All posts tagged: Doubt

Have Mercy On Those Who Doubt

By Dr. Michael L. Brown It is true that, in the Bible, Jesus often rebuked people for their doubts and unbelief. But that was because they have should have known better. That was because, based on what they had witnessed and experienced, they should have faith. But at other times, He showed great mercy to those who wavered with doubt. In fact, there’s an amazing little verse in the book of Jude which calls us to “have mercy on those who doubt” (or, Jude 22). When is the last time you heard a sermon using this verse? We should show mercy, not condemnation, not criticism, not censure, not condescending correction, to those who are sincere and yet struggle with doubt. And what, exactly, is doubt? Sometimes it is an inability to believe that God will do something for us personally, as in, “I know the Bible says this, but I’m struggling to believe it will really happen to me.” At other times, it is a struggle to believe that there really is a God, or …

How to Lose it all: Have you seen the movie ‘Come Sunday’?

Did you ever lose your faith? Yes, you did, if you are older than six. When I was a boy, I remember some other children who were told that Santa Claus was not real. I stayed out of that violent argument, but I saw their confusion and outrage. As we get older, people disappoint us, and if we are honest, we can disappoint ourselves. I formed a career goal when I was about twelve, and I saw myself as one of those people, just working on an education and waiting for an opportunity. I knew who I was, and my conviction was unshakable. Near the age of forty, I had to tell myself that it would never happen, and I had to keep the job I already had. I lost my faith. You are probably wondering; I saw myself as an archaeologist, like the ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and I thought of it first, before they made that movie. After reading all those books, and studying in so many university courses, it never happened. …

Help my unbelief: An honest confession leads to a miracle

A story on Charisma News about the miraculous healing of a woman who had been sick for nearly 30 years after being struck by lightening is a testament of how God wants us to be honest about our spiritual condition. As a result of a lightening strike, Caleb Hyer’s mother was in a constant battle with pain. This included severe migraines that often left her bed-ridden for weeks. To deal with the chronic pain, doctors prescribed several powerful and addictive drugs including Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Dilaudid and Percocet. Of course these heavy medications brought with them some serious side effects. Caleb Hyers was also a Southern Baptist boy and like most Southern Baptists, he believed in God, but he didn’t believe in the spiritual gifts, and he didn’t believe in divine healing. But those beliefs were challenged when he joined a mission trip to Honduras. While there, he encountered a group of Christians who believed in Divine healing and regularly prayed for the sick. One of their favorite verses spoke about believers being able to heal …

The struggle to choose the right path. Credit: James Wheeler/Flickr/Creative Commons

Why do I second guess myself?

Dear Andy Every time I make a decision I doubt myself.  I have very little confidence in myself and many decisions I made have been disastrous.  What can I do to feel more confident and to make better decisions? There are many reasons why someone lacks confidence in their decisions. First I would look at the evidence. No one makes all the right decisions all the time. Perhaps you are focusing on the ones that had less than stellar results. Perhaps there is a history of poor decision making. Many people can be very adept at making decisions in some areas of their lives but not in other areas. For example, a business person might make wise decisions regarding finances or planning for the future but make poor ones regarding dating or relationships. If you are like this, then your focus needs to change from the poor decisions and towards the good decisions you made. Look at the difference between the two. Try to find common themes with the good ones. For example, perhaps they …

The Mespotamia Valley where Abraham and Sarah lived before God called them on their journey of faith: Credit: Hassan Janall U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Wikipedia

Faith through doubt: 4,000 year old marriage contract confirms story of Ishmael

Español: La fe a través de la duda: contrato de matrimonio de 4.000 años de antigüedad confirma la historia de Ismael Though the patriarch Abraham and wife Sarah ended up in the ‘Faith Hall of Fame’ (Hebrews 11:8-11), their lives were far from a perfect display of faith. God had promised Abraham and his wife Sarah a son out of which would come a great nation (Genesis 17). Though they clung to this promise, there were times when they doubted God and took matters into their own hands. One of these moments involved Hagar, Sarah’s personal maid: Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. (Genesis 16: 1-2 NASV) Sarah told Abraham to impregnate her slave who would serve as a surrogate and have a child that Sarah would …

A fig tree with fruit. Photo: Sean O'Sullivan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Start doubting your doubts

George Bernard Dantzig had just received his Masters Degree in mathematics in 1937 and a short time later was accepted as a Doctoral candidate in mathematics at the University of California. His Doctorate would be interrupted by World War 2 and Dantzig, who died in 2005 at age 90, would finally receive it in 1946. But one day in 1939, he was late for a Doctorate statistics class. When he arrived, his college professor, Dr. Jerzy Neyman, had written two statistical problems on the black board. Believing these were class assignments, Dantzig wrote them down and took them home. In an 1986 interview with College Mathematics Journal, he said the two questions proved quite challenging and it took him a few days to complete them. After finishing, he sheepishly approached Dr. Neyman apologizing for having taken so long. When Dantzig asked if he still wanted the assignment, the professor told him to throw it on his desk cluttered with paper. Six weeks later, on a Sunday morning at about 8 AM, while Dantzig and his …

Archbishop Justin Welby with Korean prelate Kim Geun-Sang in Seoul: Wikipedia/Ellif

Are you struggling with doubt?

An article in The Independent, a British Newspaper, states that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, confessed to having moments of doubt about God. He is the senior bishop of the Church of England and considered the symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican church including the Episcopalian Church in the US. Welby made these statements on BBC’s Songs of Praise, a program featuring hymns and inspirational stories. Justin said when he heard about terrorists killing nearly 130 people, he went out to pray the next morning. He asked God where He was at when all this was happening. Responding to a question whether these attacks caused any doubts Welby said, “Oh gosh, yes” and then added they put a “chink in my armor.” Though the Church of England is largely Liberal in its view on God and the Bible, Welby comes from the Evangelical persuasion inside the Anglican church. It shows that even the best of us can struggle with doubts. I appreciate his honesty and I don’t believe Justin is alone in this struggle. …

Mustard Credit: yaxchibonam/Flickr/Creative Commons

A strange answer to the disciples’ plea for more faith

Español: Una extraña respuesta a la petición de los discípulos por más fe One day, the disciples asked Jesus to “increase their faith” (Luke 17:5).  They wanted to know the tantalizing secret behind Christ’s success. The disciples had followed Jesus for a several months and saw Him do an endless array of miracles and deliverances. In comparison, they looked at their own meager exploits and concluded that Jesus was a man with great quantities of faith to perform such tremendous miracles. To the disciples it was a very simple formula: “More Faith = More Miracles.” So how did Jesus respond to this question? The Lord told the disciples if they had faith the size of a mulberry tree, they could say to this mustard seed be cast into the sea and it would obey. No, this is not a typo. True, this is not exactly what Jesus said, but this is what the disciples expected Him to say. They were anticipating some teaching on what great things they could carry out with great quantities of …