Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

Faithful, Faith Dreams, Day 29

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MATTHEW 17:14-20 |  When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” 

Jesus was a dream teacher. He wanted to grow others’ faith in the power of their faith. His way of calling some of his disciples illustrated this…”Come, and I will make you fishers of men!” The teaching of Jesus also encouraged his friends to imagine their impact on a global and cosmic scale. “You shall be the salt of the earth and the light of the world!” The statements must have made the disciples’ eyes widen with surprise and perhaps even laugh with a combination of delight and incredulity.

In our scripture today, even their failure in a task is greeted with an assurance that they were made and intended to exercise “mountain moving faith.”

Who has stretched your vision for the impact you might have?

Do you have a sense of call?

 

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Faithful, Faith Knows, Day 27

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PSALM 104 | Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great. You are clothed with honor and majesty, wrapped in light as with a garment. You stretch out the heavens like a tent, you set the beams of your chambers on the waters, you make the clouds your chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind, you make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers. You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken. You cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they flee; at the sound of your thunder they take to flight. They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills, giving drink to every wild animal; the wild asses quench their thirst. By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches. From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart. The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. In them the birds build their nests; the stork has its home in the fir trees. The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the coneys. You have made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. You make darkness, and it is night, when all the animals of the forest come creeping out. The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. When the sun rises, they withdraw and lie down in their dens. People go out to their work and to their labor until the evening. O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great. There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it. These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up;

when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord!

God is eager to reveal himself but is never manipulative or coercive. Faith is the way we acquire deeper understanding of God, and it is itself a way of knowing. Through faith, we can see nature as his artwork, learning of his love for vast scales of size and time, his fondness for variety and beauty, his penchant for consistent order embodied in physical laws, and his patient use of natural processes to produce gradual and purposeful patterns of evolution.

Every mountain climbed, sunset viewed, natural process understood, and creature encountered can become a source of awe and praise.

Take a “praise walk” and appreciate the natural world today.

Find a verse in our psalm to meditate on.

 

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