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I Can

Remember the old children’s story about the engine that could? He kept telling himself, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” And by positive thinking he was able to propel himself over the difficult hill. It’s a nice story and has a good point. We should think positively, not negatively in order to accomplish things. But is it always true that we can accomplish whatever we set our mind to?

Can I develop wings and fly if I manipulate my mind strongly enough? Can I become smarter? Healthier? Or richer, just by thinking about it or praying hard enough? I know. That’s ridiculous. There are some things we can accomplish through hard work and positive thinking. But not everything we might wish for. Don’t let me discourage you, though, because there is an encouraging point to this message.

Let’s be careful, though, not to take Scripture verses out of context and try to make them mean whatever we want. For instance, we know the phrase, “All things are possible with God.” But these words are connected to an account of a rich young man coming to Jesus and being challenged to give away all his possessions in order to be a true follower. Jesus saw his heart and knew what needed to happen. But the young man went away sad because he wasn’t willing to do what Jesus asked.

Here’s the account from Mark 10:23-27 (NIV). Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

God, and only God makes salvation possible. And what about Paul’s words in Philippians 4:10-13? “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He wasn’t talking about being able to jump off a tall building without injury. He was referring to learning from God how to live in the moment with contentment.

Is that something you have learned? Is it possible? Do you think God makes it possible?


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