Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 10 The Gentile, Greek Woman (Syrophoenician Woman)

             Pushing her way through the crowd, a desperate determination filled her.  Thoughts of her daughter plagued her mind, “If I could just get to him; if I could just get to Jesus.” Her mind screamed as she elbowed her way through the throng of people, “Get out of the way!”
            Thrusting through the open door of the unknown home, she saw him.  Falling at his feet, her heart and faith begged forth, “Please, please my daughter is sick.  She needs you.  She is possessed and I know you can help her.”
            Jesus seeing her heart, knowing her need, but called to the children of Israel first, gently speaks, “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
            “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
Jesus looked down at the faith of the gentile woman and proclaimed,  “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” (Mark 7:26-30).
            I love this story of Christ healing a gentile woman’s daughter, seeing her unwavering faith and belief in the power of God.  This gentile woman knew who Jesus was and filled with the fortitude, purpose and courage, fell at his feet begging for her child.
            This reminds me of the story in Mark’s Gospel 10:46-52, “Then they came to Jericho.  And as he was leaving Jericho together with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, a son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside.  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout saying, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have pity and mercy on me!’ And many severely censured and reproved him, telling him to keep still, but he kept on shouting out all the more, ‘You Son of David, have pity and mercy on me!’ And Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ And they called the blind man, telling him, ‘Take courage! Get up! He is calling you.’ Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
            “And Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ And the blind man said to him, ‘Master, let me receive sight.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way, your faith has healed you.’ And at once he received his sight and accompanied Jesus on the road.” (Mark 10:46-52). Praise God!  I love that Bartimaeus threw the beggar’s cloak aside and jumped to his feet. Jesus was calling him!  And when asked, “What do you want?” This blind man humbly asked, “I want to see!” We are to come just as he, faith filled, humble, prayerfully crying out, Son of David!
            We should never give up hope in Jesus Christ.  The people who Christ healed had such faith, such hope in the healing powers of our Lord, they stopped at nothing to bring the sick, scream his name, persistently call him or followed Jesus until spoken to.  Remember the friends who dug through the roof of a home, dropping down their paralyzed friend for healing? (Matthew 9:2-8, Mark 2:1-12, Luke 5:18-26) Or the parable of the persistent widow who asked the Judge daily, “Give me justice from my adversary!” (Luke 18:1-9). Luke’s Gospel writes in 8:1, “Also Jesus told his disciples a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward and give up.”
            I encourage you to be this Syrophoenician woman who loved her daughter and was willing to do what it took to get to Christ.  The humility in calling herself a dog who desires crumbs is admirable.  In today’s society, humility is not a “buzz” word spoken by many.  Power and prestige, conquer and defeat, authority and supremacy are words many strive for themselves.  This gentile woman knew a King when she saw one.  This gentile woman knew the power of the Messiah.  This gentile woman would stop at nothing for her family, including humbling herself under the mighty hand of God (James 4:10).
The Lord spoke something into my spirit not too long ago.  My heart’s desire is to encourage other women.  I want to tell my testimony of how great Christ is and the power of the Cross to other believer’s and nonbeliever’s, bringing them into a deeper understanding Jesus can do all things through those who believe in him.  The Lord opened a scripture into my heart when praying for my family, “…we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.  We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
            I have family members who are worldly, have walked away from the faith or have been rejected by the church.  Some have not heard the Gospel preached with Truth, but rules and regulations. I remembering telling one family member, “Do not let man ruin Jesus.  Those are man’s rules and regulations, not Christ’s.”  I have prayed for my family for years.  When the Lord showed me this scripture of the Syrophoenician woman, God encouraged me to pray more!  Keep believing there is no one so far from the Gospel that our King can not reach his precious hand down, open the heart for repentance and heal the broken. 
            The Apostle Paul encourages us to be devoted in prayer, being watchful and thankful (Colossians 4:2). We are to set our minds on things above, seated at the right hand of the Father and not earthly things (Colossians 3:2). Paul exhorts Timothy to fight the good fight of faith, take hold of the eternal life to which we’re called when we made our confession to Jesus (1 Timothy 4:11-12). We are to peruse a diligence to the very end, in order to make our hope sure.  We are not to become lazy, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:11-12).
            Pastor Greg Laurie, of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, spoke at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale a weekend before Christmas in 2013.  Pastor Greg gave an illustration to the congregation of holding on to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and never telling anyone the Good News.  He compared it to finding the cure of cancer and not telling the sick patient next to you.  He contrasted having the Gospel and not sharing Jesus to being an excellent swimmer watching a man drowning, not even attempting to save the novice.  If we are not praying for our family members, those God has entrusted us with, our hearts have grown lukewarm. 
            I have made a decision in my spirit.  I will be as this Gentile Woman, this Bartimaeus calling out to Son of David no matter who attempts to quiet me.  I will be this persistent widow for my family members who have yet to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I will fall on my knees in prayer, humbling myself to the point of begging Christ’s crumbs for those lost.  My heart could never imagine standing before the Messiah, giving an account of my life and example why I did not pray for those in my very family who were not saved.
            I encourage my sister in Christ, do not give up on those who have strayed, backslidden, rejected or abstain from the Truth of Jesus Christ.  For those who have a prodigal son, a sister who does not believe, a worldly cousin, addicts, mockers, or rejectors of the Truth, let us together, lay them at the foot of the cross.

Pray and CONFESS the Word of the Living God:

            My heart is heavy.  My spirit is overwhelmed with the burden of praying for those lost in my family.  I am determined this day to not give up on them, to believe in the power of the Spirit and the very Hand of God to touch their life.  Today, I lift ________________ up to you, to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, to believe he died on the cross for the repentance of sin, offered as a sinless sacrifice.  This day I pray ____________has the desire to confess the times apart of Christ and commit his/her life to Jesus.  May ____________________open his/her heart to your Word, your Truth and the healing power of the Cross.  My heart desires _________________ to know you as Savior, King, friend and Father. 
            I pray my spirit is determined to run this race; determined to keep my eyes on things upon seated at the right hand of the Father and not on earthly thing below (Colossians 3:2).  I want to be devoted in prayer, watchful and thankful, knowing God works good in all things for those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28, Colossians 4:2). May I fight the good fight of faith, take hold of the eternal life to which I called when I made my confession to Jesus (1 Timothy 4:11-12). I will peruse a diligence to the very end, in order to make my hope sure.  I will not become lazy, but imitate those who through faith and patience have inherited what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:11-12).
            May ________________________ be part of church filled with your Spirit, where the Word is read and have the encouragement from the elders.  I pray __________________ read the bible and come to a deeper understanding of Jesus.  Bring godly Christian friends and influences into his/her life where a kindred spirit connects, praying for one another and encouraging each other in their purpose and plan .  I pray ________________begins to reject this worldly living, desiring the things of God, renewed in the mind and heart, to know he/she is more than a conqueror and if God be for them, who can be against him/her (Romans 8:5-8, 31).
            However I may be a light, an encourager, an example or teacher to him/her, I pray for bible study, devotionals and prayer with him/her.  I pray we can go to church regularly, pray and read devotionals or studies together.  I praise you Lord for your goodness.  I praise you Lord for your mercy and I praise for you for __________________ life to change and glorify you with his/her purpose for the Kingdom of God.  In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray. Amen.

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