Receiving Healing and Help from God — Jesus Rebukes Unbelief: Finding Faith for the Struggling Writer

Luke 9:37-42, Mark 9:14-28, Matthew 17:14-20

After the nine disciples cast out the demon it did not leave the boy. Perhaps at that point doubt entered their minds. Had they done something wrong? Failed to use the right words?

Some time earlier we find a group of demons negotiating with Jesus. Did the Nine use that event to justify their unbelief?

A man filled with a demon ran and fell on his knees in front of Jesus. Jesus had said to the demon, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

The demon shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”

Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion, for we are many.”

Let’s pause to consider the pronouns used by unclean spirits. First they lied to Jesus by claiming to be a singular spirit. But when Jesus demanded to know the spirit’s name, they confessed to be a group of spirits.

Second, the demon asked Jesus not to torture it. In fact over and over the demons begged Jesus to spare them.

The demon begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs.

The Nine would have recalled how Legion negotiated with Jesus, so when they attempted to cast it out, the demon may have sensed their weak faith and rejected their authority.

When Jesus arrives his first response is not to rebuke the evil spirits, but his disciples. He scolds them for their perverted skepticism.

“You unbelieving and perverse generation. How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Luke 9:41)

Receiving Healing and Help from God — Jesus Rebukes UnbeliefAnytime our actions and beliefs are contrary to what is right and good in God’s eyes we are in a state of depravity and perversion. Perversion brings about the opposite of what God intends. The Nine claimed to act on behalf of Jesus, but the fruit of their actions led to taunting by the religious leaders. Their perverse unbelief brought not honor, but dishonor to Jesus.

Doubt and indecision have no place in God’s healing and help. When we doubt, we are in agreement with the devil. When we are unsure if God wants us healed and helped, we deny Christ, for he said, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “You have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20) “This kind can come out only by prayer.” (Mark 9:28-29)

Pure faith and prayer are the keys to mighty works in the name of Jesus.

Jesus’ final action is to rebuke the unclean spirit and give the boy to his father whole, healed, and in his right mind.

If you seek healing from God, do not doubt. Do not say, “If it is your will . . .” Jesus is always willing to heal. (Matthew 8:3) Healing is purpose. By his wounds, lashes, bruises we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5) To question if he wants us to remain sick and feeble is to question if he wants us to be saved from sin. Jesus said:

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”Luke 5:31

Jesus is in the business of healing and saving. May we also be about his business.

Receiving Healing and Help from God — Mustard Seed Faith for the Struggling Writer

Luke 9:37-42, Mark 9:14-28, Matthew 17:14-20

Receiving Healing and Help from God — Mustard Seed Faith

Answers to our prayers bring conflict, division and opposition. “When Jesus came to the other disciples, he saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them (the other nine disciples).” Our attempts to believe in the power of Jesus will always lead to conflict, division, and opposition. Nine other disciples had tried to heal one boy. They had failed. Earlier these nine, plus Peter, James, and John, had gone out in pairs and healed all they met. They had driven out demons. Now their failure to help one boy threatened the reputation of Jesus. If his disciples proved to be frauds, then the Scribes’ argument that Jesus was a false teacher would carry greater weight.

Answers to our prayers includes humility. “A man came and knelt before Jesus.” In contrast to the nine disciples and the Scribes, the father moved passed arguments and acknowledged that he needed Jesus’ help. Casting blame hinders our ability to draw close to Jesus. Forgive, be reconciled, and draw near to him.

Answers to our prayers include repentance for both us and others. The father said, “Lord, have mercy on my son.” James declares that the prayers of righteous individuals are powerful (James 5:16). Even though none of us are righteous on our own, through the blood of Christ we are made righteous. Before we make our requests to God, repent, confess our sins, and in humility come before God with our prayers lists of petitions.

Answers to our prayers include clear and detailed descriptions of the affliction or situation. “My boy has seizures and suffers greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. He is possessed by a spirit that robs him of speech. Whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him into convulsions and onto the ground. He foams at the mouth. He gnashes his teeth. He becomes rigid. He suddenly screams. This spirit scarcely ever leaves him. This spirit is destroying him.” Effective prayer includes specifics. Not because Jesus needs to know, but because we need to be able to testify later of all that he did. In listing details of the affliction we give weight to the power of Jesus’ healing and help. But we should be careful not to glorify the affliction or situation. Do not claim it as yours by saying, “My ____ (disease, problem).”  The affliction or situation is not ours. It’s of the devil. He came to steal, kill, and destroy and Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.

Answers to our prayers often include a recap of past attempts at healing and help. “I brought my boy to _____ but they could not heal (help).” Before Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood, we learn that she had spent all she had on doctors but none could help her. In fact, she grew worse. The contrast of failed attempts at healing and help reveals our need for God in all situations. We should be careful, however, not to blame on those who tried to help us and failed. Blame and shaming can block the flow of healing and help from God.

In our next lesson on healing and help we will look at the importance of pure faith.

A Powerful Antidote for the Depressed Writer

Find Your Calling in Christ

Find Your Calling in ChristIndecision opens the door for a spirit of depression. When we are unsure of our purpose, place in life, and destination, we will often flail about like sails on a ship “caught in irons.”

A sailboat “caught in irons” finds itself with the bow pointed “dead” into the wind, stalled, and unable to maneuver. The wind’s energy flows over and around the vessel, but the vessel remains trapped between crests of waves and swells. The ship’s rudder does not respond to the commands from the helm, leaving the vessel and crew at the mercy of the sea and in danger of capsizing.

The Apostle Paul speaks of those, “Tossed back and forth by the waves. Blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14)

Paul’s is a message of remaining confident of the words of God and Christ, but his instruction is also beneficial for each of us seeking to understand our purpose, place among the crew, and destination.

Jeremiah 29:11 is a familiar passage that is often misapplied, but many of the promises of God found elsewhere in scripture are summed up in this verse.

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.
When faced with indecision we can take comfort in knowing that God has a plan. And not one plan, but several. Like the skipper of a sailboat, we have command of the rudder and sails. Once we know God’s immediate plan for us, we can plot our course and hold our heading based on the magnetic line of his moral compass. In this way we break free of the “irons” and sail on with confidence.

“I have plans to prosper you,” declares the Lord.
We must be careful not to claim this verse as a promise of immediate and forever prosperity. It is not. But Christ did promise that if we are in him and he is in us, we will enjoy life and enjoy it to the full. Much of what the world calls prosperity is a prison. Excessive wealth leads to endless worries. How to keep it? Who seeks to steal it? When to spend it? A sound, well-built vessel that is properly outfitted and provisioned needs nothing but crew to guide her. This is the type of abundant life those in Christ can have.

A life in Christ is a life of adventure, new horizons, new relationships, joy in giving, joy in receiving, peace during storms, patience in times of trials and gales. When we are in Christ, at all times, regardless of our circumstances, we can prosper if we will heed the heading he gives.

“I will not harm you,” declares the Lord.
God is good. That is his character. And God never changes. Though he will chastise us, it is always to get our attention, to call us to repent, and turn back to him. Other times, when a person’s heart becomes so hardened that they refuse to repent, he will use that individual as an example of what becomes of the rebellious and obstinate.

God desires that, “All people be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) Never let this thought linger in your mind: “God hates me. That’s why this happened. He caused this sickness, this disaster, this _____.” Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Christ came to give life, hope, and a future.

“I plan to give you hope and a future,” declares the Lord.
When God confronted Moses at the Burning Bush, he asked, “What is in your hand?” Oftentimes the thing in our hand is part of God’s plan. Not always, but most times. Though the staff (a big stick) was a part of God’s plan for Moses, his days of herding sheep were over. Now Moses would herd people. He would become the leader of a new nation. He would see God perform miracles of healing. He would see God inflict death and punishment on his enemies.

The thing in his hand was but a small part of God’s plan for Moses. Never underestimate what God can do with the skills, experience, and education you have. Also never be afraid to step forward into a new work for which you have no skills, no experience, and no education. In God’s timing under his guidance, he has, can, and will raise up servants who will do great things through him.

Unsure of your purpose, place in life, and destination? Run up the white flag. Surrender yourself to Christ. Climb into his vessel. Let his Holy Spirit fill you. With him in you and you in him you will do great works.

In fact, you will do greater works than he. (John 14:12) And Christ performed miracles, healed all the sick who came to him, raised the dead, spoke life into inanimate objects (bread, wine), walked on water and would later walk through walls. If you wish to do even greater things than these, get into Christ.


A Powerful Antidote for the Depressed Writer

Find Your Confidence in Christ

Find Your Confidence in ChristDoubt opens the door for a spirit of depression. When we doubt ourselves, doubt our abilities, doubt we will receive the outcome we seek, we press down beneath the covers and hope life will somehow work out.

But there is an antidote to doubt and a cure for depression that does not depend upon drugs and self-help, self-encouragement, and self-seeking. That antidote is our confidence in Christ. If any of us lacks confidence in our future, listen to these words of Jesus.

Friend, I have called you to myself. And if I have called you to myself and you allow yourself to be wrapped with my arms, held tight to me, then you can be assured that nothing will ever separate us.

Though you fear the darkness, I am your light. Though you fear death, I am your life. Though you fear supernatural principalities and powers, my power to protect you is greater. Though you fear the future, I am the Lord of today, tomorrow, and your days to come.

There are no powers, no circumstances, nothing in all creation that will  rip you from my grasp. Arise knowing that I am your strength, your hope, your confidence. (Romans 8:38-39)

Lean on me today and I will make your steps sure. (Proverbs 3:5-6). Trust me in this. — Jesus