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All posts for the month January, 2011

I believe… but help me please!

Published January 27, 2011 by imdaddysgirl

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child.  Listen to the don’ts.  Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibilities, the won’ts.  Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…  Anything can happen , child.  Anything can be.”  ~ Shel Silverstein

Mark 9:14-29 recounts the story of a boy who had been plagued his whole life by a deaf and mute spirit.  The history this boy knew was of seizures, convulsions and living under the influence of evil which desired to kill him.  His father told Jesus that “From childhood, it has thrown him into fire or water to kill him.”  Imagine!  Just think of being a loving parent and defenseless to protect your child from evil influence!

Sometimes the evil one is obvious.  Sometimes the devil is subtle.  This was a case of obvious evil.  Murder, rape, child abuse, beatings, verbal torment and berating… obvious evil.  Less obvious are the ways the evil one captures our attention through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the heart, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life. Much more insidious are the ways of subtle neglect and inattention to things of God.   We can set ourselves up for the enemy of our soul to creep in, steal our joy and get us side tracked.

Whether through an over-played hand or sneaking through the door, the devil has just one plan…”The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”  (John 10:10)  BUT, Jesus said “I have come that they may have life and life more abundantly.”  God’s plan is always life promoting.  He is the author of life.

So, when the father of this tormented child brought his son for help, he tried to seek help from the disciples first, but to no avail.  “They could not.” (Mk.9:18)  So, he went to Jesus, Himself and asked Jesus “if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” (Mk. 9:22)    Jesus responded by saying, “If you can?”  “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

How many of us can relate to this father’s response?  “I do believe ( but, I thought I’ve believed before and nothing changed. I do believe but I’m nobody.  I do believe but I’ve asked for things before and didn’t get them.  I do believe, but they still died.  I do believe, but I recognize how impossible this is.  I do believe, but this is all I’ve ever seen and all I’ve ever known… fill in your own history here).  “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).

I believe, Lord!  Help me when my situation looks impossible.  Help me when I see my failures as being bigger than Your victories.  Help me when my past looms larger than the future You have planned for me.  Help me when the trap is more comfortable than Your freedom.  Help me when my desires are stronger than Yours in me.  Help me when I focus on my lack instead of Your riches.  Help me!

The rebuked spirit was obviously no match for Jesus and the boy left free.  As awesome as this account is, it’s almost a side note in the story (though Jesus delights to set people free!)   The focus is in trusting God for the impossible.

The disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t drive the spirit out themselves.  They had learned from Jesus, seen this kind of thing happen before and evidently met with some success in ministry… so why not this time.  Jesus response is simply, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

WHAT?  The disciples didn’t pray?  They tried to cast out an evil spirit without praying?  Really?  It seems crazy doesn’t it?!

Yet, how often do you and I go about our day in our own strength?  How many opportunities have I missed for God because I was not in tune to God’s Spirit enough to be directed by His still small voice?  How often do I try to apply the world’s band-aid to a situation which will only be changed through prayer.

Father, I believe.  Please help my unbelief.  Please help me to pray more meaningful and less perfunctory prayers.  Help me to incline my ear to Your voice rather than my own, or the voices around me.  Please help my unbelief when I see my limitations looming large.  Help me to always see You greater than whatever the need is around me.  Help my unbelief.  I love You and want to be a vessel You can use to do the impossible.  It is for Your glory that I pray this, in Jesus name.  Amen.

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Dedication

Published January 9, 2011 by imdaddysgirl
    I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there. 1 Samuel 1:26-28
    (Hannah’s prayer of dedication for Samuel)

Today, I have been asked to join some friends and pray over a little girl whom they have in their care as a foster child.  In her 3 short years she has encountered untold levels of betrayal and neglect from those she loves the most.  The environment she lived in her first 2 years was the devil’s playground.

Prayerfully, her birth parents will be loosed form the grip of the enemy of their soul and free to be the people and parents God would have them be.   However, until these parents are in a position before God to present their daughter to Him, she is in a family who lives for God and loves her as their own.   Today, they want to present this precious child to the Lord in an act of dedication.

Preparing to join them in this, I’ve done some Bible reading and exploration of what it means to dedicate.  When Christian parents dedicate a child, they are making a statement to God and others that they will look to God for direction in training, disciplining, encouraging, and leading this child to follow the ways of the Lord.  It is also a statement from the parents that God’s plan is best and a promise to raise them according to God’s ways.  It is committing their child back to God so that His will may be done in their life.

The Hebrew word for “dedicate” means “to narrow”.  Figuratively this speaks of discipline,  starting something new, and training a child for the Lord.  I think of a change in focus as well.  With Gods’ vision our focus changes.  Even when we can’t see an end of a matter, how we walk through it is narrow in focus.  We walk with God through prayer, obedience to His Word and with faith that He is leading us and directing our steps.

So, it is not just dedicating a child to God.  It is dedicating yourself as a parent, as sisters and brothers, as a loved one, as the church, as a brother, a sister in Christ who will be living examples of the love and nurture of God in her life.  We are called on as a witness to this godly act that this child has been placed in the hands of God.  It is saying as a believer that this child has a plan and purpose which only God knows.  It is a statement that we have her in our care as a steward to help facilitate the plans and purposes of God in her life.  She is special, she is set apart for God. We are to rely on the Spirit of God and His Holy Word to train her in the ways of the Lord.  It is a holy privilege.

So, Heavenly Father, we come to You today and acknowledge that You are the Creator of this dear child.  We declare that she is Yours now and forever.  We thank You for the privilege of allowing her to be in our family.  We give her to You spiritually even as You have given her to us physically.  We acknowledge our need for Your wisdom to raise her according to Your Word, Your purpose and Your will.  We pray that she will know and follow You at her earliest age of understanding and that she will walk with You all her days.  We pray Your will, Your plans, Your purposes be accomplished in her and in every member of our family.  We pray a hedge of protection about her even as a wall of fire.  We pray Lord that you provide for her, watch over her, protect her, keep her on the narrow path of life and godliness and use her in a mighty way for Your glory.  We declare that God’s will be done, God’s Kingdom come in her life now and forevermore.   In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.