Journal Mk 9 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “And (Jesus) asked them (the disciples), “What are you arguing about with them (the scribes)?” And someone from the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So …. I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were not able.”
And (Jesus) answered them, “O faithless generations, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me…
And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But…. if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
And Jesus said, “If you can? All things are possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” excerpts from Mark 9:16-24
Observation: There are two things found in this section of scripture by a keen-eyed observer: 1) the subject of Miracles and are they applicable, and; 2) the subject of “belief” and “faith” and the differences…
Analysis: Earlier in this chapter, right after the Transfiguration event, the Disciples were walking along down the mountain, discussing, gasp! Doctrine.
Discussion about Doctrine isn’t bad; it isn’t something to avoid. Most times it is where: 1) Our weaknesses are displayed safely, and; 2) whether or not we have biblical, godly faith or a non-biblical, fleshly counterfeit.
I have been associated with folks who avoid discussion about Doctrine, believing that doctrine is perhaps the largest cause of division in the church. I might agree with that for the only reason that I think many folks would rather see a “lowest common denominator” agreement in peace and avoid turmoil and disagreement. There are certain subjects that are currently taboo (such as charismata and Election to name two) and get avoided for the sake of peace.
However, the things of Scripture should be discussed—daily. It is a part of having the Word of God on my mind all the time. There are statements in the Bible that I plain cannot answer well. Yes, I might have an off the cuff thought of them…but to drill down, savor the Life found in the living Word…that takes effort to think and ponder and talk with trusted friends with whom learning is possible.
Challenge should be desired and pursued. Force of personality is not a substitute for conviction, nor is position a substitute for authority of conviction.
Berea—faithful brothers there—always searching the Scriptures to see what is there and what is right.
I am of the thought (note I said thought and not conviction) that the word “Belief” and “Faith” get conflated—it is reckoned as the same thing. Certainly, defined similarly. I contend that “Belief or Believe” can be the watered-down version of generic Faith: “I believe in God”, for instance. Big deal, Jesus said. The demons also believe—with this difference: They fear.
Do I cultivate properly and in accordance with the Scriptures the “fear of God” in parallel with thankfulness of His Grace?
Trying. Trying daily. Resting in Him and vigorously pursuing at the same time.
Prayer: Lord, why isn’t there more talk between believers? Not truce pursuit; not boundary setting, but wholesome, honest, conversation about pursuing You? You gave a command to preach the Gospel. Some take that and only look outside and neglect to bring the Gospel to the church so that the Church may learn to walk in Your Ways.
I am thinking that most of the New Testament is about the individual and the church in community to pursue You in holiness and only a fraction is about reaching the lost.
Help even that out, please.