With all that's happening right now in your world, are you prone in private moments to doubt God's love or His plan for you?
I mean, maybe it's about financial security or personal safety or family issues or even that the goals and the dreams that you've had may never happen. Do you ever doubt that God has the power or even the desire to help you in those areas? If so, stay with me. I think we have some things that will really help. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry motivating Christians to live like Christians.
Well, today we're wrapping up our series Facing the Future with Confidence. Chip's covered a lot of ground the past few programs describing how we're to respond in times of uncertainty, confusion, and doubt. We hope his teaching has been an encouragement to you and to help inspire others in their difficult circumstances. Would you take a minute after this message and share it with them?
You can do that either through the Chip Ingram app or by sending them the free MP3s that you'll find at livingontheedge.org. Thanks for spreading the word about how this series is impacting you. Okay, here's Chip for the remainder of his message, How to Face the Future in Times of Doubt from Psalm 145. Now, I don't know where you're at in your life, but it was a long journey and one that I'm still on to understand God's goodness. I believe some of us, I had a dad who was an ex-Marine and I remember the years in the 70s and especially 80s, early 90s, everybody dumped on their parents and any problem you ever had was because of your parents and they should have done this, you should have done that. Well, all those people dumped on their parents now have kids growing up and realize that's not a good way to go. Because what we don't do is talk about all the great things our parents develop in us.
But since no one's parent was Jesus, that means they're fallible people and they didn't do everything right. I mean, a lot of my work ethic and my overachievement and focus on goals and make things happen, man, that's my dad pushing me and having confidence and believing in me. But he wasn't a believer when we grew up and so when I would achieve something, my dad thought I want to bring out the best, you know, that be all you can be.
Long before the Marines were saying that, my dad lived it. And so the bar was here and if you achieved that, then he would raise the bar. Oh, okay, well then you achieved that, then he raised the bar. Well, some of you have been around the block long enough that when you bust it, achieve it, bust it, achieve it, bust it, achieve it, and the bar keeps going up, what do you do? You just get discouraged.
He didn't mean to do that at all. And so somehow I transferred that to my relationship with God. And I probably lived a good portion of my early Christian life and still struggle with this idea that no matter how hard I try, how long I pray, how much I serve, how generous I am with my money, I always feel like God's arms are kind of crossed and his toe is tapping and saying, well, Chip, that was pretty good, but. And you know what that is? That is very bad theology.
A.W. Tozer, a little book that's transformed my life, The Knowledge of the Holy, writes about God's goodness. Let me define his goodness. The goodness of God is that which disposes him to be kind and cordial, benevolent and full of goodwill toward men. He is tender hearted.
He's quick of sympathy and his unfailing attitude toward all moral beings is open and frank and friendly. And by his nature, he is inclined to bestow blessedness and he takes holy pleasure and the happiness of his people. Is that the God that you serve? Did you realize this morning before you were awakened, you were sleeping in bed and the triune God of heaven could look down on you sleeping and you weren't doing anything.
And there's a smile on his face. And they're thinking in the triunity of the Godhead, how could we bless him today? How could we bless her today?
How could we bring joy into her life for his life? You see, God is good to you, not because you're good. God is good to you because he's good.
And we don't get that. In fact, Tozer goes on to write, I love this. The whole outlook of mankind might be changed if we could all believe that we dwell under a friendly sky and that the God of heaven, though exalted in power and majesty, is eager to be friends with us. Wouldn't you breathe just a little better if you felt like God is for me?
He's not down on me. When something good happens to you, that it's his holy pleasure, he delights, that when he sees relationships connect, when he sees the smile of your heart with one of your kids, when he sees an answer to prayer, when he blesses you financially, that it's the God of heaven. It's goodness, it's grace, it's love for you. When you begin to praise God that he's like that, you will start to believe that he's like that.
And when you start to believe that he's like that, it will change how you think. And so David praises God for his goodness, and then he shifts not only is God good, but he's sovereign. He goes, all you've created will praise you, oh Lord. Identifies his creatorship.
He goes, your saints will extol you. And then next, as we walk through this, watch very, very carefully, because an interesting thing happens. David is a king, right? It's a different day, but when the king walks in, what do people do?
They bow down. And a king has a kingdom. What's a kingdom? If you're the king, anything inside your kingdom, you're the boss of, you control.
You have the power and the authority to say, this is how it's going to happen here under my rule. All a kingdom is, is identifies the rule of that person in power. Now listen carefully to as David now exalts, he's thought through these specific acts of how God has delivered and intervened, and now he's going to praise him, not just for his goodness, but that he's absolutely in control of everything, every situation that comes in his life. As I read, listen for the concept of kingdom or dominion or rule or sovereignty. Verse 11, they will tell of the glory of your kingdom and they will speak of your might so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and your rule or dominion endures through all generations. Do you know what sovereignty means? It means God's in control.
Jotting your notes in the corner, Romans 8, 28 and 29. We quote that at different times. But God is in control. What do we say? And we know that God works all things together for the good. For everybody know, what? To them that love God, who are the called according to his purposes.
Listen very carefully. Nothing that enters your life comes to you unless it is ordained by God or allowed by God. And even the evil and the difficult and the fallen nature of what's happening in the world or your world, God promises because he is bigger and more powerful and sovereign, he will use it for your good.
And your good, however, is not necessarily to be upwardly mobile and be a little happy camper skipping up and down everything going great. See, that's the American gospel. If God's really good, he'll make my life work out my way on my terms to make me happy so I can be fulfilled. That is not biblical Christianity.
Verse 29 is biblical Christianity. He will work all things together for your good who are called according to his purposes in order that he may conform you and conform me to the image of his son. God is about making you like Jesus. He will use your finances. He will use a health problem. He will use a broken relationship. He will use a wayward child. He will use the health situation of one of your parents. He will use a personality defect. He will use a boss that is unreasonable or an employee who is making you crazy. He will use all things together for your good to make you and to make me a daughter or a son that progressively exudes, not because we're trying or faking it, but progressively exudes love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and gentleness and goodness and self-control in the very life of Christ.
And does the world need more of those kind of people populating it? But see, the way God gets us there isn't the way we always sign up for. And what he does is he praises God. What would happen if you actually believe that God's really in control? I'm thinking to myself, Lord, you don't understand.
I've got a wife and four kids and I'm the breadwinner and I've got to be back and there's a pastor and I am so important. You know, there's a coup, but you know, you can suspend the school for Chip, can't you? Forget all these generals and military people. You've got to get me on a plane now because I am so important. I wasn't thinking that way.
And then God brought this passage to my mind. Chip, who's in control of governments? You are. Who cares about your wife and children more than you?
You do. Now, Chip, I can get you on a plane if I want to and I can change the airline schedule and you should pray and ask me that. But I'm sovereignly in control of this country, this world and the universe and I'll get you home when you need to be home.
What I would like for you to do is trust me and give thanks and cooperate with what I might want to do in you or even through you or in your wife or even through them regardless of your circumstances. Do you get it? Now, in that one, that was wonderful.
We got a last-minute deal and we got on that plane, got out of the country before they shut things down. But that lesson has stayed with me. And so then you begin to praise Him. You're in control. I don't understand it, but thank you that your ultimate purposes will be fulfilled in my heart and in my family and in my job as I align and depend on you.
Do you get it? Do you see how praise is an antidote for doubt? Your view of God as you praise Him for who He really is begins to get accurate and expands. He is good. He's for you. Second, He's in control. Nothing enters your life that He doesn't either allow or ordain.
And third, you can depend on Him. He goes on to say what? He's faithful. Look at the text, verse 13, the Lord is faithful to what? Some of His promises? 72% of His promises? The Lord is faithful to all His promises, and He's loving toward all He has made.
Quick question. Who made you? God. Look at what the verse says.
He is loving toward all He's made. What if you praised Him for that? What if you said you were so good and you're so in control? You know, in your sovereignty, I'm bulletproof. I need to obey and I need to submit, and your sovereignty produces productivity, not passivity. I want to align with your purposes in my life, but you're loving toward all that you've made, and every single promise in this book, I can go to the bank on it. You're faithful.
You'll never let me down. The Lord upholds who? All those who fall down. Who does He lift up? All who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at proper time. You open your hand and you satisfy the desires of every living thing.
God is faithful. I remember when my kids were younger, and I'd hear them talk on the phone, and they'd be meeting people. In Santa Cruz, everyone goes out for coffee.
I mean, they just go out for coffee, or they go out to surf. And so I'd hear one of my kids on the phone, oh, man, oh, man. I'd say, what happened? He flaked on me.
I said, what's that mean? Well, we were supposed to meet, we were supposed to surf, and he didn't show up. We were all gonna meet for coffee, and so and so didn't show up. He flaked on me. Anybody ever flake on you? Any employer ever flake on a promise? Any friend, any mate, any one of your kids ever flake on you?
How'd it make you feel? Can I tell you something? God will never flake on you. Any situation you're in, you think, I don't have the resources.
Here's a promise. He just said 100% of the time, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. 100% of the time for every believer, that's true.
You're wondering how you're gonna make it with what's happened in the economy, what? My grace is sufficient for you, and what do we know? End of Philippians 4. He will provide all your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus. Whatever you need, he'll provide.
You're under pressure in the relationship. His grace is sufficient. His power is perfected, what?
In your weakness. God will never flake. He'll be faithful. He's for you. He's good. And every promise in this book for you as a believer, you can count on it, and you can count on the God who will come through, and he's in control, and he's not doing it to put you through some, like, marine boot camp.
He's doing it because he loves you, and he wants your best, and he's for you, and he wants to reveal his love to you. We were in that hospital, and this passage came to my mind, and my buddy's laying there, and, I mean, he's in bad shape, and it says here that first he's a restorer. He upholds those who fall down.
Then it says he's a provider. They look to him, and he provides their food, and then it says he satisfies the desire of every living thing. He's a life giver, and I remember getting with a group of basketball players, and we locked arms around our buddy Glenn before they put him in the back of this pickup truck, and we decided to go the short route, and I asked God to spare my friend's life, and he satisfies the desire of every living thing.
God could be sovereign and take his life and still be a good God. Are you beginning to see how God works? The truth of God's word in your experience he will bring to your mind so it is the basis of your trust so you can pray it in faith so the Spirit of God makes the written word alive in your experience, and you meet and experience him in the same way Jehoshaphat did. That's how the Christian life works. Change life is God's ultimate goal. The Word of God by the Spirit of God as people live in community taking steps of faith and dependency, he wants to show up as supernaturally in your life and meet your need today as he does or has done in every Bible character in Scripture.
And what God's looking for is a regular group of people who would do what in their time of doubt? Praise him. Oh God, I'm going to list what you've done. God, I'm going to choose to do it when I don't feel like it. Oh God, you are good even though I don't feel like it and circumstances don't look like it. God, you're sovereign even though I don't know how you're going to make the lemonade out of this group of lemons I just got. God, you're faithful even though I'm scared to death if you don't come through.
I can't make it. And then finally he's going to say he's righteous. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he's made. The Lord is near to those who call upon him to all who call upon him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him.
He hears their cry and he saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him but all the wicked he'll destroy. It says the Lord is righteous. When you think of righteousness we often think of that as his holiness.
This is not the word here. It's true God is holy. This word has the idea that he's just or he's fair and he's loving toward all he has made. Have you noticed that's repeated?
We must need to hear that, huh? He's loving toward all he's made. Now notice that he's not fair or loving toward all people at all time. There are three specific conditions about experiencing the justice of God. Condition number one, the Lord is near to those who call upon him. In other words, he wants to answer your prayer.
What's the condition? What's it say? To those who call upon him in truth. The moment, the second, the millisecond you get absolutely honest with God and get real and don't try and manipulate him and don't go into denial and don't play religious games, the moment you call to God in absolute honesty and truth, bang, he'll meet you. And when you play games and manipulate and try and cut deals, you know what? Talk all you want in that bedroom.
Talk all you want on that walk. But his ears are closed to those who are not honest and open with him. You know, we've gotten this idea that God does not answer all prayers equally. He doesn't.
I mean, don't look at me like, what? No, he doesn't. What's it say? James 5, the effective prayer of a what kind of person? Righteous man.
Second condition is not only honesty but notice humility. He says he fulfills the desires of those who fear him and he hears their cries and saves them. God answers prayer and he fulfills the desires of those who fear him, who understand life's about him, life's about God, who have reverential awe. To fear God means I'm going to do relationships his way. I'm going to be a man or a woman of the book.
I'm going to be a person whose life and priorities revolve around the scripture and prayer and integrity and loving God and loving others. That's what it means to fear God. It means the whole world and the whole Christian community can go that direction, but if God says this direction, I'm going this direction. When you walk in the fear of the Lord, he delights to fulfill your desires.
But it does not fill the desires of everyone. God is a God of grace, but there are clear conditions to him allowing you and allowing me to experience his grace. Finally, we're to love him. The Lord watches over all who love him, but the wicked he will destroy. Remember that Revelation passage where people lose their first love? Where, you know, kind of just going to church or religiosity or going through the motions or God gets like number two or number three or number four on the pecking order.
You know what? He's a jealous God. He doesn't want to be even in your top five.
He's number one, number one, the only one. He wants to be the center of your heart, your life, your affection, your dreams, your agenda. And that means that daily and weekly we what?
Surrender ourselves before him as a living sacrifice. And that means also that unless you're different than all the rest of us in the room, your heart will gravitate and get sucked in and pulled into multiple things, and you'll find yourself daily saying, Lord, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Those aren't the kind of thoughts that honor you. God, I'm sorry. I've gotten connected in this relationship in an unhealthy way. Lord, I'm sorry.
I've gotten stuck on this stuff and for a while there I thought life was about my car and my money and my retirement and what people thought impressing others. Oh, God, I'm sorry. And the moment you come like that, what's he do? He just eagerly runs to forgive and to cleanse. When you doubt, and there's certainly good reason to doubt in our day, David says biblical praise is the antidote to doubt. Step number one, choose to do it whether you feel like it or not. Step number two, itemize, if you will, verbalize specific acts of God in your life. Step number three, use those acts to move you from his acts to his ways and then focus on at least these four, his goodness and his sovereignty and his faithfulness and his righteousness and worship and adore him. And then finally, coming together, saying, God, not just as an individual but as your body, I want to worship you. Look at verse 21, isn't that what David does? David says, my mouth will speak in praise of the Lord, let, in fact this is a little soft, it's a command, let every creature praise his holy name forever and ever.
I just have one quick question for you. Could an all powerful God who takes holy pleasure in making you happy, who's completely sovereign, in control and faithful to you, who's righteous and just and fair and who's all knowing and who delights over you and you're the object of his affection, do you think he could take that issue and do you think he could handle it this week for you? You think he could? You think he could give you the grace to hang on in a relationship? You think he could give you the grace to not have your heart beating so hard or wake up in the middle of the night when you think about how things are going overseas or with your finances? Do you think he could give you the power and the grace to draw near to him and say, you know what, I can't change the biopsy report, I can't make one of my kids turn back to the Lord, I can't get my aging parents to trust Christ before they die, but I can draw near to the one who can and I can entrust those things to you, oh God, because you're good, no one gets a raw deal, you're sovereign, you're in control, and you are faithful to your word and I'm your son, I'm your daughter, and no one gets a raw deal with the great God of the universe. And so I come to you in truth and I humble myself before you and you satisfy the desires of every living thing who walk in the fear of the Lord and I want to be a worshiper.
I'm a regular Joe, a regular Mary who gets up every day and I want you to be the object of my affection, I'd like to get to know you deeper and deeper and better and better. And as I do, then those problems that seem to overwhelm my life get to be what they are, an issue that God wants to use to change me to make me more like his son and see who he really is. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and the message you just heard, how to face the future in times of doubt, is from our series, Facing the Future with Confidence. Chip will be back to share some insights from today's talk in just a minute. 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 livingontheedge.org, 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. Before we wrap up this series, Chip's with me here in studio to talk about a really important issue that's close to his heart. Chip?
Thanks so much, Dave. You may not know it, but there's about 8 billion people on the planet Earth, and almost one-third of them, 2.4 billion, call themselves Christians. And yet their research shows that only a tiny fraction of those people who call themselves Christians actually live in a way that produces what Jesus would call spiritual fruit. They haven't moved beyond spiritual empathy. In other words, they need help to grow and to mature. And at Living on the Edge, helping Christians live like Christians is the core purpose. In other words, it's why we exist. We're convinced that God has called every single believer to mature, to become like Christ, to become the kind of parent, the kind of person, the kind of boss, the kind of employee that reflects the character and the life of the Lord Jesus. But people need help to do that.
And maybe you're one of them. Maybe you're a person who's listened to the broadcast or has done a Living on the Edge small group or gone through daily discipleship. I mean, literally hundreds of thousands, millions of people have been through some of our material that's helped you mature. And what I would ask you is, would you be willing to pay it forward? Would you become a monthly partner? At a small amount, a medium amount, a big amount, if each one of us would just give some each month, that would allow us to help those spiritual babies grow to maturity and then make a difference in their marriage and then in their families, in their communities, and in their churches.
And when that happens, God does a great work. I'd like to invite you to become a monthly partner with Living on the Edge. Thanks, Chip. And I want you to know that if you take that step, God will use your financial support to do incredible work through this ministry.
We've seen it time and time again. So I hope you'll prayerfully consider partnering with us every month. Now, to do that, go to livingontheedge.org or the Chip Ingram app. Or if it's easier, text donate to 74141.
That's the word donate to 74141. And thanks for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do. Well, with that, here again is Chip. As we close today's program and actually wrap up this entire series, I just want you to know that I think God really understands when we doubt. I want to just speak specifically to those of you that maybe have a little bit of that Chip Ingram disease where you struggle with feeling like God's down on you.
You don't measure up no matter how much you do. And I would remind you that God is good. And that means that you live under a friendly sky and that God, who although exalted in majesty and glory, is eager to be friends with us.
That's a little quote out of A.W. Tozer's book, The Knowledge of the Holy on the Goodness of God. And I just cannot tell you the value in my own personal life of focusing on the attributes of God and praising Him for His faithfulness and getting to where you know what that means. It means He's going to come through or His wisdom. I mean really getting to the point where you say, God is going to bring about the best possible ends by the best possible means for the most possible people for the longest possible time.
That's the classic definition of the wisdom of God. You are loved and you're the object of the affection of a holy, loving, faithful, good, just and fair God. And when you get glimpses of that and you begin to praise Him for who He is, I will tell you more than any activity you'll ever do, it'll transform your life. Because it's seeing God, it's getting to know Him, that's what changes us.
The writer of 1 John would tell us that we don't know what we will be like, but we know this, that when we see Him, we'll be like Him. And so as we close, I would just say get an accurate picture of God because what I know is He really loves you and He's really for you. And a lot of you are really struggling because you want to believe that, but you don't.
And you don't believe something by trying hard to believe it, you believe it by renewing your mind and by digging into the truth. God bless you, it's been a joy to be on this journey with you, Facing the Future with Confidence. Thanks Chip. One last thing before we go, we want to help you better understand that confidence we have in God. Right now we're offering Chip's popular book, I Choose Peace, at no cost. We want to encourage you to lean on God and completely trust Him through the highs and lows of life. To get your free copy of I Choose Peace, go to livingontheedge.org 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 until next time, I'm Dave Druey saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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