We all have them from time to time. Those moments or even seasons of doubting something we thought we knew about God and His will for us or for others. It may have come through that unexpected tragedy, medical emergency, sickness or disease. It may have come through situations or circumstances that appeared absolutely contrary to what we believe the LORD has shown us.
We are not alone.
John the Baptist, in the midst of a hot lonely dungeon located in a desert near the Dead Sea sent word to Jesus, “Are you the one or do we look for another?” If I were inspiring the Bible to be written I would not have had that recorded. John, the man who had presented the LORD Jesus as the Savior, saw the dove descend upon Him, and heard the voice of God declare “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased”…had a moment of serious doubt.
I would not have wanted that said of John the Baptist, but I’m glad the Holy Spirit put it in the scriptures for our benefit. If the great John the Baptist entered a situation that caused his mind to question and He had seen Jesus, “How much more will you and I who have not seen Him.”
Moments of doubt do not mean we have entered into total unbelief. It simply means we have entered a moment where our faith is being tested. The Lord will always meet us in these times to encourage us just as He sent word to John that all is well. Just as He appeared to Abraham and said in spite of all, you will have a child. Just as He came to Thomas and revealed Himself to Him, so the LORD will come to us and do the same.
There are certain things that are solid in my faith. There is one God who created all. Jesus Christ came as the only begotten Son of God, God in the flesh. This Jesus died for my sin and rose again that I might have new life in relationship with Him. Because I believe in Him, everlasting life is mine. I am already a part of His kingdom.
Even so, there are times of testing that bring moments of doubt as to why things happen. Times in that what I or others are going through don’t appear to line up with my perception of God’s will in the situation.
After walking this Christian life for some 35 years now, I can honestly look back and say, “In every moment of doubt, the LORD has come to me in some way to encourage my faith and restore it in even greater measure.”
He will do the same for you.
…Just ask Him.
One source of stress in our lives may come from not accepting our God-given role in life. Our culture teaches everyone must be “top dog” or you are nothing. This mentality feeds the “dog eat dog” mentality to get to the top. Sadly this temperament not only resides in the world around us, but in the religious realm as well. This causes envy, jealousy and strife among the brethren as some desire to make “higher” positions the measure of their self-worth and value. It also causes inner turmoil when what they so long for seems to always be eclipsed by another.
One of the greatest keys to inner joy, peace and contentment is when we come to recognize our place while celebrating what may be the higher place given to another.
John the Baptist found himself in this precarious position in the gospel of John chapter three. John had been top gun for sometime. He was extremely popular among the common people. His disciples were staunch supporters and protectors of his position. So much so that they came to John telling him that he was being out classed by this Jesus whom he had baptized.
John’s reply is much quoted but less applied than what we many realize. John first commended Jesus and then said, “He must increase and I must decrease.”
John understood his place and was both content with it, all the while rejoicing in Jesus’ success. What incredible insight, wisdom, and humility from the one that Jesus would later say, there had been none greater among men than John the Baptist. Even so, when John relinquished his stardom to another, he not only rejoiced in the success of Jesus, he kept doing what he did until he could do so no longer.
He knew he was no less just because there was One greater on the scene. His decrease was not one of worth, but rather position for the time.
Do we practice this principle? Do we really give honor to the anointing God has given another that is truly greater than our own? Does jealousy cause us to want to either pull them down to our so-called level or cause us to strive to out class them with feeble efforts that will fall short and look foolish in trying?
Yes, strive to be all God has called you to be, but never strive or compete to be someone you are not. God’s grace is sufficient for your purpose. Your anointing is sufficient for that which God has called you too. Rejoice in both it and what God has given another.
Writing a book is much like birthing a baby. There is the conception of ideas, their refining, writing and re-writing for clarity and hopefully proper interpretation. Then comes the literal labor required in actually getting it to print. This book “The Snake is IN the House” is my first endeavor in writing something that I pray will be meaningful to all who read.
If you choose to purchase it and read it carefully, I hope you will find it is more about how the enemy is exposed in us individually and less about the circumstances that forces this inner discovery.
God desperately desires to bring revival to individuals and churches. The question is are we really ready for what we so desire? If the enemy is present, he must be expelled first or he will destroy what God releases. We must be vessels of gold and silver, not earthen ware and wood.
Many thanks to Dr. Paul Gaerhing for guidance and encouragement.
David Tuell exposes the subtle but dangerous inroads the enemy of every church seeks to unleash against pastors and people who are pursuing everything God has for them. David shares transparently from thirty years of very successful pastoral ministry that came crashing down on him and his family when the snake got loose in the house. As I work with pastors and churches all across America and in many nations of the world, I see the personal and church carnage whenever the snake is allowed to get loose in the house. Pastor David exposes the enemy’s true identity and tactics so the snake can be stopped before another pastor’s family and church crashes. He also shares the story of the journey he and his family took to recover and to birth a new church. Healthy local churches that Jesus is building as a part of his kingdom on earth today are the only answer to the disintegrating moral culture in America. As David writes: “If Satan can destroy the last remnants of the church’s influence upon our culture, we are without hope in America.” The Snake is in the House is a must-read for all church leaders and members who still believe that Jesus is building his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!
Bishop Paul Gaehring, President of Redemption Ministerial Fellowship International
Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as both e-book and hard copy now. Book signing and hard copies available through the author after first of March 2015.
As children of the living God we must learn to depend more on the LORD’s favor than our abilities and intellect. Yes, we are told to be bold. Yes, we are told to study and show ourselves approved. Yes, we are given our gifts, talents, and abilities to be used for the glory of the LORD.
But we must never depend upon them at the expense of being favored of the LORD.
The psalmist wrote…
Psalm 44:3–7 (NASB95) 3 For by their own sword they did not possess the land, And their own arm did not save them, But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, For You favored them. 4 You are my King, O God; Command victories for Jacob. 5 Through You we will push back our adversaries; Through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us. 6 For I will not trust in my bow, nor will my sword save me. 7 But You have saved us from our adversaries, And You have put to shame those who hate us.
We must do our part by using what the LORD has equipped us with but that is not what ensures victory in our day-to-day circumstances in the battles we may face. The true battle we engage in is greater than we may know. It is against principalities and powers of darkness in high places. Only God gives us ultimate victory in this arena.
In the beginning of our walk with Jesus we tend to be totally dependent upon Him for everything in our newly found life. We trust and look to Him in both the small things and the large. In every victory we shout, “Thank you Lord!” but then we may begin to subtly shift the focus if we are not careful. We have some victories and begin to believe our own ‘press’. We may begin to think more highly of ourselves than we should. We begin to believe it’s our abilities that get us through.
The correction and return to relying on favor is sure to return because the LORD will not allow us to steal His glory.
Yes we must keeping doing what we do, all the while realizing that without the favor of the LORD being upon us, it could be all for naught. The difference in defeat and victory may very well depend upon who or what we are really trusting in. Trusting in even our God-given abilities without the favor of the LORD is sure to spell frustration, anxiety and possible setback for a season.
Whose favor do you trust in? That which you can make for yourself or that which comes from the LORD who multiplies even feeble efforts into great exploits?
Critical people tend to be overly negative people. They go beyond being realists and become actual saboteurs of hope, dreams and vision you may carry in your heart. They seem so insignificant in some respects because after all, “everyone has a right to their opinion”. So most people tend to ignore trite remarks thinking they aren’t worth bothering with. However, we may do so to our own detriment. Critical people will nip at your heels like the little foxes that spoil the vine as we find in the Bible. They may actually be slowly killing your self-esteem, your ministry vision, and souring others around you with their adders poison.
These folks really need to see themselves as they are and repent or come out of your circle of influence altogether.
Critical people are really…
…The very fact that they believe they have the right to be overly critical of you is because they believe their way is the only way. In fact, they really believe their way is God’s only way! Jealousy has entered their hearts. The reality is they are critical of not just you, but the God who is using you and not them.
…One of grace’s characteristics is not becoming judgmental. Critical people at their root are graceless in nature. They hold a standard over you that gives no grace for growth and continually speak words of negativity either directly to you or to others around you. They are faultfinders and certainly not people whom God has ordained to be around you.
…Hear me; critical people will never be pleased with anything you do because their way would have always been better. They are also super-frustrated people because their own perfectionist attitude is killing them. They can’t even measure up to their own standards and they know it. This only fuels their critical spirit.
• Armchair quarterbacks
…Critical people have a way of criticizing everything you are doing but have absolutely no success in anything they have attempted. It’s like the successful football coach who loses a game or goes through a slump and everyone in the world wants to tell them what to do, though these people have never successfully played or coached a game themselves.
• Ultimately negative people will cause division.
…Their critical language and attitudes will draw others in especially in difficult seasons you may be going through. It’s amazing how negativity spreads far more quickly than a positive attitude in trying times.
Be aware of those people and mark them for prayer because deception has them in its grip.
Honestly, supposedly super spiritual people who have never accomplished anything other than a façade of spiritual superiority just make me tired. We must understand that these kinds of people are not with you to support you, but rather to gain from you. They want to ride your coat tails of success and claim that they are really the reason you succeeded. When they can not gain from you what they desire they turn critical like a spurned lover turns on one whom they can not make love them.
There is a difference in a critical spirit and a spirit of constructive criticism that we all must be willing to hear. One voice likes to make itself the main point as they approach you in a holier than thou attitude. The other seeks to enrich you in ways to become better. We must learn to discern which is which and act accordingly.
It has been called ‘the dark night’ of the soul by some. It may come through a variety of circumstances, righteous or unrighteous in nature. It always includes suffering. The death of a loved one, the divorce, the loss of job and the illness that came upon us out of the blue may plunge us into a loneliness of the soul that at first seems unbearable, even with people all around us.
We may be left alone because of some sin we have committed. Instead of people rushing to restore they rushed to judgment instead. The same may be true of taking an unpopular righteous stand and being rejected with no one asking why or coming to our defense. In these cases people may just walk away and you are left not just alone surrounded by people…you are really alone.
What you may find is God may have you just where He needs you.
We live in a world filled with many voices. Everyone has an opinion about you and some desire to manipulate you to live the life they think you should be living. Please don’t misunderstand, many are well meaning, but none may be the voice of the LORD in your life.
Sometimes for us to hear the voice of the LORD He has to position us in a place of solitude. It is in this place we may choose to wrestle with Him like Jacob or pout in His presence like the great Elijah. However, what He is really after is to get us to listen to only Him in that season.
You will recognize the voice. It will never come in a condemning tone even if it is corrective in nature. It will never tell you how wicked you are or that your life is over. It will always be a voice tender in nature telling you that you are not alone nor are you forsaken. It will be a voice that invites you deeper into His presence and that will in turn allow you to see Him as the faithful God that He is…to you.
Jesus’ promise to His disciples was that He would never leave them nor forsake them. The reason for the promise? There would be times when they felt and would actually be left alone in the eyes of man. The same is true of you and I today.
Rather than fear the loneliness of the moment, embrace it as an opportunity for God to reveal more of Himself to you. Rather than trying to fill your life with more busyness to cover the pain, settle yourself before the Healer of your soul and allow Him to teach you His higher ways.
Hopelessness is worse than a dark cloud of depression you may experience for a season. Hopelessness is when we have all but given up on an outcome we so desperately desired. It’s like death before the death and in reality it can be just that to our dreams.
Hope is critical to our spiritual lives. It is what motivates us to get up in the morning to face another day with anticipation of promises fulfilled by the LORD Himself. The enemy of our souls knows this and actively wars against us having hope. His desire is to bring us to a place of hopelessness.
One translation says faith is the substance of things hoped for. That tells us that faith doesn’t come first, but rather hope. Without hope there can be no faith and without faith we cannot please God for He is a rewarder of faith. Cc. Hebrews 11
The problem comes during the testing/waiting time of fulfillment. As the Bible says hope differed makes the heart sick. A sick heart equals to a weakened spirit within us. It is during theses times that we must as Abraham, hope against hope. Twenty five years is a long time to wait on a promised child to come to pass. Especially when the womb has been barren for a lifetime and is now nearing 90 years of age.
When Abraham’s hope became weak, he still hoped in the God of the promise, the God who declares himself to be the God of hope.
Romans 15:13 (NASB95) 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It’s in our darkest hours that this God of Hope seems to impart the greatest hope to us if we will receive it. One of the most well-known passages of scripture in the Old Testament was made not when Israel was doing well, but rather going into dark days of judgment. It was during these dark days the Lord said…
Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB95) 11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
For 70 years Israel was nothing more than a prisoner of hope. Their circumstances had them hemmed in. If not for God their bondage in a foreign nation would have been permanent until they as a nation no longer existed. Without God Sarah’s womb would have been barren until death.
However God never leaves us hopeless in our situation. He is the God of hope and He instills hope in us…that is why you keep hoping even when your flesh doesn’t want to any longer. What God imparts never dies and that is why you may never completely give up, only keep positioning yourself in hope that our promise will soon come to pass.
For more on the subject of hope, visit the website RiverChurchRoanoke.com and click on media. There you will find a sermon series entitled, “Discovering Hope in Dark Places”. Down load them for free and allow the Lord to renew your hope in Him.