Lord, if You can…

A few days ago, I was scrolling through my Instagram timeline and I saw a Jackie Hill Perry’s post about her prayer time that morning. what struck me had absolutely nothing to do with the picture she had posted, and everything to do with the caption of said post.

 Her caption read –

“As I was praying today, I began one sentence with “God, if it’s possible…” But the words didn’t feel right. Felt like something I’d say to a human. Not God. I corrected myself and began again by saying “God, if you are willing.” That felt better.”

JACKIE HILL PERRY, INSTAGRAM

Suddenly, I was taken back to my devotion time about two mornings before that when I was reading in the Bible about the man whose child the disciples had been trying to heal but could not in Mark 9:14-29 NLT

In that portion of scripture, Jesus happens upon a crowd of people gathering his disciples and there was so much argument in the air. He finds that the reason for the crowd and rowdiness is a man’s demon-possessed son whom he had brought to the disciples to heal but “…they couldn’t do it” (v.18).

I know majority of us have read this portion of scripture before and probably know this story inside and out but what stood out for me was in v.22 after Jesus asked the boy’s father how long it had been happening, he said

“The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”

Umm…if he can? You are standing before Jesus and you say “if you can”? It’s like seeing the richest man in the world and asking ‘if he can’ give you $1. I was stunned. How could he have said that? The audacity of underestimation, I thought. I was sinking deep into this sea of judgement when immediately I was reminded that like this boy’s father, a vast majority of us approach God in prayers with the same “if you can” mentality.

I’d like to think that after the amount of time the disciples spent trying to cast out the demon, whatever hope this man had of his son getting healed had fizzled away and he had now come to accept the impossibility of the situation hence the ‘…if you can’ statement. This is a lot of us today. We have tried all the ways our minds can possibly fathom and then we take the situation to God, having already concluded that it is now impossible, forgetting that we have come before the One who determines what is possible and what isn’t. We forget that we have come before the One who makes even what we deem impossible, possible. We let our humanity and short-sightedness cloud our vision and we go before God already belittling Him in our hearts.

Friends, a lot of us are guilty of this. See the man saying “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief” was a cry for help. He had realized that there were darts of unbelief poking holes in his cloud of belief and he acknowledged that he needed help. We need to humble ourselves and ask God to help rid us of every dart of unbelief poking holes at our cloud of belief so we can cultivate a cloud so thick we can approach God with confidence to ask that He step into whatever situation we are in and take over. Because the Bible says in 620-461-0134…for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord”

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Growing up, I would always wonder deeply when I was asked to pray for my Pastor or Leader. To me, they were perfect. God was speaking to them and they were teaching me things I had never seen or understood from the Bible so clearly they had to be some level of ‘perfect’, You know, being that close to God and all that.

It didn’t mean I didn’t pray, oh I did, a lot of ‘bless them‘ and ‘keep them‘ prayers, but there was some part of me—however minute it had become over the years—that felt like these people in such positions were perfect.

Fast forward a couple of years in my early adult life, someone that I greatly respect said a few things that I didn’t quite agree with. These things were not bad or anything, nothing like twisting the word of God or anything of grave consequence but I didn’t quite agree with it. It was his personal opinion about the way he decided to go about a certain matter (which had absolutely nothing to do with me) and I just thought that probably was not the right thing to say.

Days after he had uttered those words—his opinion—I found myself still thinking about how I didn’t quite agree with his decision and how it might not be the best thing. Truth is he might have not been wrong, maybe I wasn’t seeing certain things from his perspective but at that moment, I felt like I did not agree with him and that was the foundation of the unsettlement in my mind.

I’m laying in bed processing these thoughts when this dropped in my heart, “He’s a pastor, when did he stop being a human being?” Umm…what?! It was a silent whisper, yet so loud. There was no denying I heard it.

I was stunned because it’s the truth. Somehow, consciously or unconsciously, I have placed these men on a pedestal in my mind that is no longer human, so when a little of their humanity comes out to play, it’s difficult for me to understand. It became clear to me that I might have spent years of my life thinking they were perfect beings while claiming to know they have flaws without really ‘knowing’ and I think I’m not the only one in that boat.

If you would really think about it and search deep in your heart, you might find that you are in this boat. This I believe is one of the reasons why we are not very forgiving of these people. The scales we use for ourselves and the ones we use for these people are so different, it’s almost impossible to consider their humanity.

This realization did one major thing for me, it helped me to really mean it when I pray for them. When I pray that ‘after they have preached to others, they do not become cast away‘ I really mean it from the depth of my heart that their humanity does not get the better part of them; that it doesn’t stand in the way of their receiving their reward for a job well done in the final day because if we are being honest, these men and women whom God has placed over us, labour day and night for us, teaching us, praying for us and being a covering for us. We ought to overwhelm them with appreciation and love as the Bible says in 3163588075, an expression of which is offering up genuine prayers for them. They need it as much as you do, sometimes even more.

So the next time you find yourself buying a one-way ticket to board this boat you have just been delivered from, be sure to remember to say a heartfelt prayer for those who labour over you, remembering that they are human just like you and I.

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I’m sitting listening to yet another person tell their story of their oh-so-dramatic come-to-Jesus moment and how they gave their lives to Christ and once again I wonder if it’s normal that I don’t have such a story.

The sermon in church over the weekend and something I read in one of my devotions inspired this post because I strongly believe that I am not the only one experiencing this. In fact, I’m sure there’s at least one person like me out there, so let’s say this post is for the one person like me without a seemingly dramatic or astonishing come-to-Jesus story.


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In my usual manner, this is something that stood out for me during my morning devotion and I thought to share. In Matthew 14, Jesus had just heard that His forerunner who was also His cousin had been beheaded by Herod in a drunken show of power and He really wanted to be alone so He took a boat and sailed all alone to a deserted place.


Pretty normal right?


Except that didn’t last long. The deserted place that is. A multitude of people had heard about His little trip and walked on foot, through cities to find Him in His little deserted place where He just wanted to be alone.


He stepped off the boat to see a crowd of people just waiting for Him. Now pause for a sec here and imagine that was you. You really just want to be alone to process this loss and pray but there’s a lot of people waiting who need your help. I’m sure at that point, you’ll be thinking “Can I catch a break please? Can I please get sometime to deal with my personal stuff?” But not Jesus!


“If God trusts you enough to require it of you, be responsible enough to carry it through”


The Bible records in v.14 that He was ‘moved with compassion for them and He healed their sick‘. He put aside all that He was feeling in the moment and attended to these people He had been sent to minister to.


If Jesus could do that amidst all He was going through, WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE? What are you going through that you see as reason enough not to do what God is asking of you? If God trusts you enough to require it of you, be responsible enough to carry it through. Put aside your flesh and everything holding you back and let your heartburn for the things His heart burns for.

Surrender!

If you will just submit yourself to Him, God will take you through seasons of processes and chastenings to rid you of all your excesses till He is your only priority. He will take you to a place where all the idols in your life are dethroned and He is God over ALL of you.

Make a decision from here on out to yield yourself wholly to Him and let Him lead, teach, prune and cultivate you till you are blooming and flourishing in His Kingdom.

M E D I T I A T E

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“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” ‭‭- Colossians‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“5-6 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:5-6, 11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Don’t give up!

Don’t give up, Be encouraged!

These hard times are nothing but small potatoes in comparison to what is coming. Imagine that for a second…

This week, Irrespective of what you are going through, I want you to hold on to God’s word and let your spirit be encouraged because Greater is coming! Start this week with this word in your heart.

M E D I T A T E

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”

– 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 MSG