An Overwhelming Flood

“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19

Dear Ones:

The psalmist wrote in Psalm 61:2:  “…from the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed…”  A.I. Waring wrote:  “…The storm may roar without me, My heart may low be laid,  But God is round about me, and can I be dismayed?”  Why is it that we can be overwhelmed, and be tempted to discouragement?  It is because there are forces, both physical and spiritual, which are stronger than we, wielding power to potentially damage or destroy.  This is NOT a reality that is uncommon, for since the Fall, mankind has been called upon, not only to survive, but to overcome his adversaries.  In Isaiah, we find that the enemy of our souls can come in like a flood.  A flood is a very powerful, and overwhelming thing.  This is one reason for which Paul mentions what is called, “…the evil day.” (Eph. 6:13)  There are times when the pressure of circumstances, and the opposition of the enemy, are such, that there is a battle…even a “flood” of battle.  There may be nothing wrong in our walk with the Lord, but our enemy chooses to oppose and to resist, in some instances to accuse and condemn.  And this he will do…it is part of this conflict in which we find ourselves.

In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, Paul writes concerning this warfare, that it is primarily spiritual in nature.  We discover also that it manifests itself in particular when a position of faith is taken.  Paul will write:  “…Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of HIS might…put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to STAND against the wiles of the devil.” (v.10-11)  The opposition that our spiritual enemy mounts is very real.   It reveals itself when we are “standing,” believing God, walking by faith.   Paul makes this very clear when he writes:  “…For we wrestle NOT against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (v.12)  When we take a stand of faith in Christ, founded on the word of God, it will always be opposed one way or another.  Why?  Because the principle by which God works in our lives, and in the lives of others, is  faith.  If faith can be displaced by fear or dismay, leading to discouragement, then the manifestation of the power of God, will be limited.  The objective in the fight is to keep believing, standing and withstanding, not abandoning the position of faith.  It is one thing to take a position of faith; it is quite another to refuse to relinquish it.  This is the good fight…which can be won by the Spirit of God.  “The Spirit shall lift up a standard against him.”

Dear Father, ever fill us with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.  Give us the grace and strength to take our stand, and then to withstand the assaults on mind, heart, and body, by our enemy.  In this very real struggle,  enable us to overcome the opposition, by Your Spirit, every day…for Jesus’ sake.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Undeterred Christ

“My food is to do the will of Him that sent Me…” John 4:34

Dear Ones:

Jesus died twice!!  How can this be?  The first time he died was when He went down into the Jordan River to be baptized by John.  The second time was on Calvary.  We know that Jesus’ conception and birth were uniquely by the Holy Spirit.  We know also that He was filled with the Holy Spirit during  his entire youth, up until the age of thirty…thus, without sin.  But when He went down into the waters of the Jordan, and was baptized, we find that the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove.  John would relate that God told him:  “…Upon whom you will see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon Him, the same is He which baptises with the Holy Spirit.” (Jn. 1:33)  Thus, Jesus is thus declared to be the Son of God, the Redeemer, the Christ and Messiah, the “Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.” (v.29)  The day of His baptism was the day of the embracing of His mission, His ministry.  And He knew what that meant…a CROSS.  Was the Lord Jesus ever deterred, or turned aside from fulfilling this mission? No.

Immediately after His baptism, the Spirit of God leads Him into the wilderness…and there He will face His enemy and ours, the devil.  The first attack came when there was real physical need, hunger.  It was aimed at seeking to get Jesus to act independently of His Father, not trusting Him to provide for His needs. (Luke 4:4)  The second attack came in the form of a “short cut,” a more “convenient way” to accomplish His mission, but one which involved exchanging the rule of His Father for that of the enemy.  Thirdly,  the enemy sought to get Christ to “project Himself” in the eyes of the world, by some miraculous act, independently of the Father.  This He would refuse to do, declaring:  “…You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” (v.12)  Satan would always be seeking to deter the Lord Jesus from remaining submitted to His Father, living utterly dependent upon Him.  But Christ would NOT yield, even if it meant “apparently” to advance His cause and mission.  His ultimate objective, and means by which He would reach that objective,  would be His most cherished fellowship with His Father.  This He would not sacrifice for anything , or any one.

Shortly after the Lord Jesus returned from his confrontation with the devil in the wilderness, He stands up in the Synagogue in Nazareth, and reads from the book of Isaiah:  “The Spirit of the Lord IS upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel…” (Luke 4:18) Here is the undeterred Christ, anointed, fulfilling His mission, according to His Father’s ways, in His time, for His glory.

Dear Father, the Lord Jesus is our example and our enablement by the Spirit.  He was never deterred, or turned aside, from His loyalty and devotion to You.  He lived a life of perfect faith, relying wholly upon the Holy Spirit for everything.  And He is in our hearts…by this same Spirit.  Enable us to see clearly that we are called to follow in Christ’s steps, and to know the victory that is ours in Him by the Spirit.  Grant us that quiet, determined resolve, to follow Him with singular devotion, trusting Him fully.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Beginning And The End

“In the beginning was God…” Genesis 1:1

Dear Ones:

How big is God?  How far back does He go?  What is the extent of His knowledge, and of His power?  In the first verse of the Bible, we have a most extraordinary statement, upon which our whole existence and purpose hangs:  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”   What is implied by this statement?  It speaks of purpose, design, order, and the power and authority to accomplish it.  It we look at what follows in the passage, we find that the whole tenor, nature if you will, of the creation is explained by a single word:  “GOOD.”  The reflection of its Creator, its Maker, the creation is without flaw or error.  It is not only perfect, but totally, intrinsically good…even wonderfully beautiful.  We look into the mirror of creation and we see the heart of God.  But there is so much MORE to see of Him.

In John’s gospel, chapter 1, we discover another aspect of the revelation of God.  For here, we see that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (v.1)  When we go to verse 14, we read:  “And the Word was make flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  What do we discover here of so great importance?  It is that the One who IS the creator, has come in the flesh to dwell among us.  Paul writes:  “All things were created by Him, and for Him.” (Col. 1:16)  The Lord Jesus Christ laid aside His glory, to take upon Himself human flesh, to dwell among us…but with what eternal purpose?

In the first chapter of the book of Revelation, the glorified Lord Jesus declares:  “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending…the first and the last…I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I AM ALIVE for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death.” (v.8,11,17-18)  Here Christ speaks of His diety, and at the same time, of His death and resurrection.  Why?  The answer is found in Revelation 5:9: “…Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals, for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God BY THY BLOOD, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”  The Creator, who has not ceased to be the Beginning and the End, did come in the flesh to save us all…by the only way possible, for justice must be served.  He would die, and shed His precious blood to save us from the penalty and principle of sin.  There is only ONE thing that can wash away sin forever, and it is the precious blood of the slain Lamb of God.  He is the one who “…takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

Dear Father, open our eyes to see who the Lord Jesus is, and what He has done…first in taking on human flesh, in the form of a man, but also, in the shedding of His blood to save us all.  Give us grace to bow the knee, acknowledge Him as Lord, and submit our entire lives to His sovereign will and purpose…His GOOD purpose.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Lord Our Keeper

“…The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.” Ps. 121:6

Dear Ones:

When we say the word, “Christianity,” we are speaking of a relationship between God and man.  It is a relationship primarily based upon the declarative statements of God concerning HIS commitment(s) to us.  Our response to those statements must be one of faith, trust, believing…reciprocal commitment.  One aspect of that relationship is God’s commitment to KEEP us, and this in the most physically tangible, and correspondingly, spiritually invisible ways.  Again, our response to His declarations is to be that of faith…taking Him at His word, and believing in His faithfulness to DO what He has promised.

One of the greatest portions of Scripture with regard to our Keeper, is Psalm 121.  The Psalmist begins with great things which are not the source of our help and strength. The hills (…and mountains), though majestic and magnificent to behold, do not in and of themselves possess the power to help us.  They may inspire, but provide strength…they cannot.  The Psalmist then turns the spotlight immediately on the Source of strength:   “My help comes from the Lord which made heaven and earth.” (v.2)  This “help” will manifest itself in several different ways, but specifically with regard to the matter of “keeping.”  First of all, he deals with His everlasting, permanent capacity,  and will, to keep us.  “He that keeps you will not slumber nor sleep.” (v.3-4) Secondly, he speaks of His proximity to us.  So near is the Lord, that the Psalmist declares that He is “…thy shade upon thy right hand.”

Let us stop here and ask the question:  Why is it that we need a Keeper?  “The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.” (v.6)  If ever there was a verse that declares to us our fragility and frailty, in the face of danger, it is with regard to the sun’s heat, or the cold of the night, referencing the moon.  We need a “very present help” (Ps. 46:1), where we live, in all that we do. We need a Sovereign, and faithful Keeper.

His invisible keeping, which has its manifestation also in the physical, is declared:   “…The Lord shall preserve thee from ALL evil: He shall preserve thy soul.”  The Apostle Paul wrote that, “…your life is HID with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3)  Though we may be assailed by our enemy, and circumstances be adverse, nothing shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Lastly, the Lord is our keeper with regard to “…going out and coming in.”  Do we trust Him for it?  We are called upon to BELIEVE this Keeper to do this specifically for us, as this is an integral part of our relationship with Him.  An old hymn shows us how to make Him our Keeper:   “I take You as my Keeper NOW, and I commit to You, my soul, my way, my works, my cause, In Your sole charge to be; And my deposit, You, I know, will guard secure from every foe.”

Dear Keeper of our souls, and of our whole being, grant us the grace and strength to TAKE You as our Everlasting, Present Keeper, for time (today) and eternity.  In yielding all to You,  enable us to live in the shadow of Your wings, in the light of Your presence, worshiping and being about our Father’s business, for Your glory.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

No Unbelief In Heaven

“…And immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.” Revelation 4:2)

Dear Ones:

If we would accompany the Apostle John in his vision into heaven in Revelation 4 and 5, we would certainly be struck immediately by the overwhelming grandeur of the sight.  That which is central in this vision, (…and we see it declared in Isaiah’s vision of the Lord in heaven…Is. 6) is the throne of God, and the One who sits on this throne.  What does it mean?  The throne speaks of the absolute power and authority of God the Father, who is seated upon it.  When it comes to the issue of the One on the throne, we see that the dominant theme, that is coupled with his power and authority, is His holiness…His unique purety (…one author describes it at “… the burning bliss…”) as the Sovereign Creator, and absolute, unchanging Monarch.   There is no question about this fact, nor is there a question about the singular, fathomless wonder and worth of His Person. The grand declaration of this reality comes from the lips of the elders who have fallen down before Him, and cast their crowns before him:  “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for you have created all things and for Your pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev. 44:11)  When we look at this scene, we see that there is NO question as to Who the Lord is, nor What He is in His person, His uniqueness, His holiness.  There is NO unbelief in heaven, only a glad, joyous, and wholehearted response to His unchangeable worthiness.

It is an amazing thing that in Jesus’ ministry, and somewhat in that of the Apostle Paul, demons openly declared Who Jesus was.  There was no unbelief on their part, though there was no response of true faith, submission to the sovereignty of God.  With regard to Jesus’ disciples, how many times did He reprimand, or correct them for their faithlessness, or doubt.   After the resurrection, to “doubting” Thomas, he would say:  “…reach here and touch my hands; and reach here with your hand, and thrust it into my side…and BE NOT FAITHLESS, BUT BELIEVING.” (Jn. 20:27)  Christ’s great call to us is to truly, wholeheartedly believe Him.

In Jesus’ instructions to His disciples on the matter of prayer, He told them to pray:  “…Our Father, which is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come; Your will be done, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.” (Matt. 6:9)  The will of God is accomplished perfectly in heaven. Why?  Because there is no unbelief, no doubting, no “little faith,” or faithlessness.  Faith has been made sight, and the sight of Christ makes all things possible and effectual.  For us on this earth, though we may feel very keenly our weakness and limitations, we are encouraged by our Great High Priest to look heavenward to this One who intercedes for us.  Because of Him, and in His name, we are told that we are to come “boldly,” not rashly, unto the very throne of God….there to pray and intercede WITH CERTAINTY…with “…full assurance of faith.”  Though our faith is not perfectly exercised on this earth, we are called to believe God increasingly for the FULL out-working of His will on this earth, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.

Dear Father, give us a glimpse of the greatness of Your glory, the reality of Your power and authority.  Enable us to see Christ as our High Priest, who teaches us how to pray.  Then, enable us to pray in faith, with boldness.  Grant us that ability to truly BELIEVE in Your mercy, accepting us, and in Your grace, to meet every need, and this for Your glory.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Certainty Of His Working

“…Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you WILL perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

Dear Ones:

The story of Jacob is a most remarkable one.  God knew that he would be “the supplanter,” that one who would rule over his older brother, and this, by stealing his birthright.  The animosity of his brother Esau, would drive him from home at the age of forty, to travel to a distant land, there to find a wife.  It would be on his voyage that God would reveal Himself to Jacob.  This will be the first cataclysmic event in his life, which would begin to cement in his mind that God was with him, would keep him, and would bless him.  The question is:  Why?  Why would God choose a “robber” and a “liar” to reveal himself, and this, in order to bless him beyond measure?  It is simply because, in the words of the Apostle Paul, “…I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering for a PATTERN to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Tim. 1:16)  There is great comfort in looking at the imperfect and stubborn Jacob.  God would take this man, and truly work in him, in many ways, and by many means, to make of him a man of faith, through which multitudes would know the blessing of God.

How does God accomplish this?  The first key thing to remember is that God is the God of all circumstance.  He uses circumstances to accomplish His purposes, for in and by them, He brings us to a realization of things as they truly are.  When Jacob was fleeing his brother, he was completely alone, perhaps for the first time.  It was in a very quiet place, in his aloneness, that God would give him a dream of heaven, angels, and the Lord standing at the gate of heaven.  The vision would lead to God’s promise to Jacob concerning the land, generations to come, and God’s blessing upon “…ALL the families of the earth.”  He then promises that His presence would go with Jacob, that he would be brought back to the land.  He will conclude by saying:  “…FOR I WILL NOT LEAVE THEE, UNTIL I HAVE DONE THAT WHICH I HAVE SPOKEN TO THEE OF.” (Gen. 28:13-15)  This He promised, and this He did…bringing it to pass about twenty years later.

The second thing to remember is that God is sovereign.  As such, because of His wisdom, power and authority, He can, and will, FAITHFULLY bring to pass that which He has promised.  The question is (…and it was the same for Jacob):  “Can God find in our hearts, those who will truly trust Him for it, not only today, but until He accomplishes His purposes?””Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” (Ps. 146:5)

Dear Father, You who are the God of Jacob, have mercy on us as You did on Jacob.  Direct the circumstances of our lives in such a manner, that we too, will learn to trust You, believing You for the full out-working of Your will in our hearts and minds.  You are faithful to finish the work that you have begun.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

Interposing Christ

“Do you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?” John 14:10

Dear Ones:

Perhaps the greatest truth revealed to the world, this side of Pentecost, is our union with Christ, He in us, we in Him.  The pattern for our faith in this regard was declared by the Lord Jesus:  “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.” (v.11)  Christ’s oneness with the Father is our “pattern” for faith.  Why is therefore the issue of our union with Christ so very important?  It is because we see in the “pattern” of the Son with the Father, that the Son was totally dependent upon the Father for all things, and the Father was totally faithful to provide.  Christ’s perfect faith, and the Father’s faithfulness, was the perfect solution for the reality of the “pattern” to be manifested.  And so it is with us.  “But of God are ye IN Christ Jesus…”(1 Cor. 1:30)  It is as we live in the reality of our union with Christ, by FAITH, that His faithfulness is revealed.  We thus KNOW Him, and as Paul put it, “…KNOW the power of His resurrection.” (Phil. 3:10)  How then is the fact of our union with Christ worked out in us every day?

Jesus told His disciples:  “Abide in Me, and I in you.” (Jn. 15:4)  What does this mean?  It means that, because we are branches of the true Vine, we are to live utterly dependent upon the Vine for all things.  How is this to be done?  Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3:6, “…In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  Paul wrote in Philippians 4: 6, :  “…in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.”  Both men are basically writing the same thing.  God calls us to give Him access to the entirety of our lives, to interpose Christ between us an all things.  It means learning the duty and the quiet discipline of opening the door of opportunity to give Christ access to accomplish His will in His way.  It means also that we live in an attitude of thanksgiving, the very expression of faith in Him to “enter in,” and work.  Someone has put it like this:  to abide in Christ is, “…to set our lives in Him, and derive all from Him, by an inward attitude of faith. ”

Dear Father, You have brought us to yourself, and placed us in living union with Your Son, that we should abide in Him.  Give us a clear understanding of what this union with Christ is, and what it means.  Grant to us, by Your Spirit, to live practically dependent upon Him, giving Him access to everything in our lives, in an ever-increasing manner.  Then shall He abide in us, and the reality of His life will be seen and heard.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

 

 

The Enigma, Paradox, and Logic of Christianity

“…The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” Psalm 14:1

Dear Ones:

In this Psalm of David, where this verse is found, we find a declaration concerning the true condition of man.  David wrote, “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.  They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that does good, no, not one.” (14:2-3)  Man is not only born blind spiritually, but more so, born dead.  How can this be?  He is born “dead to God,” completely without feeling, desire for, or true concept of Him.  What arises out of this “human nature,” which the Bible calls, “the flesh,” and “self,” is a hopelessness, an existence without expectation of that which is beyond “reason” and selfish desire.  The result is that one “exists,” but one does not “live.”

When Christ came, He declared:  “I am come that they might have LIFE, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (Jn. 10:10)  The enigma, the mystery, of Christianity, lies in the fact that it cannot be seen, grasped, and understood by the “natural man,” the man without God.  It is to him foolishness because, not only does he not feel the need to be “helped” or “saved” by a God he does not know, but he cannot deny himself as his own master, and the determiner of his “fate.”  He is his own “god.”  Where the concept of a “paradox” enters in, is when Christianity seems to be something born, created, formed…in the heart of someone who is totally incapable of manufacturing it, even believing it.  On the one hand, man is “dead” to spiritual reality, and yet, that spiritual reality comes to him, to awaken him out of his sleep, and open his blind eyes.  It comes from without, in order to transform that which is within.  How?  By man’s response to the promptings, and overtures of God.  Jesus said, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw (attract him…).” (Jn. 6:44)  To this paradox, where death reigns, and spiritual life knocks at the door, Jesus says:  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, ‘He that believes on Me hath everlasting LIFE.” (v. 47)  The response to God awakening the soul to spiritual reality, and drawing the heart towards Christ, is faith…a turning away from trust in “self,” to place one’s hope solely in Christ as Lord and Life.

The “logic” of Christianity I believe is so very well expressed in the following quote:

“Upon a Life I did not live; Upon a death I did not die;  Another’s Life, Another’s death, I stake my whole eternity.”

Dear Father, let us not be swayed by what we see or feel, but supremely by the revelation of Yourself in Christ.  He had to become an “ant among ants” that we might grasp something of the greatness, and beauty of Yourself.  Enable us to take Him to be our all, since all is in Him, for time and eternity.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

The Perfect Friend

“Ye are My friends…” John 15:14

Dear Ones:

What is a true friend?  The world has its definition, but is it the same as that of God?  Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.?” (Jn. 15:13)  There is not doubt that at the core of friendship, there is selfless love.  There is a devotion that reveals itself in the giving of one’s life for another.  This may mean one’s death to save another.  But it also means a living FOR another…in Jesus’ words:  “…if you do what I command you.”

Abraham was called in Scripture, “…the friend of God.”  He was such because he lived to worship and serve God, and this, by obedience and faith.  This is seen over and over again.  However, Abraham was an imperfect man, and thus, an imperfect friend.  When Christ comes on the stage of history, he reveals to us the Perfect Friend.  This is illustrated, not only by the declaration of His lips, but by the very power and authority to be such.  In addressing the disciples, with regard to the “laying down of His life,” He said:  “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment I received of My Father.” (Jn. 10″18)  The point is this.  Christ is the perfect Friend, who sticks closer than a brother, loving at all times, but is One who by the power and authority given to Him from the Father, can and does lay down His life for His friends.  What does His friendship mean in this world, in everyday life?  Perhaps excerpts from two hymns will help us to grasp the wonder of friendship with God, or rather, His friendship with us.

“There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus…No friend like Him is so high and holy…And yet, no friend is so meek and lowly…No, not one!  No, not one!

Scriven writes, concerning this Friend that we have in Jesus:  “…what a Friend…all our sins and griefs to bear…Can we find a Friend so faithful, who WILL all our sorrows share?…In His arms He’ll take and shield thee…thou wilt find a solace there.”

What is it about this friendship that is so special?  First of all, it is from heaven…wholesome, selfless, divine… a total commitment by Christ in word, deed, and power.  Secondly, it means that Christ is totally, and always approachable…meek and lowly, identifying with us in all our need.  He possesses all power and authority to be and to do what He has declared for the one who truly trusts Him. He is our Friend, that we should also, by His grace and goodness, be His friends in return.

Dear Father, since Your Son is our Perfect Friend, give us grace to flee to Him, grasping the privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.  O Blessed Friend, You who take our trials, temptations, sorrows and weakness, strengthen us to trust You fully.  Take all our fear and care away, granting us grace to take You as our refuge and strength, the perfect Friend.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Trial Of Unbelief

“How long shall I be with you, and bear with you?” Luke 9:41

Dear Ones:

It was the day after what is called “The Transfiguration.”  The day of the transfiguration, Jesus had gone up to a mountain to pray, and as He prayed, “…the appearance of His countenance was altered, and his clothes were white and glistening.  And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elijah.” (Luke 9:29-30)  Peter, and the other disciples awake from sleep to behold this sight, and are overwhelmed.  The next day, they come down from the mountain, and come face to face with the devil, face to face with the stark defiance of unbelief.  A man, whose son is demon possessed, cries out to the Lord Jesus for help.  The man had asked the disciples to help him, but “they could not.”  It was at this moment that the Lord Jesus would direct His attention specifically to their unbelief:  “…how long shall I be with you, and bear with you?”  Why were the the disciples so “faithless,” so ineffective?  In the parallel passage in Matthew 17, we find that the Lord answers the disciple’s question: “Why could we not cast him out?” (v.19)  He answers, “Truly, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed you shall say unto this mountain, ‘Remove from here to another place; and it will remove, and nothing will be impossible to you.'” (v.20)  Why does he address the problem of unbelief in this manner?  It is because the issue is not one of great faith, but of the quality of faith.  True faith, which is the gift of God, is a faith that is singular and entire.  It is singular in the fact that its object is but ONE…Christ.  It is entire, for there is only ONE that is worthy of ALL of our trust.  This faith commits itself wholly to trust in Christ, and Him alone.  It may be small, but if it is true, then mountains can be moved, “…and nothing shall be impossible to you.” (Matt. 17:20)  In this particular case with the demon-possessed boy, the Lord said that “this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.”  These are His means by which we are helped to place all of our hope and expectation directly, and only in Christ.

If we are honest with God, and with ourselves, we must confess that there have been times in the past, and perhaps presently, when our “faith” has faltered in the face of difficulty, opposition, and perhaps “immovable mountains.”  The Lord marvels at our unbelief because there is nothing more certain in this universe than His faithfulness, and yet, we falter.  It is at this point that He will come to the aid of those who truly call unto Him, “…Lord, I believe, help Thou mine unbelief.” (Mk. 9:24)  The Lord Jesus responded to the despondent and desperate cry of a father’s heart.  Will He not respond to our hearts in like manner?

Dear Father, give us grace not to look at faith, but only and wholly to You.  Open our eyes increasingly to see that You are the God of the mountains, and that all things are subservient to you.  O Sovereign and Victorious Lord, grant us to be strengthened mightily by Your Spirit, to believe You for the full out-working of Your will, in your way, for your glory.  You are absolutely worthy to be honored by such faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad