Posts Tagged ‘Moving Mountains’

Matthew 17:14-20, Mark 9:14-28: DOES GOD STILL HEAL PEOPLE TODAY?

Praying for Angie

Praying for Angie

She had battled with cancer and won. “No-one could help me. It was just me” she said, “No-one could go through it with me. I had to fight it all by myself. I’d like to have faith in God but I don’t have it and so I did it all alone.” Is it positive thinking that brings healing or how much I pray with faith? In Deuteronomy 32:39 (NLT) God says He is the only One who has the power over life and death and the power to wound and heal “I am the One who kills and gives life; I am the One who wounds and heals; no one can be rescued from My powerful hand” (see also 1 Samuel 2:6; 2 Kings 5:7). Does God still heal the sick today?

Jesus disciples were certainly involved in healing the sick. Back in Matthew 10:8 (NLT) Jesus “gave them AUTHORITY” to go out and Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons.” Seventy two of the wider circle of disciples including the twelve were sent out in Jesus’ Name (with healing ability and authority) and Luke 10:17 (NLT) says “When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to Him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use Your name!””

By Matthew 17:14, nine disciples have arrived at the bottom of a mountain, gather a crowd, and get involved in an argument with the religious leaders, the Scribes, and can’t cast a demon from a boy. They ask Jesus why they failed. He said “YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH” (Matthew 17:20 NLT).

When the disciples were originally sent to heal the sick and cast out demons in Matthew 10:14 (NLT) it says “If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave.” Notice, it doesn’t say to STAY AND ARGUE. Negativity is faith-depleting and limits the healing possibilities through faith in Christ. Negativity is doubt-building. Prayer is faith-building.

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus said. They didn’t have enough faith themselves because they were drawn into an argument with the Scribes (Mark 9:14). Bad attitudes kill faith. By the time they tried to heal this boy, a mountain of unbelief stood in the way. It seems they were meant to search for those who would listen and respond in faith to the message of God’s grace, not have their faith dragged down to the level of the arguments of men. Faith doesn’t mix well with scepticism and negativity.

When Jesus arrived, He was faced with a mountain of unbelief. He was looking for that which pleases God in the crowd. He didn’t find it in the Scribes. He didn’t find it in His disciples. He didn’t find it in the crowd. He found it in the mustard-seed-faith of a father and moved a mountain for his son. He wanted to have the faith of the boy’s father involved too. Hebrews 11:6 (NLT) says “…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.”

God doesn’t want lone-ranger-super-disciples trying to cast out demons. He wants a community inspired to believe for a miracle and in the only One who has come to save them from their sin. The prayer of faith that can remove demons is the kind of faith that can move a mountain of unbelief. Luke 9:43 (NLT) says “Awe gripped the people as they saw this majestic display of God’s power. Everyone was marveling at everything He was doing”. One healing left a crowd of people in awe of what God could do.

Faith is contagious. Mustard seed faith in a Dad moved a range of mountainous difficulties for his son, but also removed the mountainous influence of unbelief. The way we relate to God is by faith. God not only looked for a spark of faith in the father of the boy when He couldn’t find it in the disciples but He invites you and me to have faith in Christ today.

“Does God still heal the sick today?” Wrong question. “Am I willing to trust in Christ, come under His authority, and pray for God’s healing mercy?” Much better.

Pastor Ross

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Matthew 17:19-20 – WHY DON’T I HAVE ENOUGH FAITH?

Mustard Seed Faith

Mustard Seed Faith

Why are some people healed and others not healed? Is it my faith that is deficient? Jesus is asked a similar question by His disciples when they had not been able to heal a little boy. In Matthew 17:19-20 (NLT) they ask “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” They took the responsibility for it and they were willing to learn.

Jesus goes on to say “YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH. I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

Jesus is clear. YOU don’t have ENOUGH FAITH. No escaping this. They were responsible, and healing the boy was dependent on them having enough faith. They didn’t have it. How can the disciples, who travelled with Jesus and saw so many miracles, not even have mustard seed sized faith? How could their faith be lacking; so scarce, meagre and skimpy; so weak and unequal to the task? What hope do I have? What kind of faith is mustard seed faith?

Whatever kind of faith they had, it didn’t work. Was it faulty faith; flawed and defective? Faith so damaged and inadequate for the task that it couldn’t complete anything it tried; so wanting and insufficient that it did no good?

Jesus faith was overflowing and rich, strong and sufficient to heal the young boy. His was faultless faith, but their faith was band-aid faith at best, cosmetic, feeble faith, impotent to act, incapable of making a difference. Their faith was poor and undernourished, skin and bone faith; anorexic faith. Too weak to be effective? Was it the argument with the Scribes that diseased their faith with sin? Were they in need of healing themselves?

Is faith just optimism draped in impotence? Jesus faith is positive and powerful? Is their faith a bonsai faith, kept small and so stunted that it is inept; dwarfed by the enormity of circumstances that are in need of a miracle? How could this be? Midget faith is not mustard seed faith!

Is faith fatalism wrapped with acquiescence? Someone said “some mountains are moved. Others we just have to climb.” Some things can’t be changed? Jesus faith didn’t accept this. Mustard seed faith is faith that never gives up at the first obstacle. It persists in prayer and trust in God until it sees mountains moved; difficulties decimated, healing realised. Mustard Seed Faith inspires me to persist because it sees heaven’s perfect perspective, and refuses to accept earth’s imperfect problems. Jesus Faith is not dependent on circumstances but circumstances are changed by His faith. He draws on heaven’s resources to change earth’s conditions.

What made the disciples faith try to run on empty? Why was there no spiritual energy left in the tank? Why couldn’t they just gather around in Pentecostal Power and shout until the demon was removed?

For the disciples the dispute with the scribes was a massive stumbling block, the father’s request to cast the demon from his son seemed an enormous mountain. The doubt they experienced was huge. The world was a threatening experience of demons and arguments and a crowd that could be gathering to stone them if they didn’t succeed with a miracle. They were angry, fearful, doubting and helpless.

Jesus appears to be reminding His disciples of an important truth, YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH. YOU don’t have enough, but I have more than enough to go around.” Faith is faith because of Him in whom we believe. Our faith is appropriated through relationship with Christ. It is HIS faith and faithfulness that we draw upon. Even when we appropriate a mustard seed sized portion of faith from Jesus it will still move mountains. We can choose our falling-short, feeble, band-aid, bonsai, low tide, empty tank kind of faith, or choose His all-powerful faithfulness.

He calls us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Not OUR system of perception but His. Look at the world through HIS eyes. I-once-was blind-but-now-I-see faith. Lean-not-on-my-own-understanding faith (Proverbs 3:5). “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” faith (Galatians 2:20 NASB). 

Mustard seed faith perceives my world from God’s viewpoint and uses that perspective to change my world. He invites me to be an instrument of God for change through faith in Him. 

PS Just received a phonecall to visit a lady who is very sick… She was unable to speak, but I shared the message about faith in Christ and she listened as I prayed for God’s healing grace and invited her to place her trust in Him. 

Pastor Ross

Psalms 24:3-6 – HOW TO CLIMB AND MOVE MOUNTAINS

How to Climb and Move Mountains

I came to know this quiet, intelligent, humble man named TARAKSH. A NAME gives you a specific, unique, personal identity, but in his case it was more than merely a means of addressing him, more than a title, tag, or label. it was something that inspired him to be the person he was to become.

I remember the discussion that I had about his name. I was learning how to pronounce TARAKSH and I asked him if his name had a meaning. I think we might have been discussing how in the Christian Bible the names of various people given at birth reflect something of significance or describe the course of their lives. For example, ADAM is named after the “EARTH” from which he was created. (Genesis 2). ABRAHAM means father of many nations which was to be his destiny. JESUS means “THE LORD IS SAVIOUR” because He came to save us from our sins.

A name often describes the CHARACTER or a PARTICULAR HOPE that the parents have for their child. But Taraksh told me that in India sometimes parents can take years before their children are named and this was true for him for many years.

He described to me a family PILGRIMAGE TO A MOUNTAIN. Apparently thousands of people from India have made that same pilgrimage, following a tradition going back thousands of years.

The mountain was Mt TARAKSH and it was at the base of that mountain that he decided that TARAKSH would be a good name for him to take. So TARAKSH named HIMSELF after that mountain. (Note – “Taraksh” is not his real name but in the interest of confidentiality I have used that name because it is an Indian name meaning “mountain”.)

I was so intrigued by the fact that he had GIVEN HIMSELF HIS OWN NAME that I found an article on the internet about that mountain. MT TARAKSH means GREAT ONE. And in keeping with his name, TARAKSH wanted to achieve great things. He became a THEORETICAL SCIENTIST and also a GREAT FATHER to his children.

So perhaps the legacy that Taraksh leaves is the legacy of the mountain. Mountains are often symbols of our lives. Mountains inspire us and demand respect, test our strength and expose our weaknesses. They humble us. They can symbolise stability and inward strength. They encourage us to rise beyond the mundane and to achieve our goals and dreams. They remind us that life’s journey requires perseverance and faith. They call us to reflection and encourage us to look beyond ourselves.

Mountains often have that SACRED ASPECT of contemplation and SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE. A place where we get PERSPECTIVE for life. Taraksh attended many of my talks and we enjoyed discussions on matters concerning what it means to be a follower of Christ. I appreciated his friendship and openness to discuss spiritual things.

Mountains also CHALLENGE us to OVERCOME OBSTACLES and move mountains, but on Tuesday 30th August at about 1.45am Taraksh faced an INSURMOUNTABLE OBSTACLE that one day all of us will face. In the presence of those who loved him, he died.

Psalms 121:1-2 (NLT) says “I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” Jesus is our Lord, our Mountain, our Rock, our Refuge, our Foundation, our Strength and Stability, the One from whom we gain perspective for our lives, the One who overcomes the obstacles of sin and death.   

I’m not sure whether Taraksh responded with faith in Christ. What about you? In the end what will you rely on? Will you rely on the mountain of your achievements or the solid Rock of faith in Christ.

It’s wonderful to have great accomplishments to look back on but in the end it will be what Christ has accomplished on the Cross for us that counts. He died for our sins and defeated death, so that we could be forgiven and stand before God without any obstacles getting in the way of us going to heaven.

Psalms 24:3-6 (NLT) says “Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? (or in other words Who can have a relationship with God?) Who may stand in His holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, (or in other words Only those who have been forgivenwho do not worship idols (that is Those who don’t worship, trust and rely anything other than God. We can make a god out of achievement or success or money) and never tell lies (that is Those who are honest with God). They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their Saviour (The name Jesus meansThe Lord is Saviour, because He died to save us from our sins). Such people may seek You and worship in Your presence, O God of Jacob. …” 

Pastor Ross