TRUST: To Whom Do You Entrust Your Children To?

August 30, 2016

Parents are known to care deeply for their children; however, in my field of work, education, that notion is frequently challenged. Just yesterday, a co-worker was talking about a student who has presented a significant behavioral problem in the fifteen days that we had been in school. My colleague said, “His parents don’t care.” I said, “How do you know that?” My colleague replied, “I have called his mother, and his behavior has not changed even though she said she’d talk to him.” My retort was that does not say she does not care; it says she did not have influence over his behavior in this matter. TRUST: To Whom Do You Entrust Your Children To?

In another situation yesterday, I met with a parent who was concerned that I had told her son that he would have silent lunch with me for not knowing his multiplication facts. The mother stated that would humiliate her son. She stated that I needed to use positive rewards rather than a negative consequence. I relented. I did not see how my actions could humiliate the student, but I am in the business of building up students not hurting them, so I had to concede my actions based on what this parent shared about her son. In addition to all of that, he has learning disability that impairs his ability to learn his facts. Whatever the circumstance, his mother came to speak to me because of the care of her child. TRUST: To Whom Do You Entrust Your Children To?

Likewise, a father in Mark 9 was faced with the choice of TRUST: To Whom Do You Entrust Your Children To?

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

In the passage, the man properly demonstrates the response to TRUST: To Whom Do You Entrust Your Children To? Without prolonging the matter, the father took His Son first to Jesus’ disciples. When he did not get the desired result, Jesus presented Himself to the father along with a crowd of others. Jesus engaged the crowd asking what they were disputing or arguing about. This is where the passage above picks up. The father then demonstrates TRUST: To Whom Do You Entrust Your Children To? 

The father not only entrusted his son to Jesus, but he also entrusted himself to Jesus.

But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

When it counted the most, the father entrusted himself and his son to Jesus. What about you? Have you entrusted yourself to Jesus? Have you entrusted any children that you may have to Jesus? Today’s text and the lesson from my colleague and parent yesterday reinforces the notion of TRUST: To Whom Do You Entrust Your Children To?  

TRUST: How to Finish First

August 29, 2016

We are fresh off the Olympics. Once again, the United States performed well leading all countries in medals especially gold. To use the coined phrase, “to the victor belongs the spoils” Dictionary.com explains this phrase as such “The winner gets everything, as in He not only won the tournament but ended up with numerous lucrative endorsements—to the victor belong the spoils. This expression alludes to the spoils system of American politics,whereby the winner of an election gives desirable jobs to party supporters.” Whether in athletics or in politics, people are consumed with finishing first. This leads me to write TRUST: How to Finish First. 

Jesus’ disciples also had discussions about finishing first. Let’s look in on the conversation in Mark 9:

33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. 35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” (NKJV)

This conversations follows Jesus casting out a demon that some of the disciples could not and His second prophecy of His death within this passage. Verse 12 is where He mentioned it first in this passage. Jesus, whom the disciples thought would overturn Roman rule, had just told them that He was going to die. You can imagine how they felt by thinking what they thought was going to happen does not.

The focus moves from Jesus to themselves. They were embroiled in a dispute about who would be the greatest among them. That is just like us. God tells us something very important, His death, burial and resurrection. It goes totally over our head because we do not have the spiritual eyes needed to discern what He said. We are almost always more concerned about ourselves than what God is concerned about. We are selfish people to the core. This is analogous to a parent telling a group of children that he/she is going to die. The children then begin to argue about who the parent loves the most and who would be gifted the most in the parent’s death.

Jesus did not leave the matter to chance or to some later interpretation. Jesus addresses their issue while pointing it back to spiritual matters. They were concerned about who among them was the greatest. Jesus was about TRUST: How to Finish First. Jesus answered their question and settled their dispute about who is the greatest among them. This is what took place. “He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Of notable observance, Jesus sat down. Many state that this was a sign and symbol that He was going to teach them something; therefore, they needed to give full attention to what He was going to say. First, He explains to them that He is the greatest, but that probably went over their heads. Jesus, while God incarnate, came as a servant of all; thus, He is the first. Furthermore, He is the Alpha, the beginning, so He is first. Nevertheless, He conveys to the disciples that if you want to be the greatest or finish first, you must be last and serve all. In Mark 10:45, Jesus says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus answered TRUST: How to Finish First.

TRUST: How to Finish First is also seen in John 13:13-16. “13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” Likewise, 2 Corinthians 8:9 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”

TRUST: How to Finish First means that we follow Jesus’ example and serve others before ourselves. First, we must give ourselves in service to Jesus Christ and then to others. After all, Jesus said, ““‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”Matthew 22:37-40.

 

 

TRUST: “All Things are Possible to Him who Believes.”

August 25, 2016

For those of you who have been following what I have been writing, I am backtracking today. There are times when God tells me to go back and reread. Today was one of those times. It was like the Spirit made Mark 9:23 jump off the page at me. For the person coming to Christ, we know that TRUST, belief, or faith is essential to establishing the relationship with Jesus Christ. All subsequent blessings of redemption, forgiveness of sins, peace, joy, goodness, etc. hinge on one’s faith in Christ as the Son of God who came as Jesus and lived a perfect life before dying on the cross to atone for man’s sins then raised back to life after three days where He ultimately sits at the right hand of God until His return.

If you don’t believe that, then what I am saying today may not compute and it certainly does not apply. That is the first step of belief for you with Christ. For those of you who do, you have overcome the biggest faith obstacle – that Jesus came as God incarnate as an atonement for man’s sins. Now, our issue is to TRUST: “All Things are Possible to Him who Believes.”

I want to provide the passage, so you can read it for yourselves. Today, the New King James Version is where the text is derived in Mark 9.

17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”

19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.

21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”

And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

Like the father in this passage, there are circumstances that we face on a regular basis that create Moments of Faith (M.O.F.). The reality of life is that we all will face Moments of Faith (M.O.F.). Moments of Faith are points in time that require us to trust in, believe in, have confidence in, have faith in what God has said and done in the past to propel us through that moment. Our confidence should be in God, but God knows that we are but dust. We are frail and need to be encouraged in our faith in Him. He has repeatedly told His people to have monuments of faith like the twelve stones. God tells us to recount to Him the blessings He has provided. Not solely in praise of Him but also in encouragement of our battered spirits. In such moments, we must realize that we are to TRUST: “All Things are Possible to Him who Believes.”

I am not sure what you are facing today. It could be an issue with your child. It could a financial challenge. It could be a matter with your spouse or one with whom you have a deep relationship. It could be a health issue. It could be an issue of direction that you need help discerning. No matter the issue, God is our refuge and help especially in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).  God is our shield and the glory around us (Psalm 3:3). We do not have to fear for God is present in the company of the righteous (Psalm 14:5).  God is my God who saves (Psalm 68:20). God is our strength (Psalm 73:26). I could go on and on. We can TRUST God for He is the King of all the earth, of creation (Psalm 47:7). Ultimately, Jehovah is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end (Psalm 48:14).

Whatever you are facing, remember to TRUST: “All Things are Possible to Him who Believes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUST: Divine Disputes or All-for-Self Arguments

August 24, 2016

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3) When assessing our motives in disputes or arguments, James gives us guidance on how to discern TRUST: Divine Disputes or All-for-Self Arguments. When our selfish desires reign, our arguments are sinful. When godly principles are the basis, our disputes are divine. 

Today, we see an example of All-for-Self Arguments among the disciples.

Mark 9 

33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all. 36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

We know from Luke 9 that people were all amazed at the greatness of God after He commanded the demon to come out of the young man. The text in Luke tells us “While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples,44 “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.”” Then we see in Luke just as we do in Mark that an argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, whom they thought was coming to end the rule and reign of the Romans, had just told them that He must suffer many things, must be killed and after three days rise again. That was hardly the ending they probably had envisioned. 

TRUST: Divine Disputes or All-for-Self Arguments. Dealing with the notion that Jesus would be gone, selfishness took over, and an argument about which of the disciples were the greatest emerged. We should not think of ourselves more highly than they. Almost all of our arguments revolve around us not godly principles. At the inception of this school year, a teacher told me that she was more concerned about being righteous than being right. WOW! If that were truly our motive and that of the disciples, God would be honored more and more quickly than us recovering from our sin.

Jesus, as God always does, steps into the lives of His followers to provide guidance and direction when we err. First, we see the classic response when we are caught in our selfish ways. Jesus asked, “What were you arguing about on the road?” That was the convicting point as that question challenged their motives. Now, let’s look at their response “34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.” We only keep quiet about that which we know we are wrong about. That one question by  Jesus has caused them to judge TRUST: Divine Disputes or All-for-Self Arguments.

After causing the to reflect upon their thoughts and actions, Jesus provides the proper motivation and action. “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all. 36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” Service determines one’s greatness not some other form of status. Later, we see Jesus give them the ultimate lesson in that perspective. In Mark 10:45, Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

TRUST: Divine Disputes or All-for-Self Arguments is settled as we use service as the barometer. We must TRUST God enough to follow His ways, precepts, commands in order to live in a manner worthy of our calling. The Word of God must guide and lead us. It must transform us by renewing our minds. Stand on the Word of God. Where are our hearts today? Is it set on being served i.e. being recognized, being popular, getting credit, etc.? Are we settled in being a servant of the Living God through Christ Jesus the Lord? In the midst of life, check ourselves for TRUST: Divine Disputes or All-for-Self Arguments.

 

TRUST: When Jesus Repeats Himself It is Important

August 23, 2016

I have often said that the closest demonstration to the love of God on earth is the love of a mother. Their love is absolutely founded in what is good/best for their child. Mothers, of course, are limited by their knowledge, wisdom and understanding, but they are almost unbound on their willingness to sacrifice for their children. That is why it is most important for children to listen to their mothers especially when they repeat what they have said. Whether from a mom, in literature, a teacher, an officer or a coach, it is vitally important for us to listen to those in serving positions when they repeat themselves. Likewise, it is the same with God – TRUST: When Jesus Repeats Himself, It is Important.

TRUST: When Jesus Repeats Himself, It is Important. As He begins to inform the disciples about the sacrificial nature of His incarnation, Jesus begins to repeat Himself. He tells the disciples that HE must suffer many things, must be killed and after three days rise again. In the book of Mark, Jesus first says this in Mark 8:31. Then in Mark 9:12,”12 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected?” Now further in the passage of Mark, Jesus Repeats Himself.

Mark 9

30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.

TRUST: When Jesus Repeats Himself, It is Important. There is nothing more important to man than how God has provided for man to be reconciled to Him. Romans 5:9-11 tells us “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” As Jesus was repeating Himself, the disciples did not understand. We know from Luke 9 that “it was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.”

It was not until Jesus had been gloried that the disciples understood what Jesus meant by “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” Praise God that Christ as Savior has been revealed to me. I pray that it has been revealed to you. Jesus died on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. He died; He rose and He ascended into heaven to give us victory through defeating death as He cleanses us of our sins. 

TRUST: When Jesus Repeats Himself, It is Important. Do you hear what He is repeating to you? If so, you would do well to listen.

 

TRUST: Unclean spirits Obey Jesus. Do You?

August 19, 2016

According to dictionary.com, authority is defined as the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine. In the post TRUST: Jesus is the Authority, the questions of Who has authority?  Who is really in control in our world? were demonstrated by Jesus as he dealt with the unclean/impure spirit. It was also answered in Ephesians which tells us that “God placed all things under his (Jesus’) feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,” Since Jesus is the authority, here is the matter of TRUST: Unclean spirits Obey Jesus. Do You?

Let’s go straight to the text in Mark 9.

Mark 9

14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

Jesus is the Authority. Again, we see that Jesus, not his disciples or unclean/impure or an evil spirit, is the ultimate authority. He had the authority to command the unclean spirit to come out of and never return to a young man whom the spirit had possessed since he was a child. Jesus told the spirit “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit obeyed Jesus. 

TRUST: Unclean spirits Obey Jesus. Do You? In Mark 1, this passage and other texts, Jesus commands unclean spirits, and they obey Him. Why then do we not obey the commands of the Lord. In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus was asked “36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Then “37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

TRUST: Unclean spirits Obey Jesus. Do You? We are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves. Do we? NO! We are in desperate need of a Savior who redeems and forgives our sins. There is no escaping the fact that for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23).

Let me say it again, Jesus is the Authority. It is Jesus who has the authority to forgive sins. Have you asked Jesus to forgive you for your sins in exchange for control of your life? Have you surrendered to following His commands? Have you risen above the base and vain? TRUST: Unclean spirits Obey Jesus. Do You?

TRUST: Jesus is the Authority!

August 18, 2016

Whose in control? There will always be fights over control or authority. We see that with siblings. We see that with spouses. We see that with neighboring countries. We see that with resources like water or petroleum. No matter where and no matter what, fights over authority exist throughout our lives. TRUST: Jesus Is the Authority! 

I know and TRUST: Jesus Is the Authority from Mark 1. There we learn that the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Furthermore, we know that Jesus taught with authority (v.22), and we see the people internalized that Jesus commanded unclean spirit. They knew that Jesus had authority.

23 Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”

25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” 26 And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 28 And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.

Fast forward to chapter 9 of Mark. Jesus is still demonstrating and developing TRUST: Jesus Is the Authority. Once again, Jesus shows His authority over unclean, impure or evil spirits. Jesus commands the spirit to come out of a man’s son who has suffered many years from the impact of that unclean spirit.

Mark 9

14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

The spirit had authority over the boy for years. That spirits reign in the son’s life was over. The unclean or impure spirit was complicit with Jesus’ command, but he wanted to do damage to the man’s son one last time. The spirit made the boy shriek and convulse violently before he came out of him never to enter him again. Jesus’ statement to never enter him again shows that He has final and ultimate authority. It also affirms the correct conclusion the people arrived at in Mark 1. It affirms what the spirit in Mark 1 knew too. That spirit properly identified Jesus as the Holy One of God. TRUST: Jesus Is the Authority

TRUST: Jesus Is the Authority was shown in Mark 1 and in every passage up to Mark 9 and beyond. Jesus is not just the final authority. Jesus Is the Authority. Jesus Himself said, “For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Jesus has the authority to give you eternal life if you TRUST in who He says He is and what He says He can do.

Do you question who has authority? In this world mired in mess, are you wondering who is really in control? Ephesians tells us that “God placed all things under his (Jesus’) feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,”Jude 1:24-25 says, “24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” TRUST: Jesus Is the Authority!

TRUST: Ask God to Help Your Unbelief

August 17, 2016

Everyone in this world, including me, is superb at telling others what to do. The struggle lies in how to accomplish the tasks. In spiritual matters, the Word of God is filled with what to do and how to do it. For the follower of Christ, we know that our power to live according to the Word of God comes from the Spirit who dwells in us.

Regardless of the residence of the Spirit of God, our text tells how to deal with unbelief. TRUST: Ask God to Help Your Unbelief. This is key because we know from Hebrews that we cannot please God without faith; therefore, it is absolutely essential that we demonstrate faith in the matters of this life. Without it, we will not experience God’s provision as He intends.

Let’s read the text.

Mark 9

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Jesus pointed out the man’s problem as well as mankind – expressing doubt or uncertainty over who He is and what He can do/his power. Again, Hebrews 11:6 tells us “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” We must believe that He, Jesus/God, exists and that He rewards us for earnestly seeking Him. Jesus points out the problem. By divine leading, the man provides the solution – TRUST: Ask God to Help Your Unbelief.

The man, who was seeking help for his son, said, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” In this instance, it was enough for Jesus. It opened the way for Jesus to demonstrate His power which served as a means to further or deepen faith in Him. People need to see God at work in our lives in order for them to believe. This is how we are. We have to see to believe. This is another reason why it is important to TRUST: Ask God to Help Your Unbelief.

There are people who need to see Jesus clearer through your faith. When you believe and God acts, God is glorified through people’s deepening faith in Him. TRUST: Ask God to Help Your Unbelief.

TRUST: Your Faith is the Object

August 16, 2016

The English language is hard to master. By my writings, I am sure that you have discerned that fact. Despite that, I want to take another shot of writing and explaining a concept, objects, that is analogous to God’s goal for us. Whether direct or indirect objects, the term object in grammatical matters means a thing, person, or matter to which thought or action is directed as ball in John hit the ball, Venice in He came to Venice, coin and her in He gave her a coin. In spiritual matters, TRUST: Your Faith is the Object. It is one’s faith to which thoughts and actions are directed. This may seem extreme, but every thing that happens is a matter of faith. As such, our lives are collections of Moments of Faith (M.O.F.). 

Life is a collection of moments where must demonstrate faith in God. I call them Moments of Faith (M.O.F.). The reality of life is that we all will face Moments of Faith (M.O.F.). Moments of Faith are points in time that require us to trust in, believe in, have confidence in, have faith in what God has said and done in the past to propel us through that moment. Our confidence should be in God, but God knows that we are but dust. We are frail and need to be encouraged in our faith in Him. He has repeatedly told His people to have monuments of faith like the twelve stones. God tells us to recount to Him the blessings He has provided. Not solely in praise of Him but also in encouragement of our battered spirits. In such moments, we must required to realize that TRUST: Your Faith is the Object.

Let’s look at a moment where thoughts and actions were directed at one’s faith.

Mark 9

14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

A man is seeking help from Jesus for his demon-possessed son. We know from Hebrews that it is impossible to please God without faith. His son’s help is predicated on his father’s faith in Jesus to help his son. This man’s faith is the object just as ours is the object for us or for others that we care and love. TRUST: Your Faith is the Object.

The action requisite is to believe that Jesus is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do. TRUST: Your Faith is the Object. We all face this boon. Let’s look at this man who is an example for us. We know that this man and his son had endured this condition for a number of years. He tells Jesus that his son has been plagued with this condition since childhood. While the text does not give us an exact age, we know from the father’s response that his son is no longer consider to be in the childhood years. We all would agree that one year tormented with this condition is too long.

Now, we get to see TRUST: Your Faith is the Object. The man says “…But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus makes the father’s faith the object by His question. “If you can?” Jesus said “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Jesus makes it clear that the father’s faith is the object here. It receives the action of belief or confidence in who Jesus is, His character, and what Jesus can do, His power/work. The man has to face the moment of whether his faith is true faith, whether He believes that Jesus is who He says He is and can do what He has been known to do. The father’s response, contrary to how it reads, is what brought about the son’s healing. Let’s examine the father’s response. Jesus challenge his faith when He posed the question “If you can?” and provided the resolution -“Everything is possible for one who believes.” Again, let’s look at the father’s response “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” There was no lag time. There was no hemming and hawing. There was no wavering. Immediately, the man acknowledged to Jesus that his faith was weak, but he did belief. He asked Jesus to help his unbelief.

Now, I know that we all have experienced Moments of Unbelief (M.O.U.). He cried out for help from Jesus. Jesus heard his cry for his son. Jesus heard his cry for weak his faith. Jesus attended to both. Do you see that TRUST: Your Faith is the Object.

TRUST: Your Faith is the Object. Just as it was for this father, so is it with you and me. Our faith is the object. Our faith or our belief in who Jesus is and what Jesus can do receives action daily. It may be a matter of health, a financial issue, a relationship that needs restoration, a sin that continues to dog you or anything that requires us to abandon our penchant for self-reliance in favor for faith in Jesus, the LORD, the Son of God and the Savior of man. Where are you today? What challenges do you face? What unfortunate circumstances or conditions have you endured for some time? No matter what it is, the answer is the same – put your TRUST or faith in Jesus to aid you. He may heal you from it, or He will give you the strength to endure it. Just know that life is filled with M.O.F. that evidence TRUST: Your Faith is the Object.

TRUST: How to Respond to Jesus

August 15, 2016

In most instances, we interact with people on a daily basis. It is our interaction with people that determines a great deal. First impressions are always talked about. There are times where you will only meet a person once; therefore, we should be sure to respond to that person well. That dictates TRUST: How to Respond to Jesus.

TRUST: How to Respond to Jesus can be clearly seen in Mark 9.  We see early in the text how we should seek out Jesus.

Mark 9

14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

TRUST: How to Respond to Jesus is answered in verse 15 which says, “As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.” At that time, the reference to people that saw Jesus was a literal sighting of Him. They saw Jesus in the flesh. Since then, Jesus has ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Despite that, we can still see Jesus work through the Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father sent in His name, to teach us all things and will remind us of everything He said to us. 

TRUST: How to Respond to Jesus. Do you see Jesus in your life? If you do, do you see Him, are you filled with wonder? Are you overwhelmed with wonder? Lastly, do you run to greet Him?  Thirty-two years ago, God opened my eyes, so I could see Jesus. God gave me a desire and the strength to run to Jesus. I ran to Him leaving behind an empty existence that was draped with the lure of the world, but I was behind the curtain. I knew that what people saw was not my reality. The popularity, the relationships, the promise of this world was not enough for me. I thank God that He prepared my heart to receive Jesus and not reject Jesus. It is how we respond to Jesus that will determine our eternal destiny. John 3:36 tells us “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.  TRUST: How to Respond to Jesus.


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