Help My Unbelief

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And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” (Mark 9:15-29)

Help My Unbelief

The miracles of Jesus proved that He was the Son of God as no man had ever done what He did with such authority. There was nothing that the Lord could not do as He healed all manner of diseases, raised the dead, showed His power over nature and time and had authority over all the demons. His power was dominate over all things and His words spoke with the clarity of God the Father that no man could challenge. He gave this power to a few select disciples to heal diseases, raise the dead and cast out demons. His disciples were sent out to show the power of God through the miracles testifying of the gospel of salvation to be found in the man from Nazareth. On one occasion the disciples caused a stir because they were not able to heal a man’s son from demon possession. The boy had a mute spirit that afflicted him with convulsions, gnashing of teeth and foaming at the mouth. When the father pleaded with them to heal his son they were unable to rid the boy of the spirit. It must have been disconcerting to the disciples to be shown their power was limited and they were unable to heal this boy. A great discussion ensued that caught the attention of Jesus as the people pleaded with the Lord to heal the boy. It was also a hard time for Jesus to see His disciples failing to understand the gravity of their faith in believing in the power of God. The Lord asked the father how long the spirit had possessed the boy and he answered since childhood. Pleading with Jesus, the father begged the Lord to have compassion and help them. Jesus told the father if he believed anything was possible. Immediately through tears the father cried out that he believed and implored Jesus to help his unbelief. The Lord rebuked the spirit and healed the boy. Later when the disciples asked Jesus why they could not heal the boy the Lord showed them the power of diligent faith through fasting and prayer.

The father was not a contradiction when he told Jesus that he believed yet begged Jesus to help his unbelief. His plea was a pure definition of humble faith trusting in something that was impossible yet relying on the realities of anything being possible with God. Faith is never measured in a full cup. What the father was asking of the disciples and then of Jesus was impossible because no man had the power to overcome the demons. When the disciples tried to heal the boy they lacked faith. Jesus proved that He was the Son of God when He healed the boy of the spirit. The Son of God had the power to do what was impossible and the faith of the father was assured in the power of Jesus but he also knew the limitations of what he could ask of God. He pleaded with Jesus to help his unbelief which shows the power of his faith that with the Lord nothing was impossible. Faith should never be a haughty feeling of superiority that there is no need for greater faith. The disciples could not heal the boy and it seems they had forgotten the humility of faith to trust in God. Working miracles could have insulated the disciples from the heart humbled by the power of God. They had the power to heal the boy but not the faith. The father did not have the power but he had the faith. He wanted Jesus to have compassion on him and he humbled himself to the will of the Father.

Faith is measured by our trusting in the will of God and allowing the power of God to work in our lives. There will never be a time in our lives that our faith does not need to grow and become stronger. The measure of faith will increase in our life but like the body it will always be growing and getting stronger over time. Men of faith for many years struggle with sin just as those who have begun their journey of faith. All men are under the penalty of sin and need faith to increase each day to fight against the wiles of the devil. It is easy to become complacent and think that we have grown to a level that we do not need the word of God as much or to pray as often or serve the Lord with diligence. We can look at our Christian walk as we do our jobs that after a certain amount of years we can retire and relax. As soldiers of the cross when can we lay our armor down and stop fighting? The battle rages on and the battles are many. If a man is 90 years old serving in the kingdom of Christ for 70 years he still needs to ask the Lord to help his unbelief. Why? The battle continues to rage. There will always be another hill to conquer and a foe to vanquish. Rest comes when we enter the bosom of Abraham and the glow of heaven is in our hearts. It is then we lay our armor down when our faith is complete. Until then we cry, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”

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The Word Of God And The Works Of God

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Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides. They continue this day according to Your ordinances, for all are Your servants. Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction. I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life. I am Yours, save me; for I have sought Your precepts. The wicked wait for me to destroy me, but I will consider Your testimonies. I have seen the consummation of all perfection, but Your commandment is exceedingly broad. (Psalm 119:89-96)

The Word Of God And The Works Of God

There is nothing more evident in the natural world than the invisible attributes of God’s design and purpose. The world is filled with testimony of the Creator’s hand declaring its Maker as powerful, everlasting and awesome in the beauty from horizon to horizon. Every part of the universe cries forth the wisdom of the One who formed and molded each particle to reflect His glory. Man is without excuse as he gazes into the celestial heavens above or the mountains and valleys filling the earth and the immense blue oceans circling the globe that there is a God and Lord of all things. He can know there is a higher being that brought forth all these wonders but He cannot know the power of God’s spirit until he opens up the law of the Lord. The works of God cannot testify without the word of God. Each comes from the breath of God as the Lord formed the world by the power of His word and then revealed His mind unto man through the written word as the breath of the Holy Spirit. Truth is found in the nature of God’s creation and explained fully in the manifestation of the commandments of the Lord. One cannot exist without the other. Creation is explained by the word and the word declares the creation. The psalmist interweaves the glory of creation and the testimonies of God as codependent upon one another and showing the power of God individually.

The word of God is declared as final as it is settled in heaven. Man did not write the word of God or determine the testimonies of the Lord. It came from the breath of God and man cannot change the unchangeable word of God. Throughout all generations the message of the Lord has remained the same. Adam and Eve gazed upon the same sun, moon and stars that all men see today and the word of God is the same word given in the Garden of Eden as revealed to man today. Faith, love, obedience, trust and belief were the tenets of God’s will for Adam and Eve and these remain today as the foundational principles of the law of God. The word of God endures to all generations. What is amazing about the Bible is how it applies to those who lived in 1492 and those who live in our modern, technological and scientific world of today. It satisfied the needs of the folks who lived in the deep forest of Germany in 1123 as it does for the CEO of a large corporation on Main Street USA. The Bible is relevant to the people of Masaya, Nicaragua and the tribal leader in Afghanistan or the government worker in St. Petersburg, Russia. Like nature itself the Bible is something that is purposeful to all people in all times for all their needs. The sun shines on everyone regardless of nationality, gender or age and the Bible can light the life of all those in every nation regardless of gender, age or culture. God’s word abides today just like the earth continues to spin in its revolution around the sun.

Abiding in the truth of the law of God will bring the fulfillment of life created by the Lord. If the word of God is not in the heart of man there will be affliction. Delighting in His message of grace will save man. Life comes from the word of God because it is the breath of the Creator to His creation. Forgetting the heavenly precepts will be the worst tragedy man will bring upon himself. The psalmist found refuge in the word of God to save him from his enemies. Seeking the precepts of the Lord brings joy and safety. The wicked may seek to bring harm but resting upon the commandments of God brings hope. There is nothing that can change the word of the Lord for it is settled in heaven and affirmed by the power of God throughout every generation. Perfection can only be found in the word of God. Creation testifies to this perfection. The word declares it.

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They Came Against Jesus With Weapons

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Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.” (John 18:3-9)

They Came Against Jesus With Weapons

The Garden of Gethsemane was normally a place of quiet repose and reflection often used by the Lord to meet with His disciples. On this night, under a bright full moon, hundreds of men moved against twelve men who huddled in the olive groves of the mount outside Jerusalem. Jesus had drawn Himself away from His disciple to pray to His Father for the coming hour. Peter, James and John struggled to remain awake as their Lord spent time in prayer. Suddenly a large band of men consisting of Roman Soldiers, guards from the Temple, Jewish leaders and curious mobs of men appeared before Jesus. They held torches and lanterns on a bright night to emphasize their determined work of finding the man from Nazareth. Their hearts will filled with hatred to find the man called Jesus and arrest Him for blasphemy. Nothing was more intent in their evil minds than to find a way to kill this false teacher and accuser of Israel. The Roman Soldiers had their weapons of war lashed to their sides with the authority of the Roman Empire. Jewish leaders brought their cohorts of soldiers to make certain their plan to kill Jesus was carried out. Curious onlookers with a mob mentality joined the fray with clubs and torches. The multitude surged forward with angry words and malicious thoughts to find this man who claimed to be God. At the head of the mob was a familiar face to Jesus. He was one of His trusted apostles whom He loved. Judas the son of Simon Iscariot had given over the location of his Lord to the Jewish leaders for the price of a slave leading them to where he often would commune with the Lord. As the crowd approached Jesus He inquired whom they were seeking. “Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered Him. When the Lord told the rabble horde that He was the one they were looking for a remarkable thing happened. Instead of rushing Him they fell backwards. Fear clenched their hearts. The fierce mob of people brought weapons to fight if necessary but the Lord in calm tones of authority awaited their determined course. Then the soldiers bound Jesus in chains and led Him away.

What is amazing about the arrest of Jesus in the garden is the mob coming at Him with weapons and clubs. Here was the man who healed every known disease of man and they think weapons will be of impact against Him. They bring the Roman soldiers with the might of the Roman Empire against a man who raised a number of people from the dead. As the mob grew in number people began picking up clubs and sticks to fight against a man who never harmed another soul. The Jewish leaders rallied the crowd to rage to arrest this Jesus for the blasphemy they accused Him of saying He was the Son of God. Like any mob that gathers against someone or something most probably had little idea what was going on. Through the agitation of the Jewish leaders seeking to have Jesus killed large groups of people converged on the garden of Gethsemane to join in the work of arresting one man. There was no need for the mob, the clubs, the lanterns and torches. The Roman authorities could have seen a small detachment of troops to arrest one man but his was not an ordinary man. In an irony of parallels the arrest of Jesus was the commentary on the rejection of man to the saving grace of God.

Jesus will later tell Pilate if it were the Father’s will twelve legions of angels would rescue the Son of God from the clutches of human authority. All the weapons and clubs in the world could not and would not deter the will of God. Peter tried to show his courage by lunging at the servant of the high priest and did manage to cut off his ear. It seems incredulous no one noticed the miracle Jesus performed when He restored the man’s ear whole again. How could any weapon fight against such power? In the past three years what power could match the authority of Jesus of Nazareth to heal all manner of diseases, cast out demons, walk on water and calm the storm and raise the dead? If Jesus had that kind of power what value would a club or sword serve to arrest Him? When the Roman soldiers approached Jesus and bound Him in chains, how was that possible? This same man had cast out the demons from a man that could tear chains apart and yet He allowed these men to bind Him and lead Him away. Jesus did not fight against the crowd that came to him with weapons and clubs because He was giving His life for all men – including those standing before Him. He would die to show all government that He was King. His death would turn the hearts of many Jews to the Christ. Refusing to fight against the weapons of men illustrated the grace offered by God through His Son that salvation is found in servitude. Jesus died for all men giving His life to redeem man from the fear of death and sting of sin. The moment of decision in the garden of Gethsemane was the beginning of the end of Satan’s rule over man. No weapon could stand against God. The gospel is the message of God unto salvation. That is the power of Jesus Christ against the weapons of man.

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Godly Parents In An Ungodly World

Naaman-the-Leper-Kids-Bible-Lesson-from-the-Top-100-Sunday-School-Lessons-for-Kids-1024x576And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian. (Luke 4:27)

Godly Parents In An Ungodly World

The story of Naaman the leper is one of the great Biblical examples of the power of God to heal every disease, the grace of God to have mercy on a Gentile and the influence of parents on a little maiden girl who changed the life of the Syrian commander. 2 Kings 5 is where the story is found in the Old Testament but one reference is found in the New Testament when Jesus defends Himself against the prejudices of His own people of Nazareth. He had come into the city and as was His custom read scripture on the Sabbath day before the people. His reception was anything but cordial because the people rejected Him for suggesting He was the Messiah. Using the story of Naaman as a backdrop for His rebuke of the people’s rejection of Him, Jesus reminded them of the many lepers that were in Israel during the days of Naaman but the Syrian was the only one that was cleansed of his leprosy. This was especially a vital point considering Elisha the prophet lived in Israel at the time to which Naaman had received the instructions to be cleansed of his leprosy. Those familiar with the story know that if it were not for one certain maiden girl taken captive in a raid by the army of Naaman, no one would have been healed of leprosy. Through the love of a little girl the story of Naaman and his cleansing of a dreaded disease is inscribed in holy writ.

Jeff Himmel recently presented a lesson on the little maiden and made a startling observation. The historical marker of 2 Kings 5 is during the time of the divided kingdom where all of the kings of the northern tribes were evil. Judah had a few good kings but Israel was plagued by kings like Ahab that did more evil to seduce Israel to sin than any other king. When the story of Naaman unfolds Ahab had not been dead very long. Jehoram the son of Ahab was king of Israel and he did evil in the sight of the Lord persisting in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin. The legacy of kings for many years was nothing but wicked idolatry and harlotry. In the midst of this troubled world a father and mother welcomed the birth of a little girl. What became of the parents is unknown and how the maiden girl was taken captive is also unknown. A band of Syrian raiders entered Israel and took the girl from her home. The scriptures do not reveal what happened to the girl’s family and whether she would ever see them again. It must have been a horrific and terrible ordeal to survive the raid and then be taken to a foreign land of uncircumcised people to become a slave. The little girl would have had more reasons to hate the Syrians as she became a slave in the house of the commander of the Syrian army. Instead she had pity and love for the leper and implored her mistress to tell Naaman of the prophet in Israel that could heal his leprosy.

Jesus said there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Naaman and yet he was the only one that was healed. One family can change the world and the family of the little maiden was a family living in the midst of an evil world yet maintaining their deeply devoted faith in God and His power. They taught their daughter to trust in the power of God and to believe in the impossible. Leprosy could not be healed without the intervention of God. The little maiden believed in the impossible and loved her enemy because her parents had taught her to love God with all her heart, soul and mind. Growing up in a world reeling from the leadership of Ahab and Jezebel and wickedness pervading the country to its very core must have been an incredible challenge of parenting. Through it all a young girl saved the life and possibly the soul of a heathen Gentile who suffered from an impossible disease. What excuses can parents offer today to not teach their children to have a deep love for God and belief in His power? Godly parents can teach their children to live a godly life in an ungodly world. The parents of the little maiden proved that and she proved her faith by her works. Parenting is tough but when things get difficult godly parents get tougher. No excuses. Thank you Jeff for pointing out the power of godly parents in an ungodly world.

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Why Is Modesty So Hard To Understand?

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Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Why Is Modesty So Hard To Understand?

We live in a world that worships the body. It is not a new attraction as body worship has always driven man to focus on the outward appearance to allure, attract, highlight and express deep physical satisfaction with the carnal nature of fleshly desire. The world of Noah was destroyed in part because of the insatiable thirst for licentiousness and the reckless pursuit of sowing seeds of unbridled lusts with the body. What God created as a beautiful relationship in marriage has been turned by Satan into a corrupt and vile addiction to sexual immorality, immodesty and evil thoughts. The first tragedy is the destruction it brings to the world as the moral compass of society is no longer pointing to true north but to the desires and needs of the flesh. Sexual immorality is so common there is hardly a blushing face that turns away. Pornography is accepted as part of the cultural norm, homosexuality is regulated by the whims of the minority, multiple partners in marriage is no longer shocking and the dress code has become so short, so tight and so revealing the imagination is no longer used to undress a woman because she is nearly undressed herself. The second tragedy is that while the world is rotting in the cesspool of its own moral depravity the people of God are found becoming like the nations around them.

The Bible is a simple book to read and understand. It would seem incredulous that anyone would think the God who created the world in all its splendor and intricate details of divine purpose could not write a book that everyone could read and understand. Viewing the word of God is often like trying to understand the atomic levels of quantum physics from a two-year old. Nothing is further from the truth. The Holy Spirit crafted a message that anyone can read and understand the will of God. What lies at the core of the problem is the refusal of the heart to listen to the word of God and obey its precepts, judgments and commandments. Great effort will be taken to defend what a person must do to be saved but when it comes to defining modesty (or social drinking for that matter) there seems to be a clouded understanding of what the Lord demands of His people. Christians will argue long and hard or refuse to discuss the matter of modesty. They want to be like the world around them. God is clear in His message. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and it matters what we do with it and how we dress it. A temple is a sanctified place that honors the one intended to receive worship. When a woman becomes a Christian she has dedicated her body to glorify God and Him alone. She no longer has a right to dress her body in any fashion she chooses. The body becomes sanctified to God. It is no longer under the purview of the individual to do with the body whatever they choose to do. The body BELONGS TO GOD! Paul writes about the impact of sexual immorality in the Corinthian church illustrating the sanctity of the body as a holy temple of the Holy Spirit belonging to God. This same application is made to how a woman dresses her body. Through the blood Jesus Christ the body is bought with a price to glorify God. It belongs to God and how we dress it matters to God.

Modesty is not a cultural view or opinion of a preacher. It is something that comes from the word of God. The Lord wants the body to be used for His glory so that when the world sees the body of the Christian they see holiness, purity, sanctity and a virtue that is guarded with the blood of Jesus Christ. When a woman wears a dress that is so short the thigh is exposed she is bringing attention to her body for others to look at. Sun dresses are popular with little small straps that reveal the top of the body falling short of revealing too much but again drawing attention from others to look at the body. It seems the fashion of the world wants to expose as much as the body as possible without somehow entering into a world of illegal dress. There are many undergarments that have more cloth to them than what is considered fashionable. Clothing is worn that bears the shoulders exposing everything just north of the breasts and this is worn to worship the Lord God. Young ladies are taught to wear short dresses, short-shorts that have little material left before they become undergarments. The problem is not that women of the world are wearing this type of clothing but women who profess godliness in the form of what the world wears. Fashion is more important than holiness. Drawing the attention of others to the body is more desired than showing the example of Christ in their apparel. Is the Bible that difficult to understand that women have trouble deciding what is modest and what is not? The mirror that is used to determine modesty is the shiny reflection on the back of the door instead of the word of God. Godly women will dress to please God and Him alone. That is not hard to understand.

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There Is An App For That

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Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

A Biblical App For Modern Man

In a world of digital technology that seeks to simplify life, easy productive plans to accomplish a work are welcomed. There is an application (or app) for everything it seems in life now. While at the dentist recently I noted there is an app for brushing teeth that reminds a person when, how and duration of brushing. There are apps to tell a person when to slow down and relax and when to go to bed. It seems our lives are driven by apps that help us organize our lives suggesting we are incapable of doing these things ourselves (which is a sad commentary on how we have allowed machines to run our lives). The Bible is filled with a lot of apps that come in different forms and will give us greater peace than any man-made machine. Paul’s letter to Thessalonica is filled with little apps that when put to use will help the faith of a Christian live a more productive and constructive life. The latter part of his letter is a series of short exhortations that are important for the welfare of the spirit of the child of God. His exhortations in our text are four simple applications.

App One: Warn those who are unruly. There have always been those who cannot remain in step with the will of God. They are disorderly in their conduct and idle. One of the problems in the church at Thessalonica was the brethren who were lazy, slothful and unwilling to work. It may have been the saints thought the Lord was to return at any time and gave up on industry becoming listless in their lives. Whatever they case they were not exemplifying the quality of character the Lord demanded from his servants. When a man becomes lazy in body he begins to get busy in spirit leading to gossip and being a busybody. Paul exhorted the brethren to warn those who were out of step and faced the severe action of the church if they did not repent. Brethren should have regard for one another having a concern for the welfare of themselves and the lives of those who would step out of line from truth. There is an obligation to have concern for one another and to receive this correction in the spirit given by the Holy Spirit.

App Two: Comfort the faint-hearted. It can be difficult being a Christian and many grow weary in serving the Lord. Likened to the arena of battle, soldiers can become tired of fighting or grow faith from the exhaustion of the constant barrage from the enemy. The people of God are to encourage, exhort and lift up the souls of those who are weak in their faith admonishing them to carry on and live with greater purpose. If a line of soldiers were marching and someone began to fall behind, the camaraderie of the group would band together to help the faint hearted remain in step to finish the march. In life there is a need to comfort those who struggle in their faith. Everyone needs a hand of encouragement as all of God’s people experience challenges in the Christian walk. Cheer up the ones who become discouraged. Seeking to help those who struggle helps the church grow more fully to the image of Christ.

App Three: Uphold the weak. Everyone comes to the knowledge of the will of God at different times with different abilities. Not everyone is as strong as the other or understands the principles of spiritual matters in the same light. The value of upholding the weak is to understand the growth pattern of the child of God seeking to help others find their faith and grow thereby. There is a present need to be indulgent with those who have not learned as much and struggle in their understanding of God’s word. Patience is a virtue that sees a person for what they are exhorting them to be someone they can become with the message of Christ. This will take time. Upholding the weak is allowing that time to manifest itself in the character of the growing child of God. “While not countenancing their sins, we may bear or prop them up by judiciously commending in them that which is good, by not too severely condemning them in the practice of things indifferent, and by striving to rectify their errors with all gentleness and fidelity” (Preacher’s Homiletical).

App Four: Be patient with all. One of the greatest needs in the church today and vital to the continued strength of the local congregation is learning how to be patient with everyone. The three apps listed above will require a lot of patience and love. Longsuffering is a spirit of looking after the needs of others with a compassionate and kind heart that prays for the continued growth of the individual. Consider how longsuffering God is with all His children and how much He desires for His children to be longsuffering with one another. As the family of God there should be recognition that everyone requires the grace of God. Without the kind hand of God’s patience none would be saved. Looking to the challenges of fellow saints in a spirit of patience will blend the hearts of the people of God helping one another warn the unruly, comfort the fainthearted and uphold the weak. If the Lord can exercise eternal patience with my life then I should learn how to be patient with one another.

Four applications that will help my life grow stronger and help the work of the church abound in spirit, love and being examples of the truth in Jesus Christ.

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Help Me

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My soul faints for Your salvation, but I hope in Your word. My eyes fail from searching Your word, saying, “When will You comfort me?” For I have become like a wineskin in smoke, yet I do not forget Your statutes. How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me? The proud have dug pits for me, which is not according to Your law. All Your commandments are faithful; they persecute me wrongfully; help me! They almost made an end of me on earth, but I did not forsake Your precepts. Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth. (Psalm 119:81-88)

Help Me

The psalmist is in a lot of trouble. He is being bombarded by affliction from his foes that seek to destroy him. It almost overwhelms him as he tries to combat those who seek to destroy him. What they are doing against him is wrong and their attacks are so constant he almost gives up succumbing to their ploys. He is in desperate straits. His soul is fainting from the persecution. Long nights have been spent searching for answers and reasons why he is being hounded by his enemies. These trials are almost too much for him to bear and he struggles to maintain his faith. Like a wineskin hung in a smoke filled room the spirit of the man is shriveled and almost dried up. He is at a state of exhaustion in his body, mind and spirit by the affliction and mental distress. As a man of God he knows where to turn and his salvation is found where he knows he will receive comfort, peace and truth. The word of God is the island of refuge that helps the psalmist endure the slights and injuries of those who stand against him. He knows that in the word of the Lord there will be comfort and peace because he learns he is not alone and that his Father cares for him. Hoping in the word of God comes from learning the lessons of all men as they struggle with the afflictions of life. The Lord has promised He will care for the weary and fainthearted and numerous stories abound in the word to show His care for His people. Noah was not forgotten nor Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Lord cared for Moses and the people as they left Egypt and walked to the land of promise. Reading the word of God the psalmist learns that he will not be forsaken by his heavenly Father.

Obeying the statues of the Lord is not just about keeping commandments. It is a lesson in trust that comes from seeing the power of the word alive in the hearts of the people of God. Many saints of the Lord have lived through perilous times and by God’s grace and mercy endured to receive a blessing. The psalmist would have been familiar with the story of Job who lost so much but gained so much more by trusting in the Lord. There can be little doubt reading the riveting story of Job that faith would not be restored in the heart of the one being persecuted seeing the necessity of keeping the will of the Lord in the face of trial. Those who bring affliction against him are not keepers of the law because their actions go against the law of the Lord. These are his own people that are persecuting him. Why should his own brethren bring such harm against him? Sometimes the hardest criticisms leveled against others are brought by the people of God against their own brethren. The psalmist declares his trust in the commandments of God as faithful and the actions of the misguided as false. He measures his relationship with God more important than what men do to him and trusts in the will of the Lord to guide him. The only hope he seeks is what is found in the word of God.

There is a mournful cry in the midst of this conflict: Help me. Facing the affliction from others is never pleasant and can destroy the soul with ease. Faith can be challenged to a point of failing and every child of God must be warned of how easy some persecutions can challenge the spirit in a very severe manner. Men fail sometimes in their faith. Abraham lied about Sarah; David committed adultery and murder; Peter denied the Lord as did Judas. Saints of God struggle with faith and the psalmist admits he nearly lost his footing as they almost made an end of him. What kept his life in check was the word of God. He has declared throughout this lengthy psalm a reliance on the word of God and that without the knowledge of divine wisdom he would have been destroyed long ago. What is sad is when the child of God faces adversity and succumbs to the turmoil by forsaking the word of God. Truth comes from the word and through the study of the word man finds the answers to face the foes that set themselves against him. Only from the word can truth be found. When troubles come do not forsake the precepts of God but embrace them. Dive deeply into His word and learn about the lovingkindness of God and His mercy, grace, love and compassion. The soul will be refreshed from the time spent in the word. Revival comes from drinking deeply from the well of God’s commandments, laws, statutes, precepts and testimonies to know how to face adversity. The Bible is the voice of God. Listen to His word.

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