Doubts? Get Back to Basics.

by Monica Schmelter @monicaschmelter

For the Lord is good.
    His unfailing love continues forever,
    and his faithfulness continues to each generation.  Psalm 100:5 NLT

In seasons where prayers go seemingly unanswered, you may find yourself riddled with doubts and questions. At least that’s how it is for me.

I’ve been praying over a prodigal for over ten years, and despite my fervent prayers, she continues to make excruciatingly painful choices. I find myself asking God a lot of doubt-filled questions. Why God? When God? How did we get here God?

When I think my prayers are going nowhere and questions and doubts are mounting, I find it incredibly helpful to return to the basics.

For me, that means I cease and desist with the questions, and start digging into God’s Word. As I begin reading its truths, I rediscover a Heavenly Father who is faithful and good. I am reminded that He hears every prayer. His Word assures me He is answering my cries, even if I can’t see or feel Him doing it. And as I soak in those truths, my questions and doubts dissipate.

Going back to the truth helps me to stop my faulty thinking. It inspires me to stop going off on my own and abide once again in Him.

Recently, as I struggled with my prodigal’s situation, God led me to John 15:5: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (NLT). The verse reminded me that going ahead of God, demanding that He do things my way and on my timetable, is the opposite of resting in Him. It’s counterproductive, because He is the source of anything good that can be accomplished. Remaining in Him gives me strength to live out the truth. Ultimately, I can accomplish nothing on my own.

But as vital as it is to our spiritual health, the whole remaining in Him thing is easier said than done. So I tackle that challenge in much the same way as I do those doubts and questions. I post encouraging Scriptures on paper sticky notes, on my computer screen, and my cell phone. So when challenges to trusting God resurface, I go right to those prompts to remind me of the truth, which encourages me to stay on course. It keeps me from allowing unbelief to fester.

Living out the truth is an expression of our trust and love for Jesus Christ. His Word says if we love Him, we will obey His commandments. When doubts and questions about unanswered prayers are looming, our immediate obedience might be thwarted. It’s hard to obey someone you can’t trust. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with taking our doubts and questions to God. But allowing doubts to remain unchallenged is destructive.

Are you are in a season where you’ve been praying for someone or about something for a long time without an answer? A journey back to the basics might be helpful. When you start with the truth, remain in the truth, and live out the truth, you will be much more aware of your Heavenly Father present with you and be able to lean into His goodness and faithfulness to every generation.

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Doubts? Get Back to Basics – @MonicaSchmelter on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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About the author: Monica Schmelter hosts the daily television show Bridges on Christian Television Network. In her spare time, she searches for delicious and decadent calorie- free chocolate. You can find out more about her on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram.

Got a junk drawer? Ever find yourself stuffing stray items in there without thinking? Monica’s book, Messy to Meaningful, will help you sift through and sort out the unnecessary spiritual things weighing you down. Stop holding on to so much junk that you can’t fit in the good things the Lord is calling you to. Monica, and co-authors Rhonda Rhea and Kaley Rhea will take you through your junk drawer and make you laugh along the way. Find yourself some beautiful…free.

Join the conversation: What truths about God encourage you the most?

 

Exploring New Territory

by Doris Hoover

They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is the fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.” (Numbers 13:27-28 NIV)

When my husband and I were making a decision about where to retire, we discussed exploring options in a new state. Having both grown up in New Jersey, we had deep roots there. Our three children were married and settled there. Many of our friends and relatives lived locally. Our house of thirty-four years held a lifetime of memories. There was a strong pull to stay put, but we felt a stronger pull to venture into a new place. We struggled with conflicting emotions as we tried to make our decision.

The nation of Israel also had conflicting emotions about entering their promised homeland. Even though they had traveled many months through the wilderness to arrive at their destination, they were unsure about stepping into a new place. So Moses sent men out to scout the land.

At the end of forty days, the twelve scouts returned to report their findings. Two men recommended taking the land. The other scouts agreed the land was abundant with produce, but they were afraid of the powerful inhabitants. God’s promise of a blessed homeland was within reach! They need only step forward to receive it. Instead, the people clung to the word but. Instead of entering a rich land, that generation was sentenced to wander its borders and never partake of the goodness God had planned for them (Numbers 13-14).

How often do we miss out on wonderful opportunities because we cling to our fears and doubts? We see the potential for something new or better, then we say but. By refusing to take hold of the new land, Israel missed out on God’s wonderful plan for their lives.

Even though my husband and I saw the potential for an exciting retirement, it meant leaving the comfort of a familiar place and entering unknown territory. When we finally made the decision to move, some people questioned our choice. We had to be bold to follow through with our plans.

In our new community we’ve developed some wonderful friendships. We’re pursuing dreams and activities that weren’t possible in our previous home. And we’ve discovered creative ways to keep our ties to New Jersey.

An important blessing for me is the opportunity to grow my writing skills. The Lord has provided time, people, and experiences to help me advance in this arena; yet each time a door opens, I face a decision. I can stay where I feel safe and comfortable, or I can take a risk to venture into new territory. Sometimes I only hear the word but, and my fears win; however, when I trust God’s leading, exciting opportunities arise.

Maybe the Lord has stirred your heart to stretch beyond your comfort zone. It may be a decision about where to live. Maybe you sense a nudge to undertake a new venture. You have the choice to explore a new land, or remain where you feel comfortable.

If we ignore the Lord’s leading, we’ll have regrets. We’ll always wonder what could have been. Blessings come when we grab hold of the opportunities the Lord places before us, opportunities to taste the milk and honey of God’s plans for our lives.

 O Lord, give us courage to step into the new territory you place before us.

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Exploring New Territory – insight from Doris Hoover on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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About the author: Doris Hoover lives in Florida, but she also spends time along the coast of Maine. Her passion is discovering God’s messages in nature and sharing them with others. You can visit Doris at captivatedbythecreator.com. 

Doris’ book, Quiet Moments in The Villages, A Treasure Hunt Devotional invites you to step outside to discover the treasures God places around you. She leads you to beautiful places in her home town. Her poetic descriptions and beautiful photography draw you into moments that will stir your heart.

Join the conversation: Have you ever been rewarded by stepping outside your comfort zone?