Light on the Rock Blogs

The blogs are short articles, almost like a “sermonette” compared to a sermon. They are on a variety of topics. Enjoy.

When We Doubt

By R. Herbert

 

Sometimes, as Christians, we need to remind ourselves that it is human to doubt.  When we occasionally wonder if we are sure about some point of our faith – or even in extreme cases, about our faith itself – we may get caught up in concern about our doubts as much as in the doubt itself and effectively double our problems!

God’s word has something to say about this.  It is clear that “untreated” doubts can erode our relationship with God, but a doubt is essentially no different from any other human weakness to be faced and worked on.  We need to remind ourselves that the disciples often doubted (Luke 24:38) –  even after Jesus’ resurrection: “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted” (Matthew 28:17).   The interesting thing is that in all these cases Christ gently asked his doubting disciples “Why do you doubt?”  but never condemned them for it. Rather he encouraged them to overcome their doubts.  

The fact is, we all have doubts about many things in life and do not usually feel badly about that – only when our doubts come within the realm of our faith do we tend to feel that we are failing because of them.  In his classic book Know Doubt John Ortberg  shows that doubt is actually a necessary part of growth. Our doubts are often based on lack of information and can prompt us to search for truth –  in the long run actually strengthening our convictions.

We can still trust despite our doubts, and God wants us to learn to trust him even when we may doubt the details. The Bible shows clearly that God can often continue to work with us despite our doubts. He did it with Peter  (Matthew 14:22-33) and He can do it with us.  God’s word expressly tells us to “Have mercy on those who doubt” (Jude 1:22), and He does not deal with us any differently.

So how do we deal with the doubts that we get?  First, we ask God to help us in that specific area. One of the best examples of this is the way  in which the doubting father pleaded for help with his doubts and was rewarded by Christ.  The father’s cry of “Help my unbelief” can be ours, and we can ask for help in exactly the same way.   In times of doubt it’s easy to make things more complicated for ourselves, however. We can tell ourselves that the doubting father was unconverted and did not fully know the truth – that we who know more should do better.  Perhaps the best answer to this comes from the Bible itself, in the account of John the Baptist.

While John was imprisoned and facing execution, he sent to Jesus to ask him if he really was the promised Messiah  (Matthew 11).  Rather than chastise John for his doubt, Jesus pointed to the miracles and signs that he was doing and thus to the answer to John’s doubt.  But the important part of this story that we must not miss is that it was at that exact point in time – just as John had admitted his doubt – that Jesus told his disciples: “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11).  It was at precisely the moment of John’s greatest doubt that Jesus called him the greatest among men. Clearly, God knows it is human to doubt and is willing and desirous to point us to the answers to our doubts.  But like John, we must ask Him.

R. Herbert (a pen name), writes for a number of Christian venues as well as for his websites at LivingWithFaith.org and TacticalChristianity.org where you can also find his free e-books.  

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Why we won't honor Satan on Oct 31

Most of you who come to this website do not keep Halloween, I’m pretty sure.But others are new and are not sure if they should or not, or if there’s any harm in it.  It’s to you that I address this blog
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I’ve spoken and written about Halloween several times. Just write in the Search bar of this website – Halloween-- and you’ll see the other sermons and blogs on it.  This also applies to “All Saints Day” that many countries observe on Nov. 1.

We’re in the season now when most of the movies being shown on TV are of demons, vampires, chain saw massacres everything ungodly. To watch these, to participate in any way, is honoring Satan.  No thank you.  I hope you understand; there can be no ambiguity in this. I strongly urge you NOT to involve yourself in any Halloween decorating. Do not put up images of ghosts, demons, scary people or anything to do with this evil time.

Even adults now have Halloween parties, and usually dress up in ungodly and often immoral garb. God’s children have no part in this. Don’t do it. God’s children do not participate in the world’s pagan-originated holidays. We just don’t.

God’s TRUE children will have no part of HALLOWEEN (All Hallow’s Eve). 

Click on “Continue reading” for the rest of this very short, but to the point, blog and what God himself tells us.

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How 2 identical goats say a lot about our Savior

Throughout scripture we see how our Maker employs physical objects and animals to point to something spiritual. So we have different animals that were suitable for animal sacrifice – and each one pictured something different about the Messiah. The bull, goat, sheep and dove all represent different virtues. Our Creator didn’t just pick one animal – but different ones to more completely teach us about our Savior. 

On the Day of Atonement, we tend to think of the two perfect goats – without spot or broken bones or any blemish – that served different purposes on this solemn day of Coverings.  “Yom Kippur” means day of covering, and there were actually several coverings, so it’s often called Yom Kippurim by some. But besides the two goats, there was a bull, a ram, 7 sheep and so on. See Numbers 29:7-11.  Were you aware of that? We hardly talk about them.  Most sermons I’ve heard on Atonement don’t even say much about the goat which was killed and whose blood was sprinkled in the Holy of Holies. It seems all the attention goes to the azazel – the goat of removal. 

So the controversial sacrifices were the two goats. It’s been taught in some circles for decades that the 2 goats were critical to the day. One goat, we were told, pictures Christ, and one goat pictures Satan. That’s right, on the day of ATONEMENT of all days – somehow Satan worms his way in there! Over the years, the entire sermon about the Day of Atonement was often all about the goat of removal – from the Hebrew word “azazel”. And azazel was capitalized, like this – Azazel - like it was a name of someone important, rather than keep it as a simple word meaning “removal”.  The word “azazel” is a function, not a name.  

Why were there 2 goats? And is there an example in scripture of 2 other identical animals that were part of a ceremony to show what God was doing?

Click on “Continue reading” to hear the rest of this teaching.

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LUCKY – or Give God the glory?

As you recount perilous times in your life that you went through, how do you describe it to others?

Assuming we can look back and see times where we had such a “close call” – and can see God’s intervention, do we give God the glory He deserves for answering prayer – or do we say things like, “Boy, were we ever LUCKY!” Or, “We sure dodged a bullet on that one”. I

In 2016, we had Hurricane Matthew – a Cat 3 that hugged the east coast of FL – when suddenly and unexpectedly, after much prayer, it hopped off eastward into the Atlantic 50 miles. Suddenly in the early morning hours. God spared Orange County/Orlando and millions of people. It was supposed to have 95-135 mph SUSTAINED winds for 12-14 hours and gusts higher than that. Our roofs and trees would not have survived. It was one of the most dramatic answers to prayer I’ve ever witnessed.

But after it was over, people were saying, “Boy, were we lucky!” I couldn’t help but jump in with a comment like “Luck had nothing to do with it. We had some powerful answer to earnest prayers going up. God saved us.” I was gratified to see a few signs up in front of people’s homes which said, “Thank you, God, for saving us.”

Then again, we just went through Irma. I can’t stand it when I hear people speak of being lucky. It wasn’t luck! People were beseeching our great God in heaven for days before. And we all watched as the forecasts and paths Irma was supposed to take, didn’t happen. God degraded Irma from what could have been a Cat 5 hurricane to hit FL – down to mostly Cat 2 for most of the state. I realize, many suffered through a Cat 3 and 4, but even then, a Cat 3 hurricane doesn’t begin to pack the wallop of a Cat 5 like the islanders went through.

God was with us. Those who have studied it carefully see how often this monster changed course and changed predictions. It could have been 50x worse in damages or more, if our great God hadn’t intervened. And THANK YOU to the thousands of you who prayed for us. YOUR PRAYERS WERE HEARD.

Click on “Continue reading” for important scriptures and points on this topic

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Are we aligned with God?

My brother Loren sent me this today: He mentioned a teacher who had said about our daily activities and decisions we make: “God has a part and you have a part. We cannot do God's part and God will NOT do our part. But God will help us do our part."

Then he added:

 Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."  Loren added, “This does NOT mean He gives us what we want. It means He will align us to HIS will. He waits for us as He guides us until we are ready to yield ourselves to Him. Then His ways and thoughts eventually become ours in every matter as our desires become aligned with His desires for us. (See also Rom 8:28 - called for HIS purpose)

“He will align us to HIS will”. That’s a very deep statement, folks.  It’s full of meaning and rich in nuances to see what He is all about, and what our lives are truly all about.

I agree.  Click on “Continue reading” to finish this short blog.

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