Luke 7:44-50 – Thy Faith Hath Saved Thee

Luke 7:44-50
44
And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

-Out of devotion to Jesus Christ this woman swallowed her pride and reservation and, in a very public display, offered the Lord her love, her tears, her oil, and her time.  Notice Jesus’ response; He made it clear to Simon that the woman is favored because of her loving actions, but He makes it clear to the woman that her faith has saved her.  Let us never forget this principle as we move through our own lives.  Loving acts of devotion have their place and can garner their own rewards, but only faith can lead to salvation.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

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Ecclesiastes 12:13 – The Conclusion

Ecclesiastes 12:13
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Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

-Solomon had wealth and power enough to make anything possible.  He came to a point in his life when he decided to use all of that wealth and power to do exactly that; anything.  After experiencing all that life had to offer, his conclusion is recorded here in Ecclesiastes 12:13.  Let this mind be in you and your approach to life.  When you have opportunity to cheat, play it straight; when you have cause to get angry, don’t; when life invites you down a evil path, abstain.  Not because you desire to cling to a higher moral fiber, neither because you want to elevate yourself above those around you; but because you wish to show respect to God and His providence.  The Lord can make honest people excel past cheaters, He can provide perfect peace to those who struggle to resist anger, and to those who turn away from the paths of the ungodly, “it shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” (Proverbs 3:8)

Isaiah 28:16 – A Sure Foundation

Isaiah 28:16
16
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

A foundation, by definition, is the lowest load-bearing part of a building, typically below ground level.  The Lord became the foundation of all our righteousness and worth; but in order to do that, he had to go down.  Way down.  The Bible tells us that before Jesus ascended back into Heaven, “he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth.” (Ephesians 4:9)  Jesus went lower than any of us could have gone so that He could bear the load of sin that none of us could have borne.  He promises that whosoever trusts in Him will be able to survive the storms of life because our foundation is a rock.  (Matthew 7:24-25)  Things can never get so low that Jesus Christ can’t support us; for even when the bottom drops out, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

Mark 9:17-27 – Help My Unbelief

Mark 9:17-27
17
And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.
20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

-In this passage, Jesus performs a wondrous miracle in response to a small measure of faith possessed by a desperate father.  The father does believe, but his great unbelief gets in the way.  He admits his weakness and asks Jesus to fix that problem as well.  Jesus goes above and beyond what the father asks for and gives the man every reason to let go of his unbelief.  Just imagine if Jesus had stopped with the father’s original request and done nothing else; the boy’s demons were exercised, but he was left for dead.  Jesus could have left it at that, but He gave something the father didn’t think to ask for, a complete restoration of the boy’s health.  How often have we asked for something specific from the Lord only to have “him do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)?  Perhaps an even more important questions is what miracles have we missed in our own lives by asking God to do spot repairs and all the while He is waiting to fix everything?

James 4:7 – Submit, Then Resist

James 4:7
7
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

-If we resist the Devil and his ways then he must flee from us, but we can only resist after we’ve submitted to God.  The problem is people try to push against Satan while at the same time living contrary to God.  Just so there’s no question about the matter, we cannot overcome the powers of darkness on our own, Hell is full of people who have tried and failed.  But “the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)  Not only are they possible with God, but they are simple with Him.  The question is never whether you will be strong enough when sin rises, the only question that matters is will you be humble when God calls.

Psalm 37:23-24 – The Lord Upholdeth

Psalm 37:23-24
23
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

-A disciple is one who follows after a particular philosophy or mentor; in the case of a Christian Disciple, we follow Jesus Christ.  Where He goes, we go; when he stops, we stop; where He leads, we follow.  This is important because we will inevitably stumble and fall.  Proverbs 24:16 says “a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.”  How is he able to rise?  Because he follows the Lord and so the Lord is always near to lift him back up.  Proverbs 24:16 also says that “the wicked shall fall into mischief.”  Why is that?  Because the Lord is not near to catch the wicked when they fall.  “Woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10)

Isaiah 64:6 – Filthy Rags

Isaiah 64:6
6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

-Humanity’s story is always one of struggle; we strive in war to prove our dominance one over another, we strive in life and business in order to climb the ladder of success.  There are some areas where hard work and commitment pay off, but what do we do when we face a challenge that cannot be overcome by human effort?  Such is the case with our sin debt; sin has put us all under condemnation and no matter how hard we try, we cannot make things better.  In fact, if you’ve ever tried to clean something with a filthy rag, you know that it only makes things worse.  That’s what the Lord thinks of our righteousness and good works outside of Him; we are already black with sin, and every time we try to clean up with our own righteousness, we just make it dirtier.  The answer to our eternal destiny lies not in human merit, but in God’s mercy.  “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (1 Peter 1:18-19) To redeem a world full of dirty sinners required an atonement that was perfectly free of spot or blemish, an atonement like the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Romans 1:16 – Not Ashamed

Romans 1:16
16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

-Everyone has that favorite song that they’ll listen to alone, but are too embarrassed to play in front of others or maybe an article of clothing that you like but is too far out of fashion to chance wearing it in public.  The true worship of God has never been in fashion; going on record as a God-honoring, blood-redeemed follower of Christ can open you up to all sorts of ridicule.  But we don’t proclaim the gospel of Christ because it’s in vogue, we proclaim it because it is the only way for the human race to escape damnation and find fellowship with God.  God Himself personally came to Earth to present the gospel and instead of worship He received crucifixion; it should come as no surprise that the world would hate us because it hated the Lord first. (John 15:18)  What we should never lose sight of is that there is coming a day when God will reassert His position as the ruler of this world and the worship of God will very much be in fashion for the rest of eternity; until that day comes, it is needful for those of us who wait for the Lord’s coming to warn as many as possible so that they might be made ready for the Lord’s coming as well.

Genesis 50:20 – Forgive

Genesis 50:20
20
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

-To get angry when we’ve been wronged seems like common sense, but it is proof positive that we lack perspective.  Consider the life of Joseph as told in Scripture; there were many who wronged him- his brothers sold him into slavery, Potiphar’s wife accused him of rape, and the king’s chief butler forgot him in jail.  But where others would have only seen the bad, Joseph instead realized that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).  Joseph had peace and forgiveness in his heart because he was less focused on what people were doing in his life and more focused on what God was doing in his life; we would all do well to follow his example.  God tells us that it is okay to let go of hate and bitterness; so to forgive is not to admit that the person who wronged you is right, it is to admit that God is right.

Job 42:8-10 – Pray For Them

Job 42:8-10
8
Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

-Are there people in your life who are a source of contention, people with whom you just can’t seem to get along?  Job had some of those people.  Those whom he once called his friends came to him in his time of affliction and sought to blame him instead of help him.  But notice what Job did for these men; at the command of the Lord, Job prayed for Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.  Certainly they benefited from the prayers but what does the Bible tell us?  It does’t tell us that the Lord helped Job’s friends when Job prayed for them; the Bible tells us that the Lord helped Job when Job prayed for them.  It’s a solution that is so easy we surely miss it a lot of the time; but going back to those people with whom you just can’t seem to get along, regardless of who’s at fault, have you tried praying for them?  “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44)