Thursday, September 24, 2020

Do you have an If in the wrong place?

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe . . .” Mark 9:23 NKJV

 A certain man had a demon-possessed son. The boy could neither speak nor hear. The father, having seen the disciples’ inability to heal his child, had little or no faith in Christ. So when he was called to bring his son to the Lord, he said to Jesus, “If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mark 9:22 NKJV). Now there was an “if” in the question, but the poor trembling father had put it in the wrong place. Jesus, therefore, without forcing him to retract his statement, kindly put the “if” in its legitimate position. “No, really,” He seemed to say, “there should be no ‘if’ about my power or willingness . . . the ‘if’ lies somewhere else.” Jesus told the man, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23 NKJV). The man’s trust was strengthened, and he offered a humble prayer for greater faith. At that point, Jesus spoke the word and the devil was cast out, with instructions never to return. There is a lesson here that we need to learn. Like this man, we often see that there is an “if” somewhere. But we always blunder by putting it in the wrong place: “if” Jesus can help me, “if” He can give me grace to overcome temptation, “if” He can pardon my sin, “if” He can make me successful. No, “if” you can believe, Jesus both can and will. You have misplaced your “if”! If you can trust with confidence, just as all things are possible to Christ, all things will be possible to you. Faith stands in God’s power and is robed in God’s majesty; it wears the royal clothing and rides on the King’s horse, for it is the grace the King delights to honor. Equipping itself with the glorious might of the all-working Spirit, faith becomes—in the omnipotence of God—mighty to do, to dare, and to suffer. All things, without limit, are possible to the one who believes. My soul, can you believe your Lord tonight. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

I must say that I have many unspoken if's in my daily life.  Oh they are there alright, sometimes in neon lights as I try to get through life.

The difference between an if and faith could be compares to a spinning tire off the ground and it being on the ground.  One promises movement the other delivers. 

Our if's of faith can be like the example in the devotional.  We think we have gone through the right person and still the problem remains.  Doubts arrive for their say in the matter.  Then what needed to happen happens, we turn to Jesus like we should have and then things happen. 

We are in the midst of a situation at our home unlike any that we have had before.  My prayer went straight to Jesus. There was no earthly person to just go to about it.  No way for an if to be spoken.  

To be truthful I am not that consistent at that.  If's show up.  Confusion tries to force its way through the door.  What to do? What to think? What is the next step?

Proverbs says that the mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.

Note two huge aspects of this.  One is man having a perceived plan.  A plan isn't an action.  It's something on paper or in a person's mind.  Steps arean action. It implies movement.   We have to be moving for a step to be directed.  You can point feet in a direction yet not walk that way.  Feet pointed forward can still sidestep or go backwards. Moving in faith does sometimes mean standing still. But the rest of the time it involves movement.  
When you feel resistance in the direction you are going, odds are good you are indeed going the wrong way.  Odds are even more showing you that it's wrong if what you are doing or saying does not bring honor or glory to God.  

In the if in the devotional, a man was changed...and also someone else was healed.  The Disciples too had a lesson to learn on top of it.  Note the example that Jesus was laying out.  We may pray for someone or something, but we need to realize our requests impact many people.

Prime example would be a prayer request for a million dollars.  Yes, God could drop it right in your lap.  If it were miraculously done, just poof! and there it was.  You would be blown away!  Then you would try to spend it.  Soon you would have all kinds of attention. From those around you and the government.  Wanting to know where it came from.  Were their taxes paid on it? The list goes on.  God could provide for it any of other countless ways and the possibilities are endless as to reactions from this world.  Or He could just change your circumstances and you would not need it in the first place.  In any case your request impacts more than you.  Case in point is Daniel.  His prayers for himself and his people.  The prayer was right and good.  The spiritual warfare involved took days to bring the answer.  His prayer impacted the host of Heaven.  

Your prayers and mine, sometimes we pray without thinking.  Quite often our prayers go unanswered because we were not praying as it should have been prayed. 
Sometimes God's waiting for us to reword it.  Be prepared as Jacob was when he prayed concerning his brother Esau.  The Lord, just as in the example in this devotional, changed Jacob as well as Esau.  Jesus doesn't put his work in us on hold because of circumstances of life. He is using those circumstances to make us more like Him. 

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