Tag Archives: faith

The snare of doubt

Matthew 14:31 NKJV — And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

This story of Peter walking on the water to Jesus is rich with applicable lessons.

The disciples are crossing the sea, because Jesus had sent them.

Things get difficult.

Matthew 14:24 NKJV — But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

As they are struggling, Jesus is walking towards them.

Matthew 14:25 NKJV — Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.

Their reaction is understandable.

Matthew 14:26 NKJV — And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

Walking on water isn’t a thing anyone does.

Jesus understands, he’s not laughing at them, nor does he downplay their fear, but compassionately calls to them.

Matthew 14:27 NKJV — But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

Peter’s response is surprising, but his faith is incredible.

Matthew 14:28 NKJV — And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

Jesus is always desiring for us to come to him.

Matthew 14:29 NKJV — So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

Peter’s faith is seen in his actions.

But when he takes his eyes off Jesus doubt snares him.

Matthew 14:30 NKJV — But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

Although, doubt began to sink him, Peter’s focus returns to Jesus.

Matthew 14:31 NKJV — And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Jesus catches him, saves him, and admonished him.

Doubt is flung at the believer in a million different ways, but we must keep our eyes focused on Christ.

Matthew 14:32 NKJV — And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

Because Jesus is capable of calming any storm.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for this story. Lord, I want to have faith like Peter, to willingly step out of those things I see as “safe” or “comfort” to draw nearer to You. Lord, I see the dangers of doubt. Please guard my heart and mind. Help me to recognize the snares of doubt and to avoid them. Lord, please continue to teach me wisdom. I know there’s a difference from following You and going my own way. Lord, I know I’ve stepped out of Your will while believing I was doing it “for You”, when in reality I was doing what I thought was best. Lord, I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be 100% Your servant, surrendered to Your will each day. Thank You for Your patience. Thank You for Your faithfulness and salvation. Thank You for Your peace. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

A lesson in humility

Lately, God has been using our furniture business to teach me faith in a new way and I had a large dose of humility to wash it down.

I had been praying for my husband.

Specifically, to have direction with the business.

I felt like God wanted me to pray for my husband to hear Him and then to act upon what he heard.

I also felt God warning me.

I was to trust my husband to hear from God and not to get in his way by having a crummy attitude.

Which surprised me, I thought I had a good attitude about the business, but I prayed for my husband to hear and for my heart to be obedient.

The same day, just a bit later my husband calls me.

He had purchased the contents of a storage unit.

He hasn’t done that in months and we had an agreement from a previous experience to not purchase anything without running it by the other.

At first I felt bewildered and slightly offended that he hadn’t asked my opinion about it before purchasing.

My mind started down the, “but what about.. !?”

Thankfully, the Lord reminded me of the prayer before I said anything.

So, I began to pray for God to help me get my attitude sorted out.

When I received the pictures of the unit, it became more difficult.

It wasn’t a dirty unit, as some are really gross.

But I honestly couldn’t see much in the way of furniture.

There were two nightstands, but those don’t sell well.

There was a cute metal outdoor table and chair set.

It was weathered and would need paint.

Other than that, I couldn’t see anything we could turn.

There was a bike, a plastic and pressed board shelving unit, and what looked like two flat panel doors, all of this would cost us a fee at the dump.

But God had spoken and I kept praying.

The next day we went to get the stuff.

Imagine my emotion as we pull in with our truck and trailer only to discover it had 6 parking spaces (all full) and a drive, no place for us to be save the side of the drive.

When my husband came back from the office, he also told us the unit was on the third floor of a very clean building.

I would have to stay in the truck, because I can’t handle the odor from cleaning products.

I did a lot of praying.

As we loaded things into the truck, my struggle increased.

Since I was stuck at the truck, I got to start going through the boxes.

I really don’t like going through boxes.

The Lord was so faithful, and continued to remind me to trust Him.

Thankfully, nothing awful had been boxed up, although there wasn’t anything of value either.

When the table and chairs came down, I knew we would be able to make our money back.

They were nice and wouldn’t require much work, we hadn’t wasted our money or time.

It was the proof I needed, God was in this.

Which was perfect timing because the black plastic and pressed board shelving unit was less than exciting, then there was a bunch of weird shaped metal pieces, and the “doors” turned out to be heavy and difficult to load.

By the last load I wasn’t struggling anymore, and God was just beginning my lesson in humility.

It began with a surprise.

A large sleigh bed which matched the nightstands.

“Well, praise God! What a blessing!”

My husband was happy too.

He told me until it had gotten uncovered he was questioning if he’d heard the Lord correctly.

I felt badly, because I hadn’t been as supportive as I should have.

In fact, I was sure my attitude was what had caused his doubt.

I asked him to forgive me and told him about my prayer and how God was teaching me.

In my heart I again repented for my struggles with distrust and thanked God for His faithfulness.

The next day my husband came from looking everything over.

“You know those two heavy pieces? The ones that look a bit like doors? They are tables and we have all the pieces for them, that’s what those weird hunks of metal are. I’m really glad, we can sell both of them. It means we don’t have to sell the outdoor table and chairs.”

“Babe, why wouldn’t we sell them? They will look really nice once we paint them.”

“They match your chase lounge.”

I just started at him, not really sure what was happening.

“Honey, I know how much you miss having a table and chairs outside, that’s why I wanted that unit in the first place. They will look so nice with your chair once we paint them to match.”

I hadn’t even told my husband how much I was missing having outdoor dining!

I’d prayed about my desire more than once, turning it over to the Lord and asking Him to help me be content with what He has provided.

Talk about a lesson in walking with the Lord!

Here my hubby and the Lord were simply trying to bless me and I’m having an attitude, because I completely miss what’s actually occurring.

I thanked my husband and the Lord.

And I prayed again that my heart would learn to trust.

I can only imagine the mess I would have made if God had not already been working.

Instead of shame and regret, my heart was and is full.

Full of peace, that God is guiding us, full of love I don’t deserve, and so thankful for His patience.

I’m so blessed.

And by God’s grace I’m learning to walk in humility.

Proverbs 29:23 KJV — A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your faithfulness, patience, and guidance. Lord, thank You for speaking to my husband and leading our family through him. Lord, please continue to teach me to put off pride, fear, doubt, and distrust. Lord, continue to draw me back to Your ways of love, trust, truth, humility, and peace. I know You are so good and there’s nothing I need besides You. Thank You for this lesson in humility. Thank You for showing me my pride and distrust. Please continue to”remove the dross”. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

“Whom shall I fear?”

Psalm 27:1 NKJV — A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

It’s a slick, crafty, sneaking kind, the voice of fear which piggybacks upon “reason”, “caution”, and “sense”.

Too often its poison has seeped into thoughts and begun to sway actions before those influenced by it are even aware of the change.

It takes God’s Spirit and His Word to reveal the truth of fear.

Because if we succumb to fear, our very existence becomes tainted and our love dies.

Fear is a cruel and unjust Master.

Fear is the direct enemy of love.

It often leads the heart to hate.

But God has defeated fear by crushing sin and death.

Without the fear of eternal death, what is there to fear?

King David, of all people, understood what it was to live through extremely frightening circumstances.

He was on the “hit list” of both his own king, his own son, and from enemy countries.

He had literally run for his life many times.

Yet, he penned these words:

Psalm 27:1 NKJV — A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

His trust was solid.

His love of God was unwavering.

His heart knew he need not fear.

And ours should know this as well.

For Christ died and rose again, and His sacrifice is our salvation.

With this security, we need not fear, but trust and love our Lord Jesus.

We do this by putting our lives in His hands, surrendering ourselves into His perfect plan, and living obediently unto His Word.

Psalm 56:11 KJV — In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

Proverbs 29:25 KJV — The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

For the redeemed, God’s love is our security, our sanctuary, our safe place.

1 John 4:18 KJV — There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your promises. Lord, thank You for being life, truth, and the way. Lord, You reach us exactly where we are. Your Word is truth in every generation. Please continue to help me to walk in Your love and to be on guard against fear. Lord, help me remember that fear kills faith and strangles love. Lord Jesus, I want to walk with You in all things; to be loving, faithful, kind, honest, honorable, and wise. Please help me to do so. Please walk with me in today. Thank You for showing me where I was afraid and teaching me to trust. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Ice storm

The weekend before last was a new experience for me.

The weather warning was freezing rain and I thought I had a general idea of what to expect.

Of course, I should have known better.

The freezing rain began Thursday night.

It didn’t seem like a big deal until I walked out to the car Friday morning.

It was like someone had poured a coating of ice over the entire thing.

Hmm… freezing rain means it freezes as it’s raining!

(Don’t ask me why I hadn’t figured that out before.)

It took some effort, but we got it cleaned off and the steady rain helped since the temperature was no longer low.

We cleared off the ice enough to see, get into the car, and start the engine.

But I had no idea what the following night was going to be like.

My poor husband was up throughout, listening to the trees all around the neighborhood crack, break, or fall over.

I asked him to get some pictures the next morning since he was going out to assess the damage.

It was a sad and amazing landscape.

I can’t express to you the beauty!

The trees which could handle the extreme weight of every branch encased in ice was extraordinary.

But right along side these beautiful unique artwork were the broken limbs and fallen trunks of those which could not handle the weight.

The only other time I’ve seen so many trees uprooted and laying on their sides was many years ago when a child.

A severe wind and dust storm came through the city I lived in and trees all over were knocked down, roots still cling to bits of sod combing the air, unable to withstand the force of the wind.

It seems an age since I thought about that and here I am, living in a different state, realizing that weather can make an incredible mess.

But, the beauty was apparent as well.

Ice encased trees was brief, but the landscape will never be the same.

Our backyard will take many hours.

The positive side of things is the opportunity for new.

New growth in plants and trees will happen.

New trees will replace the old.

We are replacing the cedar with an apple tree.

New opportunities will be available once the clean up is finished.

It’s like our lives.

Things change, we experience loss, grief, trials, but there’s always something beautiful in it and God is always working through it.

Lamentations 3:25 NLT — The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.

Psalm 27:14 NKJV — Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Lamentations 3:26 NKJV — It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for all Your wonderous ways. How great and awesome are Your works! Lord, oftentimes I get shortsighted, and can not see beyond myself. Please help me to live and love on a much broader scale. To walk with You in all things and to trust You in all ways. Lord Jesus, You know what today holds and I know You are holding me in today. Thank You. May those who are called by Your name live our lives understanding Your truths. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

The foolish

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘ There  is no God.’ They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.”
Psalms 14:1 NKJV

Denying the existence of God is foolish.

Yet, there’s so much more than a statement here.

When dealing with the heart one can easily see it’s a far more complex idea.

If the fool says in his heart there is no God, he is choosing to limit the Almighty to his own understanding.

But before we pass by this with a self satisfied, “that’s not me”, “I believe in God”, let’s turn the tables a bit.

To be foolish is to doubt God, it’s the opposite of faith.

Thus no one is immune to folly.

All it requires to be foolish is to allow doubt to enter our hearts.

Who else besides Eve has heard the enemy’s cunning: “Has God indeed said…?”

And doubt is always wrapped in veneer of something else, thus we need to be careful.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”
Proverbs 4:23 NKJV

The enemy of our souls has used the message of doubt and fear most effectively throughout history.

1 Peter 5:8 NKJV — Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

On top of this our own sinful nature is constantly warring against the truth of God.

Galatians 5:17 NKJV — For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

But all have hope through Christ Jesus for good, for salvation, for wisdom.

John 10:10 NKJV — “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Therefore Jesus, Himself, saves us from folly.

When we put or faith in Him we are saved.

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.  I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
John 17:13‭-‬14 NKJV

Fight the foolishness of doubt with faith in Christ.

It’s not a “once and done” choice, but a diligent daily effort.

“O Lord , how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, Nor does a fool understand this.”
Psalms 92:5‭-‬6 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your faithfulness. Thank You for saving us from folly through Your Word. Please help each one of us to be on guard for the tricks and snares of the enemy. Please show us where we have allowed doubt to cloud our belief. Lord Jesus teach us, that our hearts might be steadfast and our choices good. Please do not allow us to be double-minded, unstable in all our ways. For Your way is right, Your Word is true, and in You we find all that we need. Thank You. Amen.

November 10

Today’s prayer:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 KJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for truth. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for salvation and Your amazing love. Lord, it is through Your Word I find hope, confident expectation. It is in You my faith grows daily, by knowing You and learning how to trust more and more. Lord, thank You for this journey of life. Thank You for the blessings and the trials, for all of it is used by You to hone my heart, to teach me Your ways that I might walk in them. Lord Jesus, You are incredible. The peace and comfort I find in You are beyond anything the world has to offer. The joy in daily placing my life in Your hand is beyond anything I could ever attain elsewhere. Lord, You are good. You are faithful. You are God Almighty. I trust You with all things. Lord Jesus, I humbly bring to You my family, please provide and protect them. Please bring them into a closer walk with You each day. Lord Jesus, I lift up my husband, please place Your hand upon him. Let his heart not grow faint in service to You and those You have called him to serve. Please give him ability and wisdom to do all he does to Your glory. Lord, the innocent, please protect them. Please return the prodigal and save those who have yet to know You. I know You are always seeking the lost, calling their names, offering them life eternal. Please let hearts be softened, ears unstopped, and eyes opened to Your truth. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

October 23

Today’s prayer:

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34‭-‬38 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for truth. Lord, I never want to be ashamed of You, nor do I want You to be ashamed of me. Lord, I want to live as losing this life and gaining eternal life with You in heaven. Lord Jesus, it is not easy to understand how to handle each circumstance, but I thank You for showing me the way. Thank You for always being faithful and walking with me through it all. Thank You for shining Your light of truth into my life. Lord, not my will be done, but Thine. Teach me what Your plans are for today and help me not grow too eager to look into tomorrow, for each day has enough trouble of it’s own. Thank You for always being my safety and refuge in times of trouble. Lord, please help me to trust You with everything today. Thank You for Your unending love. Amen.

Faith

Matthew 9:21 NKJV — For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.”

Matthew 9:22 “But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.” NKJV

Matthew 8:10 “When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” NKJV

Both these stories are beautiful moments in history.

Both tell individual stories of people who model faith in their choices and because of their faith, their stories are included in the greatest book ever written.

The first verse (you should totally read these stories from the Word) is Jesus’s response to a very sick woman. She had been bleeding for 12 years and spent all her money to be cured and only grew worse.

She was desperate.

She needed healing.

Where did she turn when she had no other avenue, no other hope?

Jesus.

Not only was she healed when her fingers reached the edge of His garment, but He knew something had happened and stopped in the middle of his urgent errand to find her.

We don’t know how she heard of Jesus.

We don’t know her family, her name, or what happened after this.

But what we do know is beautiful.

“…when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” Matt. 9:22 NKJV

She believed Jesus could heal her.

She acted on her belief and her desperate need was filled.

Another moment of faith holds a special trophy.

What does it take to impress God?

The faith of this Centurion.

This man had a servant who was sick.

Right from the start his concern for his servant stands out.

The Roman culture didn’t put a high value on the lives of their servants.

“So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.” Luke 7:3-5 NKJV

Next, we see this Centurion understands the Jewish culture.

Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it. Luke 7:6-8 NKJV

It was the Centurion’s faith which made the impact.

“When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, ‘I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’ And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.” Luke 7:9-10 NKJV

The Centurion’s faith was such that he had no need to even see or speak with Jesus in person.

He knew what was required; for Jesus to simply “say the word”.

That is faith.

And such we should have as well.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for these two wonderful stories of people with faith. Lord, please help us to trust in You with faith like this. To know, like the Centurion, that all it takes is You saying the word. Lord, help us to be humble, to come before You with our requests, our needs, as the woman. Help us to let go of our own self importance and to fully put our faith in You. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for being the solution. Thank You, for salvation! Amen.

September 13

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,
Philippians 1:3‭-‬5 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for my family and friends. Thank You for these dear people who join together in belief and love of You, Jesus. Please continue to guide and direct each one of us. Help our hearts to remain steadfast before You. Help our eyes to see You and our ears to hear You. Lord, please remove anything which would hinder our personal relationship with You. Show us our sin, that we might repent and turn to You. Show us our priorities and passions, that we might be able to keep You on the throne of our hearts. Lord, please let us put off the old man and walk forward into Your righteousness daily. Lord Jesus, whatever You call us to, whatever the day holds please let us not stop praising You, let us not look away from You. Lord, please protect our firemen and Emergency workers. Please heal the sick and hurting. Lord, please restore the lost and comfort those who are displaced. Let our hearts be knit to Yours. Thank You Jesus for all You have done and are doing. Amen.

Astonishing faith

And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
Genesis 22:8 NKJV

This passage of scripture where God tests Abraham is riveting.

The chapter begins by telling us God was testing Abraham.

Then God tells Abraham that he is to take Isaac to a mountain range and, on a mount He would show him, offer Isaac as a burnt offering.

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
Genesis 22:3 NKJV

The Bible doesn’t record a single thing on Abraham’s side other than his action.

He rose early to obey the Lord.

Scriptures tell us Abraham loved Isaac, so this wasn’t about a lack of affection between father and son.

It was because of Abraham’s great love for his son that he was being tested.

When they reach the place Abraham told his servants:

And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
Genesis 22:5 NKJV

Abraham is going to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering, but he knows God’s promise for Isaac and we see in his words his faith that God would follow through on His promise even if he has to sacrifice Isaac.

Abraham’s faith is seen again in his words to Isaac.

But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
Genesis 22:7‭-‬8 NKJV

Abraham trusted God to fulfill His Word, no matter the circumstances.

So much so that his hand was raised to kill his son as he understood God to direct him when God stepped in.

But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Genesis 22:11‭-‬12 NKJV

Abraham passed the test.

Nothing and no one was more important to Abraham than following God.

Not even his son, whom he loved.

And because of his devotion to God, his test is a foreshadowing of Jesus, God’s Son, who was sacrificed to pay for all the sins of the world.

John 3:16-17, Gal. 1:4, Luke 24: 25-27 (just a few examples)

The astonishing faith of Abraham, who had never seen or heard of anyone rising from the dead, is inspiring.

Abraham knew God would fulfill His promise through Isaac, as He had said, and no circumstance, not even death would change that.

This was definitely a memorable moment.

No wonder the mount became renamed:

And Abraham called the name of the place, The- Lord -Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
Genesis 22:14 NKJV

Such treasures to be gleaned from Abraham’s faith and devotion to God Almighty!

What an incredible story to see God spare Isaac and to realize He instead provided His own Son.

What amazing love shines forth through this!

And it’s attainable today.

God still loves now just as much as He did then.

He loves every single one of us equally.

We know this, because Jesus died for all.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for this astonishing story. Thank You for Abraham’s example to us. Please help me to live in the same way, unwavering faith, incredible devotion, and quick obedience to Your Word. Lord, thank You for sacrificing Yourself for us. Thank You for Your unfailing love. Thank You for Your Word, which guides and hones my heart. Please continue to teach me, that I might not sin against You. May Your name be glorified! Amen.