“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”
Jesus died an unimaginably painful death on the cross for our sins. Because of this, God’s wrath is satisfied, and we can be saved from it. Jesus offers this free gift to us, and once we accept that gift, we become God’s children. One day, God will send Jesus back to bring His children home, but nobody knows when He will do so. Still, we are told to prepare for it. The Bible says that we are Jesus’s friends if we do what He says. So, how can we do what He says if we do not know what He says? The only way to know is to read God’s word: the Bible. Read God’s word this week, praying that He would show you His truth and tell you what He wants you to do. When He tells you, do not ignore or postpone it, for nobody knows when Christ is coming back.
“And behold the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their land.” -Matthew 8:34
For context, Jesus had just cast demons out of two men in Gergesa, a gentile land. These demons were allowed to possess an entire herd of pigs, and then, they ran into a nearby body of water and drowned, killing the entire herd. The owner of the pigs ran into the city and told them everything he had witnessed, and everyone came out to meet Jesus.
First off, from this single event and Jesus’s reputation, many others believed in Jesus’s power. They thought that He had come to bring judgment on them and were afraid of Him. From their perspective, Jesus had just commanded an entire herd of pigs to commit mass suicide. That is pretty scary and powerful, and the gentiles were scared of His judgment falling upon them. Instead of begging Jesus for forgiveness, they asked Him to leave.
We are the Gergesenes. We see God working, and God’s light shines on our sins and faults. We become scared and self-conscious. We do not want God to see us like this, but we know something that the gentiles of Jesus’s day did not know: Jesus came to save us. He took the punishment that the Gergesenes were so afraid of upon Himself so that we would not have to suffer it. The difference between us and the gentiles in this passage is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Never forget that, for this is the reason for our faith.
"Then Joseph her husband, being just a man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly." Matt. 1:19
Joseph was just a man. The way he saw his circumstances, his wife was pregnant before she was married. Therefore, she had cheated on him. What should he do but save both of them from the public embarrassment, not to mention the breaking of the law, that comes with adultery? So, he hid Mary away so that no one could see her. He acted as any human in his situation would have acted. There is no way that he could know that the child inside of Mary was Jesus, so why did Matthew include this in his gospel account? It was another instance in the Bible where someone needed to lean on the understanding of God and not the understanding of man (Proverbs 3). Joseph needed understanding from God, and in today's world, with the viruses and movements that are going on, we often act like humans in our fickle understanding. However, we as Christians know a God that can see the whole picture. In fact, he painted it! So, why not lean on Him who created us? Why not lean on Him who saved us? Why not lean on Him who grants us strength in time? There is no reason why we cannot trust in our Savior, for He has an understanding that goes beyond what we can imagine. Trust Him with your entire life and see what great things He will do with you.
THE PLANET Mercury is hot. Pluto is cold. Why is Pluto cold and Mercury hot? Mercury is really close to the sun and Pluto is a long way off. The farther you get away, the colder things become, but the closer you get, the hotter things are. You may say that you are not a Pluto Christian or a Mercury Christian. Maybe you are an Earth Christian where things get hot and cold. You may be a seasonal Christian who has changes depending on whether it is wintertime, summertime, springtime, or fall. God is looking for some Mercury Christians. He is looking for some folks who want to get close and stay hot all the time because they stay close to the S-o-n.
Matthew 15:21-28 (ESV)
21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.”28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
If there is one Godly characteristic I remember about my mother, it was that she was a woman of great faith and prayer. I am a living example that God listened to and answered many of her prayers. I was a rebel and AWOL from God for many years (38 to be exact) and became the object of mother’s most desperate prayers.
Just like the Canaanite woman that begged Jesus to free her daughter, my own mother demonstrated great faith to Jesus by her persistent prayer for my own salvation. Jesus did not give the gentile woman an immediate answer and even discouraged her when he finally did, but she was not deterred from seeking His mercy. Nor was my mother.
The Apostle Paul says in his letter to the Hebrews that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6a). Sometimes God needs to test our faith in Him by waiting to answer prayer. Desperation, driven by two women’s love for their daughters, brought saving faith to full flower in each case of the Gentile woman and my mother.
I am so thankful to God I had a persistent, praying mother. By her example I strive to please God through my own faith as a praying mother. Sometimes it is a struggle waiting through His silence, especially when praying for my children and grandchildren, but I have learned throughout the many periods of waiting, “God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”. (Heb 11:6c)
Joshua 1:8 KJV
"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
In a world where everything is trying to move at the speed of light, we tend to go with the flow of the world. The world wants things done as soon as possible even if it means not doing it correctly. We as Christians have sadly started to do the same thing, when we pray we want the answer that second, when we want church growth we get upset when we only get one visitor, when we witness to people we complain that only one person accepted Christ. The reason for this is because we have decided to use the bible the same way, we have decided that we should just read the bible and all is well. The fact is that couldnt be more wrong. We are called to mediate on the Bible. It is studying that turns the bible into Gods Holy Word, it is when we study that we learn that as long as we have faith in God and His will our prayers will be answered(Hebrews 11:6), it is when we meditate on Gods word that we learn that our job is to grow the kingdom of God and not ourselves(Matthew 6:33), and finally when we dig into the Word of God we learn that we should be more excited over one soul being saved then one hundred righteous pretenders (Luke 15:7). My prayer today is that God opens my eyes so I can see His word, I pray that God clears my mind so that I can understand His Word and I pray that God softens my heart so I can use His Word.
Listening means you also hear what the person isn’t saying. Listening with empathy means you listen without interruption and you listen for fears and feelings. You listen for what they aren’t saying. You’re not trying to fix the situation. Sometimes healing comes just by listening! Romans 15:2 says, “We must bear the ‘burden’ of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others” (TLB). RICK WARREN