Thursday, March 27, 2008

How To Handle Nagging Doubts?

Matthew 4:1-11

Satan loves to use fear and doubt against believers. He knows if he can get you to question God, then maybe you will give up and abandon His will for your life. Feelings of fear often precede feelings of doubt and uncertainty. If left unattended, these runaway emotions can cause you to stop trusting God and His ability to provide for you.

A first step to defuse doubts is to determine its origin. Begin by asking yourself if your feelings of doubt have a legitimate basis. Many times we struggle with thoughts and feelings that have no validity.

Second, reading God's word is a great way to combat fear and doubt. A daily reading program such as the one you're reading right now will show you many ways to handle doubt. The book of Psalms highlights many personal battles over emotions such as fear, doubt, loneliness, and discouragement. David and others made a conscious decision to trust the Lord through tremendously difficult circumstances and found that God never once failed them.

Prayer is also essential in fighting fear and doubt. In essence, prayer is faith in action. When we pray, regardless of whether we feel like it, we make a statement of faith. We pray because we see God as the solution to what we face. If you are facing a difficult situation, don't be slow in asking God to show you the best way to handle it. If your level of trust seems so low, don't worry. God is wise and kind. He wants to teach you more about Himself, not frighten you away. Your faith will increase as you get to know Him better.

Even if you don't have the emotional strength to trust God, you can still begin. God will be your strength. A.B. Simpson often told those who found themselves in a difficult spot, "When God tests you, it is a good time for you to test Him by putting His promises to the proof, and claiming for Him just as much as your trials have rendered necessary."

Always be honest with God; He knows it all anyway. Honesty breaks the pattern of doubt. The last thing Satan wants you to do is to go to God in prayer and tell Him you feel doubtful. He knows that God loves you with an eternal love and that if you come to Him for help, He will give you all the assistance you need.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Noah: Obedient and Dry

Genesis 6:22

Nothing indicated an approaching storm. Still, since Noah believed in God, he prepared for the downpour God promised. His friends must have mocked him, but he built an ark (Gen. 6).

Obedience is the cornerstone to our faith in God. While Noah's obedience led to God's blessing and reward, the disobedience of his contemporaries led to their destruction. At the time of the flood, the physical salvation of mankind fell to Noah and his willingness to be used by God.
The ark merely foreshadowed the eternal salvation from sin that is ours through Jesus Christ. Just as Noah's faith saved him and his family, so our faith saves us today. As we are told in Ephesians 2:8-9, "By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast."
Building the ark did not bring Noah any closer to the Lord-but his obedience and faith in God did. And it kept him safe and dry.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Importance of Forgiving Others

Mark 11:25-26

All of us at some point, have to deal with the issue of unforgiveness. When we allow a bitter spirit to lodge in our souls, where it grows and festers, it becomes both painful and destructive. Unforgiveness lies at the root of many of the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual problems we see today.

The apostle Paul wrote, "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" (Eph. 4:31-32). When Paul spoke of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking, he was describing the ugly manifestations of a "spirit of unforgiveness."

A spirit of unfogiveness goes beyond a temporary unwillingness to forgive, the period between the time a person gets hurt and the time he forgives the one who hurt him. A spirit of unforgiveness develops when the one hurt chooses to remain in that unforgiving state.

People who develop this nasty spirit often say, "I just don't think I could ever forgive that." They make the statement when they feel they have been treated in such an unjust, unfair, harmful way that they simply can't let go of the pain.

We are all going to be hurt, Every one of us has been hurt, are hurting now, or are going to be hurt by somebody. The only way we can insulate ourselves against being hurt is to completely remove ourselves from the possibility of love. To risk love is to risk hurt.

Hurt is unavoidable, but we can deal with hurt. No pain is too deep or too wdidespread to lie beyond the power of God's forgiveness, working in and through us. Unforgiveness is a choice we make with the will- and it's a devastatingly bad choice, not only for the relationship, not only for the cause of Christ, but also for the one who refuses to forgive.

We shouldn't forget that it was our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, who ended a story on the necessity of forgiveness with these words: "And his master was angry, and delivered him to the tortures until he should pay all that was due to him. So my Heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses" (Matt. 18:34-35).