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Friday, July 1, 2011

Wherefore Didst Thou doubt


...WHEREFORE DIDST THOU DOUBT...

(Mat 14:30-31 KJV)  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. {31} And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?*

*distazo, dis-tad'-zo; from G1364; prop. to duplicate, i.e. (ment.) to waver (in opinion):--doubt (Strong’s Hebrew-Greek Concordance, Electronic Edition, Ó1995, Parsons Technology Inc.)

            To waver in opinion: how many times a day do we do this exact thing?  Are we
even aware of the number of times that we doubt?  And how do we doubt?  Is it that small fret we do when the bills are piling up and the paycheck seems so small?  Is it that tank of gas that has disappeared and we’ve got two bucks in our pocket and gas is $2.50 a gallon?  Is it when the eggs are gone and the bread is nothing but heels?  For sure, it doesn’t seem like doubt, but in reality, isn’t it just that?  When we grow anxious over the day to day needs, the ends that unravel instead of meet, what are we saying to God?  Aren’t we saying “God, you knew this was going to happen!  Where’s my provision?”  O Christian!  Where’s your faith?  Let’s take a step back from the struggle and look at God’s word, and try to find out how we are to respond to these challenges, to keep the wind from being boisterous, and to stop being afraid, for that is actually what doubt really is... fear.  Fear of want, or need, fear of lack.  Let’s tackle this and see if God has a plan....

Fear.  Webster’s defines fear as:  n.  Painful emotion excited by apprehension of impending danger; dread;  the object of fear; filial regard mingled with awe; reverence. --vt.  To feel fear; to apprehend; to dread; to reverence.--vi.  To be in apprehension of evil; to be afraid.”  (All definitions taken from New Webster’s Expanded Dictionary, Ó2005, Paradise Press).  Now let’s break this down further.. What’s apprehension?  Well, Webster again says of Apprehension:  “..n. Seizure; faculty of conceiving ideas; dread.”  Of apprehend:  vt.  To take hold of; to arrest; to conceive; to fear.--vi.  To think; to imagine.”  Now where does fear originate?  By conceiving ideas, by thinking, by imagination.  Where do these things occur?  In the battleground of the mind, the enemy’s playground! 
            Now let’s look at doubt.  vi.  To waver in opinion or judgment; to question; to suspect.--vt.  To deem uncertain; to distrust.--n.  a wavering in opinion; uncertainty; suspicion.”  To waver in opinion or judgment-- again in the providence of the prince of this world, in the mind.  James addressed it:

(James 1:6-8 KJV)  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. {7} For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. {8} A double minded man is  unstable in all his ways.

(James 1:6 NIV)  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

You see, to waver is to doubt, to doubt is to fear.  Why do we fear?  For the outcome of the situation or circumstance is uncertain, and in this uncertainty we dwell, we ponder, we pout, we think.  Life itself is uncertain.  Does this mean that we go through life paralyzed with fear, controlled by doubt, just because we can’t see around the corner?  Some of us do.  How do we defeat this?  Go to the word of God.  Therein lies the answer. Remember we are at war.  In the spiritual realm, the true reality, war is raging all about us, for our hearts, minds and souls.  In this battle, God and the host of heaven are constantly defending us against the accuser of the brethren.

(Rev 12:10 KJV)  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

 (John 5:45 KJV)  Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one  that accuseth you, even  Moses, in whom ye trust.

Now this is the main scheme, or at least one of the top principles that the enemy of our souls uses to attack us.  You see, Satan uses our soul against us.  For what is our soul?

Our soul is :  n.  The spiritual principle in man; the moral and emotional part of man’s nature; elevation of mind; fervor; essence...”  Our soul is defined within us as our intellect, our feelings, all the accumulation of our life “programming”.  Yes, programming.  What is our character, but our soul?  It is the sum total of all we have learned, seen, felt, been taught, or told.  It is our perspective, our perceptions.  It is our morality, our integrity, our “self-esteem”, it is ...us.  And unless we’ve been the recipient of a Godly rearing, taught by the word of God since birth, guess who has been orchestrating the programming?  That’s right, the prince of the power of the air himself.  For if those that have taught us haven’t been taught sound biblical principles themselves, the only thing they can teach is what the world has taught them. And so on it goes... 

Proof?  How about:

(Eph 2:2 KJV)  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

The prince of the power of the air.  Our adversary; Satan; the old dragon.  We have been deceived since birth, programmed to run away from God, not toward Him.  We have been beset upon at all sides, hedged in by the things of the world, made to doubt, to fear, to worry.  Kept wrapped up so tight in the day to day grind that survival seems paramount, not God. 

            Want a way out?

(Jer 1:8-10 KJV)  Be not afraid of their faces: for I am  with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. {9} Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. {10} See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

It’s time to uproot, pull down and destroy the things of the enemy, and plant the things of God, by the power of His word:

(James 1:21 KJV)  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

            There is the secret.  The engrafted word. The NIV puts it as “...humbly accept the word planted in you...”.  The idea then, is to uproot the old seeds planted by our experiences and to plant new seed, good seed that supersedes the old way of thinking.  It’s time to renew our mind and see us as God sees us, not as the world has taught us.  It is time to take back our true identity, our identity in Christ.

            First, see yourself as God sees you, as His Son in you:

(1 John 4:17-18 KJV)  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. {18} 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.
 
            To God, there is no difference now:

(Rom 10:12 KJV)  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

            Know that we are children of the promise:

(Gal 3:7 KJV)  Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

(2 Cor 1:20 NIV)  For no matter how many promises[1] God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen[2]" is spoken by us to the glory of God.

(Rom 15:8-9 KJV)  Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made  unto the fathers: {9} And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his  mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

Of these verses, Matthew Henry wrote:  Rom 15:8: Christ fulfilled the prophecies and promises relating to the Jews, and the Gentile converts could have no excuse for despising them. The Gentiles...are companions in patience and tribulation. They should praise God. Calling upon all the nations to praise the Lord, shows that they shall have knowledge of him. We shall never seek to Christ till we trust in him. And the whole plan of redemption is suited to reconcile us to one another, as well as to our gracious God, so that an abiding hope of eternal life, through the sanctifying and comforting power of the Holy Spirit...Our own power will never reach this... all sorts of true joy and peace, so as to suppress doubts and fears, through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit.

            Know what our position in Christ now is:

(Eph 2:12-22 NIV)  remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. {13} But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. {14} For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, {15} by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, {16} and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. {17} He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. {18} For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. {19} Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, {20} built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. {21} In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. {22} And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

            For us to truly cement ourselves into our relationship with Christ, and to begin the process of planting the new seed, we must not only hear the word and obey it, we must also work the word in our lives, making it a part of us, ingrained into our beings..

(James 1:22 KJV)  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Again, Matthew Henry:

James 1:22:  ... If we heard a sermon every day of the week, and an angel from heaven were the preacher, yet, if we rested in hearing only, it would never bring us to heaven. Mere hearers are self-deceivers; and self-deceit will be found the worst deceit at last. If we flatter ourselves, it is our own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before us the corruption of our nature, the disorders of our hearts and lives; and it will tell us plainly what we are. Our sins are the spots the law discovers: Christ's blood is the laver the gospel shows. But in vain do we hear God's word, and look into the gospel glass, if we go away, and forget our spots, instead of washing them off; and forget our remedy, instead of applying to it. This is the case with those who do not hear the word as they ought. In hearing the word, we look into it for counsel and direction, and when we study it, it turns to our spiritual life. Those who keep in the law and word of God, are, and shall be, blessed in all their ways. His gracious recompence hereafter, would be connected with his present peace and comfort. Every part of Divine revelation has its use, in bringing the sinner to Christ for salvation, and in directing and encouraging him to walk at liberty, by the Spirit of adoption, according to the holy commands of God. And mark the distinctness, it is not for his deeds, that any man is blessed, but in his deed. It is not talking, but walking, that will bring us to heaven. Christ will become more precious to the believer's soul, which by his grace will become more fitted for the inheritance of the saints in light.

            Now, when the word is worked in our life, we begin to se the schemes of the devil for what they are:  slanderous lies.  What has the world told you about yourself?  How much have you bought into?  When Jesus was tempted by the enemy for 40 days and nights, He responded to every attack, every temptation with the word of God.  So should we.  But if we don’t know what the word says about us, how can we rebut his attacks? Let’s look at some verses where God tells us what we are:

We are Wonderfully made:

(Psa 139:13-14 KJV)  For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. {14} I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and  wonderfully made: marvellous are  thy works; and that  my soul knoweth right well.

We are chosen by God and adopted as His children:

(Eph 1:2-6 KJV)  Grace be  to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from  the Lord Jesus Christ. {3} Blessed be  the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places  in Christ: {4} According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: {5} Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, {6} To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

We have a purpose:

(Acts 13:36 KJV)  For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:

Or:

(Acts 13:36 NIV)  "For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.

(Jer 1:5 NIV)  "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

We are to be fruitful:

(John 15:7-8 NIV)  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. {8} This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit[1], showing yourselves to be my disciples.

(1 "FRUIT":  There are four degrees in fruit-bearing: (1) no fruit ("bears no fruit," v. 2); (2) "fruit" (v. 2); (3) "more fruitful" (v. 2); and (4) "much fruit" (vv. 5,8). As we bear "much fruit," the Father is glorified in us. The fruit may be converts (Rom 1:13); Christian character - the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22 - 23); and conduct - the fruits of righteousness (Rom 6:21 - 22; Phil 1:11). The moralities and graces of Christianity, which are the fruit of the Spirit, are often imitated but never duplicated.) (Scofield Reference Bible, Ó1945, Oxford Press)

We are honored and established by God:

(Psa 40:1-5 KJV)  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. {2} He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and  established my goings. {3} And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even  praise unto our God: many shall see it,  and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. {4} Blessed is  that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. {5} Many, O LORD my God, are  thy wonderful works which  thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are  to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if   I would declare and speak of them,  they are more than can be numbered.

Psa 40:1:  Verses 1-5. Doubts and fears about the eternal state, are a horrible pit and miry clay, and have been so to many a dear child of God. There is power enough in God to help the weakest, and grace enough to help the unworthiest of all that trust in him. The psalmist waited patiently; he continued believing, hoping, and praying. This is applicable to Christ. His agony, in the garden and on the cross, was a horrible pit and miry clay. But those that wait patiently for God do not wait in vain. Those that have been under religious melancholy, and by the grace of God have been relieved, may apply vs. 2 very feelingly to themselves; they are brought up out of a horrible pit. Christ is the Rock on which a poor soul can alone stand fast. Where God has given stedfast hope, he expects there should be a steady, regular walk and conduct. God filled the psalmist with joy, as well as peace in believing. Multitudes, by faith beholding the sufferings and glory of Christ, have learned to fear the justice and trust in the mercy of God through Him. Many are the benefits with which we are daily loaded, both by the providence and by the grace of God.  (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Electronic Edition, Ó1995, Parsons Technology, Inc.)

We trust Him, and He removes our shame and disgrace, our sadness:

(Isa 61:3 NIV)  and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

(Isa 61:7 NIV)  Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.

We are defended by God:

(Psa 27:1-5 KJV)  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? {2} When the wicked, even  mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. {3} Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will  I be confident. {4} One thing  have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. {5} For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
We are saved:

(Rom 10:11-13 KJV)  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. {12} For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. {13} For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

We are holy and special to the Lord:

(Deu 14:2 KJV)  For thou art  an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are  upon the earth.

We are a crown of glory to the Lord:

(Isa 62:3 KJV)  Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.

We have a destiny:

(Jer 29:11 KJV)  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

We ARE a new creature:

(2 Cor 5:17 KJV)  Therefore if any man be  in Christ, he is  a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

            You can see by the preceding passages, that what we are to our Lord and Savior, is totally different than what the enemy has tried to tell us we were all our lives.  What we are not is: inferior, rejected, condemned, worthless, failures, shamed, disgraced, abandoned, hopeless, damned.  If we know what we are, and can recognize the lies of the devil, then how can we fear?  How can we doubt?  Can you truly believe in the Lord and still feel the way Satan says you are?  Can you truly remain jealous and bitter, twisted in your soul?  You are a child of the Most High God.  Need more convincing?

(1 Cor 6:11 KJV)  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

(Rom 8:28-31 KJV)  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his  purpose. {29} For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be  conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. {30} Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. {31} What shall we then say to these things? If God be  for us, who can be against us?


(2 Tim 2:21 KJV)  If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and  prepared unto every good work.

            These are but a few of the many descriptions the Lord has of us, of how He sees us.  Look at yourself through the Master’s eyes.  He doesn’t see the low-down sinner that Satan keeps trying to tell you that you are; He sees His Son, living in you, covering your nakedness with His blood, washing us clean to be presented to the Father.

(2 Tim 1:7 ASV)  For god gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.

O brethren, do not fear or doubt any longer.  Let not the toils and cares of this life bring you down.  Renew your mind with what is good, what is faithful and true;  God is in control. 

(1 Pet 3:12-14 ASV)  For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, And his ears unto their supplication: But the face of the Lord is upon them that do evil. {13} And who is he that will harm you, if ye be zealous of that which is good? {14} But even if ye should suffer for righteousness' sake, blessed are ye:  and fear not their fear, neither be troubled;

(Isa 54:4 ASV)  Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth; and the reproach of thy widowhood shalt thou remember no more.

(John 14:27 ASV)  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.

            Finally, understand that we are conquerors, that nothing the enemy can throw at us matters.  The Lord God Jehovah watches over his children, and woe unto the one that comes against us:

(Gen 12:3 KJV)  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee...

            Remember Who it is that loves you, and what you are to Him.  Nothing can take that away from you, so rest easy child of God... Abba is watching.. God bless you.

(Rom 8:15 KJV)  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

(Rom 8:37-39 KJV)  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. {38} For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, {39} Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.