hot topic: help my unbelief

I love this quote from a dad who was asking Jesus to heal his son.  Jesus says to the dad that all things are possible to him who believes.  The dad’s reply sounds like something I’d say, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”

For me, believing is often easier said than done.  I can talk all day about believing God, trusting in God, having faith, etc, but when the rubber hits the road, sometimes I struggle with the believing thing.  Of course I want to believe, so the desire is solid.  But the actual believing is often where I fall short.  When I think about why I struggle with believing, it’s mostly because of either past experiences or my brain goes into skeptical mode.  So I deeply appreciate this dad’s honest words with Jesus, “Help my unbelief”.  Like me, he’s saying that he wants to believe, but it’s a hurdle and he needs help to overcome this hurdle.

Here are some pointers for overcoming unbelief:

  • be truthful:  hiding or cloaking unbelief is counterproductive, but bringing our weaknesses to Jesus is where strength starts
  • ask for Help!  Since the Holy Spirit is our Helper, seems like a good idea to give the Helper access to the places of unbelief with which we struggle.
  • Jude 20 says that we build up our faith when we pray in the Spirit #selah
  • let’s remember that faith works by love, so the absence of love could be the catalyst for our unbelief #selah

Let’s decide that there is no unbelief in our lives that cannot be transformed into a place of strong faith!

closed doors

I prefer open doors rather than closed doors, but it seems to me that God leads us not only with open doors, but also with doors that are shut airtight.  Sometimes it bugs me when a door is closed to me & I can take it as personal rejection, which is always tough.  But if I choose to see a closed door as part of God’s guidance, then it doesn’t seem to hurt as much & doesn’t feel quite so personal.  It also helps me to remember that the Apostle Paul had his fair share of closed doors, many of which he was locked behind as a prisoner!

Let’s consider that God has the right doors to open for us & we can trust that God is working all things together for our good as we stay in love with God & stay true to the divine purposes in our lives!

Not Waiting

Next time I decide to write a blog about waiting, I’ll certainly take a few minutes to reconsider.  Yesterday morning, I wrote this lovely blog about the benefits of waiting.  Little did I know that I’d be waiting for three hours for a delayed flight.  Yesterday, I was forced to live in the “benefits” about which I wrote – easier said than done.

Sometimes we have “go seasons” where the waiting is over.  These seasons can also be tricky to navigate for various reasons:

  • we’ve adjusted to “waiting” so “going” kind of upsets the applecart,
  • going can mean shifting into something unknown & for some folk that’s scary,
  • going requires more energy than waiting

Let’s be careful that we don’t use the idea of waiting as an excuse for procrastinating.  Let’s be careful that we don’t let fear keep us stalled in a waiting mode.  Let’s be careful that we don’t use waiting as a justification for being disobedient to something God has told us to do.

There are waiting seasons & there are going seasons.  The key thing is to stay in step with the Holy Spirit in every moment!

A Snake Bite

I grew up on a canal & we had various wildlife including snakes, which are no bueno for me. So this morning when I read in Acts 27 about Paul getting bit by a snake, I recoiled. The people who saw the snake fasten onto Paul decided that he was just getting justice for some evil he did & he merely shook off the snake & went about his business. He didn’t swell up & die, as the observers had expected but rather he went into the town & prayed for someone’s dad who was healed. 
Despite being misunderstood & wrongly judged, going through a cataclysmic storm, surviving shipwreck & being bit by a snake, Paul just kept going. 

There are always plenty of reasons to curl up in a corner & quit, but let’s be more like Paul, shake the snake & go pray for someone to get healed 🙂

failure goes with training

Don’t be afraid to fail, but do be afraid to stop trying.

Sometimes, I think we don’t try to do things because we don’t want to fail or we’re afraid we won’t do well.  I’ve come to conclusion that failure is an essential ingredient for training and ultimately for success.  It’s seems to me that the road to success is littered with a fair amount of both failure and persistence.

I say this thinking about Joseph in the book of Genesis & his success in keeping nations from literally starving to death.  When you consider his leadership work in Egypt during an epic famine, it’s more than just a little impressive.  But consider that Joseph had lots of practice & failure along the journey to get him to a place where he could be so outrageously successful.  I would suggest that he was training and practicing in leadership with his family during the dreams and many colored coat thing.  Furthermore, he was training with his administrative & leadership skills in Potipher’s house & prison.  And all of this was for the ultimate purpose of rescuing thousands & possibly millions from starving when he became second in command in Egypt under Pharaoh.

So when we fail, let’s replace any potential shame with applause, that we tried to do something new or different and we can only get better from here!  The other side of failure could mean life for lots of people around you!  Be sure to let the Holy Spirit continue to help you practice and get better 🙂

Prison Was the Plan

Prison doesn’t sound appealing to me from any perspective. So thinking that God uses prison for good outcomes seems counterintuitive, full stop. Nonetheless, I read this morning about how Paul was put in prison & I remembered how Joseph was also imprisoned for some years. During the imprisonment season for both of these men, some really amazing things happened. Paul wrote heaps of letters, called epistles, to various churches which we can read today. During Paul’s imprisonment, he was also able to share about Jesus to some highly influential leaders, including Nero, the Emperor of the Roman Empire. With Joseph, he practiced his administration & leadership skills, as well as sharpening his dream interpretation abilities. 
Let’s be clear that God uses all kinds of scenarios for divine outcomes: imprisonment, hardship, deprivation and not just our physical comfort ,)

So let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us to be successful regardless of our situation & remember that Sunday is Pentecost!! 🙂

Do We Need a Reason?

On my last day of snowboarding this season, I took a really hard fall, landed on my head & sustained a concussion. A concussion is an injury to the brain & I’m learning that the brain recovers at its own pace, regardless of my impatience. Of course I’m praying & trusting God for my recovery. In the meantime, I find myself more sympathetic & compassionate toward people, even when I don’t know why they might be acting poorly. Something inside me (most likely the Holy Spirit) tells me to be gracious because I likely don’t understand what’s happening in that person’s life. Same goes for me in this concussion recovery: I can look my normal self, but truth be known, I’m struggling with energy & sometimes my thoughts are fuzzy. 
Many times I find that we are compassionate most often when we learn about a struggle a person might be going through. I would like be compassionate without a reason but because that’s who I am, a reflection of our compassionate Heavenly Father.