Friday, August 31, 2012

How to Handle Doubt

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 (NIV)

Doubt is normal. Even Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, doubted—and that was after following Jesus for three years. He saw the Savior up close, witnessed countless miracles, and watched Jesus heal the sick. Still, he doubted.

Remember that doubt is not total disbelief; it’s more like a point somewhere between belief and disbelief. It’s normal for even mature Christians to experience times of doubt. You see, faith wouldn’t be faith if there were no possibility of doubt.

The Scriptures tell about a desperate father who brought his son to Jesus to be healed. The son was possessed by an evil spirit. Jesus told the father that all things are possible for those who believe.

The father exclaimed, “I believe; help my unbelief!” What he was really saying was, “I want to believe, but I need your help because I’m really somewhere between completely believing and not believing at all.” If we’re honest, doesn’t that describe most of us at some point in our walk with God?

So what do you do when you find yourself doubting? The starting place is to do just what this father did. Tell God that you’re having doubts and allow Him to meet your need. Beyond that, one of the most powerful tools I’ve discovered for doubt is spending time in God’s Word. When I spend time reading the Bible, God chases away my doubts. Truth has a way of doing just that—removing untruth and doubt. Once, when Jesus was praying for us (John 17:17), He asked the Father to sanctify us in the truth. This happens when we spend time in God’s Word.

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 (NIV)

Friday, August 17, 2012

How to Handle Insecure Times in Our World

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 (NIV)

Sometimes I get discouraged thinking about all the trouble in the world. Watching the evening news recently hasn’t provided me with much more assurance that our world is stable. It seems like peaceful times are all in the past. I know this isn’t true, but it’s easy to feel this way when you look at world events.

When we feel stressed or insecure about our situation or about the world we live in, it’s normal to look for security and comfort. Sometimes we try to find it in relationships or in our finances. Where do you find your security? It may be in your job, in your status, or maybe in chocolate! Most often when we seek security and peace in these lesser things, we are simply wandering away from the One who can deliver real peace.

When I was growing up, I would occasionally complain about the way things were going in my world. My mother, always attentive to our spiritual development, would gently ask me if I was finding my fulfillment in Christ. Generally this would irritate me, but more often than not she had hit the nail on the head. Later on I grew to see how correct she was. Looking back, I’m glad my mother steered me in the right direction.

You see, when we get our eyes off of Christ, we tend to find frustration. Neither this world nor the best it has to offer can give us the kind of peace and security we find in Jesus. In fact, Jesus said we’d have trouble in this world! So where are you looking for peace and security today?

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Rising Barometer

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39 (NKJV)

It was a perfect evening as my friend Ron and I launched the boat and headed out to deeper water to fish. The water was calm, and there was a refreshing breeze that kept us cool. At first we weren’t catching many fish, so we decided to head to the opposite side of the lake where I had previously discovered a secret “honey hole.”

I anchored the boat, and we dropped our hooks in the water. After a short while we began to catch fish—lots of fish, and all keepers! I knew it was a great spot, but I had never caught so many fish.

After a short while I noticed the sky seemed unusually dark. At first I shrugged it off, but a few moments later I looked over my shoulder and saw dark, ominous clouds rolling toward us. Now it all made sense: The reason for our good fortune was that fish often feed while the barometer is rising.

I knew we had to make haste and get my aluminum boat off that lake. At first we made a bee-line for the opposite shore where we had departed from. But as lightning started to crash all around us, we decided to go the longer but safer route around the shoreline. By the time we got back, we were soaked to the core—but we were safe from the storm.

It reminded me of the story in the Bible where Jesus and the disciples were out in their boat. A big storm came along, and Jesus slept right through it! When the disciples, who were scared to death, woke Jesus up, He calmed the storm with three simple words: “Peace, be still.”

Are you facing a storm today? Call on Jesus. He can calm your storm and give you peace.