album: "Beautiful Offerings" (2015) Beautiful Offering. Are you with me so far?  You’re the sinner, He’s the Savior.  We chose to sin and Jesus chose to be a “sin-bearer” and take God’s wrath for us. It is a simple prayer. And here you are.  God made you.  He called you into being.  You are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  He has a plan for your life and He WANTS you.  He wants to be in relationship with you.  Not in a begging pleading kind of way, but He made you to be in His family and basically you won’t feel whole until you are. Several years ago, our family went through some big changes and trials.  I prayed to God for a fresh start – a time of spiritual awakening.  I prayed for it for several years.  And I committed to wrestling it through.  As always, there was temptation to be pulled away.  But this time, I pressed on anyways in dogged determination.  I kept quoting: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13), I would repeat it to God in my prayers – “God, you say in the Bible that I WILL find You if I seek You with all my heart.  I’m holding You to Your word.  I WILL keep seeking You until I find You.”. “I try not to lie or steal or gossip… I feel guilty when I do…”, “I’m terrified of hell.  I want to go to heaven.”.  Well meaning people assured me that it was just the enemy’s attacks.  I believe the enemy led me there in my weakness, attempting to lead me down the same path he had led this other man. Speak into my heart and transform me from the inside out! He paid our ENTIRE debt. Pray With Me:  Jesus, I keep trying to heave my filthy rags at what You have already done for me on the cross.  Oh, please Jesus, open my heart to understand what You truly meant when You said – “It is Finished”! For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). When Jesus gently pointed that out, the father of the boy with the unclean spirit quickly stated, “I believe, help Thou my unbelief.” Help me remember, Lord, that You are capable of ALL things, and NOTHING is too great for You to heal. *I* was ensuring I believed the right things. When you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you accept that what the Bible teaches about Jesus is true and that His death paid the price for your wrongdoings. Or another way of saying whatever is true right pure and lovely, keep your thoughts on these things. My Story. Jesus didn’t just pay PART of our debt, or even MOST of it, leaving some on the tab for us. I’m going to make myself think like saved people think.  I’m going to talk like saved people talk.  I joyously threw myself into God’s work.  I didn’t consciously do these things to try to earn salvation, but because I wanted my actions to line up with what my head believed. Think over your life.  When and where have seeds been planted and watered?  Is there someone who has been praying for you?  Our works can’t add to or maintain salvation – I might do enough good things to build a great toboganning hill… Mother Teresa built a Mount Everest of good works… And neither of us could reach the Moon. Keeping your eyes on Jesus is another way of saying abide in Him. I long for the day when we hear the call to come home.  Because this walk, this place is so hard,  But we occupy until He comes.  Or was it God’s Spirit, nudging me, telling me to examine myself, to see if I was in the faith? If we find our seeing of Jesus is impaired, Thomas teaches us not to declare, “Unless I see I will never believe,” but rather, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). It shows a man crying out to Jesus and He embraces him. The enemy is never happy when people are earnestly seeking God.  He works hard for his footholds, and he doesn’t give them up lightly.  You may have noticed that the more effort you put into trying to seek or follow Jesus, the more trouble seems to be thrown your way.  If Christianity explains the spiritual realm (an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present God who is actively involved in loving and disciplining His creation as a loving Father), then God is *actually* REAL. All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.  I chose to confront the following questions: 1. That sounds like me. If we had to, we couldn’t and we would all be lost! The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.  And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy.  Reading his story was very compelling. And Jesus came so I could know this When all I bring you is my empty cup It's hard for me to believe it When my heart is low and I don't feel the things I know I believe, help my unbelief When shadows grow too tall and I feel so very small I believe, help my unbelief I always fear that I'm not enough As if my part could be the measure I was trying to good-works my way to proving my salvation to myself.  Are you trying to get close to Jesus by being good, or are you approaching Him through the cross of mercy? We can’t birth ourselves.  So there’s really no point in trying to get saved, because we can’t and we won’t.  I mean, the morals are good for everyone around us and ourselves too, because it’s a rational and loving way to live.  But following Christian teaching doesn’t save us. The full context of the man’s prayer, “I believe; help my unbelief!” helps make his meaning clearer.  But that’s exactly it.  I never was, and never will be deserving.  And I can’t do a single thing about it.  It is only when I truly stopped myself, died to self, crucified myself, that I found out how to live. I write my story because I can’t be the only one who has gone through the agony of wrestling with faith.  Struggling with doubt – not doubt of the truth, but doubt of my own salvation.  Maybe there is one person here who needs to hear this message!  I want to share with you today what Jesus has done, and is doing in my life.  While I can talk endlessly about Jesus today (as you will see! But I still didn’t react right. If you asked God to forgive you, and have chosen to follow Him, you are now part of His family.   Your adoption has been finalized and you are “born again”!  God has given you a clean slate.  Hebrews 11:6. Jesus is a gentleman; He didn’t force his way inside my life. I BELIEVE, HELP MY UNBELIEF. Repeat #2. Now, I say I *chose* God. (“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. Pray With Me:  Jesus, please show me the true condition of my heart.  Am I seeking heaven?  Blessings?  Emotional encounters?  Experiences?  Belonging?  Or am I truly seeking You and You alone?  If I have no special feelings or encounters, will I hold firm to faith in You?  Reveal to me the beliefs of my own heart. I had confronted my beliefs intellectually. And I know I could be like Him, yes I do believe. Adverb from euthus; directly, i.e.  I remembered praying as a teenager for a boyfriend/spouse – for someone who was a Christian, but certainly and definitely not a missionary or a pastor.   Oh please, I prayed, don’t ask me to be a missionary. Thanks to Tracy Sisney for correcting these lyrics. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24). Jesus ordered the unclean spirit to leave the boy and never return, and just like that, he was healed.  Why did I doubt? When you are a baby your compass points to your parents.  I began by reading the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).  At this point, I hadn’t really read my Bible (or attended church) in years. I had asked God to give me a time of spiritual renewal after we made a big move.  Two months after said move, my grandma passed away.  During her funeral, a portion of Don Piper’s book 90 Minutes in Heaven was read.  For the rest of the funeral, my mind was spinning.  The Holy Spirit used that reading to prompt me to consider that heaven is actually and truly real.  Surely, I had always believed this on an intellectual level. The faith to believe in one’s heart is a free gift of God – sometimes He just gives it, sometimes we must ask. Credit; by implication, to entrust. As such, his message titled “I BELIEVE; HELP ME OVERCOME MY UNBELIEF” dwelt on the need for Christians to prayerfully rely on God in all situations. In your head I’m sure you know the steps and agree with them.  But in your heart… Do you want to be worthy, to show you are worthy?  Were you raised in a strict home, or a religious home, where you had to prove your worth? Pray With Me:  Jesus, I ask that You would open my eyes to see spiritual realities today.  I understand the truths of heaven, hell, and the spiritual realm in my mind, but let me know and understand it in my heart.  These suggested that if you believe you need to have good works to demonstrate salvation, then you are trying to earn the free gift of God.  Trying to earn saving faith (through works, penance, donations, sacraments) is in essence stating that Jesus’ finished work on the cross wasn’t sufficient. …but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.   (Romans 5:8-9). I relinquish control. We look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, as our guiding compass point. Apparently a primary word; a 'father'. Jesus today I erase the box off MY checklist and put it on YOURS. I am also helped by the following two songs, both of which speak of the precariousness of faith and the coldness of the human heart: 1. “All things are possible to him who believes!” 24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!  2 Corinthians 4:4. Salvation is a change in legal standing before God – from “guilty” to “not guilty”. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9-10). With my new-found conviction about being lukewarm, I threw myself right over the narrow road into the other ditch of legalism.  Again, this is very typical of my personality – I’m not one to do anything half-heartedly. Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. I plead with You on behalf of everyone who reads this message.  You know which of Your sheep have strayed.  You love them and have not abandoned them!  You will leave the ninety-nine to find them.  Draw them irresistibly by Your Spirit.  Speak to them, and lead their hearts home!  You have begun a good work in them – the good seed has been planted!  I have confidence that You will be faithful to carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).  And that day is soon!  You are near, even at the very gates!  Plant an urgency in the hearts of Your lambs, may they turn from sin and self and towards You today.Â, “…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.  (1 Peter 3:15-16), Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”  (John 4:39). – Romans 10:13 ESV. It is a prayer acknowledging that without God we cannot believe as we ought to believe. Do you believe in the facts of the Bible, God, Jesus, salvation, and yet struggle with having these facts fully penetrate and possess your heart?  Do you struggle with the concept of God being a loving, merciful Father? From pistis; to have faith, i.e.   For me, this came in the form of stumbling across an evangelical-Christian-turned-atheist’s website.  Even if I think I’m following the Holy Spirit’s leading I still keep getting it ALL WRONG.  And while we can’t explain everything yet, new evidence keeps coming forth in favor of the Bible. I think my experience was best described as the weedy and rocky soils.  Remember that these soils send out sprouts (emotional experiences, re-dedications, intellectual training, etc. People assured me over and over again that I was saved, quoting scripture to prove it. It’s not something you follow – a list of to dos, to not dos, and traditions.  It’s someOne you follow. “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”  (Romans 8:16). At this point, I spent a few months reading through the gospels and John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus by flashlight at night while everyone else in the house slept. This suggests that a heart belief in Christ is “not enough” to be saved OR to maintain salvation. Our heart clicks into alignment with God.   Why did I have to think about it so much?  There is no Jesus-Lite. “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Psalm 39:12 Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. Pray With Me:  Dear Jesus, please forgive me for writing salvation as something to check off on my to do list. Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment for us. I had a loving, albeit emotionally distant, earthly father and didn’t struggle with the concept of God’s grace.  We know this. ( Log Out /  The father replies “ “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” {Mark 9:24} Jesus rebukes the spirit who comes out of the boy.  John 1:4-5. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.  Sure, I had experiences of ups and downs in my spiritual journey. “But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Did I want to be delivered from my sins, or did I want to “go to heaven”? EHSS - I Believe, Help Thou My Unbelief” is from our new CD ”Something Beautiful" Our Favorite Songs of Bill & Gloria Gaither.  When we see how far short we fall of God’s glory, when we realize our utter inability to do anything about it, when we desire to clothe ourselves with Jesus’ blood and righteousness, when we TURN from following ME to following HIM, we are saved. He’s calling each and every one of you. I hope this helps you on your own personal journey.  If this has touched you, I’d love to hear from you.  If you still need help, I’d love to hear from you.  Please message me, or comment below! Neuter diminutive of pais; a childling, i.e., an infant, or a half-grown boy or girl; figuratively, an immature Christian. I was scared to invite God to examine the dark corners of my heart. I had fully submitted myself to the realization that if Jesus was my Savior, He was also my “master”. help my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”  Do I really believe there is a spiritual realm?  Not just, yeah, of course.  But really?  Deep down? I do believe Lord, yes I do believe. Say something like this to God (called prayer): “Jesus, I long for You.  I believe in You – help my unbelief!  I want to let go, of everything.  All my striving, all that I am and all that I have, my whole heart.  I offer it up to You.  It’s all I have to give!  I have broken Your rules and I’m so sorry.  It is against You, and You alone, that I have sinned!  I deserve Your eternal wrath.  But while I was lost You came here, died, and rose again to pay my death penalty.  Please apply that forgiveness to me!  Put Your blood as a covering over me, and wash away my sins!  Fill me with Your Spirit.  Make me new in You today.  I want to be part of your family!  I want to live my life with my compass centered on You and You alone.  Take away my desires that don’t please You.  Change me from the inside out, starting in my deepest darkest places.  I fling open the doors of my heart wide to You!  Come in, fill it with your light and love!  Clean out the skeletons and the cobwebs.  I’m ready to let go and be changed!  Teach me to follow You.  Help me!  I want my life to be a fragrant offering of sacrifice to You from this day forth.  I want to love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.  Be my first love!  Help me now to walk with You until my very last breath. Jesus is the Door. I believe; help my unbelief. There’s only one door to heaven. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 ESV).  The closer I get to God, the more I am aware of how far I am from God’s holiness. “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).  Choose today whom you will serve – yourself, or Jesus. I knew my head and my heart still didn’t agree.  Not just most of my heart.  1 Corinthians 2:14, In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. Test yourselves. I had examined my heart. You were made for a purpose.  There is a reason why you are here, in THIS time and in THIS place.  You aren’t accidental.  All those parts of you that don’t feel whole but want to be whole, that’s because you were created for a purpose, to have meaning.  But you haven’t found it yet!  So you’ve probably tried many things to fill it… As most of us do…. to call aloud. It means stopping striving.  Whether that’s another god, or the wisdom of mankind (including our current understanding of scientific and historical discoveries), or the God of the Bible.  Helpless, dependent. If we believe what God has said about us (we are totally lost and have no hope of saving ourselves), and what He has done to fix it (Jesus is the only way as a Savior), we can obtain this “forgiveness slip”. How many times have we been told “act as if”?  Both sides want to be “found”. When this father cried out, “I believe, help my unbelief” he had a specific doubt in mind. You can’t get close to God by acting any certain way, in fact it will always lead to failure. From boethos; to aid or relieve. From Paul: This is my first hymn collaboration with colleague and schoolmate Dustin Battles. For by grace you have been saved through faith. ( Log Out /  Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Genitive 1st Person Singular. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help you my unbelief. We can ask God for Jesus’ payment to be applied to our account. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.

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