September 25, 2006

 

Encouragement for Today

 

Principle 1

 

“Circumstantial Evidence”

Marybeth Whalen, P31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

Psalm 42:5-6, “Why are you so downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God...” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

In the US judicial system, a jury is not to convict a defendant based solely on circumstantial evidence.  They are told not to presume innocence or guilt based on incidental details.  Yet many of us do this in our daily relationship with God.  We judge Him, His character and His motives based on our circumstances.  We rely on circumstantial evidence in two ways:

 

First, we use our feelings to gauge the temperature of our relationship with God.  If we feel happy and blessed, then God is a loving, merciful friend.  If we feel isolated and abandoned, then God surely must be a far away, uncaring dictator.  Emotions and feelings fluctuate daily, even hourly.  One minute we’re up, the next we’re down.  The problem with this is that God is unchanging.  James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (NIV). Therefore, we can’t project our mercurial emotions onto a steadfast God.  God’s character and promises stand no matter how we feel.  We have to learn that it is not smart or safe to trust our feelings. 

 

Second, we use our circumstances to define God’s love for us.  If good things are happening, then God is good.  If bad things are happening, then God has forgotten us all together.  However, God has told us all throughout His Word to trust Him no matter what.  I love the song that says, “When you can’t see His hand, trust His heart.”  We must look past the storms of life raging all around us and fix our eyes on Heaven.  Then we will not be mired down and deceived into believing that God does not care. 

 

In short, we must trust: Faith, not feelings and Character, not circumstances. 

 

When we do this, we are no longer relying on circumstantial evidence but are learning to circumstantiate—which means to prove that something is true.  God’s love is true.  His promises are true.  The gospel is true.  We can stand on these truths with unswerving conviction and not let the incidentals of life lead us astray.  “Do not withhold your mercy from me, O Lord; may your love and your truth always protect me,” Psalm 40:11 (NIV).

 

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, I want to see past my circumstances and trust Your love for me no matter what happens.  I know that when I do this I will grow in my faith.  Please help me to do this each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps: 

Identify the circumstances and feelings in your life that are inhibiting your walk with God.  How can you turn from these things and draw close to Him?  Pray about this and ask God to help you to do so.

 

Reflection Points:

Read Hebrews 6:16-20.  How does this passage make you feel about the evidence of God’s love for us?

 

Power Verses:

Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord do not change.  So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”

 

Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

 

Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

 

Additional Resources:

Tips on Overcoming Worry in the Uncertainties of Life, ETC Corner

 

Living Life on Purpose by Lysa TerKeurst

 

Life Planning Journal by Lysa TerKeurst