March 31, 2005

Encouragement for Today 

 

Moving Mountains

Lysa Terkeurst

 

Key Verse:

 

“…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20; NIV)

 

Devotion:

 

Some people read this verse and get frustrated because they are having faith during a time of difficulty, but the mountains just don’t seem to be going anywhere.  Such was the case with Mark, one of our two adopted sons from Liberia.  In order to take this new life God had had offered him here in America, both he and his brother, Jackson had to leave all that was familiar back in Africa.  Part of this journey included realizing that life in America is not nearly as laid back as life in Africa, especially with their education.

 

Jackson has always been an eager learner, so the transition hasn’t been as difficult for him.  Mark, however, would just as soon skip the necessity of school.  Sometimes education seems, to him, like this huge overwhelming mountain that will only be moved by the miraculous hand of God.  He even prays for God to work a miracle and just make the knowledge he needs magically appear in his brain.  Though he is a bright kid, necessary life skills using reading, writing and arithmetic prove to be very challenging at times.

 

Since I’m Mark’s primary teacher, I must admit, I too have prayed for God to move this mountain of knowledge right into Mark’s brain!  The Bible tells us if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for us.  Some people read this verse and get frustrated because they have faith and the mountains don’t seem to be moving.  Such was the case with Mark.  Though he was believing and trying, the mountain didn’t seem to be moving.

 

So, Mark decided to try and go around the mountain.  The next time I gave him a math test he suddenly was a math wizard and made a whopping 100%!  The only problem was he’d copied a one-sentence note to the teacher under the last problem.  A sentence that was only on the Answer Key.  How my heart broke as I realized he’d cheated.

 

Though we forgave him and made him retake the math test, his punishment needed to be a visual reminder that moving the educational mountain (rather than attempting to circumvent it) can be done.  Art had Mark move a huge pile of rocks from one spot, a short distance, to another spot.  The rocks were heavy and could only be moved one at a time.  He worked for a long while and felt frustrated that it hardly seemed he’d made any progress.  But several hours later, he stood back amazed.  The mountain had been moved.  Though God could have instantaneously moved it, He chose another way.  He gave Mark the strength to move it one rock at a time.

 

Yes, faith still moves mountains.  But sometimes the greater act of faith is not seeing the mountain move instantly, but rather hanging in there while joining God to move it bit by bit.

 

My Prayer for Today:

 

Lord, help us to take each day one at a time and to receive that daily grace we need to deal with life’s mountains.  Even when they seem like impossible tasks or problems, may we be humble enough to recognize and declare to You that we are weak, so Your strength can take over in our helplessness.  

 

Application Steps:

 

1)       Read Romans 5:3-5a and record your thoughts in a journal or on a piece of paper.  Sometimes it is also helpful to discuss it with a friend or spouse.  Many times God will use those who love you to speak truth to your circumstances.  Remember that God’s way may not include shortcuts, but it does lead to success by God’s design, which will never disappoint.

 

2)       Ask God, “God, what is my assignment for today?”  Do that part of it and be satisfied that God is pleased.  Be encouraged and continue to press on!

 

Reflection Points:

 

In frustrating instances when our faith doesn’t seem to be moving any of our mountains, we are tempted to doubt or just give up on God.  Maybe we heard Him wrong.  Maybe He really isn’t with us.  The doubts bombard us and make us lose our passion to press on.  Don’t think about making your whole dream come true today.  Just fulfill the small part of the mission He’s asking you to do today.  Just carry that one rock.

 

Power Verses:

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 9-13, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:   What does the worker gain from his toil?  I have seen the burden God has laid on men.  He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they life.  That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God.” 

 

James 1:2-8, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

 

Additional Resources:

 

Coming Out of the Dark by Mary Southerland

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/outofdark.html

 

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa Terkeurst

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html

 

Living Life on Purpose by Lysa Terkeurst

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/livinglife.html