Daily Encouragement Net
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Goldfinches in snow 
Brooksyne took this photo of goldfinches in front of our office window.
Here's a larger version.

"God Can Take It!"

Message summary:
When we have times of doubt and questioning it's good to remember that God can take it. A bedrock Scripture to lean on in times of confusion and doubt is the oft quoted Proverbs 3:5,6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5,6).
Listen to this message on your audio player.

"When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask Him, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?'" (Matthew 11:2,3).

John the BaptistA picture of John the Baptist hung in the hallway of my home while I was growing up (similar to the one on the right as I recall). As a child I earnestly but mistakenly assumed that his name meant that he attended a Baptist church. Since we attended a Methodist Church growing up I also didn't understand why there was no picture of Mark the Methodist.

Well, of course I eventually learned of the Biblical character of John the Baptist and that there was no Mark the Methodist in the Bible!

We often view the Bible characters as having it all together and never struggling as we do with faith and trust, although Peter might be an exception since we saw him flounder in the midst of his faith crisis.

John the Baptist was a slightly older cousin to Jesus and thus they probably knew each other from earliest childhood. He was the one who was to "prepare the way for the Lord" and he had a notable ministry.
  • He acknowledged concerning Jesus, "He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie” (John 1:27).
  • He introduced Christ's ministry with the words, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
  • He baptized Jesus Christ and heard these words from heaven, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).
  • He made one of the greatest faith statements in the Bible when he stated, "He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30)
Wow, with these credentials and experiences we may assume that John would have unshakable faith. Yet our daily text records a crisis of faith in his life. This was later on after most of the material we have about him has already taken place. He was in prison and he was perhaps emotionally and physically broken. Our pastor surmises that he was dealing with expectations concerning Jesus that had not yet been met which was common to the other disciples as well. Essentially they were still looking for an earthly king who would restore Israel to its former glory.

When he was thrown into prison perhaps a time of despair and doubt came over him. In our daily text  he asked two questions that we'd assume were long settled in his faith. He sent his disciples to ask Jesus, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" Now bluntly I would expect that John should have the answer to these questions deeply settled in his heart after all he had seen and heard.

But here he was languishing in prison and the worst was yet to come. The Bible candidly chronicles his rather ignominious death in Matthew 14:1-12. That's certainly not what he was expecting!

Today what unmet expectations are you dealing with? Some may be chronic and ongoing, others acute. "Why is this happening to me?" or "It just wasn't supposed to happen this way" we feel in our hearts and may even cry out. I was listening last night to a praise song with the recurring words, "You're never gonna let me down". But bluntly sometimes we do feel let down.

"Tears Are A Language God Understands" is a song we have enjoyed since our earliest years of following Christ. Gordon Jensen, the songwriter, expresses an experience many have had,

When grief has left you low it causes tears to flow
And things have not turned out the way that you had planned

When things don't turn out the way we plan and we have unmet expectations this often prompts questions and even doubt, as it did for John. It's best to face them head on and honestly as John did. To use the words of another thoughtful song we enjoy, God can take it!

Bring Him every question in your heart
The doubt that's tearing you apart
Your greatest hurts, your deepest scars
God can take it.

Bring Him all the bitterness inside
The shame that you wish you could hide
The fear that keeps you paralyzed
God can take it.

When we have times of doubt and questioning it's good to remember that God can take it. A bedrock Scripture to lean on in times of confusion and doubt is the oft quoted Proverbs 3:5,6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5,6).

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You alone are my Rock, my Fortress, and my salvation. By trusting in You with all my heart I won't be shaken. I choose not to lean on my own understanding but will lean on You instead, acknowledging You in all my ways, being confident that You go before me and direct my paths according to Your sovereign plan. Not only do you guide, instruct, and provide for me here and now, but You also are preparing for me a dwelling place in the house of the Lord forever. Keep me faithful and trusting until you transport me to heaven I pray. Amen.

Psalm 62:6; Proverbs 3:5,6, Psalm 23:6

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"He Can Take It"  Video   Brian Free & Assurance

"Tears Are A Language"  Video  The Booth Brothers  This is one of the first songs Brooksyne sang and played at the piano in what was referred to as a "special" back in the seventies and eighties. Can you see that I'm a bit sentimental about this song!

"Hymn Of Heaven"  Video  Phil Wickham

And every prayer we prayed in desperation
The songs of faith we sang through doubt and fear
In the end, we'll see that it was worth it
When He returns to wipe away our tears

"King Of My Heart"  Video  Phil Wickham  This is the song that has the recurring line, "You're never gonna let me down".

"He Sees What We Don't"  Video  11th Hour  A very thoughtful song.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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