Posts Tagged ‘Luke 8:8’

Such great faith—Crazy faith

August 5, 2017

Matthew 8--10

A recent blog post focused on Hebrews 11:1 and verse 6 as the Verse of the Day and offered comments regarding faith, some of which are excerpted here:

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we grow and develop, as we discover that faith is the bedrock of our lives. We define faith as confident assurance, trust and conviction that we will prevail. Faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

In the midst of thundering echoes of “No!” faith says “Yes!”  Voices shout “You can’t” but faith proclaims “We can and we will!” At the point of total exhaustion, faith says, “Take one more step.” After more failed attempts than we can number, faith gives us courage to try one more time. Faith is tenacious—you hold on and never give up. Although the diagnosis, bank statement or other evidence says “No way!” faith responds with “God will make a way.”

In terms of illustrations of faith, we find excellent examples from the Bible and from the lives of great men and women who achieved impossible dreams. Despite a barrage of reasons why they would fail, they transformed failure into success. Without faith it is impossible . . . but with faith, the impossible becomes possible.  We recognize and rejoice, knowing that “with God all things are possible.”

As believers, we sometimes encounter circumstances that seem impossible, and our response is that we know the situation will turn out favorably, despite what appears to be a hopeless case. The world might respond to our positive expectations with, “That’s crazy!” We know, however, that we walk by faith and not by sight, and we counter with “That’s not crazy. . . That just means we have ‘crazy faith.’”

Dennis Marquardt, states, “Crazy faith is the kind of faith that will respond to God in obedience no matter how crazy it may seem at the moment!  It is the kind of faith that CAN remove mountains, and even more amazingly, it can move man!”

When asked what he means by “crazy faith,” Faithwriter Larry King, offers this definition: “Crazy faith is when you simply refuse to let what you perceive –that is, your circumstances, your situations, your trials, tests and obstacles – interfere with what you believe.”

Bishop Charles Mellette states that walking by faith in such conditions, “. . . doesn’t make sense, but it does make great faith.” “Crazy faith,” I might add.

For an illustration of such “crazy faith” in the Bible, let us look at an individual who is not listed in the Hall of Faith of Hebrews 11. In fact, this person is an altogether unlikely candidate who is described as having “great faith.” In the context in which the designation was spoken, you might characterize the person as having “crazy faith.” The centurion in Matthew 8 comes to Jesus Christ with a request that he heal the man’s servant. In response, the Lord says that he will come and do as he asks. Matthew 8:7-10 reveals the exchange between the two of them:

 Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied to Him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority [of a higher rank], with soldiers subject to me; and I say to one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, He was amazed and said to those who were following Him, “I tell you truthfully, I have not found such great faith [as this] with anyone in Israel.

With his belief that Jesus Christ had but to speak the word and the results that the officer desired would come to pass, the centurion demonstrated “such great faith” and profoundly impressed the Lord.

The following poem uses Matthew 8:10 as its introductory verse or epigraph and also makes reference to a question asked by Jesus Christ in Luke 8:8b: “. . . Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

Such Great Faith

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!

Matthew 8:10 (KJV)

 

As servants of a king assess his vast treasure,

When the Lord returns, will he find faith on the earth?

When He appraises our faith, what will it be worth?

When all is said and done, may we add our measure,

Though small as the grain of a tiny mustard seed.

Should the Lord come during the Age of the Gentiles,

May our faith be found so pure that nothing defiles.

May we be living by faith in word and in deed,

For God is ever faithful and His Word is true.

May such great faith descend from the centurion

To the faithful ones who bear this criterion:

Whatever God shall speak, this shall He also do.

We will still be walking by faith, not by what we see,

While pressing toward the mark, reaching toward our destiny.

 

We conclude with John Waller and his rendition of “Crazy Faith.”

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Pomegranates: Spiritual implications and applications

November 5, 2016
Pomegranates are not only a source of nutrition and refreshment, but the currently popular fruit has spiritual significance as well.

Pomegranates are not only a source of nutrition and refreshment, but the currently popular fruit has spiritual significance as well.

Varying even more from the traditional Verse of the Day, we want to take a look at the “Word for the Day” for November 5, 2016, which is “Pomegranate.” The word is especially apropos since November is designated National Pomegranate Month in the United States. This month offers a great time to learn about the nutritional benefits of pomegranates in the form of fresh fruit or pomegranate juice. The nutritional and health benefits of pomegranates are well known across the globe, but the spiritual implications and applications associated with this ancient fruit are sometimes overlooked.

Once considered obscure, exotic fruit, pomegranates have now become increasingly popular within the past several years. Rich in antioxidants which reportedly prevent cancer and strokes, the popular fruit has been found to be useful in other conditions as well. Pomegranates are also valued for their nutritional benefits. The popularity of pomegranate juice has skyrocketed, being used in hundreds of products, internally and externally.

Indigenous to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean areas, pomegranates are now grown in subtropical climates all over the world, especially in California and Arizona where farmers cannot keep up with the demands. Often referred to as “Chinese apple” or “the jewel of winter,” pomegranates are in season in early winter in North America.

Within the pomegranate you find several chambers of seeds, surrounded by transparent pulp from which the nutrient-rich red juice is extracted. Grenadine, a sweet syrup, is produced from the seeds, while the blossoms also have medicinal use. The leathery skin or rind is used in dye for leather.

Spiritual Implications and Applications of Pomegranates

Literally translated “seeded apple,” the pomegranate tree was believed to have been one of the trees in the Garden of Eden. Pomegranates were also among the fruit brought back by the spies when the Children of Israel inspected the Promised Land. The fruit grows on trees which produce bright red-orange blossoms which are bell shaped. “Bells and pomegranates” were embroidered on the hem of the priests’ garments in the Old Testament. Solomon is said to have maintained orchards of pomegranate trees.

The word “pomegranate” is used eight times in the Bible, with eight representing “a new beginning.” E.W. Bullinger, in his celebrated work, Numbers in Scripture, and in an Appendix to his Companion Bible, mentions that eight denotes resurrection or new beginning or regeneration or commencement. “The eighth is a new first”. . . and is said to mean “to make fat,” “cover with fat,” “to super-abound.” As a noun, it also means “one who abounds in strength.” Symbolically, pomegranates represent abundant, luxuriant fertility and life, eternal life. Note that the number 8 when viewed on its side or horizontally is the symbol of infinity.

According to folklore, pomegranates contain 613 seeds, representing the 613 commandments found in the five books of the Law in the Old Testament. Since the fruit abounds with seeds, the pomegranate is also used to illustrate some of the spiritual principles of “giving and receiving,” “sowing and reaping,” and “seedtime and harvest.” Here we note that God’s ratio is never 1:1, not 1:10, not 1:50, not 1:100, but just for purposes of rounding off, let’s say, 1:500 as an example of the ratio of return. From planting one seed, if you get one tree which eventually produced 100 pomegranates that would be a ratio of 1/50,000 in one year. What if you planted an orchard from just one pomegranate and eventually had a 100 trees with hundreds of pomegranates with hundreds of seeds produced every year, you could not calculate the total number of seeds produced from one seed. The essence of the magnitude of this spiritual principle is expressed poetically in this way:

A Hundredfold

But others fell on good ground, sprang up,
and yielded a crop a hundredfold. . . .
Luke 8:8a

Orchards of pomegranate trees
stem from fruit of a single seed
whose life is found within itself,
sown in fertile soil of the heart.

During this period known as harvest time, we are especially aware of the application of spiritual principles expressed in the Bible in a number of ways, “Giving and Receiving,” “Sowing and Reaping,” or “Seedtime and Harvest,” or simply that “The same degree to which you give, it’s going to be given back to you.” Such principles are especially evident when you look at pomegranates which are so abundant at this time of the year.

In light of the current season for pomegranates and other fruit, we conclude with “Seedtime and Harvest” by Joel Case.