Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - When Doubts Fill Our Minds

As I think about all of the things that my family and I have gone through in the first couple of months of 2018, it is very easy to have our minds fill with doubts. We wonder if God is even listening to our prayers. We wonder if He truly cares. I am sure that I am not the only one who has felt this way. Think about the times when you have doubts and fears fill your mind and heart. There will be those moments when you are just overwhelmed by the magnitude and number of problems you face. It is so very easy to let those problems just dwarf God. In my case with all of the things that have piled up, I felt that God has abandoned me. I have broken down in tears when it is quiet and the demons sneak into my mind and heart. They whisper into my ear, “Where is your God now?” Sometimes I can fight back those words and I can push those demons out of my heart and mind. During my most stressful moments, I begin to listen to their words. It is at those moments that I am weak and begin to question God’s place in my life. I feel that He has abandoned me and left for me for lost.

I know that many of you have felt that exact way. As you pace the floor late at night or in the early morning, you, like me, are vulnerable to the words of the accuser, Satan. He whispers into your ear those words that poison your relationship with the Lord. You begin to wonder about God and where He is. You wring your hands and try desperately to solve your problems on your own or you, like a drowning person, grasp for even a floating straw to sustain yourself.

I am not here to condemn you for feeling that way. I, too, have had those moments. If you read some of David’s Psalms, he says the same things. He, too, wonders about God and where He is. Look at Psalm 43 specifically at verse 2. “For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” Even the strongest individuals wonder about God’s promise and plan in their lives. Job in chapter 30 describes his anguish. I do not need to remind you of Job’s situation. Suffice it to say, Job has lost everything in his life. He wonders why God has allowed all of this to occur. Look at Job 30 starting with verse 20. “I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer. I stand before you, but you don’t even look. 21 You have become cruel toward me. You use your power to persecute me. 22 You throw me into the whirlwind and destroy me in the storm. 23 And I know you are sending me to my death—the destination of all who live.” Job not only wonders where God is but he also believes that God has singled him out and used His power to harm him.

I, like Job, have felt those moments. As more and more problems piled up on me, I felt that God was punishing me for something I had done. I have asked Him, “What have I done to deserve this?” It is only natural for people to feel that way. There have been nights when I have fallen to my knees as tears of grief stream down my face. I cry out to God, “What have I done wrong? What sin have I committed?” I know that God loves me and I am His child, but I feel that I am being punished or singled out. Or, worse yet, I feel that God has decided to orphan me. I see myself in a basket left at a firehouse with a note pinned to me reading, “Take care of my baby, because I can no longer do so. Signed. God.” Yes, I felt orphaned.

Once again, I have allowed the accuser, Satan, and his minions to control my thoughts and feelings. After I cry out, I begin to realize what I am doing. I am giving Satan and his demons a foothold. I stop and rebuke him and cast him out of my mind and heart. I no longer give his words weight or sway in my life and situation. I ask God to forgive me for my doubts and questions. I remember the words of Psalm 84. Starting with verse 18. “18 I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. 19 When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

The Lord God will personally provide the support that we need when we cry out. When doubts fill our minds, we know that He will provide comfort that will give us renewed hope and cheer. When I was on my hands and knees and weeping, He heard my prayers. Instead of denying me help, He came to my rescue. He reminded me of His promise to provide for me with comfort and His grace to weather the storm. By asking for his help and that undeserved grace, He gave me exactly what I needed at the moment and beyond it. God gives graciously when we ask for those things that will sustain us spiritually during those tough and trying times.

In order for God to do this, we must commit ourselves to Him wholly and completely. We cannot do this when doubts fill our minds. We must rid ourselves of fear, uncertainty and doubt. It starts by committing everything we do to the Lord. Let us look at Psalm 37:5. “Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.” We must trust Him and know that He will guide our steps out of the valley of darkness.

It is very difficult to do this especially when you are going through these tough and trying moments. But, we must commit everything we do to the Lord. The Psalm does not say only do it when you are going through good times. It tells us that we must commit ourselves in everything we do and, by extension, during all times.

God has promised us when we commit ourselves to Him, He will commit himself to us. Reading from 1 Peter 5:7, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” That is just one of many promises He has made. Since He loves and cares for us, we can boldly go to His throne and give Him our worries and cares and know that He will rescue us and provide us with that wonderful grace that will sustain us during those dark moments.

The Psalmist, in Psalm 55:22, sums it up perfectly, “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” By remaining grounded completely and totally in Him, God will not allow us to slip or fall. He will sustain us even during the most trying of times. We must have faith and trust Him totally and completely. When we put our faith into action, our anxiety and the doubts that crop up in our minds will be cast away. God will take care of us just like He always does and continues to do.

I want each of you to think about those moments of stress that you had to endure. Did God let you slip and fall or did He, true to His word, get you through those moments? Sometimes the answer that we receive may not be what we considered the best for us, but when we put distance between ourselves and those times of trouble, we see that God has provided exactly what we needed and has positioned us for blessings so wonderful and beyond our comprehension.

If you live with doubts in your mind and feel that you have been abandoned, you can easily change that. By accepting Christ Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, you, too, can receive God’s promises and know that He will give you what you need to get through those moments. You do not need to continue to believe that you are alone. Your Father is always there with you as you journey through that valley of darkness. Remember the words of Jesus. Reading from John 33:16. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Jesus will provide you that peace that you are desperately seeking. He overcame earth and the world in order to give us a peace that surpasses our understanding. This world cannot offer us that peace. It cannot offer us that comfort and love that we need. Only God, through His son, Jesus, can offer us that wonderful peace.

Many years ago, I faced another problem in my life. I had lost my hearing in my left ear. I suffered from “sudden hearing loss”. There was no explanation for it. Between 5:15 and 6 one morning, my hearing had changed. At one moment, I could hear crickets chirping and then things changed and I was no longer able to hear them. I remember when the audiologist wrote in my chart, “Sudden Hearing Loss.” She just said the same thing over and over, “I am so sorry.” I worried about the hearing in my right ear. I worried so much that I could not sleep. In fact, I did not sleep for three days and nights. I worried and continued to worry. Finally, I stopped and cast my worries upon the Lord. He gave me the comfort and peace I needed. I slept without those fears, uncertainties and doubts that cropped up in my mind. Over time, most of my hearing returned. I learned that I was never alone and that He was with me even when I was in an MRI tube as they scanned for a tumor.

Like so many others, I must be reminded not to hang on to my problems or allow Satan to put doubt in my mind. By casting out Satan and his words and allowing God to be that steadfast rock and fortress in our lives, we can stand firm in His grace and know that He will rescue us.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. 
~ Numbers 6:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

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