The Syrophenician Woman

This story takes place in Matthew 15:21-28:

“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 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 crieth 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 worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs 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 thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”

In verse 26 Jesus says, “It is not meet (suitable, proper) to take the children’s (Israel’s) bread, and to cast it to dogs (Gentiles).” This may sound like Jesus is being a bit harsh, but in actuality the Greek word used for dogs here means little dogs or pets not wild, scavenging beasts. Hence her reply. Jesus was merely saying it’s not proper to take food from children and give it to a pet instead, but the woman knew what could be hers, even as a Gentile.

Though we pray and seem to not receive an answer, still we must continue to seek and pray until we do. Remembering that God answers in three different ways: yes, no, and wait.

This story is also found in Mark 7:25-30.

Wings As Eagles

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:29-31

It is good to know that God gives us strength when we need it. Though there may be many around us who have given up and lost faith, with God’s help we can continue on. No matter our struggle, temptation, or trial, God will always see us through if we remain faithful to Him.

When a storm comes, the eagle does not hide from it. He continues to soar, allowing the storm to move him. Allow your storms to make you, not break you. Let them shape you into who the Father wants you to be, someone that can be used by Him.

The Refiner

There was an email going around years ago that I always loved reading and I’d like to share it along with some thoughts of my own:

“And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver…” Malachi 3:3

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about that verse and asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled at her and answered, “Oh that’s easy – when I see my image in it.” If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

This story touches me every time I read it and causes me to think differently about the trials that I go through. Many times we go through trials not knowing or understanding the reason why. Instead of letting our trials get us down, we need to rejoice in the knowledge that God is by our side the whole time and that there is a reason for each trial we experience. It is either for our benefit (1 Peter 1:6-7), for the benefit of others (Romans 5:3-5) to encourage them with our testimony, or both!

Keeping Busy

“Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.” – Proverbs 19:15

Keeping busy can be a great way to fill our days as we wait for God’s plans to unfold for us. It can also keep us from doing things we shouldn’t do. But there is a danger to being so busy that we miss opportunities God sends our way.

Keeping busy is important because it keeps our minds busy. Satan loves to find idle minds and fill them with lies, restlessness, depression, and a sense of uselessness. When we wait for things we sometimes don’t know how long we will be waiting, so keeping ourselves occupied with positive and constructive things can help us greatly. It can add purpose to our daily lives and give us a positive outlook on life.

When we become idle, we often try to find something to do. The devil can use our idleness to plant ideas of things we shouldn’t do. We need to make sure we are never idle, and if you can’t think of anything to do, pray! Working on your relationship with God is a wonderful way to pass your day.

Beware of making yourself too busy though! We can make ourselves so busy that we neglect our Bible and prayer time. These are essential and must not be overlooked. Also be careful not to get so wrapped up in what you are doing that you miss any opportunities God sends your way to minister to others and do a work for Him.

Don’t forget, when you are keeping busy but things seem to be getting a little monotonous, change it up a little! Doing the same things at the same times all the time can get discouraging after a while. When this happens, I encourage you to try something new.

Don’t forget the old saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”