Today’s Thought and Text of Encouragement:
“Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be envious against those who work unrighteousness…trust in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness.”
Psalm 37: 1, 3
“Dear restless heart, be still;
don’t fret and worry so;
God has a thousand ways His love
and help to show;
Just trust, and trust, and trust,
until His will you know.
Dear restless heart, be still, for
peace is God’s own smile,
His love can every wrong and
Just love, and love, and love, and
calmly wait awhile.
Dear restless heart, be brave;
don’t moan and sorrow so,
He hath a meaning kind in
chilly winds that blow;
Just hope, and hope, and hope,
until you braver grow.
Dear restless heart, repose upon
His breast this hour,
His grace is strength and life,
His love is bloom and flower;
Just rest, and rest, and rest,
within His tender power.
Dear restless heart, be still!
don’t struggle to be free;
God’s life is in your life,
from Him you may not flee;
Just pray, and pray, and pray,
till you have faith to see.”
Edith Willis Linn
Today’s Study Text:
“Instead, at once, a woman whose little daughter was under the control of an unclean spirit heard about Him (Jesus) and came and flung herself down at His feet. Now the woman was a Greek (Gentile), a Syrophoenician by nationality. And she kept begging Him to drive the demon out of her little daughter. And He said to her, ‘First let the children be fed, for it is not becoming or proper or right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little house dogs.’ But she answered Him, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the small pups under the table eat the little children’s scraps of food.’ And He said to her, ‘Because of this saying, you may go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter permanently.’”
Mark 7: 25-29
“Praying Always” – Part 4
“A ‘Help Me’ Prayer”
“Prayer is not wrestling with God’s reluctance to bless us; it is laying hold of His willingness to do so.”
What is there in my life right now that I need God to “help me” with?
Have I ever cried out to Jesus, “O Lord, please help me?”
How eager do I believe God is to come to my rescue?
“Anything large enough for a wish to light upon is large enough to hang a prayer on.”
“The reason we must ask God for things He already intends to give us is that He wants to teach us dependence, especially our need for Himself.”
E. W. Lutzer
She is one of my most favorite characters in the entire Bible. She is not an individual who became a queen, like Esther. She wasn’t the mother of a great nation, like Sarah. Nor was she an outsider like Rahab, who found her way into the lineage of Jesus Christ.
Instead, the Bible tells us she was of Greek descent, a foreign individual who lived in the country of Phoenicia. However, as much as we may think she was beyond the radius of heaven’s tender care, it was for her need alone that Jesus asked his disciples to accompany Him on a three-day walk from Galilee to the region where this mother lived. Coming and going, Jesus spent a total of nearly six days walking, getting to this mother so He could meet her need and heal her sick daughter.
As we read this story, shared in Mark 7: 24-30, there is no record whatsoever that Jesus healed anybody else on this trip except this one child. It apparently was His intent to go to this foreign country for one reason alone. What encouragement this should bring to your heart and mine when we begin to think our “little needs” don’t matter to Jesus.
The disciple Matthew, who also left a record of this experience, tells us in Matthew 15: 22 that this mother came out of the coast and cried to Jesus, “Have mercy on me, O Lord.” The words that The Message Bible uses are these: “She came and knelt at His feet, begging for help” (Mark 7: 26).
I ask you, has there ever been a time in your life when your challenges, maybe a financial crisis or a terrible health issue, drove you to fall on your knees at Jesus’ feet and you begged Him to help you?
Possibly you feel like the young boy I saw the other day in Toys-R-Us. He was a cute little child who looked about four years old. He was trying with all his might to get his mother’s attention. She had obviously met a friend and was attempting, unsuccessfully, to carry on an adult conversation. It was impossible because her young son was tugging on the hem of her skirt, hollering, “Mommy, Mommy, can you hear me?”
Of course, she could hear him. She could, as well as everyone else in the store. But it didn’t matter to this child. He wanted his mother to respond -- right now! At that moment in his life, she was the one person who could meet his need, and he wanted her entire focus to be on himself.
There have been times I have felt like this little boy as in a moment of urgent need, I cried out to my heavenly Father, “Can You hear me? I need Your help -- and right now!” And this is why the mother crying for Jesus’ help in Phoenicia is someone I can relate to, personally!
I‘m certain that by the time Jesus arrived in this foreign outpost, everyone knew the mother’s story. They knew her child was in desperate straits. Most likely, they had given up on this mother finding a cure for her child’s malady.
But all this time, while suffering without a solution and while waiting without an answer, Jesus had already heard her voice. Never forget, Jesus was on His way to help this mom when she had no idea He even knew about her. One of my favorite passages in Scripture is penned by the prophet Isaiah who reassures us, “Before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65: 24, K.J.V.). I find the straightforward paraphrase of The Message Bible helps me understand my Father’s desire to respond when I call out, “Help me, please!” Here’s how this passage reads: “Before they call out, I’ll answer. Before they’ve finished speaking, I’ll have heard.” Now let’s even make this text more personal. Let’s say you have a child who is taking drugs or a child who is very sick with a terrible illness. You have prayed. You have gone to your knees. You have cried out, “Have mercy on me. O Lord, help me!” Today you have a promise, directly from your Father’s throne, “Dearest Mother, before you called out, long before you even asked, I had your answer on the way. While you were speaking to Me, I had already heard. I have you on my radar screen. I’m keeping track of you and those you love.”
These comforting words, so beautifully penned by one author, remind us that all our needs, no matter how large or small are met by a receptive Heavenly ear:
“Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God…you cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him…take to Him everything that perplexes the mind…nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds…nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul…no sincere prayer escape the lips; of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest.”
How encouraging to read the words in James 5, 11: “The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy” or as The Message Bible paraphrases these words, “God cares, cares right down to the last detail.”
And if you don’t believe me, just ask a Gentile mother who was stuck in a foreign land without anyone who would listen to her, except one Man who was three days and miles away. He was listening all the time. His attention was focused on her need. And when no one else appeared to care, He did! “She called upon Me, and I answered her; I was with her when she was in trouble; I delivered her; and I honored her request” (Psalm 91; 15). That same Man will do the same for you and me when we cry out with this short, simple prayer: “O Lord, have mercy on me, I need Your help.”
“Large asking and large expectation on our part honor God.”
A. L. Stone
“O Lord, great distress has come upon me; my cares threaten to crush me, and I do not know what to do. O God, be gracious to me and help me. Give me strength to bear what You send, and do not let fear rule me…Whether I live or die, I am with You, and You, my God, are with me. Lord, I wait for Your salvation and for Your kingdom.”
Pastor and Theologian
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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