I was reading Mark chapter 9 this morning, and this is where Jesus heals the demon-possessed boy after His disciples were unable to drive out the same evil spirit.
My first question was why couldn’t the disciples cast out this demon, when we read in chapter 6, they had done so before? To be honest, this passage doesn’t give us the answer, but it does talk about faith.
Faith is not something that we can obtain without help. If we were to try and defeat Satan by defeating sin and temptation on our own, we wouldn’t get very far, let alone fulfilling what God put us on this earth to do! This is because victory comes through faith in Christ, not through our efforts.
This does not mean that we automatically obtain anything we want by thinking positively.
Jesus’ words mean that anything IS possible if we believe, but we, unfortunately, take scripture out of context, and then God gets the blame when our lists aren’t met. We know that NOTHING is too difficult for God but as a loving Father, God cannot give us everything we pray for, but with faith, we will certainly have everything we need to serve Him – it’s His will not our own.
Faith is a gift from God, and I was thinking about what the boy’s father meant in verse 24.
How many of us have asked this from God – “Help me to believe!”
Help me to believe…That the job is near…That my health will be restored…That I will have a baby…That the money will come…That I will live another day…and it goes on.
I love that faith is not about us becoming self-sufficient and no matter how much faith we have, we will still be relying on God, as much as we were when we gave our lives to Him, because it is a daily fight to renew our mind and thus, put our trust in Jesus to show us the way.
We live across the road from acres of cornfields, but quite often I will watch Birds of Prey flying around the area.
Yesterday, as my Husband was driving, I witnessed a battle between one of these beautiful birds and a tiny sparrow.
At first glance, my initial reaction was that the Bird of Prey has just caught itself a “snack”, but as I watched the acrobatic battle in the sky, I realised that the sparrow was fighting back.
How many of us are fighting for our lives right now?
If this speaks to you, then I encourage you to read Psalm 18, because I felt God speak to me and say, if I give birds the strength to fight, imagine what you can do.
You may be faced with an opponent that looks fierce, and that other people may warn you from attacking back (metaphorically speaking), but if God is asking you to stand and fight, then like that sparrow, you need to fight for your life.
David comes to mind for several reasons because if God gave him the strength to defeat Goliath, then God will provide you with the strength to crush your giant as well.
But also, this Psalm was written at a time when David was delivered from the hands of Saul and David realised that the only sure way of victory is to call upon God for help and strength.
Trust, is something that needs to be earned and we can go through life feeling uneasy about specific people or circumstances.
“I just don’t trust _____.” or “There’s just something about _____.”
Yet, trusting in God, who is the author of our story, is the difference between someone watching a movie trailer for the first time and having to speak about it, compared to the movie writer and director. We are more than likely to trust in the quality of a blockbuster from a well-known actor compared to a new person in the film.
If trust is earned, then it calls for a relationship. You cannot know someone if you’re not spending time with them.
The same goes for God.
I look back on my Christian journey, and there have been situations that I have faced, where, to the person looking in from the outside, they have called me crazy. Because I have experienced peace and calm throughout that chapter of my life; but Psalm 9 reminded me today, that God never ignores our cries for help and He certainly will not leave those who seek Him.
I am currently going through a season of uncertainty, but I trust God because I know who He is and let’s not forget, God’s promises do not mean that if we believe in Him, we escape loss or suffering; but it does say that God, Himself, will never leave us – no matter what.
Who do we know God to be…
_____ (you full in the blank)
Jonah is one of those books that you read, and you’re glad that it wasn’t you in that storm or the belly of that fish. God certainly would have got my attention, if I was faced with the same circumstances!
How many of us are running from what God has asked us to do?
Jonah is a story of the prophet running from God, but God stops him and turns Jonah around.
This isn’t just a story of a man and a fish but one of God’s grace and mercy. It’s a tale of love and compassion.
Our detours in life don’t mean that the destination has changed.
We might know what God wants us to do, but it seems too big, too little, too scary, or just not what you thought your life would look like.
But, whatever reason we have detoured…God’s plan for our life far exceeds our own, and therefore, we may realise that a mistake has been made, but God is always in control, and saying “yes” is all God needs to get you back on track.
You may feel disqualified from serving God because of the mistakes you have made. But serving God is not an earned position – no one is qualified and yet, God still asks us anyway.
Doubt creeps in, and then fear consumes…
Questions arise like:
Have I done the right thing? Why me, Lord?
Our mind becomes the battlefield of our lives. The place where we decide who we choose in our anguish because the ability to trust God in times of need, is undoubtedly one of the hardest things that we go through, as Christian’s.
But it is in the moment of letting go of what our current circumstances show, and trusting in what we’ve seen God previously do, that faith is built and hope restored.
This Psalmist shows that when we feel lonely or depressed, meditate on God’s kindness and love; as it will focus our thoughts on God’s ability to help, instead of our inability to help ourselves.
I have learnt that praising God in the midst of it all, may not bring a breakthrough in the circumstances but if our mind is focused on God, then the battle has been won
Habakkuk knew that although no-one likes discipline, God would not be a loving Father, without bringing correction when needed. Instead, he asked for God’s help and mercy, as God had shown them before.
This shows Habakkuk’s wisdom, because he did not ask to escape the discipline, but accepted that God’s people needed God.
We too, should run to God and accept His help to change – especially with the things that we most struggle with in life, because, it is in those very seasons that we then draw closer to God.
And our reward for doing this…is that our relationship with God is strengthened and deepened by His love.
Run to Him.
We can feel tired, exhausted even, and yet we continue to do life on our own.
Perhaps we feel embarrassed by our current situation. Angry at bad decisions. Or just overwhelmed by it all.
Whatever we are going through, this verse from David reminds us that we can still carry our burdens, even after we say that we are trusting God.
We need to allow God to care for us, with the same strength that believes He provides for us as well.
When all seems dark, the one truth that will always shine brightly is:
God loves us
And so, those against us will never succeed when we give everything to Him
Do you know one of the reasons my heart breaks for people who don’t know God? Because they think, this life is it.
How devastating and lonely that must be.
To think that any terrible illness, persecution, or pain, is what this life ends with.
Friends, there is life after death, and I hold onto that hope!
Therefore, no matter what this life throws at me – I know it’ll get better – so it helps me to live above any amount of pain because one day, I will be living with God in Heaven, and all of this will have been worth it.
Could we have done it?
Imagine: In front of us, lies the Red Sea, and when we look behind, the Egyptian army is ready to kill everyone. But we have God’s chosen people, the Israelites, in between both options – like, talk about pressure!
I love the conversation between Moses and God in Exodus 14:13-16. Moses was, on the one hand, telling the Israelites to be calm – God’s got this, and on the other hand, Moses is told by God to stop crying to Him and just move!
Naturally, I can giggle now, but I have pictured the Red Sea parting, before me, many times.
Talk about walking by faith and not by sight!
We need to realise that God always gives a simple solution…
To Moses it was to raise his hand and stretch it out, to divide the sea and Moses has seconds to decide the fate of the Israelites, but it came down to one simple fact:
Moses looked beyond the world’s perception and stood firm on the very Word of God. He saw God’s eternal blessings, and the Kingdom of Heaven moved powerfully that day.
By faith, the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land, but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned” Hebrews 11:29
What sea are you stood before?
What is God asking you to do?
Does it seem simple…almost too easy?
Remember – faith is simple, but the hardest thing is taking that first step to believing God, over our circumstance.
Music changes atmospheres for me.
I can feel __________ (input one of the million different emotions we have) and yet be instantly taken into the throne room, where I love to sit at Jesus’ feet, and worship.
God has always talked powerfully through music, to me, and I cannot wait to get to heaven to see and hear the praise and worship.
Although God has a sense of humour because singing is not my gifting!!
Yesterday, as I hung out my washing to dry (I wish I could say I was doing something glamorous) – I was listening to “So will I” by Hillsong and God stopped me in my tracks at this one line:
“If you gave your life to love, so will I.”
So many of us are looking for a life that mirrors something we have seen elsewhere because unfortunately, we are still searching for success in a worldly sense.
Ultimately, God may give us the desires of our hearts but if our life is not lived from a place of love, then why are we doing what we’re doing?
I had the pleasure of hearing Libby Huirua speak last night and her message reiterates my point…
People ask God what their purpose is in life, but God has already shown us with the Gospel message – love Him and love others.
The outworking of living that simple yet powerful truth may bring opportunities our way, but everyone’s purpose is still the same – if Jesus gave His life for love, then so must we.
I remember being at Bible College and learning how powerful journaling could be.
I argued my point – which is entirely unlike me 😉 – that I would rather watch paint dry than spend time writing my feelings down, along with my thoughts, ideas, and general events in my life.
It was never about being disrespectful, as to why “paint drying” seemed more appealing, but instead I’m a person who likes to know the “why, ” but also, I was scared.
Now, the “why” may seem annoying to a three-year-old asking their Momma continuously, but, generally, people believe in a cause, if they understand the purpose behind it.
I would procrastinate about writing things down – even after I finished college – because God challenged me to continue journaling, but I now know that I was scared that people would find out how “messed up” I was, and the mask would be torn down.
Our thoughts are our own until we share them or act upon them – good or bad, we have the choice to walk out what is going on inside us.
For me, journaling bought freedom because I could see God breaking lies and tearing down strongholds in my life and that is where my love for blogging started!
I wrote about Habakkuk a few days ago, because I genuinely love this book. Habakkuk isn’t afraid to ask the “why.”
I have been journaling/blogging/writing for years now, and it has shown me that putting words on a page, or even on a screen, produces a testimony, it seals a memory forever, and helps hold us accountable to our thoughts and feelings.
Habakkuk wrote down God’s words, for it to become a testimony of who God was and what He foretold before the events occurred.
Record God’s message to you because I can guarantee, like me, you will start to see God working in your life, like never before, and it will be an encouragement to you of how intimate our God is.
“Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.” Habakkuk 2:2
How do you know the difference?
One says, “I know Jesus says, I’m beautiful and loved – but…” and the other says, “I am beautiful and loved unconditionally.”
The head and heart knowledge is the difference between you believing and knowing.
For instance: You are going on holiday to a destination where I have been. So I describe it to you, but when you arrive, it’s nothing like you pictured in your mind. That’s because, before you visit, your mind believes what it’s like, but as soon as you see it for yourself, you know in your heart.
Think about this principle regarding our relationship with God. We can state truths about God, from our head and use that knowledge, but there is a lack of understanding in our heart if we don’t know it.
If we know God truly loved us, we wouldn’t hate ourselves. There is no “yeah, but.” God’s love becomes so real to us that we see ourselves the way He sees us.
The same applies for us being generous with our time in helping others, or dare I say it, giving money, because if we know why God says what He does, then we do it joyfully and from a place of love.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
When you know who you are in Christ, that’s when you experience real freedom in Him, to be who you are called to be