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Believe Again

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believe: accept something as true; to accept the evidence of; to have confidence in the truth; to be persuaded; to trust; to expect with confidence

Have you ever wondered why certain things hadn’t happened in your life yet?  While I was praying one afternoon, I got my answer.  ‘You stopped believing.  You gave up’. 

It is hard to receive anything from the Lord when you don’t believe.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man think that he will receive anything from the Lord  (James 1:6-7).

I didn’t have a problem believing that God heard me when I prayed for others, but I started feeling like God didn’t hear me when I prayed for myself.  That doesn’t make sense, does it?  Aren’t Christians called ‘believers’?  What happened to me along the way?  Was I upset because I asked God for something and He didn’t give it to me?  Did I think God was punishing me for something I did in the past?  Have I been disappointed so many times that I stopped expecting anything good to happen to me?  Or was I just impatient?

Jairus only had one child.  She was 12 years old and she was dying.  He went to Jesus, fell at his feet (worship) and made his prayer request known.  My little daughter lies at the point of death: I pray you, come and lay your hands on her, that she may be healed and she shall live  (Mark 5:23).

Jesus heard him and began walking towards his home.  Jairus believed that Jesus was going to answer his prayer, but then Jairus had to do something that we all don’t like to do.  He had to wait.  As they were walking, a woman, who was diseased with an issue of blood for 12 years, touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9:20).

That’s right.  Jairus had to stand there and watch someone else get what he prayed for.  And according to the scriptures, Jesus doesn’t keep walking after the woman touches him.  He stops and begins talking to this woman.  I can only imagine how Jairus felt.  It is during times like these that we feel God is taking too long and that He has forgotten about us.  You feel like you’re running out of time and you wish Jesus would hurry up.

We are never told that Jairus celebrated this woman’s healing or that he rejoiced with her.  You would have thought that witnessing someone else’s healing would have built his faith, but then he gets some bad news.  There came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Your daughter is dead: why trouble the Master any further?  (Mark 5:35).   He was basically telling Jairus that it was too late and that he ought to give up.  Jesus must have known that he was discouraged because He immediately said to him, Be not afraid. Only believe  (Mark 5:36)Do you know what Jesus was really saying to him?  Despite what has happened, believe Me again.  Trust Me again and I shall do what I said.  And guess what? Jairus did just that.  When Jesus resumed walking to his home, Jairus followed him.

Jairus and this woman were very different.  Jairus asked Jesus to touch his daughter.   The woman, on the other hand, didn’t wait for Jesus to touch her.  She touched him.  She mixed faith with works.  For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole  (Matthew 9:21).  What you tell yourself is important.  If there’s anybody who should have had low self-esteem or felt rejected, it should have been this woman.  She should have been somewhere alone, isolated from everyone, embarrassed about her condition, feeling unloved and unwanted.  It had already been twelve years now and that’s a long time, but she didn’t give up.

It is also very important that you’re careful about what you think on.  Not every thought is from God.  What the woman said to herself started as a thought.  Some of you right now are thinking that you will never get married or have children or be who God has called you to be.  It seems like things are happening for everyone else except you and the moment you get discouraged, you say things like, ‘I guess I’ll be single for the rest of my life’ or ‘Maybe it wasn’t meant for me to have children’ or ‘Nothing will ever change’. I loved the fact that when Jairus got the news his daughter died, Jesus never allowed him to open his mouth and speak against the very thing he was praying and believing.  One of the reasons why the enemy attacks the area of your belief is because he knows that ALL things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23) and he doesn’t want you to get everything God has promised you.

Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole  (Luke 8:50).  Jairus only wanted his daughter to be healed from one thing, but Jesus wanted her to be whole (healed in every area of her life).  This is another problem we have.  A lot of times, we become angry or bitter because we didn’t get the one thing we prayed for, but God wants to do exceeding abundantly above that which you are asking.  I’ll give you a good example.  A friend of mine had a sick grandmother.  For months, she prayed for her grandmother to be healed, but her grandmother died shortly thereafter.  The good news is that before she died, she received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.  Please understand that there was nothing wrong with my friend praying for her healing, but God wanted to give her grandmother something better.  God didn’t want her healed physically, but sick spiritually.  He didn’t want her grandmother to live apart from Him – not here on earth and not for an eternity.  Although we don’t always understand why certain things happen, we must always remember that His plan for us is good.

Do you remember the father who had a demon-possessed son?  When Jesus told him that all things are possible to him that believe, the father said, Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief  (Mark 9:24).  I love how honest and humble this man was.  This is what he was really saying:  Lord, I believe in this area, but I’m having trouble believing in that area.  Please help me in the areas that I don’t believe.  Help me to trust You.  I want us to be like the men and women described in Hebrews 11:13.  Some of them didn’t receive the things God promised, but they still  believed God.  In fact, they died believing God.

I’ve heard stories of people who went through a painful divorce and swore they would never get married again, but one day they gave love another chance.  They trusted again.  They didn’t allow a bad relationship to keep them from a good relationship.  So, I’m going to give Love another chance.  I’m going to pray the above prayer as many times as needed.  I’m not going to let bad experiences separate me from Christ.  When I first got saved, I was like a little child. Trust wasn’t an issue.  I believed everything God said…and I want that again – for me as well as for you.

Believe again.

 

[Scripture references: Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:41-56]

You Shall Rise Again

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There are some people who fall, but get right back up again.  Then, there are others who fall, but have a harder time getting up.  Sometimes it’s not what people have said about you that keeps you down, but what you think  about yourself that keeps you down.

In John 5, the writer tells us of a sheep market or gate in Jerusalem.  Sheep were led through this gate to the temple where they were sacrificed.  The sins of the people were placed upon the sheep to cleanse them of their sins, but right next to the gate was a pool, called Bethesda, filled with a lot of people – a great multitude – who needed to be cleansed of their sicknesses.  They were impotent, blind, halt and withered.  Some of them became a burden to others because they had to be carried, lifted and transported from one place to another.  These people were overlooked, forgotten, abandoned and rejected.  No one wanted them while they were not well.  Where were their families?  Where were their friends?

But Jesus was there.

One of the people lying at the pool was a man who had an infirmity for thirty eight years.  The scriptures didn’t tell us that he had been this way since birth, but thirty eight years was too long.  I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly  (John 10:10b).  Jesus knew how long he had been in that condition and asked him if he wanted to be made whole.  The man told Jesus, Sir, I have no man to put me in the pool  (John 5:7).  Not only was he waiting for the move of the water, but he was waiting on someone to carry him into the pool.  He sounded helpless, but he also sounded like he was blaming others for his current state.  If someone would have put me in the pool, I wouldn’t be here. I’m still sick because of them. It’s their fault.   But Jesus never asked this man about other people.  He asked a question so that the man may examine himself, not others.

Jesus didn’t say it to this man, but I believe He is telling a lot of us this:  You could have been up a long time ago.  In fact, you should have been walking by now. Don’t get me wrong.  I do believe God will carry you, but at some point He wants you to learn how to walk.  He wants you to grow up and stop feeling sorry for yourself.  Stop thinking everyone is against you.  Stop regretting what happened.  Stop living in the past.

Sometimes, just like this man, we’re waiting on a person.  We’re waiting on someone to do what God says we can do.  We’re waiting on the pastor to do it.  We’re waiting until the wife comes or the husband comes and then we’ll do.  We’re waiting until the money comes and then we’ll give.  Why don’t you give what you have now?  Why don’t you do what God has told you to do now?  If you’re not doing anything with little, why would God trust you with much?

Jesus didn’t take him by the hand and lift him up like Peter with the man who was lame from his mother’s womb (Acts 3:7).  Instead, He gave him a word.  Rise, take up your bed, and walk  (John 5:8).  The impotent man believed he would receive his healing through the water, but he received it through the word.  God doesn’t always heal or perform miracles the way we think.  We expect Him to do it one way, but He may do it another way.  What I want you to understand is this: Jesus told him to do something, the man did it and he was immediately made whole.  This man literally walked  in obedience and in faith.  Had he not obeyed the word, he would have never received his healing.  No one had to carry him anymore.

I can be so hard on myself. Sometimes I beat myself up like a drum.  Seriously.  But falling doesn’t mean failure.  I’m learning now that had I not fallen, I would have never learned how to walk.  For the last few months, I’ve been praying Psalm 51:10.  Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.   I’ve also been asking the Holy Spirit to help me move on and let go of things (and people).  Will the enemy remind you of things you did to someone or things someone did to you?  Yes, but every day I am choosing to forgive – and that includes myself.  Jesus has already made me free (Galatians 5:1), but now I must choose to walk in that freedom.  It’s a choice. 

You will recover from where you have fallen.  You are going to make it.  Time is too precious.  Don’t spend another moment living in regret, worry or anger.  This man walked for the first time in thirty eight years – and so can you!  It doesn’t matter how many times you have fallen. You’ve been lying there long enough.  Rise again.  Take up your ‘bed’.  Don’t use excuses anymore.  Don’t blame anyone for what happened to you…and walk.

For though I fall, I will rise again (Micah 7:8).