“…and His (Jesus’) garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.” Mark 9:3
“And Jesus said to him, ‘If You can!’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and began saying, “I do believe, help my unbelief.”
In the ninth chapter of Mark’s gospel, you will find Jesus on the mountain and subsequently, in the valley. Mark tells us that on one occasion Jesus took Peter, James, and John high atop a mountain where He was transfigured (transformed) before their very eyes, (See 9:3 above, and verses 2-13 for Mark’s full account.). The wonderful thing about this is that Peter and the sons of Zebedee saw a preview of the coming glory of God made evident through His Son, Jesus Christ inaugurated at His death, resurrection, Ascension, and coming again!
Afterwards, Mark tells us Jesus escorted these disciples down into the valley below where they found a most desperate father in a situation one would label, “As bad as it gets!” They found this man’s son tormented with what could be labeled today as a severe and ongoing case of juvenile epilepsy. The only problem was, his symptoms were induced via an unclean spirit (a demon).
In one of the most beautiful expressions of need regarding faith in the Bible, this father acknowledged Jesus’ ability to heal his son while at the same time spoke openly of the unbelief that struggled with in him as well. Jesus honored the father’s honesty and resurrected not only his son, but I believe, took his mustard seed faith, and fused it with a resurrection power that caused it to begin to grow to new heights within the father’s mind and heart. That day, the crowd and the disciples saw that Jesus was both Lord of the mountain and the valley. Have you been fearful of praying a prayer like this father prayed honestly before the Lord? Don’t be! God had rather you be honest about your struggle with unbelief than not! With God, all things are possible! Pastor Louie
A Father’s Most Honest Faith-Confession, Part 2
“The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief.” Mark 9:24, New Living Translation
One day during his public ministry, Jesus stepped off the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:1-13) with Peter, James, and John into the valley below where he encountered a father whose son had been possessed and tortured by a demonic spirit since childhood. The father had tried everything he could to rid his son of this terrible bondage, but no one could do anything to help the boy, not even Jesus’ nine disciples who had been unable to cast out the demon. Only Jesus was able to heal the boy instantly and completely (See Mark 9:25).
Do you know anyone who is currently in bondage to anything or anyone? Do you feel your faith is failing in-light-of this bondage or desperate situation whatever it might be? If this be the case, don’t wait another minute; turn them over to Jesus in prayer and wait eagerly in great anticipation as to what your mighty God can and will do according to His sovereign wisdom, power, and will. Don’t give up! Even if you don’t see any results at-the-moment, that doesn’t mean that God is not working in your loved one’s life. And if you’re still not sure where to begin, pray openly and honestly like this boy’s daddy did, “[Lord], I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief” and through the Holy Spirit’s enabling, He will! (See Mark 9:29) Pastor Louie
Running with Endurance, Part 1
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance (weight) and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”
Hebrews 12:1, New American Standard Bible
The Bible tells us that Christians have been born again of God through the work of Christ upon the cross and via of the work of the Holy Spirit in-order-to live the victorious life upon this earth prior to Jesus’ return. That doesn’t mean living the Christian life will be easy. On the contrary, the writer to the Book of Hebrews lived at a time when Christians were being incarcerated or having their property and possessions seized by the authorities because of their stand for Christ.
These Christians needed something in order live their lives daily in the power and in the victory of God. What was it? What did they possess from the Lord that enabled them to run the race of life and cross the finish line as they trusted in Him? They needed endurance! This word translated endurance in the NASB, literally means, “patient endurance.” How is that achieved, spiritually?
First, as Christians we must remember that we have been preceded by a great cloud of witnesses. Real folks just like you and me, who have gone before us. When the writer of Hebrews refers to the great cloud of witnesses, he’s making a reference to the Heroes of Faith listed in Hebrews Eleven. Who patterned enduring faith during a difficult time in their lives whose example still lives on for you; encouraging your walk with the Lord, today? Next, the writer to the Hebrews says that we must daily “put off” those bulky things that weigh us down; that get in our way and keep our eyes off Jesus and crossing the finish line! Does anxiety, fear, a quick-tempered response when things don’t go your way, or discouragement have you constantly looking down at your feet instead of the race that is set before you? Thirdly, “the sin that so easily entangles us as Christians is willful unbelief, (See Hebrews Four). The writer tells us that it was unbelief that kept the original generation of Hebrews from entering the Promised Land with-the-exception of Joshua and Caleb. Invite God in prayer to enable you to run with endurance today! He will! Pastor Louie
Running with Endurance, Part 2
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Last week we addressed how we as Christians have been empowered of the Lord to run the race of life with “patient endurance.” “Why?” You may ask. Because life is filled with afflictions, adversities, and obstacles! And, if we take our eyes off Jesus, like a runner in the Olympic games who takes his eye off the goal of completing the race and crossing the finish line, we will live a life void of God’s best and God’s blessings not only for our lives, but as a witness for Christ in the lives of others. So, what does the writer to the Hebrews record that not only tells us how to run with patient endurance the race set before us, but to also run with joy and confidence knowing we can cross the line and win the prize of the high calling in Christ?
First, we remember the cloud of witnesses who ran the race with patient endurance before us. I often think of my paternal Christian grandfather whose witness for Christ still encourages me. Second, we lay aside those things that weigh us down, like discouragement and fear. We lay them down at the foot of the cross. Thirdly, we lay aside the sin of “unbelief” that so easily encircles our feet. We say for example, “Fear, you have no control over my life, I’m putting my trust in Christ and Christ alone!” Fourthly, we fix our eyes on Jesus and remember He ran the race all the way to the cross out of His love for you and me! And fourthly, we take great comfort in the God’s word which promises the believer that he/she has a heavenly reward awaiting all those who belong to Christ (See 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, 2 Timothy 4:7-8, and James 1:12).
So, Run the Race and Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!