Faith, as a grain of mustard seed.

Posted: March 27, 2012 in Shared Thoughts, Wake Up!
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Ps 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Part of the restoration process is the tearing down phase where God works to be sure we have a good foundation from which to rebuild. For that reason in my last few articles I reviewed a variety of topics in Luke which Jesus addressed before the Pharisees and His disciples, each having great significance. I have now come to the end of my recent scholastic yoyage and journalism to this place in scripture where Jesus tells us ‘If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you might say unto this sycamine tree, Be plucked up by the root, and be  planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”

Lord, grant us such faith.

In addition to the topics I’ve recently examined, there are equally significant others that Jesus’ shared deserving of a brief review. Such as when He asked lawyers and Pharisees which one of them would not rescue their ox or donkey if it had fallen into a ditch, even if it was on the Sabbath? Even though they couldn’t defend their own actions, they couldn’t avoid the hypocritical judgment that stirred in their hearts against Jesus when He then healed a man on the Sabbath before them.

While at the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread with them, Luke tells us that all these lawyers and Pharisees “watched” Him, meaning they insidiously and scrupulously observed Jesus looking for fault with Him. With purer judgment than theirs, Jesus openly acknowledged how all they all had taken seats of honor straightway when they came, risking shame and humiliation by possibly having their place taken from them for another more deserving. When invited to affairs such as a wedding Jesus explained, it was more prudent to take the lower place whereby they might receive respect from the host with honor as he publicly calls them up to better positions.

Luke 14:11 “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus said those who host such great suppers for their peers and friends weren’t doing anything special, for their friends would simply return the favor and therefore “you’ll have your reward.” Such affairs are usually nothing more than gatherings of the well-to-do to feeding their egos more than bellies as they exchange empty honors and salutations among themselves. Jesus said to truly host a great supper we are to invite those who have no hope or means to repay, and then you will receive a true reward and honor from God above.

Luke 14:13 “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.  14 “And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Continuing, Jesus shared how another “certain man gave a great supper and invited many,” but all those he had invited made excuses as to why they could not come and thus showed great disrespect towards the man. Angrily, the man told his servants “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Furthermore, he swore none of the previous invited would be allowed.

Turning towards the multitudes, Jesus then stressed that to truly follow Him would cost them everything. No other relations of loved one would be allowed to interfere with His invitation, be it their love for father, mother, wife or children; none would be accepted as a justification for their hesitancy or refusal to follow Him. “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple,” Jesus said. He stressed both the cost of following Him and the risk of not with two simple examples; the first one of a man starting to build a tower and not having the means to finish it being left humiliated, and the second of being confronted with the certainty of a conquering King coming and again, not having sufficient means to deliver oneself. In both examples it is clear “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” Where is this being taught unadulterated in churches nowadays? We’ve sinned against God and man making it too easy today for people to call themselves a Christian.

When the tax collectors and the sinners drew nearer to hear Him, the Pharisees and scribes murmured, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” I find that a bit funny seeing He was just eating with them. But Jesus only responded with asking which one of them having a hundred sheep wouldn’t leave the flock to go after that which is lost? Once gain forcing them to acknowledge what would be their own actions, as He did earlier when He asked what they’d do if their ox or donkey fell into a ditch on the Sabbath. Of course they too would go and rescue it and rejoice upon getting it out, just as did the women who lost her silver coin celebrated openly when she had found it again.  “Likewise,” Jesus said, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.

Next Jesus shared about the prodigal son who took his inheritance from a rich loving father and left him for another country only to waste it all foolishly to the point of nearly starving himself to death. But we learned he came to his senses and returned home to both the warm love of His father and the cold bitter judgment of his brother. Next were the accounting of a certain rich man and the unjust/wicked servant along with another rich man and Lazarus.

But now Jesus moves the conversation towards the real crux of the issue, sin. In all these previous narratives we can see Jesus either addressing the effects of sin in them, or the Pharisees reacting sinfully to them. In this fallen world it is inevitable sin is going to occur, which is why Jesus begins to describe the dangers of sin and the godly response we’re to have when sinned against.

Luke 17:1-5 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!  It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.  Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”

What I noticed first in here is the severity of the consequences, “It would be better for him if a millstone was hung around his neck, and he was thrown into the sea.” If there truly was no hell, and the wicked are simply going to quickly burn up like chaff in a fire, perish and simply cease to be, then how could being dragged downward to the bottom of the sea while drowning be better? Yet we live in a world that openly rejects or ignores the certainty of hell as they carelessly commit offences against God and man alike.

Secondly, I see the necessity (hence the “Take heed to yourselves”) to forgive. Like hell, forgiveness too seems to be widely rejected and ignored. People seem to think they have a right to be bitter against others who they believe have sinned against them. Many people hold on to their resentment for years and some even to the grave, refusing to allow any avenue of reconciliation. But here Jesus clearly says “If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

Most people struggle with Paul’s admonition of not letting the sun go down on their wrath with just one sin, let alone seven sins in a day. But there is also another aspect that some fail to grasp here as well, and that is Jesus’ qualifier, “If he repents, forgive him.” I always dread addressing this, because many only hear what they want and tend to want to justify their unforgiveness here with “But they didn’t repent!” Such an attitude clearly reveals an ignorance, pride and hardness towards why we must forgive.

Forgiveness works in two stages, one for both parties; first it removes any bitterness or hardness of heart from the offended party which makes way for the second stage, reconciliation of the offender back into a relationship with the one offended. That being said, regardless whether the one who sins against us repents or not, we are to forgive them from our hearts in order to protect our hearts from bitterness which will cause the greatest saint to fall from grace. Therefore forgiveness must be done even if it can only be proficient in the first stage.

Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all, and holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord;  15 looking diligently lest any fail of the grace of God, or lest any root of bitterness springing up disturb you, and by it many are defiled.

Unless the offender confesses their sin and repents, the final stage and desired end of forgiveness cannot be justly reached; reconciliation. This is based simply on the truth revealed in God’s word through the Prophet Amos, “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?” Now this doesn’t mean religious people cannot accept an unrepentant sinner back into their association, they do it all the same in the name of love, but not righteous love. There will never be true healing, fellowship or intimacy without repentance.

When it comes to forgiveness, the conditions Jesus sets forth are at least five-fold; believe the truth about one’s actions, repent, confess, forgive others and humbly seek to be reconciled. This is the message seen in “where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” Reconciliation is the last stage of forgiveness and requires all these steps if it is to ever be realized in spirit and truth. Any shortcut towards reconciliation will only result in truth being sacrificed and sin being enabled to continue because God’s only remedy has been circumvented.

We are to forgive others not only because we too have sinned, but because it is the godly and virtuous thing to do. We should desire to forgive others and grieve over their sins, not because we have been victimize, rather because they have sinned against God and grieved Him. It is this manner of heart that compelled Daniel, Jeremiah, other prophets to weep over the sins of others, often confessing the sins of others as their own because they know they too had fallen short of God and could trust only in His great mercies.

Just today I read again the last verses of Psalm 119,

Ps 119:169 Let my cry come near to You, O LORD; give me wisdom according to Your word. 170 Let my prayer come before You; deliver me according to Your word. 171 My lips shall utter praise, when You have taught me Your statutes. 172 My tongue shall speak Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness. 173 Let Your hand help me; for I have chosen Your precepts. 174 I have longed for Your salvation, O LORD; and Your law is my delight. 175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise You; and let Your judgments help me. 176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant; for I do not forget Your commandments.

How could one read Psalm 119 and fail to see the faith and righteousness of the author and his fear and love for God? Yet the ending note is “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant; for I do not forget Your commandments.” This is not a confession of being in sin, but of having sinned and still seeking that obtain the high prize of total reconciliation back to perfected oneness with his God, which comes after our humbly taking our places and embracing His truths while longing for the  shedding this corruptible mortal flesh to finally being clothed with glory and immortality. Beloved, flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, we must cross over Jordan first.

Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me. Lead me in the way everlasting.

Everyone who possessed by this hunger and thirst for righteousness will be led of the Spirit into a perfect agreement with God and others about their sins and by the Spirit of Truth led through the steps of reconciliation. That is why faith, faithfulness and forgiveness must be linked inseparably together with love and truth in the lives of believers. Otherwise, we have forgotten why we were forgiven and purged from our sins in the first place when we repented and surrendered our lives to Christ.

May grace and peace be yours in ever-increasing measure, as you continue in your acknowledgement of God and of Jesus, our Lord. For by His divine power we are given everything that is needful for a life of piety, as we advance in the knowledge of Him who called us through such a glorious manifestation of His goodness. For it was through this He gives us what we prize as the greatest of His promises, that through them you might participate in the divine nature, now that you have fled from the corruption in the world through lust.

But also in this very thing, bringing in all diligence, filling out your faith with virtue, and with virtue, knowledge; and knowledge with self-control, and with self-control, patience, and with patience. godliness, and with godliness, brotherly kindness, and with brotherly kindness, love. If these divine attributes are in you and abound, then you shall not be idle nor unfruitful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Surely the man who has not these virtues is shortsighted even to blindness, and has forgotten why he was purified from his sins of the past!

Therefore, Brothers, be even more diligent to make your call and election certain, for if you do these things you will never stumble and so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (II Peter 1:2-11)

 To be forgiven is to have the offense of our actions removed so that our relationship with Christ and each other can continue to grow and be fruitful to the glory of God. But forgiveness is not enough, it must be followed up of faithfulness unto righteousness bearing fruit unto holiness to the end, everlasting life. Or as Jesus frequently said, “Go and sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you.”

But as Jesus warned us, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!” We have been given promise that the very core of nature of sin can be purged from us, if we will only humble ourselves and yield to the Spirit of Christ. That the once sinner who as a sheep gone astray can become Christ-like by obeying God’s truth through the empowering of His Spirit. Saints, who are born again by the incorruptible seed of God’s word, washed clean by the blood of the Lamb and quicken by His Spirit.

But at the mere mentioning of forgiving one and another seven times a day and receiving him back again, the disciples were overwhelmed, for they said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” It is here that Jesus assures them of the power of faith, even a little bit as “a grain of mustard seed.”

Luke 17:6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this sycamine tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Now that wasn’t the end of Jesus words to them, for He wasn’t about to leave them without understanding. Faith isn’t just some great mystifying thing that we can’t understand; rather faith begins on the threshold of understanding. To perhaps clarify that statement I would like to again share a quote by John H. Leith, who compiled a book concerning Christian doctrine from the Bible days to the present entitled “Creeds of the Churches”

 “. . . the nature of man is an intelligent being. Just because of intelligence the Christian, of all men, has to learn to discern with agonizing clarity what is conceivable by him about God Himself. What cannot be thought through critically and expressed with reasonable clarity cannot demand the allegiance of man’s whole being. Understanding is necessary for man’s full commitment. Hence faith must be spoken and made intelligible. That is not to say faith must be enclosed within the limits of reason, but it does mean that faith must never require neither the closing of the mind nor the sacrifice of the integrity of the mind.”

Let’s look at three verses in regards to understanding –

Ps 119:104 Through your precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

 Pr 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

 Pr 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting, get understanding.

Faith comes to us when we “hear” with our hearts those truths of God sent via His word to restore our souls back to where it was before Adam fell. I’m not talking about hearing where we merely consent with God’s word as true, I am talking about hearing to the point that our hearts cry out uncontrollably, “What must I do?” A response that demands action in regards to the revelation of truth. It is not enough to just believe something, there has to be an appropriate response. You believe there is one God? You do well; the demons believe and tremble but are not saved.

There is a reason why faith and faithfulness, response and responsibility and disciple and discipline are words which in each of their related context share the same concept – beginning to end. If we have faith, then we’ll be faithful to what we believe. It will generate a response because we then understand the responsibility is ours because we do believe. Therefore, if we are truly disciples of Christ we will accept the discipline of His words as lights for our paths that we may walk reconciled with Him in agreement of His will for our lives.

James 4:15 For that you ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

But like everything, each truth, or doctrine, there needs to be a foundation for it, and consequently for faith to exist and work it must be in correlation to that truth while understanding its principle foundation. It is for this reason that Jesus response to His disciples’ request to increase their faith was met with the following words –

So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this sycamine  tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’?  

Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink?’  Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? No, I think not.”  

“So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'” (Luke 17:6-10)

Thus the key to having “faith as a grain of mustard seed” comes from understanding what one’s true current position with Christ is and then wholeheartedly embracing it. Not only are we just unprofitable servants, we are even less than that because many are reading from a modern perspective. Remember, these are Jesus’ words and not mine and listen to how the New American Standard Translation reads –

“So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”

See, we were all sold under sin and our candle was put out. There was no light or hope; we were dead in our trespasses and sins. If these fleshly temples of our bodies hosted anything, it certainly wasn’t the Spirit of God. We were children of disobedience, open targets for the devils and demons to assault according to the degree of depravity we foolishly gave ourselves to. Our spirits were blackened, our hearts hardened and our bodies and minds stained with the filth of sin. But still many of us really didn’t think we were all that bad . . .

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

Galatians 3:19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.

This is why God’s Law was added, because man doesn’t think he is all that bad. But we desperately need to see sin for what it truly is – exceedingly sinful, abounding, working death and transgressions against a holy Creator who owns the souls of all men.

Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.

All men are one of two things, they are either dead in their sins or they are dead to sin because they are picking up their crosses and reckoning themselves dead, but alive unto God. The reason the church is so pathetic and powerless is because many are no longer preaching the same Gospel Jesus Christ preached. As Leonard Ravenhill says, we need to quit telling people there is room at the cross and tell them there is more room on the cross. For if a man does not pick up his cross and follow Christ then he cannot be Jesus’ disciple . . . because he will not be faithful, responsive and disciplined to and by the Spirit of God. It is the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus that sets men free from the Law of sin and death. We cannot say we live in the Spirit if we will not walk in and by the Spirit. For if we don’t, then you better believe there is condemnation to such who walk in the flesh; for to be carnally minded to be at war with God and death.

Jesus told His disciples who were too often given to arguments among themselves about who they thought was going to the greatest when Jesus eventually overthrows the Roman rule and they get to reign with Him . . . oh how little did they understand. Yet Jesus tried over and over again to tell them they must become the least, because that is what we are. We are sinners who have nothing but our meager little lives to offer God who has created all things and our very souls, and He will not accept anything less than all. Even if you lived ten thousand years serving Him and accumulating wealth to give unto Him, when we die it all remains here and was never yours anyway; you added absolutely nothing unto God.

At best we need to realize all we are is unprofitable slaves that have been bought with a price that infinitely exceeds our worth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him and to put the Son of God to grief unimaginable for our redemption and reconciliation. Until we willingly and humbly take our lowly place, we will continue to limit God moving as He so desires for us. We see this with Israel as God tried to bring them to His promised land –

Psm 78:40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, And grieved Him in the desert!  41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.

I am not saying we are not called into adoption, or that God is not out Father. Absolutely He is. For unto us has been given the power to become the children of God, what manner of love it that? Paul states the Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. But he goes on to say “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.”  Till then, we too are waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. But for now the key to faith is to take the only position we can with Christ this side of glory and accept that we are still purchased possessions, bond slaves, the redeemed of the Lord. How is it we have forgotten “redeemed” means bought? If we have been redeemed then we are not our own anymore, nor were we ever.

1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Ro 14:7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

But knowledge puffs up, and so when God gave His oracles unto the Jews most became proud and arrogant that God redeemed them instead of being humbled. This is precisely what scripture exposes with lawyers and Pharisees. They like many of the Jews murmured and complained all the while thinking that because God had kept His promise to the fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and brought them out of Egypt that they must be special above all other people in their own merit, and not simply of because of God’s choosing. But they too were sinners, dead in their sins before a God that was greatly desiring to show Himself strong on their behalf. All these signs and miracles and oracles were given to them to the end that the whole world might know and believe there is a God who created heaven and earth. But not only as Creator and the God of Israel, but as Peter came to understand and testified, “God is no respecter of persons. But in every nation he that fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all.”

Let’s now look at a woman whose faith which Jesus bore witness to openly as great –

And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.”  But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, “Send her away; for she cries after us.”  But He answered and said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

 Then came she and worshiped <proskuneo> Him, saying, “Lord, help me.” But He answered and said, “It is not right to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” And she said, “Truth, Lord. But the dogs do eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto you even as you ask.” And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. (Mt 15:22-28)

It was not just her belief that Jesus was able to make her daughter whole that qualified her faith as great, rather it was her understanding her place before this King of kings. She acknowledges she was but as a lowly dog, but she still trusted and hoped in the goodness and mercies of God as well. From understanding and knowing her lowly position she came claiming no rights, but mercy only while giving worship in the truest sense of the word, as a dog licking the hand of the Master.

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship <proskuneo> Him must worship <proskuneo> Him in spirit and in truth.

<proskuneo>  (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):–worship.

Let’s look now at the centurion who caused Jesus to stop and said to the all of Israel that there were none among them that had such great faith as his.

Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! (Mt 8:5-10)

This centurion was a man who understood his authority and positions thereof. It was not just that he is knew he was unworthy to have Jesus come into his house, but he also recognized that just as Christ was one “under authority,” that he too was under authority and only therefore had he a measure of authority and power towards those under him. He not only recognized Jesus’ authority as from Heaven’s very throne, but humbly took his undeserving place under Jesus as well. It was from this assumed position that he knowingly asked undeservingly of divine mercy from Jesus Christ.

Oh sisters and brothers, such faith is not unattainable; it comes freely to all who will hear the word of God and humble themselves under Him, worshipping in spirit and truth. It is God’s desire that all men have such faith, but many simply will not acknowledge their place of servitude to God and therefore reject the strait gate and the narrow path. Nonetheless, great faith belongs to all those humbly and gratefully accept and understand that the only reasonable position is placing themselves back on the altar of God as living sacrifices allowing Him to complete that which He intended from the beginning. God still greatly desires to give such faith and seeks to those who He can raise up as a peculiar people today to shine forth with the same virtues of Christ whereby He is worthy to be praised.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, Brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

So I ask you? Do you want your faith increased? Then humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Take with gladness the position God as for you and accept that you even at your finest you are still but an unprofitable slave, bought with the blood of God and are not your own. Pick up your cross and follow Christ, serve Him acceptably and walk worthy of His name, doing all that He has commanded you.

But now, consider the end of one last parable of our Lord’s –

Lu 12:37 “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 40 Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when you think not.”

41 Then Peter said unto him, “Lord, do you speak this parable unto us, or even to all?”  42 And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  44 Of a truth I say unto you, that He will make him ruler over all that He has.”

Unprofitable servants? Yes, we are. But a wise servant will inherit his Master’s house. If we would just accept what we are, then we would cease to limit God in our lives, and would truly let God be our God. Only then, when we truly need a sycamine tree plucked up and planted in the sea, can we expect to tell it to do so and it will obey us. Because we too will have then taken our place God has created for just for us under His’ authority so we could labor for His Kingdom and glory . . . and thus be able to speak with such faith and authority from Heaven’s throne room.

Lord, increase our faith. We humbly surrender all to you, we are so unworthy . . . but we are Yours, bought with a price. Search us, and try our hearts.We humbly return to you as the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. Glorify Your name Lord, for You alone are worthy.

To the proud, I would simply let James counsel you –

 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You despise and hate with murderous intent,  and covet yet cannot obtain. Therefore you fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. And when you ask you do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He desires to gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:1-10)

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