Matthew 15:30-31 ” Great crowds came to Him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at His feet; and He healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.”

Earlier in Matthew, it tells us that as Jesus traveled about preaching and teaching the Good News, He also healed every disease and sickness among the people. And as the news spread, people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those who were suffering with severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and He healed them. (Matthew 4:23-24) Now for many in the crowd, they were only there for Dinner and a Show… and Jesus was just an oddity or freak of nature who could provide them with entertainment. But for others who had loved ones suffering and in misery, it was a chance for a miracle. They might not have understood what was happening, or how it was done, or even who this Jesus person was…but here stood their loved one made whole and in sound health and all they could do was praise God for it.

Habakkuk 2:18-19 ” Of what value is an idol, since a man has created it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.”

“You were influenced and led astray by mute idols.” (I Corinthians 12:2) That’s because manmade idols…whether made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, or stone have no life…no breath within them. They are inanimate objects…lacking in life sustaining breath and spirit. They are worthless for instruction, or as Hosea 4:12 observes, “They consult a wooden idol and are answered by a stick of wood.” And if we go so far as to place our hope in these idols… rather placing our dependence on God alone, we can only be called foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but don’t see, and have ears, but don’t hear. (Jeremiah 10:5)

Jeremiah 16:17 ” My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from Me, nor is their sin concealed from My eyes.”

After Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God… thinking somehow He wouldn’t be able to find them. But, “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere.” (Proverbs 15:3) So we need to remember that all our actions and misdeeds are not hidden from God’s sight… everything is uncovered and laid bare before His eyes. (Hebrews 4:13) And that even includes our reasoning to do wrong…or as I Corinthians 4:5 tells us, “God will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.”

Job 27:11 ” I will teach you about the power of God; the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal.”

Why do we tend to keep secret the mighty strength and deliverance of God? Sure, we may tell a fellow Believer what God’s doing in our life…but when it comes to the rest of the world, we’re quiet. Job tells us here that we are to not hide God’s actions from the world, but to share it openly as a way to guide others to Him. For nothing can compare to the power of God when unleashed in a person’s life…or as Paul so eloquently penned, ” Oh, the depth of the riches of wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him and to Him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36)

Romans 1:11-12 ” I long to see you so that I may impart to you some Spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

Just as Paul desired to visit his fellow-believers in the faith…I pray you have someone just as special in your life. Someone, that despite the time that may go by, or the many miles between you, the minute you begin to talk, inspiration, hope, comfort, and exhortation will flow freely as you both give and receive encouragement. For our Spiritual gifts are for the edification and common good of others. And you’ll find that as you share this mutual encouragement, you both can’t help but be strengthened in your collective faith.

John 8:47 ” He who belongs to God hears what God says.”

The concept is simple but the ramifications are profound. If we belong to God we listen to what He says, and are then able to recognize between the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of falsehood. (I John 4:6) But what does listening to God encompass? We need to first receive it and receive Jesus to become children of God.( John 1:12) We need to then acknowledge that only God’s Ways are right. (Luke 7:29) We need to accept these Words planted in us, (James 1:21) and understand what they mean. (Psalm 119:125) And finally, we need to obey what we hear. For, “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him.” (John 14:21)

Jeremiah 30:23-24 ” See, the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a driving wind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back until He fully accomplishes the purposes of His heart.”

When I moved back to the Midwest I was immediately reacquainted with the severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that happen very frequently in the area. I had forgotten just how powerful, and overwhelming…not to mention how unpredictable and extreme these storms can be. You only have to ride out one tornado to understand the feelings of total helplessness and vulnerability as the fierce winds whirl outside. These verses compare God’s anger to these violent and destructive winds…but unlike the tornado that dissipates…God’s wrath does not cease until His plans and purposes are fully established and accomplished, according to His divine wisdom and understanding.

Jeremiah 9:12-14 ” Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross? The Lord said, ‘It is because they have forsaken My Law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed Me or followed My Law. Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts.’ “

From God handing down the Ten Commandments to today, humans have been very poor at observing God’s Laws. We like to misapply them…mainly to judge other people with. Or we flatly refuse to follow them, arguing someone else can do that. Or we view them as heavy-handed regulations, but then decide to heap man-made rules on top…forcing everyone to comply with this impossible mess we’ve made of God’s Laws. So sadly, instead of giving heed to God’s Laws, we’d rather rebel, reject, and refuse to respond appropriately to Him.

Colossians 1:19-20 ” For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood shed on the Cross.”

There is power in the blood. It restored a once fractured and hostile relationship between God and human-kind. It made peace between former enemies…a righteous God and sinful man. The shed blood of Jesus was God’s intention and resolution from the beginning in order to reconcile us back into a right relationship with Him. There is power in the blood…for there is acceptance…redemption…and peace.

Jeremiah 9:3 ” They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies…”

Elsewhere Jeremiah wrote, “They attack with their tongues…their tongues are deadly arrows.” Just think of it…deceitful speech directed towards someone can destroy them, their integrity, character, and good name. That’s because lies are groundless words with no basis in fact or reality… but they can still do irreparable damage with no way to undo it.