He said to them, “This kind [of unclean spirit] can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” —Mark 9:29
“His disciples asked Him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ ” (Mark 9:28). The answer lies in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. “This kind can come out by nothing but” concentrating on Him, and then doubling and redoubling that concentration on Him. We can remain powerless forever, as the disciples were in this situation, by trying to do God’s work without concentrating on His power, and by following instead the ideas that we draw from our own nature. We actually slander and dishonor God by our very eagerness to serve Him without knowing Him.
When you are brought face to face with a difficult situation and nothing happens externally, you can still know that freedom and release will be given because of your continued concentration on Jesus Christ. Your duty in service and ministry is to see that there is nothing between Jesus and yourself. Is there anything between you and Jesus even now? If there is, you must get through it, not by ignoring it as an irritation, or by going up and over it, but by facing it and getting through it into the presence of Jesus Christ. Then that very problem itself, and all that you have been through in connection with it, will glorify Jesus Christ in a way that you will never know until you see Him face to face.
We must be able to “mount up with wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31), but we must also know how to come down. The power of the saint lies in the coming down and in the living that is done in the valley. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and what he was referring to were mostly humiliating things. And yet it is in our power to refuse to be humiliated and to say, “No, thank you, I much prefer to be on the mountaintop with God.” Can I face things as they actually are in the light of the reality of Jesus Christ, or do things as they really are destroy my faith in Him, and put me into a panic?
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
We are not to preach the doing of good things; good deeds are not to be preached, they are to be performed. So Send I You
Prayer Changes Everything Our Prayer Will Shake God’s Hand and God’s Hand Will Shake the Earth
The Holy Spirit prompted a Christian airline pilot to speed the departure of his Batik Air flight from Palu carrying 140 passengers, narrowly averting a potential disaster with the loss of many lives.
The epicenter of a powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck Friday September 28th in a mountainous area of Central Sulawesi, 48 miles from the provincial capital of Palu. Only minutes later, underwater landslides apparently triggered a massive 10 to 20-foot tsunami that swept through Palu and other coastal areas.
The waves were intensified by Palu’s location at the end of a narrow bay. At least 1200 people perished and smaller villages in the surrounding area were entirely swept away. Because communication has been poor in remote areas, the death toll may increase dramatically.
“All day Friday I had been feeling unsettled and I didn’t know why,” Captain Icoze Mafella recounted at a Jakarta church, Duta Injil BIP, on Sunday September 30th.
To displace his feelings of unease, Captain Mafella – a strong Christian – began to loudly sing worship songs on his flight from Ujung Pandang to Palu. “Usually I only hummed, but that day I wanted to praise the Lord as best I could,” he said.
“I think you should make a CD of worship songs,” his Muslim co-pilot told him, jokingly.
When they were about to land at the Palu Airport, the wind was unusually strong and he “heard a voice in his heart” directing him to circle again before landing.
The Palu airport is squeezed between two mountain ranges and some pilots refer to airports situated in this way as “valleys of death,” so once again, the pilot felt prompted to be extra careful in landing and recited the 23rd Psalm:
“I may walk through valleys as dark as death but I won’t be afraid. You are with me and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe,” he said.
After they landed, the Holy Spirit prompted him once more that he needed to be quick. He instructed his crew to take a shorter, 20-minute break, before the plane was due to take off for Jakarta via Ujung Pandang.
“I didn’t even leave the cockpit and requested permission from the control tower to depart three minutes ahead of schedule,” he recounted.
He received approval for the expedited time for takeoff from Air Controller Anthonius Agung and they prepared for departure.
He felt such an urgency, that Captain Mafella broke with standard flight procedures and took over some of the co-pilot’s responsibilities to speed up their exit.
The moment arrived for takeoff and Captain Mafella barreled down the runway. “I don’t know why but my hand kept pushing the lever causing the plane to speed up as it took off,” he said.
As they sped down the airstrip, the massive earthquake began to strike Palu and both pilots felt the plane sway noticeably to the left and right. The Muslim co-pilot glanced at Captain Mafella with a look of fear in his eyes.
“If I had taken off three minutes later, I would not have been able to save the 140 passengers, because the asphalt on the landing strip was moving up and down like a curtain blowing in the wind,” he testified.
Several minutes after takeoff, he attempted to communicate with the control tower but there was no response.
Then he looked down and saw an unusual sight. “The sea water on the coast was forming a very large hole so that the foundation of the sea bed could be seen,” he reported. “I saw circles getting bigger and bigger. I thought it was very strange.”
Prior to a tsunami, the shoreline often recedes dramatically, exposing areas that are normally submerged.
When the plane arrived in Ujung Pandang, he was told the shocking news that there had been an earthquake and tsunami in Palu.
The air controller, Anthonius Agung, 21, made sure their plane – the last to leave the airport — had safely taken off before he jumped from the crumbling control tower at the height of the quake.
“They said people tried to call him to get away from the tower, but he said, ‘No, the aircraft isn’t airborne yet.’ Then the roof started collapsing and he jumped.
Tragically, he broke his legs, arms, and ribs as a result of the fall and died from internal injuries on his way to the hospital.
“In this difficult time, during the split seconds of decisions, he waited for me until I was safe before he jumped. That’s why I call him my guardian angel.”
Many others are calling the air controller a hero – along with Captain Mafella.
“It is important that we are hear the voice of God,” he said.
“And whatever happens we must be calm, not in a panic, so that we can clearly hear the voice of God coming to us by the Holy Spirit.”
It’s a common dilemma: Someone has hurt us, and we know we should forgive but just can’t. Despite all our promises to God about letting go of the offense, we find ourselves mentally rehearsing the event until we’re once again consumed with anger and hurt.
God has not simply called us to relinquish our bitterness; He’s given us the means to do it. The Spirit empowers us to forgive others just as God has forgiven us (Eph. 4:32). However, it’s not always a quick process—especially if the offense is great and the hurt is deep. Sometimes we must work through steps until we can finally release the burden.
First, we must confess to God that we have sinned against Him with our unforgiving attitude and ask Him to help us repent of it.
Next, we should acknowledge that the basis for forgiving others is God’s forgiveness of us. We didn’t deserve to be pardoned, yet Christ’s sacrifice has released us from our guilt. And it’s good to remember that while offenses against us may seem to be the most grievous, we usually underestimate the magnitude of our own sins against God.
Finally, we must let the Bible renew our minds. Instead of allowing ourselves to dwell on the wrong done to us, we can surrender those thoughts to God and replace them with biblical truths about Him, His promises, and His ways.
So how will you know when you have truly forgiven your wrongdoer? The negative emotions that once arose at the thought of the offender will subside, and you’ll be at peace.
“For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.” (Exodus 7:12)
Like the future image of the beast, which will seem to have life, these magician-induced serpents can only have been “lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Neither men nor demons can really create life; this is a prerogative of God alone, who “created every living creature” (Genesis 1:21). However, both human magicians and demons can generate hypnotic mental states and occult hallucinations that ungodly people like Pharaoh may be deceived into seeing as real physical entities. When their demonstration was over, however, nothing was left. Even their rods (not “serpents”) were gone, for Aaron’s genuine serpent had made a meal of them. In a true miracle of creation, Aaron’s God had transmuted the dead atoms of a wooden stick (just as He later made it to produce blossoms and almonds, Numbers 17:8) into a living serpent, capable of consuming other sticks that only appeared to be serpents.
The deception of the magicians was revealed when they were unable later to imitate Moses’ miracle of turning dust into lice throughout the land of Egypt (Exodus 8:18). Interestingly, many people believed for many centuries that similar phenomena—which they called “spontaneous generation”— occurred naturalistically, but this notion was scientifically demolished by Pasteur over a hundred years ago. Only the living God can create life!
The miracle of Aaron’s rod is also a parable. Aaron’s rod of life took on the nature of the serpent, just as Christ was made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). But then it swallowed up the other serpent-rods, and the sting of “that old serpent” was put away. Thus, “death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). HMM
Personal evidence is best. Paul, as an undoubted Israelite, found in his own conversion the proof that the Lord had not utterly rejected the seed of Abraham.
Wot or know
Things are often much better with the church of God than wise and good men think they are. They are ready to give up all for lost, when it is not so. God has a remnant still.
Romans 11:5, 6
This is the gospel in a nutshell. He who remembers these distinctions is on the right road to sound theology.
Romans 11:7, 8
“It is a dreadful art that some acquire of having eyes and not seeing, of having ears and not hearing, of sleeping on when heaven, earth, and hell are making their souls a battle-field.”
Though blindness has happened to Israel in part, yet not to all Israel. The Lord knoweth them that are his, and he will save them by his grace. Better times are, however, coming even for Israel after the flesh, for in the latter days they shall be converted to the Saviour.
Romans 11:28, 29
He never repents of his choice, or changes his purposes of love.
He shuts them up as condemned by the law, that he may deal with them in a way of grace.
All things are of him, as the efficient cause; through him, as the disposing cause; to him, as the final cause. They are of him, without any other motive; through him, without any assistance; and to him, without any other end.
I am being very frank about this and I hope I am being helpful: do not ever say you are not right with God because you like some people better than others!
I believe you can be right with God and still not like the way some people behave. It is easy to love those who are the friendly; others rub us the wrong way or perhaps they cut us down.
The writer to the Hebrews has appealed to us as Christian believers to “let brotherly love continue”—in other words, “never stop loving one another in the Lord.”
Here is what I have found: it is possible to love people in the Lord even though you may not like their boorish or distasteful human traits. We still love them for Jesus’ sake!
Yes, I believe you can be right with God and still not like the way some people behave. Our admonition is to love them in a larger and more comprehensive way because we are all one in Christ Jesus. This kind of love is indeed a Christian virtue!
“As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” Ps. 17:15
The portion of other men fills their bodies, and enriches their children, but the portion of the believer is of another sort. Men of the world have their treasure in this world, but men of the world to come look higher and further.
Our possession is twofold. We have God’s presence here and His likeness hereafter. Here we behold the face of the Lord in righteousness, for we are justified in Christ Jesus. Oh, the joy of beholding the face of a reconciled God! The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ yields us Heaven below, and it will be to us the Heaven of Heaven above.
But seeing does not end it: we are to be changed into that which we gaze upon. We shall sleep a while and then wake up to find ourselves as mirrors which reflect the beauties of our Lord. Faith sees God with a transforming look. The heart receives the image of Jesus into its own depths, till the character of Jesus is imprinted on the soul. This is satisfaction. To see God and to be like Him — what more can I desire? David’s assured confidence is here by the Holy Ghost made to be the Lord’s promise. I believe it. I expect it. Lord, vouchsafe it. Amen.