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Facing The Future with Confidence - How to Face the Future In Times of Doubt, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
March 24, 2023 6:00 am

Facing The Future with Confidence - How to Face the Future In Times of Doubt, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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March 24, 2023 6:00 am

Have you ever experienced times of doubt, where you faced overwhelming circumstances and found it difficult to trust God to help you? Chip provides a sure-fire antidote to apply during these times of doubt. It’s designed to bring you hope and restore your faith.


I don't know about you, but there are times that I just doubt.

I mean, I want to trust God. I want to say, Lord, you know, whatever you say, I'll do. I'll step up.

I'll step out. But in my heart of hearts, I just doubt. And then I get afraid. Anybody out there with me? In your time of doubt, God has a prescription that will help you get through it. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram.

The goal of this international discipleship ministry is to encourage Christians to really live like Christians. And you know, despite the massive amount of information at our fingertips nowadays, suspicion and disbelief have become the standard response to everything. Anytime we read or hear something, we're immediately skeptical, and fully trusting another person is a real struggle.

Why is that? Well, today Chip's going to help us better understand this issue as we near the end of our series, Facing the Future with Confidence. So if you're ready to discover God's antidote for doubt, get your Bible and go to Psalm 145 as we join Chip for his talk.

We're in a series called Facing the Future with Confidence, and there's a study handout. Why don't you go ahead and pull that out. And as you do, I want to tell you a story. For many of you, it's going to be a very familiar story. But for those of us that didn't grow up in the church, it is a wild, ancient, true story.

And it has just been one where the lights came on the first time I read it. Because everyone struggles with doubt now and then. And family and school and marriage and kids and aging parents and cancer. And there's doubt about, God, will you be there for me? Will you give me what I need? Can I make it through this? And the way to counteract doubt is something that it took me the first 10 or 12 years of my Christian life to learn.

So why don't you lean back and relax. And what I'd like you to do as much as possible is sort of a pretend you were there. I'd like to read an ancient story, historically true. It's about a man named Jehoshaphat.

And I'll give you the skinny on the story. He's a king of Israel, actually of Judah. And a vast army comes against him. And many of you from your background, you heard this in Sunday school. I didn't hear this growing up. And it's overwhelming odds. 20, 30, 40, 50 to 1.

There is no way. He calls his friends together, calls all the people. And a little later you'll see they bring their wives and their little ones. And they hold the infants in their arms. And he calls a fast and they pray and they fast and they seek the Lord.

And as they come together, this is Jehoshaphat's prayer. O Lord God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.

Power and might are in your hand and no one can withstand you. O our God, did not you drive out the inhabitants of the land before your people Israel and give it forever for the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and they've built in it a sanctuary for your name, saying certainly if something negative comes upon us, judgment or sword or famine. He says, will we not stand and come before you in your presence in this temple that bears your name and will cry out to you in our distress? And will you not hear us and save us? Said, Lord, the world's falling apart and we don't have any hope. And didn't, aren't you the one that gave it to us?

Isn't this about you? And didn't you say that if we ever got to this kind of a point that if we were desperate and came to this place and cried out, you would deliver? But now here are men from Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you wouldn't allow us to invade when we came from Egypt.

And he goes on and talks about where they're at and how they got there. And then he says, for we have no power to face this vast army that's attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.

Anybody here thinking to yourself, boy, I don't know what to do, but you turn off the TV and go in the bedroom. My eyes are upon you. We are living in radical days. I mean, what's going to happen? I don't know.

But it raises a big question. Is God going to be there for you? Is he going to be there for me? He ended praying, and then the Spirit of the Lord came upon a prophet, Jehizahreel, who's the son of Zachariah. And he stood up and he said, listen, God has spoken him, King Jehoshaphat and all who lived in Judah and Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says to you. Don't be afraid or discouraged. Don't be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. Don't be afraid of discouraged because things look impossible, difficult, overwhelming, uncertain, for the battle's not yours, but God's. Tomorrow, and then he gives him instructions, I want you to march down, and I want you to go to a certain place at a certain time, because that's where the enemy will be, and this is what you will do, and God will take care of it. And so the next day they get up and he pulls the people together, and listen to Jehoshaphat. Now, be a regular person here, okay?

Don't be a Bible story person. You know, one of your brothers or a cousin went out and looked at the army, and he comes back and he says, we're going to march out, right? Yeah. Well, like how many are there?

A lot. And then, you know, just kind of over coffee before you head out for this big battle, in your heart of hearts, you say to one of your friends, you think we got a chance? And he says, we don't have a prayer. I hope this Jehaza real guy is right, because I'm telling you, we're dead meat.

I mean, isn't that how real people live? And so Jehoshaphat senses that, and the people go out. Now, listen to what he says when he gathers the people. He says, listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem. Have faith in the Lord your God. Have faith in the Lord your God, and he will uphold you. Have faith in his prophets, and you'll be successful. And then after consulting all the people, and he appointed men, and he had them leave before the Lord, and they begin to praise God for the splendor of his holiness and song as they went out ahead of the army.

How would you like to be in that choir? We got a game plan. We're not going to fight. You guys get ahead of us. God's made some great promises. You guys start singing.

We hope it goes well. And here's what they sang. Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever. And then notice verse 22, if you happen to ever be in 2 Chronicles 20.

At that moment, or as they began to sing and praise the Lord, God set an ambush against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. I want to make an observation that everybody, no matter how godly you are, how well you know God has times of doubt. If you don't have a few doubts floating in your mind about the future of the world and the future of your world, I would question whether you're kind of aware of what's going on. And you know some of the strongest disciples had doubts. But the question is not do you have doubts and do you wonder, but how do you deal with it? Do you doubt that God will lead you in a big decision for the future? Do some of you, in light of what's going on, do you doubt about your financial future? Do some of you have, you know, maybe a marriage or a child or a family situation that you really doubt God's going to come through for you?

Or is it more personal? Do some of you doubt, honestly doubt? You know, maybe you're struggling with an area of temptation or sin and you really want to do what God wants you to do.

But down deep, you just don't think God's going to give you what you need to ever conquer that? 1988, as I experienced the three greatest doubts of my life, I'll develop them a little bit later, but scenario number one, I'm on an evangelistic basketball team. There's five of us in a jeep. We pull up outside a guard and there is two young high school guys, about 17 or 18, with submachine guns that are guarding and they're anti-American and they're drunk.

And they're saying very anti-American things and they're angry at us and I think, this is it, I'm going to die. And I doubted whether God would deliver me and I'm praying, oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God, help, help, help, help, help. And Tom said, let me handle this.

I said, brother, it's yours. And he got out and started talking. Later, the coach would get completely dehydrated and he would be lying on the side of a pool, hyperventilating.

We get into a hospital, if you can call it that, it was a gurney with a sheet and a dog laying in the corner and there was a doctor. And they had glucose, but only glucose for an IV, but no potassium. He said, you can go in to the city, it's about 50 or 60 miles away, I don't think he'll live that long, but he might. Or you can go 30 miles the other direction.

They might have an IV with potassium, but I'm not sure. You guys have to decide what to do. And I doubted whether my friend would live. And finally, when we finally got back to Manila, there was a coup.

And so someone took over the government and they said, everyone stays here for the next three or four months. Well, I like had a wife and four kids that I thought I was supposed to be back for, you know, soon. And I doubted God's sovereignty and I doubted, why are you doing this to me and what's going to happen to them? And what you're going to see is that God led me to do something that Glenn and I did on a number of trips. On the long trips, we spent a couple summers in South America, we would memorize a small book of the Bible, Philippians, James. But on a short trip like this, 10 to 14 days, we would take a classic psalm or two and memorize it. I memorized Psalm 145. I didn't know it was the classic psalm on praise. But through each one of my doubts, God took passages from Psalm 145 and I got to experience the same thing Jehoshaphat experienced. And if you want to get the big idea of today, go ahead on the front of your notes, praise is the antidote to doubt. I do not understand it all, but praise is the antidote to doubt. When you doubt, is God going to come through for me? When you doubt about the future in retirement and one of your kids? When you doubt what's going to happen in terrorism or are my loved ones going to be safe?

Are one of my kids going to die? When you have those feelings that overwhelm you of doubt about God and the future and His faithfulness and His sovereignty and His goodness, the antidote is praise. Now here's a confession. I didn't grow up in the church and so I never opened this book until I was 18. When I started to learn to pray, I learned quickly to share my needs and cry out to God. And then a little bit later, I learned to do intercessory prayer because I thought, you know, I'm getting something done.

You know, I'm asking God based on His promises to help this person and that person and this situation and I saw God move. But my confession is I was probably a Christian 10 to 12 years before I ever understood the power of praise. I didn't even know that story about Jehoshaphat was in there. Do you ever wonder why that's in here? Here's an overwhelming situation and God has a king at a choir to sing praises to His name and the moment the praises begin, a deliverance occurs. You think that was just thrown in there kind of like Holy Spirit didn't have anything to do that day and wanted to, you know, fill up second Chronicles, had chapter 19 done and chapter 21 and kind of needed something to stick there in 20?

I don't think so. But here's what I learned also about the average Christian is a lot of us don't know how to praise. We know how to cry out for help.

We know how to intercede. And my confession was I didn't know what biblical praise looked like. And so I want to help you learn how to praise God so that you can face your doubts in a way where God will break through in your experience exactly the same way He broke through in my experience in Manila and He broke through Jehoshaphat's experience in Judah. These are the very last words we hear of David.

We'll never hear any more from David. These are his last words recorded. And if you had time to study Psalm 145 carefully, I think emerging right out of the text would be four steps to biblical praise. Verses 1 and 2 give us step number 1, which is choose to praise God. I want to suggest that praising God isn't something that just happens when you feel like it and when God does something great and you automatically respond.

That's a good time. But I want to suggest that it is a choice you need to choose to praise God. Verse 1, I will exalt you, my God the King. I will praise your name forever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name forever and ever.

Did you get it? Circle the little phrase I will in verse 1, I will in the second half of verse 1, and then I will in verse 2. That's not I feel like I'll exalt you. I feel, what is it?

I will is a choice. When you feel low, when you feel troubled, when you feel overwhelmed, when you feel like you can't make it, that is the time to choose to praise God. I had a great friend named Bill Carter. He had a very difficult medical situation that required, I mean high blood pressure that put him in the danger zone. And he had medicine that, when he took the medicine, it brought his blood pressure down, but it caused severe depression. But because of other things, it couldn't give him anything for the depression.

So here's a guy living with just feelings of depression all the time. And I remember one day, he was an elder in the church, first church I got to pastor. And he said, Chip, I didn't learn until I battled with this, the power of praise. And he said, physiologically actually, he said, I would go sometimes, I'd have to go out of my office, go into the car, and I would spend time in worship and I would praise God and praise God and affirm his attributes and worship him.

And as I would, the depression would lift. But he said, I never felt like praising him. It was a choice.

Now, some of you may be thinking, okay, it's a choice, but how do you do it? I mean, is there some mystical way of praising God that I don't know about? The psalmist is going to teach us exactly how to praise him in verses three through eight. Step number two is verbalize specific evidence of God's greatness.

Here's where you start, verse three. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise, his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another. They will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty. And I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works and I will proclaim your great deeds.

They will celebrate, or literally the word is, they will eagerly utter your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. Do you have a pen? Circle the following words because I want to make an observation. Verse four, circle the word commend. Then go down, circle the word tell. Below that, speak, meditate, tell, proclaim, celebrate, joyfully sing. What do these words have in common? Every single one of them has to do about verbalizing, verbalizing, verbalizing, saying, telling, proclaiming.

What? He's teaching us how to learn to praise. When you get up in the morning and you can't get going and you know you want to choose to praise and you don't know what to do, you verbalize specific things. But what do you verbalize? Look at the end of each sentence. The acts of God.

Notice what it says. Verse four, your works, your mighty acts, your wonderful works, your awesome works, your great deeds, your abundant goodness, your righteousness. He starts and says, great is Yahweh. You're most worthy of praise. That's sort of the umbrella statement that everything comes under in this section. And then it says, your greatness no one can fathom, but I want to get my arms around it.

How do you get your arms around it? You remember and think back on his mighty acts, his mighty deeds, his specific things that he's done. Seven different times those deeds are listed and then seven different times he tells, proclaims. You verbalize or literally write down or proclaim the specific acts and deeds God has done in your past or in his past with his people. Have you ever noticed when you read the Old Testament when people were in a jam that they always go to the same place?

Read the psalmist. He's in a jam. He's in a jam. He's in a jam.

What's he do? I remember, Lord, when you brought us through the Red Sea, right? He always goes back to historical, specific events. And this has been something for years that have been so helpful for me. That's why David, when he teaches us how to do biblical praise, he says it never gets dynamic until it gets specific. And the way to get it specific is to list and verbalize and tell and proclaim very specific things God's done in your life. I encourage you to go out and grab a cup of coffee and a napkin and a pen and write down specific things God's done in the last seven days.

If you get stuck, go back to 30 days. Sit around the dining room table today and say, okay, in the family, if you're sitting with someone or with a friend, let's talk about answers to prayer in the last month, the last year, and start writing them down, and then you'll look at them. And that will lead you to the third step, and that's focus on God's character and adore him. His specific acts lead us to apprehend who he is, and that's what praise is. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for specific things, deeds God has done. Praise is not the same as Thanksgiving. Praise is a focus on the who, the worship of who has done it. Thanksgiving is on what he has done.

But there's a clear correlation. Jot down in the corner of your notes Psalm 103, verse 7, great, great Psalm. And right about verse 7, there's a hinge verse. He made known his ways to Moses his acts to the sons of Israel.

Very interesting. He remembers. He does biblical praise there.

Forget not all your benefits. And then verse 7, he made known his ways to Moses his acts to the sons of Israel. And then he goes on to praise God for his character. Can I just do a little aside here?

Can we stop the car on the notes? And can we have a little aside over here and do a little review? Did the children of Israel see the Red Sea part? Yes or no?

Like, are you with me today or not? Did the children of Israel see the Red Sea part? Yes or no? Did they see manna every morning? Yes or no?

Did they see water come out of the rock? Yes or no? Did they say God deliver in miraculous ways with a fire by night and a cloud by day? Yes. Now, how many of them ended up walking with God out of that 1.5 or 2 million people and believed him and went on with God?

Two. The acts of God will not sustain you. There's so many of us in this room that we think if that biopsy report would change, we would give God the glory and everything would be okay. If we would just get a check in the mail, then everything would be okay. If we could just get a job, everything would be okay. If one of our sons or daughters would come back to the Lord, then everything would be okay. I've got news for you.

30 days from now, you would forget that. Now, do you want all that to happen? Sure.

God's acts will not sustain you. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the sons of Israel. Now, Moses, did he see the Red Sea part? Yeah. Did he see the cloud, the manna, the quail, the water from the rock?

Yeah. But what was his prayer life like? Theirs was gimme, gimme, gimme, more, more, more.

What have you done for me lately? That's a loose translation of Numbers and Deuteronomy, a lot of Exodus. What was Moses' prayer? Lord, show me your glory. I want to know you. I don't want to know, I don't want to just see out there what you do.

I want to know you. I want to know your heart. So much so that when God speaks of Moses, he says, I speak to Moses as a friend to a friend, face to face. See, what God, what praise does, it moves you from all these actions and all these specifics, and then you get to line them up and see what God is doing, but they're all designed so you get to know who he is. And when you understand who he is, for who he really is, then you adore. That's what praise is. It's adoration, admiration. It's honoring. It's exalting.

It's your focus and adoration for the person, not just for what they do. And so what you're going to see from this section on is that from about verse 8 through verse 20, David is going to teach us, first it's a choice, second you verbalize specific things in order to make it dynamic because it's specific, and then his deeds will lead you to his ways, and then he'll begin to highlight the ways of God, and he will praise him for his goodness, then he'll praise him for his sovereignty, and then he'll praise him for his faithfulness, then he'll praise him for his righteousness, and then at the very end he'll invite others to join him in praise. And when you learn to pray like that in a time of doubt, by choice, by then listening, and then worshiping God for who he is, what happens is, here's why it works, your view of God explodes, and when you have a big God, you get small problems. But if all your focus and energy is on your problems, or if on Fox or CNN, and you saturate your mind with all that is wrong and all that is difficult, then your size of your God shrinks, and you live with doubt and anxiety.

Do you see the correlation? So let's learn how to do it. Let's learn how to praise him for his goodness. He starts and says, the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all, he has compassion on all that he's made. He's actually quoting here from Exodus 34, 6.

It's a line that's repeated in classic places all through, all through the Bible. And he's talking about God's very character, and his goodness is expressed in three primary ways, his grace, number one, second, his compassion, or some of your translations will say mercy, and then the slow to anger, he's rich in love, or hesed, loving kindness, steadfast, loyal love. Now what I've learned over the years is that we throw grace, mercy, and loyal love around.

Let's define them, okay? What's it really mean? Grace is to be given something that you don't deserve, totally apart from your performance. Grace is someone walks up and says, here's a million dollars, it's not because you're a good person, not because you did this, or I think you will do this, no strings attached, you'll never see me again, it's a gift, a million dollars. That's what grace is. Mercy, by contrast, is to withhold judgment or penalty of what is justly due you.

This is when you mistakenly or willfully run through a red light, and then you didn't see the person, you crash in, you kill the person, you're on for manslaughter, and someone steps in and says, you deserve to go to jail for 20 years because you ran the red light and killed the person. Mercy is, I will not hold that against you, you will not go to prison, you'll be set free. Grace, getting what you don't deserve unconditionally because of nothing that you've done.

Mercy is getting withheld what's justly deserved. And then loving kindness is the idea of steadfast, loyal, covenant love that's not based on your performance. And the very first thing, when he, when David thinks back to all of the works and the mighty acts and the wonderful works and the awesome works and the great deeds and the abundant goodness, he says to himself, your goodness flows to me like unmerited grace. You have withheld from me what I justly deserve, and no matter whether I'm having a good day or a bad day, your covenant, loyal love with me, O God, that is what I experience.

And so David praises him and he says, I adore you for that, I worship you for that, I bow down before you, I exalt you, and he praises God for his goodness. You've been listening to part one of Chip's message, How to Face the Future in Times of Doubt, which is from our series, Facing the Future with Confidence. Chip will be back with us in studio shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. In this age of information, it often feels like the more we know, the more anxious we become. So where can we find stability in these uncertain times? What can we put our trust in? Through this six-part study, Chip explains why God is our dependable rock and refuge, no matter the storms that come our way. Discover how that certainty can motivate us to tackle our most challenging circumstances and propel us to a more joy-filled life.

And to help you better understand what that looks like, we have a really special offer I want to tell you about. During this series, we want to give every listener a copy of Chip's well-known book, I Choose Peace at No Cost. This tool will encourage you to lean on God through the highs and lows of life. To get your free copy of I Choose Peace, go to, or text PEACE to 74141. That's the word PEACE, P-E-A-C-E, to 74141.

This is a limited-time offer, one book per customer, while supplies last. Well, Chip's here in studio with me now, and Chip, before we go on, you know, God's truly blessed Living on the Edge with unbelievable ministry opportunities. And there's one particular opportunity that's personally brought you a lot of joy, I know.

It's something we developed through the pandemic that's really taken off. Now, would you take a minute and talk about it? Dave, I would be delighted. We started something called Daily Discipleship.

Great. And it was just how to study the Bible for yourself, but it wasn't a teaching. It was me speaking directly to a person into a camera, and I really didn't know if it would work. Well, over 200,000 people have been through one of the five Daily Discipleships, and the feedback, why it brings me such joy, is it's not like, oh, I like the teaching, or oh, that was really great, or that inspired me. Over and over and over, I hear people say, I'm reading the Bible every day.

God's speaking to me. I have these skills. I kind of learn to journal. When I went through that with you, I developed the habit. It's changed my life. It's changed my marriage. I mean, it has been the most singular delightful thing that I in the last 40 years have gotten to experience in a way that I never dreamed could happen by way of video. I mean, just little 10-minute videos and a little something to help people. Well, what I have to tell you is we're going to keep making them, and the demand is really strong.

And here's my appeal. If you've done any of the Daily Discipleships and if it helped you, would you consider becoming a monthly partner? Would you pay it forward? Would you just say, wow, yes, I went through that one in Ephesians, or the one in Philippians, or the one in Romans, or the one in James, and wow, it's so helped me. If it helped you, would you please help us help others? Would you pray and ask God if he wants you to be a monthly partner to Living on the Edge?

Thanks, Chip. As you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry. I want to remind you that every gift is significant.

When you partner with Living on the Edge, you multiply our efforts and resources in ways only God can do. To set up a recurring donation, go to, or the Chip Ingram app. You can also text donate to 74141. That's the word donate to 74141. We appreciate your support.

Well, with that said, here again is Chip to share his application. As we close today's message, I do know that what I shared here is very, very counterintuitive, right? There's doubts, there's fears, there's uncertainties, there's, you know, questions about work and school and jobs and future and money and the future of our nation and emotions that are running wild. And to say to someone, here's how you face the future, you need to start praising God.

Well, I mean, I get that sounds like very, very trite, but listen very, very carefully. If you only focus on the problems, they get bigger and bigger and bigger. If you can focus on God, who He really is, as your God gets bigger and bigger and bigger, your problems get smaller and smaller. And it's not without very clear intention and purpose that we have passages like Psalm 145 and stories about a Jehoshaphat who has odds that are impossible and he's commanded to sing and give praise to the Lord. And it says when he began to sing, the Lord began to work in great power.

And I know for some of us who maybe aren't musical or we're fix-it type people, we're driven, we're type A, we just want to solve the problem, this is very challenging. I just described me. But what I have learned is I put on some music that allows me to connect with God, some worship songs that really speak to me, and I sit on the floor early in the morning before I read my Bible, especially at times like this, and I sing along and I ponder who God is and I thank Him and I adore Him. And I will tell you, it enlarges my view of God. I experience Him.

It's not knowing about Him. I experience Him. The other thing that I've done is to take the Psalms and read them out loud as prayers, really out loud and personalize them. And so what I can tell you is I'm going to get real specific in our next broadcast about how to do this, but could I just encourage you, turn off the news, stop listening to what everyone is saying, where we're at, what's going to happen and how terrible it is, and get before God and worship Him. It's the antidote to doubt.

Great word, Chip. And we want to help you tune out the noise of this chaotic world and better connect with God. So let me encourage you to check out the Chip Ingram Map and get plugged in with our helpful resources. You can listen to our most recent series, sign up for daily discipleship and more. We want to help you grow in your walk with Jesus. And the Chip Ingram Map is a great way to immerse yourself in uplifting biblical content. Well, be sure to join us next time as Chip wraps up his series, Facing the Future with Confidence. Until then, I'm Dave Druey, thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-24 05:24:34 / 2023-03-24 05:38:23 / 14

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