Today’s Thought and Text of Encouragement:
“But He knows the way that I take, He has concern for it, appreciates, and pays attention to it. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold, pure and luminous.”
Job 23: 10
“He Knoweth The Way”
“The way that I take -- it is still veiled in darkness;
Whereunto it leadeth I cannot yet tell;
But since He doth know, and doth lead, it means blessing;
And heart may believingly say, ‘All is well.’
The way that I take, though it rough be and rugged,
Perchance is more less than a road smooth and plain;
He knoweth the way, in His great plan of blessing,
That best can work out truest spiritual gain.
The way that I take, tough enshrouded in darkness,
In darkness to me, unto God is not dim;
The darkness to me may itself be a blessing,
If only it makes me walk closer to Him.
The way that I take -- this my comfort -- ‘He knoweth’;
And He, my great Father, doth tenderly care;
And over life’s way, and its miles, and its journey,
My feet He can guide, and my life He can bear.
No need then for having long stretches of vision;
One step at a time may be sweeter -- more blest,
Dependence on Him by this process will deepen;
So, too, by this process will deepen His rest.”
J. Danson Smith
Today’s Study Text:
“At once the father of the boy gave an eager, piercing, inarticulate cry with tears, and he said, ‘Lord, I believe! Constantly help my weakness of faith!”
Mark 9: 24
“Praying Always” – Part 3
“A Prayer for Faith”
“God loves it when you and I step into the pitch-black night of this world with the candle of His presence.”
Have I had an experience in my life where I needed to have my heavenly Father strengthen me?
How has my faith grown as time passed and I learned to trust my Father’s guidance and love in my life?
What does it mean, in practical terms, to have faith in God?
“Never try to have more faith -- just get to know God better. And because God is faithful, the better you know Him, the more you’ll trust Him.”
“Faith is not generated by a kind of repetitious self-hypnosis; rather it is strengthened through a knowledge of the One in whom I placed it, and that kind of knowledge comes through studying God’s Word and through experiences with Him as we go through life.”
As I have often found in my own life, when looking at any specific situation, being able to put an experience into context helps in understanding what is transpiring. This is the case in the story we briefly read about in our study text today.
Jesus went high on a mountain with three of His closest disciples, Peter, James and John. The Bible relates, “He (Jesus) was transfigured before them and became resplendent with divine brightness…and Elijah appeared there to them, accompanied by Moses, and they were holding a protracted conversation with Jesus” (Mark 9: 2-4, Amplified Bible).
However, while heavenly glory was surrounding Jesus at the top of the mountain, down in the valley, so to speak, the Bible tells us there was a great disturbance and when Jesus came down from the mountaintop, He astutely observed the commotion and asked this question. “About what are you questioning and discussing with them?” (Mark 9: 16, Amplified Bible). The line, “with them,” refers to the scribes who were doing the questioning and disputing. This information motivates us to ask, “What was the dispute about?”
In Mark 9: 17-18, Amplified Bible, we find our answer for we are told that a father had brought his son, who had a “dumb spirit,” to be healed. Here’s how Mark so descriptively portrays the severe condition of the young boy -- and these are the words the child’s father used to show how desperate the situation was: “Wherever it (the evil spirit) lays hold of him so as to make him its own, it dashes him down and convulses him, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth, and he falls into a motionless stupor and is wasting away” (Mark 9: 18). It is no wonder this father was so intent on trying to find healing for his child. Unfortunately, because of a dispute among themselves, the disciples failed in their attempt to heal the child. And when Jesus arrived on the scene, He, thankfully, stepped in to assist the needy father and very sick child. Jesus began a conversation with the father by asking him, “How long has he (the child) had this?” The father informed Jesus that since the child was a little boy, he had been plagued by this problem which, as the father continued to share with Jesus, had caused the child to be thrown into a fire and even into water. As the father described, he believed the desire of the spirit was to kill his child.
It is here when a very important conversation took place between Jesus and the father. It’s a conversation you and I would do well to study for we find that this father spoke to Jesus with such honesty and openness, and this is exactly the way Jesus asks us to come to Him when in desperation we feel we are just not strong enough to bear the challenges we face.
Jesus addressed the father, “You say to Me, if You can do anything? Why, all things can be possible to him (her) who believes” (Mark 9: 23, Amplified Bible).
With the failure of Jesus’ disciples, who because of the dissension within their ranks to be able to heal the child, you can see why the dad might be a skeptic. As I thought about this situation I realized that so often when I have problems, I first look to those I think can help -- it’s the human element. When in fact, if the human element fails, it only discourages me more. And when Jesus’ disciples couldn’t cast out the evil spirit in this child, it made the father distrust Jesus’ power as well. Jesus pointed out to this man, “You have said ‘if’ when you should believe. You should have faith.”
You know what I love about this dad? We are told, “at once the father of the boy gave an eager, piercing, inarticulate cry with tears, and he said, ‘Lord I believe! Constantly help my weakness of faith’” (Mark 9: 24, Amplified Bible).
This is one of my favorite prayers in the Bible. And maybe you are wondering why I call this a prayer. It is because our communication with our heavenly Father is to be a conversation with a friend. When you are talking with a real, true friend, one who actually cares about the needs of your life and the pain in your heart, words at times become unnecessary. The father’s inarticulate words were expressed with clarity by the cry from his heart and the tears that rolled down his cheeks. Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon calls an expression such as the one this father exhibited, “liquid prayers.”
I know there have been times in my own life when the hurt was so great and my words were an inadequate expression of what I wanted to say but my heavenly Father was more than able to translate my “liquid prayers” into words that touched His heart and moved His arm on my behalf.
Today if you find it difficult to believe that God is at work in your corner of the world, and if all you can express are the “liquid prayers” of a broken heart, remember this father who reached out with the cry, “I believe, please help me to constantly keep my faith in You.”
As I’ve told you on more than one occasion, I love studying the words penned by Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He was such a practical speaker and writer -- making God’s Word so understandable. In explaining “faith”, a belief and trust in God to keep His Word to us, Pastor Spurgeon relates faith to something I can understand for many people around our town are avid bicyclists, riding their bikes through Red Rock Country. Several of the sportsmen use what are called “recumbent” bicycles -- it looks as though the rider is nearly lying down or reclining as they peddle down the road. With the bicycle as your mental picture, I’d like you to combine this image with Spurgeon’s words: “The Puritans were accustomed to explain faith by the word ‘recumbency.’ It meant leaning upon a thing.”
This was the cry of the “liquid prayer” of the father, “I do believe! Help me to constantly keep on believing in You, leaning upon You, and totally putting all my weight recumbent upon You!” May this prayer be ours today!
“The smallest grain of faith is a deathless and incorruptible germ which will yet plant the heavens and cover the earth with harvests of imperishable glory.”
“Forgive us, O God, for our small concept of the heart of the Eternal, for the doubting suspicion with which we regard the heart of God.
Give to us more faith. We have so little, we say. Yet we have faith in each other -- in checks and banks, in trains and airplanes, in cooks, and in strangers who drive us in cabs. Forgive us for our stupidity, that we have faith in people whom we do not know, and are so reluctant to have faith in Thee who knowest us altogether.
We are always striving to find a complicated way through life when Thou hast a plan, and we refuse to walk in it. So many of our troubles we bring on ourselves. How silly we are…
Wilt thou give to us that faith that we can deposit in the bank of Thy love, so that we may receive the dividends and interest that Thou art so willing to give us. We ask it all in the lovely name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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