Tag: doubt

Jan 21 It’s all perspective

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Holy Father, Your will often puzzles me. I cannot see from Your perspective or understand the effects of actions looking forward into the future.

Your servant John the Baptist lived as a righteous man. He was a believer and taught of Your kingdom. He even baptized Jesus! He was a great part of Your plan; yet he was beheaded by an unrighteous, evil, manipulative man.

In our human understanding of fairness that seems so wrong.

Yet, again, our perspective is not Yours. And our life here on earth is not the end of it all. There is also what comes after: where and how we spend eternity.

So can I still pray for things to work here out here on earth, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones? Yes.

And can I ask in faith, believing, and not doubting? Absolutely!

But I must remember that You answer prayer from a greater perspective.

My sight and my ability to see “the solution” are very limited. Even in my own life, I have prayed and You have answered in ways far better than anything I had asked for, or could have even imagined.

And can I trust Your answer? Without a doubt!

Even if I can’t understand the “why” of it at the time, I know that Your love for me is great. And You are trustworthy. And Your sense of mercy and justice are right.

So no matter how things look from my perspective, I will proclaim boldly with the Psalmist, “As for God, His way is perfect!”

Matthew 14:1-12; Psalm 18:30

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June 1 Help me act in belief

“Stop doubting and believe.”

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Often I have heard that people think being a Christian means checking your brain at the door and believing in something blindly.   But Jesus, here You give me an example of just the opposite.

You say to Thomas (who has been forever since called ‘Doubting Thomas’) to ‘stop doubting and believe’. But You were not just a voice in the dark asking him to believe blindly. You were standing right in front of him. You were offering to let him see and touch and feel what was real. You provided proof for his faith.

But it is often the same with me. I can be stubborn in my reluctance to go forward out of fear of failure or embarrassment or things not working out; even when You are standing in front of me.   You can offer proof to me because You see things I can’t. You already know how things will work out.

Lord, help me take the steps You direct me to take, in boldness. Don’t let me be frozen by fear, or hesitate in half-heartedness. Do not let me doubt Your Word or Your leading. Remind me of Your faithfulness to me in the past.

As You breathed the Holy Spirit on Your disciples, breath a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit on me. Let me be empowered anew by You living in me.

As Thomas responded with belief, it seems he should be known as ‘Believing Thomas’. But I think more people can relate to his position before he saw You. So it’s a good lesson for everyone. Thank You for showing me that I need not doubt. Help me be bold, in belief. Amen

John 20:19-29  

Feb 27 Can…and WILL

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Lord, I can so identify with the father who asked You to deliver his son from the evil spirit. His words were, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”

 

As I read through Your Word and see the miracles You have done, the healings, the deliverances of people groups and individuals, the amazing ways You impacted a person’s life and used them mightily, I marvel, and believe. When people tell me all You have done in their lives, how You have worked things out that should never have happened, and saved them from something in the nick of time, I believe that.

But when it comes to my own life, while I totally believe You CAN do anything; I often fall short in believing that You WILL.  Where it’s easy for me to see You acting in others’ lives, I feel so undeserving of Your attention.

But I continue to call out to You for my sons.  I believe that Your purpose is not to harm them, but to give them a hope and a future.  I claim that promise, and await the deliverance.  I call forth things that be not, as though they were, and will be.  And I look forward to the day when they will once again worship You in spirit and in truth being guided by Your Word.

I totally believe You can accomplish this. Your power is so great that nothing can stand against You. Help me, Lord, overcome any doubt that remains in me. I will trust in You. I will trust in You. Amen

Mark 9: 14-29; Romans 4:17

Oct 23 Waiting – hardest thing to do

pause-for-a-moment-393837_640O Father. Have I been like these people? It seems they were truly seeking Your will, and promised to do whatever Jeremiah revealed as Your will. But when ten days went by, they had already evaluated their options and had come to a decision they thought was best for them. It seems once they had made up their minds, there was no room for Your Word to be heard.

I wonder if there have been times when I came to You, pouring out my heart because I was so desperate and didn’t know what to do. Then, while waiting for Your response, I looked around for myself and became convinced of my best option.

Father, when faced with hardship and stress, would You help me be patient until I hear an answer from You.   Waiting can be very hard even in the best of situations. But when there is pressure to make a decision, or harm may occur without action, waiting can be unbearable. Help me bear it.

I’ve had people tell me ‘God can’t steer a parked car’. They ere encouraging me to get started in some direction, saying You will guide me once I committed to go. But sometimes that is not wise advice. I can become so committed to the direction I choose, that I refuse to course correct later.

When I do hear from You, reassure me it is truly Your Word. Even if it goes against what I might have thought, help me know without a doubt, that what I’ve heard is from You. While waiting, help me stay so close to You, that I recognize Your voice. And Father, empower me to be obedient. Don’t let me be defensive of any plan I have come up with myself, or think I know something You don’t. Time and time again, You have shown me that Your answers are far more creative, far more successful and far more wise than any I have ever thought up.

These people decided rather than stay in hardship one more day, they should go the way that seemed to benefit them. Father, if there comes a time when I must remain in a hard place, or endure Your correction, strengthen me to be able to do that. Even though it may seem I’m in the frying pan, I trust in Your wisdom, in Your perspective, and in Your perfect plan to keep me out of the fire.

That I have faith in You to direct my life is easy to say when the times are good. Father, strengthen and prepare me to be able to live out my faith, even when the times are not. Amen

Jeremiah 42:1-43:7

Oct 16 Trust God’s plan

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” These wonderful words of life and promise and hope that so many believers have claimed as personal encouragement were given first to a specific group of Your people who had rejected You and endured such hardship that they had been forcibly removed from their homes and land. They had been seized by a military force and taken to a foreign country to live as captives.

I cannot even imagine the trauma of being relocated like that. I would imagine escape back home would have been considered. Or revolt. Some attempt to regain freedom. But even if escape were possible, home was a thousand miles away! And now comes this letter from Jeremiah to say ‘Accept captivity! Settle down! Live in the new land. Pray for your new home! For seventy years!’

That must have seemed just the opposite of what they wanted to do. And the harsh word, that this was Your doing must have been confusing and hurtful. But then, in the same breath, comes Your promise to them. “When seventy years are completed in Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill My good promise to bring you back to this place”.

Father, I know I sometimes wonder if where I am is really the place You want me to be. I trust the plans You have for me. Even if it means I have to wait on Your timing. But please don’t let it take seventy years, Lord! David prayed, and I do too, “Bring joy to Your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You.” Thank You Lord, that You are “forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call on You.” Thank You that You do “Hear my prayer, Lord,” and “listen to my cry for mercy.” I praise You that You are “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”.

The Israelites must have looked at their circumstances and doubted whether it could really be Your will. Father, sometimes things don’t look too good to me either. And Iwonder how You will work things out for my good. But I totally trust that You will.   I completely “rely on Your faithfulness”.

Father, open my eyes to the truth of where I am right now. If I have gotten myself off Your path, show me how to return to it. If I am where You want me to be, help me hear your voice of encouragement. Help me feel Your presence here with me. And if waiting is involved, help me wait patiently, prayerfully, praise-fully, and productively.   Show me those plans as I need to see them. My hope and my future are in You. Amen

Jeremiah 29:1-14; Psalm 86:1-17

Feb 14 Gifts

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Dear Lord, how wonderful it would be to be like Bezalel or Oholiab. These two are singled out by name as being chosen by You, and filled with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts. They knew metalwork on gold, silver and bronze, stone cutting and setting, how to work with wood, yarn, and linen as craftsmen and designers. And they had the ability to teach others these things. They worked effectively with everyone You gave skill and ability to, to carry out the work of constructing the tabernacle and all the things in it.

You have said that each believer receives a spiritual gift or gifts, as well as skills and talents. How wonderful it would be to be aware of that gift and have the opportunity to use it to create something that would point people to You and bring honor to Your name.

Father, help me and my loved ones be like Bezalel and Oholiab. Help us refine our gifts and talents, work on them and develop them to be ready for use when You give the opportunity.

Father, they did not shrink back from using their gifts. Sometimes I feel my talent isn’t good enough to be of use, and rather than step forward, I shrink back. I am often sure that the gifts of others are more valuable than mine. Help me trust that You knew what You were doing when You handed out the gifts. Help me accept who I am and what I have to offer, and make the most of it.

Are people the only ones of Your creation who doubt themselves and are envious? I doubt that an apple tree ever wishes it could produce peaches. Or a monkey ever wishes it had a fluffy tail like a fox. It’s easy for me to see and trust Your plan as it worked out in the lives of Moses, Bezalel, and Oholiab. Take away the doubts I have when it comes to my own life. Help me see Your plan and Your purpose, and be bold in doing my part. Amen

Exodus 35:30-35; 37:1-38:31

Dec 21 Shield my head

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Father, what an incredible vision You gave John!  As he describes the scene and the action, it sounds like a great cosmic video game!  But this one does not play out over and over with a ‘reset’ button when the player fails at the quest.

The revelation John sees here: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” and “an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads”.  These are not anime characters, but are signs that represent actual happenings.  The woman represents Israel, and the red dragon, satan.  Satan was hurled down to earth and roams here now, to “lead the whole world astray”.

The bad news:  “woe to the earth and sea because the devil has gone down to you!  He is filled with fury…”.   The good news: “his time is short”.

Because satan roams the earth in his furious state, and has duped people into following him, I need You, Father, to “keep me safe from the hands of the wicked”.  It is not only the evil one, but also those under his authority who do his biding that I have seen at work.

I know that sometimes, I don’t make wise choices, and must bear the consequences.  In those times Father, I ask for Your forgiveness and Your wisdom to learn from my mistakes.  But at other times, I feel attacked, caught by surprise in situations and circumstances I did not anticipate.  I feel entrapped, tripped up, led into places, relationships, emotional states, and difficulties that feel like an oppressive force is orchestrating it all.

When I begin to feel discouraged and hopeless, when I find myself doubting Your goodness and Your love, I know there is some element of evil at work.  Thank You that You have promised to “shield my head in the day of battle”.   Your helmet of salvation protects my thoughts and reminds me of Your truth.  It helps me hold what I am feeling up against the truth of Your Word.

Thank You that I can be sure of Your love for me.  Thank You that I can know without a doubt, that Your purpose and plan for me are good.  Thank You that I know You will never, ever, leave me or forsake me.  And thank You that the devil’s time here on earth is short.  And a time will come when You will triumph over all!

In the meantime, I “will praise Your name”!  And “live [my life] in Your presence”, in safety, with You as “my strong deliverer”.  Awaiting Your ‘end game’.   Amen

Revelation 12:1-17; Psalm 140:1-13