of us who have father issues, sometimes it’s hard to believe in a God that has our back at all time. But it is necessary to begin to comprehend the love of a good father who wants nothing but the best for you. He doesn’t want you sick, broke, sad or confused. These things are not of our father. He does not put bad stuff on you for sport.

“If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands  so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. “(Psalms 91: 9-12)

Walk in Love

Now you know that God loves you, are you loving others? I don’t mean your best friend who’s seen you through everything since middle school. I’m not talking about your Momma. I mean the woman who sits across from you at work and never speaks to you and undermines all of your work effort. I’m referring to the neighbor that seems to have a problem with your kind in general. When we refuse to walk in love (even with the unlovable) it can halt our progress or success in every area of our life.

“For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope…The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Gal. 5:5-6, NIV)

When we are not walking in love we are often walking in judgment or condemnation of another. This glitches our relationship with the One who can bring us out because as we judge we will also be judge.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.(Matt. 7:1-2)

Just as we receive the love of Christ by faith we love others by faith.

There is an Everyday Victory: Part II

Living in everyday victory is not about God performing miracles every time we get in a jam. It is about us taking authority over that which God has entrusted us.

I think of the years my husband and I struggled financially as we pursued careers. We never had enough money for this or that and we were either borrowing or making arrangements to pay this bill or that bill or simply living without. We were always praying for some miraculous deliverance. And often God came through in a great way. But eventually it was pretty clear that our struggle was not because God wasn’t churning out miracles fast enough, but it was indicative of deeper, more complicated problems. It was a house that was too much for us, there were financial situations that we’d gotten ourselves into years prior and were still paying the price. There were times that we moved too quickly, not consulting God on our move or simply ignoring that unction because we wanted what we wanted. Getting back into a place of financial peace meant reconciling some long standing, missteps and changing our way of thinking. We had to find out what the Word said about financial health. We had to know Him and the power of His truth about it.

 Renew Your Mind with the Word

We didn’t need another miracle, we needed a revelation. And that revelation came by renewing our minds with the Word of God. God wants us to live and walk and breathe in his revealed word. It is revealed to us as we walk with Him daily. It is revealed to us as we listen and give place to the Holy Spirit that lives on the inside of us so that we may hear him all the time.  Jesus came so that we could live in victory. And that, my friend, is the greatest miracle.

Think of it, when we set out on a new journey we carry a map or listen to our GPS, following it as we go along. It is only when we (as we humans do) get off track, take a wrong turn that we have to stop and get special directions and have our path clarified. That often means going back a mile or two or it may mean continuing on ahead. Or perhaps there was construction and we missed the detour. But we wouldn’t expect that we’d have to pull over every five miles to be redirected; perhaps we would occasionally but not all the time.

Our healing, our victory often has to be walked out step by step. It means conquering fears, speaking the Word. It means casting down thoughts and imaginations that are contrary to the Word. It means clinging and holding on to the truth as if our lives depended on it. It may mean making natural changes in our daily lives.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds (2 Cor. 10:4)

But…I just… Can’t

So often our problems feel everlasting. It feels as though they will surely consume us. We want to hold up the white flag in surrender. It’s as if God has gone on a long journey and forgotten us. It feels as if God just isn’t going to come through this time—for whatever reason. He’s God, he just does that sometime, we think. But that would make him a liar. If he lies to you then that would make his entire Word one tall tale. And we know that is not true!

So you don’t feel like you have victory. I’ve been there. Many days I don’t feel anything. But we must regroup and command our feelings to line up with the truth. As we walk and meditate in this truth, our feelings will follow. Remember that our weapons cannot be seen with the natural eye. And the truth is our real enemy cannot be seen with the natural eye either. This battle is spiritual. God has equipped us with everything we need to live and walk in victory. Yeah, he loves us just that much. He wants you to live in victory more than you probably know.

Maybe your faith is tainted by unbelief. You want to believe. You just…don’t. Well, confess it (he already knows anyway). Now get back into that Word and stay in it until His truth is the only thing you believe and His face is all you see. His grace will carry you. He wants this for you real bad. But it is your choice to walk in it.

And whether our victory comes by miracle or a process with many ebbs and flow—we already know how this ends (yep spoiler alert)—we win. As long as you don’t give up, you win. You are the victor!

Your Christian Walk: a habit a hobby or a lifestyle

My boss has Celiac disease, which causes a serious allergic reaction to gluten. The body reacts in such a way that it rejects the ingestion of this protein with an angry vengeance. The thing is gluten is such an intricate part of the American diet he often struggles when eating out, which, is more often than not because he travels a lot as part of his job. His dietary lifestyle is so drastically different from the rest of the team we center our team lunches and outings around where he can get a decent gluten-free meal. I often think of what a pain this must be. I mean, he can’t have too many spontaneous food outings or even enjoy a good old fashioned potluck.

I think about how set apart his lifestyle is. I’m reminded that as Christians we are called to be set apart as well. (I Pet. 2:9) We are chosen by God, set aside for his purpose. Yes, we are called to be different. Our lives do not represent the status quo. But too often they do. Too often our Christians walk is not a reflection of what we say we believe. We ascribe to Christian ideals—goodness and kindness and such but our lifestyle plays out in a manner that is flexible and changeable depending on what is going on around us.

 

Is your Christian Walk more of a hobby?

My husband and I like to bike ride. We hit the trails with our mountain bikes when we can but not nearly often enough. In fact although we’ve had the bikes for a couple of years they still have a beautiful glossy finish which gleams as we ride. But we don’t sweat it too much. We’ll ride when we get to it. Those bikes have a cozy spot in the garage.

When our Christian walk is more of a hobby we practice it when we get to it. If we are plunged into a midst of a crisis he suddenly hears our fervent and desperate prayers. Or, there we are at church walking with heads up clutching our bibles while averting the stares of parishioners that give us that “what are you doing here?” stare. And our Bibles are certainly accessible if we need to reference them. But we hardly ever do. After all, they are the same old stories we heard as a kid. Besides, the good Word we hear on the Sundays we visit church is usually enough. No one would mistaken us for anything but a Christian—that’s pretty darn certain. Right?

Is your Christian Walk more of a habit?

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Good habits provide structure and expectation. They make us more predictable and create a definable cadence to our lives. We love to say that we have good habits. Habits may be based on some strong belief system or simply the way we’ve always done things. Going to church may be a habit. It’s a good idea to hear a good, inspiring message to get us through the week. When our Christian walk is a habit we “do” Christian things more often than not and no one would mistake us for anything more than a Christian—and that’s almost a solid fact.

Is your Christian Walk a Lifestyle?

The Bible says that if you are a part of Christ you are a new creature. The old you is gone and there’s a new you. A lifestyle change is broad and far-reaching. You take great means to protect it and nurture it because it is your life.

When your walk is your lifestyle your relationship with Christ becomes more intimate. It is one that is personal and necessary as you seek to please and honor the one that has given life to you. You sacrifice and give up things that were once dear to you but are no longer, because they are an offence to the one with whom you share this relationship.

You shy away from relationships that dishonor Christ. Your lifestyle is changing not in one area but in all.

My boss’s kitchen is quite different from mine—filled with rice and oat flours, Xanthan gum and such. He makes no apologies for the great pangs he takes in selecting restaurants. He never complains. It is his way of life. He protects his health. He doesn’t risk it to appease our group or anyone else because in the end he is the one that would suffer.

A Christian lifestyle is not always convenient for the ones around us. Some may be offended by the way we live. They may find it tediously annoying to witness the careful way we choose to always honor something or someone we cannot see but claim to know.

Are our lives perfectly coiffed? Absolutely not. But as we walk daily he guides us.

With this lifestyle we are more prepared for the obstacles that will surely come our way. Prayer is not awkward monologue as we reach out to a strange, distant bigger than life force. It is dialogue between us and our Creator—it is private, personal and comforting because we know that he hears us. When tempest threaten our peace of mind we may not know what to do but we certainly have access to the One who does. When it is a lifestyle our mental breakdowns lessen. This is not to say that fear won’t creep in but our path is straight and our steps are assured.

Why you don’t receive your heart’s desires

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 37:4, ESV).

 The cliché declares the heart wants what it wants. It enforces the belief that we have these heart-felt desires of which we cannot control. We roll with this as if our heart is apart from the rest of our being—a separate vessel that we must submit to regardless of whether we want to or not. The heart wants what it wants. We are often told to follow our heart as if the truth of every issue of life flows from it. We can depend on it to guide us everlasting peace. These beliefs are both true and untrue. Allow me to explain.

The unregenerate heart

We are born with an unregenerate heart which simply means that it has not been changed by the power of God. It is the heart connected to our sinful nature. It is the heart of which Jeremiah spoke of when he said, “The heart is desperately wicked.” The unregenerate heart does not and cannot submit to God. If you don’t know God as savior it is possible to diligently follow your heart and be completely, perfectly and utterly wrong. If we don’t have the spirit of God ruling our hearts—which is given to us when we are born again—we will not be obedient to God. And even with all of our good intentions we will follow our fleshly, natural desires, never coming close to pleasing God.

“…the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:7-8)

Our hearts are submissive to the world view. We react to what is going on around us, pressed on every side to fit in with what is normal or seemingly necessary. Our desires and wants for our children and families become a reflection of what the world deems right and necessary—the way spend our money and time, our view of political and social issues, the way we love and seek to be loved. We become the walking billboard of the self-absorbed and progressive view of the world in which we live, rolling with the order just to keep up.

When we seek God with this heart it is not a reflection of his will but our own. God allows us to choose, of course, but it doesn’t mean he will be a participant or an approver in our wrong choices, even when our hearts are hungry for it.

Shining the Light on our Desires

But you say, what about us who are born again? What about those who desperately want to please God? God speaks to our spirit and in our innermost man we know what God knows. But even as born again believers our soul is often bent towards the world’s belief. If our desires don’t fall in line with the Word of God, they can be just as undesirable as that of someone who is not walking with God. Even as Christians we often absorb what we see, feel, and experience, and live out of this fleshly nature. We become prone to the same desires as the world, seeking to satisfy a longing that can only satisfied by a true and intimate relationship with God.

How do we change our heart’s desire?

We change by renewing our mind with the word of God. We find out God’s take on things and line our thinking up with his way—even if we feel something differently. We remember that he knows best.

It’s funny, but looking back at my life only five years ago it’s amazing how my desires changed as I sought a closer relationship with God. For so long, I was bent on a plan that I thought suited me. When I reexamined many of my desires they sought to look the part of someone I thought I needed to be. Many of them were prideful and self-serving based on deep-rooted insecurities and fears.

“And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

When we seek intimacy with God and truly set out to know and do his will not only will our desires change but we will begin to receive what we ask for because we are in alignment with His purpose and plan for our lives. His desires become our desires and his plan becomes plain.