Archives For doubt

despitedoubtw_650x220-recorded-onDoubts are a common struggle for many who have embraced the Christian faith as well as for those who are still considering faith. Doubts are those nagging questions that plague us when life’s struggles push us to wrestle with the hard questions about what’s true and good and really matters.

On Wednesday, February 5, 2014, RBC Ministries Webinars hosted Dr. Michael Wittmer in a live webinar event: “Doubt: A Friend or Foe of Faith?” Dr. Wittmer shared his insights in a lively conversation with our hosts Tim Jackson and Dennis Moles. Many who attended the live event learned practical information on how to struggle well with the doubts that plague us during times of struggle and heartache. Things like:

  • Understanding the difference between “objective” and “subjective” doubt
  • Understanding the difference between “sincere” and “insincere” doubt
  • How doubt can hinder our growth in the faith
  • How doubt can enhance our trust and dependence upon the God of the Bible

In keeping with our ministry commitment to make the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable and accessible to all, we are making the content of this webinar available without cost or obligation to you and anyone you’d like to share it with.

To listen to the audio recording from the webinar, click the link: Doubt: A Friend or Foe of Faith?

To download the PowerPoint from the webinar, click the link: Doubt: A Friend or Foe of Faith PPT.

To get a free sample download from Dr. Wittmer’s book, click the book title link: Despite Doubt: Embracing a Confident Faith.

For a free download of a RBC booklet by Dennis Moles, one of our hosts, click the title link: Beyond Reasonable Doubt: The Truth About The Bible.

For further resources on understanding more about why we doubt and how we can handle it from RBC Ministries, click the link: Doubt.

Does God Really Care?

Alyson Kieda —  February 3, 2014 — 3 Comments

 

Nature’s Tranquility/flickr/Creative Commons/judecat (ready to ring in the New Year)

I believe in God the Father and in His Son Jesus Christ my Lord. I hold to the promises of the Bible, and nothing can sway me from those beliefs. But I admit that sometimes I’ve doubted God’s love and His motives.

I’ve wondered why some of my prayers seemed to fall on deaf ears, particularly a certain heart-wrenching prayer I’ve been praying continually and persistently, in varying degrees of intensity, for decades. If it’s true that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16), why won’t He answer this earnest prayer?!

Over the years, I’ve gone through a confusing jumble of thoughts regarding this: Maybe God doesn’t really answer prayer; perhaps I’m not praying hard enough; maybe something needs to change or I need to learn or do something before God will answer; maybe this is a trial God wants to use to purify and refine me. Is this my “thorn in the flesh”? Perhaps God’s answer is “no!” In the beginning, I even wondered if God really is a God of love who cares for His children.

I’ve learned a lot about God through the decades, and He has purified and continues to purify and refine me. And I’ve seen God answer many of my prayers—sometimes miraculously. I’ve grown to trust and rely on Him more for everything I need; and He has become the first love of my life. I know that He deeply loves and cares for me, yet I continue to struggle with the same prayer request . . .

But now my doubt is not as frequent or as despairing. I have the assurance that God will answer my prayer. I’ve learned that I will never fully understand His ways. (All of us this side of heaven see dimly—1 Corinthians 13:12.) And I’m learning to “be still, and know that [He is] God” (Psalm 46:10).

I’m fretting and squirming less and trusting more as I rest in His loving arms—and wait.

So maybe you’re like me and have had your share of struggling with doubts. Maybe you’re there now. Join us for our webinar on February 5, 2014, at 1:00 p.m. with Dr. Michael Wittmer on the topic of Doubt: A Friend or Foe of Faith? I think you’ll find help in understanding and embracing our journey of faith through doubt to trust. Click the title of the webinar above to register for the free webinar.

 

Restoration revisited

Tim Jackson —  October 24, 2011 — 6 Comments

So, how’s God restoring the brokenness in your life or the life of someone you love? Maybe it’s breaking free from an enslaving addiction or severing an abusive relationship that’s been sucking the life out of you for way too long. Whatever your story of brokenness, God has a restoration plan that’s custom made for you and will blow your mind.

Frank Graeff experienced just that as a pastor who went through some ve­ry dif­fi­cult tri­als.  Graeff was wrestling through a time of profound de­spond­en­cy, doubt and phys­ic­al pain. When he turned to God’s Word, 1 Peter 5:7 was the text that caught his eye and touched his heart: “casting all your anxieties on him (God), because he cares for you.”

Peter’s words provided a level of com­fort and encouragement that–while not relieving his pain–bolstered his heart with the tender reassurance of God’s loving care: “He cares for you.” Af­ter med­i­ta­ting on that truth, Graeff was inspired to write the lyri­cs to a song that reverberated from a grateful heart that knew what it meant to struggle with despair:

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained Too deeply for mirth and song
As the burdens press, and the cares distress, And the way grows weary and long?

Refrain:
O yes, He cares I know He cares! His heart is touched with my grief
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares

Does Jesus care when my way is dark With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades, Does He care enough to be near?

Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed To resist some temptation strong
When for my deep grief I find no relief Tho my tears flow all the night long?

Does Jesus care when I’ve said goodbye To the dearest on earth to me
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks Is it aught to Him? does He see?

So, if you have ever wondered like most of us have as to whether or not Jesus cares about the struggles and pain you are currently facing that seem insurmountable, Frank’s answer is a resounding “Yes!” And I agree.

If you have a story of pain and struggle where you’ve experience the restoration of the God who cares, please feel free to share your story to encourage others along the path that they are not alone and can make it too.

Mystery

Allison Stevens —  March 7, 2011 — 1 Comment

Who doesn’t enjoy a good mystery whether it’s a novel, or a big screen “whodunit” thriller?  I love the wonder, the questions, the surprises, and piecing together clues.

Initially, though, I don’t always appreciate the unknown in my personal life nearly as much as I do on TV.  Mystery takes me out of my comfort zone. I feel safer when I know what, where, when, why, and how.

I think that is a false sense of security, though, because having all my questions answered gives me the illusion that I’m in control.  True security, freedom and peace is found by trusting in Jesus and living according to the Spirit, not the flesh (Romans 8:1-11.) This path involves faith and mystery.

The greatest mystery in my life is how God transforms my heart. I don’t change for the better because I work harder at being a decent person. I tried that route and it was a disaster, trust me. My heart changes because God changes it. And His love that penetrates my heart paves the way for Him to do His good work in me.

We don’t need to have it all figured out. We can allow mystery into our lives and watch the incredible things God can do in us and through us; all for His glory and pleasure.

repair bill-flickrYesterday I received word that one of our cars broke down—again. It’s the third time in less than a month that we’ve been hit with a major car repair. This time around it was the timing belt and water pump.

Cha-ching, cha ching.

This one hit me pretty hard. Not only was it forcing me to spend money I don’t have, the unseen forces of darkness used it to lie to my heart and pit me against God. Questions like  ”How could You let this happen again?” or  ”Are You truly for me?” or “Do You really care?” began to surface in me.

I’m normally “the glass is half full” kind of person, but it got sort of dark and negative there for awhile.  At one level, I was aware that I was sinking inside, but a part of me (not the redeemed part) just didn’t care.

Hours after hearing the bad news, God began to remind me in little ways that He was and is still there. No, He didn’t suddenly fix my car (although I would’ve have been up for that). But He sent a person across my path that made me aware of a less expensive option. Another friend prayed for me and against the lies that were assaulting my heart. Later on I learned how God graciously provided for my wife when the car broke down on the side of a busy road. And what may seem to be unrelated, a person who is typically cold and unfriendly, unexpectedly cracked a smile and joked with me.

It’s not always easy to spot, but God’s kindness was all over these things. Slowly, the truth of Who He really is (a compassionate God who promises to never fail or abandon us—Hebrews 13:5) began to confront and replace the lies that had seeped into my soul.

Looking back, it was the truth of His kindness in the little things that snapped me out my funk and brought me back to Him.

Divine Disruption

Jeff Olson —  July 15, 2009 — 1 Comment

divine-disruption-flickr

I was recently thumbing through the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles when my eyes were drawn to the story of King Amaziah (2 Chronicles 25). The events surrounding the early days of his reign, in particular, give a glimpse into a surprising way God sometimes works in the background of our lives.

Amaziah took over the throne of Judah at the age of 25 after his father was assassinated. As the young king worked to restore a sense of stability to his country, he assembled a massive army among the men of Judah. He also hired the services of an additional 100,000 soldiers from Israel.

Before heading off to war, an unnamed “man of God” warned Amaziah not to let the hired troops from Israel fight with Judah’s army because the favor of the LORD was no longer with Israel. The unidentified man made it clear to the king that no matter how bravely his men would battle, if he proceeded with his plans, Judah would ultimately lose. He reminded the king that God has the “power to help you or to trip you up” (2 Chronicles 25:7-8 NLT).

The king was faced with a tough decision. Breaking the coalition with Israel was complicated. He had invested a lot of money to enlist their services, but it was an unholy alliance. So rather than wait for God to bring it all down, Amaziah cut his losses, trusting that God could make up for much more than he had spent.

The story reassures us that God is willing and able to help us. But it also serves to remind us, that when necessary, He will stick out His Divine foot and “trip” us up. As this happens, it can seem like He’s against us—but He’s not.

God is not out to ruin us, but He will ruin and foil what could destroy us. 

The next time something isn’t working out and it seems like God is against you, it may be that you’re experiencing a dose of Divine disruption. Sometimes God mercifully frustrates what may even seem like the best laid plans to save us from ourselves and to make room for something far better. —Jeff Olson