Help My Unbelief 

Mark 9:24
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

We are introduced to a man facing one of life’s greatest obstacles, the illness of his son. We have little glimpses into the great love he had for his child. We are told the father cried out with tears, and although the boy had been suffering from childhood, his father stood with him, even risking his life to rescue him. When he finally came face to face with Jesus, he was given a great promise; “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” This man’s response is both practical and poetic. “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” It seems to me, this man had many reasons not to believe. His son, whom he loved, was tormented; this had been going on his whole life. He implies that time and time again, his son was at the point of death, only to be rescued by his father. It seems clear, nothing medically could help him. To make matters worse, he had come to the disciples, and they were no help. It is not difficult to understand why he was filled with unbelief. Love, medicine, and religion were of no help in overcoming the great obstacle he was facing. It is easy to see why his faith had waned.

I think it is important to note, that in the midst of this dilemma, he also had much reason to believe. He had been hearing of the great things Jesus had done for others. He had heard of the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the possessed, all being transformed by simple faith in Christ. On top of that, he had a promise from God; “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” One of the great lessons from this man’s experience, is while he was being squeezed (on one side by doubt and the other by faith), he chose to act in faith. He made a decision. He would not allow his doubts to keep him from trusting in the promise of Christ. The result, his son was healed. We are much like this man. We have life obstacles that cause our faith to wither. In those times, we are being pressed by doubt on one side, and by the promises of God on the other. In those times we have a choice to believe life or believe Christ.

The great lesson from this man is that with all of his unbelief he chose to believe.

What will you do?

Pastor Jim

Trust

Psalms 9:10
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

A few years back I was teaching in a Bible school in Ghana on the subject of trust. I invited one of the students to come forward and asked him to put his arms at his side, close his eyes, and face the class. He had no difficulty doing what I asked until I added, “now remain stiff as a board and fall backwards.” He immediately opened his eyes, turned around, and looked at me as if to say, “No way!” I assured him that I would catch him, and asked him to face the class again. I counted to three and told him to fall back. To his credit, he tried, but once he began to lean, he stepped back to catch himself. The remaining students erupted in laughter as their friend was afraid to fall back.

The simple fact was, he did not trust me. He did not believe I was able to catch him when he fell. He was not my first victim in this twisted experiment. I had done it many times before with my children. They would close their eyes and fall back without hesitation. There were even times when they stood on a table and fell back. They looked forward to the opportunity to entrust their lives into the hands of Dad. Why would my children trust me and this young man be so frightened?

I believe the simple answer is, my children know me a whole lot better than he. David is declaring that same truth here, “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You.” Trust is something that grows out of relationship. The longer you walk with God, the more you get to know Him, the more you know Him, the easier it becomes to trust Him. If you are having a difficult time trusting the Lord in your current circumstances, the key is to spend time getting to know God better.

Paul wrote. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17

In other words, our faith in God will grow as a result of reading about Him. The Word of God is filled with examples of people who are facing trials much too big for them to handle; yet they find God is completely trustworthy. We read of God parting the seas, providing water from rocks, knocking down walls, defeating giants, curing diseases, and even raising the dead. God has not changed, He is still in the business of providing aid to those who trust Him. If He was able to calm the seas with a word, don’t you think He is able to deliver you from the trial you are facing? Instead of cursing or questioning God, perhaps it would be better to follow the example of David and seek Him.

“For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” After all, David knew what it was to face difficulty. We are told this Psalm was sung to the tune of “The Death of a Son.” I cannot imagine a trial greater than that, yet,even then, God proves that He will catch us when we fall.

Pastor Jim

 

Help My Unbelief

Mark 9:24
Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

IMG_1437We are introduced to a man facing one of life’s greatest obstacles, the illness of his son. We have little glimpses into the great love he had for his child. We are told the father cried out with tears, and although the boy had been suffering from childhood, his father stood with him, even risking his life to rescue him. When he finally came face to face with Jesus, he was given a great promise; “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” This man’s response is both practical and poetic. “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” It seems to me, this man had many reasons not to believe. His son, whom he loved, was tormented; this had been going on his whole life. He implies that time and time again, his son was at the point of death, only to be rescued by his father. It seems clear, nothing medically could help him. To make matters worse, he had come to the disciples, and they were no help. It is not difficult to understand why he was filled with unbelief. Love, medicine, and religion were of no help in overcoming the great obstacle he was facing. It is easy to see why his faith had waned.

I think it is important to note, that in the midst of this dilemma, he also had much reason to believe. He had been hearing of the great things Jesus had done for others. He had heard of the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the possessed, all being transformed by simple faith in Christ. On top of that, he had a promise from God; “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” One of the great lessons from this man’s experience, is while he was being squeezed (on one side by doubt and the other by faith), he chose to act in faith. He made a decision. He would not allow his doubts to keep him from trusting in the promise of Christ. The result, his son was healed. We are much like this man. We have life obstacles that cause our faith to wither. In those times, we are being pressed by doubt on one side, and by the promises of God on the other. In those times we have a choice to believe life or believe Christ.

The great lesson from this man is that with all of his unbelief he chose to believe.

What will you do?

Pastor Jim

 

Why Do You Doubt?

Matthew 14:31
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

2015/01/img_1330.jpgAs Peter’s eyes left Jesus and began to focus on his surroundings, his great faith failed and he began to sink. In desperation he cried out, “Lord, save me” to which Jesus replied, first with a stretched out hand, then with gentle rebuke.

“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

If I were in Peter’s place I might have responded, “I am doubting because what I thought was a good idea, in a moment of great courage, I am now thinking was not such a great idea.” I am doubting, because the wind is boisterous and the waves are large. I am doubting, because of the law of gravity, and I do not swim that well. I am doubting, because it is night, dark, and I do not want to drown. I am doubting, because what I asked to do is humanly impossible, and I am now suffering the consequences of that decision. In other words, Peter had many reasons to doubt; however, he had many more reasons to trust.

Just before his doubt, he had witnessed Jesus walking on water; a humanly impossible task. We might argue, Jesus was more than human, and defies the laws of the universe that control us. However, just before this event,we read that Jesus looked to the disciples to feed a great multitude. “They do not need to go away, you give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16). When they responded that all they had was five loaves and two fish, He said “bring them here to Me.” Jesus was teaching them a vital principle for Christian living: what is impossible for man, is possible for God. The same God who can multiply fish and bread, can keep you afloat in the midst of the storm.

Rather than focusing on the problem, which leads to doubt, fear, and despair, let’s focus on the Savior, who not only walks on water, but is able to help us do the impossible.

Pastor Jim

 

The Coming One

Matthew 11:3
“Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

2015/01/img_1319.jpgThe circumstances of life often cause us to question God. It is hard sometimes to reconcile what we are going through with who God is; compassionate and good. This happened to John the Baptist. From the words of Jesus, we know John was the greatest man to have ever lived. He was a man that preached the gospel to thousands, the man who pointed the way to Christ, and the man who baptized Christ, Himself. Yet, in our text, we read he was also the man who doubted. Laying in a prison cell, the cold, the dampness, the suffering, all seemed to squeeze his faith and cloud his vision of Christ.

The response of Jesus, to John’s question of doubt, gives us great insight into the solution when we are facing the same dilemma as John.

Matthew 11:4-5 “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: the blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.’”

In other words, Jesus answers John’s doubt by reminding him of who Jesus is and what He does. I think the solution in times of difficulty and doubt is to go to the Word and be reminded of all that Jesus is.

Pastor Jim