When doubt calls up more doubt.
Doubt sounds like such a tiny word, it’s barely more than a syllable long, and yet…. doubt is the great destroyer. It destroys our dreams, our ambitions, our families, and our relationship with God. Doubt. It’s such an ugly word! I doubt that will happen. Stop. I doubt your words. Stop. I doubt God can do it, I even doubt He cares. Stop it! Can’t you hear God crying out amidst your doubt? Can’t you hear those who love you begging you to stop doubting and start living! Start trusting God! Stop using doubt as an excuse to run away! Stop using it as a reason to give up! Doubt doesn’t exist where there is Faith, doubt has no place at the throne of God! But it’s such a small thing, who cares if I doubt? God does! I do! It hurts those around you and causes you to want to give up when you know deep down that you should keep fighting! I don’t doubt that you can do it, I don’t doubt that God can help you! You don’t need the faith of Moses or David or Joshua, you only need faith the size of a musterdseed to move past this! God can’t work if you don’t let Him, so let God and blindly follow until He lets you see what He is doing. Doubt only leads to more doubt and soon it will drown you, but faith leads to more faith that will raise you up to fly on your battered and tired wings! God will carry you, but you have to trust Him and ditch your useless doubt!!
Christianity isn’t always clean and straight forward. There are times when we truly aren’t sure what we should do, what is right? That is why we need the presence of God. God could have simply left us with His Bible and said ‘good enough, they should be able to figure this out.’ Instead God left us with His Spirit. He left us His Spirit because He knew we would need an aid and a guide because things wouldn’t always be hot and cold, sometimes the answer to our situation wouldn’t be clear cut. God has the answers. They say listen to your heart, but most don’t really understand how true that is. That pinch in your chest from the Spirit telling you what to do and what to avoid is vital. Do I cross into the promised land when there are giants? My head says ‘not a chance!’ My heart knows that we can take that land because God says we can! Listen for the Spirit when you are uncertain. God sent Him so that we would have the answers to the unclear questions. Trust Jesus and follow His guiding, even if it doesn’t always make sense.
What do you think of when you think champion? For me I tend to imagine a horse robed in a winner’s mantel strutting down the greenway of a cross-country course. Some might imagine a boxer or martial artist standing in an arena, drenched in sweat, bleeding, a boxing judge holding up a hand as the crowd cheers….. I just pictured ‘Rocky’ didn’t I? Oh well, he’s an icon of the champion so it works, and his winning smile, (half crooked with pain, eyes swollen shut,) definitely shows the champion image of Christ on the cross better than most. He was beaten, sweaty, dirty, no smile on His face, but perhaps a look of peace as He hung His head for the last time as the Jesus the prophet. Soon to rise as Jesus the eternal King. That face is the face of champion who has suffered. The face of the champion horse and rider is usually a cleaner face…. unless his horse unseated him….. the face is still sweaty, the horse’s sides heave from the run, but a smile of victory hits their faces, the horse knows he has done well because his master pats him vigorously and the rider tilts his helmet to the judges before doing a lap around the arena, basking in his win. That is the face of the Jesus who has risen. It’s over! God is the victor! He rides through Heaven as the Angels and the Heavenly Hosts all cheer! Jesus gets to bask in His Father’s praise and love, greater a reward than any medal could be! Christ is our champion and that is the point of Easter!
Don’t let the fear steal away the wonder.
I have always loved the ocean. Growing up close to it it was impossible to not love it. I would read about it and study it, I even would steal my grandfather’s National Geographic magazines, but to be honest I love all nature….except biting insects like say sand flies. As a kid I used to jump into any body of water without thinking too hard about it, it was wonderful! My parents would keep spare cloths in the car because they knew I would get wet. Then it happened. I was swimming in the Lake at our cabin and something hurt! It really hurt! My spidey sense said get back to shore so I did. My neoprene wet suit had a hole right where my pain was, this was a fresh water lake, turned out I had been bitten by a large pike, he was like the jaws of the lake and has struck others to this day. Okay, so maybe it hasn’t been the same fish, but suddenly I realized that the fish I had swam with all those years while note caring could hurt me. That never kept me out of the water but it did make me think twice before going in. This was just a small loss of wonder to be replaced by fear, but what about all the other things we suddenly fear as we grow up and understand more? Things that sent a chill of excitement now send a chill of fear. Why? Because our childish ignorance has been replaced by knowledge and that scares us. Don’t let the fear win. Do the things you used to do without thinking that now scare you. Speak up when you see an injustice, tell that friend about Jesus, give away to those in need when you feel led to, ride that roller coaster, talk to that family member that you feel distant from, swim with the fish. Don’t let the fear win the place your wonder deserves. Live. That’s what God created you to do!
I grew up in BC so I love rain! The cold rain that leaves everything fresh. I love unberellas and rain boots and ponchos. Today I was walking my dog through the water, he loves it so we tend to get fairly wet, and I realized how Jesus and rain boots go together. When we are in runners we avoid puddles the best we can, because our shoes don’t protect us from water and soggy socks aren’t fun! But when we put on our rain boots we are protected so we can go deeper and deeper into the water, and have more fun with the wet without getting soggy socks. Without Jesus we stay away from anything deep because it scares us, but when we have Jesus, our protector, we can go as deep as we want because He protects us. He keeps us dry when out on the waves. He keeps us safe in the floodwaters. He is our rain boots. Our protector from the storms.
Trust in the Lord they tell you. Every Christian, every circumstance, they tell you to trust in the Lord. But what does that mean? You might say that that’s a dumb question, the sentence is self-explanatory. But what does it mean to trust? I like to use my dog as an example. He is my darling, I have had him since he was 8 weeks old. When I first brought my dog home, we had played out in the yard by the church all day because there had been a picnic, I liked to imagine that the picnic was to celebrate him, in truth it was just a normal Sunday picnic. When I got him home he was exhausted, so I laid down on the couch because I was tired too and he laid down next to me. My dog curled up against my arm and looked up at me, he stared at me for a little while, I even took a picture of him staring at me, then, very hesitantly, he placed his head on my arm. He wasn’t sure if he could trust me. Of course he wasn’t sure he could trust me, he didn’t know me yet. he almost trusts me too much. The other day he was up in a tree, ( yes, he likes to climb trees, no, I don’t know why.) I was concerned because he was fairly high up so I reached up and called him to come down. I had reached up just in case he fell, but he took it as an invitation to jump into my arms; I won’t lie, I almost dropped him, he’s a lot of weight when he’s falling a out of the air. The little dog who wasn’t sure if it was safe to sleep with me near by now jumps unconcerned into my open arms. He has learned that even if it I break my neck doing it, I will never let him fall and he trusts me.
Our relationship with Jesus is like this. If we don’t know Jesus personally than it will be hard to trust Him. Why would we if we don’t know Him, but when we have spent time with Him and gotten to know Him than trusting Him comes as second nature. That doesn’t mean we won’t struggle with fear and doubt, but because we know who Jesus is and we know He loves us and won’t ever let us fall, even if He has to die to save us. Oh right, He already did. Trust in the Lord means knowing the Lord and knowing He’s got your back.
God didn’t want us to hang on to scars, that’s why the body heals. The wounds seal over and the remnants of pain fade. When will we let the wounds in our hearts heal over so that their pain fades? God didn’t make us to be patchwork quilts of pain, He made us to be starfish, when one point breaks it heals and grows a new one, with no memory of the previous self that was lost. Don’t be discouraged, and don’t cling to what God has already been trying to heal in you. Until you let go God can’t seal your wound, because you are working to keep it open. Let Him heal you. It’s okay to let go.
God will establish you.
The Bible often mentions how God will establish His people. But that word can bring about a variety of thoughts. I like to center around the first proper version of the word establish that is brought into our lives at a tender age -driving. When we drive we learn how to establish at an intersection. Some people establish way too much and risk getting dinged or stopping others from being able to move forward. Others don’t establish enough and can’t get through the light in time. There is a sweet spot when it comes to establishing, where you are just far enough ahead without being too far and that spot makes it easy to turn into the lane you want.
When God establishes us He sets us in that sweet spot, a spot perfect for moving forward into where we are meant to be. If we do it on our own we can wind up starting too fast and having a painful collision, or we can end up sitting waiting for an opening but being too far back to be able to seize it. If God establishes us than we end up in the perfect spot to move forward because He knows where that perfect spot is.
To the old me. The one who was afraid that she had missed her chance. I want to tell her that something did happen, something good, and we are now moving forward.
As the old preacher said, “God isn’t finished with you until you’re in your grave.”
It’s easy to fear that we’ve missed our chance and that God is done with us, especially as things go on and you see more and more candles on your cake and more wrinkles on your face you can easily begin to feel like life has passed you by, but that isn’t true. When God wants you to do something your age will never stop Him from using you. His plan is His and His timing is perfect. Don’t become discouraged, God has a great plan for you, just trust His timing.
Today was an on the feet all day, day. It was a good day and lots of fun, but only part way through my feet hurt…a lot. My task was not complete but my body didn’t want to continue. Now what? I chose to take some time to sit, not much time, just enough so that I could feel my soles again and continue on.
How often do we feel like our spiritual feet simply can’t go on? We push and push, trying to keep moving forward but find it is too much. Then we pray and ask God what to do and He directs is to His word:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
God calls us to rest and regain our strength through Him so we can get back up and keep moving forward. He is good to us and cares for us, don’t forget that. God is not a task master, He is our king. He gives us the strength to go on. Count on Him, trust in Him.