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Archive for the ‘doubt’ Category

The ESV Study Bible
I am captivated every single time I read it.
I crack open my Bible and thumb through cheese-cloth thin pages that crinkle like crisp dollar bills as I pass over the preliminary pages.  I bypass the pages that tell of the inerrant and infallibe of God’s Word handed down from heaven by His Holy Spirit that allowed power to work through divinely-inspired men that led to the Council of Nicea and other gatherings of rulers and rule-makers alike that led to the creation and compilation of the Bible as we know it today. 
That’s when the words hit me.
In the beginning. . .
 
They seem to linger in mid-air somewhere just above my grasp.  They don’t drift or stray.  They just hang there in some solitary space perfectly fit to between understanding and faith.  They are wedged between belief and some alternative instinct that leads me to desire to fully understand something by laying out as much as evidence and facts as possible to arrive at a solution.
In the beginning. . .
 
Was that in the beginning as far as I can remember? Or, are you talking about in the beginning in reference to some time even prior to Moses’ being born in the midst of a cruel regime of Egyptian bondage or Noah even entertained the Lord’s leading of building an ark?
In the beginning. . .
 
No matter how you look at it, “In the beginning” works for Genesis since it means “origin.”  It is the story of creation.  The family line of Adam stems from the beginning. The animal kingdom initiates in the beginning.  Everything comes out of the creation, which marks our very beginning.
Awe seems to sink into my members as I settle in for the ride of a lifetime.  I have restarted with Genesis again as many times before.  As I restart reading God’s Word again, I restart from the same famed verse and very simple prepositional phrase that says so much in three little words.
In the beginning. . .

*From Eden to Egypt is a series for Life Path Ministries by Rev. Bruce Jackson that chronicles a daily study and reading of the Book of Genesis and The Genesis Record by Henry M. Morris.

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“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”  ~Benjamin Franklin

Exceed expectations. Are you getting any closer to excellence?  Merely meeting expectations is a minimum.  When you exceed those same expectations, you start to enter into excellence.  We are to offer God our best every step of the way.  Excuses do not excuse us from the expectations of our Eternal Father.

We have to go further than we have ever gone before.  We have to take actions that will lead to exploring new territory.  Excuses are just excuses.  They do not excuse us from His expectations.  They can hinder us from doing His will or walking by faith.  They can harm progress in our spiritual maturity.  They may not even help us at all.  We have to see what excuses really do for us.  They offer nothing but trouble because they lead to procrastination, problems and poor performance or pitiful productivity.  That’s what comes forth out of excuses.

Let excellence serve as your trademark.  Lead by example.  Let excuses go.  Let others see the distinct qualities that set you apart from the crowd.  Demonstrate that you are not simply going with the flow.  In fact, if you live for Him, it may even cause you to go against the grain at times.  You begin to discover that God has put more in you than you think, but you won’t discover it until you have been put to the test.  When the tests, trials and troubles come your way, it won’t be time for excuses.  That will be the time you set your heart on excelling beyond expectations.  At that point, you become David facing a giant called GoliathRight then, you become Moses standing before a raging Red SeaIn the midst of  it, you stand out like Paul, writing as a concerned parent to his dear children, addressing believers in Rome with an assurance that every Christian is more than a conqueror.  We overcome with overwhelming strength supplied by the Supreme God, God Almighty.

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2When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see

– Matthew 11:2-4 (NIV)

Jesus dealt with doubt.  This episode in the midst of Jesus’ earthly ministry offers us some insight into staying true to our mission.  When we deal with doubt, we don’t need to get off into the tangents of why would someone ask such a question or where they may havegotten the notion in the first place.  Jesus sets a prime example for dealing with doubters among our membership and in our ministries.

Jesus responded to those who brought John’s inquiry to Him.  He simply told them to relay a message to John.  Jesus answered by showing these messengers that the work was being done. The lame healed and the blind given sight. The Word was being preached to the poor.  He told the disciples of John to go back and tell John what they saw and heard.

He didn’t lay out some excuses or explanation of what He was doing and what He planned or in the works.  He simply offered an exhibition of what He was doing in Galilee and other places.  Jesus showed them by what He did before their eyes and ears, and then told them to go back and share that with John.  What Jesus did caused those who came with an inquiry to walk away with insight into what He actually was doing in word and deed. 

Let us see where we can do likewise.  Deal with doubt directly.  Deal with doubt without delay.  Deal with doubt deliberately.  Deal with doubt.  Demonstrate before the ears and the ears of the doubters.

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Knowing that we are fulfilling God’s purpose is the only thing that really gives rest to the restless human heart. -Chuck Colson

The Word of God is ripe with countless accounts of individuals called into service by God. Whether it is Isaiah seeing the Lord high and lifted up or fishers by the Sea of Galilee called to follow the Messiah and be made to become fishers of men, people are called upon by God.  People are called by God and a response is expected from the one being called by God.

God expects a response from those whom He calls.  The called must realize that God is calling them from their former life into a new life when it comes to salvation.  Service is a lot different.  John the Baptist was called to prepare the way for the Lord.  Jeremiah was called to share of Israel’s captivity.  God calls His servants for a purpose.  He wants to do something through you.  He wants to use you as a vessel, where He can pour into you and pour out what He pours into you before the people who need to hear it and see it.

Do you sense God’s calling upon your life? Is He urging you to do more for Him? Is He leading you to new experiences and opportunities that you never noticed around you before?

What are you doing with God’s calling?  How are you responding? Are you prayerful about it? Have you asked God to make it plain and clear to you? Have you fasted about it? Is it on your prayer list?

Are you responding or retreating? Ask Moses about excusesAsk Elisha about having attachmentsAsk Peter what it may cost youCheck with Jonah about reluctance, resistance and running.  Respond to God’s call with an appropriate response.

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And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

You’re getting nowhere with your plans.  Yes, God gave you the vision.  You have prayed and sought counsel on the matter.  You have even shared the vision with others. And, alas, nothing has transpired.  You have put forth a lot of effort and energy.  You have exhausted all of your resources and you still appear to be getting nowhere.

The problem may not exist with the action plan and the timeline.  It may not be related to the multimedia presentations of PowerPoint after PowerPoint and message after message. It may simply boil down to fundamental flaw.  There may be an issue of faith.

The Word shares that it is impossible to please God without faith.  Is God pleased? Are you remaining faithful? Is it still on your prayer list? Have you checked back in with God… and heard from Him?

We are to walk by faith.  That is how we are to approach all matters- in, by and with faith.  Yet, discouragement feeds into doubt, and then doubt leads us to becoming dispondent and we eventually start forgetting to hold on with faith.  Don’t let that become your story’s ending.  Remain faithful and stay patient.  There is an unspeakable joy awaiting those who wait upon the Lord.

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.- Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)

  • But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength: Waiting and trusting the Lord will find “new strength.” The lord can strengthen you for what it is to come.  Let your waiting lead to your preparation as the Lord strengthens you.
  • They will soar high on wings like eagles: Let God take you to new heights and expand your horizons.  Perhaps, if you think about it deeply, God wants you to do more than what you initially set out to do.  This may be another phase to what God wants you to do His name and among His people.  Go where He takes you and extend the limits of your imagination above the haters and critics.
  • They will run and not grow weary: Focus on staying the course and picking up the pace, not dropping out of the race.  God’s promise is that you “will run and not grow weary.” Weariness leads to becoming worn out and wiped out.  Keep going in faith.
  • They will walk and not faint: Walk in faith.  Do not get faint, especially faint-hearted.  Step out in faith, taking every step on the promises of God.  When you can’t run, walk.  Just keep progressing towards what God has for you.  Every step, even the smallest and the slightest step, gets you closer to the goal.

Whether it is a building campaign or launching a new ministry or business that can’t seem to get off the ground or pick up momentum, wait on the Lord in faith.  Trust Him today.  Try to recall times when he provided and protected.  Most of all, recall and reclaim His promises.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.- Psalm 27:14 (KJV)

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The Apostle Paul was quite clear when stated for the Philippians to beware of dogs and the false circumcision (Phil.3:2). I often wonder why so many people are quick to jump at judging others. We find ourselves calling out someone who appears to be off with their theolgy with every derrogatory statement imaginable. Almost daily, we see the tv-loominng evangelists and the radiowave-riding revivalists setting new lows in destructive behavior with little biblical backing. We find ourselves stuck between the Religious Right and the Moral Majority.

Somewhere along the way, we became misguided by some losers of leaders and some careless CEOs. It’s almost like America needs a Bible Belt bailout or a state-by-state spiritual stimulus. We need to rid ourselves of the fakes that have faked us out for so long and taken advantage of our innocence. We will no longer allow them to speak for us and before us as if God has ordained them with a calling to call all of the people together. As per our request, they will cease claiming their prophetic prosperity and no longer lead us astray like false prophets.

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I can only imagine how much doubt was going around the camp when Joshua said for the children of Israeal to consecrate themselves and prepare for what God would do the next day. I still feel a little of that same doubt drizzle upon me as I think about it. Think about how it must have sounded when Joshua present the Jericho wall strategy. Silence must have left many feeling like Joshua had lost his grip and was headed down a similar path to poor ol’ Moses. Surely, I can imagine, people doubted. Did they doubt and submit to defeat? I truly doubt that much. Some will add more commentary on how Joshua followed in Moses’ footsteps and all of that, butI merely say that he faced a new generation that had no ties to Egypt, only to the promises of God. So, in thatcase, why doubt? Why? It’s simple. We doubt because we have not seen it come to life yet. It has not manifested before our eyes. Yet, even when we doubt, we must remain undefeated. Let us run our race with endurance, withstanding stride by stride until we reach the end of the journey. Paul shared that we are pressed on every side, but he was also sure to inform us that we had not been defeated.

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