Not By Flesh and Blood

In Spiritual Formation (aka Adult Sunday School) this week, we discussed Matthew 16:13-20.

Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

To dig deeper into the passage, I reached for my handy study Bible given to me by a friend of mine. One verse stuck out to me in my reading.

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 

I want to share with you what it says in my study Bible: “People do not come to faith in Jesus Christ by scrutiny or searching, but by the the Father’s revelation of the Son to them. (see John 6:65).”

John 6:65 says, “He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

God draws us. Not the other way around. Don’t you love when one scripture leads to another, then another, opening a door to great wisdom and understanding of God’s Word?

I found this cool link: https://www.gotquestions.org/drawn-salvation.html

It explains everything way better than I can. God draws us. Can you believe it? We don’t go to the Father without his drawing. We don’t go to the faith without him “dragging” us there. I don’t get it yet, but I will pray and God will reveal it to me.

I thought about waiting to post this until I did “get it.” But, will I ever really get it? Will all the revelations of Christ come to me in one fail swoop one day, and I will know and understand everything there is to know and understand?

No.

I don’t think so any way. There’s too much to learn. So, today, we start this journey together. This journey of God leading us, drawing us and dragging us to our salvation. What do you think about this link and the scriptures? Let’s start a conversation and spread the Good News to those who wish to read it and understand.

I Shall Not Want

A blog post about the 23rd Psalm by Dawn Michelle Michals titled I Shall Not Want @dmmwrites 
Psalm 23
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

You may already know about my love for Matthew 6 in the Christian Bible. In fact, I’m writing a devotional on this very chapter. More news with that to follow. 🙂

But, one part of the chapter is really hard to believe for me. I’m just going to be honest.

But, that stops today. The word of God is truth. ALL of it. So I will believe every word of it moving forward from this moment.

Here’s what I mean…

When it comes to knowing that God will provide my every need, I have some doubts.

And, I shouldn’t.

But, my flesh is scared. However, my Spirit is strong. And, in Matthew 6, when Jesus says:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

I must trust what He says.

Today, I will not worry anymore. I will no longer let the enemy scare me and bring me down.

I will forever walk in the love and trust of Jesus Christ.

I leave you with the words from the 23rd Psalm. What do you think about them? How does it make you feel that Jesus is our Good Shepherd supplying our every need?

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

To the Dogs

Matthew 15:21-28 says…

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

We studied this verse in my church’s Spiritual Formation (Otherwise known as Adult Sunday School) this past Sunday. And, one thing stuck out to me:

Why is Jesus so mean?

My heart ached for this woman who came to our Savior to request healing for your daughter only to be met with him blatantly calling her a “dog.”

But, then I thought about it. And upon my first reading–as most first readings are–I didn’t get it. With a first reading we can gloss over what the author is really saying. And, one thing I know about Jesus is:

He teaches lessons.

So I applied that here and reread the passage.

Over.

And, over.

And, over again.

And, I found some truths for me that I want to share with you here today.

#1 – Tyre and Sidon was a place that Jews did not go. The people of this area were classified as gentiles aka unclean. Anyone know how the Jewish people referred to them? I’ll give you a moment.

You guessed it! DOGS!

Here’s a little History Throwback for ya: Jezebel’s Dad? The King of Sidon.

So let’s just say the cross-racial dynamic here left much to be desired.

So why was Jesus here? I believe someone said it is because if Jesus was getting heat from the Pharisees, this is where you go because they wouldn’t go here. But, since Jesus is JESUS, would he need to run to a heathen town for protection? Marking that as a question to ask Him when I get there.

Anyways…

#2 – Jesus teaches lessons. Everything word from Jesus’ mouth that is documented in scripture was to teach his disciples. What a powerful lesson in how to treat someone! What a powerful example of how to change the way you view a person based on their culture and background.

Jesus said what he had heard his disciples saying.

He turned to this woman begging him for healing for her child, and his response?

“He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.’” (vs. 26)

Were his disciples shocked? Were you shocked? I was!

This isn’t my God! This isn’t my Savior!

I believe that Jesus used this conversation to further educate his followers then — and now — (That’s US.) on the fact that not one soul is lost to God. Not one.

After Jesus repeatedly rebuffed her, calling her a “dog,” and saying “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel,” she continues to challenge his answers. She’s heard of this man. She knows what he is capable of.

This brings us into Truth #3.

#3 – Jesus likes persistence. The New Testament is chock full of persistent women.

The Parable of the Persistent Widow found in Luke 18: 1-8.

The Woman With the Issue of Blood found in three Gospels: Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48, and Matthew 9:20-22.

Could it be that Jesus seized the day on this one? Could it be that in this situation, he could literally see his Persistent Widow Parable come to life before his and and his disciples eyes? Do you think he went. “WOOHOOOOOO! Finally! Let’s do this!”?

In the Parable of the Persistent Widow, Luke 18 opens with “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. ” In our scripture today, our woman prayed and didn’t give up. Not to insults. Not to a flat out “No, I’m not here for you.”

She persisted.

And, we are to persist too.

Jesus loves us. Jew and Gentile, slave and free, man and woman, we are ALL loved in the eyes of God. (Galatians 3:28)

Pray today. Pray like the Canaanite Woman, who is unnamed but her story yet is still told to us today. Pray like the Persistent Widow how Jesus himself told us to. Pray like the Woman With the Issue of Blood, who knew that if she merely touched the tip of his garment she would be healed.

Pray today. Be persistent. And, allow Jesus to say “…you have great faith! Your request is granted.” 

FOMO vs. Jesus

Fomo versus Jesus. A post about the fear of missing out as a Christian by Dawn Michelle Michals

I’ve been a little obsessed lately with FOMO.

You know…

The Fear of Missing Out.

And, I’ve been wondering how it applies to Jesus. And, as a Christian.

Can we truly miss out as a Christian? Can we miss out on what God has planned for us? Where we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to be doing?

Well…

Yes, and No.

Are you listening to God? Then no. You are right where he wants you. If you miss something than you can truly trust that He had you where he wanted you in that time and you weren’t supposed to see it and weren’t supposed to be there.

But what if you aren’t listening?

What if you are doing your own thing and not God’s thing?

Then yes. Definitely. I believe and know that you could be and are missing out.

Why?

Because God has great plans for you. Plans of hope and a future. Not to harm you. (Jeremiah 29:11)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Got has GREAT things planned for you. And, just as he knows the numbers of hairs on your head, he knows the exact reasons he placed you on this planet.

He knows…

Every.

Single.

One.

And, if you listen to him, he will guide you and direct your path. If you listen to him and draw close to him then he will draw closer to you. (James 4:8)

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 4:8 (NIV)

And, if you draw closer to God you are in his right hand and cannot and will not miss out on anything.

But, the key here is:

You have to trust God. Trust him with your life. And, put him and his glory first. If you seek him first, then everything you need will fall into place. That means that every place you need to be, every door that you need opened, and every door that you need shut are now in his control.

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 

Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

So today I urge you to let God take control, and let him have your FOMO. You can not and will not miss out on anything with our Heavenly Father involved. He’s good like that.

Global Seasons and Texas Reasons

Today, I’m thinking back to when my back acre was alive with life.

When the wildflowers were in bloom.

And, the grass was green.

And, my yard didn’t look like a scene out of “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.”

Have you been to Texas in August?

Nuff said.

Now, the grass is tender and brown and my yard shows more bare earth than lush anything.

We are under water restrictions where I live, but I wouldn’t water anyway. It’s a moot point this time of year when Mother Nature proves she’s in charge and the rain clouds heed her warnings.

Plus, if we do get rain, we’d probably get a tornado thrown in with it.

Seasons.

We all have them. And, we all live through them. No matter what time of year, we know what’s coming.

Very different from other seasons in our lives, right?

Right now, we all are in the same season for once. A global season, in fact. How does that make you feel?

From Ecclesiastes 3:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.