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The Phases of Forgiveness—2 Corinthians 2:5-8

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Corinthians 2:5-6:13

“Nana, I’m sorry.”

“Of course I forgive you.”

It’s so easy to forgive my grandkids.

But what about the people in our lives that aren’t so easy to forgive, the people who have deeply hurt or disappointed us?

I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me.  Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough.  Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement.  So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. —2 Corinthians 2:5-8

Forgive and Comfort?

The last thing I want for my grandchildren is discouragement.  I can’t stand it when their hearts are broken because they’ve disappointed me; so it’s easy to comfort them.

But forgiving and comforting an adult, who should know better, so they won’t be discouraged—WHAT!

I’m the one who needs comforting…

I thought forgiving was hard, but forgiving and comforting…

How is that possible?

There’s only one way… with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Depending on the depth of the hurt it may take a while.  In the past I’ve gotten upset when I couldn’t instantly forgive and forget, but over years I’ve learned that there are phases of forgiveness.

As Paul said, in today’s reading…it’s time to forgive.

Let’s get started:

A phase is a distinct stage of development.  The phases may be different for each person.

Here are the 10 phases of forgiveness I’ve experienced:

Phase 1—I can’t forgive.  I’ve been hurt, I’m angry, I want to hurt back.

Phase 2—I don’t want to forgive. The other person(s) doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.

Phase 3—I should forgive (Matthew 6:14-15, Luke 17:3-4) but it’s so hard—Lord help me!

Phase 4—I’m trying to forgive but I can’t stop thinking about it and talking about it (Luke 6:45).

Phase 5—I have moments of forgiveness, a minute here a second there.

Phase 6—I have periods of forgiveness.  The pain is starting to going away!

Phase 7—I am completely free of the pain of unforgiveness!

Phase 8—I want the person(s) who hurt me to be free of the pain as well.  I don’t want them to be overcome with discouragement (2 Corinthians 2:5-8).

Phase 9—I make an effort comfort and encourage the person(s) who hurt me.  I free them from the responsibility of the pain they caused me (Job 42:10).

Phase 10—I forget the pain (not necessarily the event) the person(s) caused me.

The example from the Bible that comes to mind is Job.  Job was so angry at his three friends for accusing him of sinning against God.  Job worked through the phases of his anger throughout the forty-plus chapters of Job.  In Job 42:10, Job prayed for his “friends” and released them from their responsibility of hurting him and then the Lord made Job prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.

One of the biggest mistakes we make in the area of forgiveness is thinking we can go straight to phase 10.  This is the reason so many people are still living with the pain of the past–they don’t want to work through it, they just want to forget it.  That’s just not possible!

If you allow the Holy Spirit to walk you through each phase of forgiveness you will be truly free from the pain and sincerely want the best for those who’ve hurt you.

What a mighty God we serve!  Only through Him can we forgive and comfort!

Heavenly Father, I pray for my friends who are struggling with unforgiveness today.  Holy Spirit help them walk through each phase of forgiveness until they are truly free from the pain of the past.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  2 Corinthians 6:14-10:18

Lord, Will You Lead Me Like This? – Acts 16:6-10

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Acts 15:22-17:15

As I read Acts 16:6-10 and saw the way the Holy Spirit led Paul and Silas; I’m amazed!  It was as if the Holy Spirit said, “Stop… go, turn left, turn right, wait… proceed.”  I found myself saying to God and writing in my Bible, “Lord, lead me by Your Spirit like Paul and Silas.”

Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time.  Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas.

That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!”  So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. –Acts 16:6-10 (emphasis mine)

As soon as the last word of my request left my mouth, I thought, “I am led by the Spirit.  I experience it every day!”

If we are Christ-followers and have accepted Him as our Savior we can expect the Holy Spirit to direct our steps, just like Paul and Silas.

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. —Psalm 37:23

So the question isn’t does the Holy Spirit lead us, it’s “do we recognize the Holy Spirit’s leading?”

I know the Holy Spirit has directed me many times in my life; in big things and things that I thought were small.  Many times the “small things” have led to very BIG things!

One time that comes to mind happened a couple of years ago. I had several of these “Paul and Silas” experiences at the C.L.A.S.S. Writer’s Conference.  But the thing that stands out most is the way the Holy Spirit orchestrated the week for my new friend.  It was like I had a box-seat in a play that gave a real-life example of the “crazy love” our Heavenly Father has for each of us.  From the moment my friend landed in Albuquerque, New Mexico until she got on her return-flight home her heavenly Father made His love for her crystal clear. It was a joy to watch “Him” in action!  My new friend came to the conference weary and beaten down from life’s hard times and went home overflowing with the assurance of her Heavenly Father’s love, new strength to face life’s challenges, and hope and excitement for the future He has planned for her.

Friends, I challenge you to look for the Spirit’s leading today.  Whether it’s turn left, turn right, or stop, there’s no better place to be than following Him!

I found this quote from Mark Batterson and I can’t seem to get it out of my head or off my mind.

What does this say to you?

 “The reason we aren’t FULL of the SPIRIT is because we are FULL of OURSELVES.”

Heavenly Father, thank You for directing our steps and delighting in every detail of our lives!  Lord, I want to be full of Your Spirit. Show me how to pour out my will, my thoughts, my plans and give You all the room You need to use me to cause others to Know You More. Use us for Your glory as we move through our day!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Acts 17:16-18:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5:11

Two Miracles. Which One Do You Need? — Acts 12:6-8

Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 12:6-14:20

The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered. –Acts 12:6-8

There were two miracles that night:

  1. Peter, chained between two soldiers, was sleeping so hard the angel had to strike him to wake him up.
  2. An angel came in to prison and rescued him.

Which one was the greatest miracle?

Supernatural peace 

or

Supernatural rescue

I think they were both amazing! I definitely have needed rescuing many times in my life but I need the kind of peace Peter had every second!

Today’s world is far from peaceful. I see trouble, heartache, disappointment, and fear in the eyes of most.

Is there really a way we can be in total peace in the midst of chaos?

Yes. If Peter had peace, we can too. God doesn’t show favoritism (Acts 10:34).

Peter knew this peace because he had a relationship with Jesus. God had seen him at his worst and loved him anyway. Peter had failed many times but his Lord and Savior never let him down. When he found himself in prison, he KNEW God was for him and KNEW there was a plan and he CHOSE to trust, rest and accept the peace that Jesus offered…

“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid”. –John 14:27

Heavenly Father, I choose to accept the gift of peace Your Son Jesus gave. I want this miracle in my life. I want it to be displayed in my life in such a way that others see the peace I have and it draws them to You, Lord. Lord, help others to know You more through me.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 14:21-28, Galatians 1:1-3:23

Thank God for Doubting Thomas!–John 20:27


Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-43; Mark 16:12-13; John 20:19-23; Mark 16:14; John 20:24-21:25; Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:44-49

“Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe.” These were the words Jesus said to Thomas.

We all know the story of doubting Thomas.  He wasn’t with the others the first time they saw Jesus so he made the bold statement, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”  (John 20:25)

I feel bad for Thomas.  He’s really gotten a bad rap over the years; what Christian hasn’t had times of faithlessness.  Who knows, God may have divinely had this story told to encourage all of us doubters that Jesus understands, cares, and doesn’t want us to live this way.

There have been so many times when I wanted to have faith, but I just didn’t.

I was just too scared.

But, in the same way Jesus spoke to Thomas, he speaking to you and I…

Peace be with you.  Put your finger here, and look at my hands.  Put your hand into the wound in my side.  Don’t be faithless any longer.  Believe! (John 20:26-27)

To me, Jesus’ words tell us that He understands when we have doubts and questions.  He says, “Come closer to me, touch me; know me and then believe in me.”

He didn’t say, “Away from me, I never knew you.”

He said come closer.

Friend, if you’re struggling with your faith…

Don’t be faithless any longer.  Get closer to Jesus and believe.

Heavenly Father, forgive us for doubting You.  Help our unbelief.  Holy Spirit, draw us closer to Jesus; draw us closer to Your Word.   Help us seek You out.  Increase our faith.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:1-2:47

When’s the Last Time You Took a Risk?—Mark 15:42-43

Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:42-47, Matthew 27:57-61, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42, Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-7, Luke 24:1-12, Mark 16:9-11,  John 20:1-18, Matthew 28:8-15

Three years ago I was in full-on risk mode.

  • Stepping of my comfort zone
  • Going on an adventure
  • Taking a chance

I was doing what I believed God had spoken to me to do.

But my risk was nothing compared to the risk of Joseph of Arimathea…

This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation] the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached,  Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) –Mark 15:42-43 (emphasis mine)

Up until this point Joseph had been a secret disciple of Jesus.  He was a wealthy member of the Sanhedrin (the supreme council and tribunal of the Jews headed by a High Priest and having religious, civil, and criminal jurisdiction). But on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion he gathered his courage and went to Pilate boldly. His action was risky because:

  • He was not related to Jesus
  • His request was a favor that would likely be denied on principle since Jesus had been executed for treason
  • He risked ceremonial defilement in handling a dead body
  • His request amounted to an open confession of personal loyalty to the crucified Jesus which would doubtless incur his associates’ hostility

(The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

He was a secret disciple no longer…

Joseph was part of God’s plan.  He didn’t just “suddenly” get the idea to do this, it demanded much preparation.  Had Joseph not acted boldly, the body of Jesus might have been disposed of like rubbish.

It was important that Jesus’ body be prepared for burial so that the empty grave-clothes could be left behind in the tomb (John 20:1–10). Also, the way He was buried fulfilled prophecy (Isa. 53:9). The fact that He was buried is proof that Jesus actually died on the cross, for the Roman officials would not have released the body without proof that Jesus was dead.  (The Bible Exposition Commentary)

The Holy Spirit prompted Joseph to go to Pilate and ask for Jesus’ body, but at some point he had to step up and do it.  It’s the same with us today.  The Holy Spirit will urge or nudge us  to step out or speak out for Jesus, but it will never happen unless we act on it.

Three and a half years ago I received an email from an organization I’ve been a part of for over fifteen years.  This email was announcing the 2010 Writer’s Conference.  When I read the announcement, something inside of me said, “You should go.”

I dismissed the thought for several reasons:

  • I’ve only been writing for a couple of years
  • It’s a big financial investment
  • This is a professional writer’s conference and I’m just a beginner
  • I’m not really clear on God’s plan for me beyond this year
  • I’m not even sure God wants me to be a “writer”

A month or so passed and I mentioned it to my husband, who is my greatest fan and cheerleader.  He said, “You have to go!”  For a few weeks I tried to talk him out of it; told him every reason I could think of why I shouldn’t go…

I prayed about it and asked the Lord to dismiss it from my mind if I wasn’t supposed to go.  Just the opposite happened.  It was constantly on my mind.  I really felt like God spoke to me to go.  So I registered, paid my money, and bought a plane ticket.

As I shared my plans with family and friends I kept apologizing for going. Saying things like:

  • I don’t know why I’m going
  • I’m not a real writer
  • I shouldn’t be spending the money

I heard the Holy Spirit speak loudly, “Dianne, you need to stop saying and thinking these things.  I set this up.  It’s a divine appointment.  Go with excitement and expectation!”

So that it what I did!

I took a risk.  But is not really a risk when God encourages you.  It’s an act of obedience.

God used that Conference to point me in the direction of my next season of ministry. It changed my life.  I’m so glad I took a risk and said, “yes” to God.

Joseph took a risk that fulfilled prophesy that is still talked about today.

What risk is God calling you to take today?

Step out in obedience and take it, it could change the world forever!

Heavenly Father, use us for Your Glory and Your Kingdom.  Speak loudly Holy Spirit.  Give us the boldness and confidence to step out!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-43, Mark 16:12-13, John 20:19-23, Mark 16:14, John 20:24-21:25, Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-18, Luke 24:44-49


And Jesus said, “Your Mistake Is_____________.”–Matthew 22:29


Today’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:28-32, Mark 12:1-12, Matthew 21:33-46, Luke 20:9-19, Matthew 22:1-14, Mark 12:13-17, Matthew 22:15-22, Luke 20:20-26, Mark 12:18-27, Matthew 22:23-33, Luke 20:27-40

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life…

some were because of ignorance, some because hasty decisions, and some because of plain, old selfishness.

During Jesus’ earthly ministry He was constantly tested by the Jewish religious leaders.  In Matthew 22, the Sadducees made up a scenario trying to trap Jesus.  Not only did he answer their question, He pointed out their mistake:

Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. —Matthew 22:29

  • You don’t  know the scriptures
  • You don’t know the power of God

Jesus was talking to religious people, church leaders, preachers and teachers. They certainly should have known God’s Word and His Power.

In our year-long journey through God’s Word we’ve talked many times about the importance of knowing God’s Word, but have we ever really said that NOT knowing God’s Word is a mistake?

Maybe

It could be

The biggest mistake of our life.

I’m afraid when we get to heaven and the Lord shows us the plans that were made for our lives before the world began, plans to bring Him and His Kingdom glory, we’re going to say, “But Lord, we just couldn’t do it, we didn’t know how…”

Then our Lord is going to say…

“The mistake you made was–

  • You didn’t know the scriptures
  • You didn’t know my power

So you lived a life below the life I had planned for you.”

Friends, we do not want to make this mistake.  We do not want to see the disappointment on our Heavenly Father’s face or hear the sadness in His voice when He says, “I gave you My Word and My Power and you didn’t appreciate it or have knowledge of it.”

As I read yesterday’s scripture reading this particular passage jumped off the page.

Jesus was telling the disciples:

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.  You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”  –Matthew 21:21-22

I prayed and said, “Lord, I know there is so much more of Your power available to me as Your child than I’ve ever seen or experienced.  Teach me Lord about Your Power.”

I believe today’s scripture reading is the first lesson the Holy Spirit is teaching me as I pursue His Power.

God’s Word and His Power go hand-in-hand.

Amazing!  He’s already answering my prayer!

Heavenly Father, I don’t want to get to heaven and find out I made a huge mistake, a mistake that caused me to live a “less-than” victorious  Christian life.  Holy Spirit, draw me to Your Word, help me know You more each time I pick up Your Bible.  Jesus, I ask you to fill me with Your Power to get Your Will accomplished in my life.

In Jesus’Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 12:28-34, Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:35-37, Matthew 22:41-46, Luke 20:41-44, Mark 12:38-40, Matthew 23:1-12, Luke 20:45-47, Matthew 23:13-39, Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4

Let Me Tell You About My Grandchildren—Mark 10:13-16

Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 18:9-14,Mark 10:1-12, Matthew 19:1-12, Mark 10:13-16, Matthew 19:13-15, Luke 18:15-17, Mark 10:17-31, Matthew 19:16-30, Luke 18:18-30

Let me show you a picture of my grandchildren! Five of them are missing in this picture, but it was a rare photo opportunity to get this many of them together !

The one, true, living God of the universe spoke each of them into existence.

God could have chosen a million different ways to fill His earth, but He chose to do it through children…

Jesus made sure we knew the value of children.  He also told us that the only way we can receive the Kingdom of God is like a child:

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them!  For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.  I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”  Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them. —Mark 10:13-16

How do we receive the Kingdom of God like a child?

  • Children are helpless, unable to save themselves
  • Totally dependent on the mercy and grace of God
  • A child enjoys much but can explain very little
  • Children live by faith
  • They trust others to take care of them
  • Children immediately go to their parents when they are  hurt or have a problem

Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary

It’s so easy for children to believe in and have faith in God.  I see this in my grandkids.  When we pray for them to feel better, they believe they will.

They wholeheartedly believe God…

  • Is who He says He is
  • Will do what He says He will do

What happens?

How do we go from a little child who totally believes in God and believes God, to doubting who He is and what he says?

The pull of this sinful world is huge.  From the time a child is conceived a battle begins…a battle for their soul. That’s why we must train up our children in the ways of God and the things of God (Proverbs 22:6); so that when they grow up they still have child-like faith.

Children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3).  Lord, help me to live a life that leads my grandchildren straight to you.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture ReadingMatthew 20:1-6, Mark 10:32-34, Matthew 20:17-19, Luke 18:31-34, Mark 10:35-45, Matthew 20:20-34, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 18:35-19:27

A “Heavenly” Market Research Experiment—Luke 17:11-19

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Luke 14:25-17:10, John 11:1-37

Several times during this year’s Journey I have shared research from The Barna Group, a  research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture. In today’s reading Jesus conducted His own market research experiment.  It seems that things really haven’t changed much in 2000 years.

As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria.  As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”  He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests. And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?  Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” —Luke 17:11-19

One person out of ten was thankful…a 10% return

Wow!  And I thought thanklessness was just a 21st century problem!

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines thankful as being conscious of the benefit received.

You would think all ten lepers were conscious of the benefit they received in their healing…they may have been; maybe they just got so busy with their new life that they put verbalizing their thankfulness to their healer at the bottom of their list of priorities.

An “attitude of gratitude” is commanded in the Bible:

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful .  –Colossians 3:15

Even though God knows our hearts, He let us know in Luke 17 that He thinks thankfulness should be verbalized.  The Samaritan’s demonstration of thankfulness was seen as an act of faith by Jesus.  Because the Samaritan returned to thank Jesus for his healing he walked away healed in his soul as well as his body (New Bible Commentary)

As a parent, I know my children are thankful for the things I’ve done for them but I really like for them to express their thankfulness to me through words, either written are verbal.   From today’s reading it seems that our Heavenly Father feels the same way.

Jesus deserves our thankfulness:

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. –James 1:17

I wonder if faith to believe God to heal the pain of our past comes

from our demonstration of thankfulness for the things He’s

already done for us.

The nine unthankful lepers missed out on God’s best by not coming back to thank Jesus, their healer.

What is one thing you are thankful for today?

Heavenly Father, we have so much to be thankful for.  We are blessed to be called your children.  Holy Spirit help us to verbalize our thankfulness to our God each day.  Teach us how to be thankful.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Luke 18:9-14,Mark 10:1-12, Matthew 19:1-12, Mark 10:13-16, Matthew 19:13-15, Luke 18:15-17, Mark 10:17-31, Matthew 19:16-30, Luke 18:18-30

Why God? –John 9:1-5

 

Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 12:35-13:21, John 9:1-41

Last night I sat and listened to a friend share her testimony. She’s a beautiful, smart, feisty, forty-year-old who’s battled Multiple Sclerosis since she was thirty-three. She lights up the room with her smile and never has an unkind word to say.

As I drove home, I found myself asking…

Why?

It’s a question I’ve asked before.

My sweet granddaughter, who’s six years old has Cystic Fibrosis. When we were first introduced to this genetic disorder I said, “Absolutely not!” “God, I know you will come to our rescue. This is from the evil one. I know you will protect us from this life-altering disease.”

When the diagnosis was confirmed, I cried out to God.

I asked why.

The older I get, the less I know. There’s so much about walking out my life being “in this world and not of it” (John 15:18-21) that I don’t understand.

But

God’s word helps me make sense of these “whys.”

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”  –John 9:1-5

I can tell you that I see the power of God in the life of my friend and my granddaughter. God is and will continue to do amazing things to bring attention and glory to His Kingdom as they thrive in the midst of overwhelming difficulties.

 

Friends, we are on this earth to do two things:

 

  • Know Jesus
  • Cause others to know Him

 

The party’s not here, it’s in heaven.

 

Lord, I want people to see You in and through my life. Whether I’m having a great day or walking through the fires of life, let my life point others to You.

 

In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: John 10:1-42, Luke 13:22-14:24

Something Worth Arguing About—Mark 9:16

 

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Mark 9:14-29, Matthew 17:14-21, Luke 9:37-43a, Mark 9:30-32, Matthew 17:22-23, Luke 9:43b-45, Matthew 17:24-27, Mark 9:33-37, Matthew 18:1-6, Luke 9:46-48, Mark 9:38-41, Luke 9:49-50, Mark 9:42-50, Matthew 18:7-35

I am so sick of turning on the T.V. and seeing two people with opposing views screaming at each other…

But

The same kind of thing went on in Jesus’ day; they just didn’t have the media to show it to the world a hundred times a day.

In today’s world we call that entertainment.  From today’s reading we see that the crowd was entertained by a good argument in Jesus’ day as well.

In Mark 9, Jesus and three of His disciples walked up on an argument between a huge crowd of people, the local religious leaders, and nine of His disciples.  Jesus immediately asked what all the arguing was about (Mark 9:16).

Most likely the religious leaders were pointing out to the crowd that the Jesus’ disciples weren’t able to heal the demon-possessed boy.  They were probably getting louder and louder, with the noise of the crowd adding fuel to the fire. If I were one of the disciples I would have definitely felt the need to defend the healing power of Jesus.

Can you just imagine the shouting match that must have gone on?

Jesus, Peter, James, and John had just come down from the mountain where they had heard the voice of God…

Talk about going “back to the real world!”

What happened next will probably be a surprise, if you think Jesus would have run away from an argument!

Jesus got right in the middle of mix, raised His voice and addressed all of them, including His disciples:

Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” —Mark 9:19

It seems that lack of faith is one of the few things that frustrated our Savior to the point of asking, “How long must I put up with you?”

In almost every miracle Jesus did He either praised great faith or corrected the lack of faith.

Faith is important to God:

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. —Hebrews 11:6

How do we get more faith?

That’s where the problem lies.  There’s a price to pay for great faith.

The disciples asked this same question when they talked with Jesus after He healed the boy.

Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?”

Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer. —Mark 9:28-29

Most versions of the Bible say it can only be cast out by prayer AND fasting.

The spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting are crucial to live a life of faith in this fallen world.

Can you see why your humanness fights so hard when you set aside time to fast and pray?

I’m sure if Jesus were on this earth He would be frustrated by our lack of faith.

I challenge you to find some time right now to spend with God in prayer!

Heavenly Father, help us to see the importance in doing our part to strengthen our faith.  Lord, we say with the father of the demon-possessed boy, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  John 7:1-9, Luke 9:51-56, Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 9:57-62, John 7:10-8:20

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