Tuesday, May 9, 2023

         In Mark 5, Jesus was busy.  He healed a man possessed by demons.  He raised a dead girl to life.  He healed a sick woman.  Near the end of this remarkable chapter, Jesus said to a man named Jairus, the father of the dead girl, “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (Mark 5:36).  No better words could have been spoken to that grieving, heavy-hearted father.  Those five simple words form the foundation for a life-changing faith.  On many occasions, we have a choice between fear and faith.  We can pull back or step forward.  We can run away or walk ahead.  Fear can rob us of faith but faith can conquer fear.  Jesus’ message to that broken and bewildered father can challenge us in several ways.
            First, faith is always in a person.  Faith is grounded in Jesus Christ.  We do not place ultimate faith in other people, objects or an ever-changing world.  To do so is a recipe for disappointment and discouragement.  We place our faith in Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).  He is everlasting and worthy of our faith and trust.  People will disillusion us.  Circumstances can change.  Possessions can be lost.  But Jesus remains.  No one ever regrets coming to faith in Jesus.  He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). 
            Second, we always face our fears with faith.  We might even say that we “faith our fears.”  Such a statement is not necessarily good grammar or sound syntax but it makes great sense and great theology.  You may recall the time in Mark 4 where the disciples were terrified by a sudden storm that popped up while they were with Jesus in a boat.  The disciples had already resigned themselves to a certain and stormy death.  They went so far as to ask Jesus, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38b).  After Jesus woke up and calmed the storm, He said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).  The disciples were more worried about that storm they saw with their eyes than they were comforted by the One who was sleeping in the boat with them.  But we have been there too.  When we live by sight, we can find ourselves frightened and even overwhelmed on occasion.  But when we live by faith, the things that confront us do not seem to be nearly as scary as we have made them out to be.
            Third, faith is believing that God always has the last word.  Defeat does not define us.  Situations do not have to take us hostage.  We can trust the momentary troubles we experience and encounter to the Lord.  Ultimately, we know that one day God will make right all that is wrong.  Until that day comes, we trust God to provide for us here and now.  He is our shield and defender.  He is our provider and protector.  He is gentle, good and gracious. 
            Fourth, faith is believing that God can handle anything we give to Him.  His arms are not too frail or weak to take what we entrust to Him.  We can go boldly and confidently before His throne of grace knowing that we will be received, welcomed, heard and loved.  Daily prayer time is that golden moment where we can release to the Father all that has troubled us and trapped us.  The enemy would love to convince us that we are simply stuck with certain things and that God has forgotten us.  In those moments, we remind ourselves of Jesus’ words of triumph, “don’t be afraid; just believe” (Mark 5:36b).  Have a great Tuesday.  Remember you can worship at any time by visiting youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.
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