Mark 9-10, Psalm 99
How we view the world and how we choose to live our lives often reflects what we truly believe. In the past year we have seen Hurricane Harvey ravage Texas, Hurricane Irma (the most powerful hurricane ever recorded) destroy one Caribbean island after another before hitting Florida, a strong earthquake struck Mexico, etc. Those in the unbelieving atheistic world are already explaining it away scientifically. We, who believe, know that Creation is groaning, and God's is ultimately in control of everything.
When the disciples were unable to heal the demon possessed boy Jesus asks the father of the boy in Mark 9:23, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." His answer is profound and so honest (v.24), "..."Lord, I believe, help my unbelief." So many like to claim they believe, but don't really believe. They say the longest distance we will ever take is the 18 inches from our head to our heart, this is the distance from hell to heaven. God has always desired a real relationship, not just head knowledge. A strong warning is issued to those who want to play it safely, completely fit in with the world and be a closet Christian (which is a Christian that Jesus never acknowledged, a true Christian is a light unto this world), in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, Paul says, "and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." It always comes down to choice. God is either/or. Saved or unsaved. Righteous or unrighteousness. Heaven bound or Hell bound. The Bible, God's Word, is black and white, never gray or middle of the road.
Whether we depend on Jesus is an eternal decision, but also a day to day decision. His disciples, most of whom were believers were unable to cast out the demon, Jesus said in Mark 9:29 when the disciples asked why they were unable, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting." The disciples were given power but rather than leaning on God to cast out the demon, they were using their own strength. Whenever, I plan on sharing with another I usually pray quietly before I start. Last year, I felt led to reach out to one of the nurses on Labor and Delivery. This was at the end of a long shift. When I pulled her aside in a room and began, my tongue felt like the size of my head, I couldn't string 2 coherent thoughts together. Realizing I was doing this in my strength and not the power of the Holy Spirit, I gave her a sheet to read (Got Questions: Roman Road to Salvation), and while she was reading I closed my eyes and prayed for His power and His Words to flow rather than my own. She finished reading and my tongue loosened and the words now made sense. All of us, need to depend on Him always. We never know when we will be used by Him. When called, we all need His strength, not our own. If this consistent walk seems impossible or difficult, Jesus said in Mark 10:27, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: