Why are you troubled? Luke 24:38

‘He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?’ Luke 24:38 (NIV)

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There’s a wide divide between saying we believe something and showing we believe it by our actions. In Luke 24, we are able to listen in on the events which took place after Jesus was crucified. Imagine for a minute what it would have been like to be a disciple of Jesus Christ – to walk with him, watch him heal the sick, listen to his exhortations day after day. We know at least Peter grasped the amazing fact that he was friends with the promised Messiah:

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” Luke 9:20

There was a major problem though. The disciples figured that Jesus had come to earth to save them from the domination and abuse they experienced at the hand of the Romans. They were limited by a physical understanding of Jesus. They had no real concept of the spiritual significance of Jesus’ life. What they expected and what really happened were two very different things. Imagine their horror and confusion as they witnessed their Messiah, their Saviour and Deliverer, hanging on a cross between two criminals and dying.

Now what were they supposed to believe? What about all their hopes and dreams? Where was God?

Thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. As we know, three days later, God raised Jesus from the dead. In Luke 24 he makes an appearance to the disciples as they are gathered, perhaps hiding out while they try to sort out their beliefs from their reality. This is the context of the question in Luke 24:38.

Jesus asks them why they are TROUBLED and why they have DOUBTS.

Here are the definitions of trouble from Dictionary.com:

1. to disturb the mental calm and contentment of; worry; distress; agitate.
2. to put to inconvenience, exertion, pains, or the like: May I trouble you to shut the door?
3. to cause bodily pain, discomfort, or disorder to; afflict: to be troubled by arthritis.
4. to annoy, vex, or bother: Don’t trouble her with petty complaints now.
5. to disturb, agitate, or stir up so as to make turbid, as water or wine: A heavy gale troubled the ocean waters.
The disciples were probably experiencing everything described in these definitions – worry, distress, agitation, pain, discomfort, afflictions, annoyance, vexation. They probably felt like they were truly in the middle of “a heavy gale” as far as their faith.
It’s one thing to be troubled. It’s another thing to allow doubts to fuel everything. According to Dictionary.com, doubts are:
5. a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something.
7. a state of affairs such as to occasion uncertainty.
8. Obsolete . fear; dread.
Think about it, everything the disciples had put their lives and energy into for the past three years was wiped away when Jesus died on the cross.
Perhaps you are experiencing similar worry and doubts in your life. Sometimes life makes us worry and doubt our faith in God. If God truly cares, why is He allowing ______ in my life?
I took the picture above at the NAME Marriage Conference which my husband and I were able to attend last week. I went to the conference burdened. God allowed our family to go through a very difficult time this past year, a time which could have blown our family apart. I was still hanging on to worry and doubt, confusion and a lack of forgiveness. During the conference, Jack Winnicky challenged us to write down anything that was holding us back and then “nail it to the cross”. How freeing it was to write all my worries and doubts down; the thoughts that were weighing me down and interfering with my life. Jesus dealt with our guilt, our sin, and our shame on the cross. They are gone! But sometimes we hang on to them. Jesus wants us to let them go.
Today, Jesus is asking us, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” We can be free, but it’s a choice.
Today I’m choosing freedom. Are you?

When – Then: Allowing God to fill our wells

This week in our online Bible study of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope, we are on chapter three, “Finding Love that Won’t Fail Even When I Do”. I highlighted many sections throughout the chapter, but the following quote sums up the chapter for me.

“Our schedules are full, our minds are full, our stomachs are full, our refrigerators are full, our closets are full, our lives are full. Yet we find ourselves with so many empty places. Why? Because the wells of our hearts were created to be filled by God alone. . . By recognizing and replacing our emptiness with the fulness of God’s promises, we drink the gift of living water. We  acknowledge our need, which allows Him to pour His truth into the well of our hearts.”

At the end of the chapter there are questions to help us think through the ideas presented during the chapter. Question 7 says:

“We were made for love that isn’t measured by our last accomplishment but marked by God’s measureless grace (pg. 62). Write a few when-then statements for areas of your life where you can apply this truth.”

ImageHere are my “when-then” statements:

1. When I am tempted to measure my value by how well I am doing as a mother, I will stop. Then, I will thank God that He always sees me as precious and valuable.

2. When I am tempted to fill my emptiness by eating, I will stop. Then, I will celebrate God’s presence and thank Him for his sufficiency to meet all my needs.

3. When I am tempted to look to my husband to meet all my needs, I will stop. Then, I will rejoice that God loves me with a perfect love and He is sufficient for all my needs.

4. When I am tempted to satisfy my needs by being overly busy, I will stop. Then, I will seek God’s wisdom and guidance in my life and trust Him to provide for my needs.

As I read through this chapter, I was reminded of how we get tricked into thinking so many other things will meet our needs, and we switch from relying on God to relying on other things. It’s good to try to be the best mother possible, but I will fail. My husband is a wonderful person, but he is only human and will never satisfy all my desires. Food is necessary for life, but eating doesn’t satisfy emotional needs. Work provides income and a measure of satisfaction, but work was never meant to fill the God-sized hole in my heart.

Renee reminds us:

“A confident heart is found in a woman who knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that she is loved no matter what. Lasting security comes when we bring the empty well of our hearts to Jesus and ask Him to fill and fulfill us with the security of His unfailing love.”

She also says:

“Salvation is a one-time decision, but finding satisfaction in Christ and living in the security of His promises is a daily process.”

I don’t know about you, but I need these reminders. I am saved, and I have found satisfaction in Christ, but I often get derailed in my walk with Him. Today I am choosing to live in the security of God’s promises. Tomorrow, and the next day and each day after that, I will need to “recalibrate” and choose again.

Are you choosing to find satisfaction in Christ so that you can live in the security of His promises?


I Believe

I’m participating in another online Bible study with Proverbs 31 Ministries. This study is based on the book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God’s Promises by  Renee Swope. Here’s one of the questions I’m tackling this week:

“In order for change to take place, we have to first believe it is possible. Refute your own thoughts of doubt with declarations of faith”

Here are my declarations of faith:

  1. I believe God was watching and actively participating in my creation when I was formed in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139: 14-16)
  2. I believe God has a specific purpose for my life. (Ephesians 2:10)
  3. I believe God is always with me. (Psalm 139:2-12; Matt. 28:20)
  4. I believe God leads and directs in my daily life through His Holy Spirit, His Word, other believers, and circumstances He allows. (Luke 12:11, 12; 2 Tim. 2:15)
  5. I believe God strengthens me and helps me as I rely on Him. (Isaiah 40:31; Isaiah 41:10)
  6. I believe God understands my weaknesses and works through them. (2 Cor. 12:9-10)
  7. I believe God wants me to be holy. (I Peter 1:16)
  8. I believe God forgives my sin when I confess and forsake it. (I John 1:9)

Life can be difficult. That’s why I need to continually turn away from everything else and focus on God and His word. Then I’m able and equipped to step out in faith with Him.

What about you? What promises do you cling to? How are you stepping out in faith?

 


Prayer for the Oppressed

I was challenged by Shelley Faust of Proverbs 31 Ministries to write a prayer on behalf of women and children caught in the web of human trafficking. If you are concerned about the 27 million people around the world who are slaves because of other peoples’ choices, check out the A21 website.

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Father God,

I cry out to you today on behalf of the millions of women and children around the world who have been forced to become sex slaves. Father, you know that many governments turn a blind eye to human trafficking. Wake them up from their apathy. Help them to see other people as valuable. Prevent them from taking bribes which blind their eyes (Deuteronomy 16: 19) Open their eyes to justice and to the power they have to make a difference. Help them to understand the devastation human trafficking wreaks upon individuals, society, and the world.

Father, you are all-knowing. You see everything. You hear the cries of these women and girls who want to be loved and accepted, but are forced to give up their souls. Move the hearts of officials in high places. Help them to take steps to stop those who take advantage of people because they are poor (Amos 5:12).

Father, your word says that we should speak the truth to one another (Zechariah 8:16). Help government officials not to hide the truth. Help them to be honest with themselves and with those they serve. Your word says that those who judge with truth will have peace. Break the chains of silence, the bondage of bribes, and help governments to stand up for truth. Open their eyes to the needs of the oppressed and cause them to take action.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen