Do You Really Want More Faith?

In the fourth chapter of Mark, there is a story of Jesus and his disciples in a boat and being tossed around by a big storm. “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful  trip that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship . . .” No, no, not that ship. This is a different story and we pick up our scene right after Jesus had calmed the winds and waves with a single command.

Now, many people have been asking me about my tales of cursing bees and other bugs and having them die — or speaking to fog, snow and rain and having them stop. Well, I learned it from this story. Jesus later said, “The things that I do, you can do — in fact, even greater things! (John 14:12, John 14:13, Mark 16:17). I didn’t pray and ask the Lord if I could curse bees . . . I read those verses and I was ( I am) foolish enough to simply start acting on it. If there are bees around, I speak to them and command them to leave . . . if they don’t, I curse them. It is just that simple. Ask my family!

Just in case you didn’t hear the story, I will explain it. My wife and I had only been married for a few months and we had five bees in our dining room. I opened a window and told the bees, “I have opened a window for you to leave our house, so please leave. However, in the authority of Jesus of Nazareth, if you do not leave, I will curse you and you will die . . .” My wife chuckled, but four bees flew out immediately, but one bee remained.

I again told it to leave — in fact, I told him two more times, but he still refused to leave. So, I apologized for having to do it, but I cursed the bee and much to the astonishment of my new wife, the bee dropped to the floor dead. Now there is nothing supernatural or super-anything about me. I read our Lord’s words, shrugged my shoulders and said, “Well, this is what it says . . .” and began to exercise His authority. Call it being naive, but the Lord has always honored my naiveté.

I have (and still do) speak to fog, heavy rain storms, snow storms, insects infesting our church (in fact, I did that one time and in broad-daylight, three bats flew away!) Again, do not marvel at me in any way! You can do the same thing! As Peter said, regarding the beggar outside of the temple, “It is the Name of Jesus, and faith in that Name . . .” (Acts 3:16)

In the case of Jesus and the storm, he turns to his disciples and asks, “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” (Mark 4:40). (Ouch! I do NOT want Him to say that to me!).

You may think this sounds a little harsh. But, really it wasn’t. It was only human to be afraid during heavy storm — especially out at sea! Did you ever watch the movie “White Squall,” A film based on the fate of the brigantine Albatross, which sank May 2, 1961, because of a white squall. I’m not trying to dismiss the behavior of Christ’s disciples; I am just trying to make a fair assessment for us. But in truth, Jesus wasn’t chiding them for that reason. He was telling them, “After all this time with me, you still don’t know who I am. How could you possibly walk with me for this long, and not know me intimately?”

Indeed, the disciples were astonished by the amazing miracle Jesus had performed. “The disciples were absolutely terrified. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked each other. ‘Even the wind and waves obey him!’” (Mark 4:41).

What is going on here? Jesus’ own disciples didn’t know him? He had personally called each of these men to follow him and they had ministered to all kinds of people right beside him. They had even performed miracles of healing, and fed masses of hungry people. But they were still strangers to who their Master really was.

It’s a tragic reality, but the same is true today. I can’t tell you how many, but hundreds — even thousands of believers who have “ridden in the boat” with Jesus, ministered alongside him, even reached multitudes in his name. But they really don’t know their Master. They haven’t spent intimate time shut in with him. They have never sat quietly in his presence, opening their hearts to him, waiting and listening to comprehend what he wants to say to them

We have another situation regarding the disciples’ faith in the 17th chapter of Luke. The disciples came to Jesus, asking, “Show us how to increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). Many Christians today ask the same question: “How can I obtain faith?” But they don’t seek the Lord himself for their answer.

If you want increased faith, you have to do the same thing Jesus told his disciples to do in this passage. How did he answer their request for faith?

The Master said,

“You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it.

“Suppose one of you has a servant who comes in from plowing the field or tending the sheep. Would you take his coat, set the table, and say, ‘Sit down and eat’? Wouldn’t you be more likely to say, ‘Prepare dinner; change your clothes and wait table for me until I’ve finished my coffee; then go to the kitchen and have your supper’? Does the servant get special thanks for doing what is expected of him? It is the same with you. When you have done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, ‘The work is done. What we were told to do, we did.’

“Gird yourself and serve me while I eat and drink” (Luke 17:8).

Jesus was saying, in essence, “Put on your garment of patience , then come to my table and dine with me. I want you to feed me first. You happily labor for me all day long. Now I want you to commune with me. Sit down with me, open your heart, and learn of me.”

Okay, so here you are reading this Morning Message wondering what am I supposed to do with it? Can I suggest you quit worrying about this “stuff” going on in your life, and focus on Him alone? What? You just said that’s what you have been doing? Well . . . then keep doing it, you will see the benefits soon enough.

Nickolas

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list.)

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