Monday, May 23, 2016

overcoming unbelief



 “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”
(Mark 9:24)

The passage of Mark 9:17-27 is the gripping story of a father’s agony and the relief Jesus brings to him. The man’s son, since childhood, was tortured by an evil spirit. He took him to Jesus’ disciples and they couldn’t heal the boy. So Jesus stepped into the situation. ‘‘‘O unbelieving generation’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you. Bring the boy to me’” (Mark 9:19). The father asked Jesus if He could heal his son, “If you can?” (Mark 9:23) was Jesus’ response. Whoa. The father believed there was a limit to what Jesus could do!

Jesus said to him, “Everything is possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).  Then the father’s agony increased because he realized his faith was weak and was afraid it was his lack of faith that was keeping his son from being healed. He said to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24)! It was as if he was responding to a wake-up call. Hello! He was so distressed. 

No matter how spiritually strong we are, our faith is imperfect. This father was crying out to God to strengthen his faith. He knew even his faith comes from God. The disciples had the “authority to drive out demons” (Mark 3:15) through their prayers. Why didn’t they drive out this boy’s demon? They had the power from the LORD through their prayers to do it. Did they forget to pray?

So it is with us today. The deeper we go with God, the more we can see His love, His greatness and His compassion for His children. And then when a crisis arises, all of a sudden we panic and we can’t find our faith. We try to take the disastrous situation in our own hands and we fail. Then we anxiously cry out to God for help and we see our own unbelief; that is, we don’t think God is big enough to take care of our hardship, which is why we panicked in the first place.
Am I speaking from experience? Ahem. Yes.

When we ask, Jesus answers...in His time, in accordance with His will and purposes. The father asked Jesus to help. Jesus rebuked the evil spirit. “‘You deaf and mute spirit,’ he said, ’I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’ The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ‘He’s dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up to his feet, and he stood up” (Mark 9:25- 27). 

Jesus is not intimidated by anything. Jesus is always greater than our circumstances. Jesus is sovereign over the universe, He “…who has gone to heaven and is at God’s right hand – with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him” (1 Peter 3:22).

We are still in our fleshly bodies and are desperately in need of our Savior, every moment.  We must believe – overcome our unbelief --in the only One who “having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15). 

Jesus want us to be free. We want to be free. If we're not free, we have to get to the root of the reason why we're not free. Our unbelief is agony! It is despair. It is because we are looking at the physical circumstances and not at the power of God within us.

We have to believe He is who He says He is. We have to believe God has given us the ability to overcome! "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (1 John 5:1). 

Okay, according to the word of God, we have the ability to overcome. So let's rise up, shine the light, and overcome evil with good!  

He's already given us the power to do it, Sister. 

Love & blessings,
Polly
Psalm 34:3

This devotion is a revised version of my second book,
Totally Devoted 2, in preparation for a Kindle version!


Saturday, May 14, 2016

We are highly-valued cracked pots!


Dear Sister, do you see your personal identity as a 'woman who follows Jesus?' He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made...our imperfections are so beautiful to Him! (Psalm 139) Yep. Think about this: He chose us to be His! (John 15:16)! He says we are rare and precious (1 Peter 2:4-5)! We are His blessed girls forever because no one can snatch us out of His hands (John 10:29)!



Yep! We are highly-valued cracked pots. 




As we confess our sins to Him we are forgiven by the blood of Jesus. We are free. Free! To live. To love. To laugh.

He has made it so His light in us shines through our imperfections and frailties! Yep. (2 Corinthians 4:7). 

Own it, Sister, you are one blessed girl, forever!

And now it's time for us to rise up and shine for the glory of our Father! (Matthew 5:16). 

Love, 
Polly
Psalm 34:3
Matthew 6:33

A full devotion on "treasures in jars of clay" appears in my first book, Totally Devoted 1. All of my books are available online. 


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Sowing for the Savior


“…the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.”
(Mark 4:27)

People can’t save people. We cannot give the gift of salvation to someone else. We can sow seeds of salvation, but it is God who makes them take root, grow and bear fruit.  “A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how”  (Mark 4:26-28). Wow! This is a description of the gospel message. The passage of Mark 4:24-28 focuses on the mysterious power of the seed.

Oh, if we will only sow the life-giving seeds of salvation by sharing our faith with others! Why don’t we do it more? God commands us to shine, not save! Jesus saves! God calls His people “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) and to carry on His work here on earth. “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).   

We have opportunities all day, every day, to sow seeds of life into the lives of others.  We are commanded to do it. “Jesus told his disciples, ‘All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…’” (Matthew 28:18-19). The burden is not on us to make sure the people are saved. It’s through the power and grace of God that people are saved. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works so than no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Just as a seed grows in fertile soil, secretly and gradually, so does the word of God work in a sinner’s heart.

When we sow, God will be with us every step of the way. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).When we are shopping, especially in our own neighborhood grocery stores, purchasing gas for our cars, dropping off our dry cleaning – you name it – we have divine appointments set up for us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Also, those favorite places we shop are ripe for developing fruit-bearing relationships with employees, managers and store owners. We can let them know the love of Christ by our courtesy and kindness in the way we act and the words we speak to them. We can pray for them in private and even in public, to influence them.
We have no idea how God will use our faithfulness and our obedience! “…the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how” (Mark 4:27). If we will only sow the seed!

Think about a baby growing in a mother’s womb. It is God who makes pregnancy possible. I know women who have taken fertility medications for years and never conceived.  When I reached a point where we realized I had to take extra hormones to conceive, I had a friend who called herself “Fertile Myrtle” because she was popping out babies, and I’m not kidding.  On the other hand, I know women who have been on birth control pills and gotten pregnant!

So how does the gift of an unborn baby grow inside the mother? How? Only God knows. The mother does not know how, just as the gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ grows in the heart of a sinner – it is by God’s sovereign grace.  

Love & blessings!

Polly
psalm 34:3

My second book, Totally Devoted 2, is in revision to become a Kindle edition!  Sowing for the Savior,  is devotion #19 in the paperback version of TD 2. It is available on my author page:





    

©2011 Polly Balint That Girl Marketing, LLC

Monday, May 2, 2016

grace steps


I didn't always have a heart that was willing to wait. 

I was a whole lot more impulsive and impatient than I am now. And please don't snicker...those of you who know me! I mean, it's actually embarrassing how my old, immature, impatient self behaved! (Must be why it's called immaturity.)

And not that I have arrived, nope! Not even close, Sister. But I can watch my new self actually wanting to wait for the LORD to move and act on my behalf as I prayerfully walk through each day with Him.  I have learned this truth, to wait for the Lord is to trust Him.


Even when I'm praying for others, I know if I keep knocking on heaven's door, God will answer! "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7). "The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective" (James 5:16). 

I call my sanctification of waiting, grace steps. It's just like a baby learning to walk. It involves, standing, wobbling, falling down and getting up more times than you fall down. Yep. That's how it's been and will continue because I'm still learning and growing as His child.

It's only by the grace and mercy of God that I have learned the high value of waiting for the providence and sovereignty of God. Yep. It's clearly promised to all of God's children in Scripture: "I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you" (Jeremiah 29:11-12).  


I share this with you, my sisters, to hopefully save you some pain in trying to rush into your dreams without totally depending on God for every grace step. He's got this. He has ordered our grace steps in His love and His wisdom.



He just wants us to "trust in the LORD with all our hearts" (Proverbs 3:5). That's when we'll be willing to wait for Him to show us where to take our next step of grace.

Love, 
Polly
psalm 34:3