Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Posts tagged ‘doubts’

With God, There is NO _____________

SOURCE:  Tolle Lege/J.C. Ryle

The pillow of God’s omnipotence” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us mark, in the third place, the mighty principle which the angel Gabriel lays down to silence all objections about the incarnation. ‘With God nothing shall be impossible.’

A hearty reception of this great principle is of immense importance to our own inward peace. Questions and doubts will often arise in men’s minds about many subjects in religion. They are the natural result of our fallen estate of soul.

Our faith at the best is very feeble. Our knowledge at its highest is clouded with much infirmity.

And among many antidotes to a doubting, anxious, questioning state of mind, few will be found more useful than that before us now,—a thorough conviction of the almighty power of God.

With Him who called the world into being and formed it out of nothing, everything is possible.

Nothing is too hard for the Lord.

  • There is no sin too black and bad to be pardoned. The blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin.
  • There is no heart too hard and wicked to be changed. The heart of stone can be made a heart of flesh.
  • There is no work too hard for a believer to do. We may do all things through Christ strengthening us.
  • There is no trial too hard to be borne. The grace of God is sufficient for us.
  • There is no promise too great to be fulfilled. Christ’s words never pass away, and what He has promised He is able to perform.
  • There is no difficulty too great for a believer to overcome. When God is for us who shall be against us? The mountain shall become a plain.

Let principles like these be continually before our minds. The angel’s receipt is an invaluable remedy.

Faith never rests so calmly and peacefully as when it lays its head on the pillow of God’s omnipotence.”

————————————————————————————————————————————

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1879), 1: 27-28. Ryle is commenting on Luke 1:34-38.

Advertisements

Getting Gut Honest With Jesus: Don’t You Care?

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Mark 4:38 NIV

SOURCE:  Ron Edmondson

I have been told that the stern is the strongest part of the boat.

The Creator of the universe was asleep there.

The One who made the waters and was there when the waters were parted; who led Moses as Moses led the people through on dry ground had His head on a cushion. The One who walked with three guys in the fiery furnace, in all of His current humanity had decided He needed some rest.

The disciples apparently lost sight of the fact that, Jesus was not only human, and He was also fully God.

I am reminded that I forget the same thing at times. Have you ever felt like the disciples felt? Have you ever wondered if Jesus cared? Has the thought crossed your mind that Jesus may not even be aware of your current situation? Have you thought, “Jesus, I see my problems, don’t you?” Or maybe, if you are honest, have felt something like, “Jesus, don’t you care?”

Of course, our spiritual piety would never allow us to admit our weakness in this area fully. Could I as a pastor really admit that I doubted His love? Could you? Yet if I am honest, sometimes from my perspective, it appears that Jesus is nowhere to be found and I am left all alone to wallow in my sorrows. Just saying….

I think the best thing we can possibly do in those situations is to be like the disciples and admit our frailty to God. When we get gut honest with Him about our insufficiencies, perhaps He will be willing to do what only He can do.

Do you need to have an honest conversation with Jesus today?

Turning the Bad into Good

SOURCE:  Living Free

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 NLT

Once we come to Christ in faith, we begin to walk with God on a daily basis. It is vital that we learn to trust him in every area of our lives—day in and day out.

We can trust him because we are assured that as we love God and commit our lives to him, he works everything—the good and the bad—together for good. We can trust him because he has demonstrated his great unconditional love for us.

We can commit our wayward child to him because we know he loves that child even more than we do.

We can commit our finances to him because we know that he will work all things for good as we follow him and trust him for wisdom.

We can trust our loved one’s health to him because of his mercy and love.

We can trust God to work his plan in our ministry—and his plan is perfect.

Is there an area of your life that you are clinging to—and worrying about—instead of trusting God?

God cares about everything that concerns you. Keep your eyes on him, love him and trust him. He will go before you … He will guide you … He will strengthen you … And he will work all things for good.

Lord, I have been worrying about this situation and trying to fix it myself. My way hasn’t worked. I commit this situation to you and trust you for the answer. No matter how things look now, I trust you to work all things together for good. In Jesus’ name …


These thoughts were drawn from …

 Insight Group: Discover the Path to Christian Character by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min.

Drifting Away: One Thought, Choice, Doubt at a Time

SOURCE:  Joe Stowell/Strength for the Journey

Drifting Away

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” Genesis 3:1

On a recent vacation, Tom was casually bobbing around on a raft just offshore. He closed his eyes, basking in the warm sun. Before he realized it, he had drifted too far from shore. He hopped off the raft to get back to the security of the sand, but the water was now over his head. He didn’t know how to swim.

The drift of our lives away from God is just as subtle.

And just as dangerous.

We drift one thought at a time, one small choice at a time, and often one damaging doubt at a time.

In fact, our adversary is delighted to help our rafts drift from the protection and presence of God by casting doubt on God’s goodness to us. If you sense that your life has been set adrift—that God is not as close and precious as He used to be—then you may have just been in the riptide of an old trick of the enemy of your soul. The same trick he used to sever Eve’s heart from the joy of her relationship with her Creator.

Satan’s opening volley was not a blistering attack on God; it was a simply a question that he wanted Eve to think about. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1).

Actually, God had said that she could eat of every tree but one. But Satan twisted the facts to suit his purposes and to lead Eve’s mind to the conclusion that God was not the generous God she had known Him to be, but rather a stingy, restrictive, joy killer. Once she had let her heart drift to the wrong conclusion, it was easy for her to believe Satan’s lie that God just wanted to keep her from being as knowledgeable as He is and that the threat of them dying was just God’s way of scaring them into compliance with His stingy ways.

Satan still sets us adrift by planting doubt about God’s Word and spinning the facts to his own evil advantage.

Once we begin to suspect God instead of trusting Him, we inevitably drift away from Him.

So, beware!

Your life is full of scenarios where Satan can put his deceitful twist on your experiences. He is the spin-doctor of hell, and as Jesus said, “When [Satan] lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

With that in mind, keep a lookout for some of Satan’s favorite spins:

  • Lie #1: God is to blame for the evil that Satan has inflicted on our lives.
  • Lie #2: God has not rewarded me for being good. I’ve been used, not blessed!
  • Lie #3: God’s rules are restrictive and oppressive. He just wants to take the fun out of my life.
  • Lie #4: God is good to others but not to me. He must not love me!

And there are many other lies, all custom-made for your head and heart.

If you believe them, you have begun to drift away from the safe shores of God’s love and protecting provision. You’ll soon discover that you are adrift in the middle of nowhere, bobbing dangerously over your head. And count on it, as Eve was soon to learn, Satan won’t stay around to make you happy and fulfilled. He’ll be slithering off to more interesting company, leaving you in the deep waters of shame and regret.

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • Are you drifting in a sea of doubt? Make an appointment to talk to a trusted pastor or friend and ask that person to help you find your way back to God.
  • Pray and ask God to reveal the lies that Satan is using in your life. Find Bible verses that contradict the lies and recite them when you are tempted to believe what is not true.
  • Do you suspect God, or do you trust Him? How can faith shield you from the pitfall of suspecting and doubting God? Read Jeremiah 29:11Ephesians 6:16Galatians 2:201 Timothy 6:12; and Hebrews 11:1-40.

What is Trust — Really?

SOURCE:  Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 67

A Picture of Trust

Therefore we do not lose heart.” 2 Cor. 4:16

Trusting God proved to be the pattern in Paul’s life. Even when the Lord did not immediately relieve his sufferings, Paul continued to view everything that happened to him as God’s sovereign will (2 Cor. 4:17-18).

This doesn’t mean that Paul never had doubts or that he never asked God to relieve his suffering (2 Cor. 12:7-8). But when the Lord’s response did not match Paul’s request, he was willing to believe that God had something better in mind (vv. 9-10).

Food for Thought

Think of the last time the Lord’s response did not match your request.

What does trusting God look like?  [It]doesn’t mean wearing a painted on smile when troubles come and practicing the art of denial when doubts arise. Those verses in 2 Cor. 12 show the apostle Paul “pleading” for God to take the thorn in his flesh away.

So, then what does trusting God look like?  “But when the Lord’s response did not match Paul’s request, he was” — what’s that next word? That’s right –“willing.”

Trusting looks like a willingness to believe in God’s goodness toward us in the middle of pleadings and tears and sufferings and doubts and questions.

Trusting is choosing to believe that God desires the best for us, his children.

That’s not always easy, but as Paul would attest, it’s always worth it!

“God—where were you?”

 SOURCE:  Adapted from an article by  Ed Welch/CCEF

“God, where were you?”

That’s the good version of the question, because you are still on speaking terms with the Lord.

But if this question is left unresolved, over time it becomes, “Where was God when __________ happened [I was raped, my child died, I was fired because of someone’s lies . . . ]?

You are no longer talking to God, you are now talking about him.

Later? Just silence. God, from your perspective, is no longer a player in everyday life.

For now I just want to raise this very difficult question, which is capable of stunting spiritual growth and corroding one’s faith in Jesus.  If it is your question, you must do something with it.

Here is a start.

What are you really asking?

Sometimes “where were you?” is not really what is on your heart.

When my daughter Lisa was little, she would have a predictable response when she was hurt.

“Daddy!” Or sometimes, “Daddy, why did you do that?” These are variations on, “where were you? Why didn’t you do something?” She probably did the same thing with her mother when I wasn’t around. Whoever was closest during the accident was, somehow, at fault.

Once she stubbed her toe while running after her sister. I was reading a book on the other side of the room.

Sure enough, “Daddy!”

In response I could have explained, “Lisa, I didn’t do it to you. You were playing with Lindsay and hit the sofa leg with you bare foot.” But my daughter didn’t really want an explanation of what happened. What she was really saying was this: “Daddy, please help me. I feel hurt and alone.”

All I needed to do was to pick her up, and say “Sweetie, I am so sorry,” which is not an admission of guilt but an offer of compassion. She was not really blaming me. She wanted comfort and the assurance that I cared about what happened to her.

So we could expand “Where were you?” to “God, why did you do this to me?” or “Why didn’t you prevent that evil from happening to me?” These questions belie deeper and usually more basic concerns about God’s love. His answer: “Yes, I know these things are hard to understand but I really do love you – the life, death and resurrection of Jesus proves that – and what hurts you hurts me.” Comfort and compassion.

What if it’s not a question; what if it’s a statement?

Are you actually asking God, “where were you?” or are you making a statement like “God was not there. He can’t be trusted. He isn’t safe.”

Sometimes these statements are expressed as anger towards God. When people speak about anger with God I want to understand what they are really saying before I try to respond. Real anger at God, I believe, is a rare and dangerous thing. Most people who mention such anger are not quite as angry with God as they think. They are just having a hard time putting words on their sufferings.

“Sometimes I hate God.” Maybe you do, but maybe you don’t. You might actually be saying, “I hate myself for letting this happen. Regarding God, I don’t know what to think. He says he loves me, but I don’t understand. It seems he wasn’t there when I needed him.”

What should we do about this?

There is much more to say.  Here are the first steps.

1. Speak to the Lord, not just about him.
2. Recognize that behind your bluster and sometimes lame attempts at acting angry are childlike questions about God’s love and care.
3. Repeat #1.

Tag Cloud