Even Then

Most Thursday’s we have a devotional with a bit of music, and today we’ve got Even Then by Micah Tyler.

On the nights when the dark lasts a little bit longer
When the wind and the storm is a little bit stronger
When the fear in my heart dips a little bit deeper
When my faith to stand gets a little bit weaker

Where could I run to?
Where could I go?

There will be times in our lives when things get tough, when we experience periods where we think ‘Where are you Lord?’, when we have doubts of emotion and feel as if nothing will ever get any better. 

I read recently that when things are happening that we don’t understand, we must fall back on the things we do understand. When life gets rough and tough where do we run, where do we go?

Psalm 73 offers a very present help in times of need and trouble,

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

It should come as a great comfort to us that the Lord never lets go (John 10.28) of those who have turned to Him in faith. When the dark, stormy, fear-filled times come along, we have an ever present help in our times of need. We must turn first and foremost to the Word of God in times of trouble, not our own feelings, not someone else’s experience, the solid, tried, true, and tested Word of God. 

It is always good to start with the Bible, where there is explicit teaching on every condition…

D.Martin Lloyd-Jones

He is our refuge and strength, He is in our midst, He will help, He is with us.

We need only be still and know that the Lord of hosts is with us (Psalm 46).

Jude 1.22-23 – Is It Ok To Doubt?

Jude has so far told us to be different to those around us, and to build ourselves up in our most holy faith. Today, what do we do in relation to those who are stuck under the false teaching detailed in vv.8-13? What do we do in relation to those who doubt that Jesus Christ leads to eternal life?

22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

There are a couple of things that come out here – one is to have mercy on those who doubt.

Doubt, inherently, isn’t a bad thing. 

Doubt is human and doubt is universal, says Os Guinness. We live in a broken world and to doubt is sadly just a part of life.

Very simply, all that can be believed can be doubted, and it is no surprise then that our faith, the most holy faith that Jude has written about can be doubted. To doubt means to have two minds, and rather than suppress doubt, we should look into the questions we have in our minds. 

Some doubts come from the will – do I want to follow Jesus?

To this, the Bible has a strong response – James 1.6-8.

Some doubts come from the mind – can this be proven?

To this, the Bible has a softer response – Isaiah 1.18.

Here, Jude is talking, it seems, about doubts of the emotion – how do I feel about all of this?

Coming off the back of talking about mercy and love and eternal lifeJude then says have mercy on those who doubt

Psalm 73 also speaks of the response to doubts of the heart.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

So, is it ok to have moments of doubt? Yes.

How do we interact with those facing emotional doubts about their faith? With mercy

Author Charles Hummel said that a stronger faith can emerge through doubt, and that holiness and faith are strengthened in the fires of temptation. 

It’s ok to doubt, it’s not ok to reject, but it’s ok to ask questions, it’s ok not to know all the answers. There is mercy waiting.

Point to ponder – What do I have doubts about?

Prayer – Father, we know we have moments of doubt. We know we want to follow you, and sometimes we have doubts of the mind or the emotions. We know too that when this happens, your loving kindness and mercy are there waiting for us to strengthen our faith, to uphold us, and to show us that our faith is one of steadfast hope. Thank you. Amen. 

Romans 1.16-17 – Ashamed?

When we get something new and seemingly life changing, something like a car that doesn’t break down every month, a phone or computer that doesn’t crash every day, or a place to live with a bath in the bathroom, we would never ever think of declaring, ‘I am not ashamed of my new car.’, or ‘I am not ashamed of my new phone’, or ‘I am not ashamed of my bath!’. Those thoughts would never cross our minds, therefore, we would never feel the need to clarify, no, I am not ashamed.

Paul here starts by saying I am not ashamed of the Gospel. He finished his last paragraph by saying how keen he was to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome. The thought, however brief, must therefore have crossed his mind that what he was preaching, the good news that Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of the world and through faith in Him you can be saved unto eternal life, the thought must have crossed his mind that this sounded foolish and he was going to be mocked, maybe worse, for it (1 Corinthians 1.18).

Do we ever feel like that?

Do we ever have momentary doubts about the fact that a human being was murdered 2000 years ago and by believing in who He was and what He did that this will somehow supernaturally change your life, both now and forever?

Most of us will admit to having thought that on occasion. 

So how do we deal with it?

Paul goes on to reinforce just what he is preaching, it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Rome was the centre of power, those there would have responded to the way Paul writes this, and since time was even a thing to be counted man has known that he needed something more, that there was something missing, that he needed a Saviour.

When we doubt, when we are tempted to feel ashamed, that is when our faith needs to kick in, from faith for faith. Don’t forget all God has done for you or for the entire world (John 3.16). As Paul quotes from Habakkuk, the righteous shall live by faith. 

So, no matter what you may doubt today, or any day, take this path;

Doubt leads to enquiry, enquiry leads to knowledge, knowledge leads to deeper faith. 

Ours is a faith that is robust and strong, it can handle a little doubt and enquiry and it possess all treasures of wisdom and knowledge in the One who brought us into the fold (Colossians 2.3). 

Points to ponder today – 

Am I ashamed of the Gospel? Why?

Am I living my life by faith as a person who is viewed by God as righteous?