VIDEO The Difference Made With The Deaf and Mute Man

And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well.” Mark 7:37

Strange as it seems, Jesus made a difference on three occasions with his spittle. He used His saliva three times in healing the sick. The first was the deaf and mute man in Mark 7. Jesus took the man away from the crowds, spat, and touched the man’s tongue, healing him. In the next chapter, Jesus spat on a blind man’s eyes, restoring his sight. And in John 9, Jesus healed another man by spitting on the ground, making mud, and spreading it across the man’s eyes. When the man washed it off, he could see.

Scholars have debated this subject for years. While a few sources say ancient writers like Pliny the Elder believed spittle had medicinal powers, the Jews seemed to view it with disgust. Yet Jesus even used the disgusting to accomplish His purposes. We can never understand all His methods, but we can all receive His blessings. He does all things well.

If even His spittle has the power to make such a difference in people’s lives, what of His blood!

You took me by the hand when I thought I could not stand…Christ, you made the difference in me. Patrick Love


The Healing of the Deaf Mute (Mark 7:31–37) — A Sermon by R.C. Sproul

How Great Is Our God!

Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Psalm 111:2

Fingerprints have long been used to identify people, but they can be faked by creating copies. Similarly, the pattern of the iris in the human eye is a reliable source for ID—until someone alters the pattern with a contact lens to skew the results. The use of biometrics to identify individuals can be defeated. So, what qualifies as a unique identifying characteristic? It turns out that everyone’s blood-vessel patterns are unique and virtually impossible to counterfeit. Your own personal “vein map” is a one-of-a-kind identifier, setting you apart from everyone else on the planet.

Pondering such complexities of human beings should prompt a sense of worship and wonder for the Creator who made us. David reminded us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), and that is certainly worth celebrating. In fact, Psalm 111:2 reminds us, “Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.”

Even more worthy of our attention is the divine Maker Himself. While celebrating God’s great deeds, we also must celebrate Him! His deeds are great, but He’s even greater, prompting the psalmist to pray, “For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God” (86:10).

Today, as we consider the greatness of what God does, may we also marvel at the greatness of who He is.

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

What things instill a sense of awe and wonder in you? How will you make time to praise God for His marvelous works today?

Father, I can easily be sidetracked into thinking too much about creation without truly considering You—the One who made all of creation. Help me to marvel at You.

Read Get Outside: Knowing God through His Creation.

Sunday Reflection: Lacking Nothing

No matter what you have or don’t have, true wholeness comes from Jesus alone.

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.

Many people today may appear fine on the outside, but if we could look beneath the surface, we’d see otherwise—places in their souls they’ve tried to fill with worldly success, possessions, or popularity. But the truth is, those things will never satisfy. Only God can give us genuine fulfillment and peace. (See John 6:35; Philippians 4:6-7.)

Now, this doesn’t mean that life will always be perfect or ordered just to our liking. In fact, Jesus told us that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33), but if we are in Him, we’ll experience a sense of wholeness that can never be taken away. We may still want other things, but because we are complete in Christ, those desires won’t exert such a strong pull on us. Whether they come our way or not, we can remain truly satisfied with the One who calls us His beloved children (1 John 3:1). We can rest in the sufficiency of His love and the joy of life in Him.

Think about it

• Do you feel any lack within yourself? How have you tried to fill it over the years? Have you still been left wanting?

The Mother of Us All

“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” (Genesis 3:20)

Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was called the mother of all “the children of promise” (Galatians 4:28), and the wife of Noah was the mother of all post-Flood mankind, but Mother Eve, alone, was “the mother of all living.” “Adam was first formed, then Eve,” Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:13, and so-called “Christian evolutionists” have never yet been able to explain God’s unique formation of Eve’s body in any kind of an evolutionary context.

Eve, as our first mother, experienced all the great joys and great sorrows that all later mothers would know. She evidently had many “sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:4) and probably lived to see many generations of grandchildren. With Adam, she had even known paradise, but sin had entered their lives when they rebelled against God’s Word, and God had to say, “In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16). The greatest sorrow was no doubt when Cain slew Abel, and as with another mother whose Son’s innocent blood was shed many years later, it was like a sword piercing her own soul (Luke 2:35).

Nevertheless, as near as we can tell, after her first great sin, Eve trusted God’s Word henceforth and received His forgiveness and salvation. Later, as the mother of Seth, she taught him and her grandson, Enos, about the Lord and all His promises. “Then began men to call upon the name of the LORD” (Genesis 4:26).

Most Christian believers are looking forward to seeing their own mothers again someday—restating their love and appreciation for all they did in bearing them, and in caring, teaching, and praying for them. But it will be a wonderful experience to meet our first mother, also, as well as Sarah, Hannah, Mary, and all the other godly mothers of old. HMM

The True Essence of Faith

Now we have received…the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. —1 Corinthians 2:12

The witness of the Spirit is a sacred inner thing which cannot be explained. It is altogether personal and cannot be passed from one to another….[T]he outward ear cannot hear what it says. Much less can the worldly onlooker know what is taking place.

The Spirit whispers its mysterious Presence to the heart, and the heart knows without knowing how it knows. Just as we know we are alive by unmediated knowledge and without recourse to proof, so we know we are alive in the Holy Spirit….The witness is in the hidden regions of the spirit, too deep for proof, where external evidence is invalid and “signs” are of no use.

When all is said, it may easily be that the great difference between professing Christians (the important difference in this day) is…between those who have reduced Christianity to an intellectual formula and those who believe that the true essence of our faith lies in the supernatural workings of the Spirit in a region of the soul not accessible to mere reason. WTA089-090

Show me a man who makes the law of God the rule, and the glory of God the end of his conduct…and I will show you one whose heart has been sanctified by the Spirit of grace. DTC207

“Stupid”

Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”—Luke 22:60

Today we look at a game called “Stupid.” Simon Peter played this game. Picture the scene. Peter, the big fisherman, strong, resolute, determined, firm in his declaration of love for Christ, denies all knowledge of the Master. Why? He had walked with the Master for three whole years, heard Him speak the most wonderful words, saw Him heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and work other amazing miracles. Yet when he is asked if he knows Jesus, his response is one of withdrawal. In other words, he plays stupid.

Eric Berne claims that whenever we play games, it is always for a reward. What was Peter’s reward? It was the reinforcement of his fear. Why should the reinforcement of his fear be a reward? Well, the more deeply he believed that he was afraid and the more he did to reinforce that fear, the easier it would be to excuse himself for his failure to stand up for Jesus when confronted. The final pay-off was to be protected from danger.

A Christian schoolteacher told me that at an educational conference, someone happened to remark that the Bible was a fable. The man then turned to the schoolteacher and said: “What do you think?” He told me that his first impulse was to play stupid and say: “I am not sure,” or “I don’t know.” He caught himself just about to play the game but instead accepted the challenge of the situation and responded with some positive comments. To play the game of “Stupid” may bring temporary benefits, but the dishonesty involved greatly upsets one’s spiritual balance.

Prayer

O Father, help me to be an honest person. Help me to absorb Your love in such a measure that it will dissolve every fear. Then strengthen me to face life—fearless and unafraid. Amen.

Further Study

Ac 5:1-10; Ps 63:11; Pr 19:5; Jr 9:5

When we play “Stupid,” what are we really doing?

How serious is it?

That You May Marvel

Then Jesus replied, “I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way.

For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing, and He will show Him greater works than these so that you will be amazed.”—John 5:19–20

Jesus, realizing that His role was that of a servant, never sought to initiate activity for the Father (Matt. 20:28). The servant never sets the agenda—the master does. The servant must be so alert to what the master is doing that whenever the master begins to move in a direction the servant quickly joins him. Even the Son of God did not assume He knew the best thing to do in a situation. Instead, He looked to see the Father’s activity and then joined Him. Jesus knew His Father so well that He was keenly sensitive to divine activity around Him, immediately recognizing His Father at work.

It is possible for us to be so busy trying to bring God into our activity that we don’t even notice Him at work around us. He seeks to redirect our attention so that we might join Him, but we tend to be self-centered, evaluating everything by how it affects us. We must learn to view events around us from God’s perspective. Then we will see our world very differently. When God brings someone across our path, we will look to see if God is convicting that person of his need for salvation. Perhaps God is comforting someone in her sorrow. God might be encouraging your friend as she faces a challenge. We will then adjust our lives to join God as He works in that person’s life. We ought to live each day with tremendous anticipation as we look to see where God is working around us. As our eyes are opened to His activity, we will marvel at His great works.