The Increase of Faith

the faith 1

…“I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 {NLT}

“Faith is a footbridge that you don’t know will hold you up over the chasm until you’re forced to walk out onto it.”
― Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son

Let faith stride forth in giant power,
and love respond with energy in every act.
I often mourn the absence of my beloved Lord
whose smile makes earth a paradise,
whose voice is sweetest music,
whose presence gives all graces strength.
But by unbelief I often keep him outside my door.
Let faith give entrance that he may abide with me forever.

May I be made rich in its riches,
be strong in its power,
be happy in its joy,
abide in its sweetness,
feast on its preciousness,
draw vigor from its manna.
Lord, increase my faith.
― The Valley of Vision, Faith and the World

the faith

40 Gifts of Lent | The Increase of Faith: Gift 7

Sacrifice is at the heart of real love

The Shepherd and Scattered Sheep

The Shepherd and His Scattered Sheep

40 Gifts of Lent | Gift 8
Reflections on Mark 12 – end

“…for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.'”…Then everyone deserted him and fled. A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him,  he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.  Mark 14: 27, 48 – 52

Like them, I would bolt in the face of persecution, terrified and fleeing to avoid the same scorn as Christ endured. I think back to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ran away from God, in fear and nakedness. Like them, I forget the safety of the sheepfold and turn away from the protection of the shepherd’s rod and staff.

…and the shame of that and the guilt of that is so hard to bare.

And the Shepherd takes all of that guilt and all of that shame upon himself.

Oh, the sweet gift of the Shepherd to call my name, over and over again. Calling my name to return back to him, for I am one of his scattered sheep in desperate need of the Shepherd.  So thankful that I know his voice when he speaks, “You are loved. You are mine. You are forgiven. Return to me. I will never forsake you.”

Sacrifice is at the heart of real love.

All the apostles had forsaken him. In the garden, at his most sorrowful hour, “They all left him and fled” (Mark 14:50). If you have forsaken him, let him down, offended him, take heart, he is not less eager to repair things with you. Seek his face. Ask him. Receive his grace. (John Piper)

He is a faithful and persistent shepherd.

The Shepherd

I weep over the sorrows and disgraces of our Lord,
and what causes me the greatest sorrow
is that men, for whom He suffered so much,
live in forgetfulness of Him.
~St. Francis of Assisi

About 40 Gifts of Lent 

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. I want to focus on the freedom I have in Christ to overcome strongholds, yet also to gain strength, hope, and peace as I lean into the trials…To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent


Repentant Helplessness

Repentant Helplessness 2

Repentant Helplessness

40 Gifts of Lent | Gift 7
Reflections on Mark 6 – 11

“I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”  Mark 9:24

I’m trying to be brave but I’m full of doubts. I am helpless to cure myself, to stop repeating the same mistakes, and to fill my mind with peace. There are many times when I’m running through life at a very fast pace, doing my own thing without prayer…unaware of the danger that lurks around the corner.

The danger ahead is doubting and unbelief and failure to call out to God. I’ve created so many messes because of not trusting God’s plan nor asking for his help. I’ve picked up my own shovel to dig ruts and large potholes just for me to trip over and fall into face first. Why do I do this over and over again? It’s the pain of sin and helplessness that brings me to my knees.

The amazing gift is that I don’t need to wash off the dirt and mud or clean and bandage the wounds before approaching God, just a repentant helplessness. He has already washed me and healed the moral and spiritual wounds. When I am weak and cannot muster the strength to meet these challenges, all I need to say is, “Help me.”

I sense his embrace, my soul is brighter and I’m ready to walk (or run) around the corner to face what life has in store.

Repentant Helplessness 1

Additional Reading: King’s Cross by Tim Keller

About 40 Gifts of Lent