Blind Faith

Words

‘When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout,”Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”‘ Mark 10:47

One of my favourite hymns is Amazing Grace as it proclaims that I was saved from myself, found and blind but now I see. God awakens us to a whole new understanding of what life is about and that there is more to it than what we see. I also continue to get greater understanding and I hope, wisdom as I age that this journey does not always bring immediate sight. Faith is a process of knowing God and believing that which He said, then walking in that truth. We often are the ones that hinder that progress. We create our own experience of who God is based on false information or how we have been taught to see Him.

The other morning I was quickly reminded how I am blinded by my selfish tendencies. We woke up freezing but also praising God it was not 40 below outside. Our blower motor on our furnace had met its last days and so the night before my Mr. Fix it husband, spent a good three hours trying to replace it but something was not quite right and he walked away around midnight. Selfish tendency number one, if I am awoken at night, it is difficult for me to go back to sleep and it’s not pretty. I did all I could to suppress this and speak gratitude to him instead. Thank you Jesus. Victory number one. Funny when I do this, I don’t have that much trouble going back to sleep. hmmm…

Anyway, we get to the next day. We all have the afternoon off to travel to spend time with my family but because the furnace is still not right my husband decides to take the morning off as well. Noble deed right? My first thought, but I was so excited to be alone this morning and write before we left since our week was full. Another opportunity to take this to Jesus and submit my selfishness before Him to turn to my husband with gratitude for his sacrifice. We never run out of opportunities to die to our flesh that so quickly rises sometimes. I read recently that ‘There is never a death to self without a corresponding resurrection from God.” Praise Him for that.

As I reflected on my quickness to be blind to the blessings and the trait of persistence my husband has, I was reminded of the story in the gospel of the blind beggar that was healed. This story is told in three of the gospels but my favourite account is in Mark as it tells us his name. Bartimaeus. During this time a lot of the work was physical so if you had any kind of disability that prevented you from working you often ended up a beggar. I will let Mark tell the story, 10:46-52  Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”  Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.’

This story reveals so much. First of all, when Bartimaeus referred to Jesus as the Son of David, this disclosed that he Knew Jesus was the Messiah. There was no hesitation, he began to shout to Him. He knew the possibilities that lay before him even if he couldn’t physically see him. His heart knew. This is all we need too. For our hearts to know the truth of Jesus. This faith should rise up the shouting in us, despite what others say. You notice that many rebuked this man’s heart cry to Jesus and told him to be quiet. What I love is it said Bartimaeus shouted all the more. I also love that Jesus asked him what he wanted him to do. He gave him opportunity to ask to be healed.jesus-2152703_640

I think it was Bartimaeus’ persistence in faith that got Jesus to stop and call to him. Jesus wasn’t standing right beside him because he stopped and asked who was with Him to call this beggar. So you know Bartimaeus had to be yelling loudly. He knew this Jesus so well, He didn’t care what anyone thought. He knew His audience was of One and that was all that mattered. He had to have been taught to have faith, for blind Bartimaeus, 2 Corinthians 5:7 rings true in more than one way, ‘For we live by faith, not by sight.’ He believed and that was enough for Him to call out to the One who could save Him.

Do you have enough faith for this? To live by the truth and not always needing to ‘see’ a miracle or the hand of God, to know that He is present and working even when it is not visible to you? To continue to call to Him even when the naysayers are telling you to stop? And once you do receive sight from Him, are you willing to immediately follow Him? Our faith journey is constantly pressing in, repenting, turning back to Him, questioning, seeking, trusting, being still, listening, persisting, running the race kind of life. In this you will find Him, be amazed, be healed, be willing, do great things because of the Great things He has done for you. Never forget that His offer is always the gift of Himself. Relationship with our Creator. He is enough.

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Trust & Grit

Isaiah 55:8,9,”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, ” declares the Lord.”As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

In the half of the book of Isaiah that the verses above appear, the prophet is bringing words of forgiveness, comfort and hope. He tells of the coming Messiah and the hope and release from captivity for these people. These words that declare His ways and thoughts are higher were a comfort to the people of Israel then just as they are to us now. It is comforting to know that when things don’t make sense to us, it does to Someone. Our pride tries to get in the way and figure things out but often is to no avail. There are some things that just do not have any human answers or explanations.

It is in these times that we need to concede to our limited understanding and turn our face to the One who holds our hearts. Remembering that His love for us is great – Ephesians 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

silentgodRemembering that even though what has happened may not be good, He can turn it to that, that there is collateral beauty in the darkness. Romans 8:28,” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.We need to be ok with not knowing all the answers and trusting Him, that we can embrace the wilderness and know that His light still shines in the darkness.

It starts here. believe

This picture reminds me of my sister because she gave me this for Christmas. She has had a week, one of those that you are walking along minding your own business and then boom, your feet are swept out from under you. A week when trite sayings or placating words do not console the groanings of her heart. Answers are unattainable and comfort comes only in the depths of tears shared and heartache exposed to God. She knows God is bigger, yet scrambles for answers, hungry for whys to soothe the brokenness of those she loves and of her own heart.

She is an example of someone who loves hard, to the depths of her and in this place she is often rocked hard but the love that gets spread in the process  is beyond description. She is colorful and intense and bold and brash and expressive but oh does she love life. She knows the shackles from which God delivered her and in turn she shares this love to help set others free. The ripple effect of her submission to God after going to the depths of hell is eternal, deep and wide. She meets with the hearts of many, those who are hurting, addicted, suicidal, incarcerated, broken and loves them the best way she knows how, the way God loved her back to life. She may be misunderstood to some but she goes to places that a lot of us wouldn’t or couldn’t access and God knows that. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 He made her unique to love the lost and to bring hope. She experiences a lot of loss and death in this gritty love but God is purposeful and it is because of this kind of love that she now is helping a 14-year-old girl plan her mother’s funeral. It is because of her pressing in to relationships that this girl has someone in the darkest time of her life to walk beside and love her. broken

Our mother loved like this. I want to be known for this. This is how God’s love is. Gritty, deep, messy, eternal and in many ways beyond our understanding. But that’s ok. We don’t need to know everything, we just need to know Him.

What part of your life do you need to trust with His ways and thoughts being higher than your own?  God has given us all a sphere of influence to love with His love. How are you expressing that in your life? Dig deep, it’s the only way to live. Life is too short. God’s love for you too great.

Lauren Daigle says it best in ‘Trust in You’

When you don’t move the mountains
I’m needing you to move
When you don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When you don’t give the answers
As I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you

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Shameless Belief

Please read Mark 9:14-29bible-1238612_640

Belief is defined as acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists; trust, faith or confidence in someone of something. Pistevo is Greek, it is a verb meaning persuasion, especially reliance upon Christ for salvation. I love that it is an action word in the Greek language meaning it is not passive but something that is chosen. It is a great reminder that even if something doesn’t feel like it is true, when we know it is, we can push past our flesh and choose to believe. Growing in faith is a daily process of renewing our trust in Jesus.

I know sometimes we read the stories in the bible and pass quick judgment about someone’s struggles or wonder what they were thinking,  forgetting that we have insight because these things have occurred. Hindsight is 20/20 and even so the Word of God is active and alive (Hebrews 4:12)so fresh revelation can happen all the time. I have to say I am quite encouraged by the fact that these chosen people had struggles and we can learn from them.

I preach to myself often as I am writing, I am quite aware I am far from perfect. Even this week as I write about how we believe, being shameless as God’s child, in His righteousness, in surrender, in trust and yet there are areas of my life that I struggleto fully give to Him. My 10 lbs that needs to be 30, that seems to want to be my friend and stay. My eating habits that so quickly cave to unhealthy, my discipline, or lack of it with spending money and in time writing. Do I believe that God can help me to fully engage with the self-discipline fruit of the Spirit that He has implanted in me? Obviously not completely! These are areas that I continually need to surrender and trust that I am redeemed in these places and choose to believe that, going forward, one painful but necessary step at a time.

My heart is for these things but as Joyce Meyer so lovingly says, ‘We don’t need a wishbone, we need a backbone.’ So I cry out, Lord I do believe, help me in my unbelief and step toward Him and my goals. And yes it takes our co-operation to ignite the gifts He has given us, we need to be willing. This is why the story that is told in 3 of the gospels about Jesus healing a demon possessed boy encourages me. We can want something with our hearts but can be aware there are parts that aren’t fully believing it.

Mark is the only gospel writer that tells the part of the story of the boy’s father. The anguish he was experiencing watching his son possessed must have been unimaginable. With great desperation, he cried out for Jesus to do something, adding ‘if you can’. “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Aware of his own doubt –“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed,” I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Mark 9:23,24

Imagine the grace Jesus extended in this situation, not only did He heal this boy and bring a new level of trust and surrender to this man, but He encouraged and taught his disciples. They had been unable to drive this demon out and Jesus had called them an unbelieving generation, the very ones who had been experiencing the life of Jesus, walking with Him.

These are the stories that encourage my heart, that my condition of unbelief is common to man but that Jesus does great and amazing things in people’s hearts. And we don’t have to stay there. We can engage in the daily process of renewing, being faithful and obedient and desiring more. I have heard often that Jesus loves us the way we are but He loves us too much to leave us there.

In Elijah House ministry training , co-founder John Sandford says the inner healing they teach is to ‘evangelize the unbelieving areas of the believers’ heart.’ I learned in this training that there are many ways that we protect our hearts from hurt and sometimes those things close us off from fully engaging in relationships and life. But as Jesus said, ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’

I can trust Him in my areas of discipline, you can trust Him to come and meet you in whatever area you are having trouble believing for. Sit with Him and seek out what parts need persuasion. Be honest in surrendering your struggles (He knows them anyway)

Pray with me please;

Lord, you know us better than anyone. Please come Father and highlight these areas that we are not fully believing you. Please help us to surrender the things that keep us stuck in our unbelief. Lord we cannot do this without you and you say that everything is possible for those who believe. To the best of our abilities we believe but we need you to evangelize those unbelieving parts with your truth Lord. Please come Lord Jesus and meet with us. Thank you that you are for us and not against us and your heart is to make us more like you. So take these molds of clay and form us Lord, heal us, let us be displays of your glory. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

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