By Series - A Bout with Doubt

A Bout with Doubt

Friday

March 31, 2017

Stop Stumbling!

Read

Matthew 11:4-6, “ Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

Think

John the Baptist’s message was simple: Repent now, for God’s judgment and wrath are imminent. After bearing witness that he had seen the Son of God, and expecting Jesus to right the world’s wrongs by punishing sinners and restoring order for the righteous, he was sadly disappointed. And to make matters worse, he was unjustly imprisoned and feeling removed from his calling. His disorientation came from hearing reports of Jesus’ miraculous healings. This led him to question Christ. Why wasn’t He doing what he was supposed to be doing and setting the world straight? John was righteous and faithful to God, so why was he being punished while the wicked were free to keep on sinning? Can’t we all relate? How many times have we questioned God the minute our lives stop making sense?

Although John can be faulted for lack of faith, his quest for the truth was quite commendable. Without hesitating, he sent two of his disciples to go straight to the source for an answer. Jesus responded saying, “Tell John what you’ve seen! Bear witness to My work!” Then Jesus added a little caveat. He knew He’d become a stumbling block to John’s faith, thus He said, “Blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me”. Touché! How often do we place our finite expectations on our infinite God, yet still doubt His faithfulness? Doubt for a season is fine if like John, we are intentional about seeking answers.

Pray

Father God, help maintain my trust in You in both the darkness and the light. Grant me wisdom and good judgment in times of suffering and loss. And guide me to search Your word for the answers that I seek.

Act

Do you have questions in need of an answer? Then it’s time to investigate! Ask God to guide you through Scripture. Ask Him what He wants to show you and pray for the discernment to apply it in your life.

 

Thursday

March 30, 2017

Neutral Ground

Read

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”.
Romans 5:3-4, “Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit…”

Think

Have you ever prayed for something repeatedly, yet it never seems to happen? Feeling as if God simply won’t provide the answer leads us to doubt. We think, “Am I praying wrong?” “Am I being punished?” “Maybe I’m not ‘spiritual’ enough!” Then our doubt begins to shift towards God. We start blaming Him when we can’t find the answer to the unfortunate or unfair predicaments in our lives. Not identifying the root cause of our doubt can be detrimental in every way. We dance with disappointment, bind ourselves to bitterness, and parade around in pity. But we have a choice; we can allow doubt to defeat our faith or to defend it. As Christ followers, we’ve all had bouts with doubt, because faith is believing in what we cannot see. So, believe it or not—pun intended—the interesting thing about doubt is that it’s not always a bad thing. In fact, sometimes it works to our advantage.

Many people think that doubt is the opposite of faith, but it’s not! Unbelief is the opposite of faith. Doubt is neutral, positioned directly in the middle of these two polar opposites. As if on icy ground, our skepticism or uncertainty causes us to slide back and forth landing closer to one or the other. For example, C.S. Lewis greatly struggled with over-intellectualizing his faith setting him on a path to atheism. Eventually, though, his quest for truth led him back to God, and he became the most prolific Christian mind of the twentieth century. So let’s doubt our doubts and seek God’s truth. Remember, He is the one and only living God, Who is and was, and is still to come. Therefore, when we walk by faith, trusting in what we cannot see, we will soar to new heights of understanding both here and in the hereafter.

Pray

Father God, thank You for Your grace and compassion. I know that Your promises are faithful and true. Help me to persevere through doubt and to reach new levels of understanding. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Act

Read the Bible’s “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews chapter 11 as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and how He loves to use ordinary people to accomplish the extraordinary.

 

Wednesday

March 29, 2017

Speak Out to Doubt

Read

John 20:25, “So the other disciples told him, [Thomas] ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe’.”

Think

Is it sinful to doubt? Is it considered a personal affront to God when we question His presence in times of trouble? No! God is bigger than every question or circumstance causing disbelief. And God is so great, that He even welcomes us to speak out in uncertainty as we seek Him and desire to be heard. In fact, if every person that doubted God were eliminated from the Bible, it would be a very short book. Why then, are we so afraid to admit such feelings? Every believer has dealt with moments of doubt—and to say otherwise is untrue. Doubt left unaddressed can spread like mold throughout our hearts and minds. Therefore, the most ineffective way to deal with doubt is the failure to share it with others.

If you are currently in the throes of doubt and feel too ashamed to admit it—don’t be! You are in very good company. John the Baptist, after being unfairly imprisoned and awaiting execution, began to question if Jesus was truly the Messiah. Did he keep it to himself? No, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus directly if He was the One. Poor old Job, in the midst of immense pain and suffering, conveyed his doubt to his four uninformed friends for twenty-seven chapters. Even King David, whom God called a man after His own heart, cried out in Psalm 13 saying, “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?” And we can’t forget to mention the most famous doubter in all of history—Thomas. Within the presence of his fellow disciples, he expressed unbelief that Jesus had risen from the dead. Therefore, doubt your doubts and confess them out loud. Ask questions within the power of community, allowing trusted friends to speak the truth to you in love. And become an encourager for others to do so as well.

Pray

Father God, You are faithful and true; I know this even in moments of doubt and confusion. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You no matter the circumstance and guide me to share my feelings with others.

Act

Memory verse: “But I am trusting You, O Lord, saying, ‘You are my God!’ My future is in Your hands.” (Psalm 31:14-15)

 

Tuesday

March 28, 2017

Cycle of Circumstance

Read

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

Think

We’re all familiar with the circle of life: birth, childhood, adulthood, and death. As babies breathe their first breath others are breathing their last on this side of eternity. But isn’t it true, especially as adults, that we overlook the cycle of circumstance: change, conflict, and growth? We get so caught up in the what and the why questions that we fail to maintain focus on the Who—God. We start out in a place of orientation, we have clarity and understand our calling. We feel at home and at peace with where we’re at, when suddenly a big change occurs and we are thrust into a season of disorientation. Life no longer makes sense. We begin to worry and question God. We feel at odds with the world around us. This is the precise moment when we need to shift our focus from ourselves to God. Eventually, as things begin to resolve, we enter into a time of reorientation. Here we feel at home again and clarity returns, yet we’re experiencing life in a totally new way. As we push past the breakthrough, we’re thankful not only to be on the other side, but for this new level of understanding and growth.

Where are you in the cycle of circumstance? If you’re in a period of disorientation, keep on praying even when you feel as if God’s not listening. He’s at work in our lives whether we realize it or not. Remember, His ways are higher than ours and His thoughts are not our thoughts. So even when it seems as if the bottom is falling out and nothing makes sense, God has a plan. There’s purpose behind the pain. Trust God, and amazing things will happen in ways you’ve never before imagined.

Pray

Father God, thank You for always meeting me where I am and not where I think I should be. I put my trust in You, knowing if I lean on Your understanding, You will faithfully illuminate by path. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Act

Today, spend a few Psalm 46:10 moments being still before God. Open your heart and allow Him to flood you with His presence.

 

Monday

March 27, 2017

In the Face of Doubt

Read

Matthew 11:2-3, “When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask Him, ‘Are You the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?'"

Think

If we have lived any length of time, we have probably experienced some sort of disorientation—a life event that pushes us out of our comfort zone and into the unsettledness of the unknown. It’s a place of doubt, in which we can quickly come to the conclusion that nothing makes sense.

This is the exact place that John the Baptist found himself. He had been certain of his purpose, preparing the way for the Messiah. Then he experienced a life-jolting moment for speaking out against the king. Suddenly, he began to doubt if Jesus—his own cousin—was the Messiah in the face of imprisonment and death. None of us have likely ever been in such a mind-blowing situation. It's hard to even fathom how hurt and confused he must have felt. So, let's keep this in mind the next we are questioning if God is really at work in our lives! 

Pray

Father God, thank You for letting me doubt my doubts, and in the midst of them, let my trust and faith in You grow stronger.

Act

Spend some time meditating on your doubts. Journal questions involving them, and allow God to speak into your heart within moments of rest and reflection.

 

Friday

March 21, 2014

The truth will set you free

Read

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Think

One of the biggest hurdles that we encounter when it comes to fear is the hurdle of loneliness. We convince ourselves that we must be the only ones thinking this way or feeling this way. But the truth is that we are not alone when it comes to doubt!

Throughout the Bible, we can find story after story of people of faith, doubting. Look at Moses, David, Elijah, John the Baptist, or even Jesus himself. Doubt is not something that disqualifies us in God’s eyes. Rather, doubt can strengthen your faith! It’s all about seeking truthfully the answers to the questions you have! Don’t let any doubt you have linger. Instead, seek out the truth. And you will discover that the truth will set you free!

Pray

If you have doubts, pray about them. Ask God to reveal His supernatural truth, and for that truth to free you to a life of influence.

Act

One of the biggest keys to discovering the truth is to stay in God’s Word. Text “30 Days” to 32898, and join Fellowship Church’s 30-day reading plan of the New Testament as we head into Easter.

 

Wednesday

March 19, 2014

The myth of certainty

Read

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Think

When it comes to faith, there is a myth that has been perpetuated for centuries. It’s the myth of certainty. Too often, we convince ourselves that we have to be 100% sure of something before we can believe it. But if we have 100% certainty, then faith plays no part. That same myth can often derail us in our walk with God.

Faith in Jesus Christ is not based on certainty of facts or figures. It’s based on trust, understanding, and a belief that He can do what He says He can and that He is who He says He is. Your relationship with God is never spelled out line by line and letter by letter. It’s a constant walk of faith and trust. And there’s no better place to put your trust in the one and only Lord and God, Jesus Christ.

Pray

Thank God for His plan for your life. Pray for the ability to trust in Him. If that trust wanes, pray for Him to reveal the truth of His plan and to surround you with those who will help you see it.

Act

What is God’s plan? It starts with establishing a relationship with Him. Learn more about that plan and use that plan as a foundation of trust and hope for the rest of your life.

 

Tuesday

March 18, 2014

Exercising Faith

Read

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord…. Psalm 40:4

Think

To be human is to exercise faith. We have faith that the chair we are sitting in will hold us up. We have faith that the light will turn on when we flip the switch. We have faith that the person driving on the road will not cross into our lane. Life requires faith. We base that faith on what we have experienced and seen in the past.

When it comes to our faith in Jesus, the same is true. We look back at His track record and see how He has moved and what He has done, and that gives us the confidence to have faith in Him for the future. Our level of confidence in Jesus, our faith in who He is, and our faith in what He can do are all based on understanding who He has shown Himself to be and what He has done in the world and in our own lives. Don’t live a life of fear based on doubt. Instead, use those doubts to fuel your faith and discover a life of freedom!

Pray

Thank God for what He has done in your life and in the lives of those around you. Pray for the strength to trust in Him, even in times of doubt and uncertainty.

Act

 

Monday

March 17, 2014

Doubt isn’t a bad thing

Read

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.” Matthew 28:16-17

Think

Doubt is something that can creep into our lives like a dense fog. It begins with just a question or two. Before we know it, we’re surrounded, barely able to see ahead of us. But doubt isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just because we doubt something doesn’t mean we’re headed the wrong way.

If you are in a position of doubt; it you are questioning your faith or what you believe, remember that you are somewhere that God can move in big ways. Even some of the disciples doubted. Doubt actually means “to be in between.” Don’t give up if you have doubts. Ask the questions you need to ask. Seek the answers. And trust in the face of your doubt that God can do great things!

Pray

Thank God that He is big enough to take our doubts. Pray for the strength to ask the hard questions and to seek His answers through it all.

Act

Think of the tough questions you have about God, the Bible, or Christianity. Write them down. Use this week to seek out the answers to those questions. Call a trusted friend, a pastor, or a Christian counselor to begin helping you discover the answers to the tough questions we all have!