Belief

Hands folded in prayer over open russian Holy Bible on black backgroundI have beliefs about a lot of different topics and ideas. Some things that I believe are not up for debate. Those beliefs have become convictions. Some things I believe are probably not going to happen. For example, I believe the Atlanta Braves will win the World Series this year. I apologize to any avid Braves fans. You see, I want them to win the World Series and if my belief could help them win, then they should win. I get a bit frustrated at sporting events because I usually pick a team that I want to win. Belief is a pretty significant part of my core being. The things I believe in are actually lived out in some form or fashion every day.

Jesus had just come down from a “mountain-top experience” – literally. As He gets near the rest of His disciples, He sees a commotion. Evidently His disciples had tried to cast out an evil spirit of this young boy. The Dad was disappointed because the disciples could not cast out the evil spirit. Check this out…

20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. (Mark 9:20-27 NIV)

I have my doubts in the middle of my faith sometimes. I feel like I hear Jesus call me out on my doubts. I believe that there are demons just like there are angels. I can’t see them or always identify them, but I believe they are real. I have prayed some bold prayers and tried really hard not to doubt the Power or the Presence of God. One of my favorite prayers in all the Word of God is found in this passage. It’s a prayer that I’ve prayed along with my bold prayers. “I believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

The same God who challenges me to pray bold prayers will help me overcome my doubt and skepticism. My role is to continue to grow in my ability to trust the Lord. As I have faith experiences where I’ve seen the Power and the Presence of God, my faith gets stronger and my doubt diminishes.  My growing faith honors the Author of my faith.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Worse Case Scenario

Good Vs Bad Dice Lucky Roll to Decide AnswerThere are lots of times in life when I have to “prepare for the worse and hope for the best”. I have to calculate the losses ahead of time and be prepared if the worse thing happens.  This feels like to me a type of “negative thinking”. I try hard not to be so negative, but sometimes it’s a real hard struggle.  Hope says I can be positive and plan for the most positive. I guess I’d like to also be somewhat realistic in my thinking.

Habakkuk had a steady outlook. He is an example of standing in the midst of the worse case scenario.  Check this out…

 17 Fig trees may not grow figs,

    and there may be no grapes on the vines.

There may be no olives growing

    and no food growing in the fields.

There may be no sheep in the pens

    and no cattle in the barns.
18 But I will still be glad in the Lord;

    I will rejoice in God my Savior.
19 The Lord God is my strength.

    He makes me like a deer that does not stumble

    so I can walk on the steep mountains. (Habakkuk 3:17-19 NCV)

This has for years been a favorite passage of mine. I want this to be who I am. I want to walk with the Lord through the worse case scenarios in my life. I don’t always understand the desperate situations. I want to decide now to ALWAYS hold on to Him no matter what the situation. If I were to be like Job and loose everyone I love and everything I own – I will still trust in the Lord.  I will sing “Blessed Be Your Name” in the midst of the worse case scenario.

Pressing On!
Dwayne