16 May, Monday – Faith

16 May

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James 3:13-18

If there are any wise or learned men among you, let them show it by their good lives, with humility and wisdom in their actions. But if at heart you have the bitterness of jealousy, or a self-seeking ambition, never make any claims for yourself or cover up the truth with lies – principles of this kind are not the wisdom that comes down from above: they are only earthly, animal and devilish. Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.

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Mark 9:14-29

When Jesus, with Peter, James and John came down from the mountain and rejoined the disciples, they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them. The moment they saw him the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him. ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ he asked. A man answered him from the crowd, ‘Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him, and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were unable to.’ ‘You faithless generation’ he said to them in reply. ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’ They brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ ‘From childhood,’ he replied ‘and it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water, in order to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ retorted Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!’ And when Jesus saw how many people were pressing round him, he rebuked the unclean spirit. ‘Deaf and dumb spirit,’ he said ‘I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.’ Then throwing the boy into violent convulsions it came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand. When he had gone indoors his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why were we unable to cast it out?’ ‘This is the kind’ he answered ‘that can only be driven out by prayer.’

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“Help the little faith I have!”

I decided to give my team a pep talk last week because I sensed that one of my unit heads, who had only recently been promoted, was finding it tough going getting things done. Being a competitive person, he characteristically denied that he was facing issues (within himself) when I enquired. So I arranged for the team talk to help him address his multiple problems of not being able to let go, not knowing who to delegate to and getting mired in ‘admin-ese’.

To be fair to him, he always has the division in his heart and his intentions are always good. It is merely the way he has gone about doing things over the past two years that has perhaps ‘alienated’ him from the rest of the team. He is the perennial over-achiever – an outlier. So as I spent 90 minutes or so sharing with the team on my various personal work experiences and learnings, I also kept reaffirming each and everyone of them, to show that I had immense faith in their collective ability to tackle any problem head-on.

I have found myself crying out at times to the Lord, asking Him for a sign that He is indeed working in my life, as well as in the lives of those I hold dear. At times, I feel inadequate in my prayer life whenever I see my loved ones suffering under the crushing weight of their burdens. ‘Why them, Lord? Why not me?’ is a frequent question I carry in my heart. Like most of you, it pains me to see my loved ones suffer.

So each day, I ask the Lord to help the little faith I have. All I can do is pray that He will deliver those around me from their situations. That He will be as kind, as generous and as loving to them as He has been to me all these years. Because like the father in the parable, I want Jesus to heal all those who are hurting because they didn’t ask to be in those situations.

Brothers and sisters, whatever amount of faith you have in you, give it wholeheartedly to Jesus. Lay it all at His sacred feet, because that is the only way you will receive the healing that you so desire for yourself and for your loved ones. Be bold and take courage because Jesus is waiting to say ‘Get up and walk’.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer – We ask for the gift of faith, O heavenly Father. Faith that will transcend all fear and wipe away all doubt in our lives.

Thanksgiving – Thank you Father for your gift of faith in our lives.

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