a kind heart and a gentle spirit
asking for forgiveness, forgiving, and forging forward
creating and cultivating calmness
doing the right thing, even when it hurts
encouraging the disenfranchised, disheartened, and the downtrodden
getting comfortable with rising and living above the fray
practicing justice and supporting just causes
recognizing and acknowledging the value in and of others
rejecting that which is demeaning, demanding, and domineering
working for the common good
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8: 23-25)
The following summary is based on a sermon I heard earlier today. The sermon was based on the preceding text. I don’t recall the title of the sermon, the name of the church, nor the name of the preacher. But, I do recall the powerful message.
I stumbled upon the church while looking for a different worship community. I stayed because I didn’t want to be rude and disrupt the service by moving around. I am thankful that I stayed. The message I heard was the one I needed to hear. Praise God!
Sermon Summary– Sometimes each of us needs a second touch from God. For us to receive the blessing, God has to remove us from the distractions that hinder us from receiving spiritual wholeness.
Like the blind man in the referenced passage from Mark, it may take more than one touch from God for us to receive complete deliverance or healing. When we are alone with God and cognizant of his love, we are not afraid to confess that we have not fully received deliverance. We are free to confess, “I don’t see clearly, or I’m only partially free. Help me, Lord.”
God hears our admission, comes to our rescue without condemning us and gives us a second touch.
Halleluiah! Praise God for the written word, for powerful preaching under the unction of the Holy Spirit, and for second touches!!!
Thank you, Creator, for
Your amazing grace and the constant presence of your Holy Spirit
Advocates who work for justice
Artists who entertain and inspire
Power to overcome evil with good
Protection from things seen and unseen
Quiet spaces to rest and meditate
Songs that stimulate thought and touch the heart
Sweet sleep and days full of adventure
The diversity of nature, and the variations within each species
Time to reflect, relax, repent, and reform
Thank you, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of all life and giver of all that is good!
Biblical faith is believing God’s word. It is trusting God to fulfill His promises in spite of circumstances. Biblical faith gives one the will to withstand the fiery darts of every attack (Ephesians 6: 16). Biblical faith gives one the assurance that God will fight his or her battles, so long as the one attacked remains steadfast, unmovable, and doing the work of God (1 Corinthians 15:58). Biblical faith knows that a little bit of faith, even as tiny as a mustard seed, goes a long way with God (Matthew 17:20).
Biblical faith gives one the courage to stand for what is godly, good, and right, even when such a stand is unpopular (study the lives of the Apostles and other early believers). Biblical faith gives one the courage and confidence to confess one’s own shortcomings, and to trust God for forgiveness and deliverance.
- is God centered and concerned about restoring wholeness- physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being (James 2: 14 – 26)
- helps one remain focused on the power of God, not mired down by the problems of the present (Proverbs 3: 5 – 9)
- gives hope that there is light at the end of every tunnel (Psalm 30: 5)
- gives one the confidence to confess his or her sins knowing God hears and forgives (Mark 9: 21 – 24)
- is a tool used to request deliverance from distress, protection from the powerful, and to uplift broken spirits (James 5: 17)
- wants justice for all (Micah 6: 8)
Keep faith in God!
Biblical faith is not perfect; it is often limited. It encompasses a range or degrees of belief in God. It can be compartmentalized, situational, and evidenced by lapses of trust in God to intercede in specific ways to shape human affairs. It is often formed and restricted by the perceptions one has of who God is, how God interacts with creation, and how one sees one’s self in relation to God and the rest of creation.
Biblical faith is a link between God and humankind that unlocks barriers that hinder one from fully experiencing God’s love and amazing grace. One who has biblical faith possesses complete confidence in God’s existence and God’s love. However, one may not fully trust God in every situation. That lack of trust no matter how brief is an example of limited faith.
Limited faith shows up when one is fearful, confused, or uncertain. The strength of limited faith is it allows one to acknowledge the gaps in his or her faith with the confidence that God will honor the admission and respond with loving- kindness.
One of the best example of limited faith is depicted in Mark 9: 21- 24. In the passage, a father demonstrated limited faith when he said to Jesus, “help us if you can (v. 22).” Jesus seized the opportunity to show that the love of God operates despite limited faith.
Jesus responded to the man’s gap in faith by replying, “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
The father replied, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
Jesus honored the man’s gap in or limited faith by healing his son.
God, like the father in the text, we pray for you to help us overcome limited faith!
A miracle occurs every time the tiniest amount of faith intersects with God’s great love for humankind as demonstrated by His amazing grace. The miracle one receives may not be the one for which one hoped and prayed, but it will be the one needed at the time it is manifested.
Pray for the grace to recognize and appreciate every miracle
- the shield that protects the heart, mind, and soul (Ephesians 6: 16)
- believing that God will work all things to the good of those who love the Lord (Romans 8: 29)
- the seed of hope- it reminds us that “trouble don’t last always” (Psalm 30:5)
- the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1)
- believing God will not withhold any good thing from those who love God- (Psalm 84:11)
Keep faith in God!
I don’t know about you, but when taking a road trip, I occasionally end up detouring. Sometimes the detour is forced because of construction, inclement weather, or a bad accident. Other times, a wrong turn or taking the wrong exit off a highway causes the detour. There are times a detour is intentional. I need to use a bathroom, find a safe place to rest or the place by which I am driving looks inviting and interesting, and I am not in a hurry.
Whatever the reason, depending on the weather, the time of day, and location, detours offer opportunities for exploring. There is always something new to experience or to see something old presented differently.
Without exception, people in small towns and rural communities capture my interest. My presence captivates their attention. People stare shyly at me; children usually do so openly. Most teens and young adults make eye contact and politely greet me, or they completely ignore me. Eventually, if I’m there long enough, I exchange greetings with an older person who usually asks one of three questions. “What you doing in these parts?” “Where you from?” “Where you headed.”
I answer the question, and a conversation ensues. Either the person with whom I’m speaking or a passerby recommends a local place for me to eat and points out a venue of which they are particularly proud, or one the person thinks I will find meaningful.
I thank them, and when time permits, I follow their recommendations. Wherever I end up eating, the establishment serves a heaping large enough to feed two or three people. Typically, the food is terrible, but the service is great.
When a detour becomes more than a brief departure from the planned course and turns into a day trip or a weekend getaway, I leave with a meaningful and memorable experience.
Thank God for road trips and for some detours!