I Believe. . .A Little Bit

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Recently, the Lord has been dealing with my heart about a new book idea. The concept revolves around the many instances in the Bible where it seemed there wasn’t enough. Not enough money. Not enough time. Not enough faith. Not enough resources. As I’ve thought and prayed about this topic, more and more stories from the Bible have come to my mind, and with each one, I feel a sense of growing excitement—so much so that I’ve decided to start sharing a few of these ideas with you on this blog. The entries here won’t be as detailed as they will be in the final book (whenever that comes to pass), but it will give you a good idea of the insights the book will hold. Are you ready to get started?

And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
— Matthew 8:23-27

This may seem like an odd passage to use at the beginning of this study, but for me, it’s a timely reminder. We all know the story of this great storm and how Jesus spoke peace to the winds and waves. We’re also well-acquainted with his rebuke to the disciples, but only recently as I explored this concept of “just a little” did I notice Jesus’ exact wording. He didn’t say the disciples didn’t have any faith. He said they had a little.  Just a bit. Enough to wake up Jesus, believing He could help, but not so much to calm their terrified hearts. A little faith.

But here’s the thing, a little faith is all we need. Jesus said so Himself. Check out this passage:

 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
— Matthew 17:14-20

In this instance, we see the disciples had no faith. Though they had healed the sick and cast out demons before, for some reason, they didn’t believe they could do it with this child. Maybe the situation was too scary. Perhaps they felt the need was too great. I don’t know, but Jesus stated they were faithless and unbelieving. But notice what he tells them next. He informs them if they had faith as small as a mustard seed, it would be enough to move mountains. Just a little faith can move mountains. Just a little faith makes all things possible.

This is such a comfort for me to know right now amid so many uncertainties.  My mind is clouded with questions. Will we ever finish these house repairs? Will we get the amount we need when we sell the house? Will we be able to purchase our motorhome before our crazy fall schedule for deputation begins? Will we find a new home for Barnabas before we leave for our big trip to Texas? If we don’t, what then? How? When? Where? Why? Oh, the questions!

Yet through all the noise, I hear that still, small voice whispering, “Have faith, Dana. I’m working things out.” And while my heart still races and my mind keeps swirling, there’s a mustard-size seed of confidence that brings me peace in the storm.  I may not have the great faith I want to have, but even if I only have a little faith, that’s enough to see these mountains of worry and stress fall away, just as happened with the father of this possessed child. We see more details of his story in Mark 9.

And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
— Mark 9:21-24

What an emotional story! This heartbroken father pleads with Jesus to heal his son, but notice his wording, “If you can do anything, help us.” If you can. That doesn’t sound much like faith, does it? But Jesus’ response changes everything. “I can do anything if you can believe.” At which point, the father cries out the prayer that spills from my lips day after day, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!” Do you know what that statement tells me? That father didn’t have much faith, but he had just a little. And a little was all he needed. Jesus proved that when he healed the son.

My friend, maybe you can relate to the disciples, the broken-hearted father, and this red-headed missionary/writer. Perhaps today you’re clinging to “just a little bit” of faith. If so, take heart. With that faith, you can move mountains.  All is not lost. And the more we exercise that little bit, the more it will grow, just like our muscles. So, hold that chin up high, face that storm, and cry out, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

How Good Is God's Word?

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The Bible speaks extensively about the power and holiness of God’s name. Not only that, but it also details God’s nature by the use of many names such as El Shaddai, Jehovah Jireh, Adonai, and more. When we consider these things, there can be no doubt that God’s name is important.

That’s why I’m so fascinated by a phrase I came upon in the book of Psalms. Yes, once again one of the verses I’ve read a thousand times reached out and smacked me. Thankfully, it was a good slap. The kind that made me stop and read the verse again and then meditate on its impact on my life. Check it out.

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
— Psalm 138:2

Notice the last part of that verse: “thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” That’s exciting, people! Knowing how marvelous and holy and mighty the name of God is, it pales in comparison to God’s Word. Do you realize what this means for us? It means God’s Word can be trusted. If He’s made a promise, we can know, without a doubt, He will fulfill it. He has staked His name—His reputation—upon it.  

Yes, if God Himself magnifies His Word above all His name, then we can too. We can know if God said it, it’s settled. He doesn’t lie. He never makes promises He can’t keep. He doesn’t exaggerate or water down the truth. It is sure. It is powerful. And in it, we can be confident, no matter what our feelings or circumstances may want us to believe.

How good is God’s Word? According to the Author Himself, it’s even better than His name. How’s that for a confidence boost!!!

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
— Numbers 23:19

I've Fallen, and I Can't Get Up!

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Those of you who have followed my ministry for any length of time know that I have a warped sense of humor. It’s the way God made me, and I don’t apologize for it. Today, I want to share with you a story in the Bible I find both sad and hilarious. How can it be both? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.
— I Samuel 5:1-5

“Help! I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” I’m sorry, but that’s funny. To clarify for those of you who may not know, Dagon was the god of the Philistines. He was the one to whom they gave their allegiance. He was supposedly their almighty provider and protector. But here, in the presence of the One, True God, Dagon toppled to the floor. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he fell to his knees in worship, but the fact of the matter is, God literally knocked him off his pedestal and then decapitated him. In the words of the Incredible Hulk, “Puny god!”

Can you imagine being one of the Philistines who first enters Dagon’s house to find their god lying facedown on the floor? What would you say? What would you do? Like those in the Biblical account, you’d probably place your “god” back on his “throne” and consider it a good deed. But what happens when you come back the next day, and your “god” has not only fallen again but has also been decapitated? There’s no picking him up and replacing him on his pedestal at that point, is there?

Aren’t you glad we serve a God who lifts us up instead of the other way around? What a relief to know I’ll never find God lying down on the job or fallen to a place where He can’t even help Himself let alone anyone else. My God is the God of all gods and Lord of all lords. No other “god” can compare. No other “god” can save. No other “god” can lift me out of the miry clay and set my feet on the solid rock.  No other “god” will do. So why would we put our trust in any other?

I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.
— Isaiah 45:5-6

When I read the account of Dagon, this clip always comes to my mind. Talk about hilarious!