Jesus had traveled to the Gentile region of Tyre & Sidon, when this Greek woman approached Him shouting. At first, Jesus ignored her…but she persisted, calling out all the more. Finally, Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel…first let the children eat all they want, for it’s not right to take the children’s bread & toss it to their dogs.” The derogatory term of dogs (or little pets) wasn’t meant to demean the woman but rather for Jesus to explain the plan of Salvation…namely that Salvation is from the Jews. (John 4:22) And it seems that the woman is well aware of this, for she doesn’t take offense, but nor is she deterred by Jesus’ implicit reminder of Israel’s special covenant with God. Instead, in all humility & hopefulness she replies, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs that fall from the master’s table.” With faith-filled confidence the woman is telling Jesus that His power & mercy is more than enough to fill up not only the Jews, but the Gentiles as well… overflowing the boundaries between them. This type of courageous trust & belief impresses Jesus and He replies, “Woman you have great faith. Your request is granted.”
Month: May 2023
Ephesians 1:16 ” I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”
The Apostle Paul constantly show gratitude for God’s work of grace in others. In his letters to the Churches, it was usually the very first thing he wrote about. (I Corinthians 1:4, Philippians 1:3, Colossians 1:3) He was truly grateful for their faith & love for one another, and he wanted them to know this. In Romans 1:8 Paul wrote, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” When was the last time you thanked someone for their encouragement during a tough time in your life? It’s easy to just sit & receive encouragement, hope, and inspiration from others…it’s much harder to focus outward & show that same gratitude to others…that’s because suddenly we’re not the center of attention anymore. But an attitude of gratitude builds people up, and lets them know how God is using them for His glory.
Obadiah 3 ” The pride of your heart has deceived you…”
The Book of Obadiah is the shortest Book in the Old Testament, and centers around the hostility between the Edomites, (the descendants of Esau) and the Israelites, (the descendants of Jacob). Judah lay in ruins, defeated by the Babylonians…while Edom gloated & stood by apathetically, watching with malicious delight as Jerusalem suffered. But within this Book, Obadiah not only reassures the people of God’s triumphant justice at work for them, but he also warns Edom of the imminent judgment coming their way because of their arrogance. All the while showing that ultimately God’s righteous purposes determine history, not the evil wills of men.
Proverbs 15:29 ” He hears the prayer of the righteous.”
This may sound farfetched, but God really does pay attention to your prayers. If you profess Jesus as your Lord & Savior, every prayer you offer up is heard by the Father. Or as John 9:31 tells us, “We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does His Will.” But nor is prayer some Spiritual “exercise routine” we only do occasionally when we feel like it. Prayer is life-giving as much as blood pumping through our heart or oxygen flowing in & out of our lungs are. Jesus never spoke of unanswered prayers…for He had unlimited certianity of knowing that our prayers will always be answered. “Everyone who asks receives…” (Matthew 7:8) Yet we stutter, “But…but…it doesn’t always happen that way!” God answers our prayers in the very best way via His Perfect & Divine Will…not just sometimes, but every time.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of God is living and active…”
Maybe this has happened to you. You’re in a very familiar passage of Scripture, one that you’ve read a gazillion times, when suddenly the light bulb goes off in your head & the once cryptic passage now stands crystal clear. Or you’re sharing with an unbelieving friend a few of your favorite verses from the Bible, when they promptly announce they want to follow Jesus too. Isaiah 55:11 tells us that God’s Word goes out, not returning empty until first accomplishing what He desires & achieving His sovereign purposes. Foremost being, His lasting & enduring Word is used by the Holy Spirit to bring sinners to a saving knowledge of of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. (I Peter 1:23) God’s Word is alive, powerful & infallible…or as Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “The more we dig into the Scriptures. the more they seem to us an endless mine of truth.”
Psalm 101:2 ” I will walk with integrity of heart within my house.”
Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who love you and were helped by you will remember you when the forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on their hearts, not on marble.” A life of faith, obedience, and pursing holiness will help us attain Godly character. Self-discipline will allow us to take those mountaintop moments with God to not only teach us but change us. Finally, humility & virtue will grant us the grace to be battered into the shape of God’s vision for our good and His glory. Integrity is a right relationship with the Lord that leads to the right course in life…a life well thought of for honesty & moral excellence…written on hearts forever.
Proverbs 10:19 ” When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”
We only have to go to the Book of James, Chapter 3:2-12, to read a wonderful & insightful discourse on the tongue. Now the tongue may be one of the smallest parts of the human body, but it’s capable of creating some of the biggest disasters in our lives… and with it, the potentially serious consequences of mis-speaking. Or as Psalm 59:7 says, ” They spew out swords from their mouth.” So what’s the remedy? Proverbs 10:32 tells us, “The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.” There is much to be said about being quick to listen & slow to speak, (James 1:19) and intentional listening shows wisdom & insightfulness rather than rash folly. For a wise person will hold their tongue, while a fool will claim to know it all.
Luke 6:21 “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”
When we look at how evil & corrupt the world has become today, we can’t help but mourn over all the sin that surrounds us. For we know the failure of mankind to give proper glory to God grieves the Father, and thus it grieves us. But there’s coming a marvelous day…a day like none other, when every knee shall bow & every tongue confess that He alone is God. And our weeping will end as He wipes away every tear… and we behold His holy face.
Matthew 6:25 “I tell you, do not worry about your life…”
Here, Jesus isn’t talking about being concerned where you’re going on Summer vacation, or fretting over which new car to buy. When He tells us not to worry about our life, Jesus means the bare bones basics of food, shelter, & clothing. And He goes on in Matthew 6 to make it very clear that our worrying changes nothing…”Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (or as other translations read, ” Can add a single cubit to his height?”) But the worrying kicker is found in verse 30 when Jesus calls it for what it is…”Oh you of little faith.” Worry is nothing more than unbelief, doubt, and lack of trust that God can look after the very practical details of our life. And it reveals our faltering faith in our Heavenly Father’s ability to care for us in the area of basic resources that He already knows we need. Worrying is unproductive & futile and does not change anything…only heightening our anxiety level.
Psalm 139:7 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your Presence?”
God’s personal Presence is everywhere throughout His creation…in other words, God is Omnipresent. So the answers to these two rhetorical questions are there’s no where we can go that’s beyond God’s view. God even declared this in Jeremiah 23:24, “Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” To demonstrate this, the next five verses (Psalm 139:8-12) gives examples of where we can’t go to escape God. We can’t hide in the highest of heavens or the depths of the grave. We can’t fly on the wings of the dawn or travel to the far side of the sea. We can’t even use darkness to hide from God…for darkness isn’t dark enough to hide us…”For darkness is as light to You, God.”