Doubt is an ugly word. It implies a belief that something most likely will never come to pass. When hope has not been met, it can leave us in doubt and at worse sinking deep into a sea of despair. Doubt over time can choke our hope, especially when years have fled without answers, we have lost our youth, and when sorrow occurs. There is no cure for doubt as it can attack at any time, but if we keep truth before us it can smother the doubt that is hostile to our hopes. Doubt is deceitful. Hope is promising.
Scripture for encouragement:
“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word.” Psalm 119:114
“The LORD delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:18
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,” Titus 1:2
“Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” Psalm 25:5
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:11
“Sustain me, my God, according to Your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.” Psalm 119:116
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19
Note: Scripture from NIV
What does this sweet prayer teach me? It shall be my evening’s petition; but first let it yield me an instructive meditation. The text informs me first of all that David had his doubts; for why should he pray, “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation,” if he were not sometimes exercised with doubts and fears? Let me, then, be of good cheer, for I am not the only saint who has to complain of weakness of faith. If David doubted, I need not conclude that I am no Christian because I have doubts. The text reminds me that David was not content while he had doubts and fears, but he repaired at once to the mercy-seat to pray for assurance; for he valued it as much fine gold. I too must labour after an abiding sense of my acceptance in the Beloved, and must have no joy when his love is not shed abroad in my soul. When my Bridegroom is gone from me, my soul must and will fast. I learn also that David knew where to obtain full assurance. He went to his God in prayer, crying, “Say unto my soul I am thy salvation.” I must be much alone with God if I would have a clear sense of Jesus’ love. Let my prayers cease, and my eye of faith will grow dim. Much in prayer, much in heaven; slow in prayer, slow in progress. I notice that David would not be satisfied unless his assurance had a divine source. “Say unto my soul.” Lord, do thou say it! Nothing short of a divine testimony in the soul will ever content the true Christian. Moreover, David could not rest unless his assurance had a vivid personality about it. “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.” Lord, if thou shouldst say this to all the saints, it were nothing, unless thou shouldst say it to me. Lord, I have sinned; I deserve not thy smile; I scarcely dare to ask it; but oh! say to my soul, even to my soul, “I am thy salvation.” Let me have a present, personal, infallible, indisputable sense that I am thine, and that thou art mine.
Have you thought about what you would like to do most in this life? Write a list (often called a “Bucket List”) of the things you would like to accomplish. If you have never created a record of such things, you might find it refreshing and insightful. I challenge you to try to accomplish the things that mean the most to you and begin to check off the items on your list!
Consider these 25 questions to help you get started:
- What is your dream job?
- Where would you like to travel?
- Whom would you like to travel with?
- Do you like to explore? Where would you go?
- Do you like to mentor or help others succeed?
- What is your favorite charitable cause?
- What do you want for your children?
- What would you like your children to know?
- What do you want to leave for your children?
- Whom do you miss spending time with?
- What books would you like to read?
- Do you want to be more stylish?
- Would you like to be more healthy?
- Do you have a close relationship with God?
- Do you pray often for others?
- Is there anything left unsaid that you would like known?
- Do you want to write a book?
- What would you like to learn?
- Who are you? What would you want others to know about you?
- Have you ever climbed a tree? What little thing haven’t you done that you would like to do?
- At this very moment what would make you very happy?
- What is the most unusual thing you would like to do?
- Where can you picture yourself if you were living the life you dream?
- If you had no money, what would you do if you had the time?
- If tomorrow were your last day, what would you do today?
Now let the heavens be joyful,
Let earth her song begin:
Let the round world keep triumph,
And all that is therein;
Invisible and visible,
Their notes let all things blend,
For Christ the Lord is risen
Our joy that hath no end.
~ St. John of Damascus
Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. John 11:25-26.
By nature we have a habit of building up regret and guilt over past mistakes. Sometimes we let them go but the memories seem to pop in our minds at the most inconvenient times, allowing guilt and regret to have power once again. While we can’t change the past we can allow it to change us. By learning from our mistakes, forgiving ourselves, and moving on we have power over guilt and regret. What really matters is what we do today.
Thankfully we have a loving and forgiving Father. Be mindful of the difference between conviction which leads to repentance and guilt and condemnation. Our past mistakes are not an indication of who we are or who we are going to be. By the grace of God our sins are covered by our precious Savior. And as such, we put our hope and our trust in Him. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. (Psalm 145:3)
“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.” Psalm 145: 18-19 NIV
What we do and say becomes a memory in someone’s life. It’s not just the big things but the small day-to-day remembrance’s that plant itself firmly onto the pages of the past. Unfortunately this includes not only the inspired moments but the ones that may leave someone feeling like they just had dirt thrown in their eyes!
We go about our daily lives and sometimes we are oblivious to the trail of muck we might leave behind. The cashier at the grocery store might have needed a smile that morning and we left them with an earful of heated complaints. A child might desperately need a hug and we ramble off a list of reprimands without the added gentleness of encouragement. If we are thoughtful in our actions we might be able to leave a trail of kindness, mercy and grace even in the wake of our anger and frustrations. Being thoughtful of what we say and how we act or react to strangers, family and friends is a step in the right direction. It is not an easy task but one worthy of effort.
I remember hearing a friend highly praise someone because they always spoke their mind. I was a little surprised by the comment because while I am an advocate for righteously standing up for yourself and others, I do not believe that speaking every unrestrained thought is commendable. I have always found it more noble to be able to control your tongue and use speech wisely, considering what you want to say but being thoughtful if you should.
A few helpful tips:
1. Make sure to express your love to those you care about on a daily basis. Leave a note, hug, take time to talk, laugh or make a call. There are hundreds of small ways to let someone know you care.
For example, children love to receive mail so consider sending a card and adding a coupon of some sort. I use to give my daughter an extra hour of undercover reading because she loved to read at night. When my daughter was young we set up her own mail box and I would add mail to it weekly. She would love to see the flag raised! Be creative and considerate to their likes and dislikes.
2. I believe the smile is underrated. Smile often, it does everyone good.
3. Tell someone what you admire about them. My daughter caught me by surprise one evening and she looked at me sweetly and said “You are a really good woman. I thought it, so I just thought I should say it.” Let others know the sweet things you think about them. It will bless them greatly.
4. The next time you are angry try to be thoughtful about your words and actions. You just might find a great reward in restraint.
5. Forgive yourself. If you mess up as we all tend to do at times, forgive yourself and ask for forgiveness. Strive to do better and with each opportunity you will find it easier and easier.
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18 NIV
If we are to leave a legacy of faith we need to teach our children Biblical truths and set the example we teach. We must make our words matter. There is nothing more worthy that I could leave my child than a legacy of faith.
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)