June 23, 2017

In You Alone

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Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my Rock and my Salvation,
my Fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my Refuge, a Rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our Refuge.
Psalms 62:5-8

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I read David’s writings daily.  Who can’t relate to an awesome king that loved God…yet was extremely human and sought forgiveness when he was wrong.  There is so much hope and healing in his writings and I find myself praying his words back to God.

David was a spiritual man and an extremely emotional one, too.  Many times he wrote these psalms out of his own feelings—feelings of amazement, fear, love, anger, and pain.  And this particular psalm was written in a time of disappointment, a time that David had been let down over and over.  If you have lived into adulthood, then you know how this feels.  It’s even harder when the person who disappoints you is a man or woman of God.  It can shake us off our firm foundation if we let it.

The person in David’s life was Saul and David’s eyes were opened as a teenager.  He couldn’t believe that someone could really go that far off the right path and let sin take him down so far.  Later in his life, David himself would slip, too.  No one is immune to sin and no one will ever walk a perfect journey here on earth—except Jesus!  Pastors will mess up. Friends in the congregation may stop coming. But good can from this…if we don’t let bitterness and resentment in.

The theme in this psalm of David’s is God alone.  He didn’t let bitterness come from his shattered expectations.  Instead he found hope in his Father.  He realized that the only constant on this earth is God.  Good people will hurt you and they will slip and sometimes they may never come back into God’s house again.  This shouldn’t sway you either way; and, if it does, it is time to do some reconnecting with God the Father.

Read verses 1-2 and 5-8 out loud.  Put the emphasis on every repetition of the words ‘God, He, and Him’.  Can you hear it?  See, because David poured out his heart to God, and he didn’t let it fester and build up, bitterness couldn’t take hold.  He had a hope and a rest in God.  In Hebrew, the word ‘hope’ means “a cord or an attachment.”  Everyone is holding onto something, or someone, for security.  Sometimes we hold onto a knotted rope and depend on whatever is on the other end to keep us from falling.

Picture that rope in your hands…
close your eyes and look up the rope…
who do you see on the other end?

Unless God is at the end of your rope, you’re about to fall…and you’re hanging on by a thread.  God alone can hold us up.  So the next time you allow someone to disappoint you, whisper two words to yourself—“God alone“.  When you decide to let that person off the hook and let God alone hold the other end of your rope, you will attach yourself to God’s strong arm.  He can hold you up over the deep and strong waves.  You will be secure enough to let one arm go free to help the person that disappointed you along the way, until he or she gets back on their feet.  And you will be able to say that it was worth all of the hard!  For you will really have found that your strength can only be found in Him.

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Let us pray:  Dear God, You are so great and You are fully able to do anything we ask or think according to Your will.  I am in awe of You.  Thank You for loving us so much and for sending Jesus to die in our place.  Oh God, forgive us when we place people above You and expect them to fulfill us…for only You can satisfy our every need.  Let us never forget that only You are perfect.  Help us to keep our eyes on You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Hope (A Profession)

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So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering
the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgment of it,
for He who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His Word.

Hebrew 10:23 AMP

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In the KJV the same verse says,

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering
(for He is faithful that promised).

What are we seeing here?  Hope is the profession of our faith.  What is  ‘profession’ then?  In biblical terms, this is a calling.  It is ‘an occupation, practice, or vocation requiring mastery of a complex set of knowledge and skills through formal education and/or practical…’.

So if we take the AMP version that we should hold fast…without wavering…the hope, we are saying we should take the profession of our faith without wavering.

In a business world setting, if you know that you are an accountant, anything concerning administration does not concern you because there is nothing you can do about it.  You are not trained for that and you do not have knowledge concerning it. This is also true with the profession of our faith…we are called in this field of hope in which we are being trained to hope in the Lord, we are being equipped to undertake this profession without wavering.

We are called to this profession ourselves because God already knows that we need training.  The training is the faith which needs to be exercised on a daily basis.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God…
Romans 10:17

Once you hear  the Word of God, hope in the Lord moves from one level of glory to the other.   Faith and hope are inseparable professions that we as believers need to know and must have.  We need to combine these professions if we want to live a successful life.  A life of abundance only comes when we take our certificates in the profession which are desire, prayers, and belief.  (“What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them” Mark 11: 24).

For God to act on anything we need to have hope and faith in God.  Don’t doubt God.  Brethren I have never seen the righteous forsaken therefore let us hold fast our profession in God for He never fails.  Those marriages we are hoping for will come…finances needed…babies we desire…. All these will only come when we exercise our profession (HOPE).

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Father, I thank You for the wonderful time we had in Your Presence.  Thank You for the Scripture we have read;  we pray and believe that grace shall abound in us that we shall do our profession without wavering.  Grant us that grace, Lord, for we need it to exercise our inheritance in Your Kingdom.  For without faith we cannot please You!   We need it time and time again.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

I Still Believe

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Scattered words and empty thoughts
Seem to pour from my heart
I’ve never felt so torn before
Seems I don’t know where to start
But it’s now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip, washing away my pain

I still believe in Your faithfulness
I still believe in Your truth
I still believe in Your holy word
Even when I don’t see…I still believe

Though the questions still fog up my mind
With promises I still seem to bear
Even when answers slowly unwind
It’s my heart I see You prepare
But its now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
From every finger tip, washing away my pain

The only place I can go is into Your arms
Where I throw to You my feeble prayers
In brokenness I can see that this was Your will for me
Help me to know You are near

’Cause I still believe….

Singer / Songwriter: Jeremy Camp

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Jeremy Camp sings, “…‘cause even when I don’t see, I still believe.”  How about you?  It can be a struggle sometimes, agreed?  But our believing is not now, has never been, and never ever will be, based on what we can ‘see.’  Our believing is based on the One Whom we believe and on Him alone.

…for we walk by faith, not by sight
2 Corinthians 5:7

There is no doubt that our God wants us to believe Him with all of our heart and trust that everything He has promised will come to pass…amen?  He has given us, through His power and outlined in the Scriptures, ‘all things that pertain to life and godliness’ so that we can know Him and His promises.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,
through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence,
by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises,
so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
2 Peter 1:3 and 4

Our knowledge  of the Scriptures is constantly growing as we faithfully read and study them.  Based on all that we learn about our Great God, His Will, and His desires for His people, we can take a firm stand on His promises believing Him and knowing by faith that they will come to pass.

What are some of the things that we are to believe?

  • He hears our prayers
  • He heals our bodies
  • He comforts our hearts
  • He never leaves nor forsakes us
  • He watches over us
  • He guards us
  • He prepares a path for us to walk
  • He lovingly reproves and corrects us
  • And…His faithfulness, His truth, His Holy Word

I still believe in Your faithfulness

For the word of the Lord is right and true;
He is faithful in all He does.
Psalm 33:4

I still believe in Your truth

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him,
“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
John 8:31-32

I still believe in Your Holy Word

My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to My sayings.
Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.
For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.
Proverbs 4:20-22

Even when I don’t see…I still believe!

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

As you (and I) make this our confession, we are trusting (as did Paul, our brother) the One who is Faithful and True.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—
not because of anything we have done
but because of His own purpose and grace.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior,
Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life
and immortality to light through the gospel.
And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.
That is why I am suffering as I am.
Yet this is no cause for shame,
because I know Whom I have believed,
and am convinced that He is able to guard
what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
2 Timothy 1:9-12

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Friend, make this your own confession….  May I suggest that you write it down, place it in your Bible…write it on your bathroom mirror…write it on your palm…write it on your heart!   

♥ 

I still believe in Your faithfulness
I still believe in Your truth
I still believe in Your Holy Word
Even when I don’t see…I still believe

The Great Exchange

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I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion];
it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me;
and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in
(by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God,
Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Galatians 2:20 AMP

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I know Christ was crucified for me. But I never thought about what that really means.

  • Christ swapped places with me
  • We exchanged lives
  • He became the sinner, I became the sinless

Even as I type this…I cannot comprehend the full impact of that statement.

What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?  Galatians 5:24 NLT puts it like this:

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed
the passions and desires of their sinful nature
to His cross and crucified them there.

The AMP version calls it our ‘godless human nature.’  Our sinful nature and desires have been exchanged for Christ’s holy and righteous one.  Life in the flesh is no longer life AFTER the flesh.  I Peter 4:2 AMP says we “…can no longer spend the rest of his {our} natural life living by his {our} human appetites and desires, but [he {we} lives] for what God wills.”

The NLT translates it like this…

“You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires,
but you will be anxious to do the will of God.”

How is this possible?  Colossians 3:3 AMP states, “For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.”  Romans 6:8 NLT tells us “And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with Him.”  A brand new life in Christ…in exchange for our old life with all its flaws and failures.  We are simply managing this new life given to us by Christ.  But how on earth can we manage this new life any better than the old one?  Faith.  It can only be done by living it by faith.  Faith intimately connects us with Christ.

Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction)
by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor)
in which we [firmly and safely] stand.
Romans 5:2 AMP

Faith is how we access God’s grace, His guidance, His directions.  In order to live by faith we must live as Jesus describes:

 …even so whoever continues to feed on Me
[whoever takes Me for his food and is nourished by Me]
shall [in his turn] live through and because of Me.
John 6:57b AMP

Quite an exchange, isn’t it?  Why would Christ sacrifice Himself in exchange for me?  Romans 8:37 NLT holds the answer “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”  Christ loves us and wants us to be victorious. He laid down His life in exchange for ours, so we could spend eternal life with Him.  He chose to die for me.  Now that is amazing love.

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Lord, I am so thankful and grateful You chose to exchange Your life for mine.  I cannot fully comprehend the depths of Your love for me.  Help me live by faith so that I may manage this new life in a manner pleasing unto You.  In Your Holy name, I ask – Amen, It Is So!

You Are My Healer

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 Then they came, bringing a paralytic to Him, who had been picked up and was being carried by four men.  And when they could not get him to a place in front of Jesus because of the throng, they dug through the roof above Him; and when they had scooped out an opening, they let down the [thickly padded] quilt or mat upon which the paralyzed man lay.  And when Jesus saw their faith [their confidence in God through Him], He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven….”

Mark 2:3-5 AMP

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You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease

I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You’re my healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe, Lord

I believe You’re my portion
I believe You’re more than enough for me
Jesus, You’re all I need

For nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

Singers ~ Aaron&Amanda Crabb / Songwriter ~  Michael Guglielmucci

This Week…Jesus’ Words on Faith (Mark 2:3-5)

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 Then they came, bringing a paralytic to Him, who had been picked up and was being carried by four men.  And when they could not get him to a place in front of Jesus because of the throng, they dug through the roof above Him; and when they had scooped out an opening, they let down the [thickly padded] quilt or mat upon which the paralyzed man lay.  And when Jesus saw their faith [their confidence in God through Him], He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven….”

Mark 2:3-5 AMP

This has been the final week of our current series—Jesus’ words on faithhere on the Seeking Him devotional blog.  Each week our devotional writers have shared and reminded us about what our Lord taught on this very important subject.  (If you haven’t had the opportunity to read through these wonderful devotionals, just click above on the Seeking Him button and scroll backwards.  The series began on January 11th.)  We have looked at these four particular records from the Gospels which are just a few examples where Jesus spoke to His disciples as He  taught them the value and importance of having faith.

Matthew 8:23-26

Mark 5:24-34

Matthew 6:33-34

Mark 2:3-5

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In Extended Faith, Ahmee made such a great point about our faith and how it affects others.

“Not only can our faith be of use to the non-believer, but believers can help other believers, too.  Our faith is not just our faith. Our faith can extend to the lives around us.  And sometimes that’s what we need.  We need others to believe for us and with us.  This is why fellowship is important.

Faith—your faith—is for more than just you.
Share it. Use it. It has great power.

In From Paralyzed to Forgiven and Healed, Tina wrote about the value of godly, praying friends.

Friends.  What would we do without our friends?  The man in our Scripture today would not have been able to receive his healing had his friends not put their faith into action…and been willing to get help for their friend.  We are not told whether the man had been paralyzed for a long or a short time; we just know that he was paralyzed.

Do you have such love for a friend—in which you would go to that much trouble for them?  If not, then we really need to look at our friend list and see who God would direct us to help.”

In Level of Faith, Ann encouraged us to have a high level of faith.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17 KJV

“If you don’t hear the Word of God you will not know what the Word has for you.  These people in Mark 2, had been hearing a lot of things that Jesus did, for Jesus went about doing good.  So, the news that Jesus healed people was all over their cities [Mark 1:29 – 34] and through many testimonies they had been hearing of Him healing many as well as His miraculous deeds.  Their level of faith grew each day by hearing these testimonies and probably many others, too, had followed Him to another place where the miracle took place in their presence.

When you have a high level of faith you can do the extraordinary—this is what we see in our Scripture this week.  Their level of faith did not allow stumblingblocks to the healing of their brother; hence, the opening on the roof.”

In Faith and Forgiveness, Cynda focused on a fundamental truth—

Faith is the key.

In this one verse (Mark 2:5), Jesus makes it abundantly clear what is most important.  It isn’t our physical well-being, our monetary wealth, or our social status.  It is the state of our soul, our spiritual well-being.  Our greatest need is for salvation.  One of the greatest miracles is God freeing us from the power of sin because of faith.  He is the only One who can truly set us free. Four simple words—”Your sins are forgiven.” No qualifiers.  Jesus doesn’t say because you are pretty you are forgiven.  He doesn’t say because you are smart you are forgiven.  No, all that is required is faithfaith in Jesus Christ.  Just like that our sins are forgiven.  Past, present, and future.  Permanently erased.  And sometimes, it is all because someone interceded in faith for us.”

And in Strong Faith, Laura also wrote on the value of faith.

Faith is one of the strongest weapons we have as humans when it comes to facing the different trials of the world.  It can carry us through the toughest times and can give us joy during the good times.  Faith is the best tool we have to face evil in a world that is changing before our eyes. Faith is what gives us the strength to keep on searching for answers. ”

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As always, our heart and prayer to God is that these devotionals will encourage you to seek Him and that you will be drawn closer in relationship with Him.

Extended Faith

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Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.
Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd,
they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and,
after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
“Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Mark 2:3-5

When I read this passage, I had to stop and read it again.  A couple of things stood out to me in this passage:

1.  These men that were helping the paralytic were not referred to as his friends.
2.  Jesus helped the paralytic based on the men’s faith.

This passage, even in the other Gospels, is kind of vague. It leaves a lot to question…for instance,

  • Who were these men that had so much faith in Jesus that they were willing to climb onto a roof, dig through it, and lower a man down…when they may or may not have been his friend?
  • Why did they care so much?
  • Did the paralytic have faith?

This passage doesn’t say.  This passage actually focuses heavily on the men who brought the paralytic.  Regardless of the answers to these questions one thing remains a fact—Jesus healed the paralytic because of the four men’s faith.  I’ve read over this passage before, and I clearly remember being under the impression that the man asked to be taken to Jesus and he was healed because he believed.  But upon re-reading this passage, I am very baffled by the fact that Jesus healed the man because of the other men’s faith.

This passage is proof that believers are essential to non-believers’ lives.  We are not meant to be sectioned off.  We are not to be put on a pedestal.  We are not better than non-believers.  We are guides, helpers, and intercessors.  Not only can our faith be of use to the non-believer, but believers can help other believers, too.  Our faith is not just our faith. Our faith can extend to the lives around us.  And sometimes that’s what we need.  We need others to believe for us and with us.  This is why fellowship is important.

Faith—your faith—is for more than just you.
Share it. Use it. It has great power.

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Lord, help us to understand that our faith can reach further than just our own lives and the lives of those immediately around us.  Show us that our faith is potentially useful to all those that we encounter.  Amen.

Strong Faith

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Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.
Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd,
they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it
and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man,
“Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Mark 2:3-5

Faith is one of the strongest weapons we have as humans when it comes to facing the different trials of the world.  It can carry us through the toughest times and can give us joy during the good times.  Faith is the best tool we have to face evil in a world that is changing before our eyes. Faith is what gives us the strength to keep on searching for answers.

Many people are sick and dying.  Other are living in constant pain or even unable to move.  Yet, for many in this world, medical advances are the only hope that they see as a way to keep living.  They put all their faith in hoping that the medical community will find a cure.

Others, though, put their faith in God. Through prayer to God and their belief in God, some who are sick or disabled have faith strong enough to live their lives while fighting their trials.

The paralyzed man and his companions (mentioned here in Mark chapter 2) had great faith in Jesus.  The four men had to have faith that Jesus would heal the disabled; otherwise, they would not have been willing to bring the man to be healed by Jesus.  Jesus recognized that the men had faith that he would heal the disabled man.  By the power of their faith in Jesus, the paralyzed man was healed.

Jesus can see if we have faith in Him.  He lives in our hearts providing us with the strength to go through good and bad days.  Jesus is the pillar of our faith.  Without Jesus we cannot have faith in God.  As long as we are in a relationship with Jesus, our faith will only grow stronger.

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Dear Heavenly Father: Thank You for Your healing powers and for allowing us to have faith in You.  Without you…we are nothing.  The stronger our faith, the stronger we are.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Faith and Forgiveness

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Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man,
“My child, your sins are forgiven.”
Mark 2:5 NLT

faith: reliance upon and trust in God
– Lexham Bible Dictionary

“If prayer is the hand that opens the door of blessing,
faith is the hand that receives the blessing,
and not for itself merely, but for others.”
– F. E. Marsh

Sometimes our faith dwindles and we wonder if it can sustain us.  Isn’t it wonderful when friends step out in faith for us?  These four knew they could not help their friend…but they did know Who could.  And though they were not exactly correct about what kind of help was needed, they knew Who had the answer.

James 5:15 (NASB) tells us “…and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.”  And in Hebrews 6:1b (NLT) we are reminded of the “…fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.”

Faith is the key.

In this one verse (Mark 2:5), Jesus makes it abundantly clear what is most important.  It isn’t our physical well-being, our monetary wealth, or our social status.  It is the state of our soul, our spiritual well-being.  Our greatest need is for salvation.  One of the greatest miracles is God freeing us from the power of sin because of faith.  He is the only One who can truly set us free. Four simple words—”Your sins are forgiven.” No qualifiers.  Jesus doesn’t say because you are pretty you are forgiven.  He doesn’t say because you are smart you are forgiven.  No, all that is required is faith…faith in Jesus Christ.  Just like that our sins are forgiven.  Past, present, and future.  Permanently erased.  And sometimes, it is all because someone interceded in faith for us.

Level of Faith

SeekingHimLogo

Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.
Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof
above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Mark 2:3-5

The portion of Scripture we have this week describes the level of faith that we ought to have. The men believed that Jesus was the one to heal this paralyzed person…and they did not allow any stumbling block between themselves and the Healer.

Typical of a determined human being who wants to do some investmenting, whenever you know that there is a profit to be received out of a particular business, you strive to get together the capital either by borrowing from friends or through a bank loan, so as it will aid you to the achievement of your profit.

Faith is like a blank check where we need to feel everyday as we live.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17 KJV

If you don’t hear the Word of God you will not know what the Word has for you.  These people in Mark 2, had been hearing a lot of things that Jesus did, for Jesus went about doing good.  So, the news that Jesus healed people was all over their cities [Mark 1:29 – 34] and through many testimonies they had been hearing of Him healing many as well as His miraculous deeds.  Their level of faith grew each day by hearing these testimonies and probably many others, too, had followed Him to another place where the miracle took place in their presence.

When you have a high level of faith you can do the extraordinary—this is what we see in our Scripture this week.  Their level of faith did not allow stumblingblocks to the healing of their brother; hence, the opening on the roof.

If we want to succeed in life, we have to do extraordinary things through Christ Jesus.  And so coupled with our faith we shall be given whatsoever we desire (Mark 11:24).  Extraordinary things like:

  • Praying more
  • Meditating on the Word more
  • Giving alms more
  • Loving more
  • More charity, etc.

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Our Lord and our Father, hallowed be Thy Name.  We thank You for the measure of faith that was allotted to us when we were being created as Your Word tells us in Romans 12:3.  Thank You that You have also given us an opportunity to grow in this faith by hearing Your Word.  We pray, Lord, for the grace for our faith to grow more and more; so much that we would be able to scale mountains.  We are blessed as we move from one level of glory to the other, in Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN!