Fear and Doubt or Faith and Confidence

The way of life for an individual believer and a local church is the way of faith. We must choose to trust God, and that trust must be unlimited. Follow the link to read Proverbs 3:3-10, and consider…

Proverbs 3:5:

  • “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart…” – Deliberately turn from doubt to God and His promises. Make a discernible choice to walk by faith instead of being trampled by doubt.
  • “And lean not unto thine own understanding…” – We cannot trust God with all our heart and depend on our own abilities at the same time. Our confidence is either in God or in ourselves. If we catch ourselves saying stuff like: “I know how to fix this” or “I don’t need any help” then we have a limited rather than unlimited trust in the Lord. We are not claiming the victory inherent to this promise if we doubt God’s Word and lean only on what we can see or figure out for ourselves.

Proverbs 3:6

  • “In all thy ways acknowledge him…” – In every choice, in every decision, in every detail of life, recognize God and factor in His participation. Seek to please God. In everything put Him first. That honors Him. Here is a real practical – and often contentious – example of doing this. It is called giving a tithe and offering. When the money is flowing or when the well runs dry, always give first to God. That means giving a tithe (10%) and an offering (anything above 10%) to your local church. If we acknowledge God in all our ways, then we will be confident that 90% (or 85%) with God’s help is more than 100% on our own without God. Put God first – even with your finances – and trust Him to keep His promises.
  • “And he shall direct thy paths.” – This is a conditional promise from God. He will direct our paths – make the way passable – but only if we trust, lean on, and acknowledge Him. God will pave the way. This does not mean it will be easy breezy. It does mean it will be possible with God’s help. All things are possible with God. He promises to do His part. Will we do ours? Do we think we will do better than God with our problem? God always proves true, because God is always in control. No matter what happens or comes our way, God is in complete control – that is what sovereignty means. God is never blind-sided. God is never caught flat-footed. His hold never slips, and you are in His hands, if you’ve trusted Him.
Trust God with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. Refuse to take your cues from what life looks like at the moment. Do not listen to – or speak – the doom and gloom theories that dominate our news. Instead, acknowledge God in all your ways, and He will pave the way for you.
 
He is in control.

Read more...

Preach to Yourself

Psalm 42:5, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”

The follower of Christ is not exempt from heartache, turmoil, or depression, but this does not mean we must surrender to these emotions. Like the psalmist, we should fight back. This means we must preach the truth to ourselves. The only ground for our hope is Jesus Christ crucified for our sins and triumphant over death. Therefore, we must learn to talk rather than listen to ourselves: “Listen, self: If God is for you, who can be against you? He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for you, how shall He not with Him also freely give you all things? Who shall separate you from the love of Christ?” Trust the Gospel, and preach it to yourself. 


Read more...

Where is Your Confidence Placed?

Isaiah 36:15, “Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.”
 
Those who oppose the cause of Christ incessantly assault our confidence in the Lord and His cause. They rattle their swords. Puff out their chests, and loudly boast that they, not the Lord or His people will triumph; a pathetic scene replayed in the Old and New Testaments. We especially notice this nonsense at the cross. Don’t allow confidence in Christ to be shaken by the blustering  threats of others. Do not let the derision and the condescension of others make you doubt the Lord. Continue to trust in the Lord and you will not be disappointed. Place your confidence in men, and you will be let down all the time.

Read more...

Would You Bow Down?

Everybody lives by faith in something or someone. The difference between a true believe and an unbeliever is not the presence of faith but the object of their faith. Daniel 3 is the text for today’s study and this evening’s sermon. There we find that leaders and influencers from across the great Babylonian Empire were assembled to worship the 90′ high and 9′ wide golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had erected. He wanted to unify his diverse empire by means of religion and fear. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Faith Tried by Fire

Trials are used by God to develop our faith. The same trials are used by the enemy to destroy us. During such times we will either be drawn closer to the Lord or further away from him. 
 
The Babylonian authorities showed up because of the King’s commands. They all stood up for the image’s dedication. When the music played they all bowed down. All except for three. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to break God’s Law. They had already proven a willingness to cooperate with their new pagan leaders, but they would not compromise the clear commands of scripture. Instead, they were willing to pay the price that comes with trusting God.
 
I wonder if the Apostle Peter had these three men in mind when he wrote 1 Peter 1:7; 4:12:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego were confident in the Lord’s control of  their situation. They stood tall when everyone else bowed low.
 
Would you bow down?
 
That is a question to ask and answer as we work through Daniel 3 tonight at 7pm. 

Read more...

Victory IN JESUS

Psalm 118:9, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”

Men love power and are drawn to it. As a result, we easily become guilty of trusting our own resources or the promised protection of powerful people or in seeking to gain the good favor of those who are in (or those who are trying to gain) power. But as the old hymn extols, victory is in Jesus, not in political office, the corner office, or any man made authority. No power on, below, or above earth is able to compete with the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. He has the preeminence in and over all things (Colossians 1:9-18). Trust in the King of kings and Lord of lords. You’ll know that you are if you’re joyfully and consistently (not perfectly) obedient to His Word.


Read more...

Doubt Your Doubts and Trust God

James 1:8, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
 
In the classic Pilgrim’s Progress author John Bunyan allegorizes such a person as “Mister Facing Both Ways.” Trying to face both ways simultaneously only leads to ruin. A double-minded person is one with a divided allegiance. Loyalty cannot be divided if it is to be worth anything. The greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all out heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength (Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:30). Obedience to that command always brings blessing, but obedience to that command is impossible if one is double-minded. Doubt your doubts and trust God with a single-minded focus and whole-hearted intensity. That is the only way to have sure footing in an unstable world.

Read more...

Refuge

Nahum 1:7, “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.”

The prophet Jonah had preached the urgent need of repentance in Nineveh. Revival broke out. The people and the city were saved. But a new generation returned to old patterns. The prophet Nahum was sent to proclaim God’s righteous judgment against this new generation of Ninevites who had rebelled against God. While God is angry at and will judge sin, He is also a good God who cares for His people. That had already been proven to this city, and is reiterated in today’s verse. Nahum preached here what Paul would later (Romans 11:22) “behold therefore the goodness and severity of God.” God is love and His love is a holy love. While He is a refuge for those who trust Him, there is no refuge for those who do not.


Read more...

When Broken is Better

Psalm 34:17-18, “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
 
Today’s devotional passage calls to mind Mark 2:17 where Jesus taught that those who are well have no need of a physician, only those who are sick. He was not teaching that there are some who are independently righteous and have no need of Him. He taught that only those who recognize their condition will seek the cure. Jesus promises that when a humble heart cries out to God, He will hear and deliver. Which is why I love to sing Rock of Ages:
 
“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.”
 
Broken before Jesus is better, because only He can – and will – make you whole.

Read more...

Devotional Thought for This Week’s Start

Ephesians 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”

Jesus Christ was angry at evil (Mark 3:5; Matthew 23). How can God’s people be any different? Scripture calls us to be angry without sin. Anger is right when it is directed towards the proper person or thing. When it is held in the proper manner, to the proper degree, for the proper time, and rooted in the proper motivation. That motivation is the resistance to evil. When is anger sin? Simply take all the above and add the prefix “im.” Anger is always sinful when it is directed at the improper person or thing, in an improper manner, to an improper degree, for an improper time, and for an improper reason. How do we know if our anger is improper? Scripture is the guide, not anything or anyone else. Be angry at evil, starting with your own, and trust God to set things straight in His time.


Read more...

Be Peaceful Rather Than Fearful

Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
 
Fear is powerful. There are two kinds. The fear of God and the fear of man. The fear of God is the foundation of knowledge and wisdom, the way to fruitfulness and joy. To fear man is to be disappointed and enslaved, if not in the short-term, then always in the long-term. Fear will rule our lives. That is not the question. The question is whether or not the fear that rules me is healthy or unhealthy.
 
Fearing God and the peace of God are connected. Peace – God’s peace – is not the absence of conflict or troubles but calm confidence and assurance during them. Real, lasting peace comes only from God, and is attained only through faith. Faith is not some nebulous, mysterious blob floating around that either hits or misses us. No one accidentally falls into or out of faith, because faith is a purposeful pursuit, and it is primarily thinkingnot feelingrightly about God: His attributes, words, works, power, and promises. The more we know about God the greater He becomes in our thinking, the greater our faith will be in Him, the more eager we will be to rejoice and be thankful regardless of the circumstances, and the greater will be our peace for any and all situations. That is a lot for which to be thankful! 

Read more...