Friday, 21 April 2017

Discerning the glitter from the Gold. ~Ganeida

This week we are going to have a quick look @ true & false prophets. For the purposes of this study we include all teachers, ministers, & prophets together collectively. 

 Hosea 4:6 says My people are being destroyed because they don't know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests.

I do not want to see any of you fail to receive your reward because of a lack of knowledge. These are confusing times & more now than ever we need to be grounded in the word of God.

One reason for this can be found in 2 Timothy:
You should know this, Timothy,  that in the last days there will be very difficult times. You should know this, Timothy,  that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

In other words, according to 2Peter 2:1,2 But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered.

There has always been a problem amongst God’s people, & within the church, with false prophets~ people who, for whatever reason, teach untruths.  I am not speaking of those who speak the occasional untruth by accident but of those who wilfully & deliberately set about teaching things that cannot be found in scripture, cannot be supported by scripture, ~ or twist the scriptures to suit their own purposes.

Jude hadn’t wanted to write about the trouble in the church.  He wanted to write about the salvation all believers share in but he was impelled by the times he lived in ~ & so are we ~ for …some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God's marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives.
The word for immoral is aselgeia & it means intemperance; licentiousness,  lasciviousness,  insolence, outrageous behaviour ~ & the definition for licentiousness is lacking legal or moral restraints; disregarding sexual restraints. Lasciviousness means reflecting or producing sexual desire or behaviour, especially that is considered indecent or obscene.

Jude isn’t writing to unbelievers.  He is writing to believers & we have seen the disasterous results in the Catholic church when immorality is found acceptable. However there is a less obvious, far more subtle, & generally accepted poison that has worked its way into the body of Christ. Romans 1:29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarrelling, deception, malicious behaviour, and gossip

Greed, deception [lying], quarrelling, gossip aren’t seen as such terrible things but such thinking is completely unbiblical.  It is roundly condemned throughout scripture. [Romans, Corinthians, Galatians & Ephesians all have something to say about it]. Two are listed as an abomination: a lying tongue & a false witness ~ gossip & lies! [Proverbs 6:16~19]

Jude says that wickedness suppresses the truth[v.18] & he gets quite blunt in verses 18 & 19. They [that is the apostles] told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires

These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God's Spirit in them.  Again, we are not talking about unbelievers but people within the church.  Without God’s Spirit you get religion & without the Spirit to restrain the natural instincts you get ungodly desires uncontrolled.

Perhaps the most needed gift within the church today is the gift of discernment, that ability to sift the truth from lies, to tell the false from the genuine, sound doctrine from corruption.  Not all churches are the same.  Not all doctrine is sound.  According to Galatians 5:9 This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough!

That being the case I am going to give you 7 things that will help to separate the wheat from the chaff.

We know that satan is a liar & the father of lies.  All false doctrine originates with him. There is a different gospel. Galatians 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.

There are false ministers.

2 Corintians11:12: But I will continue doing what I have always done. This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours. These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.

They produce false Christians…. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not2 Cor.11:26
As Jesus stated The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. Matthew 13:38

Therefore how do you discern the Truth?

2nd Peter describes genuine & false believers.
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. .[1:5~10]

2nd Peter 2 lists several ways false teachers operate.
·      They deny the Master who bought them. [v1]
·      Immorality[v2]
·      Greed [v3]
·      Lies [v3]
·      Proud & arrogant [v 10]
·      They scoff @ things they do not understand [v 10]
·      They delight in deception [v13]
·      They commit adultery with their eyes [v14]
·      They brag about themselves [v18]
·      They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin & corruption [v19]
1.We see that false teachers have a different source.  They invent cleverly made up stories [2P1:16] Matthew 15:9 says Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. Colossians 2:22 also speaks of man made doctrines.
2. They have a different message.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

Jesus is central.  Anything else, no matter how clever, or how wise it seems, is not of God. We have everything we need because we have the Holy Spirit.  Without Him we have only ourselves & this leads to people making up things to compensate for the lack of power in their lives.
3. They have a different position.
They do not have the freedom that a true Christian has for if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. John 8:36 Peter condemns them as promising freedom yet themselves being slaves to depravity. [2:19]
4. They produce a different character.
The Holy Spirit produces fruit according to Galatians 5:22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
The counterfeit produces arrogance and slander (2:10). *experts in greed*, *eyes are full of adultery* (2:14)& they “despise authority” (2:10).
5.  Different Appeal
This is, I think, pretty self explanatory.  The true prophet, the true teacher, the true minister, will always appeal to scripture.  What does God’s word say?  They will speak the hard things, exhort people to grow closer to God & live according to His standards.  The false will offer comforting lies, refuse to confront sin, & appeal to people’s flesh.
6. Different Fruit
[v8] The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We looked at the preceding verses earlier so we know we are meant to grow in knowledge, understanding, faith, moral excellence.  A stagnant Christian is a dead Christian.
The false people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. [2P2:17]
7. Lastly they have a different end.
This is the most appalling thing of all & the reason that we must be vigilant as a church & as individual believers.
For the true believer:  So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; [2P1:10~11]
But for the false there is only *swift destruction.*

Remember last week we said everything reproduces after its own kind.  Satan reproduces himself in those who knowingly or unknowingly follow him.  Christ reproduces Himself in us through the work of His Holy Spirit.

Friday, 14 April 2017

All Things New ~ Ganeida

2000 years ago a grief stricken woman made her way to a tomb. Her name was Mary Magdalene & she had come to finish the burial rites that had not taken place due to the Sabbath for the man they called Jesus of Nazareth.  It was very early ~ pre~dawn ~ but there was enough light to establish one inescapable fact: the stone sealing the tomb had been rolled away & the tomb itself was empty.

Shocked & distressed she ran to find Simon Peter & John & together they returned to the tomb. There were the graveclothes; where was the body?  The Jewish religious leaders would not have removed it.  It would have made them unclean.  The Roman authorities would not have removed it without the grave clothes it was wrapped in. The soldiers guarding the tomb would not have removed it: their very lives depended on it.

Even after Peter & John had returned home Mary remained, weeping. It was as she turned to leave she saw someone standing there. I want you to note something.  It the early morning light, in the gloom under the trees of the garden, Mary did not recognise Jesus.  She mistook Him for the gardener.

She was not expecting to find the dead among the living. She had expected to find a body in need of washing & rewrapping in herbs & spices. She *knows* that Jesus is dead.  She saw Him die.  She saw His broken body taken down from the cross. She knows the signs of death~ the blood separating into its component parts, the *dead weight*, the lack of breath. She has followed Him to the tomb & seen Him laid inside. Even so, how did she mistake a man she had followed for 3 years for the gardener?

In her grief I suspect Mary did not really look at the man who confronted her in the garden but I also suspect she did not recognise Jesus clothing either.  His robe, prayer shawl, sandals & belt were gambled for at the foot of the cross.

Instead He wore a linen tunic, linen trousers, a linen belt, some sort of head covering & barefooted ~ which was the common garb of a gardener.  Now this is absolutely fascinating because this is what the High Priest wore at Yom Kippur ~ the Day of Atonement ~ & what did the High Priest do on Yom Kippur?  He entered the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sins of the people!

Jesus statement to Mary makes sense in this context: Don’t cling to me for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father… [John 20:17]

In the wilderness Jesus dealt with satan’s assault on the flesh, the soul & the spirit. On the cross Jesus dealt with the issue of mankind’s’ sin. One thing yet remained to be dealt with ~ sin in the heavenlies.
Sin did not originate with mankind.  It began in Heaven. It began with satan. It began with the angels who rebelled. I know of no approbation for the sin of angels.

I believe the bible is very literal.  Jesus is not metaphorically our High Priest.  He  is  our High Priest.  The duties of a High Priest fall to Him.  And He had a duty to fulfill in heaven as our High Priest, the very first thing needed:  He atoned for our sins in the heavenly temple.  With His own blood.  Shed for us.

However when Jesus went to the cross, something happened that changed the course of world events.  God tore the veil that lay between us & God. Though the Jews did not realise it the old order had changed.  

The High Priest disqualified himself when he tore his robes [Matt.26:65] according to Leveticus 21:10. The office stood empty over the Passover.  Men may not have realised that but God did. The time of blood sacrifices was ended for the final, perfect & only acceptable sacrifice had been made. Jesus died as the Passover lamb; He rose as our High Priest & His first order of business was to enter the Holy of Holies in the Heavenly Temple & offer His own blood as appropriation for our sins. And because His was a perfect sacrifice it only needed to be made the once.

Hebrews 4
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Here is the thing: the resurrection of Jesus changed everything forever.  He completely destroyed the works of satan. Yes, we still see them because satan is still the god of this world & people still give him his allotment of death, of suffering, of disease, of destruction, of robbery. But Jesus is coming again & when He does all that He achieved through His death on the cross will be fully implemented.

But I have been redeemed out of the hand of satan by the precious blood of Jesus.  I am a co~heir [Romans 8:17] with Jesus Christ & all the promises are mine to claim.

Jesus has made everything new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! Or as the KJV puts it ~  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Jesus not only died for us ~ He died as us! “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” [ Gal. 2:20]

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” [Col. 3:3]

When you believe on the Name of Jesus the Holy Spirit does a remarkable work in you.  He joins your life with Christ’s; He puts His Spirit within you; He crucifies the old life & gives you His abundant life because if you are  “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” – Col. 2:12

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” – Col. 3:1

The unregenerated life cannot live the Christ life. You must be made new & there is only one way for that to happen. John 3:3 Jesus replied, "Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

John 3:36 And anyone who believes in God's Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn't obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God's angry judgment."

Up until the moment Jesus rose from the dead the whole world remained under God’s wrath.  The Law had been given so that man might know how far he was from God’s standard but the law revealed all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,[Romans 3:23]

Jesus changed that.  He imparts to us His own righteousness. And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:23~ 1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.  We are not appointed to wrath…

So as we come to communion put aside Easter eggs & chocolate for they have nothing to do with the King of Kings.  Instead consider Passover, with all its rich symbolism.

At that final meal Jesus told His disciples: “I have greatly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer…” [Luke 22:15]

Egypt symbolised sin, & the Israelites were brought out of Egypt as Christ brings us out of sin.  Jesus, about to become the Passover Lamb, understood the enormity of what His sacrifice would achieve & we have considered all that is hidden in Passover when we celebrate the seder.  

In the garden of Gethsemane Christ laid it all down, even His very life. He was beaten that we might be healed.  He was stripped naked that we might be clothed with His righteousness.  He died that we might live. You can stand with the mockers around the cross & cry, If you are Christ ~ save yourself, or you can stand with the thief,  acknowledge that you are a sinner & say, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

Communion reminds us implicitly:
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19

Jesus is the Way, The Truth & the Life so let us rejoice & give thanks for…

When we bless the cup at the Lord's Table, aren't we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren't we sharing in the body of Christ? And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. 1 Cor. 10: 16~17

The Healing Word ~ Ganeida

We have talked a lot about the Word of God; its transforming power; how God esteems His Word above His Name. [Psalm 138:2] We have pointed out that God & His Word are one: [John1:1] God, Jesus, Holy Spirit ~ One.  The Holy Spirit in us makes us one with the Word, one with God. The *New Creation* [2 Corinthians 5:17] has made us supernatural beings capable of living supernatural lives because God's Word does not return void.  It does accomplish the purpose for which it has been sent.

Sadly many, many Christians get saved yet neve learn how to release the supernatural power of God in their lives through the indwelling word.

It is essential we learn to live according to the Word of God in a way that will release God's supernatural power into our lives.  Just imagine the impact our witness & testimony would have if we lived & acted just like Jesus! Well, Guess what?  We are meant to!

The Law of Creation as reveal in Genesis states *everything reproduces according to its own kind.*

When you were born naturally you were *conceived in sin* [Psalm 51:5] ~ as every single human being has been since Adam & Eve.  The only exception is Jesus.  Adam & Eve reproduced after their fallen state.  They reproduced according to their own kind.

Well, so does Jesus! John 5:24 says that the one who believes in Jesus *has passed from death to life* & Jesus states that He came that we might have abundant life. [John 10:10]

We are so used to living the natural life we scarcely believe in the supernatural life yet we were  created for the supernatural life. We are designed, not only to bear the image & likeness of Christ, but to carry His power & authority. The spiritual realm understands this.  They are terrified of *The Word*. They know the power & authority implicit in the word.

The supernatural life challenges us to live by faith, rather than by sight; to trust in the Lord with all our hearts & lean not on our own understanding. [Proverbs 3:5]

After Jesus' baptism the Holy Spirit drove Him into the desert where He fasted for 40 days. At the end of His fast the devil came & tempted Him in 3 ways:
  • He was tempted through the flesh: "If you are the son of man tell these stones to become loaves of bread..." [Matt.4:3]
  • Through the emotions & the will by manipulation of the scriptures: "If you are the son of man jump off..."[Matt. 4:6]
  • Through the Spirit: ...kneel down & worship me...[Matt. 4:9]
The devil, not being very original, uses these exact same tactics today, targeting these same 3 areas.  He will wait until we are at a low ebb, preferably when we are at our weakest, & attacks our flesh, our soul & our spirit.

Each time Jesus was attacked He countered with the Word of God. If Jesus Himself neede to counter satan with God's Word, what makes us think  we can get by without it?

It is in this passage of scripture we learn a very important Truth:

The very first place the Holy Spirit sent Jesus was into the wilderness to deal with satan & Jesus states clearly: People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. [Matt 4:4]

Did you catch that? Man lives by the Word of God! Later in 1 John 5:12 John says He who has the son [ie the Word] has life; he who does not have the son of God does not have life.

Everyone here has seen at least one miracle; everyone has seen someone raised from the dead!

Ephesians 2:1 says ~ And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses & sins...

These are Gospel Truths.  This is the Good News of Jesus Christ. Can you see that this is our inheritance as children of God?

You have a choice.  You can be ruled by your flesh.  When it hurts you can believe the devil's lies~ or you can live by the Word of God & believe what the Word says.

Remember how the Israelites lost the promised land?  Moses sent spies into the land.  You can read all about it it in Numbers 13.  They explored the land  & reported back to the people.  They agreed that the land was indeed flowing with milk & honey just as God had said but they differed on one essential: the word of God.  The majority of the spies refused to believe that they could indeed conquer the land  as God had promised & scripture says they spread *an evil report* about the land amongst the people. [Numbers 13:32]

when you differ with what the Word of God says you are, essentially, arguing with God~ even calling Him a liar because you do not believe what He has said already in His Word. To contradict the word of God is *bad* or *evil*.  Nothing good comes of it.

Some people are led completely by their souls~ by how they feel & what they think but we are to be led by the spirit of God. [Romans8:14]

"Where was God when...: ~ but God's Word says * I will never leave you or forsake you* [Hebrews 13:5] ; lo I am with you always... [Matt. 28:20]

It does not matter whether you can *feel* God or not.  It doesn't matter what you think.  God says He is with you so He is, whether you think so or not, whether you can feel His presence of not.

Now this level of trust is only acquired by knowing the author of the Word. It is one thing to read the scriptures & another thing to become *doers of the word* [James 1:22] but if we try & do any of it in our own strength we will fail abysmally.

Everything we have in Christ we have by the grace of God.  We receive a *measure of faith* to believe unto salvation by God's Grace & it is by God's Grace  we grow in our faith. We are not merely passive recipients. James 4:8 says *Draw near to God, & He will draw near to you.*

We can ask the Holy Spirit to teach us.  We can ask the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom & understanding.  We can ask for revelation ~ & all this will be imparted by Grace.  We must believe that we have received  but having received we must act on the revelation imparted to us.  We must believe the Word, Speak the Word, Act on the Word. It won't always be the easiest thing to do.  Our flesh will scream.  Our minds will shout about *facts*  & our emotions will protest but the more we act on what we know is true [God's word is Truth [John 17:17] the easier it will become & the more our faith will grow.

In Matthew 11 Jesus told people to *Take my yoke upon you, & learn from me...*. This is an allusion to the Jewish method of discipleship wherein a disciple took on his master's training & discipline but there is a practical application also.  The traditional yoke had both a large hole & a smaller hole for the oxen.  In this way an older, stronger & more mature beast could be teamed with a younger, weaker, immature animal to learn by being guided by the more knowledgeable beast while the stonger beast bore the brunt of the burden.  This is a wonderful picture of how we are meant to walk with Jesus for He said to learn from Him.

According to Steve Hannett: *If you've been praying hard & it's been fruitless, the root is that your prayer hasn't the right mixture of faith & God's Word. If you have faith but no word, you won't have power.  If you have God's word but no faith you won't have power.  When you have both, you will have a release of God's miracle power.*

You must believe what scripture says: that God's Word never returns void; it always accomplishes the purposes for which it was sent. So don't get discouraged if you have prayed & do not *see* results.  God's word always works.

Remember the story Jesus told about the widow & the unjust judge told in Luke 18:6~8?  She badgered him until she got justice.  So we are encouraged to persist in prayer until we receive what the word has promised.

We cannot preach the full Gospel until we fully grasp all of creation must obey the Word of God. Only then will we understand that when we lay hands on the sick & pray for healing that no matter what the sickness it must obey for by Jesus stripes we were healed because our God is a healing God.

Now I want to add a particular caution here because sometimes we find in charismatic circles people who point fingers at those who have been prayed for yet are still waiting to see their healing manifest.  Such things should not be so among the people of God because Romans 14:1 says ~Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on his opinions & 1 Thessolonians 5:14 is even clearer Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. Sometimes it is easier if it is not us.

This is the Word of God.  In Jesus all the promises are yes & Amen [2 Corinthians 1:20] but all of scripture can be used for teaching, reproof, instruction, discipline ~ so we too can be like Jacob & taking hold of the Lord cry: I will not let you go unless you bless me. [Gen 32:26]

God likes bravery.  His Spirit in you is not timid & weak. He is bold. He is stronger than anything in this world & He desires that you trust completely in the Lord & lean not on your own understanding.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Children's Portion. ~ Ganeida

21 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre
and Sidon.22 A Gentile[a] woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”
23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”
24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”
25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”
26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

Tyre & Sidon were Gentile towns given to the worship of Isis under one of her many names. Put most bluntly they were towns where *worship* took the form of sexual immorality, so it is not surprising that this Gentile Woman's daughter was possessed by an evil spirit.  She had been trained from childhood to partake in immorality.

Our choices are not without consequences.  We have spoken before of how, when the Glory of God is a very real presence in an individual's or a congregation's life, judgement, correction, punishment is immediate & swift but when the Glory departs judgement may be so delayed people are deceived into believing that they have escaped judgement, or even believe that God approves of their sin.  Do not be deceived. God is not mocked but in His grace & mercy delays in the hope people will come to true repentance & be saved.

What is surprising is what this woman says.
"Oh, Lord; Son of David...

In the ancient world Lord was not an honoury title.  It meant master ~ someone to whom you gave complete allegiance & who could command every aspect of your life.  In effect this Gentile Woman was submitting herself completely to the Lordship of Jesus ~ something His own people consistently failed to do.  She then does something that astonishes me.  She calls Jesus *Son of David*.  This is a Messianic title.  How did this Gentile woman, this idolater, come by this knowledge?  What's more, she had an understanding of what this meant for she begged for mercy for her daughter.

This is one of my favourite N.T stories.  Here we see the Jesus seldom seen elsewhere i scripture.  When Jesus finally responds He gives her the straight facts of the matter:"I was sent only to help God's lost sheep~ the people of Israel." 

We are so used to thinking of Christianity as a Western religion we forget its roots are in the Middle East.  Jesus came to fulfill the Hebrew prophets' testimony of a Messiah from the tribe of Judah & the royal line of David.  Throughout His ministry Jesus is very, very clear about this.  Things would be very different now if the Jews had believed the Truth about what the Word of God revealed.

However this woman wasn't taking *no* for an answer. Somehow she had got hold of the Truth about who Jesus was.  She believed it completely & held fast to the Truth despite her circumstances.

Everything was against her.  She was gentile.  She was Pagan.  She was outside of Jesus' declared ministry.  Jesus tells her so.  "It isn't right to take food from the children & throw it to the dogs."

That sounds very harsh in our English but the Greek, kynarion, refers to a little dog, a lap dog, the family pet & the Gentile Woman understood it thus for she responds: "Even pets are allowed to eat the scraps that fall from the table."

It is a little play on words, a gentle teasing on Jesus part but it brings forth something we know God values: FAITH!  Without faith it is impossible to please God [Hebrews 11:6] & *Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen.  It gives us assurance about things we cannot see." [Hebrews 11:1] ~ And Jesus commends her for it.

Here is the thing, & I see it over & over amongst Christians: none of the promises belonged to this Gentile Woman.  She did not know the promises pertaining to Israel.  She was outside the covenant ~ but she heard & she believed.

For centuries the church has fallen prey to to satan's lies.  We have been taught the traditions of men above the Word of God.  We have forgotten, if we ever knew it, that God & His word are one. Jesus is God ~ & His Word is God. Through the word everything that is came into existence.  Everything in existence is subject to the Word of God.

We look @ things the wrong way up.  We see Jesus calm the wind & the waves & are amazed with the disciples that even the wind & the waves obey Him.  God is not amazed.  Through Jesus everything that is was spoken into being [Psalm 33:9; Hebrews 11:3] & is subject to Jesus' authority.

It is imperative that we renew our minds~ completely, absolutely, so that we understand nothing is greater than the Word of God.  Nothing supersedes the authority of Jesus: not sickness; not disease; not death; not demons.  We need a revelation deep in our spirits of the power & authority exercised by Jesus through His Word.

We have been trained by satan to believe pretty much anything except what the Word of God says.  If a doctor diagnoses us with cancer we believe Him.  Why? Did the doctor speak all of creation into existence? Has the doctor the authority to heal you? Is the doctor able to do more for you than Jesus can?  We may give all the right answers to these questions but the results betray the true state of our hearts.

Healing is *the children's portion*, & we, who have been grafted into the root of Jess also inherit the promises given to the descendants of Abraham.  Romans 12:2 says: Don't copy the behaviour & customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good, & pleasing & perfect

We don't have to wonder whether or not it is God's will for us to be healed.  We only have to believe & receive.  Scripture tells us God is a healing God. Scripture tells us He desires to give good things to His children.  Scripture says Jesus came to bring us abundant life. Sickness, death, disease all belong to satan. 

So how can we go about renewing our minds?  The first thing we need to understand is satan's great desire to separate us from the Word of God.  He understands far better than we do its power & authority & how it is to be wielded as a sword to bring down his strongholds.

When satan entered the Garden the very first thing he did was to plant doubt about God's word.  Was it true?  Could it be trusted?

Gen.3:1 records that satan was crafty ~ more subtle than any living creature of the field... & this is how he framed his deception: "Can it really be that God has said...?"  He didn't outright call God a liar.  He didn't say Eve was wrong.  Rather he got Eve to question herself.  He sowed doubt in her mind.  Had she heard correctly? Had she understood properly?

The end result wasn't pretty.  It is no prettier today.

The 2nd thing we need to do is examine our own hearts.  In the parable of the sower Jesus describes 4 sorts of hearts.  Each heart is sown with the Word of God but only one bears fruit.

Now I was taught as a child that this sowing was unto salvation but that cannot be all or there would be no need to refer to the bearing of fruit.  Rather it refers to what happens when we receive the Word & what we do with it.

The first heart has the Word snatched away. [Matt 13:19]

The Word is heard without understanding.  It never takes root in the Spirit.It gets snatched away quickly ~ so quickly the person never even gets saved. [Luke 8:12]

As you read through the O.T again & again you find those of the greatest faith, those most keenly attuned to God, are those who meditate on God's Word.  They think about it.  They ponder its meaning.  They act upon it.

The 2nd sort of heart is stony.  The stony heart allows for only a shallow planting of the Word of God but there is no deep transformation because there is not complete submission; no death to self & the self's desires. People like this are unable to stand in time of trial & adversity because they are no fully submitted to the Word of God.  There is no power in such a life because the Word has not been allowed to transform them.

The 3rd heart is thorny.  In such a heart the cares of this world & the deceitfulness of riches choke out the Word.  We are told not to worry.  God knows what we need & He provides for us but if we focus on these things we will bear no fruit.  The command is to seek first the kingdom of God & His righteousness & all these other things will be added. [Matt. 6:33]

A thorny heart is a divided heart.  It is a heart not wholly committed to God.  We know we are to fully meet God's requirements.  They include holiness, righteousness, commitment to God & His ways before all else.  We were created to live for God & enjoy Him forever but too often we allow other things to come between us & God.  Thus we allow satan to steal our birthright & end up living half lives that produce little fruit.

The last heart is the one we should desire to have.  This is the single eyed heart, a heart fully devoted to God & committed to not only knowing His Word but understanding it & receiving revelation.  Such a heart can operate in the power of God because it not only knows God's Word but it has learnt to receive the revelation of God's Truth revealed in the Word, bringing revelation & maturity.  Such a person will not be swayed by the opinions of men, or the doctrine of churches, or the wisdom of this world.  It will allow the Word of God to produce its fruit in their lives.  

Those who allow this to happen receive a great reward.  They come to know Jesus.  They do not come to know Jesus as a great teacher or as a prophet, or as a miracle worker or as a healer. Rather they have the revelation of Jesus as the great I AM, who has chosen to reside in the tabernacle of those who have trusted in Him & whose power & authority is freely available to them through the Holy Spirit because of the shed blood & the righteousness they received through Christ.

According to 1 Cor.2:14 these things are spiritually discerned.  In Matt 13:15 Jesus warned  "For the hearts of the people have grown dull.  Their ears are hard of hearing & their eyes they have closed, lest they see with their eyes & hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts & turn, so that I should heal them.

James tells us that we have not because we do not ask.  Jesus tells us to ask & we shall receive.  Jesus has already taken on the work needed for all we need, including our healing. Our part is to believe the Word & receive  its Truth in our lives.

Now for most of us this is not going to happen in an instant.  However we can ask that as we commit to reading the scriptures the Holy Spirit will grant us greater & greater revelation & help us to grow our faith by meditating on God's Word & allowing it to transform our thinking.