A Lesson on Faith

“And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, ‘Master, behold, the fig tree which Thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them,
‘Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, ‘Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea;’ and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.’
”  Mark 11:20-26

Faith of an Outsider

“When Jesus heard, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, ‘Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ”  Matthew 8:10-12

This Roman centurion was over a group of men that was about 100 in number. He knew authority when he saw it; and he saw Jesus as a Man with authority, so he knew he could trust Him with the healing of his servant.

Jesus in His words of the centurion’s faith was words of applause. It was a greater faith than He had seen among His own people; especially the Jewish leaders of their religion.

There is much the Christian needs to hear in the words of Jesus.

The first one I see is this; Just because you say your a Christian, yet do not believe the word of god, does not mean you are a Christian;

The second one that I see is, that judgment awaits all who claim to know Jesus, yet do not live according to His word, starting with believing what God says of His Son, and what the Son says of Himself; and

The third, just a thought; the judgment for a professor that does not possess the Spirit of Christ [God] is not His (Romans 8:9), and will be judged more severely.

It is better to be an outsider of the religious, yet believe the word of God, than to be a religious insider and miss God completely by not believing His word.

In closing these thoughts be sure you have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus shed on Calvary’s cross for the sins of the word, believe Jesus died, was buried, and that He rose again (Romans 10:9-10).

 

 

Who is born of God?

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him. 1 John 5:1
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?  Verse 5
He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.  Verses 12 – 13
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.  Verse 20

As I was reading the first epistle of the apostle John I noticed once again the important emphasis he puts on Jesus Christ as the Son of God. The title of this post is “Who is born of God?” That is a question we all must answer, and know ourselves. Are you, have you been born of God?

In chapter 5 verse 1 John writes “Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” and he goes on stating that to love the Father (the One who begat), is to love the Son (the One who is begotten). If we love the Father we will love the Son; and on the other side too; if we love the Son we love the Father. These are the one’s who are born of God.

We learn in the five verses above too, that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the One who overcomes the world, and through Him we do too. In Him we have life, and without Him is no life. Without life in Him there is only death. Through Jesus Christ and Him alone can we have the true assurance of eternal life, and we can know quite well that we will live with Him eternally.

In knowing Jesus we receive understanding from Him knowledge of who He truly is. In Christ Jesus we are in the True God, and have eternal life. The moment, by grace through faith, you turn from your sin to Christ calling on His name for salvation you receive eternal life.

Who is born of God? If you have not been born of God will you call on Him today?

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 082220

And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives. And Jesus saith unto them,
‘All ye shall be offended because of Me this night: for it is written, ‘I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.’
But Peter said unto Him, ‘Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.’ And Jesus saith unto him,
Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny Me thrice.’
But he spake the more vehemently, ‘If I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.  Mark 14:26-31  (KJB)

Happy People

“Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: my goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.
LORD, what is man, that Thou takest knowledge of him! The son of man, that Thou makest account of him!
Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.
Bow Thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out Thine arrows, and destroy them.
Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children; whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
I will sing a new song unto Thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto Thee, that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David His servant from the hurtful sword.
Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace: our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets: our oxen may be strong to labour; no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.
Happy people, that is in such a case: happy people, whose God is the LORD.”  Psalm 144:1-15  (KJB)

Hearing My Children Walk In Truth

“The elder unto the well beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  3 John 1:1-4  (KJB)

When I Am Afraid

“Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou Most High.
What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”  Psalm 56:1-4  (KJB)

Justified By Faith

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:1-5 (KJB)

The New Atheism’s Leap of Faith

Great thoughts from Doug Eaton on Atheism

The Fight of Faith

The new atheism has been in the picture for about 15 years now. It came on the scene thanks to books like Daniel Dennett’sBreaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural PhenomenonRichard Dawkins’The God Delusion, Sam Harris’Letter to a Christian Nation,among others. There truly is nothing new in the atheistic belief system itself or the arguments they are presenting, since most of them are naturalists, what seems to be new, is that these preachers of atheism have become much more dogmatic in their stance. Many of them are even preaching doom and gloom if we do not eradicate religion and belief in God. Many of them claim that they only want to know the truth instead of buying into myths and fairy tales, and that this is what everyone ought to be doing.

The idea that everyone “ought” to be doing this raises a problem…

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Hearing

“He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me.” Luke 10:16 (KJB)

Hearing the words and teachings of Jesus, and hearing the gospel is the pathway to knowing the holy, righteous, and Just God. Jesus has pronounced “Woe” upon some cities because of their refusal to hear (Luke 10:13-15).

Many times Jesus says, “He that hath ears, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15; 13:9;  Luke 8:18; 14:35). Of course our ears are for hearing. However, too often we do not hear what is being spoken to us by others even though we are looking them in the face, hearing the words, and their sounds; yet we do not hear.

In the verse above Jesus likens hearing the disciple to hearing Him. It would seem that the “Not hearing” is the despising of the disciple, thus the Lord Himself.

The words of the Lord, even spoken by His children; a born again child of God; is as spoken from the Lord Himself. To reject the word of the Lord is to despise Him. The Dictionary.com site defines “Despise” = “Despise = “to regard with contempt, distaste, disgust, or disdain; scorn; loathe.”

That is certainly not the way a disciple of Jesus Christ should be about hearing the word of the Lord. It is, however, the attitude of many.

Let us who are of Christ Jesus have our hearts and minds and ears open to the word of the Lord. Let us have hearing ears, not despising Him. When we hear Jesus Christ we hear the Father as well.

Hear the word of Jesus Christ the Son of God today. Hearing, call on His name in repentant faith believing that He died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and He rose again.

The Lusts of Their Own Heart

In the first chapter of Romans we find the phrase “God gave them up” which is really a very sad state to live in, and it really explains for the moral failures of 2019.

The second one we see is that GOD RELEASES THEM TO THEIR OWN DECAY AND FILTH OF IMMORALITY (Romans 1:24-25).

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 1:24-25 (KJB)

Why did God “give them up” to this ungodly – unrighteous behavior? They had a knowledge of God, but chose to suppress it. They turned away from God to worship idols made in the image of created thing – birds, beasts, and even themselves. Because they rejected God; sexual immorality most always follows wrong beliefs, and in particular the worship of idols. It is an act of dishonoring the human body and God.

When they turned from the truth they believed the Lie. The Lie is, “Did God really say that?” It is just a question, but one that places the seeds of unbelief in the heart. It was the first question the Bible speaks of that the serpent/devil asked in order to deceive. It is still being asked today. Not one of many lies but “the Lie” (Genesis 3:1-5). “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” [the Lie] (NKJV 2 Thessalonians 2:11). The Lie, that we can be like God – we become our own god. We have chaos when there is more than one God. There is war, strife of all sorts, contentions, and immoral living.

Satan is the father of lies. Jesus said, speaking to the religious leaders who rejected Him,

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

Following this lie requires no accountability to a deity, except self. No one, can tell someone of this mindset, what is right or wrong. To them everything is ‘relative’ – they already have their preconceived ideas; they call good ‘evil’ and evil ‘good’.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

Moral decay, such as we see in our land, and the world is due to denying the truth, and believing the Lie, the father of lies, the devil. It leads to personal ruin, and eternal death.

The only hope we all have is in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He turns our heart to His way.  He is the way, the Truth, and the life.  When you put your faith in Him He changes your life, your direction, and gives you peace and joy for living.

He Is…

Far too many times we get the idea that we know our situation better than God does.  May we never forget that “He Is” not only the All Wise, All Knowing God but He is also our Creator who made everything we see, and the things we do not see…

“Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being His counsellor hath taught Him?  With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding?” Isaiah 40:12-14 (KJB)

Who am I to even question God?  Who am I to even question why things are as they are? We all have doubts, fears, discouragements, and anguish, grief, and hostilities.

God has not asked for my help in how He directs and leads in the affairs of this world. He has called me to hear Him, to believe Him, to follow His Son Jesus who is co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit; yet one GOD. I am not asked, neither commanded to explain the Tri-unity of God, neither to understand it.

I am called to believe that “He Is”, and that “He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Only through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is there life eternal in the presence of Holy God, there is peace, and forgiveness of all sin.

Quench the Fiery Darts

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Ephesians 6:16 (KJB)

As if to say “Don’t forget the shield of faith” the Apostle  gives instruction on using our faith in the spiritual battle we face. We cannot face the enemy without it.

“…The wicked” of the verse above is definitely speaking of the enemy of God (who is Satan), and ours; but we must not forget that wickedness, evil can be found in the people who live around us, and are pawns of the evil one. As Christians we are warned to guard our own hearts and minds; if we do not, then evil can come into our own lives.

Wickedness is all around us.  Can you see it?  There are people who call what is good “evil” and call what is evil “good”.  As Christians we must stand for what the Bible, the Holy Bible, the Holy Scriptures say; the word of God stands sure.  Without Scripture we can have no genuine faith.

Christians, Stand by faith in  the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

From the Commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown…

Above all — rather, “Over all”; so as to cover all that has been put on before. Three integuments are specified, the breastplate, girdle, and shoes; two defenses, the helmet and shield; and two offensive weapons, the sword and the spear (prayer). Alford translates, “Besides all,” as the Greek is translated, Luk_3:20. But if it meant this, it would have come last in the list (compare Col_3:14).

shield — the large oblong oval door-like shield of the Romans, four feet long by two and a half feet broad; not the small round buckler.

ye shall be able — not merely, “ye may.” The shield of faith will certainly intercept, and so “quench, all the fiery darts” (an image from the ancient fire-darts, formed of cane, with tow and combustibles ignited on the head of the shaft, so as to set fire to woodwork, tents, etc.).

of the wicked — rather “of the EVIL ONE.” Faith conquers him (1Pe_5:9), and his darts of temptation to wrath, lust, revenge, despair, etc. It overcomes the world (1Jn_5:4), and so the prince of the world (1Jn_5:18).”

Do not remain blind to the Truth of who Jesus Christ is.  Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  He will one day return and put away all evil; and it will be what He declares as evil; not what men say.

 

The Law and Faith

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:10-11 (KJB)

From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible on Galatians 3:11…

But that no man is justified,…. There are some that are justified, as all God’s elect are, in his own mind and will from eternity; which will of his to justify them, upon the righteousness of his Son, undertook by him to bring in, is their justification in the court of heaven; and all that believe in Christ are openly and manifestly justified in the court of conscience, under the testimony of the Spirit of God: but no one is justified

by the law; it is in the Greek text, “in the law”; there were many justified before the law was given, as Noah, Job, Abraham, and all the Ante-Mosaic believers; and there were many justified “in”, or under the legal dispensation; but none of them were justified by their obedience to the law, but by the righteousness they believed they had in the Lord: especially no man is justified

in the sight of God; who sees the heart, knows the spring of actions, and whose judgment is according to truth; that is, by the law and the deeds of it, however they may before men:

it is evident; it is a clear case, out of all dispute, as appears from Hab_2:4

for the just shall live by faith; which may be read either, “the just by faith, shall live”: that is, the man who is just by faith, or justified by faith, not by it as a principle or act, or as the cause or matter of his justification, but by the object of his faith, Christ and his righteousness apprehended by faith, and so not just or justified by works; he shall live a life of justification, through that righteousness his faith receives; he shall live comfortably, with much peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, as the result of his being justified by faith; and shall live eternally, and never die the second death: or the “just shall live by faith”; he that is righteous, not by his own works, but by the obedience of Christ, shall live not upon faith, but by it on Christ, and his righteousness, which is revealed from faith to faith; and this makes it a clear point, that he is not justified by the law, for if he was, he would not live by faith on Christ, but in and by the deeds of the law.”

Since the law cannot save, and was never intended to save but rather to be a “school master” to show us our need of a savior. Points us to Jesus Christ as the Savior of all who will call on His name.

The Righteous and Just One became sin for us on the cross that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again.

…For I Believe God…

“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.  For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, ‘Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.’ Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.”  Acts 27:22-25 (KJB)

Grace in Dispute

“And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, ‘Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.'” Acts 15:6-11  (KJB)

Calming the Storm(s)

“And the same day, when the even was come, He saith unto them, ‘Let us pass over unto the other side.’ And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as He was in the ship. And there were also with Him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, ‘Master, carest Thou not that we perish?’ And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, ‘Peace, be still.’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, ‘Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?’ And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, ‘What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?'” Mark 4:35-41  (KJB)

Jesus calls on the disciples to go to the other side in a boat, with others with them.  He sleeps in the “hinder part” with perfect peace, and continues to sleep as a storm comes up and rages.  The Master completely at peace while the disciples rage with their own personal storm of fear.

There once was a boy, awakened by a horrendous thunderstorm.  He was very frightened by that storm, but remembered the words of Jesus, and spoke them to the storm.  Following the speaking of those words, “Peace, be still” that boy went back to sleep.

Jesus is the one who calms all the storms of life when we place them in His hands.

Let me give you a few words from F. B. Meyer on these verse…

“The stilling of the storm, Mar_4:35-41. They that bear Christ’s company must prepare for squalls. Yet, why should we fear, when the Master is on board, who can impress His commands on wind and sea-to the wind, Peace; to the sea, Be still! “The Lord on high is mightier than the waves of the sea.” A moment ago he was so weary as to sleep amid the storm, but at a word of appeal from those He loves, He shows Himself able to save to the uttermost.” from F. B. Meyer’s THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY

Remember the One who was sleeping, getting the rest He needed, was also the One who would go to the cross, and face the greatest storm of His life, dying for the sins of the world; yours and mine; was buried, then three days later came out of that grave alive.  He lives forever more.  Call on His name.  Believe Him.

Believing Him

“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him for the saying of the woman, which testified, ‘He told me all that ever I did.’ So when the Samaritans were come unto Him, they besought Him that He would tarry with them: and He abode there two days.
And many more believed because of His own word; and said unto the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.'” John 4:39-42  (KJB)

It is the testimony of Scripture that Jesus went through the land of Samaria; a forbidden journey for the Jew; and by Divine providence encountered this woman at the well. He told her all that she had ever done (that is her testimony in verse 39).

She is so excited she forgot what she came to the well for; because she had met the One who gave her living water.  You know she did leave her waterpot behind (John 4:28).

People of the city came out to meet this Man who knew people’s hearts, minds, and their lives.  No one could do that except Deity – the One True God.

When the people meet Jesus their minds, and hearts are persuaded by His words.  The woman who first believed told where to find Him, and they heard Him and believed.

One of the first things the Christian does upon our salvation, our coming to faith in Him, is that we want to tell people about Him.  People need to know the Lord God.  We know the Way.  Let us love Jesus so much that we cannot keep our mouths shut concerning Him.  We cannot make people believe; neither do we desire to force them, or make them; but we can tell them.  Then possibly they be Believing Him and loving Him.

Forgiving Most

“And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.’ And he saith, ‘Master, say on.’
‘There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?’
Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.’ And He said unto him, ‘Thou hast rightly judged.’”  Luke 7:40-43  (KJB)

To get a better look at the story I pray you have read Luke 7.

Simon, a Pharisee, a very religious Jewish leader in the Law, has invited Jesus into his home, and has shown him no hospitality as was the expected thing of the day – washing the feet of their guest, etc.

Comes in a woman off the street who breaks a very expensive alabaster box of fragrant anointing oil, and this cause a ruckus with Simon.

This woman knows who Jesus is.  Her very act puts her in the category of the “one forgiven most” that is concerning the parable Jesus speaks.  Simon has not demonstrated the respect to Jesus that would be given to any other guest, but this woman brings a perfume that would, by some accounts, be as costly as a years wages.

This woman demonstrates her faith, and shows she needs forgiveness.

Simon NO!  The woman Much forgiveness.

Let us demonstrate our need for forgiveness by loving Jesus with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength.

Blessings Under the Table

“And from thence He arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of Him, and came and fell at His feet: the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought Him that He would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
But Jesus said unto her, ‘Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.’ And she answered and said unto Him, ‘Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.’ And He said unto her, ‘For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.’
And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.” Mark 7:24-30  (KJB)

For the commentary today I turn to Alexander MacLaren’s Expositions of Holy Scripture…

“CHILDREN AND LITTLE DOGS
Our Lord desired to withdraw from the excited crowds who were flocking after Him as a mere miracle-worker and from the hostile espionage of emissaries of the Pharisees, ‘which had come from Jerusalem.’ Therefore He sought seclusion in heathen territory. He, too, knew the need of quiet, and felt the longing to plunge into privacy, to escape for a time from the pressure of admirers and of foes, and to go where no man knew Him. How near to us that brings Him! And how the remembrance of it helps to explain His demeanour to the Syrophcenician woman, so unlike His usual tone! Naturally the presence of Jesus leaked out, and perhaps the very effort to avoid notice attracted it. Rumour would have carried His name across the border, and the tidings of His being among them would stir hope in some hearts that felt the need of His help. Of such was this woman, whom Mark describes first, generally, as a ‘Greek’ (that is, a Gentile), and then particularly as ‘a Syrophcenician by race’; that is, one of that branch of the Phoenician race who inhabited maritime Syria, in contradistinction from the other branch inhabiting North-eastern Africa, Carthage, and its neighbourhood. Her deep need made her bold and persistent, as we learn in detail from Matthew, who is in this narrative more graphic than Mark. He tells us that she attacked Jesus in the way, and followed Him, pouring out her loud petitions, to the annoyance of the disciples. They thought that they were carrying out His wish for privacy in suggesting that it would be best to ‘send her away’ with her prayer granted, and so stop her ‘crying after us,’ which might raise a crowd, and defeat the wish. We owe to Matthew the further facts of the woman’s recognition of Jesus as ‘the Son of David,’ and of the strange ignoring of her cries, and of His answer to the disciples’ suggestion, in which He limited His mission to Israel, and so explained to them His silence to her. Mark omits all these points, and focuses all the light on the two things-Christ’s strange and apparently harsh refusal, and the woman’s answer, which won her cause.
Certainly our Lord’s words are startlingly unlike Him, and as startlingly like the Jewish pride of race and contempt for Gentiles. But that the woman did not take them so is clear; and that was not due only to her faith, but to something in Him which gave her faith a foothold. We are surely not to suppose that she drew from His words an inference which He did not perceive in them, and that He was, as some commentators put it, ‘caught in His own words.’ Mark alone gives us the first clause of Christ’s answer to the woman’s petition: ‘Let the children first be filled.’ And that ‘first’ distinctly says that their prerogative is priority, not monopoly. If there is a ‘first,’ there will follow a second. The very image of the great house in which the children sit at the table, and the ‘little dogs’ are in the room, implies that children and dogs are part of one household; and Jesus meant by it just what the woman found in it,-the assurance that the meal-time for the dogs would come when the children had done. That is but a picturesque way of stating the method of divine revelation through the medium of the chosen people, and the objections to Christ’s words come at last to be objections to the ‘committing’ of the ‘oracles of God’ to the Jewish race; that is to say, objections to the only possible way by which a historical revelation could be given. It must have personal mediums, a place and a sequence. It must prepare fit vehicles for itself and gradually grow in clearness and contents. And all this is just to say that revelation for the world must be first the possession of a race. The fire must have a hearth on which it can be kindled and burn, till it is sufficient to bear being carried thence.
Universalism was the goal of the necessary restriction. Pharisaism sought to make the restriction permanent. Jesus really threw open the gates to all in this very saying, which at first sounds so harsh. ‘First’ implies second, children and little dogs are all parts of the one household. Christ’s personal ministry was confined to Israel for obvious and weighty reasons. He felt, as Matthew tells us, that He said in this incident that He was not sent but to the lost sheep of that nation. But His world-wide mission was as clear to Him as its temporary limit, and in His first discourse in the synagogue at Nazareth He proclaimed it to a scowling crowd. We cannot doubt that His sympathetic heart yearned over this poor woman, and His seemingly rough speech was meant partly to honour the law which ruled His mission even in the act of making an exception to it, and partly to test, and so to increase, her faith.
Her swift laying of her finger on the vulnerable point in the apparent refusal of her prayer may have been due to a woman’s quick wit, but it was much more due to a mother’s misery and to a suppliant’s faith. There must have been something in Christ’s look, or in the cadence of His voice, which helped to soften the surface harshness of His words, and emboldened her to confront Him with the plain implications of His own words. What a constellation of graces sparkles in her ready reply! There is humility in accepting the place He gives her; insight in seeing at once a new plea in what might have sent her away despairing; persistence in pleading; confidence that He can grant her request and that He would gladly do so. Our Lord’s treatment of her was amply justified by its effects. His words were like the hard steel that strikes the flint and brings out a shower of sparks. Faith makes obstacles into helps, and stones of stumbling into ‘stepping-stones to higher things.’ If we will take the place which He gives us, and hold fast our trust in Him even when He seems silent to us, and will so far penetrate His designs as to find the hidden purpose of good in apparent repulses, the honey secreted deep in the flower, we shall share in this woman’s blessing in the measure in which we share in her faith.
Jesus obviously delighted in being at liberty to stretch His commission so as to include her in its scope. Joyful recognition of the ingenuity of her pleading, and of her faith’s bringing her within the circle of the ‘children,’ are apparent in His word, ‘For this saying go thy way.’ He ever looks for the disposition in us which will let Him, in accordance with His great purpose, pour on us His full-flowing tide of blessing, and nothing gladdens Him more than that, by humble acceptance of our assigned place, and persistent pleading, and trust that will not be shaken, we should make it possible for Him to see in us recipients of His mercy and healing grace.” EXPOSITIONS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE Alexander MacLaren

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (8)

Separation and Promise

And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? eparate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD” Genesis 13:1-18 (KJV).

The Heart of Man

The Heart of Man – Proverbs 16:1-9

Verses 1 – 2 –  “Preparations of the heart in man”  and “The answer of the tongue” are both “from the LORD”.   V. 2 – “Ways of man…”  but “The LORD weigheth the spirits”.
All the plans of men (James 4:13-15) are only successful through the directions of the LORD.  Good plans are from the LORD, and will be successful.  Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).

There are many times we think we are doing good and clean things; but our hearts may yet be doing an evil deed.  God alone, and maybe, the individual knows the heart and motives.

Verse 3 –  “Commit”  “Works” “Thoughts” “Shall be established”.  Some words to think on in verse 3.
“Roll unto Jehovah thy works, And established are thy purposes,” YOUNG’S LITERAL TRANSLATION  (See 1 Peter 5:7)

Verses 4-6 –  “The LORD has made all things for Himself”, “The wicked”, “Proud in heart”, “Abomination to the LORD”; “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged”, and “By the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

On a certain day in time all that have refused God’s Christ will glorify God in their judgment.  Departing from evil because one sees it as offensive to the holiness and righteousness of GOD.  It [Evil] is seen, by one who fears the LORD; as being a sour and bitter thing.

Verse 7 –  See Revelation 3:9; Isaac and Abimelech, Genesis 26;  Jacob and Esau, Genesis 33.  “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.”  Hebrews 11:6

Verse 8 –  The attitude of the heart of man with “Little” of material things, righteous in the LORD; contrasted to “Great revenues” without righteousness.

Verse 9 –  “The word rendered “deviseth” implies, by its spectra, intensity of thought and care. Man meditates and prepares his plans with the utmost solicitude, hut it rests with God whether he shall carry them to completion or not, and whether, if they are to be accomplished, it be done with ease or with painful labour. (comp. Gen_24:12, etc.)” From the Pulpit Commentary note.

“Deviseth” can mean scheming, to fabricate, to weave.  It can also mean to carefully plan out “His way”.  The wise man knows that “The LORD directeth his steps”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel (3)

Why Will You Die???

“Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?  Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.  When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.  Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;  If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.  None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.  When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.  But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.  Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.” Ezekiel 33:10-20 (KJV)