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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

Stop Limiting God

"And because of their unbelief, He couldn't do any miracles among them except to place His hands on a few sick people and heal them. And He was amazed at their unbelief." - Mark 6:5-6 NLT

Only a few weeks after my grandson, William's, fifth birthday, he was sleeping overnight at my house as he does every week, when he looked out the window and noticed the sun going down. He immediately assumed that it meant that he had to start getting ready for bed, and began to express his dismay. I tried to explain to him that the days were getting shorter, so the sun was going down earlier, and that there was nothing anyone could do about it. Without missing a beat, he exclaimed, "God can!" I marveled at the wisdom of this barely-five-year-old child before me. Here was a perfect demonstration of the kind of childlike faith that Jesus spoke of in the Gospels. The kind of faith that truly believes that "all things are possible with God." (Mark 10:27 NIV)

I encounter Christians on a regular basis who have adopted a "whatever will be, will be" attitude. And it grieves my heart because I know that they are limiting God's involvement in their lives. Did you know that the Lord once accused Moses of limiting Him? It's true. If you read Numbers 11, you discover that when the Israelites were wandering in the desert after their exodus from Egypt, they eventually got tired of eating the manna that God was miraculously providing for them every day. So the Lord told Moses that He was going to send the people enough meat to feed the multitudes, and Moses shook his head in unbelief. "There are 600,000 foot soldiers here with me, and yet you say, 'I will give them meat for a whole month!' Even if we butchered all our flocks and herds, would that satisfy them? Even if we caught all the fish in the sea, would that be enough?" (Number 11:21-22 NLT) This was not one of Moses' finer moments, and the Lord expressed His righteous anger. "Is the Lord's power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not." (Numbers 11:23 NASB) God kept His word, and He sent the people more meat in the form of quail than they could handle. Whenever I think of this account in the Bible, it reminds me that our lack of faith in His promises is an insult to the Lord.

One of the saddest passages in the Scriptures for me is in Chapter 6 of the Gospel of Mark, where Jesus is in His hometown of Nazareth, teaching and preaching. Instead of the people welcoming Him, they become indignant and offended. And the Bible says, "And because of their unbelief, He couldn't do any miracles among them except to place His hands on a few sick people and heal them. And He was amazed at their unbelief." (Mark 6:5-6 NLT) In other words, these doubtful folks actually limited the Messiah's involvement in their lives. Because of their lack of faith, the Son of God Himself "could do no mighty work there." (NKJV) Look through the Scriptures, and you will hear Jesus saying, "According to your faith will it be done to you." (Matthew 9:29 NIV) And, "It shall be done for you as you have believed." (Matthew 8:13 NASB)

I love the fact that Jesus didn't say that we have to be spiritual giants to invite Him to work wonders on our behalf. He told His disciples, "If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you!" (Luke 17:6 NLT) I've discovered that I can see God work mightily on my behalf if I simply make a quality decision to take Him at His Word, and refuse to dwell on any negative thoughts or emotions I might have. That's because faith is actually a choice, not a feeling. Many times, in the midst of disturbing circumstances, I have declared over and over, "I choose to believe!" And, "I refuse to doubt my God!" And I begin to sense my negative feelings backing off.

If you are one of those passive Christians who is content going through life having a "just getting by" attitude, let me remind you of what Jesus told His disciples about the nature of His kingdom. "And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize - a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion]." (Matthew 11:12 AMP) I'm here to tell you that if you don't get downright passionate about your faith in Christ, you are going to get to heaven and find out that you missed out on untold blessings, rewards, and opportunities - for you and your loved ones - because you limited God through unbelief. And while you are here on earth, the devil and his cronies will walk all over you and your family. (John 10:10) I'm asking you today as a fellow believer to commit your life to the Lord anew, so you can experience His highest and best, and change this world for Christ!

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for all the times I limited You through unbelief. Give me a trusting heart, and fill me with a passion for You and Your kingdom. Help me to build my faith by devoting myself to Your Word and prayer. When I am tempted to doubt, remind me of what it can cost me. Enable me to live a Christ-centered life so that You can put me to work in Your kingdom. Thank You that as I choose to believe You and Your Word, I will witness Your miracle-working power again and again!

- J. M. Farro


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