Tag Archives: doubt

Genesis 29; Matthew 28; Esther 5; Acts 28

“Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it.  His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.  The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.  Then the angel spoke to the women.  “Don’t be afraid!” he said.  “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.  Come, see where his body was lying.  And now, go quickly and tell the disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee.  You will see him there.  Remember what I have told you.”  The women ran quickly from the tomb.  They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message.  And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them.  And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.  Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him-but some of them doubted!  Matthew 28 1-10, 16 NLT

My word for the year is Presence…intentionally seeking God’s presence, so that it overflows into the rest of my life.  The presence of the Angel at the tomb was enough for the women to believe. But, some of the disciples doubted, even after seeing Jesus.  I’m reading a book with my bible study called  Twelve Ordinary Men, by John McArthur.  He writes about how human the disciples were.  He says, “That’s because they were perfectly ordinary men in every way.  Not one of them was renowned for scholarship or great erudtion.  They had no track record of as orators or theologians.  In fact, they were outsiders as far as the religious establishment of Jesus’ day was concerned.  They were not outstanding because of any natural talents or intellectual abilities.  On the contrary, they were all prone to mistakes, misstatements, wrong attitudes, lapses of faith, and bitter failure.” They were just like me.  How often have I worshipped and had God reveal something to me and than doubt enters my mind?

“They left with this final word from Paul: “The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaish the prophet, ‘Go and say to this people: When you hear what I say, you will not understand.  When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.  For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannoth hear, and their hearts cannoth understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.” Acts 28:25-27 NLT

Am I listening to the Holy Spirit?  Or is my heart hardened?

Dear Father, I want to be like both Marys and run to you, lay at your feet, and worship you.  Forgive me when I run to lesser things.  I want to be filled with renewed joy of your resurrection power.  Thank you that you are always with me.  Amen.

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under Acts, Esther, Genesis, Matthew

Deuteronomy 1-2; Mark 11:1-19

A mountain and a valley and a battle.

Deuteronomy’s scriptures are very personal to me. Whenever I read them, I time travel to that place of clover and big sky. It was summer and my house was filled with boxes and disarray. We were packing to move, and at the time, I wasn’t even sure where we were going. An enemy’s taunting finger poke was soon like a battering ram knocking against the very foundation that held me up. It was oppressive (thick, smothering, suffocating, weighty).

“When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on. Go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the neighboring regions—the Jordan Valley, the hill country, the western foothills, the Negev, and the coastal plain. Go to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, and all the way to the great Euphrates River. Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.’” Deuteronomy 1:6-8 NLT (emphasis mine).

They must have felt fear. Many times, the Lord had to tell them not to be afraid. It’s easy to read over Bible stories and fail to connect to the situation, but I know how fear feels, how it weakens and weights. I know what it’s like to move, and not know what home will look like.

30 The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. 31 And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’ Deuteronomy 1:30-31 NLT.

I know what it’s like to trust God, and then feel uncertain. Oh, there was a battle, and I found myself in the thick of it. Even years later and his faithfulness my home, I look back at that mountain and that journey. The Israelites needed reminding of God’s provision and faithfulness. I remind myself too.

Jesus would walk a road to a destination that his disciples didn’t imagine. He entered Jerusalem to the cries of an expectant crowd.

Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,

“Praise God!
    Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David!
    Praise God in highest heaven!”

11 So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples. Mark 11:8-11 NLT.

He was also part of a battle. The Israelites fought forces in their midst–and the Lord delivered them. Jesus was the the target of both earthly and spiritual attacks–so that he could deliver us.

(Praise God in the highest heaven!)

Every battle looks different, but the enemy is the same.

Jesus came to give life (freedom, hope, salvation, comfort, forgiveness, healing, power, example, victory). God fights for us still.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year

Num. 35; Ps. 79; Isa. 27; 1 John 5

I have always struggled with confidence.I am constantly comparing my “ugly” insides to someone else’s “pretty” outsides.  I question myself every day.  “Am I good enough?”, “Do I give enough?”, “Did I say too much?” and so on and so forth.  Every single day I struggle with this.  There is a fear that I am a failure.

I often forget what God has said about me – there are so many promises right in scripture that I need to cling to… I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps139) or God has a plan for me (Jer 29:11 – a little out of context but a promise nonetheless) and in our reading of 1 John today God tells me that I need to be confident in my salvation, in the fact that God listens to me and in overcoming my struggles with sin.

1 John 5:13 tell me that I can be confident that if I believe in Jesus I will have eternal life.  “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.”  Verse 5 says that I can be confident because through believing in Jesus I am his child.  What a relief.  I do not have to stress about being good enough; I just have to believe that Jesus is who He says He is and I have confidence in my salvation – in that fact that I am his child (also see  Act 16:31 and Romans 6:23).

Not only can I be confident in my salvation, according to 1 John 5:14-15, I can have confidence in my prayers.  “This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”  Alright, so there is a little catch.  If I ask “according to his will” he will hear me (not give me – but hear me and consider what I am asking!).  I can be confident that God will hear and consider my prayer and that he will give me whatever I ask within his will.  God is all knowing and even though I believe that something is right for me right now – God sees the bigger picture and therefore might not answer me the way I want him to.  However, according to vs. 15 if what I am asking for is within his will then he will not only hear my request but he will grant my request.  At this, I need to trust his judgment and be confident that he is God.

Another confidence that I can be assured of according to 1 John 5 is that God is helping me overcome the world through him.  Verse 18 starts out saying “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin…”  Uh oh… there is a problem because I sin all the time and yet I believe that I am born of God…  The verse goes on to say “…the One (note – capital “O”) who was born of God keeps them safe and the evil one cannot harm them.”  I can be confident that God (my father) is keeping me safe.”  Verse 19 says that the “whole world is under the control of the evil one”.  Sin causes harm – maybe embarrassment, maybe punishment and this chapter says that sin may cause death.  There is nothing more that Satan wants then to embarrass me or punish me or to take my confidence in God away from me.  When I lack the confidence that God’s “got this” and turn to myself then I make myself vulnerable to falling into what the world wants me to do or be and not finding confidence in what God wants me to do or be.  When I struggle with this I can look to Jesus for “understanding (vs. 20) as He has already “overcome the world” (John 16:33).

I will always struggle with being confident in who I am. When I take my eyes off of God and look around at everyone else I struggle.  (Perhaps that is where vs. 21 comes into play?)  However, when I am basking in the presence of God, seeking to do what he has asked me (vs. 2) and holding onto the promises that he loves me (John 3:16), that he hears me and that he has overcome the world,  I can find peace and total confidence in all that he has made me to be. 

Amy W. (gueston66books)

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Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament

Psalm 136, 146; 1 Corinthians 3

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them–the Lord, who remains faithful forever. ~ Psalm 146:5-6

 

The Lord who remains faithful forever…That’s the part I need to hold onto.  That’s the part I sometimes forget.  The Bible says we’re supposed to make our requests known to God, and as such, I was praying the other day for something my husband and I have been praying and believing for, for several months now.  In the midst of it all, God whispered to my desperate heart, “Why do you question me?”  My honest answer: Because I’ve had these same requests out there for a long time with no answer.  There, I said it.  I spoke my honest heart and lived to tell the tale.  I didn’t get struck down by lightning because I was honest…or even because I doubted.

 

This psalm was perfect for me, because it reminded me that He is faithful, always.  Forever is a really long time and I’m grateful for it.  The thing that amazes most about the conversation I had with God is that He didn’t scold me, nor did He play into my pity party.  Instead, like all good teachers, He redirected my thoughts.  He said, “I’ve answered you in other ways.  You must trust me.”

 

A good teacher redirects poor patterns, both in thought and action.  A good father gives hope and encouragement.  My Lord and Savior remains faithful forever.

 

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. ~ Psalm 146:7-8

HeatherPotts5

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Joshua 18,19; Psalms149,150; Jeremiah 9; Matthew 23

The more I learn, the less I know. 

There was a time when I thought I had the whole Christianity thing figured out.  I was near certain about many doctrinal issues, even the small ones.  But a funny thing happened.  In a quest for truth, I started to dive more deeply into the Word and consider the viewpoints of others more learned than I.  And I wasn’t so sure anymore.

I recently read the book Know Doubt, by my all-time favorite Christian author, John Ortberg.  In it, Ortberg reveals that he, too, experiences doubts even when it comes to some of the biggest questions about topics such as death and eternal destiny.  At least I am in good company.

Perhaps, this is exactly where I should be.  In Jeremiah, God instructs us:

“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,”  Jeremiah 9:23-24

I find that any faith that can withstand attack from the outside, must first be tested from within.  If I want to understand God and know Him better, I first need to allow doubt to breathe.  By examining my doubts, I will come to a place where my faith is deeper…if not wider. 

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  Matthew 23:12

Lord,

You gave me the ability to reason and a skeptical mind that I may pursue truth with discernment.  I realize I am so limited in my knowledge of you.  I humbly request that you reveal yourself to me in ways that replace my doubts with a richer faith.  Amen.

Greg (gmd40187)

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Filed under Jeremiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew