BEYOND OUR FAULTS

He felt sorry for them and healed those who were sick.
MATTHEW 14:14

Matthew writes that Jesus healed their sick. Not some of their sick. Not the righteous among the sick. Not the deserving among the sick. But the sick. Surely, among the many thousands, there were a few people unworthy of good health. The same divinity that gave Jesus the power to heal also gave him the power to perceive … I wonder if Jesus was tempted to say to the bigot, “Get out of here, buddy, and take your arrogance with you.”

And he could see not only their past, he could see their future.

Undoubtedly, there were those in the multitude who would use their new found health to hurt others. Jesus released tongues that would someday curse. He gave sight to eyes that would lust. He healed hands that would kill …

Each time Jesus healed, he had to overlook the future and the past.

Something, by the way, that he still does.

from IN THE EYE OF THE STORM

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A Heart Like His

We are like clay, and you are the potter; your hands made us all.
ISAIAH 64:8

[God] wants us to be just like Jesus.

Isn’t that good news? You aren’t stuck with today’s personality. You aren’t condemned to “grumpydom.” You are tweakable. Even if you’ve worried each day of your life, you needn’t worry the rest of your life. So what if you were born a bigot? You don’t have to die one.

Where did we get the idea we can’t change? From whence come statements such as, “It’s just my nature to worry” or, “I’ll always be pessimistic. I’m just that way.” … Who says? Would we make similar statements about our bodies? “It’s just my nature to have a broken leg. I can’t do anything about it.” Of course not. If our bodies malfunction, we seek help. Shouldn’t we do the same with our hearts? Shouldn’t we seek aid for our sour attitudes? Can’t we request treatment for our selfish tirades? Of course we can. Jesus can change our hearts. He wants us to have a heart like his.


Just Like Jesus

Hear, O My People

“Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me. . . . open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” (Psalm 81:8, 10)

This psalm was evidently used as an introduction to one of Israel’s feasts and begins on a note of joy (vv. 1-4) and a reflection on God’s sovereign provision for the people (vv. 5-7). But then it merges into a warning not to leave the God of their fathers, sternly reminding them of the commandment, “There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god” (v. 9).

Such rebellion grieves God. “So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels” (v. 12). When we will not go His way, He does not abandon us, but does allow us to go our way. He permits us to learn hard lessons by our own folly, lessons that He would rather have taught us gently, while in fellowship with Him.

“Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries” (vv. 13-14).

He reminds us that He is capable of meeting all our needs, of every sort. “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it” (v. 10). The imagery used here is that of a mother bird feeding her otherwise helpless young. They are dependent on her for all their needs, even life itself.

Jehovah invites us to wholeheartedly trust Him for all our needs. His reservoir is boundless; how much He gives to any one individual depends only on how much we allow Him to give. He adjures us to open our mouths wide, so that He can abundantly fill them.

May God develop in us, not only “wide mouths,” but also the faith to trust Him for abundant provision.

by John D. Morris, Ph.D.

Then Moses sang at the Red Sea

“And so all Israel shall be saved.” Romans 11:26

Then Moses sang at the Red Sea, it was his joy to know that all Israel were safe. Not a drop of spray fell from that solid wall until the last of God’s Israel had safely planted his foot on the other side the flood. That done, immediately the floods dissolved into their proper place again, but not till then. Part of that song was, “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed.” In the last time, when the elect shall sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and of the Lamb, it shall be the boast of Jesus, “Of all whom thou hast given me, I have lost none.” In heaven there shall not be a vacant throne.

“For all the chosen race
Shall meet around the throne,
Shall bless the conduct of His grace,
And make His glories known.”

As many as God hath chosen, as many as Christ hath redeemed, as many as the Spirit hath called, as many as believe in Jesus, shall safely cross the dividing sea. We are not all safely landed yet:

“Part of the host have crossed the flood,
And part are crossing now.”

The vanguard of the army has already reached the shore. We are marching through the depths; we are at this day following hard after our Leader into the heart of the sea. Let us be of good cheer: the rear-guard shall soon be where the vanguard already is; the last of the chosen ones shall soon have crossed the sea, and then shall be heard the song of triumph, when all are secure. But oh! if one were absent—oh! if one of His chosen family should be cast away—it would make an everlasting discord in the song of the redeemed, and cut the strings of the harps of paradise, so that music could never be extorted from them.