Tag Archives: unbelief

Trusting in God and Not His Blessing

It has been a while since wrote a blog post, and there have been a few reasons for that. None of which are really valid, so here I am back with another.

One of the reasons for not writing is that I have a newborn baby. If you have read the last few posts, you will know more about the blessing that he is. So why am I writing about trusting God and not His blessing? Even when we receive from God, there is always something else we are trusting Him for. In my case, one blessing has illustrated the need for another. Let me explain.

As many of you know, having a baby means a major life change. My wife and I were both working and I had started my own business, which was growing, but not as fast as I would have liked it to. Now all of a sudden, my wife is on maternity leave and we are about to be on one salary. That of a business which is up one month and down the next. So what would you do? I am a very logical person, which you would assume by the business that I have, but faith and logic often don’t mix very well. My logic said to close the business, and go and get a job. Then I could have a constant salary, and would be able to provide for my family. Sound good? God then told me to keep the business, and continue with what I was doing. Was I sure this was God? Can this be right? I then had a complete stranger come to me after church, and tell me that God gave them a prophetic word for me. She said, “The work that you are doing now, God wants you to continue with that, do not give it up.” OK, I guess it was God. So what now?

I was now in a time where I had to make a decision. Trust God, or listen to my flesh. Let’s take a look at a situation in the Bible which relates to this.

Matthew 8:23-26

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
There are a few interesting things here. Firstly, these were fishermen. They knew the sea. If they were scared, it was not because they were over-reacting. If they were scared, there was a good reason for it. We often have a good reason to be scared, but Jesus tells us not to be afraid, as we can trust in Him. The second thing is that they went to Jesus, and woke Him. Isn’t that what we are taught to do? When you have a problem, go to Jesus in prayer. Why did He then get upset with the disciples when they went to Him? In my opinion, it is because Jesus told them they were going to the other side (in other accounts of this story), but they didn’t believe Him that they would make it to the other side. This is unbelief. This is why Jesus was getting upset with them. Thirdly, Jesus rebukes them for being afraid, before He calms the storm. Now I know it says it the other way around in some accounts, but Jesus telling us to have faith before He does the miracle, is a common theme throughout scripture. Why does He do this? Simple. This is the title of this post. So that we won’t have faith in the miracle, but have faith in Him. If He had calmed the seas, the disciples would have had faith in the calm seas, Jesus wanted them to have faith in Him, despite the raging seas. Do you see the difference?

So how does this relate to me? My prayers have been along the lines of, “God please provide for us so that I don’t need to be afraid.” What does God’s Word say? It says that He will provide. In fact that He will provide abundantly. Also, I need the money, so that I can trust in the money, where Jesus wants me to trust in Him. This is harder to do when you don’t have the money, but no one said this would be easy. I ‘know’ our financial state, just like the disciples ‘knew’ the seas. I run to Jesus and ask Him to help me, even though His scripture says He will, just like His followers in the story. I want Jesus to fix the problem so that I will no longer have to be afraid, just like the disciples. Jesus wants me to trust in His Word, despite the situation. Just like He expected from the disciples.

God is faithful. He will come through. He always has, and He always will.

What are you afraid about? What are you waiting for God to provide? Do you have faith in God for the miracle, or do you have to see the miracle to not be afraid? I’ll leave that for you to think about. I hope that this has been as much of a blessing to you as it has to me.

Until next time.

Richard

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Has it Already Been Done?

So I hope that you all read my last post, which was our testimony, if you haven’t done so you may want to check it out. Now I move on to the next phase, and in order to get my mind around this, I would like to explain it to you. I hope that this will help to strengthen my faith, and help you to do the same with yours.

So my wife and I are pregnant, now it is time to start believing for the financial provision. I have been running my own business for a few years now, but it is not quite at the stage where it can support both of us. I have asked God if I should quit it and get a full time job, and He has told me in no uncertain terms to keep the business. Now my spirit is telling me to do that, but my brain is throwing a wobbly, because logically it is a very risky move. I have been a Christian for long enough to know to listen to my spirit, but how do I have that peace, when my brain is disagreeing? One way I find that helps, is to understand why I can expect it to happen. Understanding scripture helps to build faith. If we understand God’s promises, it is easier to believe them.

One of the main issues which I have come across of late, are 3 generally accepted statements, which we as Christians tend to believe and say. I’m not sure if they are true though, here they are:

  1. It will happen in God’s time.
  2. Pray until God gives it to you.
  3. If it is God’s will, it will happen.

Now I don’t want to be rude, as I have heard all of these comments by people that I love and respect, but they are misleading at best. They are often said to encourage, but they do not encourage me, let me explain. Let’s start with number 3, if it is God’s will. Yes, it is God’s will that I prosper. How do I know this? Simple, the Bible says so. Yes, you may know someone who loves Jesus who is not prospering, but that does not change what the Bible says. So if the Bible says that God wants us to prosper, and we are not prospering (yet), then what is the problem? The problem is that we have not yet received what God has given. This brings number 2 into play, if God has already given it, why do we need to pray? Well in short, we shouldn’t pray only for things, praying is just communicating within a relationship. If you have a best friend, and you only ever talk to them when you want something, what do you think would happen? I pray because I love God, I try and pray mostly just for the sake of it. Do I sometimes get sucked into praying only for things, yes, but that shouldn’t be the case. So where does that leave me? I don’t need to wonder if it is God’s will, I know it is, so 3 is irrelevant. God has already provided for me, so I don’t need to hassle Him in prayer. Still not sure of this? Let me ask you a simple question. When did Jesus save you? If you’re thinking about when you became a Christian, then you’re wrong. Jesus saved you 2000 years ago on the cross, you ACCEPTED it when you confessed with your mouth that you believed that Jesus is Lord. Now you may thing that I am splitting hairs, but I am not, I believe this is true for most things. Jesus did what He needed to on the cross, we just haven’t received it all yet, which brings me to number 1. If things always happen in God’s timing, then why did the Israelites spend 40 years doing a 2 week journey? Was that God’s plan, or their disobedience?

So here is where I am now. I believe that it is God’s will that my business prospers, I also believe that He has already provided me with all that I need in order to see this happen. I know that I need faith, and I know that I need to be obedient to what I believe that God is telling me. There is a fine line between knowing that God has done it, believing that we will receive it, and taking any action required on our part. Doing all of this without worrying, is what I am trying to get right.

Any thoughts? Do you agree with me on this? Do you understand it differently? How do you get this balance right? I would be interested in your views on this, it is not something that I have accomplished, but more a current walk of mine. I know what I believe to be the truth, but walking in that is a whole other story.

Richard

How Would You Answer Jesus?

I heard a very refreshing sermon today, so I thought that I would share the key points with you. It was about the lame man, who was waiting at the pool, trying to get healed. Here is the passage, take a look.

John 5 v 6-8. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”

“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

Here we have a classic response to Jesus, which sadly most of us have today. It is a dangerous response because it shows unbelief, which we find in other scripture caused Jesus not to be able to do miracles. Why do we do this? Put yourself in this man’s place. You have been sitting there for years, you have seen people get healed, but only those who get into the pool first when the water is stirred. You can’t get into the pool because you are paralysed. That is the only way you know to get healed, and it is unobtainable.

Then Jesus comes along. He asks a simple question. “Would you like to get well?” You reply to Jesus in the natural, the only way you understand. You start telling Him why you cant achieve it, you start telling him your problems. He is not asking about your problems, He’s asking you if you want the solution. In this case, Jesus heals the man. What about your case? When you read scripture about healing, what is your response? When someone approaches you and wants to minister to you, what is your response?

I have actually had people come up to me and ask for prayer, and then they go on to tell me why my prayer won’t work. They ask for healing, then they tell my why they won’t actually get healed. They tell me what the doctors said, how they feel, what they have read on the internet, and what others have said. I am not concerned about that, I believe that God wants them healed, and I believe they can receive that healing. They often don’t think that though, sometimes I have to convince them.

So I am not going to drag this out any longer, I just want to ask you some questions. What is your response to Jesus’ question? Do you believe that you will receive your healing, or are you giving God all of the excuses as to why you won’t?

Think about it and make the change if you need to.

Richard

Who Does What?

Today I would like to discuss something rather simple, yet something which will no doubt rock many people’s understanding of the Bible. Who does what? Yes, what is God’s job to do, what is our job, and what has God already set in place (like natural or spiritual laws)? I know that there is much to discuss here, so I will try and let you know my thoughts as quickly and as thoroughly as I can.

One of the biggest issues amongst Believers now days (in my opinion) is that we think that God can do what He wants, when He wants. Dare I say a ‘reformed’ view that God’s sovereignty means that He can do anything. Truth is, He can’t. (Shock!). Before you get all angry and start sending me emails, can God lie? Can God forsake us? No. Now I know what you’re thinking. It is not that God CAN’T do it, it is that He said He WOULDN’T do it. That is my point. God can do anything, but there are certain things that He won’t do, because He said He wouldn’t. Those are the bad things though (lying and forsaking). What about some ‘good’ things? Healing the sick, preaching the Gospel, casting out demons. You see God told us to do this, so He won’t. You may say that this doesn’t make a difference, but it does. Why do we pray to God and ask Him to heal? Why do we pray and ask God to get the demons away from us? Why do we pray and ask God to bring people to Him? This is what He told us to do.

If you’re a director of a company, and you delegate some responsibilities to your managers, would you then go and do the exact thing you asked them to do? No, not if you were any good at being a director. Once you delegate, you let them do it. Yes, you may help. Yes, you may want to be part of the plan. Yes, it is your authority that carries weight. Yes, they couldn’t do it without your backing and permission. But you don’t do it. This is the same with God. We need to do what He has called us to to. Yes, the power comes from Him. Yes, we couldn’t do it without God. Yes, we do it in the name of Jesus. But we have to do it.

Stop praying for Jesus to heal the sick. Jesus told us to talk to the mountain, and He gave us authority over sickness. Talk to the sickness and tell the person to be healed in the name of Jesus. Now I know that there is more to healing than the way we say it, but this will change our attitude. It is relatively easy to have faith, when we know we have the authority, and Jesus has already done the healing (by His stripes we are healed). The healing is done, we have the authority to administer it. If you believe this, it is easier to have faith than if we think that we’re trying to ‘twist God’s arm’ to heal someone. Like we care about them more than God. Are you praying for God to give you release from the demonic? Why? God told us to resist the devil, and he will flee. Do you pray that God will lead people to Himself? He told us to preach the Gospel. It is our job to tell people about Jesus. Yes, the Holy Spirit plays a part in calling people, but we have a responsibility.

Does this mean that God won’t help? No, obviously He does. We can pray that God helps us, that is what the Holy Spirit does. We can pray that God gives us the opportunity, or the wisdom, but we still need to do what He has told us to. The things that God has told us to do is in line with His spiritual laws, things that He has set into place. One that we all accept is salvation. If you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth, you will be saved. That is the law, and if we do it as God has instructed, we will be saved. There is no other way. It is similar with other things too, although our default is to ask God to do everything.

Have a think about this. Do you ask God to do things that He has told you to do? Do you know how to do what God has called you to? Maybe this is the time to rethink how you do things, maybe it is time for change. Stop asking God to do what He has asked you to do, learn how He wants you to do it, and then get out and do it in faith. When we do what God has asked us to do, in the name of Jesus, just see what happens!

Richard

Make Your Mark – Part 16

Today is the last post in my series on Mark, I really hope that it has been a blessing to you. I trust that you have read along with me, and that God has revealed many things to you. I had planned to discuss a few topics in the next few posts, and then reading through this chapter, I realised that it was the perfect introduction.

Let’s take a look at 2 excerpts from Mark 16, which will set the scene for the next few posts. Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead. I know that I often speak about faith and unbelief, but of late I have been confronted with some interesting questions, which show that people still don’t actually understand what I have been teaching, so I will address some new ‘angles’ on the topic of faith.

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptised will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.

This is what Jesus told the disciples, and therefore us, to do after He left. Do we do this? Do you do this? You see we so often ask God to do stuff for us, without really thinking about who’s responsibility it is. Someone asked me if I thought that God could do anything that He wanted, and my answer was no. The person was shocked to hear my response, but I am fully prepared to explain why I make that statement. In fact when I do, I believe that it may fundamentally change the way that you minister to people.

So in preparation for the weeks to come, ask yourself these questions. Do you believe that God can do anything He wants? How do you balance faith and your circumstances? What is God’s responsibility, and what is ours?

You are probably going to find some of what I say controversial, but please have an open mind. As usual, I welcome other opinions, as long as you provide a scriptural argument, and not just ‘because I said so’. I look forward to the next few posts.

Until next week.

Richard

Make Your Mark – Part 9

There are some interesting things in today’s passage, some which I don’t fully understand why they happened, and some that stand against what we are often taught in churches today. Let’s take a look. The transfiguration is something which I don’t fully understand. Why did it need to happen? I have looked up some teachings on the topic, but most of them didn’t satisfy me, as they seemed pretty ‘wishy-washy’. Here is what I do know. The vision of Jesus was ‘dazzling white’. This is a hint of what we have become since accepting Jesus, this is a vision of the glory of God. This is the contrast between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world.

We then move on to one of my favourite passages of scripture, one which I have taught on many times, and will do so again today. This is a passage of scripture that, when understood, could fly in the face of ‘common Christian beliefs’. The disciples are casting out demons and, next thing, they come up against one which they can’t get rid of. Now it is probably safe to say that most Christians either avoid deliverance at best, or completely deny that it can even be done. The disciples were leagues ahead of us – they were actually delivering people – but look at Jesus’ response when they couldn’t get it right once. Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” Wow. If that was His reaction to them, what do you think that He would say to most of us today? When last did you even attempt to cast out a demon? I have done it on a few occasions, but if I am honest, I must say that I don’t do it as often as I should. Fear and unbelief seem to be the main issues, although we tend to find all kinds of excuses not to be obedient. In this story, it is unbelief that seems to be the culprit, as the boy’s father asks Jesus to help him overcome it. Most Christians believe that Jesus CAN heal people, and He CAN deliver people, but He doesn’t always do it. We then start to make excuses as to how Jesus is using it for our good. Here is the truth of the matter. The boy’s father asked Jesus if He could heal his son, here is Jesus’ response. “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Interesting. Do you believe? That seems to be the key here, faith. In fact, Jesus almost takes Himself out of the equation. Now don’t misunderstand me here, I am not saying we don’t need Jesus, I am saying that we can do this in the name of Jesus. In fact, later on in this chapter, Jesus even tells them not to stop others from acting ‘in the name of Jesus’. Most Christians get upset when people do miracles in Jesus’ name, as they say that we should just beg God until He does it. Where actually, Jesus reprimanded them when they couldn’t do it, and brought the boy to Him. See the difference? Without Jesus, we have no power. With Jesus, we have the power symbolised by the transfiguration. We need to have faith and act on that.

There is a warning in the middle of this chapter though. We need to be humble, like a little child, and not think that it is all down to us. I believe that Jesus taught this because the disciples were getting arrogant because of the power. You see they needed this lesson because they were walking in the authority. It is a fine line between walking in the authority and getting too big for your boots. The sad reality is that we don’t really need this lesson to humble ourselves, because we don’t walk in authority. We use this message to be humble, as an excuse not to do anything. How many times have you heard Christians say, “We are nothing, we can do nothing, it is all down to God and what He chooses to do.” Nope. God has given us the authority to act in His name, and He even gets upset when we pass the buck back to Him. Just never get so arrogant that you think that it is you who have earned the right, or that it has nothing to do with God. Do you understand? God’s power, our actions.

One last thing, which I have said before, but I will say again. “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.” I have heard it taught that some demons will only come out if you fast. This is not what Jesus was saying, if it was, then Jesus is a hypocrite. He didn’t pray or fast, He just told the demon to go. So what was Jesus saying? This was a lesson about unbelief. When you pray and fast, it helps you to remove unbelief, which makes your faith more effective. This is what causes the demon to go. Jesus already knew this, because He did pray and fast. If you would like to know more about this, please take a look at my series about unbelief.

Until next time.

Richard

Make Your Mark – Part 6

Another exciting chapter in Mark, and today I look at some sobering facts about ministry. There is quite a lot to work through, so let’s get started with verse 3. Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. OK, who can identify with this? It is not people who have the power to do miracles, it is God who has the power, and He is the one who makes it possible for us to do miracles. He doesn’t have any ‘favourites’. Everyone has a family, everyone was just a baby once, if God is going to have anyone do a miracle, why not you? Why must it be an international preacher? Why not you? There is no reason, it can be you, if you believe. The problem is that when people know you, they often don’t expect anything from you, just like they did with Jesus.

Now you may expect me to go on and tell you not to let this stop you, but the truth is that it does. Look what it did to Jesus. And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. I know all about this. There is nothing more frustrating than being surrounded by people with unbelief, and having your hands tied behind your back. So what do you do? I don’t know the answer to this, but I do ministry elsewhere. I do ministry with people who do believe. If unbelief stopped Jesus from doing miracles, what chance do I have? I will fight the enemy, but I won’t fight people’s free will. I take my advice from verse 11. But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate. Now I know what you’re thinking, this is about preaching the gospel, not about ministry. I don’t agree. Verse 13 says that they cast out many demons and healed many sick people. This is what I want to do. The ‘mistake’ that I often make, is that I spend so much time trying to convince people to accept healing, because I want to see them transformed. Why do I do that? Maybe I need to move on to those who want to experience a miracle, to those who believe, maybe then I will see more miracles. What do you think about this? It is a fine line, but Jesus wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t important.

Jump forward to the section about Jesus feeding the 5000. I like this passage, but I really need to take it to heart. We live in a world where we need money, and most of us would say that we could do with a bit more. Now I’m not going to go into the prosperity gospel, but at very least, I do believe that God wants us to be provided for. Now I don’t know about you, but I have my own business, so no set salary. Every month there is a ‘cloud’ hanging over my head, am I going to make the money or not. Also, the question of ‘am I good enough to do this?’ pops into my head. The answer is simple – God promises to provide, and He can take what I bring and make it more than enough. What can I offer God? Not much, but He will take that, and there will be leftovers. Do I believe this? Not enough… yet. If I did, I wouldn’t worry each month. I need to get this so engrained, that there is no doubt. How about you? Do you believe that God will take the little that you bring, and make it into abundance? The other question is, do you even bring what you have to God? That little boy could have eaten the food himself. Sometimes we try to do it on our own, so we don’t even bring it to God. This is another trap that I do not want to fall into. Let’s bring what we have, lay it at God’s feet, and believe for abundance! Easier said than done, but that is my plan.

The last point from this chapter, is verses 50 and 51. They were all terrified when they saw him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. Now I have spoken about this many times, and have even named my blog after it, but here is the point. Jesus told them not to be afraid BEFORE he calmed the storm. This always makes me think. Jesus could have calmed the storm, and then He wouldn’t have needed to tell them to calm down. He didn’t. He told them to calm down first. They needed to trust Him. They needed to believe that Jesus was in control. They needed to have faith. Now could Jesus do the miracle without their faith? I don’t know. If unbelief could stop Jesus, maybe faith enables Him, it is not too far a reach. Either way, Jesus wanted them to believe, before He did anything. Do you believe that Jesus can (and will) do what He says? Do you have faith, or are you preventing miracles with unbelief? You need to make a decision, and choose to believe. Maybe you’re like me, and have faith for some things, but lack it for others? We need to step it up. We need to start to believe for EVERYTHING. Jesus doesn’t do a half job.

Amen!

Richard

Make Your Mark – Part 5

Every week I think that there will be a relaxing passage to write about, but that has not been the case over the last 4 weeks, and is not the case today. Today the passage has 2 stories, one about Jesus’ authority over demons, and the other about healing. Now I have taught on both, but today I want to talk about the healing and faith. I often get into disagreement with other Christians over this, so here I will tell you what I believe, which is based on this scripture passage. If you would like to know about our authority over demons, please read my post on that, ‘Authority Over Demons‘. That post actually deals with this passage, so there is no point writing it again.

Healing. A very contentious issue in churches today, as most Christians are divided into one of two groups. The first group believes that Jesus heals those who He wishes to be healed, if you ask God (in prayer) to heal you or someone, He may do so. Sometimes He may be using that sickness in your life, maybe to reach someone with the gospel, so He doesn’t heal you. This group believes that healing only happens when it is part of God’s plan, and it isn’t always. I don’t agree with this, I fall 100% into the second group. I believe that illness is not from God, ever. It is part of the fall, and is not part of God’s plan. I believe that we as believers have authority over illness, and it is actually not really up to God as to whether we are healed or not, but up to us. Shock! Before you start picking up stones, just read on. Get out your Bible and take a look through all of the healing stories, find me one story where someone asks Jesus to heal them, and Jesus says that it isn’t God’s will. You won’t find any. Jesus heals EVERYONE who asks Him. Simple as that. Surely if it were God’s ‘choice’ as to who gets healed, there would have been at least one person who wanted it and didn’t receive it.

So why don’t we see healing today? You can read more in my post – ‘Why We Don’t get Healed‘ (5 part series), but here are the 3 main reasons. Look at the woman who reached out and touched Jesus. She was unclean, she was bleeding. If you were caught in public in those days in that situation, you would have been stoned. She literally risked death to get to Jesus, because she knew that she would be healed if she only touched him. When you go for healing, do you KNOW that you will be healed, do you even expect to be healed? I often hear people who are surprised when someone is healed. If Jesus were here now, I’d be more surprised if someone wasn’t healed. The Spirit of Jesus is here now, why are we surprised to see healing? We don’t expect them, not like the woman did. We have a serious lack of faith. Maybe it is because we are taught not to have faith, or maybe we have been corrupted by failed attempts, but we lack faith.

The second reason is that we don’t understand how to minister healing. Jesus came across someone with an illness, he told them to be healed, and they were. Peter watched this, he came across illness, told the people to be healed, and they were. We don’t bother with what Jesus taught, we just run to Jesus and ask Him to heal the person. “Jesus, if it is your will, please heal my friend..”. No, that is not what Jesus taught. He even came here to demonstrate it for us. We are not doing it in our strength, we do it firmly by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus. Why do we not tell the person to be healed in the name of Jesus, why do we beg and plead God? It makes no sense to me.

Lastly, we are surrounded by unbelief. Jesus sent all of the people away, why? They were laughing at Him, and filled with unbelief. Jesus couldn’t perform miracles when there was unbelief. If He couldn’t, we don’t stand a chance. Unbelief is probably the biggest ‘miracle killer’, so take a look at my post ‘Unbelief: What The Bible Says About It‘, and the posts that follow.

What do you believe about healing, does it line up with scripture? I for one would really like to see more people set free from illness and disease.

Richard

Unbelief: How to Overcome It

So far we have learned what unbelief is and why it is a problem, so today I will endeavour to show you how we can all overcome it. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I have overcome it, but I am currently overcoming it. This is a journey, not a quick fix. This is a lifestyle change, not 5 easy steps. Let’s start by taking a look at Jesus’ suggestion to overcoming unbelief.

Afterwards, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer (and fasting). Mark 9:28-29). Now let me make this clear. I don’t believe that Jesus was saying that the fasting and praying will remove this demon. I think that He was saying that we need to pray and fast more to remove stronger demons. Why do I say this? Look at how Jesus gets rid of it. When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,”he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!” Mark 9:25. Jesus didn’t fast or pray for the demon to go, He just told it to. Now either Jesus is doing a ‘do what I say, not what I do’, or there is more to it. You see Jesus had already prayed, He had already fasted. I believe that this is what helped Jesus overcome unbelief. This is one of the keys to overcoming unbelief. Prayer and fasting. Because Jesus had already overcome it, so He was able to remove the demon. The disciples needed to pray and fast more, in order to remove their unbelief, so they could also remove the demon. Does this make sense? Jesus even told the dad of the boy, that anything is possible if you believe, why would He say that if the only way to get rid of that demon was through prayer and fasting? It doesn’t make sense.

So other than praying and fasting, what else can we do? Read the Bible. Faith comes through hearing, hearing the Word of God. Learn, meditate on scripture, renew your mind. We need to know the scripture so well, we need to believe so much, that these thoughts of unbelief don’t stand a chance. We need to know what the Bible says so well, that when the thought of ‘are you sure’ comes into our mind, our answer is ‘100% Yes’! I have even decided not to watch the news anymore, and I don’t read newspapers either. Why? I prefer to read the Bible and take my truth from that. The Bible says that God will provide, the papers say that you have to provide for yourself and that we face more recessions. What are you going to believe? This is just a simple example, but very often, the news we see opposes the Word of God. This can all add unbelief.

There is one other cause of unbelief which I want to draw your attention to, but we need to be careful with this, as this can be taken too far. Jesus healed/delivered all who came to Him. He didn’t go looking for those who didn’t come. I think that there is wisdom in this. We don’t really know what happened when Jesus couldn’t do miracles because of the unbelief of the people (Mark 6:4-6), but I’m going to assume that Jesus didn’t try and fail. I assume that He picked out those who believed, who were not preventing Jesus’ miracles. I doubt very much that Jesus would have been trying to perform a miracle and failing. I’m sure he would have known that it wouldn’t work. We need to be aware of that. Now I am not saying that we pick and choose who we heal, I am saying that we be aware of who we minister to. I don’t go chasing people, begging them to let me heal them. I minister to those who come and ask. Why? Because if I hear of someone who is sick, and they don’t believe that they will be healed, how can I overcome that unbelief if Jesus Himself couldn’t? If I go and try, and fail, what does that do to my unbelief and the unbelief of the person I am ministering to? That action could in fact add more unbelief to them, and get myself some in the process. Next time I step out in faith, I may be reminded that this didn’t work last time. Will I be able to overcome that, or will it trip me up? That is why I avoid adding to my unbelief by praying for people who do not want to receive. Now we can take this the wrong way, and refuse to minister to anyone, but that would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I am not suggesting this, I am merely suggesting that we have some wisdom when it comes to who we minster to, and how we do it. Please don’t misunderstand me here, I am all for ministry, just minister to those who will receive it. God doesn’t force His will on people against theirs, and neither can we.

Now I don’t want to leave you on a negative, but I want to encourage you to build your faith. Read the Word, fast (see Why I Fast), meditate on the Word, pray, and remove all unbelief. Remove anything from your thinking that opposes the Word of God. Get out there and do what Jesus has instructed us to do. Preach the Word, heal the sick and cast out demons!

Go in strength!

Richard

Unbelief: What it is and Why it is so Dangerous?

Last post I introduced ‘Unbelief: What the Bible Says About It‘, so if you didn’t read that, take a look at it first. Now we move on to what unbelief actually is, and why is it so dangerous. To start this off, I would like to first share what it is NOT. It is NOT a lack of belief or faith. How do I know this? Allow me to show you.

The disciples were going around casting out demons. They were not practising, they were doing it. There was no doubt that they had faith, otherwise they would not even be attempting this kind of ministry. All of a sudden, they come across the boy who they can not deliver. When Jesus comes over to see what all of the fuss is about, He seems to blame unbelief, as the father asks Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief. This appears that unbelief is not a lack of faith, but something that opposes faith. Mark 9:24. The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” So how does this work? Here is a simple illustration. I hold a healing ministry meeting, and you come along. I speak about the authority that we have in Christ, the fact that we have been told to heal, the fact that anything is possible if we believe. I show you how it is God’s will that we are all healed, and I show you how we can overcome illness. You are now fired up, faith oozing out of you, belief is the order of the day. Then you go over to someone to heal them, and as you open your mouth, you think the following: This didn’t work last time. What if I get their hopes up and fail them? Do I really have this authority, can I really heal someone? What if it doesn’t work? This is unbelief. Is it a lack of faith? No, you had faith, you still have it, but there is something opposing it. Think of it this way, if you had a horse (faith) pulling a carriage, the carriage would move forward. What if you had another horse (unbelief) pulling from the other side? You would then still have just as much faith, but it would be rendered useless because of the unbelief. Understand? You will then be pulled from both sides, and this is what the Bible says about that (James 1:6): But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

So unbelief could be described as any opinion or thought which opposes those which we believe to be true from scripture. I can just imaging the disciples during the Mark 9 story. They are happily casting out demons, until they come across one who won’t leave. All of a sudden their unbelief starts to grow, which in turn starts to cancel out their belief. Do they really have the authority? Can they really cast out the demon? Even this one? I can imagine that they start to question the things that Jesus had told them. Then Jesus pitches up, and the father even shows unbelief. “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” The have mercy on us, becomes have mercy on us IF you can. Unbelief. Jesus’ response is classic. “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Jesus speaks the truth straight back into the situation, eliminating the unbelief just like that. I think that we often start to dwell on the unbelief in such a time as this. If someone came to you and said, please heal my child if you can, would your response be like Jesus’?

So we have now seen what unbelief is, and why it is so dangerous. It is dangerous because it is our faith and belief that sees miracles happen, and unbelief opposes that belief. If we want to see more healing, deliverance, and in fact salvation, we need to eliminate unbelief. I have a passion to see people set free, free from illness, demonic strongholds, sin, oppression and anything else which is not from God. Unbelief is not the only reason why we don’t see healing, but it is a major one, the others can be found in my series ‘Why We Don’t Get Healed‘. In order to do what God has called me to, I need to eliminate unbelief. Are you going to join me?

Next post will be entitled ‘Unbelief: How to Overcome It’.

Until next time.

Richard